King-Devick Concussion Screening Test for Athletes in the Twin Cities and Western Wisconsin

We are pleased to announce Soter Healthcare is offering the King-Devick Concussion Screening Test (K-D Test), one of the best concussion screening tests available, for athletes and teams in the Twin Cities metro and Western Wisconsin.

The K-D Test is a simple screening tool to help assess possible concussions and mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI).  Our protocol begins with a preseason baseline test and includes sideline and mid-season follow-up best concussion screeningassessments as part of Soter’s Peak Performance program for athletes.  Research from more than 50 clinical studies shows the K-D Test is one of the best concussion screening tools, including as a sideline test for remove-from-play requirements.  The K-D Test is effective in identifying concussion and mTBI symptoms others have missed, especially when there is no loss of consciousness.

David Mair, Soter CEO and Managing Partner, commented about King-Devick, “Working with Olympic level athletes and my own kids, I’ve seen a lot of concussions.  I’ve also seen too many coaches put a player who probably suffered a concussion back into a game, because they didn’t have a way to know.  This removes that challenge.  As a parent, I wish this test had been around earlier, but I’m very glad it’s here now.  Every parent should have a baseline test done for their sons or daughters as a starting point.”

The K-D Test takes only a few minutes.  It is not intended to diagnose the extent of a head injury, but it is one of the best concussion screening tests for making decisions about removing an athlete from further play and the possibility of further injury.  It’s also a good way for parents to know when it’s time to see their athlete’s physician.

For more information on getting the King-Devick Test for your athlete and teams, contact Soter Healthcare before the season begins.  There’s no time to lose.

As an added bonus, for a limited time, Soter Healthcare is offering a discount on baseline testing.  Contact us today for your special rate!

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OnAugust 11, 2015, posted in: Health insurance, Medical care by

Gordie Howe’s Treatment Raises Stem Cells Issues

The Detroit News is reporting on a controversy surrounding the stem cells used to treat NHL legend Gordie Howe.Hockey legend Gordie Howe benefits from stem cells Howe suffered a stroke on October 26, 2014 and was in declining health. He received stem cell treatment in December, and family members share that his condition has improved a great deal.

The source of the controversy is that the company behind the treatments, Stemedica, didn’t initially reveal some of the stem cells came from an aborted fetus.

The paper adds that Dave McGuigan a VP at Stemedica told The Detroit News and other media in February that “only adult stem cells were used” in the injections Howe received at a clinic in Mexico.  However, in a separate investigation, Stemedica told USA Today that some of the stem cells used for Gordie Howe were from a fetus that was aborted at approximately 15 weeks.

When interviewed by USA Today, Stemedica’s President, Maynard Howe (not related to Gordie Howe) stated, “We just don’t want to get people confused about what it is. They’re really considered legally adult stem cells even if they’re fetal-derived.”

Soter Healthcare’s Position

While legal definitions may permit Stemedica’s position, there are moral and ethical issues as well as matters of law. It is crucial that medical and stem cell providers be clear about the sources and types of stem cells being used. If the information reported by The Detroit News is correct, we view this as a significant breach of trust and ethical conduct.  We simply think more is required.

We believe as a matter of faith that life begins at conception.  We recognize that many of clients have religious and ethical concerns of their own, and we try to respect them in all we do.  Consequently, Soter Healthcare has a specific agreement with our stem cell medical providers at both the lab and the hospitals, to use only Respect for Life Stem Cells™.  This is our assurance that no stem cells derived from abortion in any form will be used. We believe this is the only contract of its kind in effect today.  The fetal cells we obtain and use come following miscarriage, stillbirths or premature infant mortality.  To make sure there are no safety issues for a patient, all stem cells are checked and rechecked to make sure they are disease and infection free before treatments.

Being true to our convictions and making sure you always know the type and source of stem cells used in your treatment is how we do business.  Anything less is unacceptable.

 

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How Are Stem Cell Transplants Done?

Because stem cell therapies are new, you may have lots of questions.  One of the questions we commonly hear relates to the ways stem cells are transplanted into your body.  The specific terminology can seem Tiantan Puhua Hospitaldifficult, but, in practice, the methods are not hard to understand.

When you are getting stem cells, your doctor will use one of five methods.  In most cases, the procedure takes place in a sterile room, like an operating room.  Your physician will decide with you the proper delivery technique based on your medical condition and the type(s) of stem cells being transplanted.

Intravenous (IV)

Intravenous injection involves placement of a line directly into a vein.  This is the fastest and simplest method for delivering stem cells throughout the entire body.  This method is commonly used to transplant mesenchymal stem cells, the repair cells of the human body, for general body system conditions.

Intrathecal

An intrathecal procedure involves direct injection of stem cells into the spinal cord.  This is often referred to as a lumbar injection.  An anesthesiologist will perform this procedure in most cases.  It is most often used to transplant neural stems cells, so they are able to reach the parts of the brain protected by the blood-brain barrier, and for spinal cord-related conditions.  A local anesthesia is often used to minimize discomfort.  In treating neuromuscular conditions, your doctor may use both intrathecal and IV methods.

Intra-articular

During an intra-articular stem cell transplant, a physician will inject stem cells and a supporting fluid directly into a an affected joint.  Typically, your doctor will recommend a local anesthesia to reduce discomfort.  This procedure is often used in treatment of knees, hips, and shoulders.

Stereotactic

Stereotactic stem cell transplant involves a three-dimensional coordinate system to find a specific point where stem cells will be injected.  It is a minimally invasive surgical procedure and is the least commonly used delivery method.  Your doctor will give you a general anesthesia to reduce pain and to limit movement for the patient.  Stereotactic injection is used for some patients with Parkinson’s Disease.

Intramuscular

In an intramuscular procedure, stem cells are injected directly into the muscle.  This is not yet a commonly used method; however, clinical trials evaluating this as a way to treat muscle injuries are underway and hold promise.

When performed properly, stem cell transplant procedures are safe, relatively painless and have few side effects.  Common side effects may include minor pain at the injection site, mild fever, mild headache or a low-grade fever.  These are easily treated with ibuprofen or a similar medication.  Some patients experience slight swelling or a feeling of fullness in the area around the transplant site, but this subsides within a few hours as the body moves fluids in its normal ways.

Click here for more information about stem cell procedures.

If you have questions about a stem cell procedure, we encourage you to give us a call.  We’re always glad to help answer your questions.

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11 Ways Congress Can Improve the ACA Right Now

Now that the 2014 elections are behind us, we thought we’d take a look at 11 actions Congress can take to improve the Affordable Care Act. Several of our suggestions have bipartisan support and, even in the 2015 session of Congress, a vote to do away with some of the less popular aspects of the ACA could attract Democratic votes.

1.  Clarify application of federal advance tax credits

Congress should clarify whether federal advance tax credits apply in states that use the federally facilitated marketplace (“FFE”).  Normally, this would be resolved when the House and Senate reconcile differences between their respective versions of a bill; however, that did not happen as a result of the ACA’s unusual, fast-track path into law.  We see this as a legislative issue, and not one for the Supreme Court.  However, we don’t hold out much hope, given the deep partisan divisions in Washington.

2.  Repeal the medical device tax

The ACA medical device tax is a 2.3% excise tax on sales of medical devices.  The stated purpose for this tax was to increase revenues in order to help offset the federal  budget deficit.  The Congressional Research Service in a November 3, 2014 report, stated, “Viewed from the perspective of traditional economic and tax theory..the tax is challenging to justify. There is broad bipartisan support for ending this tax.  The tax also imposes administrative and compliance costs that may be disproportionate to revenue.”  There is broad support bipartisan support for repeal.  In fact, the Senate and the House of Representatives passed separate bills in 2013 which included repeal of the medical device tax, though neither made it into law.

3.  Repeal the transitional reinsurance fee

The transitional reinsurance fee funds greater than expected medical claim costs for insurance policies sold through a public health insurance exchange.  In principle, this makes sense if it applied to the policies it’s designed to support.  However, what people don’t realize is that the reinsurance fee applies to on all insurance policies, including employer plans, not just exchange-sold plans.  In 2014, the reinsurance fee adds $21 per month to the health insurance premium for a family of four.  It is a redistribution of money from people who get their insurance outside the exchanges or from an employer to people who buy from an exchange.

4.  Repeal the small business deductible provision

Originally established at $2000 per employee or $4000 per family insured through small businesses, HHS set this cap aside in 2014.  We talked about this in September 2012, except to say it’s still a bad idea, and we’re pleased HHS realized it.  Since it is already replaced by regulation, we think it is ripe for removal from the ACA.

5.  Replace the federally facilitated marketplace

While it’s too late for 2014, but we believe the FFE should be replaced for the future by allowing expanded, cross-border access for private marketplaces (e.g., ehealthinsurance). The private sector designs and implements technology markedly better than government.  In addition, competition will drive private exchanges to innovate and find better ways to serve policies than government.  This approach also offers relief to states from the burdens associated with operating websites, call centers, and the administrative costs of exchanges.

6.  Require that in and out of network services be subject to the same maximum out-of-pocket limits

Unless your family has significant medical expenses, this probably isn’t on your radar.  With the advent of narrow or skinny networks, many specialty hospitals that were in-network in 2013 are now of out network for many people.  With greater out of network deductibles and out of pocket maximum limits (double the in-network limit for many policies), people whose specialty provider is outside their new, narrow network face greater financial risk than before the ACA became law.

7.  Increase CMS reimbursement levels for medical providers

Higher reimbursement levels offer doctors greater incentive to provide care for Medicare/Medicaid patients, relieving an existing strain on physician access. Further, since some insurance companies have begun using the Medicare reimbursement rate as a basis for their own coverage levels, it can serve to increase benefits for some policyholders.

8.  Eliminate the Independent Payment Advisory Board

Congress should eliminate the Independent Payment Advisory Board now.  Under the ACA, the IPAB will determine what medical services are valuable enough for payment by Medicaid and Medicare.  Beyond being an added level of bureaucracy that offers little value, we see Constitutional and legislative problems with the IPAB provision.  First, the IPAB’s authority includes a provision that allow its recommendations to become law if Congress does not act on them.  This violates the Constitutional separation of powers by creating law that was neither voted on by Congress nor signed by the President.   Second, Senate Democrats included a section in the ACA that creates a very restrictive timeline for repealing the IPAB.  In fact, after early 2017, it will be harder to eliminate the IPAB than to amend the Constitution.

9.  Revise the FTE minimum in the ACA employer mandate

Presently, the ACA considers an employer with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees a “large company” that must offer its employees health insurance or face financial penalties.  Many people believe the transitional definition of 100 employees is more appropriate and should stay in effect.

10.  Revise the number of hours before an employee is considered full-time by the ACA

The current 30 hour threshold should increase from 30 hours to 35 or 36 hours. This is more in line with many state labor  laws.  It also can increase the income of part-time employees, especially those who saw their working hours reduced to less than 30.  Some Senators have discussed using a 40 hour work week as the definition.  However, this seems impractical since only employees who regularly receive overtime pay would be eligible for health benefits.

11.  Repeal the Cadillac tax

The ACA’s excise tax on high value plans goes into effect in 2018, but employers are already taking steps limit plan benefits before having to make gigantic changes for 2018.  Analysts now report that far more health plans will be subject to the Cadillac tax than initially thought.  We also think it needs repeal, because the tax places a greater burden on policyholders out of whose pockets premium is paid.  Some analysts suggest the net impact on employee could more than double their premiums.  We agree with the analysts who see the Cadillac tax as a needless cap on total compensation.

 

These are just a few of our ideas, and we know there are many more. We would love to hear what you have to say.

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Study Confirms Long-term Stem Cell Benefits for Parkinson’s Disease

Newly reported research discovered neural dopamine-producing stem cells transplanted into patients with Parkinson’s disease stayed healthy and functional for up to 14 years.  The findings were reported in the June 5, 2014 issue of the journal Cell Reports.  This is exciting news for people with Parkinson’s Disease.

Researchers studied the brains of five Parkinson’s Disease patients who received got neural cell transplants and found that their dopamine transporters and mitochondria remained healthy when the patients died.  All of the patients were in the late stages of Parkinson’s disease at the time of their transplants.  In each case, death was from a cause unrelated to Parkinson’s Disease.

Parkinson's Disease Tremor

Parkinson’s tremors can make even simple tasks difficult.

Parkinson’s is a disease characterized by tremors, rigidity, slowness of movement and poor balance. It is a chronic, progressive disease that results when dopamine-producing nerve cells in a part of the brain die or are impaired.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Parkinson’s Disease is the 14th leading cause of death in the United States.

Scientists have known for some time that transplanted neural stem cells can reduce Parkinson’s Disease symptoms for long periods of time.  However, there were questions about whether the transplanted cells remained can The procedure can also reduce the need for patients to take dopamine replacement medications.

“We have shown in this paper that the transplanted cells connect and live well and do all the required functions of nerve cells for a very long time,” said Ole Isacson, MD, professor of neurology and a director of the Neuroregeneration Research Institute at McLean Hospital.

Among other reasons, this research is important because scientists previously believed transplanted stem cells could be damaged by the ongoing disease process in the brain. Describing the dopamine transporters and mitochondria cells in the brains studied, Dr. Isacson commented, “Everything we saw looked very healthy.”  He went on to say that comparisons of the transplanted cells with the patients’ own dopamine producing cells showed significant differences.  In each case, the patients’ own dopamine cells and mitochondria continued to show damage from the disease, but the transplanted cells were still healthy.  “The transplanted cells don’t have the disease,” he said.

 “We have shown in this paper that the transplanted cells connect and live well and do all the required functions of nerve cells for a very long time,” he said in a press release.

Destination Medical Care™ Treatment Outcomes for Parkinson’s Disease

Soter Healthcare has been providing access to life-changing stem cell therapy since 2008.  Our Destination Medical Care™ center of excellence has treated more than 500 cases of Parkinson’s Disease using stem cells.  Over 90% of patients treated have shown an improvement in their conditions, and more than 85% have achieved significant improvement.  Among the improvements are a reduction in tremors, improved muscle tone, better balance and walking ability, and improvements in speech.

Stem Cell Sources

Stem cell treatment for Parkinson’s Disease involves transplants of neural and/or hRPE stem cells from donor tissues.  Soter Healthcare has developed a unique relationship with a stem cell center that respects the right to life as our Christian faith defines it for us.  Consequently, only tissues obtained from natural causes are used (e.g., miscarriage, fatality following premature birth).  We do not allow use of cells following clinical abortion under any circumstances.

Contact Us for more information

If you’ve been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease or you know someone who has, please contact us today to start learning how this important advance in treatment can help.

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