Vitamin D Council Newsletter
Friday the 13th, February, 2009.
On Friday, February 6, 2009, Medicare announced its intention to stop paying for vitamin D blood tests in many Medicare districts. If this rule passes, the change will quickly extend to all Medicare districts. Private insurers will then follow suit, denying payment for vitamin D blood tests, even for the diagnoses of vitamin D deficiency. Medicare proposes to pay for vitamin D blood tests for only few limited indications, such as rickets, osteomalacia and chronic renal failure.
Draft LCD for Vitamin D Assay Testing (DL29510).
This rule change flies in the face of an enormous amount of research, some of it published in the last few months. For example, several weeks ago, the British Journal of Cancer reported that in men with prostate cancer, those with highest vitamin D blood levels were 7 (seven) times more likely to survive than were men with the lowest levels (RR 0.16). If any media stories appeared about this amazing discovery, I am unable to locate them.
Association between serum 25(OH)D and death from prostate cancer
Apparently, Medicare's reasoning is not understood in England. A week ago, researchers at Oxford discovered the long-sort genetic link vitamin D has with multiple sclerosis. According to Medicare's new rules, if you have MS, or don't want your unborn baby to develop it, or have a family history of MS, or just don't want to get MS, you will have to pay for the blood test to decide how much vitamin D you should take to optimize your 25-hydroxy-vitamin D level.
MS link to vitamin D deficiency hailed by politicians as giant leap forward
If you are pregnant, and want to reduce your risk of caesarian section by four-fold, you will have to anti up.
Low vitamin D may increase chance of a caesarean delivery
Patients with diagnosed colon cancer are 48% less likely to die if their vitamin D levels are high. If you have this dreaded cancer, how do you know if your levels are high?
Vitamin D May Promote Colon Cancer Survival
If you fear getting demented, pay up. Recent research indicates people with impaired cognition are twice as likely to have vitamin D deficiency.
If you have Parkinson's disease, or don't want to get it, get our your wallet.
Study finds link between low vitamin D and Parkinson's disease
Even the American Academy of Pediatrics recently stated,
"Given the growing evidence that adequate maternal vitamin D status is essential during pregnancy, not only for maternal well-being but also for fetal development, health care professionals who provide obstetric care should consider assessing maternal vitamin D status by measuring the 25-hydroxy-vitamin D concentrations of pregnant women."
Prevention of rickets and vitamin D deficiency in infants, children, and adolescents.
That is, the American Academy of Pediatrics now suggests vitamin D blood levels be measured in all pregnant women. Expectant mothers, concerned about their baby's "fetal development," will soon have to pay for the only test that will do what the American Academy of Pediatrics now advises, tell them if their unborn baby is vitamin D deficient.
I could go on and on. Now is the time the Vitamin D Council needs your help. I want you to do two things:
1) Email the person taking comments, Medicare's Ms. Gina Oliveri, at Gina.Oliveri@ugswlp.com, and tell her your feelings about this proposed rule change. Include your reason why this test is crucial for the health of Americans.
2) Send an email to your Congressperson and ask them to investigate Medicare's "Draft LCD for Vitamin D Assay Testing (DL29510)." Tell your representative not to let this happen. Simply click on the link below, fill in your state and zip code, go to your Congressperson's website, and then click on "contact."
Write Your Representative
Of course, this rule change will help the finances of the Vitamin D Council, as it will increase sales of ZRT's in-home Vitamin D test, which generates ten bucks per test to us. However, this rule change will end up killing Americans. We cannot let it happen.
John Cannell, MD
The Vitamin D Council
9100 San Gregorio Road
Atascadero, CA 93422