HHS Secretary Stumps for More Preventive Care in Medicare
HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt on Friday is scheduled to start a multistate campaign to promote Medicare beneficiaries' use of preventive care, AP/Long Island Newsday reports.
Leavitt will visit Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine and Connecticut during the first week of the campaign. The effort is designed to encourage beneficiaries to take advantage of Medicare's no-cost pneumonia and flu shots, a physical when they enter the program and screenings for osteoporosis, diabetes and certain cancers.
Most screenings require beneficiaries to pay 20% of the cost.
Leavitt said that U.S. residents spend about $3.8 billion for diabetes-related hospitalizations, about two-thirds of which could be avoided with appropriate preventive care. Leavitt said that about 50% of Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes do not have their blood sugar tested -- which is available at no cost -- in the course of a year. Beneficiaries also are entitled to no-cost supplies and training for managing diabetes.
Leavitt said, "Because one chronic disease is often accompanied by complications, this effort will pay dividends for many years to come" (Freking, AP/Long Island Newsday, 4/20).