Healthline member newsletter

Healthy Mind, Healthy Body

Note: This article is over 60 days old, and may contain information that is out of date, or has been superseded by newer information.

Do you feel limited by stress or emotional problems?

When you experience stress, your body responds like you are in danger. It makes hormones that speed up your heart, make you breathe faster, and give you a burst of energy. Some stress is normal and even useful. But if stress happens too often or lasts too long, it can have bad effects. Stress can cause headaches, upset stomach, back pain, and trouble sleeping. It can weaken your immune system, and if you already have a health problem, stress may make it worse.

How can you avoid stress?

  • Manage your time. Make a list of tasks to accomplish, think about which things are most important, and do those first.
  • Take care of your body. Get plenty of sleep. Eat well. Don't smoke. Limit alcohol intake.
  • Speak up. Talking about your worries can help alleviate negative emotions, before they cause you stress. Practice calm, assertive communication to help efficiently express how you feel.
  • Ask for help. A strong network of family and friends can help manage stress better.

How can you relieve stress?

  • Exercise. Regular exercise isn’t just good for your body. It’s also one of the best ways to manage stress. (Check out Increase Your Physical Activity to learn how to get started).
  • Let your feelings out. Writing about your feelings can help you work through things that are bothering you. Or, try talking, laughing, crying, and expressing anger with someone you trust.
  • Do something you enjoy. Hobbies, reading or volunteer work can be great stress relievers.
  • Relax your body. Physically relaxing your body through breathing exercises, muscle relaxation exercises, massage, yoga, or meditation can help quiet your mind.

Sometimes stress or emotional problems are just too much to handle alone. Talking to a friend or family member may help, but you may also want to see a medical professional.

Healthy Blood Pressure

Note: This article is over 60 days old, and may contain information that is out of date, or has been superseded by newer information.

Know your numbers for the New Year!

High blood pressure is the leading cause of heart attack, stroke, heart failure and kidney failure. Lowering high blood pressure helps keep your arteries healthy and is the single best thing you can do for your health. The American Heart Association recommends a blood pressure of less than 120/80 for non-diabetic adults and less than 130/80 for diabetics.

Simple steps to achieve a healthier blood pressure:

  • Monitor your pressure. Measuring your blood pressure is quick and painless. Sit quietly for a few minutes before taking the reading, AND support your arm at the level of your heart during monitoring.
  • Take your blood pressure medication as prescribed. If you cannot afford your medications or if you do not like the side effects of the medications, tell your doctor. Many drugs used to treat high blood pressure are available in generic formulas sold at reduced co-pays.
  • Make these healthy lifestyle changes:
  • Achieve a normal body weight.
  • Participate in some form of physical activity each day (Ask your doctor if you are healthy enough to exercise).
  • Reduce your salt intake to 1500 milligrams a day. Watch out for fast foods, processed and prepackaged foods which are often high in salt.
  • If you smoke- STOP. Visit the Wellness Programs page to find out how we can help.

Making these small changes to achieve a normal blood pressure will help prevent further complications caused by this silent condition. For more information on high blood pressure contact CHP Health Coaching at 850-383-3400.

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

 

Nominate a Senior in Your Community for Silver Stars!

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

The Silver Stars Celebration is one of Tallahassee’s premier senior recognition events, honoring a select group of people for their special contributions. The Tallahassee Senior Center, which spearheads the event, invites the community to nominate Silver Stars. Capital Health Plan is proud to be a major sponsor for the 2011 celebration which culminates in a festive awards dinner at the FSU University Center this spring.

We bet you know some: those shining women and men who reach age 60 and just keep bringing more brightness into the world. Who can be a star? Your friends, neighbors, relatives who…

  • Since age 60 have accomplished outstanding achievements
  • Demonstrated exemplary service to others and our community
  • Are inspiring models of active aging

From athletes to caregivers, Silver Stars illuminate many paths in life. Past honorees include athletes, executive directors, community advocates, caregivers, volunteers, and entrepreneurs. If you know someone 60 or older whose life of service you admire, whatever the arena, share your appreciation. Nominate a senior star and let the whole community know.

For more information, visit:http://www.talgov.com/seniors

To Submit a Nomination: Write a description of up to 100 words about the individual’s accomplishments since age 60. Submission may be mailed to: Silver Stars Nomination, Tallahassee Senior Center, 1400 N. Monroe St. Tallahassee, FL 32303

Deadline: February 11, 2011

Event Date: May 19, 2011

 

Capital Health Plan #1 Medicare Plan in the Nation!

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

Capital Health Plan’s Medicare Advantage Plan is ranked number one in the nation according to “NCQA’s Health Insurance Plan Rankings 2010-2011 – Medicare” published by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). The Medicare Advantage Plan has ranked in the top tier in past years, but is now the first ever Florida health care plan to be ranked number one.

“We are honored to receive the number one ranking from NCQA. It is a reflection of the commitment of our local physicians and clinical staff to consistently deliver quality medical care,” said Dr. Nancy Van Vessem, Capital Health Plan chief medical officer. “Collaboration between Capital Health Plan, physicians and members has led to continued success measured by consistently excellent results on quality and member satisfaction scores.”

Capital Health Plan is your local health plan serving Leon and the surrounding counties, but the plan brings the entire state of Florida national attention with its achievements. “As the only health care plan in Florida to receive such a commendable rating, we are committed to being a leader and continually improving Medicare services and patient care,” said John Hogan, CEO of Capital Health Plan.

To calculate plan rankings, NCQA uses HEDIS®, CAHPS® and NCQA Accreditation standards scores. These scores reflect the results of consumer surveys and the plan’s success in prevention and treatment compared to other plans.

The Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) measures performance on important dimensions of care and service. Capital Health Plan received the following important 2010 HEDIS results:

  • CHP scored the very highest in the nation for Colorectal cancer screenings.
  • CHP scored the very highest in the nation for Overall Effectiveness of Care.
  • CHP scored the very highest in the nation for Overall Preventive Screening Rate

What’s so important about Capital Health Plan’s #1 ranking?

You. Thank you, members, for once again letting us – and the nation – know that Capital Health Plan works for you. Our goal is protecting and supporting your health. Your continuing satisfaction is the real measure of our success.

That’s why for 28 years, CHP has maintained our high standards in medical care and a strong physician network. That’s why we strive to meet your evolving needs with innovative services like CHPConnect and CHP Health Coaching. And that’s why our local member services department strives to deliver efficient, expert service.

The source for data contained in this publication is Quality Compass® 2010 and is used with the permission of the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).Quality Compass 2010 includes certain CAHPS data. Any data display, analysis, interpretation, or conclusion based on these data is solely that of the authors, and NCQA specifically disclaims responsibility for any such display, analysis, interpretation, or conclusion. Quality Compass is a registered trademark of NCQA. CAHPS® is a registered trademark of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). HEDIS® is a registered trademark of the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).

CHP is Your 5 Star Medicare Plan, Again.

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

Capital Health Plan is the only Medicare Advantage plan in the nation to receive five out of five stars in both 2010 and 2011 from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Once again, CHP is uniquely honored with this five star distinction along with only two other plans in the nation.

“It is an honor to be recognized nationally as a leading provider for Medicare Advantage,” said John Hogan, CEO of Capital Health Plan. “Thanks to our team of physicians, nurses and staff, our members continue to receive nationally-recognized service through our health plans.”

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the five star rating system is used to monitor plans to ensure they meet Medicare’s quality standards. The system uses 53 quality measures including preventive care, chronic illness management, and customer satisfaction.

The release of the ratings comes just in time for the November 15th open enrollment for Medicare beneficiaries. Using the ratings system, prospective members can compare the quality of care and customer service among Medicare health and drug plans. All ratings are posted publicly in Medicare’s Plan Finder at www.medicare.gov.

“In addition to recognizing our outstanding commitment to our members, these ratings offer Medicare beneficiaries more transparency and the opportunity to learn about the quality and value of health plan options to ensure they find the one that best meets their needs,” said Dr. Nancy Van Vessem, Capital Health Plan chief medical officer. “We will continue to strive to provide our members with excellence in service.”

Ask Dr. Nancy: Urinary Incontinence, More than Just Embarrassing.

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

Urinary incontinence in adults is a common, often undisclosed problem. This unwanted leakage of urine occurs in both men and women but is more common in women. It can range from mild leaking of urine to uncontrollable wetting. Unfortunately it worsens with age. What starts out as an annoyance can become a significant social and economic problem.

About 50% of nursing home admissions are related to some extent to urinary incontinence. It’s expensive for individuals and families. The direct cost of treating urinary incontinence in men and women of all ages was estimated at $26.3 billion in 1995 for bladder control products, healthcare costs and nursing home costs.

Most urinary incontinence is treatable. The first thing to do is to tell your primary care physician. Keep a diary of urination and bring it with you to your visit. Here is some information so you are organized for your visit.

The underlying mechanism: Keeping urine in the bladder is a balance between the pressure in the bladder and the pressure in the urethra, the tube that drains urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. If the pressure in the bladder is greater than the pressure in the urethra, urine exits. See if you recognize some of these symptoms.

Stress incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine during activities such as coughing, laughing or exercising. The underlying abnormality is typically poor support from the pelvic floor muscles which support the “bladder neck,” the junction between the bladder and the urethra. This decreases the pressure in the urethra, so activities like coughing, which increase pressure on the bladder from above, force urine out below. Lack of normal usual pressure within the urethra is another factor. Tissue thinning associated with age in women, previous vaginal surgery and certain neurologic lesions are associated with poor urethral sphincter function.

An overactive bladder causing the involuntary loss of urine preceded by a strong urge to void, whether or not the bladder is full, is a symptom of the condition commonly referred to as "urge incontinence." Some cases of overactive bladder can be attributed to specific conditions, such as urinary tract infection, bladder cancer and bladder stones, but most cases result from an inability to suppress bladder muscle contractions.

Overflow incontinence is urine loss associated with over stretching of the bladder. Frequent or constant dribbling can be present, sometimes in association with overactive bladder or stress incontinence. Over distension is typically caused by an underactive bladder muscle and/or obstruction of the urethra. The bladder muscle may be underactive secondary to drug therapy or conditions such as diabetic neuropathy. Outlet obstruction in women is almost always a result of urethral occlusion from pelvic organs sagging downward or previous anti-incontinence surgery. Outlet obstruction in men is commonly related to enlargement of the prostate gland.

Treatment

The treatment is determined by the type of incontinence. If the type isn’t obvious from the patient’s history, tests can be done to measure bladder dynamics. As with every medical problem, the appropriate treatment has to be matched up with the right diagnosis. Here are some simple suggestions to get started.

First possible reversible causes should be addressed such as infection and certain drugs.

For stress incontinence, conservative treatment works. Overweight women need to lose only 5% - 10% of their weight to achieve a 50% decrease in urinary leakage according to a recent New England Journal of Medicine article. Tampons can be effective, especially for exercise-induced incontinence. Exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor to provide support to the bladder neck are recommended based on good and consistent scientific evidence. See article Consider Physical Therapy.

Overactive bladder treatment involves bladder retraining. Some medications have been shown to have a small beneficial effect on improving symptoms.

Overflow incontinence requires a medication review to see if this is a side effect of medication. Evaluation for obstruction to urine flow is essential and oftentimes can be successfully treated by surgery.

The American College of Physicians, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Urological Association offer great resources for more information.

The key to success is to start early on urinary incontinence treatment.

Consider Physical Therapy

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

Do you experience symptoms of stress incontinence?

Many women believe the leakage of urine is a normal result of pregnancy, childbirth and aging; but this is not true. Exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles may greatly reduce or even cure the problem.

Capital Health Plan has partnered with Tallahassee Memorial Outpatient Rehabilitation Services to provide a therapy program for urinary incontinence. Treatment includes strengthening exercises as well as education about posture, body mechanics and bladder fitness. Physical therapy can be an effective, non-invasive treatment option for those experiencing urinary leakage.

If you think you may benefit from physical therapy to treat your problem, consult your primary-care physician. When you are ready to schedule an appointment please call 431-6220.

Advantage Primetime - Understanding Your Prescription Drug Coverage

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

Here are some important prescription drug changes to Capital Health Plan Medicare Advantage plans for 2011.

Capital Health Plan Advantage Plus (HMO)

Capital Health Plan Preferred Advantage (HMO)

There is a new Formulary (list of covered drugs which can change each year). Check your Annual Notices of Changes and Evidence of Coverage for changes in coverage, Tiers, and/or restrictions.

Copayments for Tier 1 generic drugs have been lowered. Check your Annual Notice of Changes and Evidence of Coverage for other changes to copayments/coinsurance.

The initial coverage limit has been raised from $2830 in 2010 to $2840 in 2011.

Members will now generally receive a 50% discount for covered name brand drugs in the coverage gap (donut hole).

There were no changes in catastrophic coverage in 2011.

Capital Health Plan Retiree Advantage (HMO)

 

There is a new Formulary (list of covered drugs which can change each year). Check your Annual Notices of Changes and Evidence of Coverage for changes in coverage, Tiers, and/or restrictions.

Some plans have made copayment changes. Check your Schedule of Retiree Advantage (HMO) Copayments for more details.

 

 

 

 

 

The Formulary and plan specific Annual Notices of Changes and Evidence of Coverage for each plan can be accessed on our website.

What stays the same:

Members still have access to our national network of pharmacies. You can look up network pharmacies on our website. All service area pharmacies are also listed in the Directory of Physicians, Services Providers and Pharmacies. For questions, call Member Services at 850-523-7441 or 1-877-247-6512 (TTY/TDD 850-383-3534 or 1-800-955-8771, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., seven days a week. From March 1 through October 15 voice mail is available on weekends and holidays.

Capital Health Plan is a Health Plan with a Medicare contract. Benefits, formulary, pharmacy network, premium and/or copayments/coinsurance may change on January 1, 2012.

High Risk Medications

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

Did you know that our bodies begin to respond differently to medications as we get older?

As we age, various changes occur throughout the body. For example, the liver or kidneys may not clear a medication from our system as efficiently as it once did. Likewise, receptors in the body may become more sensitive to certain drugs.

For these reasons, certain medications are considered high risk for individuals age 65 and older. Consult your physician to see if you are at risk.

 

An article in the February 2010 HealthLINE listed examples of these medications. You can access the article at www.capitalhealth.com/Members/Healthline under the topic “Medications”, or by visiting www.captialhealth.com and searching “High Risk Medications.”