HOBBIES ARE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH

Do you have a hobby? Hobbies can give meaning and purpose to your life in retirement. As Robert Putnam points out in his book, Bowling Alone, it’s easy to discount the importance of hobbies and social engagements. Putnam details the widespread decline in civic engagement, from PTA memberships to neighborhood potlucks and bowling leagues. Over a couple of generations, Americans have misplaced the concept of free time.

SPECIAL PLANS FOR YOUR SPECIAL PEOPLE

Lily is a beautiful, active and full of personality toddler who happens to have Down syndrome. Lily’s parents and I have been friends for years and I have the continuing pleasure of watching Lily and her siblings grow up. While Lily is becoming a physical therapy rock star and hitting all her milestones in a timely fashion, her parents have started planning for the future.

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WHY WE ENJOY OUR HOBBIES

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a hobby as “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation, engaged in especially for relaxation.” Hobbies include anything from playing a musical instrument to gardening, bird watching or sewing. A hobby is a way of focusing on something you enjoy just for the sake of that enjoyment. It may also be a way to clear your mental palette. You could be stressed out by a situation at work or the challenges of raising children and need an escape.

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Although most infusion drugs are covered under Medicare Part D, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has decided it does not have the authority to cover these infusion-related services, equipment and supplies costs under Part D. This leads to many Medicare beneficiaries being denied access to home infusion therapy. They then must receive treatment in hospitals at a significantly higher costs to Medicare. There is some coverage under Medicare Part B for certain therapies administered using durable medical equipment, such as a mechanical or electronic external infusion pump.

Infusion therapy involves administering medications intravenously by needle or catheter rather than orally. It is used when a patient’s condition is so severe that oral medications are not effective. Injections can also be delivered into muscles or epidural routes – the membranes surrounding the spinal cord. The medications can be antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, chemotherapy, hydration, pain management and parenteral nutrition. Additionally, blood factors, corticosteroids, inotropic heart medications, growth hormones, immunoglobulin and other types of biologics can be given through infusion therapy.


Infusion therapy is often used for infections that are unresponsive to oral antibiotics, as well as for cancer and cancer-related pain. Patients with chronic pain, gastrointestinal diseases, congestive heart failure, Crohn’s disease, hemophilia, immune deficiencies, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and other ailments also benefit from infusion therapy. The most common type of infusion therapy is IV antibiotics for cellulitis, sepsis, osteomyelitis, urinary tract infections, pneumonia and sinusitis.


Infusion therapy is generally done in the patient’s own home, reducing healthcare costs. This also allows for minimal disruption of the patient’s day-to-day life. Infusion therapy can also be delivered at outpatient infusion sites. Both at-home and outpatient infusion sites are

INFUSION THERAPY ADMINISTERED WHEN ORAL MEDS ARE INEFFECTIVE

called alternate-site infusion therapy because they are alternatives to an inpatient hospital delivery setting. Currently, alternate-site infusion therapy is estimated to cost about $9 billion to $11 billion a year in U.S. health care expenditures. More than 1,500 infusion pharmacy locations offer infusion therapy, according to the National Home Infusion Association (www.nhia.org).


Nearly all commercial health plans consider home infusion therapy to be a medical service reimbursable under the insurance policy’s medical benefit, as opposed to a prescription drug benefit that is paid for using a per diem for clinical services, supplies and equipment with separate payments for the drugs and their delivery. Government health plans such as Medicaid, TRICARE and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program also reimburse for home infusion therapy; however, in a few states, Medicaid has some gaps in the extent of coverage. Medicare’s fee-for-service program – Parts A, B and D – is the only major health plan in the country that has not recognized home infusion therapy has a benefit. Therefore, most Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in the fee-for-service program cannot afford to receive infusion therapy at home because of the professional services, specialized equipment and supplies that are required for home infusion therapy.

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela S. Hoover is a Staff Writer for Living Well 60+ Magazine

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