Letters To The Editor

  • Smoking Age
    Congratulations to the city of Cleveland, OH, on recently raising the legal age for tobacco products to 21! To date, more than 100 communities in nine states (including Evanston - the only Illinois city on the list so far) have taken this important step toward improving the health of their residents.
    Blue Cross Blue Shield Change
    In 2015, more than 170,000 Illinoisans had health insurance coverage through the Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) “Blue PPO.” This popular plan was offered through Get Covered Illinois, our state’s Affordable Care Act Marketplace (also known as the “health insurance exchange”). Recently, BCBS announced that the Blue PPO will no longer be offered in 2016.
    Screen for Hep C
    Patients born between the years 1945-1965 should be screened for hepatitis C.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say so, as does the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). Both of these public health entities have published clinical guidelines identifying baby boomers as being most at risk for this blood condition that in some cases leads to chronic liver disease and death.
    Drugs cross the border
    Your stories on the increase in overdose deaths in Madison and St. Clair counties serve as an important reminder that prescription opioids are powerful medications that should only be used as prescribed by physicians for the treatment of serious pain. Misuse of these prescription drugs is extremely dangerous, and studies suggest their misuse is associated with escalation to the use of heroin.
    Raw Milk Ban
    The Illinois State Medical Society strongly urges for an Illinois ban on the sale and distribution of “raw” or unpasteurized milk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other medical and health organizations, raw milk that is not pasteurized...
    Why the U.S. faces a doctor shortage
    Each July, a new group of medical school graduates begins residency training. Lasting from three to seven years, this hands-on training period is known as graduate medical education (GME), and it is critical to becoming a physician. Medical school graduates cannot practice medicine without completing residency training.
    Medicare Data Release
    Much has been made of the Medicare physician payment “data dump” that occurred on April 9th. Pursuit of transparency by America’s single largest purchaser of healthcare is laudable, but the way this information is being presented lacks some important elements of context.
    ISMS Supports Pharmacy Tobacco Sale Ban
    Kudos to CVS Caremark for making the right decision to end the sale of tobacco products. Cigarettes sharing shelf space with medicine, especially with a retail health clinic in the next aisle, sends a mixed message.
    ISMS Reacts to ACEP Study of Illinois EDs
    Your recent coverage of emergency care in Illinois calls much-needed attention to how our state's notorious medical lawsuit problem continues to harm patient access to care.
    Your Doctor is Ready to Help You Kick the Habit
    Condolences are extended to the family of Eric Lawson, an actor and writer who also happened to be a longtime smoker. Mr. Lawson portrayed the Marlboro Man in print ads in the late 1970's, and his passing last month became a news item because it was due to the effects of his long-term cigarette use.

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