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Free Pain Management CEs on the Web provides a wide variety of continuing education (CE) programs for nurses and other healthcare professionals. One program of particular interest to home care clinicians is "Effective coping therapies across the spectrum of chronic pain (Arbuck, Wright & Miguel, 2004)."

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At the completion of this physician-authored CE program the participant will be required to take an online test to validate competency before CE units can be awarded. Clinicians must demonstrate competency in the areas of balanced analgesia, pain relief strategies, effective treatment planning, regulatory and legal issues impacting prescribing behavior. Clinicians will also be able to differentiate between breakthrough and end-of-dose pain, while comparing the effectiveness of around-the-clock vs. intermittent dosing strategies. To optimize your patients pain management plan visit




Arbuck, D. M., Wright, G. H., & Miguel, R. (2004). Effective Opioid Therapies Across the Spectrum of Chronic Pain. Retrieved July 28, 2004 from [Context Link]

New Concerns About Pediatric Hypertension


Hypertension is not commonly regarded as a childhood illness. However, a recent report noted that both systolic and diastolic blood pressures are increasing in U.S. children. Although the increases are relatively small, incremental increases of even one to two milliliters of mercury may increase the risk of developing hypertension in the adult years.


Because hypertension is a major risk factor for heart disease the future health and economic impact of this change in our pediatric population could be staggering. The federal government is now recommending that hypertension screening begin in children as young as 3 years old and is redefining pediatric prehypertension and hypertension parameters. More information about both of these issues can be found at the Heart Center at and the Health Finder Web site:

Wanted: Home Health Nursing Information Specialists


Although nursing informatics is a rapidly growing nursing specialty only 3% of the 537 respondents to a recent survey of registered nurses working in informatics reported any home health experience. The survey reported that the roles and titles of nurses working in informatics ranged from applications analyst, to consultant, to project leader or manager. However, those who work in some of the more sophisticated organizations report titles and responsibilities commensurate with a Director of Informatics status.


Although the respondents were typically employed by hospitals, health systems and vender firms they reported that there was no common or clear cut reporting structure leaving some of these clinicians reporting to nursing administration while others reported to departments such as information technology, administration, or quality improvement.


With the rapid growth of point of care systems and other technology growth, a career in home health informatics might be right for you. To read the entire survey visit


Information related specialty certification in nursing informatics can be found on the American Nurses Association Credentialing Center Web site at

HHS Revises Medicare Obesity Coverage Policy


A new Medicare coverage policy removes the barriers to covering antiobesity interventions if scientific and medical evidence demonstrate their effectiveness in improving Medicare beneficiaries' health outcomes. The new policy removes language in the Medicare Coverage Issues Manual stating that obesity is not an illness. This step allows members of the public to request that Medicare review medical evidence to determine whether specific treatments related to obesity would be covered by Medicare.


Under the new policy, Medicare beneficiaries would be able to obtain coverage for treatments, such as gastric bypass surgery, if "scientific and medical evidence demonstrate their effectiveness in improving Medicare beneficiaries' health," the department announced in a recent statement.


Information about the new policy can be found at

CMS Experimenting With Expanded Homebound Definition


The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services is implementing a demonstration project to "study the efficacy and cost of providing home health services to beneficiaries with chronic conditions" who would otherwise not meet the traditional homebound definition. To qualify, the beneficiary must be severely disabled and need daily assistance with at least three activities of daily living (ADLS) and require skilled nursing.


The demonstration project was mandated by the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 and will be in effect for 2 years. Although the project is limited to three states (Colorado, Massachusetts, and Missouri) it is expected to enroll up to 15,000 Medicare beneficiaries.


Agencies in the demonstration states have voiced concern regarding what will happen to the beneficiaries at the end of the project period who still do not meet the traditional home bound definition. Will the agencies be discharging these beneficiaries after having provided services for 2 years? In addition, concerns about the adequacy of PPS reimbursement to support the intensive needs of these beneficiaries are being discussed. To view an outline of the project visit