Newsletter :: February 2006


Monthly motivator:

Serenity – Peace is not found in what surrounds us, but in what we hold within.

DiagnosTEX CEU Conference – Registration material went out in January newsletter

NPO – Ethical Dilemmas and Challenging Case Management Decisions

Saturday Feb. 11, 2006, Harris HEB Hospital/Edwards Cancer Ctr. Time: 9am-4:30pm, 6 TSHA CEU’S

Presented by: Ronda Polansky M.S. CCC-SLP, Guest Speaker: Joan E. Baumer M.D.,

Hope to see you there! Deadline for registration is February 6, 2006.

TSHA 2006 Annual Convention – 50th Anniversary, March 23-25, 2006, Grapevine Texas

We are so excited to announce that Deciphering Dysphagia with E-Stim has been selected to be presented at the 2006 TSHA Annual Convention at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas! We have been scheduled on Saturday March 25, 2006 from 1:30-3:30 in the Austin Room! DiagnosTEX will also have a booth in the exhibit hall! Stop by and see us!

Quality Assurance – Every once in a while, I get excited about the stats of our QA and have to share it with you! In one of our latest monthly QA reports, they show that we eliminated 64% off of tube feeding! Yippee! Forty-one percent of all the patients evaluated were recommended for thin liquids! Out of all the patients we did 31% were able to utilize strategies and continue with PO to reduce or eliminate penetration or aspiration. Forty-five percent were discharge off of ST after being placed on a correct diet. Thirty-one percent were identified to have a compounding esophageal disorder related to dysphagia. Thank you for participating in our QA by providing the information as we follow up with you. We continue to share it with ASHA and other government agencies to increase the awareness of an MBSS and the awareness of cost effectiveness of MBSS in the evaluation of dysphagia.

CHOCOLATE FOR YOUR HEALTH ON VALENTINES DAY! –Molecules in cocoa credited for the “heart-healthy” benefits of certain cocoa and dark chocolate may also in the future help treat diabetes, strokes and vascular dementia, and could soon be available to pharmaceutical companies for development into new medications, scientists said Monday. Researchers said their findings point toward a potential major new class of medications, based on novel synthesized flavanols, to help prevent or treat serious illnesses “The mounting scientific evidence on cocoa flavanols is extraordinary,” said Norm Hollenberg, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Cambridge, MA, and one of the first researchers to identify the potential health benefits of cocoa flavanols. “This is a scientific breakthrough that could well lead to a medical breakthrough.” Additionally, Mars scientists have discovered that entire “libraries” of cocoa flavanols can be synthesized, and that new flavanols can be developed from natural flavanols, enhancing their feasibility for use in pharmaceutical medications. The research was discussed among scientists from around the world at a meeting convened by Mars, Incorporated, of McLean, VA, which has supported cocoa research for more than 15 years. The company confirmed that it is holding serious discussions with large pharmaceutical companies for a licensing or joint venture agreement that could enable some of these compounds to be developed as prescription drugs. “Our company has a heritage of highly regarded research in nutrition and health science, through partnerships with some of the world’s finest scientists and universities,” said Harold Schmitz, PhD, Chief Science Officer for Mars. “This science is now moving beyond nutrition toward the research and development of important health care solutions. Because Mars is a privately held company, we have the freedom to make the long-term research commitments that deliver truly innovative results.” ADVANCE Dec 2005

**REQUIRED PAPERWORK to schedule your MBSS–DiagnosTEX must request that ALL REQUIRED PAPERWORK, which includes signed physician order, signed authorization form, face sheet, and completed history intake form, must be faxed in before your MBSS will be put on the list to be scheduled on one of our vans. The 24-48 hour response time will not be initiated until all of the paperwork is received at the DiagnosTEX office. Please make sure you have the correct DiagnosTEX forms. If you do not, please call us and we will fax them to you immediately. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding of this need for us to complete our service efficiently.

Wheelchairs – We often get asked what size wheelchairs we can accommodate. In 3 of our vans, we can accommodate a 34 inch wheelchair (these measurements include the hand rails on the wheels, so please include this when measuring). On our back up van, we can accommodate a 28 inch wheelchair. Please notify us before we schedule you, if the patient is in an extra large wheelchair, so we can make sure the van coming to your facility can accommodate the size. Also please realize there will be evaluation limitations with any neuro/geri chair, as we can not complete an AP view and sometimes the length causes limitations on the view of the oral cavity. Putting the patient in a wheelchair will allow us to give you the most complete evaluation. This will help us help you!

Medicare Cuts Medicare cuts took effective in 2006. Your facility will see the Part B fees billed by DiagnosTEX reduced to meet the Medicare fee schedule listed on Trailblazer website and can be viewed online: Dallas County $135.24, Tarrant County $126.15, and Other County $110.94. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us and speak to someone in our billing department. I know many of you are concerned about the Therapy Cap, and before the years of consolidated billing it did not affect mobile MBSS as much as it does now. The 92611 that the facility bills for the MBSS does, unfortunately, come out of the patients therapy cap! Please call our billing department if you have any questions, we have been in direct contact with Medicare to clarify all of arising issues with the cap. We are only a phone call away; call us at your convenience.

NEW SLP Handout – An educational handout to use with families and patients to help educate them on Dysphagia, MBSS, Definitions, and resources. Be sure to get a copy next time we see you! We have just a few 2006 Dysphagia calendars left if you have not gotten yours yet.

Dysphagia Tidbit – Signs and Symptoms of Dysphagia – We have noticed a consistent sign of aspiration as we watch it happen on fluoroscopy………. frequent sneezing after aspiration. Something often not referred to in educational classes as a sign of aspiration. If you type in “Dysphagia and sneezing” on Google, I think you will be surprised and what you pull up. So start educating your nursing staff to be aware of frequent sneezing after meals. I even read some articles on severe allergies/rhinitis, tonsillitis, nasal pharyngeal polyps, causing swelling and upper respiratory infections in turn causing dysphagia and frequent sneezing. What was odd they found the same sort of symptoms in dogs with laryngeal paralysis. HA!