Bill Hoagland, Sr. VP of the Bipartisan Policy Center

This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Bill Hoagland, Senior Vice President of the Bipartisan Policy Center where he manages health policy initiatives. Mr. Hoagland, a long time Budget and Appropriations Director in the US Senate, analyzes the recent Supreme Court ruling upholding tax subsidies under the Affordable Care Act and what it means for health reform moving forward.

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Supreme Week

An email to CHC Staff, adapted for the blog:

Greetings

This has been a great week for equality in our country.  Yesterday, the Supreme Court upheld the subsidies in the Affordable Care Act so that no matter what state you live in, you can continue to access affordable health insurance.

Today they issued their ruling that everyone is entitled to marriage, no matter what your sexual orientation is or the state you live in.

Every day, we work hard to make sure that all our patients can benefit from these inalienable rights.  Today, we celebrate the decisions of the Supreme Court recognizing the alienable rights of everyone to health care and marriage.

It truly has been a great week.

Peace and Health

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Dr Kenneth Brigham, Co-Founder of the Emory/Georgia Tech Predictive Health Institute

This week hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. Kenneth Brigham, Professor Emeritus at Emory University and Co-Founder of the Emory/Georgia Tech Predictive Health Institute which is seeking to develop innovative predictive health models that will shift the health care of the future to focusing on optimizing good health rather than treating disease.

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Juneteenth, 2015

South Carolina. The first thing that always comes to my mind is my longtime friend, Lillian “Reba” Moses, daughter of a sharecropper and co-founder of Community Health Center. Reba was born in Florence, South Carolina and she made her way north as part of a migration for better opportunity for herself and her family. While a place of hard times, she always fondly remembered her days growing up in Florence and the influence that the church, prayer and faith had on her life.   Reba brought with her from South Carolina hope and faith that have sustained us for 43 years.

South Carolina. I can’t get the image out of my mind, of how a prayer circle ended in such tragedy, with the murder of nine people who had grown up together and were at Emanuel A.M.E. church in worship and prayer together. That these murders were motivated by racism and hatred is heartbreaking and fills us with anger. For the families who lost their loved ones and for others who lost the opportunity to have a Reba in their life, we send our prayers.

Today,  June 19th,  it’s an important day in our history that often gets overlooked;  “Juneteenth Independence Day” commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in the United States of America in 1865 (150 years ago today). On a day we would be celebrating what we hoped was in our past, the fact is that Racism remains pervasive throughout our society. We are always at great intersections in America when we talk about race, as it always seems we find ourselves at the crossroads of hate and hope.  I’m with Reba on this and believe that we can bring hope through faith and action.

Martin Luther King put it best when he said:  “Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away, and that in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty”

Peace and Health

Mark Masselli
President/CEO
Community Health Center,Inc

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Dr. C. Michael Gibson, Founder of the WikiDoc Foundation

This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. C. Michael Gibson, interventional cardiologist and Founder and Chairman of the Board of the WikiDoc Foundation, the world’s largest open source textbook of medicine designed to make medical knowledge free and accessible to all.

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1st Annual Summer Dinner for Rooftop Garden Club

The Community Health Center, Inc. rooftop garden comes to life each spring by thawing itself out after the harsh winters of New England weather, and awakens for spring. The Middletown Garden Club is welcomed to the rooftop to plant and weed every Tuesday from now until August. They plant an array of seedlings and vegetables for their three annual dinners throughout the summer. Not only does the club garden each year, but also extends an invitation to MARC Community Resources organization to help take care of the garden.

MARC is located on Washington Street and is known to serve over 200 adults and children with a wide range of disabilities. One of their ways to assist their needs is to help them find activities where it gives them an opportunity to work with others, meet new people, and gain a working knowledge on an activity they wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity.

This year the club received new soil, sand, and compost for each plot. They decided to plant an assortment of new fruits and vegetables this season ranging from watermelon, bush beans, strawberries, lettuce, kale Tuscan, and much more. After gardening on the roof this past Tuesday and getting rained out of the garden right before picking many of the strawberries and lettuce they all packed up and drove to Melissa Robert’s home for the first annual dinner of the summer.

The club prepared many of the dishes at Robert’s home using the lettuce and strawberries from the garden like a multi-colored pasta salad, lettuce and strawberry salad, and sweet coleslaw. Robert’s husband cooked hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill. Many of us were spread out throughout dinner with some eating on the porch, dining room, and in the breakfast nook overlooking Robert’s garden. Many finished off their plates and quickly moved onto the homemade desserts like brownies with beans, bread with melted apple, and a bowl full of strawberries from the garden.

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Jim Daley, ICD10 Expert and Immediate Past President of WEDI

This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Jim Daley, Immediate Past Chair of the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange or WEDI, a leading authority on the use of health IT to improve health care delivery and efficiency created by the Department of Health and Human Services. Mr. Daley discusses the industry challenges of switching to ICD 10 coding for health billing, and why the switch is so vital to improving outcomes.

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Norwalk Health & Wellness Fair on May 27th

Last Wednesday, May 27th, our Norwalk and Stamford staff hosted the first-ever Health & Wellness Fair at the Day Street clinic for families in the community. The event had representation from all disciplines – Behavioral Health, Medical, Dental, Nutrition and Access to Care. When families arrived, they were greeted warmly by Amy Taylor and Dr. Armah at our information table, where they received information about our comprehensive primary care services and CHC innovations such as the patient portal. They enjoyed a light, healthy dinner of wraps, veggies & hummus, and fruit selected by our dietician, Safia Hussein.

In the medical waiting room, Katie Carhart, the on-site behavioral health director for lower Fairfield County, ran a station centered on coping skills for children. Children colored pictures and blew bubbles while Katie explained what stress is and how to cope with feeling stressed or overwhelmed in everyday life. She also gave children “coping kits” containing a fun puzzle, notebook, bubbles and stress balls. At the same time, adults were coloring mandalas at a nearby table and learning about the therapeutic effects of coloring as a stress relief technique. Other behavioral health stations at the event included a yoga and mindfulness activity run by Anna Hickner and an adult psychoeducation booth for stress, sleep and coping led by Katherine Taveras. Attendees also had the opportunity to speak with an Access to Care representative to enroll as a new CHC patient and get information about health insurance.

In the medical exam rooms, attendees could get their blood pressure checked by RN Lucy Golding or receive education about diabetes from RN Myrna Velasquez. In addition, Chelsea Boska, who runs the smoking cessation behavioral health group in Norwalk, had an interactive station with lung models to demonstrate the health risks of smoking and strategies to quit. Finally, our nutritionist Safia Hussein provided information about healthy foods and a balanced plate and dental hygienist Mary Ann Llinas made toothprints and did fun oral hygiene education with kids attending the fair.

All of the 25 families who attended the fair seemed to have a great time eating, learning new wellness strategies and touring our facility! Two lucky individuals even won some great raffle prizes donated by local organizations – a package of 4 tickets to the Maritime Aquarium in South Norwalk and a Stop N’ Shop gift card. It was a great night providing outreach to families in the community, and sharing information about the amazing services that we have to offer. A huge thank you to Katie Carhart for providing leadership surrounding this behavioral health initiative and all of the staff from different disciplines who volunteered their time and energy to making this event a success!Health Fair 3

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World No Tobacco Day

Did you know that the global tobacco epidemic kills nearly 6 million people each year? More than 10% of these deaths are of non-smokers dying from second-hand smoke. May 31st, 2015 marked World No Tobacco Day. Each year, the World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners highlight the health risks of tobacco use and advocate for decreasing tobacco consumption.

Did you know that CHCI’s patient population includes 18,000 active smokers? Here at CHCI, we are proud to be taking steps to decrease tobacco usage and provide resources to those who want to quit smoking.

Last year, Connecticut’s Department of Social Services partnered with Yale University and Community Health Network to launch the Rewards to Quit Program, a new program that gives current adult smokers with Medicaid insurance the opportunity to earn financial incentives as they participate in activities to quit smoking. Patients are able to utilize resources such as individual and/or group counseling, the CT QuitLine, and breathalyzer tests to help them quit.

In early May, the program celebrated a major milestone by enrolling its 1,000th patient! As the Rewards to Quit program continues to enroll more adult smokers with Medicaid insurance, we seek to provide patients of all ages and insurance statuses with access to smoking cessation services through future initiatives. Two additional programs, Commit to Quit and Adolescent Rewards to Quit will be implemented to provide non-Medicaid adult smokers as well as adolescent smokers with resources to help them quit. This week, members of the research team at CHCI’s Weitzman Institute are speaking about strategies for implementing smoking cessation programs and recruiting patients at federally qualified health centers at the 2015 Association of Clinicians for the Underserved (ACU) Conference.

Through these smoking cessation programs we join the World Health Organization and its partners in their effort to reduce tobacco consumption.

- By Sayali Ghatpande

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Dr. William Dietz, Director, Sumner M. Redstone Center for Prevention and Wellness at GWU

This week hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. William Dietz, Director of the Sumner M. Redstone Center for Prevention and Wellness at the Milken Institute of Public Health at George Washington University. Dr. Dietz is an internationally recognized expert on nutrition, prevention and obesity. He talks about the threat to health and the economy posed by the obesity epidemic and efforts to combat the problem.

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