Healthline member newsletter

CHP’s Urgent Care Center: Faster and Less Costly Than the Emergency Room!

Note: This article is over 60 days old, and may contain information that is out of date, or has been superseded by newer information.

If you need immediate care for a sickness or injury, consider calling CHP’s expertly staffed Urgent Care Center at 850-383-3382. You will bypass the hectic surroundings and long waits of a hospital Emergency Department—along with the higher copayments. Just telephone our Urgent Care Center and receive an appointment. (If you have a truly life-threatening condition, go to the Emergency Department.)

The CHP Urgent Care Center, located at the Centerville Place Health Center, is staffed by physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and nurses.

Medical problems appropriate for treatment at the Center are:

  • upper respiratory infections, ear infections, and sore throats
  • minor but acute illnesses that include high fever, nausea, or vomiting
  • minor trauma, including ankle sprains or cuts
  • urinary tract infections

CHP Urgent Care Center Hours
Monday–Friday, 11 a.m.–10 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday,
9 a.m.–8 p.m.
Holiday hours may vary.

Appointments
Call 850-383-3382

New for Members: Your Personalized Health Report

Note: This article is over 60 days old, and may contain information that is out of date, or has been superseded by newer information.

Through an innovative online tool, Capital Health Plan members can create an individualized guide for managing their health and feeling their best. It’s

easy to do, takes 15–20 minutes, and makes you a much more active participant in your health care. The guide:

  • establishes a health baseline so that you can monitor changes over time
  • creates useful personalized forms
  • enables more productive, organized doctor visits
  • lets you set and track personal health goals

How the Health Survey Works.
The first step is an online health survey, accessed through Capital Health Plan’s secure Internet site (see directions on this page). The survey uses a new questioning technology called “branching logic.” From a general question, your response may or may not lead to follow-up questions for more specific information. All responses then are compiled into a report of health information designed just for you! You are able to save your survey for future reference and comparison.

Tailored Forms and Resources.
In addition, the survey provides you with useful forms for yourself and your doctor. One set of forms organizes your conditions into categories, such as things you are doing well, conditions that could use attention, family history, and prevention. There is space on each page for writing important notes.
Other forms outline goals for issues and conditions that you indicated in the survey. The grand finale of the report is a tailor-made list of resources for gathering more health information.

The Big Picture.
One of the most important and exciting components of completing the survey is looking at “the big picture” of your health and deciding personal goals. Maybe you want to lose 20 pounds over the next year, improve your strength and balance, or reduce the number of medications you take. Remember, CHP has many services and benefits to assist you with your goals. CHP Health Coaching is the newest member benefit. With this service you can call 24 hours a day (850-383-3400) and speak with a Health Coach about your specific needs. Online, a coaching feature includes numerous Lifestyle Management Programs. Topics include weight and stress management, smoking cessation, and preventing and managing back pain.

CHP also offers weight management classes and support groups each week at our Governor’s Square location.
Live Well. It’s Your Choice!

To Access the Health Survey
  1. Log on to capitalhealth.com.
  2. Click CHP Health Coaching.
  3. Log on with your user ID and password, or register if a first-time user.
  4. Click Health Tools.
  5. Click Health Survey.
To Access Lifestyle Management Programs
  1. Follow steps 1–3 above.
  2. Click Healthy Living.
  3. Click Lifestyle Management Programs.

Ask Dr. Nancy

Note: This article is over 60 days old, and may contain information that is out of date, or has been superseded by newer information.

Q: It’s February. Do you know where your New Year’s resolutions are?

We are six weeks out from our New Year’s resolutions, and most of us had a resolution regarding our own personal health. Whether we vowed to lose weight, or to become stronger, or to improve our cardiovascular condition, or to stop smoking, now is the time to decide whether our plans are on track.

According to the American Heritage Dictionary, health is “[s]oundness, especially of body or mind; freedom from disease or abnormality . . . [a] condition of optimal well-being.”

Wow! Sign me up. Give me that “health pill.” As we know, health (particularly as we age) is more a product of what we do and don’t do rather than what anyone does for us or to us. The good news is that a lot of our personal health is under our own control. The harder news is that we have to expend effort and make choices that will lead to optimal well-being.

Do these five simple things to Live Well:

  1. Move. Walk fast for 30 minutes most days. You will feel better almost immediately. Take your kids along. Wear them out.
  2. Eat healthy foods. Too much fat and sugar and not enough fruits, vegetables, and fiber are the root cause of many of the chronic diseases that we all want to avoid.
  3. Drink eight glasses of water a day.
  4. Take a multi-vitamin daily, particularly if you don’t eat enough vegetables and fruit.

Get a health baseline by doing an online health survey. If you have any questions about how to proceed with your own plan for health, call a Health Coach at 850-383-3400.

Best of luck in moving forward in good health!

Oh, your aching back? A real pain in the neck?

Note: This article is over 60 days old, and may contain information that is out of date, or has been superseded by newer information.

For too many people, the reaction to those common questions is a resounding “Yes!” Low back and neck pain trouble a number of CHP members. Now, a new program is doing something about these aches and pains—with definite success.

The education and intervention program, a collaboration with the Center for Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy, was conducted as a pilot study for one year. Approximately 170 patients achieved nearly 80% improvement in their pain after a little more than three visits. Physical ability or function scores improved on average from a capacity score of 59 on entering the program to 91 on completion.

CHP physician Charles Tomlinson, MD, worked on the pilot program with the Center’s Tom Kane, MS, PT (cert. MDT), and Chad Gray, PT (cert. MDT). Physical therapists Kane and Gray are pleased to provide the safe and effective treatment and education. If you feel that you might benefit from this program, please discuss it with your primary care physician or contact the Center. No authorization number is necessary. Contact the Center for Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy at 850-656-1837. Office location is 1834-A Jaclif Court, just off Capital Medical Boulevard. CHP members experiencing back and neck pain also can get additional information by calling a CHP Health Coach at 850-383-3400.

Treating a Sore Throat

Note: This article is over 60 days old, and may contain information that is out of date, or has been superseded by newer information.

Sore throats have multiple causes, but in 85–95% of cases, the culprit is a viral infection. This means that up to 95% of sore throats will go away on their own, without antibiotics, usually within 7 to 10 days.

Try home remedies to help ease your pain while the sore throat runs its course.

  • Drink warm liquids.
  • Gargle with warm, salty water (about 1 tsp. of salt per glass of water).
  • Suck on throat lozenges or hard candy.
  • Use a cool-mist vaporizer or humidifier to add moisture to the air and help a dry throat.
  • Use over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®). Avoid giving aspirin to children.

When does a sore throat require a trip to your doctor? Be sure to call your health care provider if you experience any of the following:

  • severe difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • excessive drooling in a young child
  • fever, especially 101° F. or greater
  • tender or swollen lymph glands in the neck
  • pus in the back of the throat
  • a red rash that feels rough, and increased redness in the skin folds

If your doctor suspects a bacterial infection (such as strep), he or she may perform a rapid strep test or take a throat culture. If an antibiotic is prescribed, be sure to complete the entire course—even if you feel well.

Antibiotics: Myth vs. Fact

Note: This article is over 60 days old, and may contain information that is out of date, or has been superseded by newer information.

It starts with a runny nose and then turns into a sore throat. Before you know it, you’re sneezing and coughing all over the place. Think you need to visit your doctor for an antibiotic? You may be surprised to hear that the answer is usually “no.”

How do you know if you need an antibiotic? Check out our list below. We reveal the facts behind the myths and help you decide when to visit the doctor and how to use antibiotics appropriately.

Myth #1: Antibiotics work against the common cold and flu.

Fact: Most illnesses (for example, the common cold, most coughs/bronchitis, the flu, and most sore throats) are caused by viruses, and antibiotics do not kill viruses. They only kill bacteria. If you have a viral infection, taking an antibiotic will not get rid of the infection or make you feel better any faster.

Myth #2: A runny nose that is green or yellow in color means the infection is bacterial and an antibiotic is needed.

Fact: Yellow or green mucous does not mean that the infection is bacterial; this can also occur with a viral infection. Therefore, the need for antibiotics cannot be determined strictly by the color of your nasal discharge.

Myth #3: Taking an antibiotic is harmless; therefore it can’t hurt to take one “just in case.”

Fact: Taking any medication can lead to unwanted side effects and the risk of drug interactions or allergic reactions. In addition, the overuse of antibiotics enables bacteria to adapt and overcome the medicine’s effect. The antibiotic won’t work as well when you truly do need it. Overuse of antibiotics can lead to problems such as methicillin resistant staph aureus (MRSA).

Myth #4: If an antibiotic is needed, I can stop taking it once I feel better.

Fact: Although you feel better, bacteria still may be present. Take the full course. Otherwise, the infection may come back. Stopping an antibiotic too early also can lead to resistant bacteria.

Myth #5: When I start feeling sick, I can use some of the antibiotic that I never finished from my last prescription.

Fact: See Myth #4 —Have no leftovers! Equally important to know is that an antibiotic targets specific bacteria. Even if your new infection is caused by bacteria, the left-over antibiotic may not treat it.

When in doubt, call your doctor to see if an antibiotic is needed, but don’t be disappointed if you don’t receive a prescription. By avoiding an unnecessary antibiotic, you’ll be doing your part to ensure that antibiotics remain effective when you really need them to work for you.

Advantage Prime Time

Note: This article is over 60 days old, and may contain information that is out of date, or has been superseded by newer information.

If Medicare Is in Your Future, Come to One of Our Regular Seminars

Please note: CHP Medicare Advantage Plans do not have a cap on occupational therapy, physical therapy, or speech/language therapy.

You may have heard that original Medicare will have a $1,810 cap on these therapies in 2008, but this will not affect you if you are enrolled in a CHP Medicare Advantage plan. Please call Member Services if you have questions at 877-247-6512 or 850-523-7441 (TTY 850-383-3534 or 800-955-8771), seven days a week, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Capital Health Plan is a health plan with a Medicare contract.

Are you approaching age 65 or retirement? Do you have questions about Medicare? Capital Health Plan regularly offers seminars for our members to learn the basics of Medicare, get answers to questions, and review the options in CHP Medicare Advantage plans.

Our Medicare Advantage program—ranked highest in the Southeast by the National Committee for Quality Assurance in U.S. News & World Report, “America’s Best Health Plans 2007TM”—covers all parts of Medicare including Part D (prescription drug benefit), offers extra benefits, and costs less than many Medicare supplemental plans. The program has three options.

CHP Preferred Advantage includes coverage of generic prescription drugs throughout the year, even during the government’s coverage gap (known as the “doughnut hole”).

CHP Advantage Plus is our original, popular Medicare plan. It carries a lower premium than CHP Preferred Advantage but does not include coverage of generic drugs during the gap.

CHP Retiree Advantage is sponsored by some employers. Through these plans, Medicare-eligible retirees continue their employer group health plan, including the group copayments and unlimited drug coverage with no gap.

Medicare Information Seminar Schedule
Members Eligible for CHP Retiree Advantage: Second and fourth Wednesday of every month
All Other CHP Members: Second and fourth Friday of every month
Time and place: 10 a.m., Governor’s Square Health Center
Telephone: 850-523-7441or 1-877-247-6512;
TTY/TDD 850-383-3534 or 1-800-955-8771,
8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week

Wanted: Silver Stars (60 and Better)

Note: This article is over 60 days old, and may contain information that is out of date, or has been superseded by newer information.

They’re at least 60 years of age. They’re high achievers who help others. They’re shining examples to young and old. They’re Silver Stars—annual honorees at a celebration created by the Tallahassee Senior Center and cosponsored by Capital Health Plan. Because of the event’s growing popularity, this year’s gala and dinner will be held at the FSU University Center.

First we need nominees! This is your chance to honor someone—friend, neighbor, or relative—who brings light to lives. Past Silver Stars have included athletes, executive directors, community advocates, caregivers, volunteers, and entrepreneurs. Think a few moments. You know someone. Please let us know, too.

Silver Star criteria: Eligible people are those who, since age 60, have accomplished outstanding achievements, demonstrate exemplary service to others and our community, and are inspiring models of active aging.

Nomination process: Write a description of up to 100 words about the person’s accomplishments since age 60. Mail it to Silver Stars Nomination, Tallahassee Senior Center, 1400 N. Monroe St., Tallahassee FL 32303.

Deadline: February 22, 2008.

Silver Star Celebration: May 22, 2008, FSU University Center (tickets required).

Contact: Sheila Salyer, Tallahassee Senior Center, 891-4001.

Pharmacy Benefit Changes for 2008

Note: This article is over 60 days old, and may contain information that is out of date, or has been superseded by newer information.

With the New Year came some changes in the pharmacy benefits offered to our members . . . have you noticed?

Covered medications and copayments.

Effective January 1, 2008, Capital Health Plan adopted new formularies for our commercial and Medicare plans (a formulary lists the drugs we cover and at what copayments). To learn more about these changes, visit our website.

National pharmacy network

In 2008, Capital Health Plan began using the Caremark National Pharmacy Network. This means that, in addition to participating local pharmacies, you now can use your CHP pharmacy benefit at some 62,000 pharmacies nationwide. For network pharmacies located outside of our service area, log onto caremark.com. Register by using your CHP identification number, and then choose Find Local Pharmacy. (For any difficulties with Caremark’s website, contact the customer service department at 1-800-966-5772.) When using these out-of-area pharmacies, present your CHP identification card to take advantage of your typical copayments.

New online information

The Caremark website also offers excellent and extensive resources:

  • your prescription drug history, drug and pharmacy coverage information, and possible ways to save money on your prescriptions
  • educational material on all prescription medications
  • a tool to screen for drug interactions
  • medical information on many health conditions