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Genetically Modified Organisms and the Food Supply: An informational Session

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On Wednesday, February 19th the League of Women Voters hosted an informational session on Genetically Modified Organisms with three distinguished speakers. George Hageman, Professor Emeritus in Microbiology at Indiana University opened the program with an overview and some background on the history and uses of genetically modified organisms for agriculture. Then Kyle Cline, National Policy advisor for the Indiana Farm Bureau, and Marti Crouch, a plant scientist at Indiana University and advisor on issues of agriculture and technology, presented their views on the multifaceted sides of this complex issue followed by questions from the audience. This event was recorded on location at the Monroe County Public Library for Standing room only, on WFHB

Interchange – Aging in a Modern Age

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This week on Interchange, host Alycin Bektesh speaks with Mela Hatchett and Mary Boutain of the Area 10 Agency on Aging about the changing perceptions and stigmas associated with aging.

Part 2 of Health and Education with Glenda Ritz and Rob Stone

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On Saturday November 23rd The Brown County Democratic Party invited the public to join a brown bag lunch session with Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz and the Director and Founder of Hoosiers for a Commonsense Health Plan Rob Stone, M.D. The event was free to the public, and included a question and answer period. Part 1 focused on Education and Part 2 explores Health issues here in the Hoosier State. This event was recorded on location at The Seasons Lodge Conference Center in Brown County by Community Access Television services for Standing Room Only, on WFHB.

Health and Education With Glenda Ritz

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 On Saturday November 23rd The Brown County Democratic Party invited the public to join a brown bag lunch session with Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz and the Director and Founder of Hoosiers for a Commonsense Health Plan Rob Stone, M.D. The event was free to the public, and included a question and answer period. Part 1 focuses on Education and Part 2 on Health here in the Hoosier State. This event was recorded on location at The Seasons Lodge Conference Center in Brown County by Community Access Television services for Standing Room Only, on WFHB.

Bloomington Hospital to fire 50 people by end of year

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Bloomington Hospital has announced that it will eliminate 50 positions by the end of the year.

A statement, signed by Mark Moore, President & CEO of IU Health Bloomington – the name given to Bloomington Hospital after IU’s takeover – justifies the job cuts in order reduce expenses in order to, quote, prepare for sweeping changes in healthcare.

This announcement comes in the wake of the parent company’s statement in September that it would be cutting 800 jobs across all of its affiliated hospitals. Indiana’s other large hospital group, Saint Vincent’s, announced last June that it had laid off 865 employees.

Accompanying IU health’s September statement on the planned job cuts was a claim that its income for the first six months of 2013 was up 20 percent.

However, IU Health claimed the massive jobs cuts were a necessary response to declining reimbursements and admissions.

These kind of job losses in Indiana hospitals has been predicted in consequence of national events, especially the cuts in Medicare payments to health care providers included in the across-the-board federal spending reductions under Congressional sequestration as well as the planned cuts in Medicare reimbursements under the Affordable Care Act, as it comes into operation.

However, even greater declines in public use of healthcare providers in Indiana was predicted after Indiana Governor Mike Pence chose to not participate in the largely federally financed expansion of  Medicaid under the ACA, which would have provided health care coverage for several hundred thousand more  Hoosiers.

 

New rule voted into affect to curb prescribing addictive pain medications

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The Medical Licensing Board of Indiana voted last Thursday to adopt SB 246, a new rule for physicians who prescribe addictive pain medications to nonterminal patients.

Starting December 15th this year, physicians will be required to monitor certain patient’s history via the state’s drug monitoring system called INSPECT. Dr.

Deborah McMahan, health commissioner for the Fort Wayne Allen County Department of Health and Education Chair for the Prescription Test Drug Force, helped to create the new rules. According to McMahan, more people die from accidental drug overdose than motor vehicle accidents.

Furthermore, a large number of young people are experimenting with prescription drugs they find lying around.

“I think the CDC identified a few years ago that prescription drug abuse has become a very serious problem in terms of overdose deaths,” McMahan said, “By really looking at this issue, we figured out that we need to step back and look at the information we’ve learned about chronic pain and what works and formulate some rules to help us prescribe more safely for our patients.”

Physicians will now obtain a more detailed physical history, assess mental health, and consider a patient’s potential for addiction before prescribing certain pills.

Doctors and patients will also sign a treatment agreement, which will memorialize the goals of the treatment and provide information to patients about the medications.

McMahan says challenges remain for both doctors and patients.

“The greater challenge that as a country and as a culture and a community, we’ve learned to accept a lower standard of being asymptomatic instead of rather being functional and healthy,” McMahan says, “I think it’s going to be a challenge for patients because it’s far simpler for me to write you a prescription to be asymptomatic. For me to make you functional and healthy, the patient has to be an active participant. I don’t think we’ve always pushed that in the past as much as we’ll need to in the future.”

Despite all these changes, McMahan is optimistic about the new rules and the future of the community.

“We’ve received surprisingly little negative feedback about the new rules,” McMahan says, “Change is always hard, I understand, but once we start seeing this cycle of health and wellness and how positive it affects our lives, I hope that’s a momentum we can keep going.”

The state Medical Licensing Board also adopted a new rule giving the Attorney General’s Office the ability to more efficiently review physician records, regarding controlled substances.

Luncheon On The Impact Of Adult Vaccinations To Be Held Friday

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It’s not only children who benefit from vaccines.

The Local Council of Women invites all those who are interested in learning more about risk factors of communicable diseases and the importance of immunizations for adults to attend an event at the Monroe County in Bloomington.

Nancy Lumbley, the President of Local Council of Women says it will be a “brown-bag luncheon” and during the luncheon, there will be speakers on the importance of adult vaccines.

“Hopefully we can answer any questions people may have about whether or not they should be taking these vaccinations,” Lumbley says.

Dr. Charlene Graves, currently Chair of the Indiana Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics Immunization Committee, and Amy Meek, Program Manager at the Monroe County Public Health Clinic, will speak on the event.

Ms. Lumbley says that Dr. Graves has very thorough knowledge on the importance of immunization and Amy Meek will be able to talk about the local impact of the lack of immunization here in Monroe County.

The event will be held at the YMCA Brown Bag Luncheon on Friday, September 27, 2013, from 11:30-12:30, at the Monroe County YMCA, 2125 South Highland, in Bloomington. If you are interested in this event, please call 812-961-2171 to make a reservation.

My Health Matters – Endwright Center: Jaime Sweany

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Jaime Sweany gives a short history of the Endwright Center and talks about the programs and impact the center hopes to make in helping the elderly communities of Bloomington and beyond.

Indiana Children are Growing Up Healthier

Indiana children are growing up healthier but the state continues to struggle with high rates of child poverty according to new data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count Data Book.  Indiana ranks 21st in child health, up 13 spots from last year. Indiana Youth Institute helped prepare the data.

“We see fewer babies being born at low birth rate, or babies being born at healthy birth rate,” said President & CEO for Indiana Youth Institute Bill Stanczykiewicz.

“We also see fewer deaths amongst children and teenagers especially teens when they are driving. And then lastly, we see fewer teenagers abusing drugs and alcohol, and when you take those together it explains the improvement in health indicators for Indiana.”

But when it comes to children in poverty, the state still lags behind. Child poverty in Indiana has increased since 2000. Nearly 1/4th of Indiana’s children age 18 and under are now living in poverty. Stanczykiewicz explains that’s mainly due to the state’s manufacturing jobs requiring more education than before. There are other factors that influence this, like an increase of children living in single parent homes who have a five to six times larger risk to be living in poverty.

“We have short term approaches we can take certainly helping people in need through charitable giving,” said Stanczykiewicz.

“Philanthropic efforts helping them enroll in social safety net, public safety net programs, and long term this report points out to the strong need of education, that we need more Indiana kids with more education at the high school so they can get today’s jobs and be able to support themselves in the 21st century economy.”

Indiana’s overall rank for 2013 out of 50 states and Washington, D.C. improved to 30th from 31st in 2012. In addition to the health and economic well-being rankings, the Kids Count Data Book ranks the state 34th in education and 30th in family and community.

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