The Brentwood Health Organization (BHO), a ministry outreach of the Brentwood Church of Christ, held its first Community Health Fair on Saturday, October 6. An array of health and social service organizations were on hand to provide resources and services. Available screenings included blood pressure checks from Columbia St. Mary’s/Sandford Brown students and flu shots from Walgreens (91st Good Hope location). Dental care information was provided by The Center for Exceptional Dentistry. In addition to providing resource information, Salvation Army’s mascot was a huge hit at the event.
“Providing events such as this allows us the opportunity to put our faith into action,” stated BHO Executive Director Phyllis Mills. “Jesus met the physical needs of people in addition to their spiritual need.” Governing Board Director Clarene Mitchell added, “Communities of color suffer disproportionately from almost every health issue. It is imperative that more attention is brought on these disparities, more resources and access to care need to be provided.” In addition to the health fair, BHO provides health education programs throughout the year.
Healthcare Without Walls is BHO’s theme. They put this into action on the Saturday prior to the event by going outside the physical walls of the church to do door-to-door canvassing in the area surrounding the church. BHO governing and executive board members talked with neighbors about the community health fair and passed out flyers. Over 600 flyers were distributed on that day.
(Photos by Robert Bell)
Milwaukee-area hearing loss specialists explain why the low cost of hearing aids online may extract a high cost in missed diagnosis and ineffective treatment.
Grassroots Newswire- Today, consumers can turn to the Internet to buy everything from art work to zoology books. But it wasn’t until recently that they could buy hearing aids – and this is a change that owners of Miracle-Ear centers in the Milwaukee area believe compromises consumer hearing health.
“Contrary to the way an internet vendor positioned hearing aids in an August 21, 2012, story airing on CNBC , hearing aids are neither fashion accessories nor ‘consumer electronic devices’,” said Wendy Crespo, audiologist for Miracle-Ear. “Hearing aids are medical devices, and require professional evaluation, fit and adjustments to deliver the life-changing benefits they offer.”
The International Hearing Society (IHS) is a membership association that represents hearing healthcare professionals worldwide, including those at more than 1,200 Miracle-Ear locations nationwide. As a corporate sponsor of IHS, Miracle-Ear supports the organization’s ground-breaking efforts to ban what it considers to be illegal internet and over-the-counter sales of hearing aids – also being marketed and sold as Personal Sound Amplifiers (PSAPs). According to the IHS, because hearing loss can be related to an underlying medical disorder, by law the hearing loss sufferer must be evaluated by a physician or another licensed hearing professional in the six-month period prior to purchasing a hearing aid to confirm that all medically treatable conditions have been identified and addressed. And in many states, hearing aid sales are also governed by licensing laws.
However, adults do have the right to waive these protections based on religious or personal objections – and this has opened the door to Internet and over-the-counter marketers offering cut-rate products based on online, phone-based or written “hearing tests”. But Crespo warns that an effective hearing loss screening requires a visual examination of the ear along with a comprehensive hearing evaluation by a properly licensed specialist. Without this professional evaluation, consumers run the risk of not knowing or understanding the pathology behind their hearing loss – thereby missing the opportunity to treat the loss effectively and appropriately.
Consumers who buy hearing aids from qualified hearing specialists also benefit from ongoing patient counseling, fitting and adjustments – all of which are essential to maximizing the hearing aid wearer’s success with wearing the device and adjusting to life with hearing loss, according to Crespo. This comprehensive, personal approach to hearing loss care is invaluable to the consumer’s hearing health.
“While hearing aids are similar in design and intent, and the initial cost of a hearing aid purchased online may be very attractive, the key to success in wearing and benefiting from the device is in the follow-up counseling, support and fittings offered by certified hearing specialists like Miracle-Ear,” said Crespo. “Those devices that arrive in the mail will most likely end up in a drawer – unused. And, more importantly, the individual who ordered that device online will continue to suffer unnecessarily from untreated hearing loss.”
For more information about Miracle-Ear in the Milwaukee area, please contact one of the following hearing professionals or visit http://www.miracle-ear.com/.
Care is Available in Every State,’ says Former Physician
With all the talk about health-care coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, it seems few people know coverage is available in every state as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, says Dr. Dixie Swanson, a former television health reporter and physician, and a lupus patient.
“People can apply for the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan, which will not deny you coverage because you have asthma, diabetes or some other condition, and will not charge you more simply because of it,” says Swanson, the author of “The Accidental President Trilogy,” (www.dixieswanson.com). “In Washington D.C. and 23 states – including Florida, Massachusetts and Texas – it’s run by the federal government. Twenty-seven states run their own PCIP program.”
Policies vary from state to state and premiums may vary, but coverage can cost less than $200 a month. But a shockingly low number of people know about the coverage, Swanson says. As of July 31, there were 82,000 people enrolled. Maine had only 42 enrollees; California had the most, 11,118.
“Getting and keeping health insurance is Job One for many patients with chronic illness. This is a real step forward,” Swanson says.
Here are some important things to know about PCIP:
• You are eligible for PCIP coverage ONLY if you have been without insurance coverage for the past six months. If you have coverage – even if it does not cover your condition – you are not eligible, and if you’re in a state high-risk pool, you’re not eligible.
• Rules vary depending on who administers the plan. In states with the federally administered program, you must submit one of the following with your application: 1) An insurance company’s letter denying you coverage from within the past 12 months, 2) An offer of insurance with a rider disallowing your condition, provided you didn’t accept a policy, 3) If you’re under 19 or you live in Vermont or Massachusetts, a letter from a doctor, physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner stating your condition, and 4) If you’re under 19 or you live in Vermont or Massachusetts, an offer of insurance that you didn’t accept because the premium was too high (provided it’s at least double the cost of a standard option PCIP premium),
• In states with the federally administered program, if you’re application is accepted, you’ll receive a letter within two to three weeks. If you submitted your application and all documentation before the 15th of the month, your coverage can start by the 1st of the following month (i.e. by Oct. 15, coverage starts Nov. 1). If you apply after the 15th, it will start by the first of the month after that (i.e. Dec. 1).
• PCIP is designed to be temporary. The Affordable Health Care Act calls for private insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions beginning in 2014, at which time PCIP will not be necessary. (If Obama does not win re-election, it’s possible PCIP will be disbanded under Mitt Romney.)
• To find out more, visit the plan’s official website, www.pcip.gov
About Dixie Swanson
Dixie Swanson was a pediatrician for 10 years and the Family Health Reporter for NBC’s Houston affiliate. She also spent time working for a Washington lobbyist with access to the White House. Dixie is the author of “The Accidental President Trilogy – a Political Fable for Our Time.”
SET Ministry is a Milwaukee community-based health and human services agency that helps socially and economically disadvantaged people establish and achieve goals that promote self-sufficiency and improve lives. SET accomplishes this goal by providing direct services that utilize a collaborative approach to link people with needed resources.
Born out of a program of the Wheaton Franciscan System in March 1985, SET Ministries was created in response to a mandate from a General Chapter of the Wheaton Franciscan Sisters to more actively operate and provide a “Preferential Option for the Poor.”
SET is the acronym for Service, Empowerment, and Transformation, which was taken directly from the sisters’ goals, which was to be a demonstration model of collaboration that could be replicated with the belief that collaboration would result in greater effectiveness than individual efforts. A committee decided that that model would be created in Milwaukee, to work to make it a better place to live.
More than 25 years later, SET Ministries now operates 16 offices and five additional sites, to deliver social services to more than 5,000 adults, children and families each year, citywide.
SET guides people to serve their own basic needs for food, healthcare, stable housing, financial security and more. The SET community and its members are committed to reversing the effects of poverty locally; this transformation is supported by the dedication and courage of many citizens.
SET Ministry serves participants in three distinct areas: helping central city families with fulfilling their goals in areas of health, housing, parenting, education, employment and relationships; students, helping central city religious/private schools children who want to prevent behavioral and mental health problems by improving emotional health, coping skills and peaceful conflict resolution; and assisting elderly persons and adults with disabilities who want to maintain health, stabilization in their housing and enhance their quality of life.
At the core of its success of being a good neighbor is SET’s commitment to respecting the dignity of each human life, by integrating the physical, psychological, social and spiritual aspects of each individual.
by Dr. David Satcher
America’s Wire Writers Group
Atlanta – As states wrangle with whether or not to pursue Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, they should look carefully at the serious implications for oral health, especially for poor and minority children if Medicaid services are not expanded as originally envisioned under the ACA.
Twelve years ago, as Surgeon General of the United States, I issued a report calling attention to the profound disparities in oral health care across the country. I called it a silent epidemic. Twelve years later, some progress has been made, and it is no longer silent – but for many across the country, it is still a serious epidemic causing pain and harm to millions of poor and minority children. For instance, data from Georgia exemplifies the challenges that poor and minority children face in getting access to appropriate dental care.
In 2008, 15.9 percent of Georgians did not have health insurance and almost half – 41.5 percent – did not have dental insurance (Georgia Population Survey 2008). In 2007, visits to Georgia emergency rooms for preventable dental disease cost more than $23 million. The proportion of children with untreated tooth decay has dropped from 27 percent in 2005 to 19% in 2011, but that still means that close to a fifth of our state’s children suffer unnecessary pain and health risks for something that is truly preventable. The majority of these children are poor or minority or can’t see a dentist because of financial or geographic reasons.
When I issued my report, tooth decay was the single most common chronic childhood disease – five times more common than asthma. It still is. There were striking disparities in dental disease across the country. There still are. Thirty-seven percent of African American children and 41 percent of Hispanic children have untreated tooth decay, compared with 25 percent of white children. More than 50 million Americans live in areas where dentists do not practice and millions more can’t gain access due to cost reasons.
It is time to get serious and pursue the framework for action that I set forth in my 2000 report. All health care professionals need to understand that good oral health means more than sound teeth. The mouth is really a window to the whole body. Oral health affects everything from the ability to speak, eat or smile. Poor oral health is linked to heart disease, stroke and other long-term illnesses. We need to engage other health professions in working to prevent oral disease.
As a country, we have made great strides in prevention, particularly with fluoride and sealants. But many do not have regular access to a dentist or school-based programs that offer some preventive care. That is why it is critical to expand access by seeking innovation on a number of fronts: in oral health policies, how we train our providers, exploring the creation of new dental providers, and building a cadre of ethnically-diverse, culturally-competent dental practitioners, as well as expanding the reach of the dental team with other health care professionals.
The country has a great opportunity to increase access to dental care under the ACA, which calls for extending oral health benefits to an additional five million children in 2014. Expansion of coverage, however, won’t translate into access to care if we don’t have enough providers to meet the need. Currently just 20 percent of practicing dentists treat Medicaid patients. How can we provide services to an additional five million children in 2014?
States need to think about this now. States should explore all options that could expand access to care, including allowing midlevel dental providers such as dental therapists to practice. They are trained to provide routine services, freeing up dentists to attend to more complicated procedures. These practitioners already work in Alaska and Minnesota. And in just a number of years, they have been able to expand access in Alaska alone to an additional 35,000 people who could not get regular care in their own communities.
It is imperative that everyone have access to the dental care they need. Different professionals can provide different, yet appropriate, levels of service. Our concern and approach to a solution ought to focus first on the patient, not the dental profession. We have an opportunity with the ACA to expand access. Will the medical and dental communities be ready?
(Dr. David Satcher, M.D., Ph.D., is a public health administrator, who served simultaneously as the 10th Assistant Secretary for Health at the US Department of Health and Human Services, and the 16th Surgeon General of the United States. America’s Wire is an independent, nonprofit news service run by the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education and funded by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Our stories can be republished free of charge by newspapers, websites and other media sources. For more information, visit www.americaswire.org or contact Michael K. Frisby at [email protected])
Article courtesy of Los Angeles Times
Every couple of years a food or beverage is crowned with what nutrition experts call a “health halo.” Some of the foods – wild salmon, blueberries, flax seeds – deserve it. But others gain status for no apparent reason. Acai berry, anyone?
It’s not that the trendy food is unhealthful. It’s just that if you’re already eating a well-balanced diet it’s unnecessary. And possibly expensive. The latest entrant in this category: coconut water.
Coconut water – the mildly sweet liquid from the center of young, green coconuts – has been popular in tropical areas since, well, as long as people have lived among coconut palm trees. In recent years it has found its way onto the shelves of mainstream grocery stores, often with fruit juice or sugar added. A 14-ounce serving can cost as much as $3.50.
“Coconut water is a good source of potassium, but bananas and potatoes contain just as much or even more, and they’re much less expensive,” says Joan Salge Blake, a registered dietitian and clinical associate professor of nutrition at Boston University.
It’s true that many Americans fall short of the recommended daily intake of potassium, but Blake says there are better ways to meet the requirement. “With the potassium-rich whole foods you also get fiber and other nutrients, which is why I prefer them.”
People can certainly eat the “meat” of the coconut for potassium and fiber, but they’ll also get 26 grams of saturated fat per cup.
We depend on potassium for muscle function, and that’s why coconut water is marketed as an alternative to sports beverages. At a presentation during the American Chemical Society’s annual meeting last month, researchers reported that coconut water is a viable sugar-free substitute for drinks such as Powerade and Gatorade.
The Brentwood Health Organization (BHO) will be hosting a free Community Health Fair on Saturday, October 6, 2012 from 2:00-6:00 pm. BHO is a ministry outreach of the Brentwood Church of Christ, the health fair will be held in the church’s fellowship hall, 6425 N. 60th Street.
At a time when underserved populations are faced with stark health disparities, this event is being offered to fill a void. Attendees will gain tools to improve their health by obtaining information from an array of health and social service providers. Screenings will be provided as well. This event is open to the general public. For information, please call Phyllis Mills, at 414-899-0235 or [email protected]
BHO is a community organization committed to improving the health status of underserved populations. This mission was established in the ethical and cultural practices of the fatih-based tradition which inspires dedication, commitment and assurance through service and healing.
Health Fair attendees are welcome to attend Brentwood’s musical program immediately following the event at 6 pm!
Madison – Americans have saved an estimated $2.1 billion on health insurance premiums as a result of two important provisions of Obamacare – officially called the Affordable Care Act – that protect citizens from excessive premiums. This includes 288,984 Wisconsin residents who have saved a total of $14,551,793.
In every state, insurance companies must submit a justification for public review if they want to raise premiums by 10 percent or more. This protects citizens from excessive – and unjustified – rate increases. Rate reviews have helped save an estimated $1 billion for American citizens, including $4,182,000 for 6,172 Wisconsin residents.
The 80/20 rule ensures that insurance companies spend at least 80 percent of premium dollars on patient care. Those companies that do not meet those spending requirements must write checks back to their customers for the difference. Americans have received rebate checks for $1.1 billion thanks to the 80/20 rule, including $10,369,793 in savings for 282,812 Wisconsin residents.
“Rate review and requiring insurance to spend 80% of premiums on patient care have brought transparency and accountability to health insurance companies,” said Doug Hill, director of Know Your Care Wisconsin. “Because of Obamacare, Wisconsinites are saving millions of dollars on insurance premiums. And for the first time ever, many are getting money back from their insurance companies.”
Remodelers advise homeowners during Mold Awareness Month
Des Plaines, Illinois—September is Mold Awareness Month and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) wants homeowners to know how to recognize signs of mold or water damage, and how to catch these issues early on—or prevent them all together.
Mold is everywhere, though the amount and location of the mold is what can be harmful to your home and your health. Brian Jones, president of Jones Design Build LLC, based in Minneapolis , knows first-hand about mold in the home—how it impacts a house and how to have it safely removed. His company worked on a bathroom project, which won the 2011 North Central Regional CotY award-winning project in the Residential Bathroom over $60,000 category, which required mold remediation.
Moisture brings mold
Mold becomes a problem when moisture is present, and the mold begins to grow. The risk increases in places that are more exposed to moisture, such as bathrooms, kitchens, attics and basements.
“Oftentimes, bathrooms that are not properly ventilated or not properly insulated are at greater risk of mold issues, regardless of the age of the home,” Jones says.
This was the case with Jones’ clients and their 10-year-old home. They began to notice stains on their first floor ceiling, directly under the location of their upstairs shower, and grew concerned. Once Jones took down the drywall during the demolition phase of the project, their concerns were realized—the fiberglass batt insulation throughout the entire shower wall area was covered in mold.
“In this instance, the ceiling of the shower was sloped, and it can be difficult to install fiberglass insulation properly when the area is sloped, increasing chance for error,” Jones says. “There needs to be a plastic barrier that protects the insulation from openings where moisture seeps in.”
Given the oddly shaped shower, the vapor barrier between the drywall and the insulation was not taped or sealed at all seams, so moisture found its way under the plastic, creating a ripe environment for mold to thrive.
Mold growth behind the wall reduced the direct health risk to the homeowners, but according to Jones, if left untouched, mold poses another risk to the structural elements of their bathroom.
“Mold that continues to grow for years can actually eat through the wood, causing structural problems,” he says.
After the discovery, Jones called in mold remediation experts to clear the area before work could continue. If not properly removed, mold can re-emerge.
Luckily for Jones, remediation is a fairly simple process. “A plastic barrier contains the area with the mold, so that it doesn’t spread into other parts of the home. As it is being removed, a fan drives air to the outside through a window, and HEPA vacuums remove leftover mold particles from the area,” he says. Once the area is completely cleared of mold and dried, it is sealed with a mold-inhibiting paint to help prevent future outbreaks.
Following the remediation, Jones recommended using a polyurethane spray foam insulation instead of the fiberglass batt insulation that was originally used.
“The polyurethane foam insulation is sprayed into the area, so it completely fills every crevice and hole that may be present,” Jones says. Not only does this type of insulation block all moisture, but it is also known for its energy-efficient elements.
Jones’ knowledge and expertise was very beneficial to his clients when dealing with a hidden issue like mold during their bathroom remodel. They were very happy to have detected the problem early on, before structural damage could occur.
Recognizing issues early on
Do you have moisture issues in your home? Jones provides the following tips to ensure early detection of moisture issues and preventative measures for mold growth:
Staining. By the time you notice staining, you can be sure that water either has been or is present. “Drywall and paint is easy and cheap to replace, so when I see staining, I recommend clients cut through the drywall immediately and locate the problem,” Jones says.
Odor. Many times you don’t need to physically see the mold to know that it is present because it will have an odor. If you walk into a room or basement and notice an odor, it’s time to investigate.
Blistering. Paint that is peeled or blistering is another sign of water damage. Also bulging dry wall, and screws or joints that are popping out is evidence that the wood is warping from repeated water exposure.
Ventilate. Areas of the home that have accessible water systems or could face water exposure from the outside are extremely susceptible to mold growth and must have proper ventilation. “I suggest a bathroom fan with a wired timer, that will continue to run 30 to 60 minutes following shower use to keep the moisture level down,” Jones says.
NARI is the source for homeowners seeking to hire a professional remodeling contractor because members are full-time, dedicated remodelers who follow a strict code of ethics that observes high standards of honesty, integrity and responsibility.
Visit the NARI.org site to get tips on how to hire a remodeling professional and to search for NARI members in your area.
Click here to see an online version of this press release.
About NARI: The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) is the only trade association dedicated solely to the remodeling industry. The Association, which represents 7,000 member companies nationwide—comprised of 63,000 remodeling contractors— is “The Voice of the Remodeling Industry.”™ To learn more about membership, visit www.NARI.org or contact national headquarters, based in Des Plaines , Ill . , at (847) 298-9200.