Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Governor Quinn Announces Plan to Stabilize Illinois’ Medicaid System PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Thursday, 19 April 2012 15:46

Proposal Saves Medicaid System for Millions

SPRINGFIELD – April 19, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today announced a plan to stabilize Illinois’ Medicaid system and prevent collapse of the program, one of his top priorities this session. The Governor’s plan creates $2.7 billion in Medicaid savings – which includes more than $2 billion in Medicaid reductions and federal matching funds from additional revenues on tobacco products. Today’s proposal follows weeks of productive talks led by the governor’s office with a working group comprised of members from all four legislative caucuses, as well as meetings with numerous provider groups.

“We must act quickly to save the entire Medicaid system from collapse, and protect providers and the millions of Illinois residents that depend upon Medicaid for their healthcare,” Governor Quinn said. “This proposal will fundamentally restructure our Medicaid system, alleviate the pressures on the rest of our budget, and ensure the program is sustainable for years to come.”

Medicaid provides healthcare to 2.7 million people in Illinois and coverage for half of all births. In his February budget address, the Governor highlighted the urgent need for a $2.7 billion reduction in the Medicaid program to prevent systemic collapse. At the end of the current fiscal year (FY 2013), Illinois will have $1.9 billion in unpaid Medicaid bills. The Civic Federation projects $21 billion in unpaid Medicaid bills by 2017 if Illinois’ Medicaid system is not fundamentally and immediately restructured.

The Governor convened a working group – comprised of members from each of the four legislative caucuses – to explore all options and develop a framework to save our Medicaid system. The working group met with and incorporated suggestions from many provider groups, including: hospitals, podiatrists, durable and disposable medical equipment companies, long-term care providers, dentists, pharmacists, and hospice providers.

Governor Quinn’s proposal reduces Illinois’ Medicaid liability by $2.7 billion, with three-quarters of the plan comprised of cuts, reductions and efficiencies, one-eighth in state revenue, and one-eighth in federal matching funds:

·         Cuts, reductions and efficiencies to 58 separate items totaling $1.35 billion (50 percent)

·         Rate reduction to providers totaling $675 million – (25 percent)

·         Additional revenue through a $1 per pack increase in the cigarette tax totaling $337.5 million (12.5 percent)

·         100 percent federal match funding from the increased cigarette tax totaling $337.5 million (12.5 percent)

“The status quo is not an option, and I want to thank the members of the working group, who have worked diligently with us to find real solutions to this problem, “Julie Hamos, Department of Healthcare and Family Services director, said. “What we are presenting today is a balanced approach that targets fraud and abuse, continues our move to coordinated care for Medicaid clients, and takes advantage of federal matching funds to make every dollar go further.”

The cuts, reductions and efficiencies across 58 separate items in the Governor’s proposal include:

·         Program integrity to prevent client and provider fraud

·         Elimination or reduced coverage of certain optional populations and services

·         Controls on use of Medicaid services to prevent over-use or waste

·         Adjustments to rates that are outdated or do not reflect budget realities

·         Expanded cost-sharing by clients

·         Redesigned healthcare delivery system through Coordinated Care

·         Complete implementation of all reforms in 2011 Medicaid reform law

To access more funds from the federal government, the Governor’s plan to limit Medicaid liability includes a tobacco revenue increase. By including a tobacco revenue increase, which amounts to just one-eighth ($337.5 million per year) of the $2.7B savings we must find in the Medicaid program, the state will be eligible for an additional 100 percent in federal matching funds ($337.5 million per year).

In addition to the direct revenue, raising the cost of cigarettes by a dollar will improve the health of the people of Illinois, reducing tobacco-related Medicaid and health care costs over the long-term. According to the American Cancer Society, tobacco use cost Illinois $1.5 billion in Medicaid spending last year. Increasing the cigarette tax by a dollar a pack will prevent more than 70,000 children from becoming addicted adult smokers, decrease youth smoking by 11 percent and save more than 38,000 Illinois residents from premature, smoking-caused death.

"The American Cancer Society is pleased to see the Governor combining smart fiscal and public health policy with this proposal,” said Katherine L. Griem, M.D., President of the American Cancer Society, Illinois Division. “Smoking remains the leading cause of cancer and this proposal will not only reduce the burden on the state’s Medicaid program for years to come, but more importantly, it will save lives and improve the health of people across Illinois, particularly in curtailing youth smoking."

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Genesis Plans Events To Encourage Sun Sense PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Craig Cooper   
Tuesday, 17 April 2012 15:25
DAVENPORT, Iowa -- April 17, 2012 -- Three Genesis Health System events in May to recognize National Skin Cancer Awareness Month will reach both kids and adults with a sun-sensible message.

On Monday, May 7, Genesis will be handing out kid-friendly skin cancer prevention information and packets of sunscreen to young fans attending the Quad City River Bandits game at 11 a.m. against Peoria at Modern Woodmen Park. Several thousand school kids from the area are expected to attend the game.

Moline Dispatch and Rock Island Argus sports reporter Daniel Makarewicz, a cancer survivor, is sponsoring the sunscreen packets for the River Bandits game. Makarewicz, who covers the River Bandits for the Dispatch and Argus, raised money for cancer awareness at a raffle he organized.

Makarewicz will help distribute sunscreen packets at the game on May 7.

"As a survivor of cancer, I understand that there is a lot all of us can do to avoid many cancers, including skin cancer,'' Makarewicz said. "One of the lifestyle changes we can make is to limit our exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun and from tanning beds.

"Being sun sensible is a great message for kids to learn early because damage to our skin from the sun is cumulative over time."

On Saturday, May 19, Genesis will host its annual free skin cancer screening from 8-10 a.m. at the Genesis Cancer Care Institute, located at Genesis Medical Center, 1401 West Central Park Ave.

The screening is for people who have not previously had a screening for skin cancer. Appointments are required and should be made by going to www.genesishealth.com/classes and events/screenings/skin cancer screening. Select the preferred time slot, then click on the blue "Sign In & Register'' button, or you may "Continue As A Guest."

On Sunday, May 20, Genesis will provide sun screen and information to fans attending the Clinton LumberKings game against the Quad City River Bandits at 2 p.m. at Ashford University Field in Clinton.

"With many cancers, the number of new diagnoses are falling and survival rates are rising but melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, continues to rise in numbers and it is a cancer that is often preventable by our personal behavior,''
explained Kim Turner, research nurse, Genesis Cancer Care Institute. "That is why it is so important to practice sun sense not only in May, but throughout the year.

"The primary risk for developing skin cancer is overexposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays."

It is estimated that there will be 76,250 new cases of melanoma this year U.S. and melanoma will cause 9,200 deaths. Melanoma accounts for about five percent of skin cancer cases, but is the cause of the majority of skin cancer deaths.

Skin cancers are highly curable if detected and treated in the earliest stages. It is important for patients to recognize changes on their skin and to have their skin assessed on a regular basis by their health care provider.

Risk factors for non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancers include:

• Unprotected and/or excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation
• Fair complexion
• Occupational exposures to coal tar, pitch, creosote, arsenic compounds, or radium
• Family history
• Multiple or atypical moles
• Severe sunburns as a child

For more information about all cancers go to www.genesishealth.com/cancer.
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Give Blood in Honor of World Red Cross Day PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ben Corey   
Tuesday, 17 April 2012 13:58
May 8th is World Red Cross Day and the American Red Cross encourages eligible individuals to celebrate by donating lifesaving blood in their communities. The need is constant. Blood products are being distributed to hospitals as quickly as they are coming in and all blood types are currently needed to help maintain a sufficient blood supply.

For 130 years, the American Red Cross has been dedicated to helping people in need, every day, in communities large and small across the United States. The Red Cross is the only blood collection agency that offers health and safety training, serves as the vital emergency communication link between military personnel and their families at home, teaches disaster preparedness, and responds to disasters of all types and sizes. Join the Red Cross family and make an appointment to donate blood today.

How to Donate Blood
Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org 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 permission 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 more than 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 redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

Blood donation opportunities:

CARROLL COUNTY
5/4/2012, 3:00 pm- 8:00 pm, West Carroll High School, 500 Cragmoor Drive, Savanna

CLINTON COUNTY
5/9/2012, 11:00 am- 2:00 pm, Ashford University Calling Center, 1310 19th Avenue North,
Clinton

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

HENRY COUNTY
5/3/2012, 12:00 pm- 6:00 pm, First United Methodist Church S Campus Bldg, 224 N. State,
Geneseo

5/9/2012, 2:00 pm- 6:00 pm, First Christian Church, 105 Dwight St., Kewanee

5/10/2012, 2:00 pm- 6:00 pm, St John's Vianney Church, 313 S West Street, Cambridge

5/15/2012, 1:00 pm- 6:00 pm, First United Methodist Church, 214 N. W. Second Ave, Galva

MERCER COUNTY
5/12/2012, 1:30 pm- 7:30 pm, Sherrard Public Library District, 205 5th Ave., Sherrard

ROCK ISLAND COUNTY
5/8/2012, 1:00 pm- 5:00 pm, DHL Global Forwarding, 3100 69th Ave #2, Moline

SCOTT COUNTY
5/13/2012, 2:00 pm- 6:00 pm, Family Video, 2402 E. 53rd St., Davenport

WHITESIDE COUNTY
5/1/2012, 8:00 am-11:00 am, Old Fulton Fire Station, 912 4th Street, Fulton

5/2/2012, 2:00 pm- 6:00 pm, Rock Falls Blood Donation Center, 112 W. Second St., Rock
FallsAll presenting donors will be entered into a raffle to win a $25 Shell Gas card!

5/2/2012, 11:00 am- 4:00 pm, Erie High School, 435 6th Ave, Erie

5/5/2012, 8:00 am-12:00 pm, Dillon Elementary School, 1901 8th Ave, Rock Falls

5/7/2012, 9:00 am- 2:00 pm, Prophetstown High School, 310 Riverside, Prophetstown

5/8/2012, 1:00 pm- 5:15 pm, Old Fulton Fire Station, 912 4th Street, Fulton

5/9/2012, 10:00 am- 2:00 pm, Rock Falls Blood Donation Center, 112 W. Second St., Rock
FallsAll presenting donors will be entered into a raffle to win a $25 Shell Gas card!

5/10/2012, 3:00 pm- 8:00 pm, Tampico United Methodist Church, 202 Lincoln Ave, Tampico

5/15/2012, 1:00 pm- 5:15 pm, Old Fulton Fire Station, 912 4th Street, Fulton

5/15/2012, 12:00 pm- 6:00 pm, United Methodist Church, 200 West Lincolnway, Morrison

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Braley Secures $20.8 Million in Medicare Payments to Iowa Hospitals PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Tuesday, 17 April 2012 13:54

Affordable Care Act provision helps Iowa hospitals receive fair reimbursement from Medicare

 

Washington, DC – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today announced that 20 Iowa hospitals have received over $20.8 million in additional Medicare reimbursements under a provision of the Affordable Care Act known as the “Lowest Quartile Provision.”  These Iowa hospitals have historically been underpaid because Medicare bases payments largely on geography.

 

During the healthcare reform debate in 2010, Braley led efforts to save taxpayers’ money by eliminating geographic disparities and changing the way Medicare reimburses doctors and hospitals.  In a late-night negotiating session with Congressional leaders, Braley successfully added a provision to the Affordable Care Act to provide catch-up payments to hospitals located in the lowest 25 percent of counties receiving Medicare reimbursements.

 

“For decades, Iowa’s doctors and hospitals have been punished for no reason other than geography,” said Rep. Braley. “These payments are one more step toward ending these geographic disparities and reforming our Medicare system so it finally rewards quality of care instead of the number of procedures performed.  Successfully implementing these reforms will save taxpayers billions of dollars.”

 

Last year, the same 20 hospitals received a total of $12.5 million in catch-up payments under this law.  Under the “Lowest Quartile Provision”, Iowa has received the 4th highest amount of payments of any state.

 

Iowa doctors and hospitals have long received lower Medicare reimbursements than providers in other states because of a Medicare reimbursement formula that focused on geographic location over quality of care.  Despite offering some of the highest-quality, lowest-cost care in the nation, Iowa hospitals and doctors have historically been among some of the lowest-reimbursed providers in the country.

 

The following Iowa hospitals are receiving the funds:

 

Name

County

Estimated Payment

Broadlawns Medical Center

Polk

$75,000

Grinnell Regional Medical Center

Poweshiek

$150,000

Iowa Lutheran Hospital

Polk

$800,000

Iowa Methodist Medical Center

Polk

$2,850,000

Lakes Regional Healthcare

Dickinson

$125,000

Marshalltown Medical & Surgical Center

Marshall

$275,000

Mary Greeley Medical Center

Story

$800,000

Mercy Hospital

Johnson

$850,000

Mercy Medical Center - Cedar Rapids

Linn

$975,000

Mercy Medical Center-Des Moines

Polk

$3,550,000

Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa

Cerro Gordo

$1,675,000

Mercy Medical Center-Sioux City

Woodbury

$1,300,000

Skiff Medical Center

Jasper

$175,000

Spencer Municipal Hospital

Clay

$275,000

St. Anthony Regional Hospital

Carroll

$175,000

St. Luke's Hospital-Cedar Rapids

Linn

$1,325,000

St. Luke's Regional Medical Center

Woodbury

$625,000

Trinity Regional Medical Center

Webster

$725,000

Trinity Hospital

Muscatine

$125,000

University Of Iowa Hospital & Clinics

Johnson

$4,000,000

TOTAL

$20,850,000

 

# # #

 
Start Planning Now to Protect Your Kids from the Dual ‘Summer Slide’ PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Tuesday, 17 April 2012 12:47
Educator Offers Tips to Prevent Learning Loss, Weight Gain

Working parents are already lining up child care plans for the summer. While they’re at it, educators say all parents of school-age children should also plan for preventing the dreaded summer slide.

“The ‘summer slide’ is the information and skills children forget during summer break from the end of one school year to the beginning of the next school year,” says Carrie Scheiner, who created Exploracise (www.exploracise.com), to provide parents and educators with award-winning products and programs that combine learning, exercise and healthy lifestyle choices.

The education slide is well-documented by numerous studies, which were synthesized in the 1990s by Harris Cooper, then a professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He found that children could forget one to three months of learning over the summer.

“While some people are aware of the learning loss, many aren’t aware that children tend to gain weight more rapidly when they’re out of school,” Scheiner says, citing a 2007 study by Paul Von Hippel of Ohio State University. “He found that kids, especially those at risk for obesity, gain as much weight during the summer as they do all school year.”

What can parents do to keep young brains and bodies engaged in healthy ways over the summer? Scheiner offers these tips:

• Journal current achievement levels. How do you know if your child is affected by summer slide if you don’t remember where they ended the year? Create a summer journal and, in the first few pages, document what they most recently learned in their major subjects. Were they adding and subtracting double-digit numbers? Doing long division? What were some of their vocabulary or spelling words?  Throughout the summer you can track their progress and, at the least, maintain those levels – or maybe even move on to more challenging material.

• Try a weeklong educational day camp. We all want our kids to have fun during the summer, and they can. Enroll in the fun, active day camps that focus on art, music or swimming. But toward the end of the summer, have your children attend one week of math camp and one week of reading camp as a refresher.

• Feed the brain during free time. Kids have a lot more free time in the summer. With fewer scheduled activities, even kids who attend a camp may have more time to hang out in the evening. How can you feed their brain during this extra time? Visit the library and check out print books, audio books, educational DVDs, and even educational computer games.  Many websites offer activity ideas that you and the kids can enjoy together. For instance, a free e-book, “10 Top Fun Wise Games: Making Learning Math Fun” is available at www.exploracise.com.

• ACTIVE-ate the brain. Getting active exercises both the body and the brain. Just like our body needs exercise to stay healthy, so does the brain to keep those neurons firing. Encourage kids to stay active and play outside during the summer and allow only limited, scheduled times for sedentary activities like video games or TV.

About Carrie Scheiner

Carrie Scheiner was inspired by her own children to develop the first Exploracise® program that creatively teaches math facts during a complete workout.  Ms. Carrie created the award winning Exploracise® products and programs by bringing her math education background, passion for helping children and corporate expertise together to develop solutions for quality screen time, increased physical activity and kids education. Carrie Scheiner earned a bachelor’s degree in math with a minor in secondary education, and a master’s in statistics from Rutgers University.

 
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