IMDA eNews 051023

The latest news affecting you and your customers…

from the Independent Medical Specialty Dealers Association

Advanced role for RTs

The VA Maryland Health Care System (VAMHCS) has created an official role for the Advanced Practice Respiratory Therapist (APRT) in its organization, according to the American Association for Respiratory Care. The move follows the 2020 launch of the Master’s in Respiratory Care (MRT) program designed to prepare RRTs to take on a clinical role similar to that enjoyed by physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners. Mindy Conklin, MRT, RRT, has been selected to fill the position and will begin working in her new job soon.

Asthma patients at higher risk for cancer

Research suggests that people with asthma could be 36% more likely to develop cancer than people who do not suffer from the chronic respiratory disease, reports the Washington Post. A study published in the journal Cancer Medicine tracked 360,084 people, ages 18 to 65, for eight years, including 90,021 people with asthma. Of the 13 types of cancer analyzed, participants with asthma had a higher risk for developing lung cancer, blood cancer, melanoma, kidney cancer and ovarian cancer. Asthma is associated with chronic inflammation, and the researchers note that earlier studies have found long-lasting inflammation conducive to cancer development and progression.

Reimbursement for virtual reality treatments

In a move that could ensure reimbursement for virtual-reality (VR)-based medical treatments, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has created a new level 2 Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) for RelieVRx, a prescription-only, immersive VR product from AppliedVR, according to HealthExec. Authorized for use in the treatment of chronic lower back pain, RelieVRx includes a headset, breathing amplifier and software that guides patients through daily sessions of pain management techniques. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has indicated there has been an increase in applications for approval of VR medical devices.

Higher BMI associated with severe respiratory infections

A higher body mass index (BMI) could lead to increased risks for hospitalization and death due to COVID-19 and other respiratory infections, reports MedPage Today. According to a study using data from the U.K. Biobank, the greatest risk for severe illness due to COVID-19, severe lower respiratory tract infections and severe upper tract respiratory tract infections was seen among those with a BMI of 35-60. While several studies have described lower risk for LRTIs with higher BMI, the current study found no such evidence in the BMI categories examined, according to researchers.

Hospital consolidation may lead to costlier care

A recent study suggests patients are more likely to receive a high-intensity, hospital-based intervention when their doctor is employed by a hospital compared to patients whose care is managed by an independent cardiologist, reports Axios. The study, which supports evidence that hospital consolidation could lead to riskier, costlier care, suggests that patients seen by hospital-integrated cardiologists are more likely to receive high-intensity, hospital-based interventions, such as cardiac catheterization (38% vs. 33%) and coronary angioplasties (14% vs. 11%)

It's Orlando in March for 2023-2024 conference

Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Florida, will be the site of the 2024 IMDA/HIRA Conference. Golfers will tee off Monday morning, March 4, and the conference will begin that afternoon. We’ll finish at noon on Wednesday, March 6. And in between? Networking, business and market information, Manufacturers Forum, great food. So get smart! Make plans to attend the IMDA/HIRA Conference in March 2024. Details will follow