CHELMSFORD, Mass., May 17, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Magellan Biosciences, a global manufacturer of products designed to make diagnostic testing easier, more cost-effective, and less labor intensive, announced that its Vice President of Business Development and Marketing, Joel De Jesus, will be a featured speaker at the Medicaid Health Plans of America Center for Best Practices First Annual Awards Forum, which takes place tomorrow in Washington, DC. Mr. De Jesus will report on three model programs all of which coupled three-minute LeadCare® II testing with prevention education for parents to increase screening rates dramatically, identify lead-poisoned children, and ensure that they receive critical follow-up care.
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The Wisconsin WIC / Medicaid Managed Care Organization Partnership to Fight Childhood Lead Poisoning
The idea for the partnership was an outgrowth of the Wisconsin Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program's 2007 Elimination Plan. According to The Legacy of Lead -- a 2008 report by Wisconsin's Department of Health and Family Services -- the state's children are at above-average risk for lead poisoning due to its high percentage of older homes and its industrial history. The report also begins to quantify the cost of lead poisoning to the state: "For each poisoning we prevent, we not only avoid unnecessary human tragedy, but the savings are estimated to be $40,000 to $50,000 per child."(1) Approximately 85% of all Wisconsin children seen in WIC clinics are Medicaid eligible, and thus, it is an ideal place to reach those most at-risk for lead poisoning. But, in 2009, only 38.8% of Medicaid-eligible children enrolled in WIC received a mandated lead test. Something had to be done!
Four local Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs) teamed up with state and local WIC agencies and BadgerCare+ (Wisconsin's Medicaid program) to provide three-minute LeadCare II testing in WIC clinics, as recommended by the CDC, along with important health education information for parents. The program launched in 2010 with the donation of 10 LeadCare II analyzers and 20 test kits (supplies to test 960 children) by three of the Medicaid MCOs. In just 10 months of 2010, the program identified 139 children in the Milwaukee region with elevated blood-lead results -- nearly 300% more children than it did in each of the previous two years. Integrating three-minute LeadCare II testing into WIC services meant that at-risk children actually received mandated tests for the first time.
Joel De Jesus further explains the WIC testing program's benefits: "Removing the source of exposure and early intervention can help mitigate future effects of lead. If Wisconsin continued to rely on traditional prescription and send-out tests, it is more-than-likely that these children would never have been identified. Since damage is cumulative, consequences of continued lead exposure would be devastating for the child and family. And they extend further. The lead poisoned child is our 'canary in the coal mine' for identifying and cleaning up sources of lead contamination. When lead poisoning goes undetected, the problem perpetuates itself into the future, with many more children likely poisoned at the same address."
Mr. De Jesus continues, "Everyone wins in this innovative program -- the 139 lead-poisoned children who are now receiving appropriate follow-up from a healthcare provider; their parents, empowered to protect them from lead poisoning now and in the future; and the Medicaid MCOs, who are serving their members better and reaping the rewards. This program shows lead testing is an ideal fit to further WIC's core services and nutrition mission. It dramatically improves screening rates and helps ensure a healthy start for WIC children."
Cornerstone Pediatrics, Prescott Arizona
The area Cornerstone serves has been designated a high-risk zone for lead poisoning by the Arizona Department of Health Services. Repeated efforts to increase compliance for reference lab testing failed. Already overburdened parents found the extra trip for testing too difficult. So Cornerstone began a new protocol using rapid, in-house testing for both lead and anemia for all age-appropriate children -- even though only one of the area Medicaid MCOs reimbursed them for performing the tests. Compliance for mandated blood-lead testing rose from near zero to nearly 100 percent. In approximately four months, Cornerstone tested 110 children and identified a number of children with anemia and/or elevated levels of blood-lead -- diagnoses that would have eluded them before. Cornerstone also increased prevention-education efforts, providing in-office counseling and take-home information. The program's success has been so compelling, that the second Medicaid MCO has agreed to begin LeadCare II reimbursements this month.
Whitney M. Young, Jr. Health Services (Albany and Troy, New York)
Federally Qualified Community Health Centers (FQHCs) are another obvious place to do three-minute lead testing, since the population they serve is at high risk for lead poisoning. Unfortunately, most FQHCs have limited funds for capital purchases and often need to find other resources to provide testing services outside of reference laboratory contracts that are supposed to cover blood-lead testing. The reality is that transportation issues and other barriers for families mean these critical lab tests are not getting completed. This is one reason that New York State Medicaid changed its policy last year to require plans that serve Medicaid children to reimburse healthcare providers when they perform LeadCare II testing. In December 2010, Santa came bearing gifts to the Whitney Young Health Center, courtesy of community-based, not-for-profit Capital District Physicians' Health Plan (CDPHP), which donated two LeadCare II systems and test kits.
The program has been enormously successful. According to the nursing staff, parents note that they like the point-of-care test because it is more convenient, and the fingerstick is less scary, invasive, and painful for children than drawing blood from a vein. Since January 2010, Whitney Young has identified 25 children with blood-lead levels of eight micrograms per deciliter or higher (the action level for follow-up in New York state). Screening rates of one- and two-year olds have increased to 83 percent in 2010, versus 73 percent in 2008, before LeadCare II testing began. When high lead levels were found in a local elementary school, the health center organized a rapid response. The staff held two free testing days at the school, using Magellan-loaned LeadCare II analyzers and donated test kits, so they were able to screen about 120 children for lead poisoning. Fortunately, none tested high. However, the immediate results were critical in easing the fears of concerned parents -- and an entire community. Pleased with the improved care for their members, CDPHP has expanded the LeadCare II placement program to three additional Albany-area health centers.
About Magellan (www.magellanbio.com)
Founded in 2004, Magellan's innovative technologies make diagnostic testing easier, more cost-effective, and less labor intensive. The company's products deliver the timely information that clinicians need to make appropriate treatment decisions and improve outcomes for patients. They include LeadCare®-brand rapid point-of-care systems to screen children and adults for lead poisoning; TREK-brand microbiology products for blood culture and susceptibility testing that help in the global effort to prevent MRSA and other drug-resistant infections; as well as Dynex®-brand automated ELISA processing systems for a wide variety of immunoassays -- from infectious disease to autoimmune and food-safety testing. Magellan has approximately 290 employees worldwide.
YOU CAN HELP PREVENT LEAD POISONING!
Lead sources may include: paint chips, dust, and soil in or around older (pre-1978) buildings, older painted objects leaded glass, crystal, pewter, and ceramic dishes (more likely in painted china and in pottery from Latin America, the Middle East, and India), herbal/traditional remedies and cosmetics from other countries, candy from Mexico, and toys and trinkets. For lead poisoning facts, links to product recall information, and important lead poisoning prevention resources, visit www.LeadPoisonInfo.com.
No amount of lead is safe, so it's important to prevent your child's exposure. The following steps can help:
Keep children away from chipped or peeling paint
- Block it with furniture or cover it with duct tape or contact paper
- Your local health department can provide tips for safe renovations
Wash. Wash. Wash! (Use soap and water)
- Wash your child's hands often after playing, before eating, and before sleeping
- Wash toys, stuffed animals, pacifiers, and bottles often
Wet cleaning and damp dusting your home whenever you see dust (or at least once a week) can help keep young children from eating lead dust. Here's how:
- Always clean with water! NEVER dry wipe, dry dust, or use a dry broom to sweep, which can spread the dust in the air and make the lead hazard worse!
- Use paper towels, a sponge, rag, or mop and dip it in a bucket of clean water. Squeeze the extra water out. Then wipe the area that needs to be cleaned
- Always use two buckets so that you can rinse in a separate bucket of water
- Keep dipping the sponge, rag, or mop in the bucket as you clean. Change rinse water often. (Discard dirty water in toilet NEVER in your kitchen or bathroom sink)
Help protect children from lead by serving healthy foods and preparing it safely
- Choose foods rich in calcium (e.g. milk, cheese, yogurt, spinach), iron (e.g. beans, meat, eggs, fortified cereals, spinach), and vitamin c (e.g. citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes, broccoli, peppers, mango, and papaya)
- If you use tap water for drinking, cooking, and preparing infant formula NEVER USE THE HOT WATER FAUCET
- Let tap water run for one minute before you use it to help clear out the lead from old plumbing (remember, if it's going in your child's mouth use the cold water tap!)
(1) Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services, Division of Public Health, Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Health. The Legacy of Lead: The Report on Childhood Lead Poisoning in Wisconsin 2008 PPH 45109 (5/08). http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/lead/LegacyofLead/LegacyofLead45109.pdf. Accessed April 25, 2011.
SOURCE Magellan Biosciences