Health, Medicine & Nutrition
ACT Today! Launches New Program to Help Individuals with Autism Facing Crisis Situations PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Daphne Plump   
Tuesday, 11 December 2012 08:50
ACT Today! (Autism Care and Treatment Today!) has launched a new program called ACT Today! SOS to address the needs of individuals with autism who face emergency situations.
NATIONWIDE, DECEMBER 10, 2012 - ACT Today! (Autism Care and Treatment Today!), a national non-profit organization whose mission is to provide care and treatment to children with autism, announces the launch of ACT Today! SOS, a new program aimed to
address the urgent needs of those impacted with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
“We understand some individuals on the autism spectrum are in immediate and personal danger or harm and are unable to wait up to 12 weeks for a response to their ACT Today! grant request,” says Nancy Alspaugh-Jackson, ACT Today!’s executive director. “The ACT Today! SOS program is designed to provide immediate support for families based upon need and the program funds available.”
To qualify for an ACT Today! SOS grant, applicants must have an immediate need for treatment or support and if treatment is not found, the applican’ts physical safety is in jeopardy. ACT Today! SOS will fund effective treatments and services to treat ASD and will not fund living expenses, travel, utilities or clothing. Income level of the applicant’s family must be below $45,000 per year and the applicant may not have received support from ACT Today! within the past 12 months.
There are currently three families on the ACT Today! SOS wait list.
The Maroni family of New Jersey has three children on the autism spectrum. The fence around their home was completely destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. The chances are now greater for the three children to run away, or “wander,” a common trait with children with autism.
Criscent is a nine-year old boy diagnosed with autism and currently living in California with his aunt and uncle. He was beaten and tortured in his home country of Uganda. His aunt and uncle cannot afford to provide Criscent with treatment for his autism.
Elijah is a four-year old boy from Iowa. He suffers from severe autism and needs a padded safety bed to prevent concussions caused by seizures and head banging.
“We are sending out an SOS and asking the community to help us help these families and others like them who are in dire need,” says Alspaugh-Jackson. “Starting this week, we will launch the ACT Today! SOS social media campaign, calling on the online community to make a donation, either by texting or on our website.”
For more information about ACT Today! SOS and the requirements, visit
About ACT Today!:
ACT Today! (Autism Care and Treatment Today!) is a 501(c)(3) national non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness and providing treatment services and support to families of children with autism who cannot afford or access the necessary tools their children need to reach their full potential. For more information about ACT Today!, visit:

Governor Quinn Receives Seasonal Flu Shot PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Erin Wilson   
Thursday, 06 December 2012 15:50

Encourages Everyone in Illinois to Get a Flu Shot During the Holidays to Protect Themselves, their Families and Loved Ones

CHICAGO – December 6, 2012. With the holiday season here and public health officials saying that we’re seeing more flu activity this year, Governor Pat Quinn today encouraged everyone six months and older in Illinois to get a seasonal flu shot. To mark National Influenza Vaccination Week from Dec. 2 through 8, the governor rolled up his sleeve and received a flu shot from the state’s Public Health Director, Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck.

“Public health officials are warning that this year we are already seeing a higher level of flu activity in some areas of the state than all of last flu season,” Governor Quinn said. “In order to stay healthy through the holidays and all winter long, the most important thing you can do is get a flu shot now, so that you don’t expose yourself and your family to unnecessary illness.”

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Illinois has seen an increase in flu activity this season. IDPH says that physicians in some areas of the state, including Cook County, are reporting an increase in people with influenza-like illnesses. There have also been recent institutional flu outbreaks and several laboratory-confirmed cases.

“Governor Quinn is setting a great example today,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck. “Getting vaccinated is the single best way for you to protect not only yourself against flu, but your loved ones as well. We recommend everyone six months and older get vaccinated.”

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year an estimated 5 to 20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu. On average, influenza in the U.S. results in approximately 200,000 hospitalizations and more than 25,000 deaths annually. Flu symptoms may include a fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, headache, body aches, exhaustion, chills and weakness. 

The influenza virus can be spread through coughing or sneezing. People can also get the flu by touching objects carrying the virus, such as telephones and door knobs, and then touching their mouth or nose. Public health officials recommend that in addition to getting a flu shot, it is important to practice “the three C’s”: Clean: properly wash your hands; Cover: cover your cough and sneeze; and Contain: contain your germs by staying home if you are sick.

The CDC says that young children, pregnant women, people with chronic medical conditions and the elderly are at higher risk of complications from influenza. Side effects are mild; some individuals may experience mild flu-like symptoms for a few days after vaccination and/or soreness at the injection site.

For more information about the seasonal flu shot and staying healthy, visit and


American Lung Association Report Says U.S. at Tipping Point for Policies that Help Smokers Quit PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Micki Sandquist   
Tuesday, 04 December 2012 14:35
Coverage in Iowa is lacking

Des Moines, IA– The United States is at a tipping point when it comes to policies that help smokers quit, according to the American Lung Association’s ―Helping Smokers Quit: Tobacco Cessation Coverage 2012‖ report. The annual report provides a  comprehensive review of each state’s tobacco cessation coverage and an up-to-date look at federal coverage and requirements
under the Affordable Care Act.

“Over the next year key decisions will be made by the federal government and the states about whether or not they will help save lives, prevent disease and reduce health costs,” said Micki Sandquist, Executive Director at the American Lung Association in Iowa. “We know that the vast majority of smokers want to quit, but the complex web of state and federal coverage for effective quit smoking programs and treatments prevents too many from getting the help they need. States and the federal government can reduce the enormous health burden of tobacco use by providing access to these proven interventions.”

The American Lung Association report shows that the federal government has missed several key opportunities to improve access to quit smoking medications and counseling. The record for the states is mixed, but far too many fail to ensure coverage.

The report’s key findings are:

Medicaid Coverage:

Two states provide comprehensive cessation coverage: Indiana and Massachusetts; two states provide NO cessation coverage: Alabama and Georgia; four states provided new counseling benefits for pregnant women in 2012: Colorado, Kansas, North Dakota, and South Dakota; and Connecticut and Tennessee announced new benefits for everyone in 2012 that are close to comprehensive.

State Employee Health Plan Coverage:

Four states provide comprehensive coverage: Illinois, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Rhode Island;

Zero states provide no coverage; and Florida, Georgia, Nebraska and New Jersey added new cessation benefits for state
employees in 2012.

Investment in State Quitlines:

Telephone quitlines are also an essential part of any state’s tobacco cessation efforts. As more and more smokers want to quit, the majority of states are not providing adequate funding for their quitlines.

Only two states—Maine and South Dakota—currently invest in quitlines at or above the recommended amount. This is a critical lost opportunity for people who are trying to quit.

Federal Coverage:

On November 26, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a proposed rule that requires the Essential Health Benefit coverage mandated by the Affordable Care Act to cover preventive services, including tobacco cessation.  However, because HHS has not yet defined what insurers must include as part of a tobacco cessation benefit, the Administration missed a crucial opportunity. Now, each state can choose its own benchmark plan, which will then serve as the Essential Health Benefit standard for plans in that state’s health insurance exchange. Until HHS officially defines a comprehensive tobacco cessation benefit, it has missed a crucial opportunity to provide many smokers with new access to help quitting, and to establish tobacco cessation as a truly essential health benefit for all health insurance coverage.

Iowa policymakers can now help smokers quit by including comprehensive tobacco cessation benefits as they implement state health insurance exchanges and Medicaid expansions.

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. The economic costs in the U.S. due to tobacco total $193 billion annually. Providing comprehensive quit-smoking treatments is crucial in both saving lives and curbing health costs – one recent study showed that providing this help has a 3-to-1 return on investment.

“Giving all smokers access to a comprehensive cessation benefit is not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do,” said Sandquist. “The bottom line is that quitting smoking saves lives and saves money.”


Editor’s Note: Available as a standalone graphic is ―Tobacco Cessation Treatment: What is covered?‖— the American Lung Association’s breakdown of what the biggest health insurance programs cover for tobacco cessation and how the Affordable Care Act changes coverage.

About the American Lung Association in Iowa: Our mission is to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is "Fighting for Air" through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit

Give one last gift this holiday season, give blood PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ben Corey   
Tuesday, 04 December 2012 14:10

PEORIA, Ill. (Dec. 4, 2012) — The holiday season is here, and with it comes the exchange of gifts amongst family and friends. But many hospital patients have a gift on their wish list this year that only generous hearts can give: a blood donation.

Once the hustle and bustle of the holidays subsides, the American Red Cross reminds people to give one last gift — give blood. A blood donation can be the most meaningful gift of the season.

As many as 44,000 blood donations are needed every day across the country to meet the needs of patients. Make an appointment to donate by visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities:

Carroll County
Dec. 29 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 502 Third St. in Savanna, Ill.

Clinton County
Dec. 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Lyondell Chemical Co., 3400 Anamosa Road in Clinton, Iowa

Henry County
Dec. 20 from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Kewanee Hospital, 1051 W. South St. in Kewanee, Ill.
Dec. 26 from 2-6 p.m. at First Christian Church, 105 Dwight St. in Kewanee, Ill.

Mercer County
Dec. 18 from 12-6 p.m. at VFW Hall, 106 SW Third Ave. in Aledo, Ill.

Scott County
Dec. 18 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Mel Foster Co., 3211 E. 35th St. Court in Davenport, Iowa

Whiteside County
Dec. 18 from 1-5:15 p.m. at River Bend Senior Center, 912 Fourth St. in Fulton, Ill.
Dec. 19 from 2-6 p.m. at Rock Falls Blood Donation Center, 112 W. Second St. in Rock Falls, Ill.
Dec. 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Rock Falls Blood Donation Center, 112 W. Second St. in Rock Falls, Ill.
Dec. 26 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at River Bend Senior Center, 912 Fourth St. in Fulton, Ill.
Dec. 27 from 3-7 p.m. at Rock Falls Blood Donation Center, 112 W. Second St. in Rock Falls, Ill.

The need is constant. The gratification is instant. Give blood.™

Shop the Holiday Giving Catalog:  The 2012 Holiday Giving Catalog at has even more charitable gift ideas. Shoppers can buy food and shelter for disaster victims, phone cards for members of the U.S. armed forces or vaccinations for an entire village, among many other gifts. Catalog purchases come with greeting cards for loved ones, letting them know a donation was made in their name.

How to donate blood
Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at


News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Laurie Johns   
Monday, 03 December 2012 11:11

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – Dec. 3, 2012 – Farmers, like many self-employed Iowans, are concerned about the rising costs for health care and the changing environment of health care regulations. To kick off Iowa Farm Bureau Week Dec. 2 – 8, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) has added a new benefit partner to help members qualify for an average of over $4,000 in tax savings to reduce out-of-pocket and health insurance premium costs.

BASE, a third party benefit administration company headquartered in Adel, Iowa, will work with Farm Bureau members who are self-employed or small business owners to customize a benefit plan for their specific needs and ensure the plan is in compliance with government regulations. More than 70 percent of self-employed are able to qualify for tax advantaged plans, regardless of how their business is structured.  BASE will also offer exclusive savings to Iowa Farm Bureau members on these plans, providing another tool in Farm Bureau’s suite of supplemental health care benefits designed to ease the pinch of rising costs.

“As farmers, we depend on our certified public accountant to provide us with every legitimate tax deduction we can get. That’s why we’ve been using the BASE Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) to deduct our medical expenses each year,” said Joanne Piercy, a farmer in Lenox. “With such a great tax savings each year, we’ll continue to take advantage of the BASE HRA as long as we’re farming.”

Iowa Farm Bureau members who own a farm or business and pay for health insurance premiums or out-of-pocket health care costs or are looking to provide an additional benefit to employees should contact BASE at (866) 550-5525 to see if they qualify. For more information, go to or


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