On Wellness in WV

From the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy:

As states prepare for full implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) next year, West Virginia could take advantage of one of the Act’s lesser-known provisions to extend Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage to public employees. According to a report released today by the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, such a move could save the state and its public employees tens of millions of dollars while providing more comprehensive health coverage to thousands of children.

Until the ACA was passed, children of state and local employees covered by public employees’ insurance were prohibited from enrolling in CHIP. Now at least seven states have allowed their public employees to enroll their children in CHIP, including Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Montana, Pennsylvania, Texas and Vermont.

In its report “West Virginia Should Extend CHIP Coverage to Public Employees,” the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy estimates that nearly 9,000 children under the age of 19 currently enrolled in the Public Employees’ Insurance Agency (PEIA) may qualify to enroll in CHIP. Depending on how many families move their children from PEIA to CHIP, state and local budgets could save up to $6.7 million a year while the families themselves could save $4.7 million.

“In an era of budget cuts where every dollar matters, West Virginia stands to save millions in state and local funds by allowing public employees to enroll their children into CHIP. Thousands of working West Virginia families will benefit from lower-cost, comprehensive health insurance for their children. It’s a win-win,” explained Brandon Merritt, Health Policy Analyst with the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy.

Governor Tomblin can request federal approval to implement this change which would save the state, and local governments, and their public employees tens of millions of dollars over the next decade. It would help state and local governments balance their budgets and put more money into the pockets of thousands of West Virginia families while improving access to health care for thousands of children in low-income families.

The full report is available here.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Over the past 25 years, there have been advancements in diagnosis and treatment for many kinds of cancer. However, until recently the same was not true for lung cancer.

“Until five years ago, I would have said we had made no progress in improving the survival of patients with lung cancer. But in the last five years we have made progress in improving outcomes and survival,” John Parker, M.D., pulmonology specialist at Ruby Memorial Hospital, said.

Effective screening has played a critical role in catching lung cancer in early stages. Dr. Parker, who is also a member of the Sara Crile Allen and James Frederick Allen Comprehensive Lung Cancer Program at the WVU Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, said early detection has led to a 20 percent increase in survivability.

For full WVU release: http://wvuhealthcare.com/wvuh/Content/Media/News-Releases/2013/AUG/Screening-program-helps-detect-lung-cancer-earlier

Reactions to Smoking Ban Study

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My recent story Study says smoking bans beneficial to state received some feedback. Some positive, some not so positive. Basically, a recent study said that indoor smoking bans have been good for West Virginia businesses, despite them being hotly contested at first.

Here’s some emails I received:

Linda Bricker, VA: I AM SOOOOOO ALLERGIC TO CIGARETTE SMOKE. When I go to other states it shocks me to go into a smoking restaurant.  My hair dresser and her clan smoke in a back room and in alley and the place smells bad to me.  I am grateful for smoking laws and the fact that the smoking bullys haven’t gotten any of them changed back despite the whining about “no one will come in and drink, gamble eat” etc.  PS I am nurse for VA and so many of our vets were given cigarettes while in service they are all dying now.”

Sarah Blyler, Fayetteville, WV: With regard to the following article:  Study says smoking bans beneficial to state Monday, 12 August 2013. I searched and found only 2 pieces of potential “news” in this sentimental and opinionated rehash. One:  “West Virginia counties with indoor smoking bans showed a 1 percent increase in restaurant employment as compared to those counties where smoking was allowed. The remaining eight states saw no significant association between smoke-free laws and employment or sales in restaurants and bars.”  Seriously, right now?…you wrote an article based on this?…Do you understand the term, “statistically insignificant”? Two:  “…smoking causes some $2.4 billion in total economic loss in West Virginia annually.”  Again, this may well be another re-hash, but it is completely unsubstantiated within the context of this article.   What about all of the bar/restaurants that closed in WV as a result of same smoke-free laws? This article’s only possible purpose would have to be a fluffy confirmation that infringing on smokers’ rights is somehow justified.  Since we are so very limited in the ‘news’ available in the valley, please at least have the decency to minimally appear to imagine that there are actually two sides to the issue. “

Christina Mickey, WV (Smoke Free Initiative of WV): Thanks for reporting on the latest study on economic impact of smoke free laws in WV.   Kanawha Charleston was in the for front in 2007 when it amended it’s regulation to expand protection to most workplaces and joined many other capitol cities across the nation going smoke free. Before 2007, WV had many smaller rural counties already laying a strong foundation for other counties to expand protection. Today, 24 WV counties eliminate smoking in all workplaces and public places, with 14 of those counties boosting some of the highest protection level in the nation from secondhand exposure in workplace and public place.  Let me know if you ever need any information or questions about smoke free laws in WV and the nation.”

Let me know your thoughts.

Bonnie’s Bus, a digital mammography center on wheels, will visit Mercer County offering digital mammograms and breast care education to women.

A service of WVU Healthcare and the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, Bonnie’s Bus will be at Bluestone Health Center in Princeton from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 14. For an appointment, call 304-431-5499.

The mammograms are billed to private insurance, Medicaid or Medicare if available. Mammograms for women who do not have insurance will be covered by the West Virginia Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program (WVBCCSP) or through special grant funds from the West Virginia affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. No woman over 40 is turned away due to lack of funding.  A physician’s order is needed for a mammogram.

(WVU Release)

Obesity in low-income preschoolers

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The CDC came out with a recent report about obesity rates lowering in low-income preschoolers in many states. West Virginia has no change.

To view the report, click here:  http://www.cdc.gov/VitalSigns/pdf/2013-08-vitalsigns.pdf#page=2

Nineteen states/territories reported decreases in obesity among low-income preschoolers. Twenty states and Puerto Rico held steady at their current rate, and obesity increased slightly in three states.  But 1 in 8 preschoolers in the nation.

The prevalence of obesity among low-income, preschool-aged children in West Virginia is 14%<15% in 2011, according to the Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System.

 

 

The CDC recently released the online version of its 2014 edition of its Yellow Book, as per press release:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the online version of the 2014 edition of CDC Health Information for International Travel, commonly known as the “Yellow Book.” Nicknamed for its yellow cover, this is the ultimate guide for healthy international travel. The most recent version includes special guidance for people who will be living long-term in areas with malaria. The 2014 edition also expanded its chapter on select destinations, providing insiders’ knowledge and specific health risks about popular tourist destinations.

A team of almost 200 experts update this health guide every two years. The Yellow Book provides the latest official CDC recommendations to keep international travelers safe and healthy. It includes a complete catalog of travel-related diseases and up-to-date vaccine and booster recommendations. The information in the book does not just stop with infectious diseases; it also includes advice about preventing and treating common travel-related ailments such as altitude illness, motion sickness, and jet lag. The book offers useful tips on topics such as traveling with pets, packing a travel health kit, avoiding counterfeit medications in foreign countries, and getting travel health and evacuation insurance for emergencies. In addition, the Yellow Book provides advice for people traveling with young children, individuals with disabilities or chronic illnesses, and those traveling for humanitarian aid work or study abroad.

 

“International travel can be an incredible experience, but it has its risks and the hazards are ever-changing. The Yellow Book clearly and comprehensively gives the most updated health-related precautions and information for traveling internationally,” said Dr. Gary Brunette, chief of CDC’s Travelers’ Health Branch. “By following CDC recommendations, international travelers can stay healthy and safe so they can take full advantage of their traveling experiences.”

The 2014 edition also includes the following new features:

  • An expanded destination-specific list of vaccine requirements and recommendations to help travelers prepare for their next trip
  • Updated malaria risk and prevention information, along with ten new country-specific malaria maps, showing travelers if they will be in an area with malaria and how best to prevent it
  • New sections on infectious diseases related to travel: Escherichia coli, Salmonellosis, Fascioliasis, and Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease
  • New select destinations: Jamaica, Thailand, Vietnam, and Angkor Wat in Cambodia
  • Updated disease risk maps to help travelers understand where important diseases occur

Popular features from previous editions remain in the 2014 edition, including information on cruise ship travel, food and water precautions, international adoptions, and recent immigrants returning home to visit family and friends.

For travelers who want to easily take the Yellow Book with them on the road, a new mobile app with the complete 2014 edition will be available for iOS and Android tablets and phones.

The Yellow Book is published in hard copy by Oxford University Press, and is available at bookstores, through Internet book sellers or by contacting Oxford. The content is also available at CDC’s Traveler’s Health website, www.cdc.gov/travel. The website lets travelers search by destination and find information about basic travel health preparations and what to do if they get sick or injured while traveling. It is updated as travel health threats emerge and new information becomes available.

Pole Dancing … for Fitness?

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pole3It’s not every day you get an email about pole dancing classes. But apparently they’re coming to Morgantown in the fourth of 15 competitions across the country for Pole Dance America, as it looks for the best pole fitness performers.

MC Healthcare Inc. & Dance Rebellion and Fitness
Presents
The 2013 Pole Dance America’s Preliminary Competition
The New Era of Sport & Fitness is coming to Dance Rebellion and Fitness
August 11th, 2013 –  Mountaineer Mall – 5000 Greenbag Rd Morgantown WV 26501.
This is the 4th of 15 competitions taking place across the country as the Pole Dance America is looking for the best Pole Fitness Performers. Over the past six (6) years pole dancing  has made a big impact in the fitness world – pole fitness studios are opening up all across the America offering Pole Fitness, Yoga, Pilates, Zumba and much more.
In 2010 MC Healthcare Inc. Tax ID #20-2489112, a non-profit organization, began organizing and promoting Pole Fitness Competitions to educate and demonstrate the athleticism of using a vertical pole. The competitions also shows pole dance fitness as a competitive sport as well as a fun and exciting way to lose weight, build lean muscle, and increase your metabolism.
Dance Rebellion and Fitness is a local fitness studio offering alternative fitness classes to motivate and encourage people to stay active doing workout classes and programs they enjoy. Jasmine Scheffel is the owner and fitness program director and she says: “Pole toned my body, and I am now in the best shape of my life. After all of the amazing physical results, the best benefit was my new confidence. I want to share what I have learned with the world, and help other people feel the way I feel. Pole fitness has truly changed my life!”
This is the first and only systemic pole fitness competition in the world fusing gymnastic and theatrical performances utilizing a Vertical Pole. All divisions are open for women and men, 16yrs of age and up, amateur and professional and all levels. The winners of the preliminaries competitions move on to the 2014 Championship in New Orleans, LA.
pole1
Special Guest Judges:
2013 Pole Dance America Champion – Ms Stephanie Skyy from Leesburg, VA
Gemma Rayne Hughes – Exercise Physiologist, Fitness Expert and CEO of Risquerobics, LLC. of Morgantown, WV.
John Jonda – Pole Fitness Association Eastcoast Representative
Media is welcome to cover and interview at this event
Organization Name: MC Healthcare Inc./Pole Dance America
Event Title: The 2013 Pole Dance America Preliminary Competition
Event Location: Dance Rebellion and Fitness A 16 5000 Greenbag Rd Morgantown WV 26501
Event Date: August 11, 2013
Starting Time: Compulsory Round – 10:00a.m. and Performance Round 5:00pm
Tickets: $20 – Discount tickets for kids 17yrs and under
Family Friendly Event for ALL AGES

Putnam County Immunizations

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Putnam County will be offering back-to-school clinics this month.

Situated in a temporary location at the Putnam County Department of Health and Human Resources, clinicians will be administering vaccinations on Aug. 14 and 15 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Aug. 21 and 22 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Students entering seventh grade are required to show proof of a Tdap booster and a dose of meningococcal vaccine.

Students entering 12th grade are required to show proof of a Tdap booster and at least one does of meningococcal vaccine given after age 16.

Recommended vaccinations include Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (DtaP or Tdap), Haemophilus Influenza Type B, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Human Papillomavirus, Influenza, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Meningococcal, Pneumococcal, Polio and Varicella.

Those interested are encouraged to bring all vaccine records, registration form and insurance information.

More information is available at www.kchdwv.org.

In case you missed this one: The Senate Commerce Committee Chairman is concerned with the potential risks associated with kids drinking energy drinks.

The press release from Rockefeller’s office:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senator Jay Rockefeller said pediatricians have been raising red flags about the serious health problems energy drinks could pose for children, and questioned the wisdom of manufacturers’ marketing their potentially harmful products to young people.

Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, on July 31, held a hearing titled, “Energy Drinks:  Exploring Concerns about Marketing to Youth.” The hearing comes on the heels of a Congressional report issued in April that found several leading energy drink manufacturers are targeting young people with their marketing practices.

“I’m concerned that energy drink companies are aggressively marketing their products to teens on television, and through social media and event sponsorships even as public health experts are raising some serious, disturbing questions about these drinks,” Rockefeller said. “With doctors saying that energy drinks pose risks of heart arrhythmia, increased blood pressure and dehydration—particularly among young people—I want to explore whether companies are being responsible in the way they market energy drinks.”

Witnesses for the hearing included Dr. Marcie Schneider, a pediatrician representing the American Academy of Pediatrics; Dr. Jennifer Harris, a marketing expert from Yale University’s Rudd Center on Food Policy and Obesity; Dr. William Spencer, a Suffolk, County, New York, legislator and physician who spearheaded both a County ban on energy drink marketing to youth and the AMA resolution endorsing such a ban; and representatives of energy drink companies Monster, Red Bull and Rockstar.

According to a 2011 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), there was a more than tenfold increase between 2005 and 2009 in emergency room visits involving energy drinks.  Of these visits, 11% were made by youths aged 12 to 17 and 45% were made by young adults aged 18 to 25. As a result, the American Medical Association at their annual policy meeting in June adopted a resolution calling for a ban on marketing energy drinks to anyone under the age of 18.

Rockefeller last month wrote letters to the heads of four leading energy drink companies asking for information on their marketing practices ahead of the hearing.