The Alliance For Natural Health

Medicare Cuts Back on Nutritional Screening

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One lab test per year to screen for all nutrient deficiencies or imbalances. Test your vitamin D levels, and you’re done. If you’re on Medicare and live in the Southwest, one test per year is all you’re allowed.

As part of the 2003 Bush Medicare bill, Medicare chose fifteen regional firms as Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs). These MACS handle claims, deny or approve procedures, and make rulings on what is allowed to be covered under Medicare in their region.

Last month, Trailblazer Health Enterprises, the MAC for Region IV (Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas), said that from now on, each beneficiary could receive only one lab test per year to detect deficiencies of vitamins, minerals, and other nutritional components. “Medicare considers vitamin assay panels [to be]a screening procedure and therefore, non-covered,” according to the decision. “Similarly, assays for micronutrient testing for nutritional deficiencies that include multiple tests for vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and various metabolic functions are never necessary.” This would be the most restrictive policy in the nation regarding tests for vitamins and minerals.

ANH-USA believes it’s critical to get complete nutritional profiles—or at least multiple nutrient tests—to ensure optimal health. This new policy discounts the importance of optimal nutrition and nutrient levels in the prevention and treatment of disease.

A spokesperson for a testing laboratory in Texas, who asked that the company’s name not be published, told us, “It is well known that physicians often find it reasonable and necessary to order multiple tests to detect deficiencies of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants (and such a position is fully supported by the scientific literature).

“On a routine basis, for example, physicians commonly order tests for vitamins B-12 and folate simultaneously. [Physicians who understand] the clinical relationships between nutritional deficiencies and disease processes may frequently find it reasonable and necessary to order a broader range of nutritional tests….Each of these physician’s orders—based on the physician’s determination of medical necessity—would be denied coverage under the proposed Trailblazer policy solely because more than one test is requested.”

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  • elva smith

    Another step in the wrong direction, for God’s sake, don’t do any thing to prevent illnesses — just wait till we are really sick so the drug companies can push more drugs down our throats. Our health care system is as broken as every thing else in our society — what a shame – I am 70 years old and fear I’m watching this great country implode.

  • Andra Addis

    It’s critical to get complete nutritional profiles—or at least multiple nutrient tests—to ensure optimal health. This new policy discounts the importance of optimal nutrition and nutrient levels in the prevention and treatment of disease.

    Multiple nutrient tests should not be denied an individual under the proposed Trailblazer policy. Medicare should cover 100% these multiple nutritional tests.

    Thank you.

  • Ah! A small one to begin with! And then the cuts become increasingly larger until…., what? The elderly drop dead in the streets? Or perhaps whatever hovel they’re forced to live in! That’s if they’re able to afford a hovel. Hovels are expensive. Why not set up home under a bridge, or a tarp strung between trees in the woods? Hey, sounds good to me! Why would I care about Medicare, when I could have been dead years ago without it?

  • Ah! A small one to begin with! And then the cuts become increasingly larger until…., what? The elderly drop dead in the streets? Or perhaps whatever hovel they’re forced to live in! That’s if they’re able to afford a hovel. Hovels are expensive. Why not set up home under a bridge, or a tarp strung between trees in the woods? Hey, sounds good to me! Why would I care about Medicare, when I could have been dead years ago without it?

  • Ah! A small one to begin with! And then the cuts become increasingly larger until…., what? The elderly drop dead in the streets? Or perhaps whatever hovel they’re forced to live in! That’s if they’re able to afford a hovel. Hovels are expensive. Why not set up home under a bridge, or a tarp strung between trees in the woods? Hey, sounds good to me! Why would I care about Medicare, when I could have been dead years ago without it?

  • Ah! A small one to begin with! And then the cuts become increasingly larger until…., what? The elderly drop dead in the streets? Or perhaps whatever hovel they’re forced to live in! That’s if they’re able to afford a hovel. Hovels are expensive. Why not set up home under a bridge, or a tarp strung between trees in the woods? Hey, sounds good to me! Why would I care about Medicare, when I could have been dead years ago without it?

  • Ah! A small one to begin with! And then the cuts become increasingly larger until…., what? The elderly drop dead in the streets? Or perhaps whatever hovel they’re forced to live in! That’s if they’re able to afford a hovel. Hovels are expensive. Why not set up home under a bridge, or a tarp strung between trees in the woods? Hey, sounds good to me! Why would I care about Medicare, when I could have been dead years ago without it?

  • Ah! A small one to begin with! And then the cuts become increasingly larger until…., what? The elderly drop dead in the streets? Or perhaps whatever hovel they’re forced to live in! That’s if they’re able to afford a hovel. Hovels are expensive. Why not set up home under a bridge, or a tarp strung between trees in the woods? Hey, sounds good to me! Why would I care about Medicare, when I could have been dead years ago without it?

  • Ah! A small one to begin with! And then the cuts become increasingly larger until…., what? The elderly drop dead in the streets? Or perhaps whatever hovel they’re forced to live in! That’s if they’re able to afford a hovel. Hovels are expensive. Why not set up home under a bridge, or a tarp strung between trees in the woods? Hey, sounds good to me! Why would I care about Medicare, when I could have been dead years ago without it?

  • Marilynne Walsh

    When a doctor is trying to address insufficient levels of Vitamin D, B-12, etc., (such as my case), how on earth can one test per year intelligently correct and/or monitor the condition?? Of course, with more tests and OUT OF POCKET CHARGES this can be addressed!!! With continuing OUT OF POCKET CHARGES this is becoming very difficult for those of us who are retired or out of work.

  • gail

    Your article is not clear! Has this been passed already? Or is it in the discussion phase?

    • Jess Peters

      The policy is already in affect. It went into effect in August. I don’t understand – there is so much evidence proving that nutrition (and deficiencies) is vital to disease and disease prevention. Why aren’t more agencies up in arms about this? Why isn’t AARP trying to fight this? Who is fighting for us? For lower costs and better outcomes? I don’t get it. There is just no money in being healthy. It’s sickening to me to think of how the big pharma companies run the governement agencies that dictate care. Is anyone other than the lab mentioned in the article doing anything about this? How can we help change this? Why isn’t this front page news (newspaper) or lead story on the news programs? And they say we don’t have a death panel…

      • Alan Inselberg

        Dear fellow ANH-USA subscriber, I’m sure you already know the answer to that, which is global population reduction by 80%. Life is cheap under “The New World Order.” It’s really time to vote out every damn incumbent in office so they get the message we are fed up with “business as usual.” “We the People” according to Thomas Jefferson and all those other guys that once cared about our ONCE great Nation are bigger than this government. United we can show the government we are not going to take it anymore.

  • All testing for nutritional defiencies should be allowed as needed. This will ultimately reduce health care cists. Also allow people to better utilize the health care system more efficiently.

  • Pamela Turman

    This Sucks!!

  • Pamela Turman

    How are you supposed to get preventative care without these tests?

  • CAROLE McGLONE

    that is because THEY just wan us on more & more of THEIR drugs..not anything natural and to get sick and die sooner! simple as that..useless eaters that we are!

  • CAROLE McGLONE

    that is because THEY just wan us on more & more of THEIR drugs..not anything natural and to get sick and die sooner! simple as that..useless eaters that we are!

  • CAROLE McGLONE

    that is because THEY just wan us on more & more of THEIR drugs..not anything natural and to get sick and die sooner! simple as that..useless eaters that we are!

  • CAROLE McGLONE

    that is because THEY just wan us on more & more of THEIR drugs..not anything natural and to get sick and die sooner! simple as that..useless eaters that we are!

  • CAROLE McGLONE

    that is because THEY just wan us on more & more of THEIR drugs..not anything natural and to get sick and die sooner! simple as that..useless eaters that we are!

  • CAROLE McGLONE

    that is because THEY just wan us on more & more of THEIR drugs..not anything natural and to get sick and die sooner! simple as that..useless eaters that we are!

  • CAROLE McGLONE

    that is because THEY just wan us on more & more of THEIR drugs..not anything natural and to get sick and die sooner! simple as that..useless eaters that we are!

  • Joyce

    This is crazy–could save a lot of money on medical bills–one way to save on medicare. If you know what is deficient you can take a supplement–to save you from expensive drugs, doctor and hospital bills. B-12 is one for sure–leads to a dementia that can be fixed with B-12 shots. Also D-lack of it especially up north leads to Cancer and other probelms–may even be heart disease related. Calcium intake especially by itself–leads to clogged arteries–that’s where calcium goes. High cholestrol is not the problem. I kinow a man that took the calcium supplements by themselves and may need a new heart transplant due to clogged arteries–now has 11 stents.

    We need to have every person tested for deficiencies–would save a lot of money in the end.

  • Joan Yakimik

    UNFORTUNATELY, THE USA WITH BIG PHARMA WANT PEOPLE TO BE SICK TO BUY DRUGS KEEPING THERE PIGGY BANKS FULL.

    “AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION IS A POUND OF CURE”. TESTS ARE NEEDED TO SEE AN IMPROVEMENT IN THE TREATMENT, ONE TEST WILL NOT DO THAT.

    THE USA IS IN THE SICKNESS BUSINESS NOT THE CURE BUSINESS. IT SHOWS, JERRY’S KIDS WITH MS HAVE BEEN RAISING MONEY FOR MORE THATN 35 YEARS OR MORE AND NO CURE. THEY US THE MONEY TO BUY WHEEL CHAIRS, THATS THE CURE.

  • Rona Bayer

    This is obscene. Republicans, relax! We won’t need to unplug grandma’s machines. We can kill her thereby saving money, by simply denying her necessary medical testing.

  • Josephine Martinek

    Physician may require more than one test to make an accurate diagnosis.

  • This policy by Medicare is totally unfair! Being on Medicare myself, I have found that Medicare does not adequately cover my medical needs and, of course, does nothing to promote my HEALTH needs. As a person on a very low income, I have never had any nutritional tests done; I can’t afford it. I take a lot of nutritional supplements, based on educated guesses about what I need. It would be nice if I could cut back on some of them and ease the strain on my budget, but I don’t know which ones I can safely eliminate. I wish I could afford to get tested!

  • Kathleen McCole

    This is absolutely ludicrous!!! I cannot take prescription meds due to several severe reactions, so rely on supplements and a healthy diet. I am 68 years old, and rely on Medicare for my blood tests. For example, a vitamin B12 defieincy could lead to very serious illness, as will vitamin D, and it is crucial these tests be covered.

  • please let us have the best health help we can have to better all of us in each time of need

  • help us have nutrititional screening to better our health now

  • Esther Oldham

    Just another way to control us and in a sense “pull the plug on Grandma”, by denying us tests that could sdave our lives and make us sicker than before so we die of malnutrition.

  • Donald

    SOUNDS VERY MUCH LIKE THESE ‘ MAC ‘ — MIDDLEMEN — NEED TO BE ELIMINATED.

    THEY DON’T SEEM TO HAVE — HEALTH COMMON SENSE — AND THAT’S WHAT WE SO DESPERATELY ARE IN NEED OF , TO GET US BACK TO NATURAL GOOD HEALTH ..

  • David

    Hi to all, is there a way a petition or some meaningful solution to this issue be resolved or at least begun to put an end to this practice. Any suggestions.