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April 1999

Short news items with a Post-Polio element gleaned from 'here, there and everywhere'. Contributions welcomed. Email Please make it clear that your news item is for inclusion in NewsBites and include any source references.

30th April 1999
Polio Eradication Updates


April 27, 1999.

Johannesburg - More than half a million children living in and around the Angolan capital, Luanda, have been vaccinated in an emergency campaign against polio which has already claimed 30 lives.

In its latest weekly report, the UN Humanitarian Assistance Coordination Unit (UCAH), said that the national health authorities and UNICEF had helped vaccinate 634,368 children under five in Luanda and its surrounding province.

"As of 19 April, the total number of reported cases in Luanda Province was 487, while the death toll was 30. Until the present moment, 7 cases were reported in Benguela Province (with three deaths) and two in Icolo-e-Bengo municipality in Bengo Province," the UCAH report said. Benguela lies some 500 km south of Luanda, and Bengo is in central Angola.

In Luanda, it said UNICEF had trained 18 health technicians, and arrangements were being made to establish 16 health posts around the city, where among other functions, they would assist with water purification.

This item is delivered by the UN's IRIN humanitarian information unit (e-mail:; fax: +254 2 622129; Web:, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer.

This item also published by Africa News Online (

Sri Lanka

Wednesday 28, April 1999

P. Rajaratnam in Nuwara Eliya reports that "Rotary Governor, Rohan Hapugalla said Sri Lanka is today, a country free of polio."

According to the article Rohan Hapugalla was "speaking to a distinguished and representative gathering at Nuwara Eliya" and "said the Rotary International is the only accredited non-governmental organisation with the United Nations Organisation. The world has recognised the Rotary's service of immunisation of polio in almost all countries in the world."

Mr. Hapugalla said the most significant feature was that even the LTTE leader Prabakaran and the President of the country had exchanged communications to halt the ongoing war for a few weeks to immunise the infants in the North and East.

The complete article can be found at


April 28, 1999

In Africa News Online ( Katima Mulilo, Namibia (PANA), reports "Health authorities in Namibia's north eastern Caprivi region have prepared 15 mobile vaccination teams so that 100 percent of all the targeted children could be covered during the first phase of a vaccination campaign starting Thursday. The second phase takes place from 4 to 5 June."

Speaking on Tuesday, the administrator for primary healthcare at the Katima Mulilo State Hospital Ignasius Nkunga, called on parents to co-operate with health personnel so that the upcoming polio vaccination campaign succeeds.

The complete article can be found at

Notification of the three news items was received via NewsIndex

For Polio eradication and vaccine related resources see our directory Polio Virus, Vaccine and Eradication

[ Index ]

13th April 1999
Post-Polio Information Day, Thunder Bay, Ontario

The Thunder Bay Post Polio Chapter of the Ontario March of Dimes will be holding a Post-Polio Information Day on Sat. May 15th from 1.00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

The team from St. Joseph's Hospital Post Polio Clinic will be speaking.

Dr. Hargadon, Physiatrist, will speak on the Etiology of PPS.
Linda Adamson, PT, will speak on the Principles of Exercise.
Denette Pacifico, OT, will speak on Energy Conservation & Assistive Devices.

There will also be vendor displays including Shoppers Home Health Care and MediChair.

Registration is FREE and open to anyone.

Location: 55-Plus Centre, 700 River St., Thunder Bay.
For more information contact: Cheryl Anderson, Ontario March of Dimes (807) 345-6595.

Information supplied by:
Kim Sialtsis
Post Polio Coordinator - Ontario March of Dimes

[ Index ]

10th April 1999
Eighth International Post-Polio & Independent Living Conference

Call for Proposals

Gazette International Networking Institute (GINI), coordinator of International Ventilator Users Network (IVUN) and International Polio Network (IPN), invites proposals for presentations during the Eighth International Post-Polio & Independent Living Conference, June 8-10, 2000, Saint Louis Marriott Pavilion Downtown.

Deadline for proposals: July 1, 1999 (no fax or e-mail accepted).

Notification of acceptance: October 1, 1999.

Proposals are requested which:

  • Address the health care needs of people with disabilities, specifically the survivors of polio and the users of mechanical ventilation;
  • Encourage interaction between people with disabilities and health care professionals;
  • Examine and/or promote the independent living philosophy;
  • Propose solutions to the major issues facing people with disabilities.

Presentations can be made either by one individual (20 minutes), by an individual with small group participation/discussion (1-1/4 hours), or by a group of individuals (1-1/4 hours) as a workshop or panel discussion. Proposals must include name, complete contact information, and résumé of presenter(s) (if group presentation, designate lead presenter), title of presentation, length and form of presentation, purpose and goals of presentation, and description (750 words) of presentation. Mail two copies by July 1, 1999 to GINI, 4207 Lindell Boulevard, #110, Saint Louis, MO (Missouri) 63108-2915.

Participants whose proposal(s) has/have been accepted will be notified by October 1, 1999. The registration fee will be waived for the day(s) of the presentation(s).

Gazette International Networking Institute (GINI)
coordinator of International Polio Network and International Ventilator Users Network
4207 Lindell Boulevard #110
Saint Louis, MO (Missouri) 63108-2915 USA
314-534-0475 314-534-5070 fax

For updated information on this conference see Conference Card #0006 in our World-Wide Conference and Seminar Diary

[ Index ]

9th April 1999
Medicare Claims Now Required To Be Y2K Compliant

Tuesday, April 6, 1999
CONTACT: HCFA Press Office (202) 690-6145

Beginning this week, all bills submitted by health care providers for services to Medicare beneficiaries are expected to be Year 2000 compliant. The Medicare program and its contractors have provided notification to providers since last year that Year 2000 compliant claims would be expected beginning this week. The action will help assure that providers are preparing their computer systems for the date change on Jan. 1, 2000.

To be reimbursed for Medicare claims, doctors, hospitals and other health care providers must now submit bills that use 8-digit dates in order to be paid by the private insurance companies that process and pay Medicare claims.

"With compliant systems, health care providers can be sure they will be paid promptly after Jan. 1, 2000, for the health care services they provide to Medicare beneficiaries," HCFA Administrator Nancy-Ann DeParle said. "We're encouraged that most of the Medicare claims now being submitted are already Y2K compliant. That's an important first step toward making all their systems compliant.

The ability of a health care provider to submit claims in a Y2K-compliant format is an indication that a critical and necessary step has been taken toward full Y2K readiness in their offices. In addition to readying their billing systems for the year 2000, health care providers should also be remedying the Y2K bug in all their computer systems and in the various medical devices used to diagnose problems and treat patients. Within the Health Care Financing Administration, which administers Medicare, all internal computer systems are now Y2K compliant.

As of March 31, 78 percent of Part A electronic billers such as hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and home health agencies were submitting Y2K compliant claims. Most of these bills are submitted by the facility or an outside billing company. In addition, as of March 31, nearly 100 percent of the claims submitted to HCFA's Part B contractors were Y2K compliant. Most of the Part B claims are submitted by billing centers or clearinghouses, on behalf of the more than 900,000 doctors who provided care to Medicare beneficiaries.

HCFA has been conducting an unprecedented outreach effort to inform and help them meet the Year 2000 challenge. Software has been made available through Medicare contractors, and HCFA has established a toll-free telephone line, 1-800-958-HCFA (1-800-958-4232) and posted materials and information on the Internet at

Callers to 1-800-958-HCFA (1-800-958-4232) will be able to get answers to Y2K questions that relate to medical supplies, their facilities and business operations as well as referrals for more specific billing information relating to Y2K issues. The toll-free line will also update callers on HCFA's Y2K policies as well and provide general assistance to help callers prepare their own computer systems for the millennium. HCFA is also holding educational conferences throughout the country.

Note: HHS press releases are available on the World Wide Web at:

For resources covering Social Security Benefits, Medical/Health Insurance and other aspects of Independent Living see our directory Disability Living

[ Index ]

7th April 1999
The Late Effects of Polio and SSDI

Dick Bruno writes

On February 7, 1999 Congressman Steve Rothman received a letter from Social Security Administration Associate Commissioner Charles Mullen. Thanks to YOUR letters, SSA has agreed to our request to convert certain portions of the POMS for "The Late Effects of Poliomyelitis" into Social Security Rulings that bind administrative law judges decisions about disability determinations for polio survivors. SSA states it will "determine if additional language needs to be included in the rulings to ensure that all the potentially disabling features of post-polio are included."

Although administrative law judges' rulings have been generally favorable with regard to polio survivors, the education that will accompany the release of an Social Security Ruling should educate local adjudicators about the "The Late Effects of Poliomyelitis" POMS and may prompt them to more frequently make informed disability determinations.

SSA has also agreed to review the neurological listings in the Listing of Impairments and is considering revisions to include "The Late Effects of Poliomyelitis." Issuing such a listing would help enforce local adjudicators proper use of the POMS to determine disability. However, after the review, a listing for "The Late Effects of Poliomyelitis" may not be created.

I have been contacted by an SSA neurologist who requested 100 SSDI denials in early March for her review, providing data to guide the creation of a Ruling or Listing. To help her, and create our own database of denials, would you please send me copies of your SSDI application forms and denial letters from SSA, ESPECIALLY IF YOUR DENIAL WAS OVERTURNED. I will log your symptoms, the reasons for denials and forward your materials to SSA for review. (For mailing address see below. Please write SSDI on the envelope.)

With your help, and that of our Congresspeople, we have come remarkable far in changing the SSDI system for PPS in a very short time.

Thank you for all your help!


Dick Bruno

Dr. Richard L. Bruno
International Post-Polio Task Force
The Post-Polio Institute
at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center Englewood, New Jersey 07631
Phone: (201) 894-3724 Toll Free: 1-877-POST-POLIO
Fax: (201) 894-0324

Set your browser to:
for the POMS and SSDI information

For all postal communication with Dr. Bruno regarding SSDI, please mark the envelope "SSDI" and send to the following address:
Dr. Richard L. Bruno
The Post-Polio Institute
Englewood Hospital and Medical Center
350 Engle Street
Englewood, New Jersey 07631

See also NewsBites 8th September 1998 and NewsBites 28th June 1998

Many of Dr. Bruno's papers are available in the Lincolnshire Post-Polio Library and can be found listed under the catalogue entry for Bruno, Richard L., Ph.D..

For resources covering Social Security Benefits, Medical/Health Insurance and other aspects of Independent Living see our directory Disability Living

[ Index ]

30th April 1999
Polio Eradication Updates
13th April 1999
Post-Polio Information Day, Thunder Bay, Ontario
10th April 1999
Eighth International Post-Polio & Independent Living Conference Call for Proposals
9th April 1999
Medicare Claims Now Required To Be Y2K Compliant
7th April 1999
The Late Effects of Polio and SSDI
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