Consumer Blog

OPEN ENROLLMENT - November 19, 2018

Review, Choose & Stay Well

As you have probably heard ads reminding consumers it is time to review their health insurance policies, supplemental coverage, or check out the health marketplace.  


Much like we change batteries in our smoke detectors, staying on top of your insurance coverage is a good idea.   We don't really pay attention to the choices we make until we become ill and need the coverage. 


Thanks to the ACA (Affordable Care Act) preventive care is part of most plans.  Insurance companies are seeing the benefit of putting dollars into keeping people well, rather than paying for the high costs of being sick.  


This includes getting your flu shot soon.  Did you know that it takes 3-4 weeks until your body has developed good protection?  And you can't get the flu from the shot.....really.  Here's how the flu shot works....


When you get a flu shot, there are usually three strains of flu that have a good chance of showing up in the U.S. that season.  The flu vaccine is most often developed in eggs. (If you are allergic to eggs check with your doctor before taking.)  


The  vaccine contains no live virus, so it can't give you the flu.  Most people who feel ill after getting a flu shot are actually experiencing their body preparing to fight off the flu.  This most likely happens when their body hasn't seen one or more of the strains before.

When the body detects a new strain, it triggers an immune response.  This causes the body to start to build an army to attack the foreign invader.   That response can make you feel very tired, have a sore arm, and/or have other symptoms that make you think you have the flu.  This usually lasts for a day or two and can improve with lots of fluids and over- the-counter medications.


When the real flu hits, your body will identify the strain and attack with a well prepared infection fighting army of antibodies.  It may stop the infection in it's tracks or lessen the severity. 


If you have additional questions, talk with your health provider on whether you should get the flu shot.



What is the Difference - October 28, 2018

Acute Care, Long Term Care, Rehab, Assisted Living, Memory Care

We often are expected to know and understand what these terms mean, but do you really know?  Let's take a look at what the terms really mean.


Acute Care is a term used for hospital care.  Acute refers to having an illness that requires more intervention than a prescription and advise you would get in the ER or at your doctor's office.   When you leave the hospital, you may be discharged to home or a Rehabilitation facility to get stronger.


Most Rehabilitation (Rehab) Units  these days are found in facilities that have Long Term Care residents.  Rehabilitation can last up to 100 days if you have Medicare; and can be extended if you have Medicaid.  Or a person coming in for Rehab but is not safe to go home can transition to Long Term Care status, depending on their payer source. 


When Rehab patients are discharge to their home, it is not unusual for them to be followed by a Home Health agency.  Home Health will send a nurse to evaluate what services you need to get you well enough to manage on your own.  This may include nursing, physical/occupational/speech therapy, a social worker, and/or an aide.  Home Health requires a person be "home bound" to meet the guidelines.  Home Health also does not provide long term home care when you get to your highest potential ability.  Long term home care assistance is done by a Personal Care Agency. 


Long Term Care is when you are unable to take care of yourself independently.  This can be at any age.  Most of the time younger people have a debilitating illness or have an injury.  The facility is considered their home, and the residents have a say in what happens.


Assisted Living facilities are designed with private apartments.  Individuals may be independent most of the time; need help with medications or certain care issues; or need guidance to continue being active.  Assisted Living staff do not provide nursing service.  Residents need to go out for doctor appointments, home health or hospice can come into the facility to provide care.


Memory Care provides services for individuals with dementia type illnesses.  These folks can no longer be cared for at home or are unsafe alone.  Depending on the type of care provided, facilities can be similar to an assisted living center or can be a locked unit that provides nursing services to manage physical and behavioral changes.


The best way to choose a facility for yourself or a loved one, is to tour several before making a decision. 


When transferring from acute to rehab to home care, etc.  it is always your choice where you want to go.  If you are not being given a choice, this may violate your right to choose. 


Speak up!  Ask questions!  Do your research!  


It is your right!





What is Pre-Diabetes? ---July 2, 2018

Mayo Clinic Says...

 

"Prediabetes means that your blood sugar level is higher than normal but not yet high enough to be type 2 diabetes. Without lifestyle changes, people with prediabetes are very likely to progress to type 2 diabetes. If you have prediabetes, the long-term damage of diabetes — especially to your heart, blood vessels and kidneys — may already be starting.


There's good news, however. Progression from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes isn't inevitable. Eating healthy foods, incorporating physical activity in your daily routine and maintaining a healthy weight can help bring your blood sugar level back to normal.


Prediabetes affects adults and children. The same lifestyle changes that can help prevent progression to diabetes in adults might also help bring children's blood sugar levels back to normal.


Prediabetes generally has no signs or symptoms."


https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prediabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20355278

That Prescription & Your Diet

You probably had some blood work that the doctor reviewed and declared, "You have prediabetes.  I'm prescribing you medication for this."    STOP!


Did you ask...

1.  What was my blood sugar number?  Was it fasting?  Did this happen once or all the time?


STOP:  Did you know that anything below 120 fasting used to be considered normal up until about 5-10 years ago when normal was changed to 90-100 fasting?


2. Did the doctor do a test called and A1C?  Was this the first time?  What was the number?  

(A1C checks the blood sugar average over the last 2-3 months.)


STOP:  Did you know that anything under 7 was considered normal until it was determined that 5-6 would be a better normal. 


3. Did your doctor explain what prediabetes or diabetes is?  


STOP:  Did you know it is your body's inability to utilize blood sugar, otherwise know as glucose, properly? 


4. Did your doctor ask about your diet, sugar or fruit intake, the amount of starches, your exercise routine and activity?


STOP:  Many people may need to move more and make some changes in their diets to bring the numbers down.


5. Did the doctor tell you that you could pass out  or worse if you take the medication and not eat regularly?


STOP:  Did you know there has been increased 911 related calls for people with low blood sugar problems related to medication and not eating.


OH WOW! What Should I Do?

  1. Don't Panic!
  2. If you are on medication for prediabetes DO NOT STOP YOUR MEDICATIONS!            Talk with your doctor before you make any changes.
  3. If you are feeling dizzy, lightheaded, have passed out...                                               CALL YOUR DOCTOR and tell him/her what is going on.
  4. If your doctor tells you that you have prediabetes, ask some questions.  
  5. If your numbers are slightly elevated, it might be reasonable to talk with your doctor about changing your diet and activities for a few months.  Then re-evaluate blood work and changes depending on your history may show you don't need the medication and can manage with your lifestyle.

REMEMBER:  Questioning can save your life!

Not Everything You Hear Is True

Picking Up Your Prescriptions - May 2018

Recently, I refilled a routine prescription at a large chain store.  The lady ahead of me stated she had been on her medication for years and didn't know why she needed to speak with a pharmacist.


My turn...The clerk was adamant that I needed to speak to the pharmacist stating that it was state law.  The pharmacist also stated it was state law and if I didn't believe him, I should check with the State Board of Pharmacy.   So ... I decided to check with the Board of Pharmacy as suggested.  

(To find the number....Google....your state...and Board of Pharmacy) 


I spoke with a gentleman in the legal division who was familiar with current regulations and how they were  implemented by the pharmacies.  I was told in Nevada, pharmacies are required to offer education to patients on all NEW prescriptions.  This would apply if you were new to that pharmacy, or had never taken that medication before.   There is, however,  no requirement for a pharmacist to educate on every routine medication, unless you have questions.


So this must be an individual store policy rather than a Board of Pharmacy requirement.  Next time I pick up a prescription, I now know the facts. 


With that said, I can't stress enough how important it is for everyone to...

1. Know the Names and Dosage of their Medications; 

2. Have a good understanding of what the medication is for;

3. Take the medication at the times prescribed;

4. Understand what side effects and problems may develop with that medication; and

5. Call your healthcare practitioner if there are any changes to rule out a medication interaction.


Your pharmacist can be a great resource to help with this information.  They are the chemical experts that work for you & your health.  Most have computer programs that can check for interactions with other medications.


If you are taking over-the-counter medications or supplements, ask your pharmacist to check and make sure there are no interactions with your prescribed pills.  Sometimes there can be and if you don't check, it may affect your health.


Remember to trust your instincts.  If someone in healthcare tells you something that sounds a bit odd, don't hesitated to question.  It may not be a simple reguation issues, it may be your life.

New Year - New Thoughts!

Medicare Home Health Changes in 2018 - January 6, 2018

New Medicare mandates are prompting positive changes for consumers coming as of January 13th, 2018.  This is likely to become the standard across the insurance industry.


Consumers can expect Home Health Agencies to be more forthcoming with information about their services. Some changes include: 


  • Agencies are required to provide information in the patient's primary language.
  • The customer has to agree and sign necessary documents prior to care.
  • Consumers will take on a greater roll in their care, helping to plan, set goals, and work to achieve them.
  • There continues to be a high emphasis of in preventing readmissions for the same diagnosis.
  • Agencies are required to review your medications and why you take them.
  • You will be given a copy of your individualized Plan of Care.

The changes are positive for the consumer!

November 2, 2017 - ACA Open Enrollment Ends December 15, 2017

GO TO:    https://www.healthcare.gov/


Don't delay!  Sign-Up today! 

October 15, 2017 - Medicare Open Enrollment for 2018

 Open Enrollment runs from October 15th to December 7th.


If you're new to Medicare or this is a benefits review, don't forget!


For more information go to:  https://www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan/questions/home.aspx 


October 10, 2017 - Use a Notebook to Listen?


If you are without health insurance, now is the time to get enrolled.   


GO TO:  https://www.healthcare.gov/ 


With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, more people are now covered by insurance.  

That means we, as a country, are becoming healthier.


When people have a health care provider who knows them, it is likely they will be more involved in staying well. 


Rather than going to the Emergency Room for routine care, people are more likely to save time and money going to the doctor's office or Urgent Care for cold and flu.  


Staying on needed medications is more likely when the cost is controlled and prescriptions are accessible. 


It is a proven fact, that when people have increased knowledge and understanding, make better choices.


Don't delay!  Get signed up today!

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 Please Note: Responses and writtings on this site are for informational purposes only.  yesRN makes no specific recommendations for any person, action or change to be taken without consulting with your physician. 

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