Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Governor Quinn Signs Law to Improve Access to Mental Health Care PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Katie Hickey   
Friday, 27 June 2014 10:07

Illinois Becomes Third State in the Nation Allowing Clinical Psychologists to Write Prescriptions

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation to improve access to mental health care by allowing certain clinical psychologists to write prescriptions for their patients. The new law requires clinical psychologists to meet high education and training standards before applying for a license to prescribe medicine. Illinois is now the third state, along with New Mexico and Louisiana, which allow patients to get necessary medication from a psychologist. Today’s action is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to ensure all people have access to quality healthcare and improve the health and well-being of the people of Illinois.

“We have to make sure people across Illinois can be properly cared for by a medical professional they know and trust,” Governor Quinn said. “If someone needs help and lives on a budget, they shouldn’t have to make multiple appointments or travel far and wide to get a prescription. This new law will improve access to mental health care by cutting down the number of doctors that patients need to see in order to get their medicine.”

Senate Bill 2187, sponsored by State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) and State Representative John Bradley (D-Marion), creates a Prescribing Psychologist license that may be issued by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). This license may be issued to a licensed, doctoral level psychologist who has undergone specialized training, passed an examination and has entered into a written collaborative oversight agreement with a licensed physician. The psychologist may only prescribe medications to treat the mental illnesses of his or her patients who are between the ages of 17 and 65.

Under the previous law, clinical psychologists could provide mental health services to patients but were not able to write prescriptions. Typically, an individual sees a psychologist (a Ph.D.) for therapy and a psychiatrist (an M.D.) for their medication. The training requirements for prescribing psychologists under the new law mirror those of advanced practice nurses and physician assistants. The new is effective immediately.

"Southern Illinois has a limited number of psychiatrists, and allowing psychologists to prescribe certain medications only increases access to medical care and creates more opportunities for citizens to seek necessary treatment," Representative Bradley said.

“The unfortunate truth is that there aren’t enough psychiatrists in Illinois to meet our state’s needs,” Senator Harmon said. “Giving psychologists limited authority to prescribe medicine, in consultation with medical doctors, should help us fill our system’s current gaps.”

Governor Quinn has long supported affordable and effective healthcare for all. He signed a law in 2010 to expand needed access to dental services by allowing licensed dentists to provide volunteer care at a nonprofit health clinic, which can then receive payments from the state. The clinics can use the Medicaid funding to pay for dental care costs such as equipment and supplies. The law will help encourage more dentists to treat low-income families throughout Illinois.

Also under Governor Quinn’s leadership, Illinois proposed a five-year plan to transform the state’s healthcare system, including strengthening the state’s healthcare workforce, to meet the needs of Medicaid beneficiaries. If approved, the proposal would allow the state to obtain $5.2 billion in federal matching funds over five years to implement the plan.

Governor Quinn has signed multiple pieces of legislation to clarify and expand the scope of practice for certain healthcare professionals in order to ensure that Illinois residents have access to the healthcare they need. He also supports efforts to streamline and expedite veteran applications for professional licenses to benefit military families seeking employment and consumers seeking access to qualified healthcare professionals.


Are E-Cigs Really Safe PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Wednesday, 25 June 2014 13:04

4 Reasons Why Some E-Cigs Are a Safer
Alternative to Traditional Smoking
CEO Applauds FDA’s Proposed Regulations

The Food and Drug Administration is trying to get a handle on new smoking products, including electronic cigarettes, with newly proposed regulations that include banning sales to minors and requiring manufacturers to register all of their products and ingredients with the FDA.

“I like these proposals; the public needs clarity on smoking alternatives because we have 42.1 million adult tobacco smokers [CDC, 2012] who may be able to benefit from them,” says Anthony Sarvucci, CEO of American Heritage International, (, a company that develops e-cigarettes expressly for adult tobacco smokers who want to quit but have not succeeded.

“The bottom line is that we know how terrible traditional cigarettes are for people, but there has been a vacuum of information about e-cigs, which leads to a great deal of misinformation, some fear-mongering, and even simply making stuff up.”

Sarvucci gives four reasons why some e-cigarettes are easily a better alternative.

•  According to the American Lung Association, the average cigarette contains acetone, found in nail polish remover; acetic acid, an ingredient in hair dye; ammonia, a common household cleaner; arsenic, used in rat poison; benzene, found in rubber cement; butane, used in lighter fluid; cadmium, active component in battery acid; carbon monoxide, released in car exhaust fumes; formaldehyde, embalming fluid; hexamine, found in barbecue lighter fluid; lead, used in batteries; naphthalene, an ingredient in moth balls; methanol, a main component in rocket fuel; nicotine, used as insecticide; tar, material for paving roads; and toluene, used to manufacture paint.

•  “Adult consumers of e-cigarettes deserve to know what they’re smoking,” says Sarvucci, who adds that minors “absolutely should not be smoking or vaping, period.” American Heritage’s vapor fluid contains water and three food-grade quality ingredients – kosher vegetable glycerin and vegetable propylene and natural flavoring, and the nicotine is derived naturally. “We’re the only e-cigarette company for which all of the e-juice ingredients are sourced and mixed in the United States,” he says. “Fluid for most other e-cigarettes is sourced and mixed in China and it often contains dozens of ingredients.”

•  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarettes harm nearly every organ in your body and cause dozens of diseases. Cigarette smoke causes more deaths – combined – than HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol consumption, motor vehicle injuries and gun incidents. “We’ve made significant progress against cigarette smoke in recent decades, but it’s not only a problem of the past,” he says. Almost half a million Americans will continue to die each year, even though they know the statistics as well as anyone, because they are severely addicted. “Mimicking an authentic smoking experience, like my company tries to do, at least gives these people a better option that’s also healthier for the people around them,” Sarvucci says.

•  Smokers deserve hope … In American culture, we have a can-do attitude that is unique to the world, which largely accounts for our influence. We often have a tough time, however, admitting that an individual has a problem that’s beyond his or her control. Smoking cigarettes is that problem for more than 40 million of our friends, family and neighbors.

“Look — I wouldn’t have gotten into this business if it were to create new smokers,” Sarvucci says. “I went this route because, yes, it’s a highly profitable space, but it’s also an extremely helpful alternative for traditional smokers. If you’re a nonsmoker, ask yourself: What would you rather have in your body, a few edible compounds, water and naturally sourced nicotine, or nicotine accompanied by the chemical used to exterminate rats?”

About Anthony Sarvucci

Anthony Sarvucci is the CEO of American Heritage International, (, a publicly traded company that manufactures, distributes and sells disposable premium electronic cigarettes. The product uses ingredients that are exclusively sourced and mixed in America, and is designed strictly as an alternative for tobacco smokers and chewers. Sarvucci is past president and co-founder of Prairie West Oil and Gas Ltd. and serves as an investment banking consultant.

Bruce Braley Fights to Protect Social Security and Medicare PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Friday, 20 June 2014 14:54
Bruce Braley has a record of fighting to protect Social Security and Medicare, a promise he emphasized earlier this week at roundtable discussions with retirees in Cedar Rapids and Des Moines.

In contrast, state Sen. Joni Joni Ernst has repeatedly called for Social Security privatization, putting guaranteed benefits at risk. Privatizing Social Security and transforming Medicare as we know it would threaten the retirement security of over half a million Iowa retirees by gambling retirement savings on the stock market.

A roundup of local news coverage on Bruce Braley's commitment to protect Social Security and Medicare follows:

Braley Says Keep All Workers in Current Social Security System
Radio Iowa // Kay Henderson
The perennial issue of “privatizing” Social Security is now front and center in Iowa’s U.S. Senate race.  Bruce Braley says all workers should remain in the current system.

Retirees Tell Braley about Social Security Worries
Quad-City Times // James Lynch
Braley predicted Social Security will be “one of the big topics” is his race against GOP nominee Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Red Oak, for the seat now held by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.
He and Ernst “have drastically different opinions” on what should be done to ensure the long-term viability of Social Security.

Braley Talks Social Security, Medicare in Cedar Rapids
Braley has fought against plans to privatize Social Security and end Medicare.  He believes that would put seniors at risk.  Instead, Braley believes the programs should be strengthened.

Braley Hosts Retirement Security Roundtable in Des Moines
Braley says these programs are more than just an income for retirees—they’re a promise. He says he will continue to stand against privatizing Social Security, and will fight to keep Medicare from turning in to a voucher program.

National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare PAC Endorses Braley
Rep. Bruce Braley received an endorsement for his work to ensure benefits for older Iowans. He says this is an issue that is of vital importance for the tens of thousands of Iowa seniors.
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Quad City Health Initiative Launches Be Healthy QC Campaign and Presents Community Award in Celebration of its 15th Anniversary PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by QCHI   
Friday, 20 June 2014 14:06

The Quad City Health Initiative (QCHI) is celebrating its 15th Anniversary year with the launch of Be Healthy QC, a new cross-sector community campaign to promote awareness of local efforts that increase healthy eating and physical activity among Quad Citians, and the presentation of a Healthy Community Leadership Award.

QCHI was formed in 1999 as a community collaboration to create a healthy community.  With the financial support of its founding sponsors, Genesis Health System and UnityPoint Health-Trinity, and other partners, QCHI has evolved into a cross-sector collaborative infrastructure that harnesses the collective work of more than 120 volunteers from 60 organizations and reaches thousands of community members.

"Our health as individuals and our health as a community are intertwined," says Karla Steele, QCHI Board Chair.  "How and where people live, work, learn and play determines their health and the sum of our health as individuals influences the overall economics and vitality of our region.  For the last 15 years, QCHI has provided the planning and communications backbone to enable us to work across community sectors and create a healthy community."

Since its formation, QCHI has championed community efforts to address topics such as healthy eating & active living, mental health, tobacco use, and oral health care access.  One of QCHI's major efforts has been the alignment of our community's health assessment processes culminating most recently in the 2012 Community Health Assessment.

"We were one of the first communities in our region to successfully integrate health system and public health assessment processes," says Berlinda Tyler-Jamison, Vice President Community Impact and Advocacy, UnityPoint Health-Trinity.  "The comprehensive assessment provides data for the entire Quad Cities region that can be used by our community partners to improve the health of all Quad Citians."

QCHI's work has contributed to several improvements in our community's health status.  Notably, a higher percentage of adults and children have visited a dentist or dental clinic and fewer adults now smoke than a decade ago.  Unfortunately, the percentages of adults at a healthy weight and who engage in regular physical activity have been harder to change.  Continued efforts to improve these numbers led to the creation of the Be Healthy QC campaign.

"Our community has made tremendous strides in improving our community's health but there is still work to be done," says Denise Bulat, QCHI's Be Healthy QC Coalition Chair.  "Only 26% of Quad City adults and 46% of our children are at a healthy weight.  Fewer than 40% of adults participate in physical activity at the recommended levels and only 41% of adults report eating adequate servings of fruits and vegetables."

"Be Healthy QC is all about connecting the dots across our community on resources and activities that promote healthy eating and active living", says Ken Croken, Vice President Corporate Communications, Genesis Health System.  "As individuals start to see how dedicated our community is to creating a culture of health, we hope more and more people will embrace healthier lifestyles."

The new Be Healthy QC logo was unveiled at a community breakfast this morning held in celebration of QCHI's 15th Anniversary year.

During the breakfast, QCHI also announced this year's recipient of the Dr. Richard "Bud" Phillis Healthy Community Leadership Award which was named in honor of QCHI's founding Board Chair.  The award was presented to Denise Bulat who served as QCHI's Board Chair from 2010-2013.  Ms. Bulat is also the Executive Director of the Bi-State Regional Commission.

"From its beginning, QCHI has been about fostering collaboration and that requires a special type of leadership," says Nicole Carkner, QCHI Executive Director.  "Denise is a great example of a collaborative leader.  She has a passion for QCHI's mission but also great patience and humility.  Her expertise has helped to create the strong partnership QCHI is today."

The Quad City Health Initiative is a cross-sector community partnership working to create a healthy community.  A 25-member community Board oversees the organization, which was established in 1999.  The Initiative seeks to be our community's recognized leader for creating collaborative action on health and abides by the core values of commitment, collaboration and creativity.  Major financial support of the Quad City Health Initiative is currently provided by the generous direct and in-kind investments of Genesis Health System and UnityPoint Health-Trinity. Additional financial support is provided by Deere & Company, Mississippi Valley Health, KJWW Engineering Consultants, Davenport Eye Group, Russell Construction Company, Community Health Care, ILLOWA Construction and Labor Management Council, United Way of the Quad Cities Area, Scott County Health Department, and Rock Island County Health Department.

For more information, please call 563-421-2815 or visit our website at

7 Tiips for Preventing Diabetes PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Everyday Health   
Friday, 20 June 2014 09:00
Piggybacking the obesity epidemic, diabetes rates continue to surge. On June 10, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new and alarming statistics on diabetes. An estimated 29 million Americans have the disease, a nearly 12 percent increase from the 26 million diabetics in 2010.

One-fourth of people don’t know they have diabetes—a scary fact, given the complications of chronically high blood sugar: heart attack, stroke, sight-robbing eye disease, kidney failure, foot amputation. Worse, another 86 million adults have prediabetes, a condition of elevated blood sugar just below the threshold for diabetes.

The vast majority of cases are type 2 diabetes, a condition characterized by insulin resistance, meaning cells fail to respond to insulin. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin.

The good news is type 2 diabetes is largely preventable. A seminal 2006 study demonstrated that intensive lifestyle modification reduced the risk of developing diabetes by 58 percent, as compared to a 31 percent risk reduction achieved with the antidiabetes drug metformin.

  • Lose excess body fat. Being overweight is a big risk factor for diabetes.  In contrast, every kilogram (2.2 pounds) of weight lost reduces diabetes risk by 16 percent.
  • Follow a plant-based, low-calorie diet. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables—a dietary pattern studies show reduces diabetes risk. Foods to avoid are those rich in trans fats (also called hydrogenated fat), saturated fat, and sugar.
  • Drink water. Studies link sugar-sweetened beverages with obesity and diabetes.  Cut them out of your diet and the risk of both conditions falls.
  • Move your body. Physical inactivity raises the risk of diabetes. Exercise renders cells more sensitive to insulin. The aforementioned 2006 study had volunteers exercising moderately 150 minutes a week. Brisk walking does the trick.
  • Stress less. The stress response triggers the release of several hormones that increase blood sugar. Studies show that mindfulness meditation improves the ability to cope with stress. Physical activity and social support also help relieve stress.
  • Sleep well. Chronic sleep deprivation and poor quality sleep increase the risk for diabetes and obesity. For tips on sleeping better, see this Remedy Chick’s blog. If you have continued problems sleeping, contact your doctor.
  • Keep medical appointments. Warning signs of type 2 diabetes are less dramatic than those of type 1 diabetes.  That’s why it’s important to see your doctor regularly.

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