Prescription drug safety starts with all Coloradans

Facebook #1 TMS 2015
In February 2015, Governor John Hickenlooper launched the “Take Meds Seriously” public awareness campaign. “Take Meds Seriously” is a new statewide campaign advocating for the safe use, storage and disposal of prescription drugs in Colorado.

Behind this vital campaign is a group called The Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention. The Consortium consists of a very impressive list of community partners, each of whom is participating in one of six work groups.

According to the campaign website, “The mission of the Consortium is to reduce the abuse and misuse of prescription drugs in the State of Colorado through improvements in education, public outreach, research, safe disposal, and treatment. The goal of these efforts is to prevent 92,000 Coloradans from misusing opioids by 2016.”

Grim statistics and recent surveys reveal how pervasive prescription drug misuse and abuse is in Colorado. Thirty-five Coloradans died a month in 2013 from unintentional drug overdoses.

Gov. Hickenlooper announced on February 24, 2015, “Colorado ranks 12th in the nation for abuse and misuse of prescription drugs. This campaign is just one part of a coordinated, statewide strategy that simultaneously restricts access to prescription drugs for illicit use, while ensuring access for those who legitimately need them. The messages and tools provided through this effort will help us take on this serious public health challenge, as part of our commitment to becoming the healthiest state in the nation.”

“The Colorado Attorney General’s Office is proud to have contributed $1 million in seed money to support the Consortium’s work,” said Attorney General Cynthia Coffman. “It is fitting that funds from settlements with major pharmaceutical companies to resolve charges of misconduct are now being spent to combat Colorado’s prescription drug abuse problem.”

The University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy on the Anschutz Medical Campus serves as the Coordinating Center and headquarters for the Consortium. The aim is for the Consortium to meet specific quarterly goals in each of the six work group areas and produce a specific Colorado Plan in one year. The Colorado VNA is proud to be a public awareness advocate for this important cause.

Did you know?
• Nearly 224,000 Coloradans misuse prescription pain relievers each year. Prescription drug safety starts with you and asking questions of your physician and pharmacist.
• One out of every six of Colorado’s 12th graders has taken a prescription that wasn’t theirs. Keep your family safe and talk to your kids about the right way to use prescription medicine. Visit TakeMedsSeriously.org for safety tips and much more.
• In 2013, almost 50 Coloradans died each month from unintentional drug poisonings. Safe prescription medicine use starts with you.
• Almost half of all Coloradans have unused or expired prescription drugs in their medicine cabinets at home that can be abused. You don’t need them, so get rid of them. Learn the best way to dispose your prescription medicine at TakeMedsSeriously.org.
• 42 percent of teens who’ve misused or abused prescription drugs got them from their parents’ medicine cabinet. Have you locked up your medicine? Keep your children safe.
Start an ongoing conversation with your kids about the subject. SpeakNowColorado.org is a comprehensive website for parents that provides guidance on how to address prescription drugs, and other substances, with their children.
• There are resources in our state to help with addiction. Several agencies around the state offer help with addiction or dependency. Go to http://takemedsseriously.org/safe-use/abuse/recreational-use/ to find help near you.

To learn more about the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention, visit its website and Save the Date for the group’s annual meeting this fall on October 15, 2015.

Immunization Protects All of Us: Don’t Wait. Vaccinate!

August is National Immunization Awareness Month

August is National Immunization Awareness Month

August is National Immunization Awareness Month. In the United States, vaccines have greatly reduced infectious diseases that once routinely killed or harmed many infants, children, and adults. However, the viruses and bacteria that cause vaccine-preventable disease still exist and can be passed on to people who are not protected by vaccines. Every year, thousands of Americans still suffer serious health problems, are hospitalized, and even die from diseases that could be prevented by vaccines. Protect your health and the health of your family. Make sure you and your loved ones are up-to-date on recommended vaccines.

Here’s why you shouldn’t wait:
• Many vaccine-preventable diseases are still common in the U.S.
• Those that are not common here are still found in other parts of the world, and can still be a threat.
• Some of these diseases are very contagious.
• Any of these diseases could be serious – even for healthy people.
• Certain people may be at higher risk for getting some diseases or having more serious illness if they were to get sick, like young children, older adults, and those with health conditions.

Vaccines are our best protection against a number of serious, and sometimes deadly, diseases. Every year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other medical experts update vaccine recommendations for children, teens, and adults based on the latest research and evidence-based science on vaccine safety, effectiveness, and patterns of vaccine-preventable diseases.

You have the power to protect yourself and the ones you love. Talk to your healthcare professional about which vaccines are right for you and your family.

Getting Vaccinated
Most private health insurance plans cover the cost of recommended vaccines. The Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program helps provide vaccines to children whose parents or guardians may not be able to afford them. Medicare and Medicaid also cover a number of vaccines for adults. Vaccines are available at private doctor offices, as well as other convenient locations such as pharmacies, workplaces, community health clinics, and health departments.

To learn more about vaccines and take a quick quiz to find out which vaccines you may need, visit: www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults

The Colorado VNA has begun early booking for flu immunization clinics this fall.  To reserve your preferred date, be sure to call us at 303-698-2121 to get your flu clinic on your calendar.  We also offer an online booking option.  Just click here and one of our Wellness team members will get back to you right away.

 

 

Raising awareness globally for hepatitis prevention

Photo courtesy of CDC.gov

Photo courtesy of CDC.gov

Today is World Hepatitis Day.  This global health awareness event is held annually on July 28th, the birthday of Dr. Baruch Blumberg (1925-2011). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, Dr. Blumberg discovered the hepatitis B virus in 1967 and two years later developed the first hepatitis B vaccine and for these achievements won the Nobel Prize.

Viral hepatitis is caused by infection of one of five viruses – hepatitis A, B, C, D or E. All hepatitis viruses can cause inflammation of the liver, and chronic hepatitis B and C can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer. Viral hepatitis is a major global health threat with around 240 million people living with chronic hepatitis B and up to 150 million people living with chronic hepatitis C.

In order to raise awareness of this hidden epidemic, the World Health Assembly and the President of the United States have designated July 28th as World Hepatitis Day.

Organizations around the world, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and CDC, use World Hepatitis Day to raise awareness of the problem and what needs to be done to strengthen efforts in prevention, screening and control of viral hepatitis.

To learn more, read the press release issued today by WHO.

Colorado VNA is proud to be able to offer hepatitis vaccinations year-round via our Wellness Division.  To inquire how we can come to you to administer a workplace or community-based organization wellness clinic with seasonal flu shots, TB tests, biometrics screenings and of course, Hep B or Hep A & B vaccinations, click here.  To speak with a member of our Wellness team and to discuss pricing, call 303-698-6517.

 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Awards Colorado VNA 4-Star Rating

Logo artwork courtesy of cms.gov

Logo artwork courtesy of cms.gov

Colorado Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) announced today that it received a 4-star rating from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Home Health Compare’s debut star rating program. Colorado VNA is one of only two Denver-based agencies to achieve a 4-star rating or higher (and only 21% of agencies statewide scored 4 or higher). The state and national average is 3 stars.

“Colorado VNA is committed to compassionate, patient-centered care, and our above average rating affirms this,” said President and CEO Chris Lee.

CMS developed Home Health Compare as a key tool for consumers to use when choosing a home health provider. However, the site includes an abundance of information that can be cumbersome to wade through. In December 2014, CMS announced the addition of the star ratings program, which, according to the CMS website, is designed to help “consumers more quickly identify differences in quality and make use of the information when selecting a health care provider. In addition…star ratings can also help the agencies identify areas for improvement.” Key criteria of the CMS rating system include timeliness of start of care, patient satisfaction, hospital readmissions, and other important quality indicators.

Colorado VNA’s Lee further noted that the organization is “proud of our rating at the debut of this program, but we will not rest on our laurels. We have developed a culture of continuous improvement to ensure the best care and outcomes for our patients, and we are committed to achieving a 5-star rating.”

To view the CMS source material, click here for the related July 16, 2015 article written by Sabriya Rice of ModernHealthcare.com.

 

June 27 is National HIV Testing Day

June 27 is National HIV and AIDS Testing Day (photo courtesy of aids.gov website)

June 27 is National HIV and AIDS Testing Day (photo courtesy of aids.gov website)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested for HIV at least once as part of their routine health care. Tomorrow is national HIV and AIDS Testing Day to build awareness about the importance of being assessed.

At Colorado Visiting Nurse Association (VNA), our vision statement reflects our commitment to excelling as a valued leader, trusted partner and provider-of-choice recognized for quality health care delivery and optimal outcomes achieved in collaboration with patients and their families, our dedicated, caring staff and our established network of health care agencies.  This is why we encourage everyone to make one of the most adult decisions of their lives and get tested for HIV and AIDS this month.  A very positive story about the importance of testing is told by Patrick, Blogger, New Media Expert and Athlete. Click here to hear his powerful story.

The population of the State of Colorado is 5,355,866, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  Here below are some Colorado Data Highlights related to HIV and AIDS diagnoses (source: http://aidsvu.org/state/colorado/).

  • People living with an HIV or AIDS diagnosis in 2012: 11,558
  • New HIV diagnoses in 2013: 329
  • Deaths in 2012 due to HIV/AIDS: 106
  • 89% of people living with an HIV diagnosis in 2012 were men, 11% were women.
  • 14% of people living with an HIV diagnosis in 2012 were black, 20% Hispanic/Latino, and 64% white.
  • In 2012, 78% of HIV cases in men were from male-to-male sexual contact, 6% were from injection drug use, and 12% were from injection drug use and male to male sexual contact.
  • In 2012, 72% of HIV cases in women were from heterosexual contact, and 26% were from injection drug use.

Did you know that the Colorado VNA, as part of its Workplace Wellness Program, offers TB tests and Hep A & B (3-part series) vaccinations at schools, dentist offices, businesses, property management offices and community organizations?  Colorado Visiting Nurse Association’s compassionate, dedicated, and experienced healthcare professionals are recognized for their expert, personal medical attention and for their strong tradition of ensuring continuity of care while creating warm relationships with patients.

A portion of the proceeds from our Workplace Wellness clinics support our home nurse visits to ill, disabled and elderly adults. By selecting the Colorado VNA as your Workplace Wellness immunizations provider, you are protecting your health and supporting the community. Colorado VNA proudly celebrated 125 years of service in our state in 2014.  To learn more about our year-round Workplace Wellness services, call 303-698-6517.

 

Celebrate Men’s Health in June

MHM-no-date-dark-red-0415-135x150

Each year in the days leading up to Father’s Day, we celebrate Men’s Health as a country. June is national Men’s Health Month. The goal of Men’s Health Month is to raise awareness on how to prevent health problems among men. It is the perfect time to encourage senior men to obtain regular medical checkups, focus on illness prevention and embrace self-care activities such as regular exercise and even trying new past times such as yoga or swimming. At Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, we support our community in encouraging health senior living and applauding men for taking charge of their health and fitness, as they go through life.

In the spirit of supporting Men’s Health and healthier senior living, we hope you will click here to read some great nutrition tips for older men, courtesy of EatRight.org

To learn more about the Senior Wellness Medical Foot Care Clinics offered by Colorado Visiting Nurse Association throughout metro Denver and in Colorado Springs, call our hotline Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 303-698-6496. We have many foot care clinics, all staffed by Registered Nurses, that are Open to the Public so call for your appointment today.

New CEO Chris Lee talks to first day at Colorado VNA

My first day at Colorado Visiting Nurse Association

By Christopher Lee, President & CEO

And so begins an exciting new phase in my career…my new role as President and CEO for Colorado VNA. I have been blessed with many exciting opportunities in my career and this one ranks as the most exciting. I am just finishing up my position as General Manager for SCL Home Health Solutions (SCLHHS), which is SCL/Exempla’s home health company. It has been a challenging position, but one that has provided a significant perspective on the complexities of running a mission-based home health organization. I have also learned a lot about the importance and power of partnering with hospitals and payers in order to provide integrated care across the continuum. As I am sure many of you know, health systems and payers have not always thought of non-facility-based care as an important part of the care continuum! Things have changed!

Prior to SCLHHS I was in charge of business development for Good Samaritan Medical Center in Lafayette where I was responsible for helping the hospital grow by expanding and improving various service lines. In addition to business development I ran the medical imaging department for over seven years and was part of the original leadership team that opened the hospital in 2004. It was at Good Samaritan that I learned from some amazing leaders and role models, specifically Beth Forsyth (COO) and Dave Hamm (CEO). Beth and Dave taught me numerous lessons about leadership and the importance of listening to front line and supervisory staff as a way to improve care for patients and increase staff satisfaction. I also spent a lot of time working on and leading performance improvement projects across the hospital. These projects were focused on improving the efficiency and performance of processes in order to make care for patients safer and more efficient.

Throughout my career I have had the support of a wonderful wife and my 12 year old twin boys and 9 year old daughter. They all keep me busy outside of work and fortunately have helped provide work-life balance.  Being able to help drive the kids back and forth between baseball, soccer, track and other various activities keeps me extremely busy outside of work. In addition to family activities I do enjoy taking advantage of what Colorado has to offer by spending time on the trails and roads on my bike as well as logging some miles running to stay in shape. We live in a beautiful place and exploring on foot or on wheels provides a significant amount of inspiration for me to do my best at work.

I hope the above has provided a brief summary of my background and an overview of the perspective I bring to CVNA. I also invite you to see the press release about my new role as additional reference.

Stay tuned for more posts in the future!

 

Colorado Visiting Nurse Association Press Release – May 11, 2015

Colorado Visiting Nurse Association Hires CEO

Christopher-Lee-3960921-220

DENVER, CO (May 11, 2015) – Colorado Visiting Nurse Association (Colorado VNA), a nonprofit home health care agency, is delighted to announce that its Board of Directors has appointed Christopher Lee as President and Chief Executive Officer. Former President and CEO Laura Reilly retired this past February.
“Chris is a natural choice for this position,” commented Colorado VNA Board Chair Nedra Downing. “He brings a fresh perspective to our mission and business acumen along with his background in home health care.”
Lee has extensive experience in home health and healthcare administration. His deep expertise includes mergers and acquisitions, business development, electronic medical record implementation, and Lean performance improvement and operations management. Most recently, Lee served as the General Manager of SCL Health Solutions, LLC, SCL Health’s home health service line. In this position Chris was responsible for the
acquisition, integration, and expansion of a home health agency in Denver. SCL Home Health expanded by over 40% under his leadership while also decreasing readmissions for complex patients discharged from SCL’s Front Range hospitals. In addition, Lee has held leadership positions with Exempla Healthcare including serving on the leadership team that opened Good Samaritan Medical Center.
Lee joins Colorado VNA at an opportune time. “The impending ‘silver tsunami’ – the dramatic growth of the senior population over the next 15 years – has vast implications for home health agencies such as ours,” he noted.
“Reports estimate that as many as 70% of Americans who reach age 65 will need some form of long-term care, and increasingly supportive care in the home is seen as a viable alternative to a skilled nursing facility. Colorado VNA plans to build on its 125 years of compassionate and quality care so that we can meet the demands of the expanding elderly population. I am thrilled to lead such a venerable institution.”
ABOUT COLORADO VISITING NURSE ASSOCIATION
Founded in 1889 as the Denver Flower Mission, Colorado Visiting Nurse Association has grown to become the state’s largest home health care agency, providing 200,000 visits per year. Colorado Visiting Nurse Association’s compassionate, dedicated, and experienced healthcare professionals are recognized for their expert, personal medical attention and for their strong tradition of ensuring continuity of care while creating warm relationships with patients. In both 2013 and 2014, Colorado VNA was awarded Home Care Elite Status by the National Research Corporation for placing in the top 25% of home care agencies based on health performance measures.
www.vnacolorado.org
Media Contact: Jodie Deshmukh, Development Manager
deshmukhj@vnacolorado.org
303.698.6308

Happy National Senior Health and Fitness Day

National Senior Health and Fitness Day 2015
“If You Keep Moving…You’ll Keep Improving!”

More than 100,000 older adults will participate in activities at more than 1,000 locations throughout the U.S. on Wednesday, May 27, 2015 as we celebrate the 22nd annual National Senior Health & Fitness Day. The common goal for this day: to help keep older Americans healthy and fit. Always set for the last Wednesday in May, National Senior Health & Fitness Day is the nation’s largest annual health promotion event for older adults.

Did you know?  Colorado boasts more than 60 Senior Recreation Centers across the Front Range. Follow the link to find an Active Adult or Senior Recreation Center near you!

http://www.seniorsresourceguide.com/directories/Denver/search.php?region=CO04&topic=608

 

 

Celebrate National Senior Health and Fitness Day

Parker Senior Stroll

May 27, 2015, 10 a.m., O’Brien Park

Community celebrates National Senior Health and Fitness Day

Community celebrates National Senior Health and Fitness Day at Parker Senior Stroll  Photo courtesy of Parker Parks & Recreation

Among fun local activities open to the public around town tomorrow at 10 a.m. is the annual Senior Stroll in Parker.

Put on your walking shoes and join Parker Recreation for the wonderful Senior Stroll at O’Brien Park, 10795 Victorian Dr.

http://www.ourparkercolorado.com/senior-stroll-in-parker-colorado/

To celebrate National Senior Health & Fitness Day, Parker Parks and Recreation will once again host the annual Senior Stroll. More than 100 active aging adults are expected to enjoy a one-mile fun walk, followed by a tasty breakfast, socializing with friends and local organizations and exciting prize giveaways.

This free event will consist of a one-mile fun walk on a paved trail, a delicious breakfast, senior fitness assessments, blood pressure screenings and additional demonstrations, along with great giveaways!

For more information, contact Hillary Roemersberger of Parker Parks and Rec at 303-805-3278.

To learn more about the year-round Senior Wellness Foot Care clinics of the Colorado VNA that are open to the public, click here.  For example, we are at the Parker Senior Center every 1st and 3rd Friday of the month from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Please call our Colorado VNA Foot Care hotline for appointment info. at 303-698-6496.