Health

Protestors in BG won’t let Portman forget vote to repeal Obamacare

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Other controversies and crises may have knocked the continuing fight over the Affordable Care Act out of the headlines, but for some citizens it is not a dead issue: it is an issue of life or death issue. About a dozen protestors gathered at Wooster Green in Bowling Green Thursday late afternoon to send a message to U.S. Sen. Rob Portman. The gathering was organized by several liberal groups – For Ohio’s Future Action Fund, Indivisible OH5, and MoveOn.org. “This demonstration is to remind people that this fight to protect the ACA is not over,” said Jeremy Bernstein, from For Ohio’s Future Action Fund. Public health care is a “great, great value” for children, elderly and disabled. Dennis Slotnick, another organizer, said the protest was meant as a reproach to Portman, whom the group had earlier praised for voting against the House version of repeal and replace. Then when the issue came before the Senate again, he voted for the so-called Obamacare-light proposal. Slotnick said he felt Portman still “has it in him” to continue to support health care for the public. “But he has to be disciplined in some ways by his constituents.” he said. The group planned to send a letter with a photo of the protest. Several of them spoke of their own experiences with the Affordable Care Act. For Melissa Kritzell, Findlay, having the coverage under the ACA when she was being treated for ovarian cancer saved her life. She traveled to Washington D.C., she said, to tell Portman her…


Opiates bring addicts to their knees; recovery programs help them stand again

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Matt Bell knew he had hit rock bottom when he called the police. “I had a gun in my mouth,” he said Thursday to the crowd of people gathered to hear about the opiate crisis and the steps being taken locally to stop it. It had taken Bell several years to get to that point. He had led a charmed childhood, with a loving family, earning straight As in school and competing as a star athlete in three sports. Bell was so squeaky clean that he broke up with his first girlfriend because she smoked cigarettes. Bell went to college on an athletic scholarship for baseball, and had three professional teams scouting him. But that all changed when he tore his rotator cuff and was prescribed 90 percocets. Ninety percent of the time, opiate addictions start with prescribed pain pills, he said. He was hooked. “The pills got too expensive, so I switched over to heroin,” Bell said. The dealer gave him his first hit of heroin for free – knowing Bell would be back. Bell shared his story about opiates, along with health officials who are trying to find answers, a mom who nearly lost her daughter to opiates, and a court official who helped put together a program to help inmates avoid the drugs when they leave jail. “Opiates, heroin specifically, is what brought me to my knees,” Bell said. He tried rehab many times, overdosed three times, and was arrested four times. But Bell told a story of success…


Norovirus in doughnuts suspected in sickening local residents

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   About 30 cases of possible norovirus from doughnuts are being investigated in Wood County. More than 200 people have reportedly been sickened by a fast spreading norovirus outbreak that started at a Maumee doughnut shop. Lucas County Health Department began investigating after patients reporting stomach flu symptoms were found to have eaten food from Mama C’s Donuts, 924 Conant St. The Wood County Health District is investigating if the approximately dozen illnesses reported to its office this week are a result of the norovirus, according to Alex Aspacher, spokesperson for the health district. At least two Wood County business – one being Grounds for Thought, on South Main Street in Bowling Green – purchase doughnuts from Mama C’s, and has purged its shop of the pastries. “Grounds has done everything they needed to do,” Aspacher said. “They have been very cooperative.” The virus, which causes stomach flu like symptoms, spreads very easily, he said. So Grounds for Thought has been working closely with health district staff. Kelly Wicks, who owns Grounds with his wife Laura, said the product was pulled and staff sanitized as instructed. “We’re working with them very closely,” he said of the health district. Wicks said the owners of Mama C’s are very conscientious and hard-working. “I feel bad for the owner of Mama C’s,” he said this morning. Ground for Thought has found the doughnut shop to be very dependable and plans to continue serving the business’ goods. “This is an unfortunate situation and we stand behind Mama…


Help for those caught up in opiate epidemic: Call 211

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County has all types of services for people dealing with the opiates epidemic – for addicts trying to kick it, for families struggling as they watch, for schools trying to prevent opiate use before it begins, and for physicians who prescribe opiates. But if people aren’t aware of the services – they may as well not exist. So here is the one number they all need to know – 211. “We’ve done a lot to try to reduce the barriers,” said Tom Clemons, executive director of the Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board. “In a nutshell, 211. Call 211.” Clemons said it became glaringly obvious to him over the last month or two, when a number of local agencies were not aware of the resources open to Wood County residents facing the opiate epidemic. So last week, Clemons and some members of his agency and board met with the county commissioners about helping them reach people in need. “We’re trying to get the word out,” he said. “Help is here.” As an example, Clemons said that Wood County’s recovery housing program for male opiate addicts often has open slots. “A lot of times people are in need, but they aren’t aware of services,” he said. Clemons asked if small brochures, stressing the need to dial 211, could be placed at every desk of county employees who take calls from the public. The brochures are already being carried by law enforcement throughout the county, he said. During the…


Prices hiked to keep fitness class budget healthy

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Board wants local residents to be healthy – but the board also has to worry about the health of the park and recreation budget. So last week, the board voted to raise prices of fitness classes at the community center in the fall. The board agreed to stop short of larger fee increases considered earlier in the year. The classes are provided through MindBody, and brought in $30,618 last year. However, the classes cost $44,447 to offer. “Our mission is to get people healthy and fit, so we do operate a little differently from a private club or fitness studio – some subsidy of classes is not a bad thing, but we need to keep it balanced,” Kristin Otley, park and recreation director, said in her report to the board. Following is the list of current and proposed rates approved by the board: Drop-in rate will remain unchanged at $8. Monthly rate will increase from $40 to $44. Quarterly rate will go from $105 to $117. Annual rate will increase from $360 to $396. This will be the first time the rates have changed since the community center switched to the MindBody program in the summer of 2015. The park and recreation department will also start a couple promotions to encourage those with MindBody fitness passes to get a community center pass, and to urge those with center passes to try out MindBody classes. Those signing up for a community center pass would receive a coupon…


Too many gyms in BG may be unhealthy for business

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As Bowling Green area residents try to work off their butts or guts, the city is seeing a glut of gyms in the community. Gym members trying to burn off calories on cardio equipment and build muscles on weight machines may benefit from the exercise options – but the number of gyms could be unhealthy for the businesses. There are many similarities at the gyms – lots of equipment for those who prefer solitary exercise, or classes in spinning, zumba or pilates for those who thrive on group motivation. There are some differences at each location. The community center has a track, basketball and volleyball courts. St. Julian’s Fitness has free classes with memberships and is the official Silver Sneaker location in the city. Anytime Fitness is open round the clock and allows use of any other Anytime Fitness in the world. BGSU Recreation Center has a couple indoor pools. And Crossfit offers its own brand of specialized workouts. Soon, people looking for just the perfect fit to perfect their bodies, will have another choice. Planet Fitness has announced plans to open a gym on South Main Street, near the Staples store. Generally, Kristin Otley, director of the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department, is in favor of new business growth to the city – especially since that means new tax revenue – even if it is another gym. “I think competition is a great thing. It keeps us all on our game,” she said. However, this latest entry has some gym…


Gavarone backs Medicaid-related veto overrides in House

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News State Rep. Theresa Charters Gavarone voted with the rest of the Ohio House Republicans to overturn 11 budget vetoes issued last week by Republican Gov. John Kasich. While the House did not act on overriding a veto that would have frozen Medicaid expansion in the state, it did override a number of other Medicaid related vetoes. The veto overrides now must go to the State Senate where they will need a three-fifths vote to pass. Gavarone said she was felt particularly strongly about restoring money to counties that they were losing when the federal government said a tax for Medicaid providers could not be levied. That cost Wood County $900,000. “This will partially restore some of that funding,” she said. The funding would stretch over the next six years. State Senator Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green) told Clint Corpe on “The Morning Show” Thursday that overriding that veto was his top priority as well. The House also delayed plan to move behavioral treatment under Medicaid into managed care for six months. This was especially important to insure a continuity of treatment for those fighting opioid addiction, Gavarone said. She also said it was important that the House restore the provision calling for Medicaid reimbursement rates to be set at 75-percent of the Medicaid allowable rates neonatal and newborn services. They are now 45 percent. She said the move is revenue neutral. In his veto message, Kasich said, the increase would force the state Medicaid program to lower rates for other services “to avoid an increase…


BGSU Optimal Aging Institute looks variety of issues affecting elders

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Bowling Green State University faculty and students are working to improve the lives of people across the lifespan, through teaching, research and engagement. To help expand our understanding of the needs of the older generation, the University’s Optimal Aging Institute is supporting research projects related to the health and well-being of older adults. The institute is funding four internal BGSU grants this year that look at a range of timely issues, from LGBTQ individuals in senior living facilities to people who had planned to retire but who for financial reasons cannot. “We’re seeing dramatic cultural and societal changes,” said Paula Davis, director of the institute. New needs are being revealed, along with the appropriate ways of addressing them. This is nowhere more apparent in nursing homes and other senior-living facilities, she said. One of the OAI grants is focused on helping these facilities better serve LGBTQ individuals, a population not previously acknowledged. Moving into such a facility is a dramatic change for all people, and LGBTQ individuals may face additional challenges and stress. “For many LGBTQ seniors who have lived openly, moving into a nursing home or assisted living facility may mean going back into the closet,” said Dr. Laura Landry-Meyer, an associate professor of family and consumer sciences. She and Dr. Elizabeth Holman, an assistant professor of human development and family studies, are examining how best to provide diversity training for employees of senior living centers so that they can understand and be sensitive to non-heterosexual residents. Holman and Landry-Meyer are partnering…


BGSU employee suggests amendment to allow sick time sharing

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A phone call from a Bowling Green woman resulted in one sentence inserted in the state budget bill that could make a difference for many Ohio residents. On Wednesday, State Senator Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, stood up in chambers and read off an amendment, which he dubbed the “Faith Olson amendment.” The change is one paragraph in a more than 4,000-page budget bill. “Still in this big state, one person can make a difference,” Gardner said from the floor. Olson, a Bowling Green State University employee since 1978, reached out to Gardner about employees at state universities not being eligible for a paid leave donation program. Previously, state university employees could save up their unused sick time, and put it in a “bank,” where other employees could use the time in case of critical or chronic illnesses. Gardner met with Olson, fiscal officer for the BGSU College of Education and Human Development, at Frisch’s on North Main Street to discuss her concerns over breakfast. Olson explained that under an interpretation from Attorney General Mike DeWine, the unused sick time could no longer be donated to fellow state university employees in need. DeWine’s unofficial opinion stated that unless the program was in a union contract, or involved faculty, that the paid leave could not be given to others with chronic illnesses. That troubled Olson. “There were people still in need,” she said. So she reached out to Gardner, who she felt has been supportive of higher education issues. “I think it’s a valid…


Local artists promote awareness through book “Migraine365”

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Elizabeth Roberts-Zibbel doesn’t take her migraines lying down. Migraine disease may immobilize her at times, but she’s resolved to be a voice for others who suffer. It means being active on social media as Lady Migraine at ladymigraine.com. It means writing for migraine.com, and appearing in videos being the face for the many tormented by the silent demon. It means teaming with her husband John Roberts-Zibbel to write a graphic journal, “Migraine 365,” that looks at daily life for someone with migraine disease and their loved ones. In their case that includes two daughters Isobel, 8, and Alexandra 12. The book was self-published and can be purchased at blurb.com. “I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have them,” she said of the severe headaches and array of symptoms that accompany them. She was diagnosed when she was a child and remembers always having at least one per week, but the headaches didn’t become chronic, fifteen or more per month, until she was 30. “It was always a big problem,” Roberts-Zibbel said. “It took me a lot longer to get through college.” She persisted, but so did the migraine disease. Her first pregnancy was debilitating, and her second even worse. “Sometimes the pain gets so bad you want to shoot yourself in the head.” The disease forced her out of jobs. Now as a partner in Zibbel Media, she is a key player on the BG Independent News team, handling advertising, posting obituaries, and occasionally contributing articles. John Roberts-Zibbel got the idea for “Migraine 365” in…


Ohio House Dems urge Kasich to veto Medicaid freeze

From OHIO HOUSE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS Ohio House Democratic lawmakers today sent a letter to Governor Kasich urging him to line-item veto the Medicaid expansion freeze in the state operating budget, House Bill (HB) 49, that will end healthcare coverage for over half-a-million people. “The people of Ohio deserve representatives in Columbus who will stand up and fight for them,” said state Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron). “Passing the Medicaid expansion freeze and kicking people off of Medicaid is unacceptable, harmful, and cruel and unusual punishment.” If approved by the federal government, the GOP freeze to Ohio’s Medicaid expansion will phase out medical coverage for over half-a-million Ohioans, leaving families with minimal healthcare options. “We need to provide healthcare for Ohio’s families, all of Ohio’s families.” Sykes said. “Without access to healthcare, lives will be lost and costs will rise. Ohio cannot afford to pay for the increased costs that will come by taking away people’s healthcare.” June 28, 2017 Governor John Kasich Riffe Center, 30th Floor 77 South High Street Columbus, Ohio 43215 Governor Kasich, We write to urge you to line-item veto the Medicaid Expansion freeze in Budget House Bill 49. If signed into law, this will dramatically change the state’s ability to provide healthcare for many Ohioans in need. Medicaid Expansion has allowed more than 725,000 Ohioans to receive proper care, including the developmentally disabled, the elderly, families in transition, veterans, pregnant women and low income families. Ohioans need to be healthy in order to be productive in their day to day lives. Without the ability to afford…


Health care bill must be fiscally sound

One Senator commented to a constituent that the ACA was fiscally unsound.  The basic premise of insurance is to ‘spread the risk’ which means including everyone.  Unfortunately, the ACA’s provisions did not require everyone to participate as do Medicare and FICA.  If members of Congress intend to continue health insurance through the private market, adequate financing is essential.   A stronger ‘mandate’ not a weaker one is necessary to provide enough revenue to make the ACA viable. It is unconscionable to: * Strip low income citizens of health benefits while providing reduced taxes for high income / net worth citizens and corporations. * Adopt an ‘age tax’ via higher premiums for older participants. * Authorize individual states to eliminate benefits. Also, it is meaningless to promote tax credits for low income citizens since their income is insufficient to have an income tax liability in the first place. If Congress is unable to amend the ACA to be fiscally sound, the alternative would be a single payer system as is the case in most other countries in the world.  If they can provide quality health care to their citizens, the most prosperous country in the world needs to join them and provide health care for all of its citizens. To be fair, a requirement of the legislation should include mandated participation for members of Congress too.  Either we the public should be entitled to the insurance coverage our Congressional Representatives enjoy, or they should be required to participate in the insurance program they implement for their constituents. Respectfully, Bob and Joan Callecod


Survey shows Wood Countians are overweight, under-exercised

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A recent survey of Wood County adults shows that 70 percent are either overweight or obese. Few are eating the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables. And few are drinking the suggested amounts of water. Ten percent of the adults said in the past year they have had to choose between paying bills and buying food. The survey also shows many would support more locally grown foods, want more accessible walking and biking trails, and would like local agencies to partner with grocery stores to provide low cost healthy foods. The 2017 Nutrition and Physical Activity Health Assessment – which is still in its draft form – is intended to help local organizations develop strategies that focus on wellness, access to care, and unmet community needs. The survey is the work of the Wood County Health District and the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio. The information was gathered from 456 local residents who completed surveys. A separate section, which came from 106 community leaders in the county, was done to see how close the answers compared between average citizens and key leaders. The survey showed that key community leaders are much more aware of healthy food options and exercise opportunities in the county. “One of the biggest gaps we identified was the difference between key leaders and the general public,” said Pat Snyder, communication manager at the Wood County Health District. “It’s not that every place needs more bike trails or parks, but we need to make people aware” of where they…


Fitness trail links Simpson park to Conneaut sled hill

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   From Conneaut Avenue, it almost looks like a new playground. But there are no slides, no swings, no climbing structures. This is a different kind of playground – one made for adults who want an extra challenge as they walk, run or bicycle past. On Wednesday afternoon, the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce, Wood County Hospital and the City of Bowling Green officially dedicated the fitness trail and exercise station. The trail, which runs through hospital property, connects Simpson Garden Park and Conneaut sledding hill. The exercise equipment is located in the empty lot along Conneaut Avenue, just north of the hospital’s rehabilitation center. Representatives of the hospital, chamber and city parks talked about how teamwork made the fitness trail possible. “I’ve been here 20 years,” said Stan Korducki, president of Wood County Hospital.  “And I remember talking to people about how Bowling Green was different.” That difference was the desire to work together to make life better for citizens. “I hadn’t seen that in other communities,” Korducki said. The hospital decided to tear down the weathered big blue house that sat along Conneaut Avenue, which left a green space with old stone fences. Since one of the hospital’s missions is to encourage people to be more active, the decision was made to tie Simpson Garden Park and the sledding hill together. “This just seemed to be the right thing to do,” Korducki said. Kristin Otley, director of the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department, remembered checking out the fitness equipment for…


Health care for underserved focus of Sunday talk

From MAUMEE VALLEY UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST CONGREGATION Health care benefits expert Joe Hessling will present “Healthcare for the Underserved,” Sunday, June 25, from 12:30-2 p.m. at Maumee Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 20189 N. Dixie Highway (Route 25) Bowling Green. Hessling is currently a Partner at RL King, an employee benefits consulting company. His passion remains encouraging access to healthcare by the underserved, as well as the forgotten middle class, who many times find this necessity out of reach. He promises a very non-political discussion of the current industry, potential changes and necessary changes. For more than 20 years, Hessling has served in a variety of roles within The Diocese of Toledo, including vice president and treasurer, overseeing healthcare and retirement benefits for the diocese’s nearly 3,000 employees. He currently serves as vice chair of the board of directors of a local Medicaid clinic serving more than 25,000 patients per year. . The session is free of charge and open to the public.. There is no need to pre-register. No offering will be taken. This event is part of the “Sunday Specials” series offered by the MVUUC. BGSU students needing free transportation to the event can call (419) 885-1162 to make arrangements