Tag Archives: Medicaid

Imagine children unable to speak up for themselves

My last post and all of my posts are really about all the children – and adults – who may not be able to speak up for themselves. A magnesium bath or foot soak can be life changing with almost immediate better mood and less muscle cramps and chronic pain.

I’ve only ever had one or two close friends at a time — and I’m okay with that, I like company but I like reading a lot too. My goal in sharing information is not for me or about me but is simply about sharing my experiences in case they might be helpful for others, and actually I do write for me too, future me, so that as I read I can add notes so that I can find the information again at some point in the future. I like the internet, it is a great invention, humans are really great in many ways.

Magnesium deficiency is a widespread problem for people on the autistic spectrum but also for many other people with a variety of common chronic illnesses or who have lifestyle habits that waste magnesium. Obesity can also be a problem of nutrient deficiency which might seem unlikely but being mal-nourished in some nutrients can make weight gain much more likely. Deficiencies in vitamin D, thiamin, folic acid, iron, B12, zinc, phosphorus, B6, and potassium have been found to be more common in obese individuals. [4] And levels of vitamins A, E, and C have also been found to be significantly lower in obese individuals than in non-obese individuals. [5] [information from references 4 and 5 is from a continuing education course: 6]

Magnesium deficiency has to be very severe before it typically shows up on lab tests because it is stored within the bones and within cells more than in the blood. Calcium is more prevalent within the fluid portion of blood while magnesium is more prevalent within the interior of blood cells and other cells. Both nutrients are electrically active and provide energy for cellular functions in addition to other roles. Gastrointestinal problems can make a deficiency in the nutrient more likely however because calcium can be preferentially absorbed and magnesium can become less well absorbed.  However an early symptom of magnesium deficiency is insulin resistance which would lead to increased fat storage and increased appetite. [https://www.sharecare.com/health/diabetes/how-brain-affected-by-insulin]

The DASH diet designed originally to help reduce high blood pressure has also been found helpful for weight management. It includes more beans, nuts and seeds than many other diet plans, foods which provide magnesium, vitamin E, B vitamins and trace minerals such as zinc. [http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/dash/]

The anti-psychotic medication olanzapine affects insulin and appetite [2] and causes significant weight gain in adults but even more so in children. Medicaid guidelines in some areas have it prescribed for children. Many children in foster care are being put on strong medications like olanzapine at great cost to their health and great cost to Medicaid. It is not inexpensive at over $300/month for the patent version Zyprexa.

“Between 1997 and 2004, Texas Medicaid spending on antipsychotics rose from $28 million to $175 million. In the months of July and August 2004, over 19,000 adolescents in Texas were given antipsychotics, even though pharmaceutical companies had not applied for licenses to market these drugs for use in minors. In 2003, Zyprexa pulled in $4.3 billion in sales in the United States, 70 percent of which came from state health insurance and other public health programs. …in 2009, research revealed that children being treated under Medicaid were four times more likely to get antipsychotics than children not covered by Medicaid.” [Pharmageddon, by David Healy, page 141, 1]

Pharmageddon,” by David Healy, (University of California Press, 2012, Berkeley). [1]

I keep mentioning Epsom Salt baths because they are inexpensive and very effective for people who are deficient in magnesium. And for those who are deficient in the essential nutrient, regular use of Epsom Salt baths might also be helping prevent chronic degenerative diseases like diabetes from developing or worsening. While the olanzapine/Zyprexa has been proven to be associated with a greatly increased risk for diabetes and significant weight gain [3] — and an increased risk for suicide and possibly for homicide particularly during withdrawal from the medication. The olanzapine may be causing long term changes in the brain by over-activating receptors involved in suicide. Do our foster children deserve to be experimented on just because they have Medicaid and Medicaid guidelines were set that cause doctors to feel that their job would be in jeopardy if they don’t follow the guideline?

Evidence based medicine can be very helpful and life-saving but it is better used as guidance to suggest a path to treatment rather than be a strict guideline that can be used to increase pharmaceutical company’s profits at the cost of children’s long term and short term health — and possibly that of people in their vicinity.

If our society really wants to stop suicide and mass killings than we need to address the underlying causes rather than worry only about controlling access to guns — guns don’t kill people anymore than knives or Hellfire missiles — people kill people.

4. Mechanick JI, Kushner RF, Sugerman HJ, et al. American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. The Obesity Society, and American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery Medical Guidelines for Clinical Practice for the perioperative nutritional, metabolic, and nonsurgical support of the bariatric surgery patient. Surg Obes Rel Dis. 2008;(5 Suppl):S109-S184.

5. Kaider-Person O, Person B, Szomstein S, Rosenthal RJ. Nutritional deficiencies in morbidly obese patients: a new form of malnutrition? Part B: minerals. Obes Surg. 2008;18(8):1028-1034.

6. Lillian Craggs, Obesity: Beyond Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes – Learn about Obesity’s Far Reach and Ill Effects in Lesser Described Conditions, ce.todaysdietitian.com.

/Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

A Dental Success Story

Dental health services can be difficult for low income people to afford. Medicare doesn’t cover dental health care and Medicaid generally only covers services for people under 21 years old with a reimbursement rate that covers only a percentage of the usual fees. According to an oral health advocacy group, the Children’s Dental Health Project, 46.9 million children receive Medicaid/CHIP dental health care coverage but in a recent survey only 32% of dentists reported accepting patients who have Medicaid.

A non-profit dental business in Alabama has been successfully providing dental health services to the under 21 year old Medicaid population since 2005. Their business model focuses on outreach to eligible families and maintaining a full schedule of patients at all of the clinic locations. Seeing many patients each day allows the business to pay their staff dentists a competitive or even better than average salary.

The non-profit business model in Alabama will be expanded to a couple more states but in many states dental practices are required to be privately owned and operated by a dentist rather than by a businessman who hires dentists for a non-profit dental clinic. The non-profit business, Sarrell Dental, was started by a retired cardiologist, Warren Sarrell,(deceased Sept. 2012) who hoped to improve access to dental services in his county. He sought the help of Jeffrey Parker a business executive who previously had experience in food related industries. Neither man is a dentist and yet the nonprofit dental business they started after retiring from their previous careers has had 600,000 patient visits over the last 10 years. It can be very expensive for dentists to start their own clinic. They would likely have school loan debt in addition to the expense of setting up an office, buying dental equipment, and hiring a support staff.

Good dental health care and teaching daily brushing and flossing habits to children may help them save money and prevent pain later in life due to dental emergencies. A study in the Journal of the American Dental Association reported that 4 million adults had sought help for dental emergencies at hospital Emergency Rooms between 2008 and 2010, at a cost of $2.7 billion dollars, and the patients typically would have received only pain control services for their dental concern rather than receiving treatment for the underlying problem. Read more: [slate.com]