LATEST ARTICLES

Aging in Rural Oklahoma — The Impact of Depopulation on Rural Seniors

By Cale R. Maddy, Esq. Oklahoma is experiencing a quiet trend which if unchanged will have substantial economic costs and will change the rural landscape of the state.  The depopulation of Oklahoma’s rural counties is arguably accelerating, and the impact of the population shift is affecting Oklahoma seniors in terms of access to medical care, transportation and nutrition. This Senior Legal...

Flu Continues Sweep of State

Between January 31st and February 6th, more than 350 patients were hospitalized in Oklahoma with positive flu testing.  In total, Oklahoma hospitals have experienced at least 3,000 confirmed cases of the flu since September 1, 2017. In the same time periods, four flu-related deaths occurred, bringing the total since September 1, 2017 to 129. Of the 3,000 confirmed flu hospitalizations, 2,209...

FDA Approves Domestic Manufacture of Imaging Isotope

The FDA has announced the approval of RadioGenix, a domestic manufacturing system, which produces Technetium-99m which is used in medical imaging.  Technetium-99m is used in more than 80% of routine medical imaging procedures and is relied upon by an estimated 50,000 Americans daily. Citing frequent supply disruptions in overseas production facilities, the FDA stated that the domestic production of the...

Free Tax Counseling for the Elderly Begins Statewide

A number of programs organized to provide free taxpayer assistance to the elderly began opening their doors in late January. Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) is an IRS-sponsored program which provides free tax help to persons with low- to middle-income with special attention to persons 60 and older. Seniors seeking assistance should attend with their spouses and also bring to...

Zytiga Patent Struck, Door Opened for Generic Prostate Cancer Drugs

The United State Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday, January 17, 2018, invalidated the patent held by Johnson & Johnson (via Janssen Oncology, Inc.) in connection with prostate cancer treatment drug abiraterone acetate (marketed under the tradename “Zytiga”). The patentability of Zytiga was initially challenged by Amerigen Pharmaceuticals Limited in Case No. (affiliated with Argentum Pharmaceuticals, LLC) in an Inter...

Medicare’s Limited Income NET Program to Limit Opioid Scripts to 30 Days

Medicare has initiated a change in its Limited Income Newly Eligible Transition (NET) Program which restricts certain opioid prescriptions to 30 days or less. The new policy change applies to the following drugs: buprenorphine, hydromorphone, opium, butorphanol, levorphanol tartrate, oxycodone, codeine, meperidine, oxymorphone, dihydrocodeine, methadone, pentazocine, fentanyl, morphine, tapentadol, hydrocodone, nalbuphine, and tramadol. Medicare's Limited Income (LI) NET Program is administered by Humana Pharmacy Solutions.  For questions or comments, beneficiaries can contact Humana's at 1-800-783-1307. SLN SOURCES:  LI NET Announcement;...

New Medicare Cards Coming in April 2018

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Dec. 21, 2017, began emailing medicare beneficiaries regarding the eventual paper mailing of new Medicare cards beginning April 2018. The new Medicare card numbers will no longer be based upon the social security number of the beneficiary.  The cards will be mailed to the address on file with the Social Security...

54 Okla. Counties with High Opioid Rx Rates Among Medicare Beneficiaries

Oklahoma’s population of Medicare Part C and Part D beneficiaries had the fourth highest opioid prescription rate among states in 2015.  Of Oklahoma’s 77 counties, 54 counties had an opioid prescription rate higher than the national average among Part D and Part C beneficiaries in 2015. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Nov. 30, 2017, unveiled an...

OHCA Releases Numbers on Children Enrolled in SoonerCare

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) released a number of reports on December 14th summarizing, among other things, the number of Oklahomans enrolled in SoonerCare.  Among the reports released by the OHCA was a summary of children age 18 and under covered by SoonerCare and the numbers per county as of November 2017.  The report also disclosed the number...

Part B Premium Remains Constant, Part A Amounts See Mild Increases

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Announced Friday, Nov. 17th, that Part B premiums for most Medicare beneficiaries will remain unchanged at $134 per month. Part A deductibles and coinsurance amounts, on the other hand, will see mild increases in 2018.  The Part A inpatient hospital deductible will increase from $1,316 in 2017 to $1,340 in 2018.  The Part...