BlueCross boosts patient-centered medical home effort
Use of the patient-centered medical home model of health care continues to expand in South Carolina.
More than 4,000 additional patients in Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville and Pickens counties are eligible to participate in medical home programs at physician practices supported by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and the BlueChoice HealthPlan of South Carolina.
The practices getting BlueCross BlueShield support for the program include Singleton Health Center and Medical Center of Santee in Orangeburg County; Colonial Family Practice in Sumter; and Bon Secours Medical Group, with practices in Greenville and Pickens counties.
“We are proud to be the first office in the Sumter area to be designated as a patient-centered medical home,” said Dr. Jason Leonard of Colonial Family Practice. “We are excited to take this next step to further improve and coordinate patient care while reducing healthcare costs.”
Patients at these practices who are members of BlueCross, BlueChoice or the State Health Plan and have diabetes, high blood pressure or heart failure are eligible for the program.
The patient-centered medical home is designed to improve health outcomes, reduce cost and improve the patient’s experience. In addition to paying the traditional claims, the insurance company provides a per-patient, per-month payment to the practice. This defrays the primary care doctor’s extra costs for providing case management, patient education materials and other care coordination and quality improvement activities.
Medical practices that document improved health outcomes receive an increased amount per member each month the next year.
The new patient-centered medical homes join others started in recent years and supported by BlueCross and BlueChoice in Charleston, Lancaster, Columbia and Greenville.
Sumter Cardiology joins Lexington Medical Center
Lexington Medical Center has added Sumter Cardiology to its network of physicians.
Sumter Cardiology, at 540 Physicians Lane in Sumter, offers a variety of cardiovascular services from three cardiologists — Dr. William Strat Stavrou, Dr. Charles West Jacocks IV and Dr. Mitchell Wells Jacocks.
Lexington Medical Center’s cardiovascular care program includes open heart surgery, therapeutic cardiac catheterizations and a network of cardiologists.
Oral health clinic, nurturing center earn grants
The BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation recently awarded more than $600,000 to health care-related organizations, including $50,000 each to the Nurturing Center of Lexington and Richland Counties and the Columbia Oral Health Clinic.
The latest round of grants brought the 2012 total from the foundation to $3.2 million.
The Nurturing Center addresses concerns of pregnant and parenting teens. The Columbia Oral Health Clinic provides dentures and partials for patients living with HIV/AIDS.
Other organizations awarded grants included Carolina Youth Development Center of Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties; Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Coastal Empire; Helping Hands of Georgetown Inc.; South Carolina Research Foundation; Surgeons for Sight in Greenville County; Saluda County School District; Charleston Southern University; and Save the Children of Barnwell, Clarendon, Florence, Lee, Orangeburg, Union and Williamsburg counties.
Flu cases still raging in South Carolina
The flu season, which started earlier than typical this year, shows no signs of slacking.
In the week of Dec. 9-15, there were 208 flu-related hospitalizations and three flu-related deaths in South Carolina, according to the state health department.
The Midlands has been hit particularly hard. During that same period, rapid flu tests came back positive on 536 patients in Richland County, 482 in Lexington County and 216 in Kershaw County.
The best defense against flu is immunization, and shots are available at most physician offices, health clinics and many pharmacies.
The best ways to prevent spread of the flu virus is to wash hands frequently and thoroughly, cough into your hand or the crook of your arm and stay home when sick.
Clinic makes good use of high-carb items
Medi-Weightloss Clinics ask patients to avoid foods high in carbohydrates, but those foods are generally healthy.
So in recent years, the clinics have suggested their patients, rather than throwing away high-carb items in their pantries, bring those supplies of pasta, rice, beans and cereals to the clinic for donation to food banks.
The clinics in seven cities, including Columbia, have donated 13,125 pounds of food to food banks this year. Columbia’s clinic donated 1,000 pounds of food to local food banks, according to Medi-Weightloss spokesperson Rhandi Emanouil.
Health experts warn of unhealthy cookbook recipes
As yummy as the food seems in some cookbooks, you need to consider the health ramifications when cooking those meals.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine last week released its annual ranking of the Five Worst Cookbooks of 2012, and one of them recently was featured in The State.
“Southern Living: The Official SEC Tailgating Cookbook” has recipes for items such as Scrambled Egg Muffin Sliders and Wooo Pig Sooie Ham-Stuffed Biscuits. It shouldn’t be a shocker many of the recipes aren’t high on the healthy list. But the committee notes that one serving of the books Sausage-Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole has more cholesterol than eight Cinnabon Classics.
Another of the cookbooks blasted by the committee is by Rachael Ray, who testified before Congress on the need for healthy school lunches. Ray’s “My Year in Meals” includes Hearty Mac & Cheese with Squash & Sausage, which contains about as much saturated fat as a package of bacon.
Other cookbooks on the list include “The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook,” “Fifty Shades of Chicken” and “Emeril’s Kicked-Up Sandwiches.”
State employee honored as public health hero
Matt Petrofes, director of an Upstate regional health office, has been named a “public health hero” by the United Health Foundation.
Petrofes led an effort to create a program to evaluate body mass index among first-, third- and fifth-grade students. Armed with this information, health officials are more likely to make decisions about policies and other interventions that can impact childhood obesity rates.
“The issue of childhood obesity is critical for public health,” said Petrofes, director of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Region 2 public health offices for Cherokee, Greenville, Pickens, Spartanburg and Union counties. “Thanks to the help we receive from our many community partners, I am confident we can make progress toward ensuring a healthier future for our children.”
By the end of the 2012-13 school year, the effort aims to gather BMI measurements for more than 12,000 students in the Upstate region.
Keep on giving with blood donation
The season of giving isn’t over. Blood donations typically slow down during the holiday season, though the need for blood doesn’t.
Consider giving blood at the Day after Christmas Blood Drive, scheduled for 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. today at Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church, 5503 Sunset Blvd., Lexington; Walmart Garners Ferry, 7520 Garners Ferry Road, Columbia; and Dutch Square Shopping Center, 421 Bush River Road, Columbia.
Take a First Day Hike to start the new year
If you’re looking for a healthy start to the new year, consider at First Day Hike at a state park.
Many of South Carolina’s state parks have scheduled ranger-guided hikes on Jan. 1. Most are relatively short and easy.
In the Midlands, there’s a 2.5-mile hike on Little Gap Trail at Dreher Island State Park at 9 a.m., a hike around Lake Poinsett at Poinsett State Park at 9 a.m. and a 2-mile hike around the lake at Sesquicentennial State Park at 1 p.m.
Other walks are scheduled at Aiken, Barnwell, Caesars Head, Calhoun Falls, Charles Towne Landing, Cheraw, Chester, Devils Fork, Edisto Beach, Givhans Ferry, Hickory Knob, Huntington Beach, Lake Hartwell, Lake Warren, Landsford Canal, Lee, Little Pee Dee, Musgrove Mill, Myrtle Beach, Oconee, Paris Mountain, Rivers Bridge, Sadler Creek, Santee and Table Rock parks.
If you want to start the year with a challenge, one of the two hikes at Table Rock will be the 7.2 mile trek to the top of the mountain, starting at 9 a.m.
USC diet study looking for participants
A study at the Arnold School of Public Health at USC might be able to help New Year’s resolution-makers who want to eat healthy and shed pounds.
The New DIETs for Weight Loss study is recruiting participants for an eight-week approach to weight loss.
The study will explore how each of the following diets can improve health and enhance weight loss:
• Vegan: fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains
• Vegetarian: eggs, cheese, fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains
• Pesco-vegetarian: fish, eggs, cheese, fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains
• Semi-vegetarian: limited red meat and poultry; fish, eggs, cheese, fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains
• Omnivorous: all foods but choosing healthier portions.
Participants must be ages 18-65, have access to a computer with internet capabilities and be overweight with a body mass index of 25-49.9. Participants must able to attend up to seven weekly evening meetings at USC starting in late January.
Those who qualify will receive a free weight loss program and be randomly assigned to follow one of the five dietary approaches. Participants will receive $20 at completion of the eight-week trial.
Information: www.newdietsstudy.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (803) 777-3932.
Compiled by Joey Holleman