Three-hundred-and-thirty-three patient groups from around the country have signed onto a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Sylvia Mathews Burwell calling for immediate measures to reduce barriers to care for patients who have purchased policies through the Health Insurance Marketplace (the “exchanges”). The letter comes as some patients with chronic conditions have faced difficulty accessing crucial medications and other health services they need in some Qualified Health Plans, and as HHS is reviewing plans for 2015.
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333 Patient Groups Join Together to Ask HHS Secretary Burwell to Reduce Barriers to Care in Qualified Health Plans
On July 20, 2014 SB 2636, the medical marijuana law adding epilepsy as a debilitating medical condition was signed by IL Governor Pat Quinn. This amendment includes epilepsy as one of the conditions for which medical marijuana may be prescribed, and that pediatric intractable cases of epilepsy may be permitted to use cannabis oil in the treatment of childhood seizures. The amendment was passed by the Illinois Senate with a vote of 49-5 on April 2, 2014 and the Illinois House of Representatives with a vote of 98-18 on May 21, 2014.
On July 17, 2014, the U.S. Department of Defense announced that it will allocate $7.5 million to epilepsy research due to the alarming increase of people diagnosed with epilepsy because of Traumatic Brain Injuries sustained in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2006. This initiative was led by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin and Susan Axelrod of Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE).
On June 18, neurosurgeons at the University of Alabama at Birmingham implanted a new type of electrical stimulator to control seizures in patients with difficult-to-control epilepsy. It marked the first time in the Southeast the RNS system by NeuroPace had been implanted since the device gained FDA approval in November 2013. The first patient was a 24-year-old woman from central Alabama.
The Sara Elizabeth Stubblefield Foundation has announced that they will again be awarding the SARA ELIZABETH STUBBLEFIELD MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP for Persons with Epilepsy. This $2,000 scholarship award will be paid $1,000 per semester for the 2015-2016 academic year.
New research shows that children with febrile status epilepticus (FSE) who receive earlier treatment with antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) experience a reduction in the duration of the seizure. The study published in Epilepsia, a journal of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE), suggests that a standard Emergency Medical Services (EMS) treatment protocol for FSE is needed in the U.S.