Mountain View Medical Supply

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Genetic Testing - Is It Right for YOU? (Part II)

In part one, Sandy talked about her position on genetic testing and why she would not consider it at this time. But lets assume you have decided that you need to know if you are predisposed to a disease. Lets say that for example, you have been told you carry a high potential of developing breast cancer. Now what?

If you go through your doctor, this information is now in your medical records. But who has access to it? Obviously, you now know that you need to be very diligent about getting tested. But will your insurance provider cover these tests? Do you need to disclose your genetic results to your insurance for the tests to be covered? What about life insurance? Are you now less likely to get a medical or life insurance policy? If you don’t actually have the disease, should you have to disclose this information?

We are still in murky waters as far as regulation of genetic information. As of March 2008, the National Conference of State Legislatures shows that only 27 states require consent to disclose genetic information. Seven states require consent to obtain/access genetic information and only 5 states define genetic information as personal property. If there is an information violation, only 19 states have specific penalties for genetic privacy violations.

In May of 2008, The Genetic Information Nondiscrimation Act of 2008 (GINA) was enacted, which prohibits the improper use of genetic information in health insurance and employment. It prohibits health plans and insurers from denying a healthy person coverage, or charging higher premiums. Employers are prohibited from using genetic information when making employment or employee decisions.

One option to keep your results private is Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) Genetic Testing. Doctors acquire the permission of the patient and order the desired test, but you don’t technically go through a health care professional. The risk involved with DTC testing is the possibility of misreading test results. Also, critics argue DTC has unregulated advertising and marketing claims and overall lack of governmental oversight. There are hundreds of tests available but the FDA has not yet officially substantiated the claimed accuracy of the majority of DTC genetic tests.

What do you do if your health insurer drops you? First, appeal the decision. Every insurer has an appeals process. Second, call the state regulator. Each state insurance department has a consumer complaint hotline or help line. To find your state’s office, go to Last, consider hiring help. Ask your doctor’s office for a referral to a health care advocate. Be sure to ask for fees and referrals up front.

* Names have been changed for privacy
Source: & Genetic_Information_Nondiscrimination_Act;

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Genetic Testing - Is It Right For YOU? (Part I)

Sandy is a 52-year-old married mother of three. Her mother had cancer twice, losing the second battle earlier this year. Her younger brother recently beat cancer. Alzheimer’s runs on one side of her family and colon cancer runs on both sides of her family. Is she rushing out to get genetic testing to determine her own odds of having any of these diseases? “It is not for me at this time”, says Sandy. “I would worry and probably stress myself into being sick or an early grave, about when it was going to hit me if I knew something might be waiting in the wings.” Sandy knows early detection is best and chooses to be proactive in her health care.
Genetic testing involves taking a DNA sample of blood or tissue from a patient and having a scientist scan the DNA for mutated sequences. Cost of testing can range from hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars, depending on the sizes of the genes and the number of mutations tested. Currently, there are more than 1,000 genetic tests available and some provide only an estimated risk for developing the disorder. For example, you can test for Emphysema (Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency), but only get an estimated risk for Alzheimer's. The problem with genetic testing results is that some people who carry a mutation may never develop the disease. It is believed the mutations may work together with other unknown mutations, or environmental factors to cause the disease. In essence, a “positive” result may never turn into a “positive” result.
The advantage of genetic testing is that it can identify people at high risk for conditions that may be preventable. Aggressive monitoring can turn fatal diseases into treatable ones.
But how will genetic testing affect our children or potential children? Tests can allow families to avoid having children with devastating diseases. Sandy says her 18 year old diabetic daughter has already told her that she does not want to pass her disease on to her children, so she will adopt. She also has a cousin who had twins and wanted to see what the chances were that it would happen again. The test was almost 100% positive that she would have a second set of twins. They stopped with the first set and were very happy. Sandy’s husband also has a strong family history of Alzheimer’s, causing their children to have history from both parents. “Now my kids will have to decide what to do about this knowledge.”

* Names have been changed for privacy

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Better Living Corner - Ostomy Cover

A customer recently needed help to find an ostomy bag cover that will better hold her pouch in place and make it more discrete.

WearClose Intimate Ostomy Apparel is “The next best thing to being naked”. It doesn't just cover your ostomy pouch, it holds the pouch close to your body, creating a soft, smooth, sleek look, which is perfect for tighter clothing or intimate moments.
It is made with soft, breathable, elastic polymer fiber material which eliminates crunching noises, pendulum swinging and bulky silhouettes.
This apparel is available in Tan or Black and
fits both men or women. Garment is adjustable
to fit ostomies on the right or left side.
Sizes Small to Extra Large.
Here is a link to this product - and its even ON SALE!


If you think about it, it makes sense that the history of sledding begins in North America and the aboriginal tribes of Canada. Their surroundings were covered by snow for months at a time, so they needed to find a way to transport heavy loads over long distances. The Cree, Innu, Anishinabe (or Chippewa) used wooden toboggans. The typical tomboggans were made of two or three thin hardwood boards that curved up at the front. The toboggan would either be pulled by humans or dogs.
Around 1800, a variation of the toboggan appeared to carry humans, specifically fur traders and this was called a cariole. This version had enclosed sides, a back and partially covered top.
Snow sleds came about for a specific type of snow transport. Long and narrow runners where added which reduced friction and allowed for heavier loads. One version is called the komitik which was shaped like a ladder with parallel runners attached.
In the late 19th century, the Swiss invented the bobsled. Many new and updated versions have happened along the way and now, most sleds are primarily used for recreational fun.
The annual 1,100 mile Iditarod race held in Alaska reminds us of the challenges of primitive winter transport. This race features a trek from Anchorage to Nome, each team consisting of a musher and 12-16 dogs.

Ways to Cut Your Health Care Costs NOW!

Believe it or not, you CAN control some of your health care costs. Asking questions, taking control of your care and leading a healthier lifestyle can all reduce the amount of money you spend on your health care, both now and in the future.

Take good care of yourself. When at all possible, treat yourself at home. For example, can help you determine if your symptoms may be a sign of a condition that should be seen by a doctor, or if they are symptoms that over the counter remedies can help.

Educate yourself on the health risks of your lifestyle choices such as alcohol or daily fat intake. Determine if your intake levels are too high and the associated risks. You may find that cutting your intake just slightly can save you in the long run.

Save the emergency room for emergencies. With minor emergency clinics and regular doctors with on-call services, think twice before entering the emergency room and save yourself hundreds of dollars.

If you don't have insurance, or even if you do, try the new “quick clinic” facilities popping up in local pharmacies. Walgreen's now boasts Take Care Clinics that treat most conditions your regular doctor will treat. In our search, 13 Denver area Walgreen's now have Take Care clinics to treat anything from strep throat, pink eye, minor sprains and even yearly physicals and vaccinations. The best part is that they actually list non-insurance prices on their website!

Check your hospital or doctor bills carefully. If you find a questionable charge, call them to have them explain it or remove it. Even if your insurance covers the charge, you pay for it in the long run with higher premiums.

Evaluate your prescriptions. Do a little research about the prescriptions you are taking and try to find generic versions, therapeutic substitutes or over the counter options. Talk to your doctor about these options, and if brand-name drugs are recommended, ask if your doctor has free samples.

Know what your medical benefits cover. Don’t get caught with a huge bill because you “weren't aware”. Keep your insurance coverage book in a handy place so you can reference it quickly and easily.