Now Hear This...

Phyllis Frelich, the Tony Award-winning actress in 1980 for her lead role in “Children of a Lesser God,” died earlier this week at the age of 70.  As New England and America remembers the victims and survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing and embraces the awareness of disability issues that have been so significant this past year, the passing of Ms. Frelich can refocus awareness of people who are deaf or hard of hearing, and the limitations that can be exceeded if willpower and acceptance are in large supply.  Read The Washington Post story here.

18 Wheels Are Safer Than 4?

For physicians who see patients for commercial driver certifications, May 21, 2014, is going to be an important day for you.  Beginning that day, patients who need to have a commercial driver examination and license will need to be seen by a Certified Medical Examiner (CME) who is registered and certified through the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.  See the FMCSA regulations.

Medicaid Expansion - Now What?

On March 27, 2014, New Hampshire became the 26th state to pass legislation allowing for Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.  Gov. Maggie Hassan signed Senate Bill 413 into law in front of a bipartisan gathering of legislators and supporters at the State House, including NHMS Past President Dr. Travis Harker, NHMS EVP Scott Colby and myself.  Read the Boston.com story here.

Boston Strong

This past weekend I happened to be walking up Boylston Street in Boston at night when I passed the site of the first bombing location from last year’s Boston Marathon bombing.  The building that was damaged from that explosion was being repaired, and as I looked across the street at the Boston Central Library, I thought of the horrible events from last April 15 and wondered how the victims were doing at this time, almost one year later.  It was surreal to touch a green mailbox at that site and see many parts of the metal showing damage and indentations, perhaps from the pressure-cooker bomb that damaged and forever changed so many lives.

March Madness

As you read this, I imagine many of you will spend the remainder of today looking at the infamous NCAA March Madness brackets, filling in the teams that you hope will win each game and hoping that you win the $1 billion prize from Warren Buffet.  Some teams have been affected by injuries and may not be as capable as you remember them from earlier in the season.  One of these teams is the Kansas Jayhawks, whose 7-foot center, Joel Embiid, recently suffered a spinal stress fracture and will miss the first week of the NCAA tournament.  Read the KUSports.com article here.

The Times They Are A'Changin

On February 5, 2014, the Centers For Medicare and Medicaid Services sent out a transmittal (505) lifting the restriction on Medicare contractors, including Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs), Recovery Audit Contractors (RACs) and Zone Program Integrity Contractors (ZPICs), from taking action on claims that are "related" to but not included in claims currently under review, with an effective date of March 6, 2014.

Give The People What They Want?

On February 27, 2014, the Draft Patient Registry Rules for the Therapeutic Use of Cannabis Program (He-C 401) were posted by the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services for public comment and were posted in the Rulemaking Register.

Having Sight Does Not Mean Having Vision

A year ago, one of my patients underwent stereotactic brain surgery to remove a tumor that had been causing dizziness and vertigo. After the procedure, there were no issues with speech, swallowing or cognition, but my patient had significant visual field issues. Double vision, visual field cuts, feeling like ‘being wrapped in cellophane’ were common complaints during the last 12 months. Over time, these issues have gotten better, but are not fully resolved yet. Unfortunately, the vision deficits have caused significant limitations in the ability to drive, use a computer, and return to work. It made me wonder what options are available for the visually impaired in our state.

I Just Want To Fly

Last week on a flight home to snowy New Hampshire, I was thinking about the 22nd Winter Olympic Games that had just started in Sochi, Russia.  As I flipped through a sports magazine, I was stunned by an advertisement that showed a picture of Josh Dueck, a T-11 complete paraplegic athlete, mid-air performing a sit-ski back flip.  While a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is even better.

Next month, the Winter Paralympic Games will begin in Sochi and include men’s and women’s events such as downhill skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, sled hockey and wheelchair curling.  See the schedule here.

Ace of Spades

This past Sunday, as our nation readied itself to partake in the annual Super Bowl ritual of food, spirits, commercials and, of course, football, a man lay dead in his apartment across the river from MetLife Stadium. Too many chicken wings, Bud Lights and blue-green Skittles? Not at all. This man died from a presumed heroin overdose, possibly from a batch of heroin laced with fentanyl, which has caused numerous deaths in the past few months.  See the CBS News report here.

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