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YOUR HEALTH MATTERS

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Obesity in Children For the last several years I have placed classified as obesity. Similar to adults, my oldest daughter in a rigorous swim obesity can increase the child’s risk of camp here in the city. Every year I have developing hypertension, diabetes, high had to endure the endless complaints and cholesterol, and endocrine abnormalities huffs/puffs. such as menstrual irregularities.  In “Why me?” addition, socially, obese children are often “I don’t want to go!” she said each bullied which may then result in social time.   withdrawal and eventual depression.  I am However, as I have sure many of us remember those mentioned on several occasions, children growing up who were my old-fashioned southern always picked last for kickball, upbringing allowed me to look never got asked to dance, and at that child and declare with who had very few friends. I authority akin to a four star think we often underestimate general that she had no voting the stigma that obesity has on power in the matter. It had been the lives of our children.   settled. Further conversation Because obesity rates have was unnecessary at that point.     tripled over the last three For what my short-sighted decades, first lady Michelle child could not comprehend Obama championed childhood was that her mother understood obesity as her signature Denise Hooks- platform in 2010. Her “Let’s the obesity epidemic that Anderson M.D. Move” campaign focuses on had been plaguing minority communities all too well. Her healthier foods in the schools mother understood that if she did and at home, childhood activity not make deliberate interventions and providing support to into the lives of her children that they too parents. Both the American Academy of would be walking down a medical disaster Pediatrics and the American Academy of path. Her mother also knew that about a Family Physicians support Ms. Obama’s third of the teens living in Missouri were initiative.   either overweight or obese.   Ms. Obama also brought needed A BMI, body mass index, greater attention to the vast array of “food than the 95th percentile in a child is deserts” in which so many of our local

Your Health Matters

A bi-monthly special supplement of the St. Louis American

JULY 4 - 210, 2013 Your Health Matters provides up-to-date information, from an African-American perspective, about one of the most important subjects in evryone’s life – their personal health.

Donald M. Suggs, President and Publisher Kevin Jones, Senior Vice President, COO Dina M. Suggs, Senior Vice President Chris King, Editorial Director Denise Hooks-Anderson, M.D. Medical Accuracy Editor Sandra Jordan, Health Reporter Debbie Chase, Director of Health Strategy & Outreach Onye Ijei, Barb Sills, Pamela Simmons, Sales Michael Terhaar, Art/Production Manager Angelita Jackson, Cover Design Wiley Price, Photojournalist

citizens live. These areas have minimal access to quality fresh fruits and vegetables but are home to many minimarts that sell mostly processed foods high in salt and sugar. Unfortunately, these are the places that children often frequent for their after school snack. Children not only are choosing the high caloric food options they are also spending greater than two hours daily couched in front of the television, computer, or video game. Those days when children actually played games such as double Dutch and freeze tag are mostly over. It is so rare to see children actually outside running, jumping, or skipping. Furthermore, during educational budget deficits, physical education time is usually always first on the list for elimination. Children spend less and less time exercising their bodies as compared to the time they spend sitting behind a desk preparing for a standardized test.  However, this method has yet to improve any test scores. John Ratey, M.D., author of A User’s Guide to the Brain and an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard states, “Exercise is really for the brain, not the body. It affects mood, vitality, alertness, and feelings of well-being.” Therefore, it is counter intuitive to expect children to sit for six to eight hours a day and be able to fully

grasp the various concepts taught during that time. The clarity simply is not there. Thus, not only is a lack of exercise in the school fueling the obesity epidemic but it is also fueling the academic disparities our children face as well. This crisis in our community will not be eradicated overnight. It will take each of us making conscious decisions on behalf of our children. For example, turning off the television and having our children eat dinner at the table with the family is a great first step. Research shows that children that eat structured meals as a family unit are less obese. In addition, joining a sports team is not just about wanting to be the next Lebron James. It is about exercise. The local boys and girls clubs have a variety of teams such as basketball, football and dance which have minimal joining fees. And how about just good old fashioned neighborhood play? As parents, we simply need to make sure our children are getting as much activity as possible and in the words of Malcolm X: “by any means necessary!” Yours in Service, Denise Hooks-Anderson, M.D. Assistant Professor SLUCare Family Medicine yourhealthmatters@stlamerican.com


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YOUR HEALTH MATTERS

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Quick, simple ways to prevent most common form of cancer By the American Academy of Dermatology

The AAD says apply sunscreen every day when you are going to be outside, even on cloudy days, apply sunscreen to all skin that will not be covered by clothing.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer diagnosed in the United States, with one in five Americans expected to develop a form of skin cancer in their lifetime. Fortunately, there are simple steps people can take to reduce their skin cancer risk. “The easiest way to prevent skin cancer is to protect your skin with clothing,” said board-certified dermatologist Zoe D. Draelos, MD, FAAD, consulting professor at Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, N.C. “Keep a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses near your door so you can put them on before you go outside. Wearing a long-sleeved shirt and pants also can help protect from the damaging rays of the sun.” The AAD says apply sunscreen every day when you are going to be outside, even on cloudy days, apply sunscreen to all skin that will not be covered by clothing. Reapply approximately every two hours, or after swimming or sweating. Use a broad-spectrum, waterresistant sunscreen that protects the skin against both UVA and UVB rays and that has an SPF of at least 30. Use one ounce of sunscreen, an amount that is about equal to the size of your palm. Thoroughly rub the product into the skin. Don’t forget the top of your feet, your neck, ears, and the top of your head.

Photo by Wiley Price

Additional tips for preventing skin cancer: • Seek shade. Remember that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. If your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade. • Use extra caution near water, sand or snow as they reflect and intensify the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chances of sunburn. • Get vitamin D safely. Eat a healthy diet that includes foods naturally rich in vitamin D, or take vitamin D supplements. Do not seek the sun. • Consider using a self-tanning product, if you want to look tan, but continue to use sunscreen with it.

• Don’t use tanning beds. Just like the sun, UV light from tanning beds can cause wrinkling and age spots and can lead to skin cancer.

great time to check your birthday suit. Checking your skin and knowing your moles are key to detecting skin cancer in its earliest, most treatable stages.

• Check your skin for signs of skin cancer. Your birthday is a

“It’s critically important for people to see their board-certified dermatologist

if they notice a mole or skin lesion that is changing, growing or bleeding,” said Draelos. “Skin cancer can be easily treated if detected early.” For more information, visit SpotSkinCancer.org.


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Health Briefs

Prayer can lead to cooperation, forgiveness in relationships Praying for a romantic partner or close friend can lead to more cooperative and forgiving behavior toward the partner, according to a new study recently published in the journal Personal Relationships. “This set of studies is the very first to use objective indicators to show that prayer changed actual behavior, and that this behavior was apparent to the other partner, the subject of the prayer.” said Frank Fincham, eminent scholar and director of the Florida State University Family Institute. In addition, observers found those who engaged in partner-focused prayer exhibited more positive behavior toward their partners compared to those who did

not pray for their partner. Fincham and coauthors reported on the results of five separate studies on prayer’s effects on relationship behavior. Among the findings: • Participants who prayed more frequently for their partner were rated as less vengeful in discussing something the partner had done to upset or annoy them. • Partners of participants who prayed for them noticed more forgiving behavior than the partners of participants who were assigned to set aside time each day to think positive thoughts about them.

Participants assigned to pray following a partner’s hurtful behavior were more cooperative with their partners compared to participants assigned to engage in thinking about God. • Participants who prayed for a close relationship partner on days in which conflict occurred reported higher levels of cooperative tendencies and forgiveness than on days when conflict occurred and they did not pray. “These findings highlight the potential benefit of using partner-focused prayer, where culturally appropriate, in clinical settings or in relationship education •

programs,” the researchers wrote. “In the United States, some 90 percent of people say that they pray at least occasionally, and prayer is a form of spiritual activity common to all the Abrahamic traditions, including Judaism, Christianity and Islam, with strong parallels in other religious traditions, such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and Shinto,” Fincham said. “Yet we know very little about its role in romantic relationships. This is the first time that objective indicators have documented the impact of prayer in such relationships.” The findings are titled, “Shifting Toward Cooperative Tendencies and Forgiveness: How Partner-Focused Prayer Transforms Motivation.”

Flu during pregnancy may quadruple child’s risk for bipolar disorder Pregnant mothers’ exposure to the flu was associated with a nearly fourfold increased risk that their child would develop bipolar disorder in adulthood, in a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. The findings add to mounting evidence of possible shared underlying causes and illness processes with schizophrenia, which some studies have also linked to prenatal exposure to influenza. “Prospective mothers should take common sense preventive measures, such as getting flu shots prior to and in the early stages of pregnancy and avoiding contact with people who are symptomatic,” said Alan Brown, M.D., M.P.H, of Columbia University and New York State Psychiatric Institute, a

grantee of the NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). “In spite of public health recommendations, only a relatively small fraction of such women get immunized. The weight of evidence now suggests that benefits of the vaccine likely outweigh any possible risk to the mother or newborn.” Brown and colleagues reported their findings recently in JAMA Psychiatry. Bipolar disorder shares with schizophrenia a number of other suspected causes and illness features, the researchers note. For example, both share onset of symptoms in early adulthood, susceptibility genes, run in the same families, affect nearly one percent of the population, show psychotic behaviors and respond to antipsychotic medications.


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YOUR HEALTH MATTERS

Distracted walking while talking injuries soar for cell phone users More than 1,500 pedestrians were estimated to be treated in emergency rooms in 2010 for injuries related to using a cell phone while walking, according to a new nationwide study. The number has more than doubled since 2005, even though the total number of pedestrian injuries dropped

during that time. And researchers believe that the actual number of injured pedestrians is actually much higher than these results suggest. “If current trends continue, I wouldn’t be surprised if the number of injuries to pedestrians caused by cell phones doubles again between 2010

and 2015,” said Jack Nasar, co-author of the study and professor of city and regional planning at The Ohio State University. “The role of cell phones in distracted driving injuries and deaths gets a lot of attention and rightly so, but we need to also consider the danger cell phone use poses to pedestrians.” The study found that young people aged 16 to 25 were most likely to be injured as distracted pedestrians, and most were hurt while talking rather than texting. The study appears in the August 2013 issue of the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention. Researchers used data (from 2004 to 2010) from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, a database maintained by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), which samples injury reports from 100 hospitals around the

Page 5 country. These reports are used to estimate total injury occurrences at emergency rooms across the country. The data involved injuries related to cell phone use for pedestrians in public areas. Nasar said the problem with distracted pedestrians is likely to get worse as more people get cell phones and spend more time not just talking; also for playing games and using social media tools. Nasar said he believes the best way to reverse these numbers is to start changing norms for cell phone use in our society is to start with parents. “Parents already teach their children to look both ways when crossing the street. They should also teach them to put away their cell phone when walking, particularly when crossing a street.”

Food & Fact: Diet Influences Your Cancer Risk Dr. Adam Carlisle, resident physician, Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, discusses this month’s cancer prevention topic in the 8 Ways to Stay Healthy and Prevent Cancer series. What did you eat yesterday? Why did you choose to eat those foods? Most Americans today are choosing calorically-dense meals because they are convenient, cheap, and familiar. But this is not the food that will help us live longer and feel better. To change the food we eat, we must realize the need and then believe in our ability to change. Certain foods have been shown to increase cancer risk, while others actually help prevent cancer. A healthy diet may vary from person

to person depending on their family history and medical problems, such as heart disease or diabetes. For example, the Japanese have an increased risk of developing throat cancer because the Japanese diet is traditionally composed of a large amount of smoked fish. For most Americans, however, obesity is a significant risk factor for developing cancer. One of the best ways obesity is controlled is by eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The nutritional benefit of food can be broken down into two main groups: macronutrients and micronutrients. The three macronutrients are proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. They provide the energy as measured in calories. However, if we consume more energy than we use

during normal daytime activities (like walking, lifting, being physically active, etc.), the excess calories are stored as fat leading to obesity and an increased risk of many types of cancer, including: breast; colon; kidney; uterine; and esophageal cancer. Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals in food that are beneficial for your health. One subgroup of micronutrients called antioxidants can prevent cancer and are commonly found in naturally bright-colored fruits and vegetables. For more tips on how to prevent cancer by eating healthy, visit: Eight Ways to Stay Healthy and Prevent Cancer: http://www.8ways. wustl.edu CDC Healthy Eating Guide: http://www.

cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/ index.html And read our Healthy Diet ad in this week’s Health Matters section! The Program for the Elimination of Cancer Disparities (PECaD) at the Siteman Cancer Center is working to eliminate local and regional disparities in cancer education, prevention and treatment through community outreach, research and training. To learn more about cancer or to get involved with PECaD, call 314-747-4611, email PECaD@wudosis.wustl.edu or write to us at SCC-PECaD, Campus Box 8100, 660 S. Euclid Ave, St. Louis, MO, 63110. Look for future articles in HealthMat-


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ADA encourages personalized frequency of dental visits The American Dental Association recommends regular dental visits, at intervals determined by a dentist, that take into account the patient’s current oral health status and health history. This in light of findings in a new study, “Patient Stratification for Preventive Care in Dentistry,” published in the June 10 issue of the Journal of Dental Research. In the study, researchers from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry explored the link between long-term tooth loss and frequency of preventive dental visits in adults with and without three risk factors for periodontal disease: smoking, diabetes and interleukin-1 genetic variations. The study concluded that individual risk

factors help to dictate the frequency of cleanings needed per year to help prevent periodontal disease. Based on data analysis, researchers speculate that highrisk patients would likely benefit from more frequent dental visits, while lowrisk patients may see the same benefits from only one cleaning per year. The ADA encourages people to work closely with their dentists to identify any potential risk factors that would determine the need for and frequency of follow up visits to enhance the outcomes of preventive care. For more information on the ADA’s recommendations for healthy teeth and gums, visit mouthyhealthy.org.

Together we can help children ride safely Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children, yet nearly 80 percent of all child safety seats are improperly installed. We offer free hands-on training in car seat installation from a certified child passenger safety technician. To request a child passenger safety presentation for your community group or staff responsible for transporting children, call 314.286.0957. “Our staff found the training helpful. Those who already knew a lot

about car seats learned something, and newer staff learned more, too.”

Teresa Hayner, MSW, LCSW Director of Community Services, Good Shepherd Children and Family Services

Scan here or visit StLouisChildrens.org/partners for info


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YOUR HEALTH MATTERS

Profiling People in Health Name: Salena A. Cecil Position/Where: Breast Health Navigator at Northwest Healthcare/ Christian Hospital in North St. Louis County Career Highlights: In this role, I assist patients after an abnormal mammogram finding that might require a biopsy or surgery. If they are diagnosed with breast cancer, I hope to continue to develop and foster a relationship that continues throughout treatment. I serve as a resource for patients for education, financial assistance, support groups, and communication with other members of the healthcare team. In the very near future, I will also begin doing well-woman exams through the Show Me Healthy Women program at Christian Hospital as well. This program provides free breast and cervical cancer screenings

for eligible women. I have been a nurse for eight years now. I have spent six of those years working in oncology with BJC. I graduated from UMSL in 2012 with a nurse practitioner degree in women’s health. I am certified and licensed as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (so I’m looking forward to being able to apply my training as a nurse practitioner to my role as Navigator) 

Education: Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Truman State University Masters of Science in Nursing University of Missouri-St. Louis                       Personal: Member of Shalom Church City of Peace Member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. Member of Chi Eta Phi Sorority, Inc., a Black Nursing Sorority Married with a two-year-old daughter   St. Louis Connection: I am not from St. Louis. My father is retired US Army so I traveled a lot in my childhood. Both of my parents currently live in Clarksville, Tennessee, which is where he retired, so that is what I call home. My husband and I moved here to St. Louis in 2007. He is a vocal music at Jennings Senior High School.   Journey to success: I love patient education and working in women’s health. My overall ambition is expand my role as Nurse Navigator to include components to practice as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner and essentially use my nursing experience to give back to the community, especially in areas of women’s health that largely effect women of color (minority women) such as breast cancer. I haven’t had many obstacles to overcome besides working on a master’s degree and trying to raise a little one. That was challenging, but I made it through!

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Women at greater risk of COPD; half don’t know they have it

Women are 37 percent more likely to have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) than men and now account for more than half of all deaths attributed to COPD in the U.S. The American Lung Association’s latest health disparity report, “Taking Her Breath Away: The Rise of COPD in Women,” examines the nation’s third leading cause of death and its increased prevalence among women in the United States. More than seven million women in the United States currently have COPD, and millions more have symptoms but have yet to be diagnosed. The number of deaths among women from COPD has more than quadrupled since 1980, and since 2000 the disease has claimed the lives of more women than men in this country each year. “What we now know is that more women than men in this country are dying from COPD—and nearly half of women currently living with COPD don’t even know they have it,” said MeiLan Han, M.D., medical director, Women’s Respiratory Health Program at the University of Michigan Health System, and national spokesperson for the American Lung Association’s report. “It’s what we do with this knowledge that will help determine the fate of millions.  Leadership in public health and health care at the national, state and local levels must urgently confront this deep-rooted and deadly disease head on.” COPD is a progressive lung disease

with no known cure that slowly robs its sufferers of the ability to draw lifesustaining breath. Only heart disease and cancer kill more Americans than COPD does. Smoking is the primary cause of COPD, but there are other important causes such as air pollution. The report identifies an interplay of risk-factor exposures, biological susceptibility and sociocultural factors contributing to COPD’s disproportionate burden on women. Among key findings: • Since COPD has historically been thought of as a “man’s disease,” women are underdiagnosed and undertreated. • Women are more vulnerable than men to lung damage from cigarette smoke and other pollutants. • Women younger than age 65 are more vulnerable to COPD. • Women have more frequent disease flare-ups—a sudden worsening of COPD symptoms that is often caused by a cold or other lung infection. • Effective treatment of COPD is complicated, and women don’t always get the kind of care that meets their needs. • The quality of life for women with COPD is impaired at an earlier age, and is worse overall than that of men with similar severity of disease.


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Students learn about success via academic medicine WUMMA, the Washington University Medical Minority Association, recently conducted a professional development lecture featuring guest speaker Courtney Houchen, MD, chief of the digestive diseases and nutrition section and the Frances and Malcolm Robinson chair at the University of Oklahoma Health Center. Dr. Houchen’s lecture, Climbing the Ladder of Success in Academic Medicine: Life Lessons to Keep You on Track, focused on the choices he made that contributed to his successes. The Brooklyn, NY, native reminded attendees to publish their work and seek grant support early. He also discussed the importance and benefit of having mentors. “Dr. Houchen was a fellow at Washington University School of Medicine. He understands where we are in our training and was able to provide incredible insight into the challenges that we may face as well as the steps that we should take as we advance in our respective careers,” said Darrell Gray, II MD, a gastroenterology fellow at Washington University School of Medicine. WUMMA is more than 100 members strong and promotes health awareness through community service. It cultivates diversity and supports professional development among undergraduate students, medical students, resident physicians and faculty at Washington University, Barnes-Jewish Hospital and St. Louis Children’s Hospital.


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Sat. July 13, 9 a.m. – 5p.m., Cardinals Care Health Screenings, UMSL Millennium Student Center. AAFA-STL volunteers will provide information about asthma, allergies and food allergies. For more information, email alebb@aafastl.org. Sat. July 20, 8:30 am-10 a.m. & 11 a.m. – 12:30 a.m., Comprehensive Stroke Screening ($20) & Lecture by SSM Neurosciences Institute, May Center, 12303 DePaul Drive, Bridgeton, Mo. 63044. By appointment for $20, screening includes blood pressure, carotid ultrasound (noni-invasive test of blood flow in the neck arteries), cholesterol (fasting preferred), blood sugar (glucose), and consultation with nurse specialist. Free lecture is at 10 a.m. Screenings are most appropriate for those ages 50+, as well as those with a family history of stroke or who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure or arterial fibrillation. Space is limited and appointments are required. Call toll-free 1-866-SSMDOCS (1-866-776-3627) or register at ssmhealth.com/ neuro. Sat. July 27, 9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. –CHIPS Health and Wellness Center 13th Annual Prayer Breakfast, Clyde C. Miller Career Academy, 1000 N. Grand Blvd., St. Louis. For more information, call 314-6529231, x. 20; email mroach@chipsstl.org or visit www. chipsstl.org.

YOUR HEALTH MATTERS

Health Calendar Sat. Aug. 3, Lupus WolfRide GranFondo 56- or 112Mile Bike Ride, Bolm-Schuhkraft Park, Columbia Ill. For more information, call 1-800-9LUPUS6 or visit www.wolfride.com. Fri. Aug 9, Sat. Aug 10, 7:30 p.m., The Bright Side of Life, annual student musical revue for JDRF, Pillsbury Chapel and Dale Williams Fine Arts Center, Missouri Baptist University, One College Park Drive, St. Louis, 63141. Features 39 student actors, singers and dancers from 20 area schools (grades 3 - high school); features songs from such classic Broadway musicals as Hairspray, King and I, Memphis, Little Shop of Horrors, Sound of Music and Children of Eden. For more information on this free event, visit www. archcitytheatertroupe.org. Sundays, 10 a.m. – Alcoholics Anonymous Group 109 meets in the 11th floor conference room at Christian Hospital, 11133 Dunn Road at I-270/Hwy. 367. This is an open meeting for alcoholics, drug addicts and their

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family and friends. Mondays, 7 p.m. – “Tobacco Free for Life” support group – free weekly meetings at St. Peters Mo. City Hall. Supported by SSM Cancer Care; RSVP initial participation to 636-947-5304. Tuesdays, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. – Alcohol and Drug Informational meeting, Christian Hospital, Professional Office Building 2, Suite 401. For information, call 314839-3171. Wednesdays, 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. – STEPS Schizophrenia Support Group This nationally recognized program provides education and support for those with schizophrenia. Group is facilitated by an experienced STEPS nurse. For more information, call 314-839-3171. First Thursdays, 10 a.m. – Family Support Group by NAMI St. Louis, The Alliance on Mental Illness at Transfiguration Lutheran Church, 1807 Biddle Street. No registration needed; no cost. For more information, call 314-962-4670. Free psychiatric and chemical dependency evaluations are confidential at the Christian Hospital Center for Mental Health. Call 314-839-3171.


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Paying less for medical equipment supplies through Medicare Q: What is the new program beginning in July in certain areas across the nation where Medicare beneficiaries will pay less out of pocket for certain medical equipment and supplies if they purchase them through Medicare contract suppliers? A:   From the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS): For years, Medicare and its beneficiaries have been paying too much for durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS). To reduce costs and the fraud resulting from excessive prices, CMS introduced a competitive bidding program in nine areas of the country in 2011. People with Original Medicare who live in Competitive Bidding Areas – or CBAs - will pay less for certain DMEPOS items and services such as wheelchairs, oxygen, mail order diabetic supplies, and more. Competitive bidding for DMEPOS is proven to save money for taxpayers and people with Medicare while maintaining access to quality DMEPOS items.   The program has already been hugely successful, reducing money spent for equipment included in the program by over 42 percent in its first year of operation. Now the program’s benefits are coming to you, and there is some important information you need to know. Expansion of the program began on July 1, and extends it to 91 new areas across the country, including Wichita, Kansas, St. Louis, Missouri, Omaha, Nebraska, Council Bluffs, Iowa and surrounding counties in these areas. People with Medicare in these areas will save an average of 43 to 47 percent on certain DMEPOS items. Medicare is also implementing a national mail-order program for diabetic testing supplies which began July 1, and beneficiaries nationwide will save an average of 72 percent on these supplies. How the Program Works: Medicare generally pays 80 percent of the costs for durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies used in the home under Medicare Part B. The person with Medicare pays the remaining 20 percent. Under this program, suppliers of these types of supplies submitted bids for certain medical equipment and supplies that must be lower than what Medicare pays for these items currently. Medicare used these bids to set the amount it will pay for the competitively bid medical equipment and supplies and qualified, accredited suppliers with winning bids were chosen as Medicare contract suppliers.

How to find the ‘Quitter in You’

The good news is that since Medicare’s payment amount to suppliers will be less, people with Medicare who use the equipment and supplies under the competitive bid program will have a lower co-payment too. If you have Original Medicare, and your permanent residence is in a ZIP code that is part of a Competitive Bid Area, CBA, and you use items in one of the program categories, you generally must use a Medicare contract supplier to have Medicare help pay for the item. If you currently receive oxygen/oxygen equipment or rent certain other items from a non-contract supplier, you may be able to continue renting these items from your current supplier when the program takes effect, if the supplier decides to become a grandfathered supplier. All contract suppliers must comply with Medicare enrollment rules, be accredited, meet applicable licensing requirements, meet financial

standards and meet stringent quality standards to ensure good customer service and high quality items. Ninety percent of contract suppliers are already established in the competitive bidding area, the product category, or both. This means Medicare beneficiaries will be getting the same high quality products and services but at lower prices. And, small suppliers – those with gross revenues of $3.5 million per year or less – make up about 63 percent of the contract suppliers in the new markets. The expanded program is expected to save Medicare more than $25 billion in the next ten years, and people with Medicare are expected to save $17 billion more in reduced out-of-pocket costs and premium payments. For a list of Medicare contract suppliers in your area, visit www. medicare.gov/supplier/home.asp  or by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048).

Need some support to finally kick the smoking habit for once and for all? St. Louis is one of several cities the American Lung Association’s and WellPoint are targeting with its latest stop-smoking campaign, The Quitter in You. Once a smoker decides to quit, success is more likely if family, friends and co-workers give help and support. If you or your friend has not fully created a mindset to quit, the ALA says for others try and see it from his or her side. For most smokers, cigarettes have been a steady companion for a long time. Some reluctance is normal and it doesn’t mean that you or your friend won’t be able to quit for good. A little supportive understanding goes a long way to overcome doubts. Put it in black and white in your own words. The Lung Associations suggests listing the reasons for wanting to quit and set a target date to stop. For encouragers, offer to help in any way needed, even if it’s just pep talk, a listening ear offering to join in a healthier alternative – like taking a walk. For more information, call 1-800-LUNG-USA, EMAIL visit www. quitterinyou.org.

www.stlamerican.com www.stlamerican.com www.stlamerican.com


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Racial, cultural diversity in cancer research helps reveal better answers Survivors Helping Survivors meets every third Saturday 10 a.m. – Noon Jamestown Bluffs Branch St. Louis County Public Library

Patricia Bowman By Sandra Jordan Of The St. Louis American Patricia Bowman of St. Louis is a cancer survivor who is recruiting other African Americans who have never had cancer to help answer questions that one day may make cancer a scourge of the past. It is through participation the American Cancer Society’s third Cancer Prevention Study, known as CPS-3. With a particular interest in getting more minorities to take part in the research, the ACS Epidemiology Research Program wants to enroll at least 300,000 adults from various racial and ethnic backgrounds in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Participants must be between the ages of 30 and 65 with no personal history of cancer (this does not include basal or squamous cell skin cancer). Oftentimes when you read or hear facts or figures about cancer and other

diseases, it seems that black folk get it first and worse. Bowman said, “I questioned, ‘Why is that?’ After I found out what the study was about and they explained; we don’t participate.” There is a way to change that. “We don’t know a lot about any disease – that’s cancer or anything, because if we are not a part it, we are not a part of the research, we don’t know,” Bowman explained. “Of course it came up, ‘Don’t we have enough people participating to find out a way to get a cure?’ Sure, there are some things that are universal but there are some things that are just unique to African Americans, so if we don’t participate, they can’t find those things.” And to remove the fear factor, Bowman reminds this research is nothing like the scandalous Tuskegee syphilis study of 1932 that left black men untreated for the disease for 40 years until

Photo by Wiley Price

it became public. This 20-year study seeks to better understand factors (lifestyle, environmental, genetic) that cause or prevent cancer to ultimately help eliminate cancer as a major health concern for future generations. Study participants will be asked to read and sign a consent form, complete a survey, provide some physical measurements (such as waist size, weight, height, blood pressure, and heart rate), and give a small blood sample (similar to a doctor’s visit). At home, CPS3participants will receive periodic followup surveys and research updates through annual newsletters. Bowman and other members of the Survivors Helping Survivors support group got involved in the effort to recruit participants for CPS-3 through the efforts of its leader, Sandra Johnson, a 17-year breast cancer survivor. Johnson also made a case for

participation at Bethel Providence Christian Church in Florissant, Mo. and its pastor, Rev. Charles G. Pennington Jr., pledged his support. “We will be having registration signups at our church and of course, we have to distribute information and put up posters to make it known to the people that enter and exit the church, Pennington said. “I don’t see how this can hurt any … overall cancer research needs our support from the people from the study to the medicine aspect.” Locally, the ACS is planning a big CPS-3registration event Saturday, July 13 at St. Louis Rams Park from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. For more information, call 1-888604-5888, email CPS3@cancer.org or visit http://www.tinyurl.com/ /ACSCancerStudy3.


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YOUR HEALTH MATTERS

JULY 4 - 10, 2013

Your Health Matters July 4, 2013