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In Brief

More than 100,000 beneficiaries are now participating in voluntary Medicare Health Support programs designed to reduce health risks and improve the quality

More than 100,000 beneficiaries are now participating in
voluntary Medicare Health Support programs designed to reduce
health risks and improve the quality of life for chronically ill
patients.
The eight pilot programs connect participants with
specially trained health professionals to help patients manage
their health, adhere to their physicians' plan of care and reduce
their health risks. According to CMS, chronic conditions are a
leading cause of illness, disability and death among Medicare
beneficiaries and account for a disproportionate share of health
care expenditures.

Spending on national health care will double by 2015,
reaching some $4 trillion yearly,
according to a CMS study
published in the online journal Health Affairs. Main factors
contributing to the increase are the aging of the population and
changes in medical technology and utilization, the agency said. The
study, based on data from 2004, anticipates the nation's health
expenditures will reach more than $2 trillion this year.

A new form of insulin approved by the Food and Drug
Administration allows diabetics to ingest it through an
inhaler.
Exubera, a powdered form of recombinant human insulin,
is the first new delivery option introduced since insulin was
discovered in the 1920s, the FDA said. Manufactured by Pfizer,
Exubera can be used with a specially designed inhaler and is
intended for the treatment of adult patients with type 1 and type 2
diabetes.

Employees of the VGM Group will eventually take ownership of
the company under a new stock option program.
Over the next few
decades, Van G. Miller, CEO and founder, Jim Walsh and John Deery
Jr., both minority stockholders in the HME buying group, said that
they will be selling the multi-million dollar organization to its
more than 400 employees. There will be no change in day-to-day
operations, which will continue to be run by the current management
team.

DME and home care staffing provider Arcadia Resources has
acquired Crystal Lake, Ill.-based Remedy Therapeutics,
the
company's 19th acquisition in almost two years. Remedy has annual
sales of $2.7 million, Arcadia said. Remedy founder Michael Burke
will serve as Arcadia's regional manager for the Chicago area.

A federal court has ordered a medical supplier to serve a
30-month prison term and pay more than $300,000 in restitution for
pretending to be a government compliance officer and defrauding
government health programs.
Carla E. Davison, 45, who owned
Phoenix Automated Medical Services, Twinsburg, Ohio, pleaded guilty
in 2004 for pretending to be an employee of the Health and Human
Services Office of Inspector General. According to the U.S.
Attorney's office for the Southern District of Ohio, she collected
at least $17,150 from seminars she presented, which certified
attendees as a “Practice Compliance Officer.”

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