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Nearly $60 million Awarded to Support Community Health Centers Impacted by Hurricanes in 2018aaaaaa

HHS Awards Nearly $60 million to Support Community Health Centers Impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded nearly $60 million to 161 community health centers in six southern states and two U.S. territories that were impacted by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Capital Assistance for Hurricane Response and Recovery Efforts (CARE) funding will help ensure continued access to primary health care services at community health centers in areas affected by the hurricanes.

“Health centers serve as lifelines to services and networks of resources in their communities every day, and especially during a crisis,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “These grants build on other HHS investments to ensure that health centers can continue to serve communities impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and strengthen their readiness to respond to the needs of the community after future hurricanes or other disasters.”

This funding was made available by the Bipartisan Budget Act, signed by President Trump in February. CARE offers capital assistance and support for minor alteration, renovation and equipment costs to assist impacted HRSA-funded health centers providing services in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina and Texas as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“In the aftermath of the hurricanes, we granted affected health centers flexibility in the use of HRSA funds to ensure continuity of services and assist in recovery efforts,” said HRSA Administrator George Sigounas, MS, Ph.D. “This funding is the latest in HRSA’s efforts to support these communities as they continue to recover.”

For more than 50 years, health centers have delivered affordable, accessible, quality and cost-effective primary health care services to patients. Today, nearly 1,400 health centers operate more than 11,000 service delivery sites nationwide.

HHS awarded MEHOP $324,775.00. Funding received will be used to renovate facilities at the 101 Ave. F location in Bay City to better serve operational needs – meeting room, supply and procurement; purchase a satellite phone system to maintain emergency communications in the event traditional communication transmissions are lost and to re-roof  MEHOP’s administration and dental facilities.

For a list of CARE award recipients, visit: https://bphc.hrsa.gov/programopportunities/fundingopportunities/care/fy2018awards/index.html

To learn more about HRSA’s Health Center Program, visit: http://bphc.hrsa.gov/about

To locate a health center, visit: http://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov

National Childhood Obesity Awareness Monthaaaaaa

One in 5 children in the United States are obese. Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems that were once seen only in adults, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

The good news is that childhood obesity can be prevented. In honor of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, MEHOP encourages your family to make healthy changes together.

  • Get active outside: Walk around the neighborhood, go on a bike ride, or play basketball at the park.
  • Limit screen time: Keep screen time (time spent on the computer, watching TV, or playing video games) to 2 hours or less a day.
  • Make healthy meals: Buy and serve more vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain foods. Include kids in meal preparation.

Taking small steps as a family can help your child stay at a healthy weight.

  • Matagorda County has many after school and weekend activities available to keep families active. They include youth sports leagues, walking trails at Matagorda County Birding and Nature Center, public fishing piers at the LCRA Matagorda Bay Nature Park and along the Palacios bay front and multiple neighborhood parks.
  • Make routine visits to your child’s Pediatrician. Talk to their Pediatrician about healthy meal plans and tips to encourage your child to eat healthy and stay active. 

For more information on our Pediatric services, visit www.mehop.org.

U.S. Army and MEHOP Join Forcesaaaaaa

The U.S. Army and MEHOP are scheduled to sign a partnership agreement on August 28, 2018, as part of the U.S. Army Partnership for Youth Success (PaYS) program at 1pm at the Bay City Service Center, 2105 Ave. M, Bay City TX. The ceremony is open to the public and a reception will follow the event. Music will be provided by members of the 323d “Ft. Sam’s Own” Ft. Sam Houston Army Band.

The PaYS Program is a strategic partnership between the Army and a cross section of private industry, academia and federal, state and local public institutes.  The U.S. Army PaYS Program guarantees Soldiers two job interviews and possible employment after their service in the Army.  The PaYS Program provides America’s youth with the unique opportunity to simultaneously serve their country and prepare for their future.

The PaYS program is designed to help Soldiers prepare for a career after the Army by connecting them with employers who understand the skills, discipline, and work ethic that military service members bring to a business.  This program is part of a long-term U.S. Army effort to help Soldiers forge professional relationships with businesses and encourage business owners to look to the Army as a plentiful and reliable recruiting source.  Since PaYS began in 2000, more than 770 employers have partnered with the program.

Mens Mental Health & Well-beingaaaaaa

Depression is under-diagnosed in men.

Why? To start with, men make about two-thirds as many healthcare provider visits as women do. And even when we do see a healthcare provider, we’re often reluctant to talk about what’s really bothering us, especially if it has anything to do with feelings or mood. Plus, most men don’t realize that some of the physical symptoms we may experience —things like chronic pain and digestive problems — could actually be caused by a mental health issue such as depression, anxiety or stress.

Then there are the men who know (or at least strongly suspect) that they have a problem, but suffer in silence, afraid to admit they need help. They may be afraid others will find out their secret and they’ll be perceived as weak or wimpy or that they’ll lose their job.

WHAT AFFECTS YOUR MENTAL HEALTH?

Your mental health can be influenced by a number of factors, including:

  • Your genes (some mental health issues run in families)
  • Divorce, separation, or the breakup of a long-term relationship
  • The death of a loved one
  • Losing your job, or job changes
  • Going through bankruptcy
  • Moving to a new home
  • Coping with a natural disaster
  • Caring for an aging parent
  • The birth of your child
  • Being diagnosed and living with a serious illness, or suffering a major injury
  • Serving in the military, especially in combat

Mental health and your outlook on life can also change without any obvious cause. Sometimes lots of little things build up and the combination can be extremely harmful.

THE BIG QUESTION: AM I NORMAL?

We all have our ups and downs. But most of us wonder at least one time in our life whether what we’re feeling is normal or whether we need professional help. Unfortunately, there’s no single answer that’s right for everyone. However, here’s a good rule of thumb: You need assistance if you’ve been having symptoms every day for more than two weeks and if those symptoms keep you from enjoying life, performing at work or maintaining relationships with friends, your partner or your children.  Untreated mental health conditions can get worse and may have serious consequences. You might, for example, damage your physical health. Or you could increase your risk of doing something to harm yourself or others. Fortunately with the right diagnosis and the right treatment, most mental health problems are easily resolved and you’ll return to feeling content with life and be better able to cope with its challenges.

Mental health is very important to your overall health and well-being. Eating a well balanced diet will keep your brain healthy and functioning well for years to come. Ways in which to help promote that include:

  • Omega- three fatty acids found in fish oils help prevent mental decline. These can be found in cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines. Omega-three fatty acids are also found in nuts and oils like canola, flaxseed , olive , and peanut . Nuts also contain vitamin E, which is a potent antioxidant.
  • Eat plenty of green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, eggplants, and dark fruits such as berries, oranges and grapes. These have high levels of antioxidants, which protect the brain from free radical formation.
  • Supplements like vitamins B-12; C, E, and folate may also help maintain a healthy brain.
  • Avoid saturated fats and high cholesterol foods.

To talk with someone about your mental health and well being contact MEHOP Behavioral Health at 979-245-2008 ext. 710.

Free Breast & Cervical Cancer Screeningsaaaaaa

MEHOP, offers free breast and cervical cancer screening services through the BCCS grant from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. The grant program provides quality, no-cost, accessible breast and cervical cancer screenings and diagnostic services to women in MEHOP’s service area. Regular screenings by medical professionals is the best way to detect breast and cervical cancer in its earliest stages.

The grant provides clinical breast examination, mammogram and diagnostic services for those that qualify for breast cancer screenings. Qualifying woman may also receive a pelvic examination, pap smear, cervical dysplasia services and diagnostic services for cervical cancer screenings.

You may qualify for the free screenings and diagnostic services if you:

  • Live in Texas
  • Are 21 or older
  • Don’t have health insurance
  • Make less than the monthly family income limits listed below.

Family Size

Monthly Family Income Limit

(200% Fed. Poverty Level)

1

$2,010

2

$2,707

3

$3,404

4

$4,100

To apply and make an appointment, please call Cindy Guardado at (979) 245-2008 ext. 505 or email at cguardado@mehop.org.

MEHOP Patient Advisory Committeeaaaaaa

Our Patient Advisory Committee is dedicated to the improvement of quality care for the communities we serve. The Advisory Committee is comprised of staff and patients/patient representatives at MEHOP.

Patients/representatives are often the most knowledgeable members of the care team, and can offer unique perspectives and valuable feedback regarding the standard of care they receive and needed services. Patient advisors represent the views of a diverse patient group, with members providing insight which represents different genders, ages, incomes, geographic locations, information from personal experiences and more.

MEHOP staff members share the insights gained in advisory committee meetings across our variety of medical disciplines, which include physicians, dentists,  nurses, safety, IT and managers.

This shared relationship enables the Advisory Committee, which meets on a quarterly basis, to:

Identify patient needs and concerns.
Provide feedback on current systems and processes within MEHOP.
Generate new ideas to improve the standard of care.
Act as catalysts to integrate patient-centered care within MEHOP

How Can I Become Involved?

The Advisory Committee meets once a quarter at 12 noon at MEHOP and lunch is provided. For additional information about the Patient Advisory Committee, or to become an advisor, please send an email to bpriesmeyer@mehop.org or call 979-245-2008 ext. 301.

 

Fitness #4Mind4Bodyaaaaaa

This May is Mental Health Month; MEHOP is raising awareness about the connection between physical health and mental health, through the theme Fitness #4Mind4Body. The campaign is meant to educate and inform individuals about how eating healthy foods, gut health, managing stress, exercising, and getting enough sleep can go a long way in making you healthy all around.

Mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable. So much of what we do physically impacts us mentally – it’s important to pay attention to both your physical health and your mental health, which can help you achieve overall wellness and set you on a path to recovery.

A healthy lifestyle can help to prevent the onset or worsening of mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, as well as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other chronic health problems. It can also play a big role in helping people recover from these conditions. Taking good care of your body is part of a before Stage Four approach to mental health. Getting the appropriate amount of exercise can help control weight, improve mental health, and help you live longer and healthier.

Recent research is also connecting your nutrition and gut health with your mental health. Sleep also plays a critical role in all aspects of our life and overall health. Getting a good night’s sleep is important to having enough physical and mental energy to take on daily responsibilities. And we all know that stress can have a huge impact on all aspects of our health, so it’s important to take time to focus on stress-reducing activities like meditation or yoga.

MEHOP wants everyone to know that mental illnesses are real, and recovery is always the goal. Living a healthy lifestyle may not be easy, but by looking at your overall health every day – both physically and mentally – you can go a long way in ensuring that you focus on your Fitness #4Mind4Body.

For more information, visit www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may , www.mehop.org or call MEHOP Behavioral Health at 979-245-2008 ext. 710.

Make Your Child’s Shots Less Stressfulaaaaaa

Vaccines help protect babies and young children against 14 serious diseases. Even though you are keeping her safe from diseases, it’s hard to see your child cry when she gets her shots. But you can take some steps before, during, and after a vaccine visit to ease the pain and stress of getting shots.

Read about the shots your child will get in advance. “CDC’s vaccine webpage has a lot of useful information to help parents understand the importance of on-time vaccination,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “You can review this information before your appointment, and then, you can ask your child’s doctor any remaining questions or concerns you have about vaccines.”

You may also want to bring your child’s vaccine record to show the doctor, and pack a favorite toy, book, blanket or other comfort item. For older children, be honest—shots can pinch or sting, but not for long. Remind them that shots help keep them healthy.

Distract your child with a toy, a story, a song, or something interesting in the room. Make eye contact with your child and smile, talk softly, or sing. Hold your child tightly on your lap, if you can. Take deep breaths with an older child to help “blow out” the pain.

After the shot, hug, cuddle, and praise your child. For babies, swaddling, breastfeeding, or a bottle may offer quick relief. Comfort and reassure older children if they cry.

If you notice redness, soreness, or swelling from the shot, place a clean, cool washcloth on the area. These reactions are usually mild and resolve on their own without needing treatment. If your child runs a fever, try a cool sponge bath. You can also use a non-aspirin pain reliever if your doctor says it’s OK. Some children eat less, sleep more, or act fussy for a day after they get shots. Make sure your child gets plenty to drink. If you’re worried about anything, call your doctor.

“Remember,” added Dr. Messonnier, “keeping your child up-to-date on vaccines is the best way to protect against vaccine-preventable diseases.”

Five Important Reasons to Vaccinate Your Childaaaaaa

You want to do what is best for your children. You know about the importance of car seats, baby gates and other ways to keep them safe. But, did you know that one of the best ways to protect your children is to make sure they have all of their vaccinations?

Immunizations can save your child’s life. Because of advances in medical science, your child can be protected against more diseases than ever before. Some diseases that once injured or killed thousands of children are no longer common in the U.S. – primarily due to safe and effective vaccines. Polio is one example of the great impact that vaccines have had in the United States. Polio was once America’s most feared disease, causing death and paralysis across the country, but thanks to vaccination the United States has been polio-free since 1979. Due to continual worldwide vaccination efforts, Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only two countries in the world that have never interrupted the spread of wild poliovirus, and only small pockets of polio still exist in these countries

Vaccination is very safe and effective. Vaccines are only given to children after careful review by scientists, doctors, and healthcare professionals. Vaccine side effects are almost always mild such as redness or swelling at the site of the shot, but this is minimal compared to the pain, discomfort, and risk of injury and death from the diseases these vaccines prevent. Serious side effects following vaccination, such as severe allergic reaction, are very rare. The disease-prevention benefits of getting vaccinated are much greater than the possible side effects for almost all children.

Immunization protects others you care about. Children in the U.S. still get vaccine-preventable diseases. In fact, we have seen resurgences of measles and whooping cough (pertussis) over the past few years. For example, in 2014, there were 667 cases of measles in 27 states, the greatest number of cases since measles was eliminated in 2000. The following year saw measles cases as well. During 2015, 147 people were part of a large, multi-state measles outbreak linked to an amusement park in California. Almost one in 10 people who became sick with measles in this outbreak were babies too young to be vaccinated. While some babies are too young to be protected by vaccination, others may not be able to receive certain vaccinations due to severe allergies, weakened immune systems from conditions like leukemia, or other reasons. To help keep them safe, it is important that you and your children who are able to get vaccinated are fully immunized. This not only protects your family, but also helps prevent the spread of these diseases to your friends and loved ones.

Immunizations can save your family time and money. A child with a vaccine-preventable disease can be denied attendance at schools or daycare facilities. Some vaccine-preventable diseases can result in prolonged disabilities and can take a financial toll because of lost time at work, medical bills or long-term disability care. In contrast, getting vaccinated against these diseases is a good investment and usually covered by insurance. The Vaccines for Children program is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children from low-income families. To find out more, visit the CDC VFC site, or ask your child’s health care professional.

Immunization protects future generations. Vaccines have reduced and, in some cases, eliminated many diseases that killed or severely disabled people just a few generations ago. For example, smallpox vaccination eradicated that disease worldwide. Your children don’t have to get smallpox shots anymore because the disease no longer exists anywhere in the world. By vaccinating children against rubella (German measles), we have dramatically reduced the risk that pregnant women will pass this virus on to their fetus or newborn, and birth defects associated with that virus are seen in only rare cases in the United States when a pregnant woman who was never vaccinated against rubella is exposed to someone who contracted rubella in another country. If we continue vaccinating now, and vaccinating completely, parents in the future may be able to trust that some diseases of today will no longer be around to harm their children in the future.

For more information about the importance of infant immunization, visit CDC’s vaccine website for parents.

Supporting your local non-profit health centeraaaaaa

As a non-profit company, health centers such as MEHOP are not focused on treating as many patients as possible, but instead focus on working with each patient to get well, be well and live well. By intent, health centers are located in medically under-served communities such as Matagorda County. Medically under-served communities are those which have a shortage of primary care health services for residents within a geographic area. As most community health centers do, MEHOP offers a variety of comprehensive primary care services that treat the whole person including family medicine, dental, mental health services, OB/GYN, ophthalmology, pediatrics, prescription and other wellness programs.

Beyond those served, local nonprofit organizations should be supported by members of their community. Smaller nonprofit organizations operating within your hometown do not receive the same level of government support as larger non-profits. On average, local nonprofits rely on grassroots efforts to further their missions.

The biggest reason to support local non-profits is the impact your donation has within your own community. These small but mighty organizations are changing the lives of those living within your area. MEHOP is proud to be a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) — part of a network of health providers dedicated to improving the health of their communities.

Local support brings local change. Challenging others to donate to a worthy cause such as community health centers allows you and your neighbors to have access to new resources that focuses on delivering services that respect the diverse cultures and needs of patients.

Community health centers are thriving, patient-centered facilities that practice wellness, collaboration and excellence. They are leading the health care industry with technology including the use of electronic medical records to better coordinate the care their patients receive. Health data is deidentified, compiled and analyzed about their communities to better understand and treat chronic diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma, obesity and diabetes.

Health Centers are led by a Board of Directors with a majority of the members being patients of their centers allowing them to be responsive to the needs of their patients and their communities. Community health centers start with working with you to take an active role in improving and managing your health. We encourage you to take an active role in improving not only your health but the health of your community by supporting your local community health center.

Join MEHOP on April 14th for their annual fundraiser at the Bay City Civic Center. For tickets, or to make a donation or for additional details call 979-245-2082 or go to www.mehop.org. This year’s proceeds will go towards renovations of our original site for employee training and patient education facilities.