ACHIEVA and HealthMeet

 Your Health Matters

Volume 3 Issue 7                                                                                       July 2014 Edition




In This Issue
What is an IHP?
Guide to Family & Patient Partnership
New Health Study
What is Health Literacy?
ADA Solutions to Access
1 in 4 Americans and Diabetes
More Exercise
Emergencies and People Disabilities
HealthMeet Calendar of Events

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What is an Individualized Healthcare Plan (IHP)? 

From Melissa Allen, ACHIEVA's Disability Healthcare Manager


The Individualized Healthcare Plan is a written document that outlines what student healthcare services are needed for students with special health care needs (SHCN).  If your family member has or is an increased risk for chronic physical, developmental, behavioral or emotional conditions and requires health and related services of a type and amount beyond that required by students generally, then they meet the criteria as a student with a special healthcare need.  They should have an IHP attached to their Individual Education Plan which should

also be on file with the school nurse.


IHPs become even more important as youth begin to transition at the age of 16 (or lower in some states).  Not only are students preparing to transition to post-secondary education, employment and community living, they and their families should be planning for transition from the pediatric health care system to the adult health care system.


Click here for more information and samples of IHPs.  Click here to watch a video.


Guide to Family/Patient Partnership in the Pediatric Medical/Health Home 

From the American Association on Health and Disability (AAHD)


The American Academy of Pediatrics has released a new guide for families around medical homes.  For decades, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has acknowledged the need for family-centered care for children and youth with special health care needs within the primary care medical home.  The AAP, the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) within the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and Family Voices collaborated on the first policy statement about the medical home in 2002.  However, the first known documentation of the term "medical home" appeared in Standards of Child Health Care, a book published by the AAP in 1967.  Since that time, there has been ongoing and increasing support and understanding of the need for families' and patients' intimate involvement in the health and well-being of all-especially children and youth.   


Indeed, it is now widely acknowledged by physicians, families, medical societies, payers, and even businesses that without true family and patient centeredness, the goal of transforming health care by improving the quality of care, reducing per-capita costs,and achieving better population health cannot be reached.  


Click here to access the guide.


Participants Needed for New Health Study 

 From The Arc of the United States

The Arc of the United States has partnered with the University of Illinois at Chicago's Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Developmental Disabilities and Health. This project, which is led by Drs. Kelly Hsieh and Sandra Magaña, aims to engage adults (aged 18 and older) with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families, caregivers, or workers - especially those from diverse backgrounds - to participate in a five year study on health behaviors by completing a series of written surveys.


Recruitment of study participants has begun.  We encourage chapters to share this opportunity with the people you serve and their families, as this is an important study.  The more people that participate, the more we will contribute to what is known about health behaviors of people with IDD over time. 


Visit and click on the LHIDDS logo or call Sumithra Murthy at the University of Illinois at Chicago, (312) 355-1396 to register or to find out more about this study.


What is Health Literacy?



Health literacy is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions. Health literacy is dependent on individual and systemic factors:

  • Communication skills of lay persons and professionals
  • Lay and professional knowledge of health topics
  • Culture
  • Demands of the healthcare and public health systems
  • Demands of the situation/context
Health literacy affects people's ability to:
  • Navigate the healthcare system, including filling out complex forms and locating providers and services
  • Share personal information, such as health history, with providers
  • Engage in self-care and chronic-disease management
  • Understand mathematical concepts such as probability and risk
Health literacy includes numeracy skills.  For example, calculating cholesterol and blood sugar levels, measuring medications, and understanding nutrition labels all require math skills.  Choosing between health plans or comparing prescription drug coverage requires calculating premiums, co-pays, and deductibles.  In addition to basic literacy skills, health literacy requires knowledge of health topics.  People with limited health literacy often lack knowledge or have misinformation about the body as well as the nature and causes of disease.  Without this knowledge, they may not understand the relationship between lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise and various health outcomes. 
Health information can overwhelm even persons with advanced literacy skills.  Medical science progresses rapidly.  What people may have learned about health or biology during their school years often becomes outdated or forgotten, or it is incomplete.  Moreover, health information provided in a stressful or unfamiliar situation is unlikely to be retained. 

ADA: Solutions, Programs and Needed Next Steps to Access

From the American Dental Association (ADA) Report: Addresses Barriers to Access 


The American Dental Association (ADA) released its inaugural "Action for Dental Health: Report to Congress" which recognizes the one-year anniversary of the launch of the Action for Dental Health (ADH) movement and the grassroots efforts taking place across the country to eliminate barriers to dental health. 


"Millions of Americans continue to face barriers to dental care, which is why the ADA launched Action for Dental Health," said ADA President Dr. Charles Norman.  "While we have accomplished much in the first year, there is still much to do. This Report to Congress serves as a continued call to action for elected officials, health policy organizations, community leaders and the dental community to come together to bridge the dental divide."


Much attention has been paid to the political debate around the Affordable Care Act while important health issues such as access to dental care are sidelined.  This year alone, more than 181 million Americans won't visit a dentist[1], even though nearly half of people over 30 suffer from some form of gum disease and nearly one in four children under the age of five already have cavities[2].  Nationally, more than 2.1 million people showed up in emergency rooms with dental pain in 2010 - that's double the number just a decade prior.[3]


In response to this, the ADA created Action for Dental Health, a nationwide, community-based movement to address barriers to dental health by solving today's problems through direct help and creating sustainable solutions that provide the best quality of care.  After just one year, ADA reports that Action for Dental Health has taken root in every state across the U.S.


Read more.

1 in 4 Americans Don't Know They Have Diabetes 

From Disability.Gov


A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that more than 29 million Americans have diabetes, up from the previous estimate of 26 million in 2010.  One in four people with diabetes don't even know they have the disease. 


Diabetes is a serious disease, but it can be managed through physical activity, diet and correct use of medications to lower blood sugar levels.  Under the Affordable Care Act, most health plans must cover preventive services such as diabetes screening at no cost to you. 


Read more. 

Those With Disabilities Need More Exercise 



Half of the 21 million Americans who have a disability don't exercise and that lack of exercise is jeopardizing their health, federal officials reported.  Among these 11 million inactive adults are people who have difficulty walking or climbing stairs, have problems hearing or seeing or have trouble concentrating, remembering or making decisions, officials said.  Many of these disabled adults are able to exercise, but don't do so regularly or at all, Ileana Arias, principal deputy director at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a news conference.  "We are very concerned about this, because working-age adults with disabilities who get no aerobic physical activity are 50 percent more likely to have cancer, diabetes, stroke or heart disease than those who get the recommended amount of physical activity," Arias said.


"We know that regular aerobic physical activity increases heart and lung function, improves daily living activities and independence, decreases the chance of developing chronic diseases and also improves mental health," Arias said. "If doctors and health professionals recommend aerobic physical activity to adults with disabilities, then adults with disabilities are 82 percent more likely to be physically active," she added.


Speaking at the news conference, Dianna Carroll, an epidemiologist in CDC's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, said, "We don't know if disability leads to inactivity and chronic disease, or if inactivity and chronic disease lead to disability."  What's clear, she said, is that exercise has the potential to prevent chronic disease, improve the health of someone with a chronic disease and help reduce the risk of additional chronic diseases.


Many don't exercise, but, 47 percent of adults with disabilities who are able to do aerobic physical activity don't do so.  An additional 22 percent aren't active enough.  Yet, only 44 percent of these adults who saw a doctor in the past year left with a recommendation to exercise, Carroll said.

In Emergencies, People With Disabilities Often An Afterthought 

From Disability Scoop


Serious barriers continue to jeopardize the well-being of people with disabilities in the wake of disasters and in other emergency situations, a new federal report finds.  Problems with emergency communications systems are rampant including everything from evacuation maps and websites that are inaccessible to alerts featuring language that is unclear for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.


The findings come in a report released recently by the National Council on Disability, an independent federal agency tasked with advising Congress and the President on disability issues.

Many 911 systems are still unavailable by text, the report indicates, and both shelters and televised emergency announcements often lack sign-language interpreters for those who are deaf.


"The concerns of people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs in emergency situations are frequently overlooked, minimized or not even recognized until after the fact," said Jeff Rosen, chair of the National Council on Disability.  The agency is recommending that the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission work together to establish guidelines for local officials regarding communicating with people who have disabilities in emergency situations.  More oversight, training and collaboration with the disability community is also needed, the report indicated.


Read more.


Medical Diagnostics and Health Care Justice


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

2 - 3 p.m. DST

Presenters: David Capozzi, Rex Pace and Mary Lou Breslin 


Click here to register.                                                                 


            HealthMeetCalendar of Events

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