Monthly Archives: July 2013

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Spending for the Scoop

It’s no surprise that the healthcare market’s biggest problem is information transparency. People don’t understand the changes being made in the Affordable Care Act, so the benefits aren’t being taken advantage of to their full potential.

One of the biggest changes is the implementation of the new Health Insurance Marketplace – a way for individuals to shop around and compare insurance plans to easily decide on the right plan for them.

Colorado is doing their best to educate its residents.

The Colorado health insurance marketplace, called Connect For Health Colorado, “was one of the first to start organizing its exchange two years ago.”

The more than $21 million spent on marketing and advertising puts Colorado standing eight in the nation for spending to promote the Affordable Care Act.

While this may seem like a lot, the efforts are absolutely necessary. Colorado has more than 700,000 uninsured residents. They all need to find plans by January 1st or they risk federal fines. The Connect for Health Colorado plan can help them find the best plans.

To fully understand what the healthcare marketplace is, check out our friends in NY’s blog: Rosetta Radiology, or take a look at the original article from 9 News.

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The Cindy Fowler Story

When Colorado-native Cindy Fowler found out she had breast cancer, she was able to keep a remarkable attitude. “I learned how strong I am, and the busier you can keep yourself, the better,” she said, “I learned I could still have fun.”

Attitude is half the battle when facing cancer. The other half? Education.

“I know I am in the best hands possible. I totally trust my doctors, and I am confident they are doing everything they can.” Still, though, upon diagnosis, Cindy and her husband threw themselves into research to find out everything they could about breast cancer.

As she arrived home from visiting her daughter, who was studying abroad, Cindy felt a lump in her breast. The mammograms were normal. However, “I was lucky enough to have a primary care physician who said, ‘I am not an expert in breast cancer, and I want you to see someone who is.’” Further diagnostic tools showed that Cindy had multifocal cancer of the left breast.

One of her doctors, Chris Martlett, M.D. and Medical Director of the Memorial Breast Care Center and diagnostic mammography services, explained that “The Breast Center concept has dramatically changed how breast cancer is treated.” They move through the system of treatment as quickly as they can.

A nurse navigator was even available, at no extra charge, to help Cindy through treatment, care coordination, appointment scheduling and referrals, questions, and offering outside resources (like the Memorial’s library, complementary care, rehabilitation, and support groups).

Cindy chose a double mastectomy as her first course of action because of her family history. After that, she moved onto chemotherapy treatment, radiation treatment, and endocrine therapy.

Dr. Kurbegov explained that “one of the differences between chemo now and 10 years ago is that we can manage side effects well.” Another important reason to understand your disease and stay well informed. Cindy knew she had a history of peptic ulcer which could be irritated during her chemo, so she was prescribed stomach pain and cramping medicine.

Her experience with chemo was not at all what she expected. She admitted to be tired, and sometimes dizzy, but she was OK. She thought it was going to be a lot worse than it was.

In fact, while going through treatment, Cindy was able to step up and put together an incredibly successful fundraiser called Cowgirls and Cocktails. The first event raised $8,000 for three local organizations, two of which are breast cancer charities. Now, three years later, the event raised $23,000.

Cindy wants women, and everyone, really, to learn from her experience. Keeping an actively happy attitude can make all the difference in your lifestyle.

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Community Health Improvement Plan

The Colorado Public Health Department is completing a Community Health Assessment as part of the Colorado Senate Bill 194 – Health Reauthorization Act.

The Colorado Public Health Department has offered funds to the Pueblo City-County Health Department to conduct this assessment of county-wide organizations promoting good health and how we can improve.

The process was five steps long, including taking inventory of what problems are at the forefront within Pueblo and which issues are we most able to fix.

“The two priorities selected to work on in Pueblo County include: obesity and teen & unwanted pregnancies.”

So, the Community Health Improvement Plan will be taking action against this issues, giving support and preference to organizations doing what they can to promote awareness and offer solutions.

This plan will also influence the Health Department in state-wide changes to promote a healthier Colorado.

“It truly does take an entire community working together to make a lasting impact.”

You can see the full article at the Pueblo City-County Health Department’s site, here.

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The Spread of Contaminated Injections

And how MRI scans can help.

http://www.youtube.com/v/74VB80REdV4?fs=1

Between November 2012 and April 2013, a batch of fungal contaminated methylprednisolone (which is a steroid) left New England and was distributed to patients, mostly in Michigan. There were 172 patients who received a dose of the especially contaminated lot No. 062921012@26

After receiving the injection, usually as a treatment for back pain, a wave of patients developed meningitis. As time went on, the outbreaks of meningitis lessened, but fungal spinal or paraspinal infections became more frequent.

Even long after the steroids were injected, paraspinal infections continued to present symptoms. Many didn’t notice the symptoms because they were being treated for back pain already; it would just appear the treatments weren’t working as the pain continued.

Patients who sought medical attention were given an MRI at the injection site. Of the 172 patients who were screening, 36 (21%) had MRI abnormalities, and 35 of those 36 found either probable or confirmed fungal spinal or paraspinal infections.

They were then treated with antifungal agents, but 24 still needed surgical intervention.

There were even 5 patients who denied showing symptoms, but were later found to have a fungal infection.

It’s important to stay aware of your body and what you’re feeling. If you receive an injection of any kind and later don’t feel right, it doesn’t hurt to call your doctor and ask questions. If you need an MRI, give us a call. Open MRI of Pueblo is here to help.

You can read the full article here.