Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Planning for Long-Term Health Care? PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 20 April 2012 14:55
Tips for Selecting Insurance Options

Thanks to Baby Boomers and modern medical marvels, more Americans than ever are heading into their senior years, and they’re expected to live longer than ever, too. Barely 50 years ago, our average life expectancy was 62.5 years; today that number has risen to 78.2 years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

That means that more Americans than ever will also soon be deciding how to handle their eldercare. Steve Casto, Retirement Income Specialist and author of Is Your Retirement Headed in the Right Direction?, (, says there are important questions and answers to consider before making that critical decision.

“The key thing to balance is the difference between what you think you’ll need and what you can afford between your liquid assets and insurance coverage,” Casto said. “If you don’t start by asking yourself the right questions, you’ll never get to the answers that will lead to a successful long-term care plan.”

Here are some questions – and their answers:

Q. Should I opt for nursing-home or in-home care insurance?
A. When selecting insurance plans, protect against your worst risk first. In-home care is more about maintenance, while care outside the home is focused on crises. Home care is good for when a person needs help getting around. If he has a stroke, he’d need to be cared for outside the home initially, so there is a need for both.

Q. What should I select as my daily allowance?
A. If your health deteriorates, a daily allowance of $100 per day could cover all your care outside the home, but only a third of the care inside the home. Your home-care costs could rocket to more than $400 or more per day, so plan for the worst.

Q. What is an elimination period?
A. Sometimes referred to as the “waiting” or “qualifying” period, this refers to the length of time between the beginning of an injury or illness and receiving benefit payments from an insurer. With long-term care, the typical elimination period is 90 days, which means you are responsible for covering the first 90 days of care on your own. Most people believe that Medicare covers the first 90 days, which is dead wrong. It only covers it under certain conditions, and not all patients meet those conditions, which include:

o A nursing home stay that follows a three-day hospital stay
o Admission to a nursing home within 30 days of hospital discharge
o A Medicare-certified nursing home
o Physician-certified need for skilled care on a daily basis

Your best bet is to be insured through a long-term care policy for that first 90 days.

“These are just a few of the issues,” Casto says. “A good starting point for those planning early is to completely discount the idea of getting a dime from Medicare. Even if it is still around when you need long-term care, the restrictions on Medicare are tightening. You’ll be lucky to get the program to pay for 10 percent of a nursing home stay.

“The real answer is to get a solid long-term care insurance policy that is based on a sound plan.”

About Steve Casto

Steve Casto is founder and president of Strategic Wealth Solutions, Inc. an Omaha, Neb.-based financial firm that manages money for investors in the Midwest. Steve helps clients reduce their tax bill, minimize their risk, and ensure they don’t outlive their money. He’s the author of Is Your Retirement Heading in the Right Direction? and offers presentations on how to increase income while reducing taxes.

Braley Calls for Investigation into Lean, Finely Textured Beef Controversy PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Kira Ayish   
Friday, 20 April 2012 12:50

Consumers deserve accurate information  


Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) wrote House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings urging them to conduct an investigation into recent claims made in the media about lean, finely textured beef (LFTB).


A series of recent stories on ABC News about LFTB were critical of companies like Beef Products, Inc. (BPI). Other public figures like celebrity chef Jamie Oliver have perpetuated the criticisms of LFTB. Following these reports hundreds of workers were laid off including over 200 workers from BPI's Waterloo, Iowa facility.


“As a father of three, I share every parent’s concern about what their kids eat. We need to know that the food we’re feeding our families is safe and nutritious. And as consumers we deserve to have accurate information.


“It’s important that we investigate the claims made against lean, finely textured beef and do so scientifically to ensure that consumers have accurate information on this and other products.”


Braley has called for those on all sides of the issue to participate in this hearing including the appropriate producers from ABC News, recognized food safety experts, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and workers from BPI.


Text of Braley’s letter is below; a copy of Braley’s letter can be downloaded at the following link:


April 20, 2012


The Honorable Darrell Issa                          


House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform                        

2157 Rayburn HOB                           

Washington, DC  20515                         


The Honorable Elijah Cummings

Ranking Member

House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

2471 Rayburn HOB

Washington, DC  20515


Dear Chairman Issa and Ranking Member Cummings:

As you know, there has been significant controversy surrounding claims made in the media about lean, finely textured beef (LFTB).  The public discussion regarding LFTB followed a series of reports on ABC News which were critical of companies such as Beef Products, Inc. (BPI).  In addition to ABC News, other public figures, such as celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, have perpetuated the criticisms of LFTB.  Following these reports hundreds of workers were laid off including over 200 workers from BPI's Waterloo, Iowa facility.

I strongly urge the Committee to conduct hearings and investigate these recent claims. I encourage the Committee to invite all sides to participate in this hearing including, but not limited to, the appropriate producers from ABC News, recognized food safety experts, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and workers from BPI.  Our constituents deserve accurate information about the products they consume and BPI's workers deserve an opportunity to answer their critics.

As a father of three, I share every parent's concern about what their kids eat. Food choices must be made based on nutrition and safety and consumers are right to demand that their food supply is safe. I look forward to working with you on this important issue so that accurate information is available to consumers for this and other foods. Thanks again.





Bruce Braley

Member of Congress


# # #

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."


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 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

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 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 or join our blog at

Blood donation opportunities:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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