Lee Clodfelter, 3rd year Pharmacy student at the Medical College of VA, provided a very informative presentation on "Medicare Drug Benefit Program: Something for Everyone" at the November Chapter 119 meeting. Mr. Clodfelter spoke on the Medicare voluntary prescription drug insurance plan that becomes effective January 1, 2006.
Notes of interest include:
- Eligible persons will need to sign up with Medicare.
- Individuals will be able to go to their pharmacy of choice.
- Individuals will pay a premium for Rx coverage
- May 15, 2006 is the signup deadline for those individuals already enrolled in Medicare.
- New eligible persons will join during their enrollment period.
- There will be a penalty/higher premium for those individuals already on Medicare who do not sign up before the deadline.
||Explore options and begin choosing|
||Start receiving benefits|
Various parts of Medicare
|Medicare Part A||Covers hospital stays|
|Medicare Part B||Covers office visits|
|Medicare Part D||
Covers Rx (must have Part A & B to have Part D)
Under the Medicare prescription drug plan, you:
- pay a fraction of the full drug cost.
- pay a monthly premium, but may qualify for financial assistance to help pay the premium.
- pay 5% of the discounted drug price or small co-payment for all expenses over $3600. (TROOP - True out of pocket expenses)
Other points of interest
- You will receive notification from Medicare encouraging you to check on Private Pension Programs/Retiree Group Plans, suggesting you do a comparison and check if your current plan will/may drop coverage for prescription drugs.
- If you are covered by Tricare, nothing will change.
- If you are covered by Medicaid, you will need to enroll in Medicare.
- The Federal Government will pay the Medicare drug plan premium and most remaining out of pocket expenses.
- There is help for those individuals with limited income and resources, but you must request the assistance.
- You can find what Rx plans are offered at medicare.gov of call 1 800-Medicare
- In choosing a plan, pick one allowing you a pharmacy of choice and one that has all or most of your expensive drugs covered.
- November 15 - December 31 of each year is Open Season for changing plans.
- There is a 60-day notice of drugs being dropped from a plan.
More information available
- Medicare & You 2006 Handbook
- Virginia Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program (VICAP) 1-800-552-3402
- Virginia Area Agencies on Aging
- Check with your pharmacist
Following the presentation, Lee permitted time for questions from attendees.
Bob Schnell, 1st Vice President, expresses thanks and appreciation to Dr. Paul L. Evans for an out-standing presentation at the October meeting of Mended Hearts Chapter 119.
Dr. Evans provided a brief history of open-heart surgery to include Dr. Dwight Harkin's work between 1944 - 1945. Dr. Harkin was successful in operating on the beating hearts of soldiers who had been shot during World War II, and this was all done without the use of a heart lung machine. Dr. Evans also noted the beginning of Mended Hearts in 1951 when four open heart patients organized to help others undergoing open heart surgery. He noted that the first bypass surgery was done in 1968. The heart surgery program began at RRMC in 1981.
Noted below is some interesting data shared by Dr. Evans.
Scope of Open Heart Surgery at Riverside RRMC
- First time surgeries
- Redo of surgeries (most redo surgeries completed equals three times)
- Use of alternative conduit, i.e. radial artery to hand, bilateral mammary artery, veins. Note was made surgeons are using more arteries and less veins in current surgeries.
- Beating Heart (off pump) - Approximately 10% are done at RRMC, however, these surgeries are very selective.
- Valve Repair/Replacement
- Repair of congenital defects in adults (ASD and VSD)
- Repair/Replacement of thoracic aorta.
- No heart transplants are currently being done at RRMC.
Cardiac Surgery Team
Dr. Evans noted that the cardiac surgeons at RRMC have over 30 years experience. They are Board certified through the American Board of Thoracic Surgery.
Typical Open Heart Surgical Team
- Nurse (instrument at chest)
- Nurse (circulating)
- Operating Room Assistant
- Perhaps a nursing student
- Perhaps a resident
- Surgeons are operating on older, sicker patients
- Patients have multiple medical problems.
- The heart is often the least of the patient's problems.
- Shorter operating time.
- Shorter time on the ventilator post-op.
- Shorter time in the ICU and the hospital.
- Minimal invasive incisions.
- Fewer blood transfusions (50/50 probability need for transfusions today)
- Earlier discharge.
- STS database monitoring
- Surgical outcome monitoring and assessment.
- Participation in quarterly VCSQI.
Future Areas of Focus
- Arterial Fibrillation Surgery.
- Transmycardial Laser Revasculation.
Dr. Evans closed his presentation with time allowed for questions and answers.
Fun Had By All
Members enjoyed a picnic at Newport News Park for the September meeting. There was a good turnout, the weather was lovely, the food was great, especially the Blue Moon Chicken, and we enjoyed a surprise entertainment.
July brought Susan Donston, Nurse Manager for CSICU, ICU and 4E, Riverside Regional Medical Center (RRMC) as a guest speaker. Ms. Donston spoke on the "Expected Outcomes of Heart Surgery Patients During Pre-Op and Post-Op".
Did you know that RRMC began open-heart surgery in 1981?
Did you know that in 1981 RRMC performed only two open-heart surgeries?
Did you know that currently RRMC performs approximated 350 open-heart procedures a year?
After a well-received presentation, members had the opportunity to ask questions. Ms. Donston, in closing, shared with the membership how much the open-heart surgeons and the nursing staff of CSICU appreciate the Mended Hearts volunteers and the visiting program for patients and families.
If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there!
Dr. Patrick Porter, Positive Life Style Changes, provided a motivational presentation at our May Chapter meeting. At this time there are 54 Positive Life Style Changes centers in the US and seven in Canada. These centers support weight loss, smoking cessation, and pain management. Dr. Porter and his wife Cynthia co-authored the the book Secrets of G.E.N.I.U.S. The concept of GENIUS is to help individuals enhance their creativity and become more motivated toward a much more satisfying lifestyle. The acronym GENIUS is explained below. A copy of Dr. Porter's book was provded to each member in attendance.
SECRETS OF GENIUS
Genuine Positive Attitude
Enthusiasm, Focus & Flexibility
Imagination, Creativity & Inventiveness
Unending Drive to Suceed
Spontaneous Intuitive Breakthroughs
Ms. Anne Hutchens, Hidenwood Pharmacy Pharmacist, was the guest speaker at the March Mended Hearts Chapter 119 membership meeting. Ms. Hutchens is a graduate of William and Mary and the Medical College of Virginia. She began working at Hidenwood Pharmacy when she was 16 years old, and after graduating from MCV returned to work with her dad, Pharmacist Tommy Hutchens. Anne's presentation on medications for Heart Disease was extremely informative. She noted that members of Mended Hearts have already taken the very important step of taking control of their health. Ms. Hutchens discussed numerous heart patient medications and provided adequate time for the myriad of questions from the membership.
Recognition for a Job Well Done!
Chapter President Polly Clodfelter recognizes chapter member Gene Sutlz for his dedication to helping heart patients going through the Cardiac Rehab Program provided at Riverside Regional Medical Center. As a representative of Mended Hearts Chapter 119, Gene provided presentations approximately every six weeks to approximately 5 - 6 classes of rehab patients. Patients are introduced to Mended Hearts Chapter 119 through a six step process. Discussions ensue on the Mended Hearts Visiting Program, Caregiver Support, Heart Healthy Dieting, Exercise Programs, Educational Opportunities, and the Heart Pillow Program. literature about the chapter and a current chapter newsletter is provided along with encouragement to visit one of the chapter meetings. Patients are informed of an opportunity to enjoy fellowship with individuals who have had similar experiences and to learn from the varied speakers providing educational presentations. Thank you Gene for a Job Well Done.
Members Earl Garrett and Richard Taylor, pictured left, will continue representing Mended Hearts Chapter 119 in this role. This is truly a way to live the Mended Hearts motto: It's Great to be Alive - and to Help Others". For more information regarding this program, contact Mended Hearts Rehab Support.
Heart Failure, Pacemakers, and Defibrillators
Bobbie Felche and Tina Ridgeway, Guidant Cardiac Rhythm Management Group: Field Clinical Representative Team, were guest speakers at the February Chapter 119 membership meeting. They provided a presentation and open discussion on Heart Failure. Some statistics shared included:
- Approximately 5 million people suffer with heart failure.
- 550,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.
- Of 200,000 people dying from heart failure each year; 50% die within the first five years of diagnosis.
- Heart failure is equally prevalent in men and women.
- Heart failure is the leading cause of hospital admissions for patients over 65 years of age.
The importance of heart patients knowing their ejection fraction (EF) was discussed. EF is the heart's ability to pump effectively. Doctors can determine patient risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD) by measuring the fraction of blood pumped, or ejected, by the heart with each heartbeat.
SCD is when the heart fibrillates or quivers and stops pumping blood to the body. Your EF fraction can be measured through a simple, painless test - a heart ultrasound or an echocardiogram (echo). It's an easy, painless test that can be performed in the doctor's office. An EF in the 50 - 60 percentile is considered normal. An EF less than 35% may warrant a visit to a heart rhythm specialist. For more information on the EF visit the Guidant web site http://www.guidant.org/.
One asks why is heart failure on the rise? The answer is easy - it's the aging U.S. population. Further discussion on successful therapies for heart failure ensued. Bobbie and Tina passed around several cardiac resyncronization pacemakers and implantable defibrillators for the membership to view.
Yoga for Everyone
Ms. Jennifer Williams, daughter of David and Judith Williams, was welcomed back to Chapter 119 to refresh us in the art of yoga. Yoga is a method of disciplined exercises, which helps to improve physical posture, purify the body, improve physical strength, and relieve stress. Ms. Williams reviewed the technique of breathing through the three levels of the body and then led the chapter members in several breathing exercises and numerous yoga exercises. After stretching neck muscles, arms, hamstrings while listening to the gentle, relaxing tone of instruction of Ms. Williams, members were well relaxed to proceed with business at hand.
Dane Davis (EMS Council)
Mr. Dane Davis of the Peninsula Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Council was an invited guest speaker at the November Chapter meeting. Mr. Davis shared that Virginia has 11 EMS Councils. The Peninsula EMS Council encompasses the Peninsula, Middle Peninsula, New Kent County, Gloucester, and Northern Neck. These areas compose approximately three thousand square miles and consists of approximately a one million populace. Within the Peninsula Council there are seven hospitals, fifty-five EMS agencies, seven hundred advanced life support technicians, and three thousand basic life support technicians.
Mr. Davis noted that Virginia offers many challenges to EMS teams because of the many bridges and tunnels in the area. Although there is no mandate for Virginia to provide EMS, these services are regulated in Virginia - there are certain guidelines to be followed.
|The three T's of EMS = Triage, Treatment, and Transport|