Tuesday, September 30, 2014

CDC Reports 1st Case of Ebola in U.S. at Dallas Hospital

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed on Tuesday that a patient being treated at a Dallas hospital has tested positive for Ebola, the first case diagnosed in the United States.

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas officials said in a statement Monday that an unnamed patient was being tested for Ebola and had been placed in "strict isolation" due to the patient's symptoms and recent travel history.

Presbyterian Hospital says it's taking measures to keep its doctors, staff and patients safe.
CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said that the patient arrived in Texas from Liberia earlier this month and exhibited no symptoms. The patient sought care last Friday and has been hospitalized in isolation since the weekend. Frieden said that officials don't believe there is any risk to anyone who was on the flight at that time.

State health officials say no other cases are suspected in Texas.

The hospital had announced a day earlier that the patient's symptoms and recent travel indicated a case of Ebola, the virus that has killed more than 3,000 people across West Africa and infected a handful of Americans who have traveled to that region. The CDC has said 12 other people in the U.S. have been tested for Ebola since July 27. Those tests came back negative. 

Read entire article.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Falls a Major Risk for Injury, Death Among Seniors

Every day, an average of eight Utahns aged 65 and older are hospitalized for injuries due to a fall. In 2012, there were 3,183 fall-related hospitalizations among older Utahns, costing more than $95 million in treatment charges. The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) reminds everyone that injuries from falls are largely preventable. 

“Falls are not a normal part of aging,” said Trisha Keller, Program Manager, UDOH Violence and Injury Prevention Program. “Most falls are preventable if we can help older adults learn what hazards to remove from their homes and help them increase their strength and balance.” 

Agencies across the Wasatch Front will host free events to help seniors remain active and reduce their risk of falling. Activities include one-mile walks, bingo games, health screenings, fitness demonstrations, and medication reviews. 

Events will be held at the following Salt Lake County Aging and Adult Services Senior Centers: 

  • Monday, Sept. 22 – Walk and health fair from 9 a.m. to 12 noon at the Taylorsville Senior Center (4743 S. Plymouth View Drive, Taylorsville) 
  • Monday, Sept. 22 – Walk and super bingo from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Columbus Senior Center (2531 South 400 East, Salt Lake City) 
  • Tuesday, Sept. 23 – Walk and health fair from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Millcreek Senior Center (2266 E. Evergreen Avenue, Salt Lake City)
  • Tuesday, Sept. 23 – Walk and lunch from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. at the Liberty Senior Center (251 East 700 South, Salt Lake City)
  • Tuesday, Sept. 23 – Walk and scavenger hunt from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Draper Senior Center (1148 East Pioneer Road, Draper)
  • Friday, Sept. 26 – Walk and health screenings from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at the Sandy Senior Center (9310 South 1300 East, Sandy)
  • Tuesday, Sept. 23 – Walk from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Autumn Glow Senior Activity Center (81 East Center Street, Kaysville) 
  • Tuesday, Sept. 23 – Walk from 11 a.m. to 12 noon at the North Davis Senior Activity Center (42 South State Street, Clearfield)
  • Tuesday, Sept. 23 – Walk from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Golden Years Senior Activity Center (726 South 100 East, Bountiful) 
The UDOH recommends four basic steps to reduce the risk of falls: 

  • Begin a regular exercise programExercise improves strength and balance, as well as coordination. 
  • Have your health care provider review your medicines. Some medicines or combinations of medicines can make you sleepy or dizzy and cause you to fall. 
  • Have your vision checked. Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year. Poor vision can increase your chances of falling. 
  • Make your home safer. Remove tripping hazards like throw rugs and clutter in walkways and stairs. Install grab bars next to your toilet and shower. 

 For more information about how to prevent older adult falls, visit 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Key dates for the Health Insurance Marketplace

Are you ready for the next Health Insurance Marketplace Open Enrollment Period? Open Enrollment is the time when you can apply for a new Marketplace plan, keep your current plan, or pick a new one.
4 key dates you should know:
  • November 15, 2014. Open Enrollment begins. Apply for, keep, or change your coverage.
  • December 15, 2014. Enroll by the 15th if you want new coverage that begins on January 1, 2015. If your plan is changing or you want to change plans, enroll by the 15th to avoid a lapse in coverage.
  • December 31, 2014. Coverage ends for 2014 plans. Coverage for 2015 plans can start as soon as January 1st.
  • February 15, 2015. This is the last day you can apply for 2015 coverage before the end of Open Enrollment.
To buy Marketplace insurance outside of Open Enrollment, you must qualify for a Special Enrollment Period due to a qualifying life event like marriage, birth or adoption of a child, or loss of other health coverage.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Enterovirus Has Likely Reached Utah

Doctors at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City are seeing a significant increase in respiratory illness over the past two weeks. They have identified enterovirus D-68 as the likely source of many of these illnesses.

Dr. Andrew Pavia is Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Primary Children’s Hospital. In his twenty years of experience, he says he’s has never seen this many hospitalizations for a viral disease in September.

“What we’re seeing is an increase in children with wheezing,” Pavia says. “Some look like they have severe asthma. Some are sufficiently short of breath that they need intensive care treatment.”  

Dr. Pavia says the hospital has seen about 100 children with these symptoms over the past 4 weeks. In response, Primary Children’s has stepped up their staffing and imposed restrictions on children visiting the hospital. The rapid increase in disease and the symptoms suggest to him that enterovirus D68 has reached Utah, but there have been no confirmed cases yet.

“We believe that what we’re seeing is very consistent with enterovirsu 68, but we are waiting for confirmation that it is here,” Pavia says.

Hospital staff have sent samples to Centers for Disease Control and hope to have an answer within two days. Pavia says concerned parents should know that the majority of children who contract the disease will have only mild symptoms. Those with asthma may be at risk for more severe symptoms. 

“For most kids, they’re just not going to be sick enough that they need to be seen at a hospital. Most kids won’t even need to be seen by a doctor,” Pavia says. “Use common sense. If your child looks sick enough to be brought into the doctor’s office, that’s the first step. If they’re really short of breath, that’s when you come straight to the hospital.”

Doctors say enterovirus is spread much like the flu, from contact with fluids. But unlike influenza, there is no vaccine for it. Thousands of children across the country have contracted the virus over the past 2 months. None have died from it. Based on trends in other states, Dr. Pavia believes the disease will likely subside in October.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Another incident of abandoned baby stirs reminder of Utah's Safe Haven Law

Any mother who’s unable to care for her newborn is encouraged to drop off her baby at Utah’s hospital.

Utah Safe Haven Law states that any Utah hospital that’s open 24/7 is designated as a “safe haven” where newborns can be dropped off. The mother remains anonymous and won’t be reported to the police, investigated, or criminally prosecuted. The idea: Moms who are unable to care for their babies can drop off the baby in any Utah hospital — no questions, no police. 

If you talk with someone who wants to drop off a baby, here's what you should do: Take the baby to the emergency department (ED).  The ED's staff are well trained in the state's Safe Haven protocol and prepared to follow up.

Moms, or whoever they've asked to help them, are encouraged to go to a Utah hospital and give their baby to an employee who's wearing hospital identification. All acute-care hospitals in Utah participate in the program.

“We’re not here to pass judgment,” says Melanie Longmore, RN, who manages Labor & Delivery at LDS Hospital. “We’re here to make sure mom and baby are safe. We want everyone to know: If you’re scared or unsure of what to do, there are options available so your baby can have the best chance at life.”

The Utah Division of Child and Family Services assumes legal custody of the child as soon as the division is contacted by the hospital, which should be no more than 24 hours after the baby is dropped off, then places the baby for immediate adoption.

Resources for moms and others who need help:
An anonymous crisis line is available 24/7 at 1-866-458-0058.  Local family support centers often provide emergency, temporary child care or nurseries where families can drop off children 24/7, sometimes for up to 72 hours, so families can take a break, go to medical appointments, or for other reasons. A list of centers available in Salt Lake County is posted at http://utahfamilysupport.org/find-a-center/salt-lake-county.  You may call the Utah Association of Family Support Centers at 801-393-3113 or email utahfamilysupport@gmail.com.

More information about Safe Haven services is available at www.utahsafehaven.org

Intermountain Medical Center article

Two Utah Organizations Receive CMS Grant to Continue Providing In-Person Assistance for ACA Enrollment

Two organizations that focus on access to health care have received a continuation grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to continue to provide in-person assistance for those needing help enrolling in the Affordable Care Act health insurance Marketplace.

Utah recipients are: 
  • Utah Health Policy Project: The Utah Health Policy Project is a nonprofit organization dedicated to lasting solutions to the crisis of the uninsured and rising health care costs. The Utah Health Policy Project served as a 2013 Navigator grantee and will continue the Take Care Utah Navigator Hub that connects nonprofit community-based organizations with resources on health coverage options. 
  • Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake: Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake will target tribal and urban American Indian (AI) members of the Ute Tribe of the Ouray and Uintah Reservation, the Confederated Tribe of the Goshutes of Ibapah, and the Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake (UICSL) who reside along the Utah’s Wasatch Front. It plans to conduct outreach at the Indian Training & Education Center, and by making regular visits to the Native American Trading Post, homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, and halfway homes.
The Open Enrollment period for 2015 coverage is November 15, 2014 to February 15, 2015.  Coverage can start as soon as January 1, 2015.  Go to healthcare.gov for more information.

New Website Helps Utahns Live Violence- and Injury-free Lives

Did you know that injuries are the leading cause of death for Utahns ages 1-44? The next time you wonder about how to keep your family safe, the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) wants you to visit their new injury prevention website. The website features safety tips and data on a variety of topics including suicide, prescription drug overdoses, and sports concussions. 

Injuries can have a dramatic impact on a person’s ability to lead an active, fulfilling life. Every day in Utah:

•    4 people die from injury or violence (1,829 deaths  );
•    31 are hospitalized due to injury or violence (12,280 hospitalizations ); and
•    444 are seen in an emergency department due to injury or violence (154,047 visits )

In 2012, the top five injury-related causes of death in Utah were suicides, poisonings, falls, motor vehicle traffic crashes, and unintentional suffocations. The rate of injury deaths in Utah increased significantly from 2010 to 2012 (65.3 per 100,000 and 72.3 per 100,000, respectively). Research shows that most injuries are predictable and preventable.

The new website, www.health.utah.gov/vipp, features 20 violence and injury topics that impact individuals across their lifetime. Stories and quotes from Utahns impacted by injuries and violence are also highlighted on the new website. The most recent data, prevention tips, and resources are provided for each topic, which include:

Bicycle Safety
Child Fatalities
Child Maltreatment
Child Passenger Safety
Dating Violence
Domestic Violence
Infant Sleep
Motor Vehicle Crashes
Pedestrian Safety
Prescription Drug Overdoses
Rape and Sexual Assault
Sports Concussions
Safe Kids Utah
Student Injuries
Teen Driving
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Violent Deaths
Youth Suicide

The new injury prevention website is available at http://health.utah.gov/vipp