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  You may call the Utah Association of Family Support Centers at 801-393-3113 or email

More information about Safe Haven services is available at

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 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,, 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

Monday, September 8, 2014

2014 Annual International High School Essay Contest

2014 Annual International High School Essay Contest
& the African American Male College Scholarships Competition The High School Essay contest is open to ANY High School Senior in the state of Utah. Locally, three small book scholarships will be given to the top essays. The local 1st place winner has a chance of winning one of four college scholarships at the National level1st Scholarship: $5,000; 2nd Scholarship: $3,000; 3rd Scholarship: $2,000; and 4th Scholarship: $1,000 

2) There will be two college scholarships up to $1,000 given to the winners of the African American Male Scholars competitions. One scholarship is targeted for a college-bound high school senior and the second one is for a currently enrolled college student in good academic standing. Based upon additional funding, a third scholarship may be given to a current African American male graduate student in good academic standing.  

Local competitions end on October 24, 2014. Contest is open to only Utah residents. For an application and complete contest rules, please go to our website ( Incomplete applications will not be accepted.

Winners must attend the Achievement Awards program in mid-November.
Please contact Dr. William A. Smith ( for additional information.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Salt Lake County Seeking Bilingual Temporary Office Specialist and Poll Workers

Position Description:
Office Specialists answer, screen and route incoming telephone calls, input voter registration forms into a database, and answer questions regarding election laws and ordinances.

Timeframe: September 15th through November 21st 
Hourly: $10.89
Work hours: Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, will require working some overtime.

Applicants must have the ability to communicate professionally, basic experience operating a personal computer, basic data entry and typing skills and possess strong customer service skills. Must be able to lift 35 pounds.

Applicants must be a US Citizen at time of hire.

Applicants having the ability to read, write and speak English fluently and speak conversational Spanish will be given preference.

Poll Workers process voters utilizing the State’s database system, reconcile daily voter counts, and assist citizens with the voting equipment as needed.

Early voting: October 21st through October 31st