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October 2019  |  1


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October 2019


Inspire, Inform & Educate


89th Edition

Sisters Network, Inc.


of Service & Leadership 03


05 Why Is Suicide a Growing Problem in the Black Community?

02 Medicare Open Enrollment: How to save Money Next Year Experience Our World of Advertising, Marketing, Media and Communication

04 5 Easy Ways To Be A More Active Dad

2  |  October 2019 HEALTH



Open Enrollment costs for prescribed medications, offers the following tips for navigating Medicare Open Enrollment.

By News Provider


edicare Open Enrollment is about to kick off. For most people already enrolled in Medicare, the annual Open Enrollment period (Oct. 15 through Dec. 7) is the only opportunity to make changes to your existing Medicare coverage. Even if you are happy with your Medicare coverage, you should take the time to explore your options. There may be a plan that is better suited to your health and financial needs that could save you hundreds of dollars in the upcoming year. During Medicare Open Enrollment, Medicare beneficiaries can switch Part D prescription drug plans; switch Medicare Advantage plans, which offer health (and often drug) coverage through private insurers; switch from Original Medicare, administered by the federal government, to Medicare Advantage; or switch from Medicare Advantage back to Original Medicare. All changes made to coverage during Open Enrollment take effect on Jan. 1, 2020. Dan Klein, president and CEO of the Patient Access Network (PAN) Foundation, an independent charitable organization dedicated to helping people afford outof-pocket

1. Do your homework Take the time to shop around and understand the benefits and costs of each plan so you can find the coverage that works best for you. Changes to your health status, doctors or other healthcare providers, prescription drugs or budget may mean that your current plan is no longer the most cost-effective choice for you. Insurance companies can also make annual changes to their plans that might affect the drugs covered, provider networks and your out-of-pocket costs.

2. Make sure your doctors and providers are in-network Before selecting a Medicare Advantage plan, it's smart to check that your preferred doctors, hospitals and pharmacies are in the plan's provider network. If you visit a doctor, hospital or pharmacy that is outside of the network, you will likely have to pay more. If your insurance company has changed your plan's provider network for next year, you may want to use Open Enrollment to switch to a plan that will include your current doctors, hospitals and pharmacies in-network to lower your medical costs. Note: With Original Medicare you can go to any doctor that accepts Medicare patients.

3. Make sure your medications are covered Medicare Part D helps cover the cost of prescription drugs. Many Medicare Advantage plans provide prescription drug coverage as well. It's important to ensure that your plan covers the medications you need and that the plan's network of pharmacies makes it convenient for you to access your drugs. Switching prescription drug coverage, or even adding it for the first time, can help make the critical medical treatments you need less expensive.

you will be responsible for paying under the plan, including the deductible, out-of-pocket limit, co-pays and co-insurance. Also, if you are enrolled in Original Medicare and do not already have supplemental coverage, now may be a good time to consider purchasing a Medigap plan.

5. Determine how you will pay for your outof-pocket costs With rising deductibles, premiums, co-pays and coinsurance, the inability to pay is a growing problem for people with Medicare. There may be assistance available to you if you cannot afford the out-of-pocket costs for your prescription medications. You should research your options now. If you have limited income and resources, you may qualify for a federal Medicare Low Income Subsidy (LIS) - also known as Extra Help - to help pay for your prescription drug costs. You may also be eligible for a patient assistance program that provides people with financial assistance to cover out-of-pocket costs for their medical treatments. You can learn more about PAN and patient assistance charities by visiting PANFoundation. org. Other helpful online resources are available at:

• • • By taking the time to re-evaluate your existing coverage and learn about all the options, you may be able to save significantly on your healthcare costs next year.

4. Assess if your plan is still a good fit for your budget Annually, there may be changes to your Medicare plan that affect your out-of-pocket costs. Out-of-pocket costs are your expenses for medical care that aren't reimbursed by insurance. When selecting a plan, you should consider what Experience Our World of Advertising, Marketing, Media and Communication

Source: BPT

October 2019  |  3 HEALTH

Sisters Network, Inc.


of Service & Leadership National Breast Cancer Awareness Month Spotlight As we embark on National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Sisters Network® Inc. is proud to celebrate their 25th Anniversary as the only National African American Breast Cancer survivorship organization in the United States. Over the last 25 years, Sisters Network’s National leadership and affiliate chapter members have made a significant impact by remaining committed to the organization’s mission to increase local and national attention to the devastating impact that breast cancer has in the African American community. According to the American Cancer Society, though black women get breast cancer at a slightly lower incidence rate than white women, black women are 42% more likely to die of breast cancer. Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among black women, and an estimated 33,840 new cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2019. This year, black women will make up 12.5% of all new breast cancer cases and 15.5% of all breast cancer deaths. Additionally, the overall five-year relative survival rate for breast cancer diagnosed is 81% for black women versus 91% for white women. Black women under age 35 get breast cancer at two times the rate of white women and die from breast cancer three times as often as white women. In honor of Sisters Network Inc.‘s 25 years of service as a leader in the African American breast cancer awareness movement, the organization is celebrating this historic milestone anniversary with a fundraising campaign. Funds raised will be used to secure the necessary resources to support the organization’s outreach initiatives and breast health programs. “Breast cancer is the most imperative health issue facing African American women. I am proud of the 25-year impact Sisters Network has made nationally elevating breast cancer awareness in the African American community. As a 26-year and four-time breast cancer survivor, I remain committed to the fight against breast cancer. I know now, more than ever, the critical role Sisters Network continues to play in educating our sisters about the importance of early detection. Our anniversary fundraising initiative will support Sisters Network as we develop new innovative breast health awareness programs to help save our Sisters’ lives. We must Stop the Silence and talk about breast cancer in the African American community, so that our sisters can beat the odds and change these very disturbing statistics,” said Karen Eubanks Jackson, Founder/CEO, Sisters Network Inc. “Breast cancer does not need to be a death sentence. As we position our organization for the next decade, we at Sisters Network Inc. are focused on reducing the mortality rate of breast cancer among African American women. We are raising funds to strengthen our efforts to educate and empower our community with information on the importance of early detection, to assist our sisters in treatment and to advocate for research for more life-saving treatments and a cure,” said Ricki Fairley, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and National Programs and an 8 year survivor of Stage 3A Triple Negative Breast Cancer. “Sisters Network looks forward to continuing to be the leading national voice for African American women in the fight against breast cancer,” added Jackson. Join Sisters Network Inc. in this silver anniversary celebration. Donations can be made at Experience Our World of Advertising, Marketing, Media and Communication

4  |  October 2019 HEALTH

Hogg Foundation to Award $2 Million in Grants for 2020 Census, Black Communities a Key Focus By News Provider


USTIN, Texas – This year, the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health is celebrating 80 years of supporting the mental health and well-being of Texans. As part of their anniversary efforts, the foundation is accepting proposals for the Texas Communities Count initiative, which will support complete count efforts in Texas for the 2020 U.S. Census. The foundation plans to award grants totaling $2 million. The primary focus is to aid collaborative approaches that aim to reach traditionally hard-to-count (HTC) populations, communities and geographic areas throughout the state. The goal is to promote active participation in the 2020 Census so that every person in Texas is counted. Without a complete count during the 2020 Census, Texas will face unprecedented challenges, losing both resources and representation for at least a decade. An accurate and complete census is necessary to determine fair allocation of

federal dollars for resources, services and infrastructure that support our everyday quality of life. The African American community has been historically undercounted in the census. The Census Bureau estimates that African Americans were undercounted by more than 800,000 in the 2010 U.S. Census, and that approximately 7 percent of young African American children were overlooked by the 2010 Census, roughly twice the rate for young nonHispanic white children. This legacy of undercounting has had a negative impact on African American communities and furthers inequities. “An undercount of Texas’ population by even one-percent could result in a $300 million loss in federal funding, and 25 percent of Texans—over 6 million people—live in hardto-count neighborhoods,” said Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Jr., executive director of the Hogg Foundation and senior associate vice president for diversity and community engagement at The University of Texas at Austin. “So the stakes, particularly for African Americans and other historically excluded communities, couldn’t be higher.” The foundation seeks proposals that support (1) direct,

local, on-the-ground complete count efforts or (2) statewide coordination of these local efforts. Preference will be given to strategies that focus on HTC populations and communities or geographic regions in Texas that are designated as health professional shortage areas. Hard-to-count populations are defined as persons who typically do not get captured by census data, according to the Census Bureau’s research. Examples are children under the age of five, highly mobile people, racial and ethnic minorities, non-English speakers, low-income and persons experiencing homelessness, and undocumented immigrants. People with mental health conditions are also a HTC population. A useful guide to HTC populations can be found here. “Due to the fact that many of the hard-to-count populations live in health professional shortage areas in Texas, federal funding is even more paramount to closing the gap of what health care is available to support well-being and mental health” said Emily Bhandari, strategic learning and evaluation program officer for the Hogg Foundation. In addition to ensuring an accurate count, this initiative is also an opportunity to promote new forms of community collaboration and civic engagement that yield benefits for Texans over the long-term. The deadline for submitting proposals is September 23, 2019. Details about the initiative and how to apply can be found at ABOUT THE HOGG FOUNDATION FOR MENTAL HEALTH Established in 1940, the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health envisions a future in which the people of Texas thrive in communities that support mental health and well-being. Using a variety of approaches, including grantmaking, convening, research and public policy, the foundation works collaboratively to transform how communities promote mental health in everyday life. Source: Hogg Foundation #2020 Census

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I am here. I exist. I matter.

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October 2019  |  5

E D I C I U S S I Y WH the

n i m e l b o r P g n i a Grow

? Y T I N U M M O C K BLAC By Stacy M. Brown NNPA Newswire Contributor


t’s no secret that African Americans – particularly teens – are committing suicide at record levels. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates have increased by 30 percent since 1999 and nearly 45,000 lives were lost to suicide in 2016 alone. A June 2019 study conducted by the Journal of Community Health revealed that suicide deaths among black females aged 13 to 19 rose 182 percent between 2001 and 2017, while the rate among black teen males rose 60 percent during that same period. From 2015 to 2017, 52 percent of black teen males who died from suicide used firearms, a method with a fatality rate of nearly 90 percent. Another 34 percent used strangulation or suffocation, which has a fatality rate of about 60 percent. Among the 204 black teen females who died by suicide from 2015 to 2017, 56 percent used strangulation or suffocation and 21 percent used firearms, according to the study. Experts and others have tried to determine why African Americans increasingly are choosing to end their lives. Theories have run the gamut – from the lack of strong father-figures to racism and social media and even the increase in black wealth. Whatever the reason, the CDC said it’s important to note that suicidal thoughts or behaviors are both damaging and dangerous and should be treated as a psychiatric emergency. CDC officials also caution that those who have suicidal thoughts should understand that it doesn’t make one weak or flawed. “Why are we killing ourselves? The lack of treatment of mental illness is the key

factor to why suicide is on the rise in the black community,” said Clarence McFerren, a mental health advocate and author who admits to previously having suicidal thoughts as a teenager. “Throughout my life, I’ve been faced with difficult situ-

ations which festered into five mental illness diagnosis – ADHD, PTSD, severe depression, bipolar tendencies and anxieties – and I did not understand what was going on until I took the steps to get help,” McFerren said. Famed Beverly Hills family and relationship psychotherapist and author, Dr. Fran Walfish said she’s treated hundreds of thousands of children and teens each year and recently she’s seen the number of troubled teenagers who are cutters and dealing with suicidal thoughts, feelings, ideas, plans, and even attempts of suicide. “There is nothing glamourous about suicide. The one common-denominator shared by all who cut, contemplate or attempt suicide is that they feel emotionally alone in their families,” said Walfish, the author of “The Self-Aware Parent,” and who appears regularly as an expert child psychologist on the CBS Television series, “The Doctors.” “They feel there is no one person they can talk to about their pain who will listen, validate, understand,

and be a safe warmly attuned place for comfort,” she said. Sam Gertsmann, the founder of Opinion-Lounge, a website for discussing politics, said he’s had extensive experience working suicide hotlines. “While suicide is a complicated topic, it’s clear that the rise of social media is one of the main causes of the recent jump in suicide rates,” Gertsmann said. “Social media show users pictures and videos of everyone living better lives than they are; even though these pictures are often staged and paint an inaccurate picture, the brain isn’t able to differentiate and simply sees that everyone else is better off,” he said. “Social media also puts numbers on your popularity – your followers, your likes, your replies. And, no matter how many you have, you’ll always want more,” Gertsmann said. Kevin Darné, the author of “My Cat Won’t Bark! (A Relationship Epiphany), believes that the suicide rate among young African Americans is due to the growing list of black millionaires and billionaires. “Today, we have Oprah owning a TV network, Tyler Perry owning his own studios, Shonda Rhimes owning her night of television on ABC, Jaz-Z becoming a billionaire, Dr. Dre selling ‘Beats’ to Apple for $3 billion, and a few Fortune 500 black CEOS, black doctors, lawyers, and entrepreneurs,” Darné said. “Although racism is still alive, it’s impossible to deny the fact that the rise of a black upper middle class and an increase in black millionaires [contributes to others having lower self-esteem],” he said. “The irony is the more black success that someone sees in various industries could make a person start to wonder about what’s wrong with themselves. Depression and lack of fulfillment can cause people in a rich country to consider suicide … when there’s a huge gap between one’s expectations and their reality, life can seem miserable,” Darné said. Next in this series: Possible solutions for those contemplating suicide

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Source: NNPA

6  |  October 2019

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October 2019  |  7




Staying at a healthy weight can help you prevent and manage problems like prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol.

Physical activity can do a lot for your health, even if you haven’t been very active lately.

What you eat makes a difference in your blood glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure and weight. Eating healthful foods doesn’t have to be difficult.

1 out of 3

ADULTS HAS PRE-DIABETES Which can lead to diabetes and complications

Heart Disease


Kidney Failure


Make a change. The Diabetes Awareness and Wellness Network offers FREE diabetes education and services for adults with diabetes, pre-diabetes, or those at risk.


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8  |  October 2019

Health care you can count on. 1-800-600-4441 (TTY 711)


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