Wednesday, July 2, 2014

CHF(Chronic Heart Failure) Discharge Instructions

The national average across participating hospitals for heart failure patients receiving discharge instructions (HF-1) is 94%. There is no mystery as to why it is that high, after all this was one of the very first quality measures rolled out to hospitals that accept Medicare over 10 years ago (May 2001).
Why is it important for a CHF/Heart Failure patient to get discharge instructons? From Medicare’s website: Heart failure is a chronic condition. It results in symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, and fatigue. Before you leave the hospital, the staff at the hospital should provide you with information to help you manage the symptoms after you get home. The information should include your

·         Activity level (what you can and can't do);
·         Diet (what you should, and shouldn't eat or drink);
·         Medications;
·         Follow-up appointment;
·         Watching your daily weight; and
·         What to do if your symptoms get worse.

Giving discharge instructions to CHF patients is particularly important since 23% of heart failure patients are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days unplanned.

To see how your hospital performs, look them up by zip code here and click on their quality tab to see what their success rate is in giving discharge instructions to heart failure patients.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

E-cigarettes are not regulated by the FDA

Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, are battery-operated products designed to deliver nicotine, flavor and other chemicals. They turn chemicals, including highly addictive nicotine, into an aerosol that is inhaled by the user. The FDA is not currently regulating e-cigarettes.

Currently, the FDA Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) regulates
  • cigarettes,
  • cigarette tobacco,
  • roll-your-own tobacco, and
  • smokeless tobacco.
We regularly receive voluntary reports1 of adverse events involving e-cigarettes from consumers, health professionals and concerned members of the public. The adverse events described in these reports have included hospitalization for illnesses such as
  • pneumonia,
  • congestive heart failure,
  • disorientation,
  • seizure,
  • hypotension, and
  • other health problems.
Whether e-cigarettes caused these reported adverse events is unknown. Some of the adverse events could be related to a pre-existing medical condition or to other causes that were not reported to FDA. You can review the adverse event reports for e-cigarettes that were voluntarily reported to FDA from 6/22/2009 to 3/12/2014 at the CTP FOIA Electronic Reading Room.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

4 Summer Driving Tips We Can All Use

Even with the increasing gas prices, vacationers are taking to the roads. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released these tips to avoid fatalities on our roadways:

  • Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time. – Everybody aboard must agree to wear their seatbelts every time they are riding or driving in your vehicle. Wearing a seatbelt is also the best defense against a drunk-driving related crash. For more information on seatbelt safety please click here.
  • Don't Drive After Drinking – Drunk driving deaths spike during the holidays. Every 51 minutes, someone in the United States dies in an alcohol-impaired-driving crash. Be responsible – don’t drink and drive. If you plan to drink, choose a sober designated driver before going out. For more information on NHTSA Drunk Driving prevention efforts click here.
  • Check your Tire’s Air Pressure, Tread Wear, and Spare – NHTSA recently launched its TireWise campaign to provide consumers and retailers with essential information about choosing and caring for tires. Proper tire maintenance is especially important if traveling by 15-Passenger Van. Please click here for additional information on 15-Passenger Van safety.
  • Keep Children Safe In and Around Your Vehicle – Make sure car seats and booster seats are properly installed and that any children riding with you are in the car seat or booster seat best suited to protect them. There are other dangers to children in and around cars that you should know. One of those dangers is hyperthermia, or heat stroke, from being left unattended in a hot vehicle. to find out more about how to keep children safe while in and around your vehicle.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

EMS Week 2014 May 18- May 24

This year marks the 40th anniversary of EMS (Emergency Medical Service) week.  In 1974, President Gerald Ford made the started the week to recognize the dedication of these medical personnel  who provide the day-to-day lifesaving services of emergency medicine's "front line".

Last year, President Obama said:

"When Americans find themselves in times of crisis — from car accidents to national tragedies — our robust network of EMS professionals ensures that quality medical care is only moments away. This week, let us RECOMMIT TO SUPPORTING EMS personnel and thanking them for their heroic contributions to our lives."

If you know an EMT or Paramedic, be sure to Thank Them for their service this week. A great way to do so is by sharing it on where you can give online recognition at no cost.  Let's show them how much we appreciate their dedication.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Volunteers now have their very own Care Star

A few weeks ago we celebrated National Volunteer Week. We asked people like you to tell us about volunteers that go above and beyond. We are pleased to tell you we have created a Care Star that represents volunteers. You can see we added a large smile because they are typically eager to help with anything you need. 

If you know a Volunteer who is a Care Star- tell us about them here: Volunteer Care Star It doesn't matter where they volunteer- just that they go above and beyond.
Volunteers go the extra mile

Related articles:
National Volunteer Week

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Let's celebrate National Volunteer Week

Did you know that National Volunteer Week is April 6th through April 12th? In fact, President Obama delivered a proclamation about it a few days beforehand. stating the following:

Do you know a Care Star?
"By performing acts of service, we can shape a Nation big enough and bold enough to accommodate the hopes of all our people. Across our country, volunteers open doors of opportunity, pave avenues of success, fortify their communities, and lay the foundation for tomorrow's growth and prosperity. They are often equipped with few resources and gain little recognition, yet because of their service, our country is a better and a stronger force for good."

We, together with the President, honor volunteers this week. Please be sure to let us know about volunteers that you know by adding them as a Care Star. The very nature of them being a volunteer makes them a Care Star.

Here are some examples of already submitted Care Stars that are volunteers

Ann at Genesee County Free Medical Clinic
Dr. West at the Wyandotte Clinic for the Working Uninsured
Resident at the Venice Family Clinic
Dr. Lominitz at the Zarephath Health Center
A nurse at Northern Neck Free Health Clinic
A nurse practititioners at Faith Medical Clinic
Amy Wells at Downtown Orlando Shepherd's Hope Health Center
Dr. Benjamin and Office Staff at Longwood Shepherd's Hope Health Center
Dr. Joan at St. Luke's Lutheran Shepherd's Hope Health Center
Dr. Albani Jr. at Midlothian Free Health Clinic
Everyone who works at the The Community Clinic
Leonard at the Cleveland Clinic Outpatient Surgery Center
Dick at St Elizabeth Florence
Mrs. V at Henry Ford Hospital

Know a Care Star? Sure you do! They work in schools, businesses, nursing homes, the vet office, just about anywhere you can image. Tell us about them here.

Friday, March 21, 2014

2 new circumstances to exemption from Obamacare

Several months ago we shared the list of circumstances that a person could be exempted from shared responsibility according to  Since then two new circumstances to qualify for hardship exemption were added making it possible for almost anyone to be exemption.  To see the original set- see this blog:

The two new circumstances are:

13. You received a notice saying that your current health insurance plan is being cancelled, and you consider the other plans available unaffordable.

      Information to submit with your exemption application: Copy of notice of cancellation

14. You experienced another hardship in obtaining another health insurance.

      Information to submit with your exemption application: Please submit documentation if possible.

Here is the link to the application-

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Care Stars on Facebook

The new Care Stars Facebook page is here:
Come and join us as we celebrate heatlhcare's best in action each and every day.

Please share with your Facebook friends if you think those that go above and beyond are awesome!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Care Stars debut at the Dearborn Women's Expo #carestars

A few days ago, debuted at the Dearborn Women's Expo and the response was overwhelming. We heard story after story from women who were appreciative of someone in health care, some displaying very strong sentiments and feelings, and interested in thanking them.

The name "Care Stars" may be familiar to you. It was included in our reviews on where you could tell us if you encountered a Care Star (someone who exceeded your expectations) during your healthcare visit. We found that even patients who had a bad experience with a healthcare provider would submit a Care Star. We think that is a solid exclamation about the people who work in health care.

Over the years, we have had people tell us they want to skip the review and go right to telling us about the Care Stars.  We listened.  We have now separated the two- the review and the Care Star. Presenting - the online destination to show appreciation for health care workers who go above and beyond delivering health care.

We invite you to tell us about the Care Stars you have met. We will notify the health care provider that they have a Care Star. With your help we can help those people who haven't found a Care Star yet by sharing our stories.
Care Stars debut March 2, 2014.
Related articles

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Do I have strep throat?

According to the CDC, sore throats can have a variety of causes. Viruses, bacteria, allergens, environmental irritants (such as cigarette smoke), chronic postnasal drip and fungi can all cause that unpleasant, scratchy and sometimes painful condition known as a sore throat. While many sore throats will heal without treatment, some throat infections—including strep throat—may need antibiotic treatment.

Strep throat is an infection in the throat and tonsils caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria (called "group A strep"). Group A strep bacteria can live in a person's nose and throat. The bacteria are spread through contact with droplets from an infected person's cough or sneeze. If you drink from the same glass or eat from the same plate as the sick person, you could also become ill. It is also possible to get strep throat from contact with sores from group A strep skin infections.

A strep test (a quick swab of the throat) can quickly show if group A strep bacteria are causing a sore throat. A test is needed to tell if you have strep throat; just looking at your throat is not enough to make a diagnosis. If the test is positive, your doctor can prescribe antibiotics. If the strep test is negative, but your doctor still strongly suspects you have this infection, a culture of your throat (another sample) may be taken as another way to test for the bacteria.

To obtain a strep test, contact your doctor or locate an urgent care clinic near you.

Be sure to tell them you found them on

And if you see a Care Star (health care providers who exceed expectations), while getting checked out for strep, please tell us about them by completing a review

Source: CDC;

To find Urgent Care Centers with Care Stars - search here for provider type Urgent Care.