ACHIEVA and HealthMeet

 Your Health Matters

Volume 3 Issue 3                                                                                      March 2014 Edition




In This Issue
Making Healthy Choices
Webinar: OPs for Medicaid
Webinar: Discrimination Transplantation
Webinar: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum
Webinar: Discrimination Transplantation
Webinar: Good Oral Health
Major Update to Food Labels
Early Strokes and Disabilities
Sitting May Raise Disability Risk
Tool to Identify Dementia
Dental Cavities are Contagious
Medications Contribute to Dry Mouth
What is Dental Plaque & Calculus?
Nine Easy Dental Care Steps
Support for Physicians
HealthMeet Calendar of Events

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Rewarding Yourself for Making Healthy Choices

Focusing on a healthier lifestyle is important and when you do this, you should reward yourself for your efforts.  Exercise gives you more energy and makes you feel better.  You also need to congratulate yourself for exercising and occasionally treat yourself to a reward for reaching wellness goals.  


No, this does not mean a food reward. Instead perhaps you tie your reward to your new lifestyle of health such as a new pair of tennis shoes or perhaps going to a new exercise class or visiting the park for a walk.  Maybe an occasional outing with friends to see a movie or go to a museum; something that you enjoy.  This will help you continue to focus on a healthier you and build that sense of accomplishment for creating a healthier lifestyle.

Operations Memorandum for PA Managed Care

Learn about the Operations Memorandum for Pennsylvania Managed Care insurance plans.  Effective, since 2009, the OPs Memo allows for both pediatric and adult providers to bill Medicaid for reimbursement of services provided as a young adult with special health care needs transitions from a pediatric practice to a new adult provider.  This may be a model for other states to consider.


Presenter: Nicole Stepoway, a Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) trainee at the University of Pittsburgh Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.  


Click here for the webinar.

Healthcare Related Issues for Individuals with Disabilities

From The Arc of the United States


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

2 - 3 p.m. EDT  


Presenters: Lisa Voltolina and Tanya Friese with moderator Dr. Willi Horner-Johnson


This webinar features two members from the APHA Disability Section.  The purpose of these webinars is to provide an opportunity for students and Disability Section members to share their research throughout the year.  The moderator for this session will be Dr. Willi Horner-Johnson.  The first speaker, Lisa Voltolina, will focus on examining the experiences of parents of children with Autism in obtaining a medical diagnosis as many parents report a negative experience consisting of inconsistent information and many barriers with professionals and communication issues.  The second half of the webinar will feature Tanya Friese and her research regarding specific standards of care for adults with intellectual disabilities (ID) and the relation to hospital-acquired infections to reduce the numbers of infections and improve overall care.


Register here.

Prevent Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

From The Arc of the United States


Tuesday, March 18, 2014 

2 - 3 p.m. EDT


Presenters: Dr. Mary DeJoseph and Leigh Ann Davis


Dr. Mary DeJoseph, Adjunct faculty member at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and Leigh Ann Davis of The Arc will address the challenges faced by healthcare providers in assessing their patients at risk.  There will be an overview of prenatal alcohol and its effects, information from current research and resources for the professional.


Register here.

Webinar: Disability-Based Discrimination in Organ Transplantation

From The Arc of the United States


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

2 - 3 p.m. EDT


Presenter: Samantha Crane, Director of Public Policy, Autistic Self Advocacy Network


People with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD) face widespread discrimination when seeking potentially lifesaving organ transplantation.  This is often due to the perception that people with I/DD would be unable to comply with post-transplant care or have low "quality of life."  


Samantha provides an overview of the history of disability-based discrimination in organ transplantation; covers the laws governing disability discrimination in healthcare contexts; and discusses ways in which people with disabilities, their family members and other advocates can help ensure that all people have access to lifesaving care. 

Click here to register. 

Maintaining Good Oral Health for Individuals with I/DD

From The Arc of the United States


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

2 - 3 p.m. EDT


Presenter: Dr. Lisa A. Buda


The challenge for optimal oral health in the special needs population rests in the hands of the caregiver, not with the patient.  Studies show that the most significant factor is the caregivers' ability to take care of their own oral health.  This poses the problem of not only assessing oral health status of the patient but also that of the caregiver.  Once understood, modifications in daily oral hygiene routines and accommodations for oral care can implemented.


Register here.

U.S. Proposes Major Update to Food Labels in Bid to Combat Obesity

From Urban Media Today


Packaged foods sold in the United States will display calorie counts more prominently and include the amount of added sugar under a proposal to significantly update nutritional labels for the first time in 20 years as health officials seek to reduce obesity and combat related diseases such as diabetes.

The Food and Drug Administration said its proposal would also ensure that the amount of calories listed per serving reflects the portions that people typically eat. That change may result in per-serving calorie counts doubling for some foods such as ice cream.

First lady Michelle Obama, who has used her White House position to launch the "Let's Move" campaign to fight childhood obesity, announced the proposal alongside the FDA.  The principle behind the update is "very simple," she said in a statement. "You as a parent and a consumer should be able to walk into your local grocery store, pick up an item off the shelf, and be able to tell whether it's good for your family."

While the FDA already requires companies to list the amount of sugar in a product, under the proposal they would also be required to list the amount of added sugar. Natural sugar is contained in fruits. Added sugar includes corn syrup and concentrated juice as well as white and brown sugar.


Read more.

Early Strokes Leave 1 in 3 With Disabilities 

From Counsel and Heal  


A huge proportion of young adults who have suffered a stroke need assistance and are unable to live independently, according to a new study.  While strokes in young adults are rare, researchers said that about 10 percent of strokes occur in people between the ages of 18 and 50.


The latest study involved 722 people who had a first stroke when they were between the ages of 18 and 50. Researchers found that one-third of participants had at least moderate disability and required assistance for some activities.  Many participants were also unable to complete routine tasks independently, such as caring for themselves, doing household chores or looking after their finances.  "Most doctors view young stroke patients as a group with great recovery opportunities," de Leeuw said.


Read more.

Sitting May Raise Disability Risk for Older Adults

From the

Prolonged sitting for adults aged 60 or older as much as doubles their risk for physical disabilities, according to a study from Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.  Nearly four percent of the participants reported having difficulty in daily activities such as walking, eating and bathing.  Regardless of the amount of daily physical activity, each hour participants spent sedentary raised their risk for these disabilities by 50 percent. 


Read more. 

Tool to Help Identify Dementia in People with ID

From Health Professional/APS Healthcare Southwestern PA HCQU 


The life expectancy of people with intellectual disabilities (ID) has improved significantly, thanks to increased awareness of their medical needs and caregiving that focuses on providing an "Everyday Life".  Health care providers and caregivers are now supporting people with ID who may experience the same health concerns the general population faces as they age.  One of these concerns is dementia.


Dementia affects people with ID the same way as the rest of the population.  However, diagnosis may be difficult due to several factors such as the presence of Down syndrome and/or the lack of documentation of the person's baseline level of functioning.


In January 2011, President Obama signed the National Alzheimer's Project Act (NAPA).  The purpose of the act is to create a federal system of accountability for assisting people and their families in managing Alzheimer's disease.  The National Task Group (NTG) was developed to address this initiative with specific information around the care of the person with ID and dementia.  The NTG developed the Early Detection Screen for Dementia, (NTG-EDSD), to assist the physician in identifying and diagnosing dementia in people with ID.  


This tool was developed for caregivers and is easy to use, with minimal training; it assists caregivers to note initial changes in the person's functioning and it can track changes over time.  It is not a diagnostic tool, but it can note functional decline and health changes and be used to discuss concerns with a physician.  The NTG recommends establishing a baseline at age 40 for people with Down syndrome, and age 50 for people with other intellectual disabilities.  


Click here for the website to access the screening tool.  Click here for additional information about the National Task Group and the development of the screening tool. 

Dental Cavities are Contagious

From the University of Louisville School of Dentistry


Mothers with cavities can transmit caries-producing oral bacteria to their babies when they clean pacifiers by sticking them in their own mouths or by sharing spoons, scientists say.  According to Liliana Rozo, assistant professor, University of Louisville School of Dentistry, tooth decay can have a detrimental effect on a child's quality of life, performance in school and success in life.


The disease can cause pain, inability to chew food well, embarrassment about discoloured or damaged teeth and distraction from play and learning.  Often, Rozo said, parents do not make the connection between oral health and overall health, but they are related.  The mouth is an open door for many microbial infections to enter the bloodstream, she said.


Poor oral health may be a risk factor for systemic disease.  Oral health manifestations, such as bleeding or dry mouth can indicate the presence of a systemic disease or exacerbate the effects of an existing disease such as diabetes and heart disease.  So parents, too, should make their own oral health care a priority in order to help their children stay healthy, said Rozo.


Medications Can Contribute to Dry Mouth

From the Blog of Academy Dental Care, J. Timothy Modic, DDS


Medications often have frustrating side effects such as nausea or headaches.  But, did you know that dry mouth is also a common side effect of prescription drugs?  There are over 400 medications that can affect your salivary glands.  These medications include those used to treat depression, anxiety, pain, allergies, diarrhea, urinary incontinence, Parkinson's disease, and many other conditions.  


Our salivary glands are extremely important because they produce saliva. Saliva keeps our mouths moist and breaks down the foods we eat. It also helps keep the bacteria in our mouths under control.  


Dry mouth may result in:
  • A higher risk of gum disease
  • An increase in cavities
  • Discomfort and difficulty eating, swallowing and talking

What is Dental Plaque and Calculus?

From Ford Dental Group


Dental plaque is a milky white, sticky biofilm that attaches to your teeth.  Essentially, it is millions of bacteria and their byproducts that build a shelter on your teeth.  Plaque starts forming within 20 minutes of eating any food.  Luckily, it can be easily removed with diligent oral hygiene, if it is removed within 24 hours.  After the 24 hour mark, it seeps the calcium out of your saliva and hardens to form tartar or dental calculus.  In other words, the bacteria are able to build a shield that protects it from a tooth brush.  This is why dentists recommend brushing twice a day.  It ensures that the bacteria won't have time to calcify.  


Read more.

Nine Easy Dental Care Steps 

From Community Smiles Association


We tend to assume our teeth will always be there, but having healthy teeth and gums may take a little more effort than just gliding a toothbrush across them once a day. Strong, functional teeth should not be taken for granted, especially as we move on in years. Issues such as dry mouth due to medications, sensitivity to temperatures and textures and painful gums are all common dental complaints.


A report recently on the radio talked about how baby boomers are concerned about not being able to afford dental care insurance.  Interestingly, according to a new WellPoint survey that examines how we view dental coverage benefits, "Americans over age 45 understand that good oral care can positively affect their overall heath."  But, the survey adds, "while 83 percent of Americans surveyed say they have medical coverage (from either an employer or the government), only half as many are covered by dental insurance."  With retirement around the corner, the cost of dental care coverage is being weighed strongly.


Click here to see the dental care steps.

Support for Physicians

Adult medical physicians often cite lack of education and training on specific disabilities, health care transition, and caring for adults with developmental disabilities as a barrier.  During clinical residencies, physicians need experience treating young adults with disabilities and chronic health issues in clinics and private physician practices.  Once in private practice, physicians need ongoing training to enhance their knowledge of caring for adults with disabilities.


Given the enormous amount of information that medical students, residents and practicing physicians must acquire, on-line trainings have become efficient and effective tools for medical education.  For example, the on-line training program created by the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council and the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry is a free, 12 credit-hour webinar series for physicians that covers topics such as best practices in the care of adults with developmental disabilities, strategies for addressing the psychological and support needs of adults with special health care needs, practical strategies for providing care in medical offices, clinics and other medical facilities, and effective billing and reimbursement practices. The series is designed to enhance the practice skills of primary care physicians and residents who would like to provide better care to their adult patients with developmental disabilities.


Each of these free webinars is accredited by the American Academy of Family Physicians for professional development hours with a total of up to 12.0 credit hours available to those who participate in all of the webinars.


Click here to participate in the webinars.


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Nancy Murray
President, The Arc of Greater Pittsburgh
serving Allegheny, Beaver and Westmoreland Counties
(412) 995-5000 x424