Archive for September, 2015

September Newsletter

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Affordable Care Act and Skin Cancer Screens: Does it get covered?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law in 2010. Within the bill are provisions requiring insurers to provide full coverage for certain preventative services. Skin cancer in the U.S. has risen by 300% since 1994. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Since the annual number of patients with skin cancer exceeds all other cancers combined then it is reasonable to assume that skin cancer screening should be included in the preventative care provision in the ACA, right? Unfortunately not.

Although skin cancer is an epidemic, the ACA does not require insurers to cover the cost of skin cancer screenings. Patients are held responsible in paying for any deductible, co-pay, or co-insurance amount applicable. For a complete list of preventive services covered under the ACA, please refer to the following website

If your insurance does not cover skin cancer screening or you have a high deductible plan, there are other alternatives to receive free skin checks. Organizations such as the American Academy of Dermatology, American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, or Skin Cancer Foundation offer free annual skin checks. Please visit their websites to find their scheduled events in your area.

The Rise of Specialty Pharmacies: Combating High Medication Prices

Generic medications are often prescribed as a first route in the treatment of various dermatologic conditions. Recent price increases of four- or six-fold on generic medications used in dermatology has both baffled and placed dermatologists in a precarious position. For example clobetasol, a generic topical steroid used for the treated of inflammatory skin conditions has risen from $60 to $400 for a tube. An article in the New York Times, described the rise in prices on dermatologic medications as a complete mystery. Some speculate since dermatology is considered a low-profile specialty in healthcare, pharmaceutical companies can increase prices without attracting significant public attention.

Specialty Pharmacies have risen in popularity as an alternative for patients to receive affordable dermatologic medications, especially for patients with high deductible plans. Some well-known specialty pharmacies used in dermatology include Meier’s, DFW Wellness, Bluegrass, Philidor, or Irmat. Through these pharmacies, patients can often times receive branded products at a lower cost than generics sold through commercial pharmacies.

August Newsletter

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Who are the experts in facial anti-aging injectable treatments?

Facial anti-aging injectable treatments including the use of neuromodulators (wrinkle relaxers) and fillers have risen tremendously over the past decade. Over the past year the number of procedures performed increased by …. The rise in popularity is based on several factors:

  • Minimally-invasive
  • Low post-procedure downtime
  • Reversible and/or temporary results
  • More affordable compared to surgery

The same factors that contributed to the popularity of these procedures have also accounted for the rise of non-physicians or non-qualified physicians in performing facial anti-aging injections. Concerns are raised as to whether these individuals are adequately trained in the appropriate placement and selection of products depending on the areas treated, knowledge of the underlying facial anatomy, and understanding of possible complications and how to correct them. Complications from inappropriate placement can range anywhere from facial paralysis, eyelid droop, or intra-arterial injections leading to pseudoaneurysm development, ulcer formation, stroke, and blindness.

Dermatologists Leading the Way

A recent study titled “Who are the Pioneers? A Critical Analysis of Innovation and Expertise in Cutaneous Non-Invasive Procedures” by Omar A. Ibrahimi, MD, PhD, reviewed all published research to determine which medical specialties have the most advances in cosmetic treatments. For facial injectables, dermatologists were shown to be the leading innovators. According to Dr. Ibrahimi, the “data show the overwhelming majority of pioneering research in wrinkle-relaxers and fillers has been done by dermatologists. They are the leading innovators. Patients will know they are in the best hands with a dermatologist.”

Buyer Beware

There are a few important questions to ask your medical provider before undergoing a cosmetic procedure.

  • Who will perform the procedure?
  • Is there a physician on site?
  • Is the physician board-certified in dermatology or another specialty with equivalent training or experience?
  • Was an initial evaluation provided to determine if the technique or procedure is appropriate for your skin type?