Local health news

May 2, 2012 

Another SC-based program helps patients improve their health and record fewer hospital admissions during the first year of a new health care model.

Medical home successes adding up

With each new test effort, the effectiveness of patient-centered medical homes gains more evidence.

The latest results come from Mackey Family Practice in Lancaster and Indian Land, where once again patients improved their health and had fewer hospital admissions during the first year of the new health care model.

A patient-centered medical home puts the primary care provider in charge of coordinating all services. Those include checkups, tests, referrals to other providers and follow-up for urgent care, emergency services and hospitalizations. The goal is to ensure that all of the patients’ problems are addressed in a cost-effective manner.

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina has supported tests including small-scale successes in Charleston and Columbia. The model at Mackey Family Medicine was open to patients who have diabetes and are members of BlueCross plans, BlueChoice HealthPlan of South Carolina and the State Health Plan.

After the first year, participants had improved their health in eight of 10 measures, including weight, blood pressure and glucose levels. They also had fewer emergency room visits and hospital admissions than in the previous year, as well as when compared to other patients with diabetes in Kershaw and Lancaster counties.

BlueCross and BlueChoice HealthPlan provided support – beyond just paying claims – for Mackey to provide case management, patient education materials and other care coordination.

Charleston physicians to lead state group

Andrew J. Pate, an anesthesiologist practicing in Charleston, was installed last month as the 151st president of the S.C. Medical Association.

Pate, a graduate of the USC School of Medicine, will be a leader in setting the association’s legislative priorities and serve as a spokesman for the profession in South Carolina.

“New drugs, new surgical tools and techniques, new research and studies, and even new laws, challenge us to adapt and change to deliver the best care possible,” Pate said.

Event focuses on moms and moms-to-be

Moms and moms-to-be will be the guests of honor at Oh, Baby! Sunday at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.

Admission is free but registration is required. The event will feature brief educational sessions, local vendors, a fashion show, a Daddy Olympics, an ask-the-physician area and car seat safety demonstrations.

Information: www.OhBabyPalmetto.com.

Presentation deals with social networking for children

An expert on children’s use of social networking will speak at Palmetto Health Baptist’s auditorium on May 9.

The presentation is part of Speak Up for Kids nationwide campaign to encourage child mental health professionals to speak out on topics related to raising healthy, happy kids.

Dr. Gariane Phillips Gunter’s presentation is entitled “You Have a Friend Request! Social Networking and our Children.”

Artsy windows will help mentally ill

Artists from throughout the state have hand-painted vintage windows as part of a special fund-raising effort for the Mental Illness Recovery Center Inc.

The 52 Windows effort culminates with a silent auction at 6 p.m. May 10 at 701 Whaley. It began a few years ago when MIRCI board member Marcy Coster-Schulz remodeled her Shandon home and didn’t want the vintage windows sent to a landfill.

Funds raised through the gala and auction will bolster housing and homeless services for those in the Columbia area facing chronic mental illness. MIRCI’s homeless recovery center serves an average of 300 people a year who are chronically homeless and have serious mental illness – getting them off the streets, engaged in treatment and into permanent supportive housing. It provides a clinic, laundry, storage, showers and meals.

Columbia shows up for Walk at Lunch Day

An estimated 2,350 people in South Carolina took steps toward improved health during the four National Walk at Lunch Day events organized by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina on April 25.

Columbia had the largest crowd, about 850. Approximately 600 walkers took part in the Charleston walk, along with about 200 in Spartanburg and 700 in Greenville.

A half hour of walking each day has significant health benefits, including lowering the risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes.

“The lunch hour is a great time for people to work moderate exercise into their schedules,” said Dr. Laura Long, BlueCross’ vice president of clinical innovation and population health. “Just 30 minutes each day can make a big difference in a person’s health.”

Health fair planned at Lowman facility

The Heritage at Lowman has scheduled a health and wellness fair for 10 a.m-2 p.m. May 18.

It’s at the Lowman facility at 2101 Dutch Fork Road in Chapin, and it’s open to the public.

Health care organizations and specialists will be there to answer questions. Also, participants can get chair massages, hearing tests and an array of health screenings. There will be demonstrations of exercise offerings such as Tai Chi, yoga, Zumba and water aerobic classes in the indoor, heated pool.

Cooking demonstrations are planned, and cookout lunches will be available for purchase 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Information: (803) 451-7414

Load up at grocery for the postal food drive

The 20th Stamp Out Hunger food drive is May 12, so plan ahead to buy a few extra nonperishable food items.

Then just leave those items by your mailbox on May 12. Local letter carriers will pick up the donated items and bring them to a local food bank in what has become the nation’s largest single-day food drive.

The effort is especially important now, with nearly 49 million Americans at risk of hunger and food banks’ supplies depleted.

Information: www.stampouthunger.info

Sleep study needs senior volunteers

Researchers at the University of South Carolina are recruiting seniors for a sleep study.

The 14-week study will examine the effects of spending one hour less in bed or following a fixed bedtime and wake time. Participants, who must be between 60 and 80 years old, must fill out questionnaires, keep a sleep diary and undergo a physical exam, including blood draws. Participants will be paid $700 for completion of the study.

If you’re interested, contact Shawn Youngstedt at (803) 777-7296 or speiran@email.sc.edu.

Fitness festival joins Midlands schedule

There’s a new event on the Midlands outdoors recreation calendar, the WildeWood Fitness Festival.

The inaugural festival is scheduled for Saturday and will include a 15K hybrid race, a 4-mile run and a kids fun run. Proceeds will benefit Camp Kemo.

The hybrid race will include 4 miles on the trails at Sesquicentennial State Park and about 5 miles in the WildeWood neighborhoods. Those who want to run only on the trails should enter the 4-mile race.

Register: www.strictlyrunning.com

Autism event set for Finlay Park

Strides for Autism, the annual awareness-raising event for the S.C. Autism Society, is scheduled for May 19 at Finlay Park in Columbia.

The event includes a fun walk, a resource fair and family activities. The walk begins at 9 a.m.

Information: (803) 750-6988 or www.scautism.com.

Compiled by Joey Holleman

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