Health

Program on Zika Virus planned for July 12

Bowling Green Parks and Recreation is hosting a presentation by Wood County Health District epidemiologist Connor Rittwage and health educator Jennifer Campos on Zika Virus. The presentation will be held on Tuesday, July 12 at 7 p.m. at the Simpson Building Meeting Room at 1291 Conneaut Ave. in Bowling Green. The presentation will include an overview of Zika Virus: how it spreads where it is found symptoms and outcomes of Zika how it is transmitted how it is diagnosed how it is treated how it can be prevented The role of Wood County Health District in Zika surveillance and education.


Patient advocate bill signed in Ohio law

One of the most comprehensive patients advocate bills in the nation was signed into law at the Ohio Statehouse Monday, according to State Senator Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green. Gardner sponsored Senate Bill 129, known as the Prior Authorization Reform Act, to require faster turnaround times for patients and medical providers to receive health care coverage decisions from insurance companies. “This bill begins a new era when patients can receive health care in a more timely manner – the same health care they expect, deserve and have paid for,” Gardner said Monday.  “We need a more modern, accountable and cost-effective prior authorization process in Ohio.  Soon we will.” Gardner said the Ohio State Medical Association had approached him to sponsor the bill. “I agreed with them we need a better system,” he said. “I’ve always been one who wanted to strengthen the doctor-patient relationship.” Nearly 80 health care providers and patient advocate organizations, including the American Cancer Society, the Multiple Sclerosis Society, several mental health organizations, the Cleveland Clinic and numerous other hospitals supported the bill. The lead supporting organization, the Ohio State Medical Association, said the bill is one of its top priorities during the current session of the General Assembly. “Senate Bill 129 has a number of provisions that will make the prior authorization process more transparent, more fair, and more patient-focused,” said Tim Maglione, senior director of government relations for the OSMA. Gardner said the bill was quite complicated, involving several medical organizations and tackling multiple provisions. “Most states have done one or two provisions at a time,” he said. Highlights of Senate Bill 129’s numerous reforms include: Requires a new electronic web-based prior authorization process designed to…


BG Police teach how to avoid becoming a victim

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Self defense is much more than learning to take down a purse snatcher. Much of self defense is planning ahead to avoid putting out a welcome sign for criminals. Post pictures from your vacations, but wait till you’re home. Criminals look at shots of you smiling on the beach as an invitation to burglarize your home. Walk with confidence with your eyes on your surroundings. Texting while you walk, with a purse hanging from your shoulder makes you an easy target for thieves. And when in danger, yell “fire” rather than “help.” People rush to help fire victims, but are likely to start recording video of other crimes. About 50 people attended a self defense class last week taught by Bowling Green Police Detective Andy Mulinix and patrol officers Scott Frank and Robin Short. The class, held at Wood County Hospital, was attended primarily by females ranging from young girls to senior citizens. The class started out with instruction, then moved to physical techniques. The officers stressed that no technique is foolproof. “Whatever works best for you. Whatever you’re comfortable with, use it,” Frank said. “Better to do something than nothing.” To set the mood, a video was played showing crimes against innocent victims – an attack in an elevator, the theft of a purse from a woman strolling down the street, theft from a car as someone pumped gas, and a home beating taped by a baby-cam. “We got a crazy world out there. We’ve got to be a little more vigilant,” Mulinix said. The officers warned that local residents should not be complacent just because they live in a small…


Inmates addicted to opiates will get drug to help them kick habits

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For some opiate addicts, the most dangerous time is right after being released from jail or a treatment facility. They fall in with old friends, then old bad habits. The risks are even greater at that point, since their bodies are no long accustomed to the opiate amounts they used before. When that tolerance for the drug is gone, deadly overdoses are more likely to occur. So Wood County officials are looking at offering inmates injections of one drug, in order to help them beat the addiction of another drug – opiates, with heroin being the most notorious of the drug group. “Heroin is a different beast than we’ve dealt with before,” said Cary Williams, executive director of the Northwest Community Corrections Center located in Bowling Green. To give inmates a better chance at kicking opiates, they will be offered one dose of Vivitrol, an injectable drug that acts as an “opiate antagonist. It limits the body’s ability to get high,” explained Charlie Hughes, program director of the corrections center. By reducing the cravings and the pleasurable effects of the opiates, Vivitrol gives addicts a better chance of kicking the drugs. “So life without drugs seems possible,” Hughes said. Williams, Hughes and Joni Bretz, of Wood County Adult Probation Department, presented a program on Vivitrol to the Wood County Commissioners on Thursday, and asked for the board’s support of offering the drug at the community corrections center. The commissioners supported the efforts and agreed to spending up to $25,000 for one year, which would cover at least 19 inmates from Wood County who qualify for the Vivitrol.  Of the 54 Wood County…


Wood County Health District earns national accreditation

Wood County Health District is proud to announce that it has achieved national accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board, demonstrating the capacity to provide the highest quality of services to the approximately 129,000 people it serves. “This achievement validates the dedication and hard work of our staff, the extraordinary support of our community partners, and the commitment of our Board of Health to improving the health and quality of life in Wood County,” said Health Commissioner, Ben Batey. “Accreditation is the gold standard for health departments and it is an honor to be recognized for our commitment to quality and the incredible effort our staff puts forth every day to improve and protect the health of our community.” To receive national accreditation, a health department must undergo a rigorous, multi-faceted, peer-reviewed assessment process to ensure it meets or exceeds a set of public health quality standards and measures. “The work we’ve done to get to this point was an opportunity for us to examine our entire organization from the inside out,” said Amy Jones, Director of Health Promotion and Preparedness and acting Accreditation Coordinator. “It’s been an incredible process to be able to demonstrate our ability to provide Wood County with high quality public health,” she added. Public health departments play a critical role in protecting and improving the health of people and communities. Across the nation, health departments provide a range of services aimed at promoting healthy behaviors; preventing diseases and injuries; ensuring access to safe food, water, clean air, and life-saving immunizations; and preparing for and responding to public health emergencies. “Whenever you see our seal of accreditation, you will know that Wood County Health District has…


Brown Bag Food Project needs help to keep helping those in need

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Brown Bag Food Project had a successful first year by the only measure that matters: 782 people fed, 104 of those in the month of April alone. The grassroots food effort has been so successful, it’s now finding itself short of resources to help those in need. This summer as it marks its first year of existence it has its work cut out for it. Still the founder Amy Jo Holland and the project’s board members are optimistic they will find a way to continue the work she started. The Brown Bag Food project helps meet the immediate needs of folks who find themselves in hard times. The project can offer four to five days’ worth of food, and does so without income checks or referrals. And that food includes fresh dairy, meat and vegetables not usually found at food pantries. The project also can provide toiletries, personal hygiene products and diapers that Food Stamps won’t cover. And the project can arrange the delivery of these items during off hours when convenient for people who are working. Project volunteers try to help their clientele find more permanent assistance. “We try to be a guide not just temporary help,” said board member Amy Jeffers. All this is done “no questions asked,” said board member Nathan Eberly. Holland started the effort a couple years ago. She works at WalMart and discovered that some of her co-workers were going several days without eating. So she started helping them out. The effort grew. For a while the project helped people in Toledo as well, but that “overwhelmed” the fledgling effort, Eberly said. So the Brown Bag Project…


Two in BG awarded for reaching out to those with mental health issues

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Two people were recently honored for reaching out to those with mental health issues and helping them navigate through life’s difficulties. Bowling Green Police Officer Scott Frank and Danielle Oetjen, of Family Services of Northwest Ohio, were both recognized by the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Wood County. Frank was singled out for his handling of an incident in March involving a barricaded suspect that was initially reported as a hostage situation. “Your efforts resulted in a safe conclusion to the crisis,” Bowling Green Police Chief Tony Hetrick wrote in a letter commending Frank. “During the incident you provided intelligence to the crisis negotiators and SRT (Special Response Team) all while compassionately providing for the needs of the family that was victimized during the initial incident. Your actions during this incident are indeed remarkable.” Jessica Schmidt, director at NAMI of Wood County, praised Frank for his willingness to learn more about working with people with mental illness, including taking Crisis Intervention Team training. “He volunteered to take the first training we offered,” Schmidt said. “That speaks to his character. He’s been very active when it comes to the CIT program and continuing the efforts in the community.” A Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program is a model for community policing that brings together law enforcement, mental health providers, hospital emergency departments and individuals with mental illness and their families to improve responses to people in crisis. CIT programs enhance communication, identify mental health resources for assisting people in crisis and ensure that officers get the training and support that they need. Schmidt explained the value of the CIT training. “It gives the…


Hope is at heart of Relay for Life

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The walkers in the Relay for Life stepped off Saturday morning under cloudy skies but with hope in their hearts. “This is all about hope,” said Jerry Anderson, WTOL news anchor, as he started auctioning off gift baskets. The theme for the baskets was States of Hope. As for so many participants, Liz Bostdorff, one of the three relay chairpersons, was drawn to the event because of personal experience. Her mother and others in her family battled cancer. This is her fourth year participating. “It’s fun and festive,” she said, “yet you know you’re rising money for an amazing cause.” All the money raised goes to the American Cancer Society. The goal this year, she said, is $87,000. As of about noon Saturday, $53,000 had been raised. That’s a little ahead of previous year, Bostdorff said. Teams continue to raise money through the end of August. “This is the centerpiece of the fundraising efforts,” she said. This year, 24 teams are taking part. More than 300 participants and volunteers are involved in staging the Relay for Life. This year, Bostdorff said, the length has been cut back to 12 hours, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Some found the 18-hour rally with its overnight stay too long. Still “it means a lot of things to jam into that time.” The highlight, Bostdorff said, comes in the evening when luminaria are lit in honor and in memory of those who have had cancer. The relay has found a home at Bowling Green High School where the track offers a good place for the walkers, and with plenty of place to sprawl. That includes a classic car show in…


Gardner and Brown talk about marijuana, wind energy and roundabouts

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County’s state legislators fielded questions about marijuana, roundabouts and windfarms Friday morning from local residents. State Sen. Randy Gardner and State Rep. Tim Brown, both R-Bowling Green, presented a legislative update to members of the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce. The talk covered a wide range of topics on health, energy and transportation. Gardner reminded those present that he and Brown value direct contact from their constituents and make an effort to be “very accessible” to citizens. Brown said it’s good for the public to be aware of state legislative efforts. “The more sunshine we have on these deliberations the better it is for all of us,” he said. Following are some of the issues discussed. Windfarms Brown talked about a wind energy bill that currently calls for setback requirements that make wind farms “next to impossible.” Under the current language in the bill, the majority of the wind turbines at Ohio’s largest windfarm would not be allowed. “Their right to have them has been stripped away,” Brown said, adding that he is working to change that. Some businesses are reluctant to locate in Ohio because the state doesn’t do enough to promote clean energy, he added. “We have businesses who want to be in our state and say, ‘No,’” such as Amazon, Brown said. “They demand renewable energy.” Gardner said Ohio needs to look at making use of renewable and natural resource energy. “I think there’s an ‘all of the above’ policy,’” he said. Orange barrels Ohioans should not expect relief from road construction anytime soon, Brown said. “I hear more about this from people than anything else.” The state…


House to vote to allow medical marijuana

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Listening to families who could find no other help for their children convinced State Rep. Tim Brown to support a medical marijuana bill for Ohio. Brown, R-Bowling Green, served on the committee studying medical marijuana, and is co-sponsor of House Bill 523 which is being voted on by House members today. “It’s been very eye opening to me to hear from patients and parents with children with seizures who have found no relief from anything except marijuana,” Brown said. Some of the children were having as many as 300 seizures a day prior to being treated with marijuana. “It just really pointed out that we as a society are behind the curve on this,” he said. Parents desperate to help their children have to break the law to give them the only medicine known to reduce their seizures, Brown said. “It’s the responsible way to do this,” he said of the legislation. House Bill 523 would allow doctors licensed in Ohio to recommend marijuana to their patients. The marijuana can only be legally produced by state licensed growers. “It doesn’t allow people to grow in their basements or backyards,” Brown said. Though the bill is expected to pass today with bipartisan support, it is facing criticism from both sides – those who think it’s too restrictive and those who are opposed to any marijuana use. Those supporting medicinal use are concerned this bill will take two years to implement, and doctors are required to fill out so much paperwork that it may discourage them from participating. But Brown defended those measures. “We want doctors to be licensed to do this and have…


BG tries to sweeten smells from sewer plant

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Doug Clark takes it personally when people complain about the foul smells coming from the wastewater plant on the east side of Bowling Green. As superintendent of the Water Pollution Control Plant on Dunbridge Road, Clark is intensely proud of the violation-free operation that treated 2.2 billion gallons of wastewater and stormwater last year. He takes pride in the fact that nearly every step in the treatment is done with biological processes, not chemicals. Improvements at the plant have resulted in a 50 percent reduction in the total solids left from the process – creating a product the EPA has approved for sale to a local landscaper who blends the solids with topsoil and sand. None of the solids are applied to farm fields anymore. The finished liquid product looks like crystal clear water and meets EPA standards as it is sent down Poe Ditch to the Portage River. But there’s one thing that Clark gets prickly about – complaints about the stench from the plant. “It’s pretty amazing,” Clark said as he held up a cup of the clear finished liquid product that was the result of the very complex biological process at the plant. “We get it right a lot more than wrong. Yet the only thing we’re known for is odors every once in awhile.” Clark concedes that the odors are particularly pungent on some days, especially when the wind is coming from the north, sending the smell toward businesses along Dunbridge Road. “Typically, it’s wet heavy mornings when it’s most noticeable,” he said. “It’s those days when you smell it, it’s really bad. There’s no way to know…


Dr. Terrence Fondessy joins BG Family Care

Dr. Terrence Fondessy has joined Dr. D. Wayne Bell and Nurse Practitioner Tina Jaworski at Bowling Green Family Care. Dr. Fondessy is a native of Northwest Ohio and graduated from Toledo’s Medical College of Ohio. He completed residency training at the W. W. Knight Family Practice Program in Toledo and most recently came from the Fostoria Community Medical Hospital where he practiced family medicine and focused on quality management. Dr. Fondessy is Family Board Certified and his clinical interests include family practice, intensive care, surgery and outpatient medicine. Dr. Fondessy will provide general health care for patients of all ages. For an appointment, call 419-353-6225.


Adventure therapy to reach out to traumatized kids

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Children who have gone through traumatic experiences can’t always be reached with traditional therapy alone. So Wood County agencies will soon be trying Adventure Therapy to help children who have faced trauma in their young lives. Wood County Children’s Services has received a $15,000 grant to pay for training in Adventure Therapy, according to Sandi Carsey, Children’s Services director. Children’s Resource Center in Bowling Green, and Renewed Mind in Perrysburg will provide the therapy, Carsey said. Adventure Therapy will not replace more traditional therapy, but will offer kids aged 12 to 18 a chance to work as a team with other children to do something they may not feel they can’t accomplish, such as climb a rock wall. “Kids will be challenged to do something,” Carsey said. “It will help build up their confidence.” Adventure Therapy, which has been around nearly 20 years, blends experiential activities and evidence-based treatment, according to Janelle LaFond, executive director at Children’s Resource Center. “It won’t be sitting down like talking therapy,” LaFond said. “It will be things that really challenge kids.” “We want to increase their resiliency and their own feelings of confidence,” she said. Adventure Therapy is used primarily with kids who have a traumatic history, such as being removed from their homes and placed in foster care, LaFond said. Children’s Services has found over the years that oftentimes when children age out of foster care they are not prepared to be on their own. This type of therapy could be helpful to them, LaFond said. “This is really the gravy on the potatoes,” she said. LaFond explained that some children, such as those with…


Health district to build dental center that won’t turn away uninsured

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County Health District has given local residents something to smile about. The district’s Health and Wellness Center has been awarded $824,997 to build a dental center to serve Wood County residents regardless of their ability to pay, according to Wood County Health Commissioner Ben Batey. The district had applied for two projects, one to build a new center and one to renovate existing meeting rooms. The new center was funded. There is also still a chance the health district will receive funds to help pay for dental staffing needs. The health district has been trying for decades to address dental needs. “This is a huge leap forward in meeting this,” Batey said. “It truly will be a benefit to our residents who are uninsured for dental or who have Medicaid, but can’t find a dental provider who will accept them as patients. It will be a whole new challenge, but we look forward to continuing to expand services to give our residents the greatest options for good health.” The dental clinic will be an expansion of the existing Health and Wellness Center that is part of the health district offices at 1840 E. Gypsy Lane Road, Bowling Green. The dental clinic will have at least four patient chairs and will offer full services. “Just like your typical dental office,” Batey said. “It’s very exciting,” said Diane Krill, CEO of the health and wellness center. Krill said the need for dental services is great. “I just think with the community health assessment, it showed there was a dental need here.” Many Wood County families cannot afford dental care for their children, or…


Hospital offers new cataract surgery

As of last week, Wood County Hospital began offering a new cutting edge laser cataract surgery.  Cataracts occur when the natural lens in the eye becomes cloudy, making it harder for light to enter the eye. This can cause blurry vision, glare and rings of light known as halos. Normally, the surgery to remove cataract is done manually, by a surgeon, making tiny incisions in the eye using a surgical blade.  The new LenSx laser allows the surgeon to achieve superior outcomes compared to manual cataract surgery.  Laser cataract surgery makes cataract removal more precise and safe, all while reducing surgical time and the improving the recovery process.   The laser has been at Wood County Hospital for several weeks and procedures are being performed weekly. Those with cataracts should contact their optometrist for a referral to a local ophthalmologist.