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Erie Family Health Center


Posts Tagged ‘Erie’

Health Beats: July 28, 2010

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Beats this week:

1) Before you know it the kids are going to be back in school and you will be thinking: ‘where did the summer go?’ But before sending the kiddies off to school you should be sure to get them their required school physicals and vaccinations in honor of National Immunization Awareness Month, which is celebrated in August!

2) This week an incredibly insightful study was released on the social and economic impact of long-term obesity. The study, which used national data for 5,000 high school students over two decades, found that those individuals that had been overweight in high school and continued at that weight were less likely to advance their education and more likely to live at lower income levels than their classmates who were a healthier weight at age 18.

3) Well blogosphere, it just got a little bit easier to access dental care in the state of Illinois. In the last few months Governor Quinn has signed three bills making dental care more accessible; one of the most recent bills allows 10-day permits to out of state dentists that wish to cross the border to volunteer at dental clinics. The Chicago Dental Society’s blog, Open Wide, has a great rundown of the bills here.

4) As the city of Chicago heats up, so has the violence throughout the city. Painting a gloomy picture, overall crime is down in the city but murder rates are up. Just this past week, nine people were shot while walking near a bus terminal on Chicago’s south side.

5) Good news for women who have previously had c-sections: if you have another child you may not be required to have another c-section. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released new guidelines this week that allow most women to forego having another c-section.

Henson Elementary School Food Pantry

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Erie Beats

More than 678,000 people in Chicago and Cook County, including 250,000 children, receive emergency food each year. In an effort to reduce hunger in their own community, Henson Elementary School, located in North Lawndale, is working to bring nutritious food options to neighborhood families. Teaming up with the staff of Erie Henson School-Based Health Center and the Greater Chicago Food Depository, the school hosts a program called Healthy Kids Distribution, providing healthy food choices to the families of students in need.“This program aligns perfectly with Erie’s mission to increase access to resources that shouldn’t be considered privileges, but as human rights in an effort to lead a healthy life” says Tiosha Goss, Erie’s Coordinator for School Based and Oral Health Programs. “Furthermore, it supports Erie’s mission to provide resources to those in need.”

Tiosha assists with program outreach and supports the program’s food pantry volunteers during days of food distribution. Working with community agencies, Henson parents, AmeriCorps volunteers, Erie support staff, and Chicago Public School staff, she helps ensure the program’s goals stay at the forefront of their operations. The program offers family-focused services, encourages healthy eating and living, and aims to provide a minimum of 50 families with healthy foods at no cost to them. “There are many things that I enjoy about working with the program,” Tiosha says. “Getting to know the families that come to the distributions and playing an integral role in providing an invaluable resource to the community.”

Indeed an invaluable resource to the residents of North Lawndale, the program held its first distribution in March of this year following a needs assessment that found access to food in the community scarce. Already central to the community’s youth and their families, the school agreed to take on the important role of housing a permanent community food pantry. Every two weeks a delivery of assorted food items from the Greater Chicago Food Depository reaches the school’s team of six to twelve volunteers. These volunteers not only prepare the food pantry for operation, but also actively assist customers with their shopping and clean up after distribution. Fresh produce, grains such as pasta and rice and proteins like peanut butter and beans are set up to resemble a grocery store, making it easier for customers to select food items based upon their preference and need. Item quantity limits are set by the Food Depository, who covers the cost of the food needed to run the program for the first year.

“Currently, we only serve Henson families. We are seeking to open distribution up to the North Lawndale community as a whole,” Tiosha says. In further efforts to involve the community and reduce hunger, Erie Henson School-Based Health Center, located within the school, hopes to start a new program to empower North Lawndale youth to give back to their community. Called the Healthy Garden Initiative, Erie would give a group of Henson students the tools to start a community garden and grow vegetables such as peppers, lettuce, and carrots. Parents of the students will be invited to participate and the proposed garden will donate any surplus vegetables to the Healthy Kids Distribution food pantry.

“Having a gardening program would provide a hands-on opportunity for students and teachers to really drive home the importance of healthy eating, a major goal of the food pantry,” says Tiosha. “And the gardening program could be used as a tool to further engage parents and educate them on a cost-effective way to provide healthy eating options for their family.”

Health Beats: July 21, 2010

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Beats this week:

1) Great news for health centers around the country: late last week the House Labor-HHS Subcommittee on Appropriations proposed that the Health Centers program be funded at 2010 levels. So what exactly does all this fancy language mean? Well, when coupled with the funds from the Affordable Care Act, health centers will now be able to serve more patients than ever before – to the tune of 20 million more patients over the next five years!

2) Have you ever heard of mystery patients? This phrase does not even have a Wikipedia page! So just think mystery shoppers – only they are medical patients! A recent study conducted by six Chicago-area research institutions utilized mystery patients who served as actors for a doctor visit in order to measure how often physicians were able to identify social factors that could impact a patient’s health or their treatment (such as homelessness). The results: these factors were often overlooked or missed.

3) Want to give yourself nightmares? Then check out this list of agencies that still need to be paid by the state of Illinois for services rendered in the last fiscal year.

4) This week Michelle Obama and Jill Biden teamed up to announce an important new health initiative. Starting in the Fall, health insurance plans will be required to cover preventive care, such as some cancer screenings, diabetes and blood pressure screenings and routine vaccines, without charging a deductible or co-payment.

5) You heard it first here at Health Beats: Erie is proud to celebrate National Health Center Week by inviting all to attend the Erie Helping Hands Health Fair on August 12 from 3:00-7:00pm. Come by to learn important health education and receive free blood pressure and glucose screenings!


Health Beats: July 14, 2010

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Beats this week:

1) Good news out of Washington this week: the Department of Health and Human Services released their final guidelines for ‘meaningful use’ of electronic medical records (EMR) and the general consensus is that these guidelines are much more realistic than what the Obama Administration originally proposed. Example: the proposed guidelines required that 70% of prescriptions had to be transmitted electronically as one measure that would allow a doctor to receive a federal bonus; the new guidelines require 40%. Stay tuned to Beats Per Minute in the coming months as we talk more about meaningful use and what Erie is doing to achieve these new standards.

2) First the Minute Clinic and now fresh produce? Looks like CVS and Walgreens stores are moving to become the premier grocery provider for communities in Chicago that are without grocery stores (often know as ‘food deserts) by offering expanded fresh produce sections. Cue the pros and cons discussion!

3) The details of the Cook County health system overhaul are continuing to unfold. New information emerged this week on some key moves to be made, including changing Oak Forest Hospital into a regional outpatient center, essentially discontinuing its inpatient services. Read more about the upcoming changes here.

4) A study was released this week that took a look at the impact children experience when their parents lose their jobs. The results were astonishing: almost one in three children completely lost insurance coverage when their parent was let go from their job. The rate is even higher when measuring children from low-income families. While most were then eligible for state-assisted insurance programs, many experienced gaps in coverage.

5) And finally last but most definitely not least – for the first time ever, the federal government has released a National HIV/AIDS Strategy. The announcement made by the Obama Administration yesterday was accompanied by kudos from HIV advocates around the country.

Just a Call Away

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

“Erie Family Health Center, how can I help you?”

As a former Call Center Operator, I know this phrase to bring hope, assurance and relief to the patients I have served. For me, it brings memories of the two years when I had a headset and a patient on the line. I was straight out of high school, a little intimidated by the operation I was joining: 10 women sitting at their desks, navigating schedules, paging systems and their phones, responsible for answering calls for every Erie Site and juggling all of this information seamlessly. Working with me then was Claudia Jimenez, who is now the department’s Team Leader. I recently paid the Call Center a visit, and was able to listen to Claudia and her staff take calls:

Call 1: A patient needing a routine physical scheduled for her child.

Call 2: A Spanish speaking patient following up on the status of her diabetes medication.

Call 3: A mother whose child was having trouble breathing, resulting in paging a nurse for assistance.

Knowing this is just a small sample of what the Call Center does every day, and taking into account this took less than ten minutes to hear, it became apparent how sophisticated the Call Center operation is. Long gone are the days of 10-line switchboards, when Erie only had three operators for five sites. Today, the department’s twelve operators receive all incoming calls for nine health centers. Using a computerized phone system, they now track call type, call length and operator productivity, among other things. The system even tells an operator the language preference of the patient (before he/she picks up the call!), making communication smoother and more comfortable.

“We’re the first point of contact for patients,” Claudia reminded me, “the base of patient access. To schedule an appointment, to become a new patient, to page an on-call provider, you have to go through us.”


Health Beats: June 30, 2010

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Beats this week:

1) The Robert Woods Johnson Foundation released its annual report on obesity this week and the results for Illinois are not great: over the last year the percentage of obese adults has risen to 26.6% percent, up one whole percentage point from the year before. This places Illinois 26th in the nation for adult obesity.

2) Today the New York Times homepage included a story about the crisis of the AIDS Drug Assistance Program across the country. Increased demand because of unemployment and lack of insurance is too much for a system that continues to see cuts in funding. In Florida, the ADAP program has closed its doors to new clients and has chosen not to start a waiting list.

3) A study released this week claims that the diabetes drug, Avandia, has a higher risk of causing heart risks, strokes and deaths in older people than other diabetes medications. The release of this study comes two weeks before the FDA’s hearings on the safety of the drug.

4) Happy end of the fiscal year! Today is the last day of the fiscal year for the state of Illinois and we still do not have a budget in place. According to news sources, at an early morning press conference tomorrow Governor Quinn will outline the cuts that will be included in the new fiscal year budget. We are still staying tuned.

5) A recent tracking poll done by Kaiser Health has found that health care reform law is picking up support. In the last month health care reform has improved its approval rating by 7 points, with 48% of Americans having a favorable view of the legislation.

Health Beats: June 16, 2010

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Beats this week:

1) Over the summer, many children who normally received free or reduced lunch from their school now find themselves with less to eat. Check out this great story about some local food pantries that are attempting to meet the need to feed Chicagoland children during the summer. And the bonus is that they are super healthy lunches!

2) Today, Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius announced a new $250 million investment that will aim to develop new medical providers. This program, which was created using Affordable Care Act funds, will help ease the shortage of primary care providers by training and developing nearly 16,000 new medical providers over the next five years.

3) More sad news for the state of Illinois: for the second time in a little more than a week, the credit rating for Illinois has been downgraded due to the state’s inability to balance the budget. Currently, the only state with a worse rating than Illinois is California.

4) In April, Health Beats reported on an announcement of a plan from the FDA that would reduce the amount of salt consumed by Americans. Well, nearly two months later over one dozen major US food companies have announced they will voluntarily reduce the level of salt in the foods they produce. That’s right, in the next few years you can expect to see the sodium levels decrease in Heinz ketchup!

5) Key delegations in the American Medical Association called for revisions to the AMA’s endorsement of health care reform this week. Specifically, these delegations would like the AMA to revise its stance on Medicare payment cuts, raise the doctor payment for Medicaid and enact sweeping liability reform.

Health Beats: June 9, 2010

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Beats this week:

1) In September you will begin to see health clinics in Targets throughout Chicago and the suburbs. This announcement follows the expansion of health clinics in CVS and Walgreens stores across the country.

2) Earlier this week, community health centers received some exciting news: the Corporation for National and Community Service decided to fully fund the Community HealthCorps at the requested level for the very first time. With uninsured patient visits up by 21% at community health centers, the $6 million in funding for Community HealthCorps will help to meet this intense demand for care.

3) Celebrity chefs recently took on a challenge: they ate lunch at public schools in the DC area. Through this experience they all came to the same conclusion: schools lunches lacked nutrition, variety and taste. Now months later, these chefs are taking action by teaching cooking classes to students and parents and getting on the front lines for the First Lady’s Let’s Move! Initiative.

4) We are a little late to the news on this one but last month Australian researchers released a study that found a link between diabetes and family history. The study was fairly basic: they took families with and without history of diabetes and overfed them. The results were very interesting, with those with a family history gaining more weight on average and demonstrating a greater resistance to insulin.

5) This week Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the release of $83.9 million in grants to support the expansion of health information technology. Erie was thrilled to be among the list of grant recipients, accepting on behalf of the Alliance of Chicago Community Health Services.

Health Beats: June 2, 2010

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Beats this week:


1) A report released today from the American Heart Association analyzed the amount of physical education required in schools across the United States. The report, which was released in partnership with the National Association for Sport and Physical Education found that while more states are requiring students to take physical education, few actually require students to exercise for a specific amount of time.

2) Attention all community health data enthusiasts: this week Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius revealed further details about the new Community Health Data Initiative. Under this initiative HHS health data will be made freely available so that software developers can create innovative applications and make the data more useful for consumers and communities.

3) The Illinois legislature has spoken: budget cuts for Illinois will be decided by Governor Quinn. As such, Quinn is now facing the tough challenge of determining what gets slashed in the FY2011 budget for Illinois. On the chopping block: social services, education and health care. Quinn is keeping mum on what he plans to cut but stated that he hoped to release further details within the month and through the summer. Again, stay tuned!

4) This week, the Chicago Dental Society’s blog, Open Wide, wrote about two Illinois programs that provide orthodontia care to patients whose parents are unable to afford the expensive care. Way to go to the Illinois Society of Orthodontists and Smiles Change Lives for their amazing work!

5) The Swiss company, Novartis, announced disappointing news this week: its new ovarian cancer drug will not be moving to the market. The company had hoped the medication, called patupilone, would be more effective than other drugs for advanced cervical cancer patients, however, the late-stage trial proved that it did not.


Who Is Erie???

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Have you ever wondered who the folks are behind the scenes running the show at Erie? Well now you can meet them! Throughout the summer Erie employees are putting on their favorite Erie t-shirts and getting their picture taken while at Erie or out and about! Check in at Beats Per Minute or our Facebook page from time to time to meet more of Erie’s fabulous staff and find out who Erie is!

Here are a few of our first ‘Who Is Erie’ photos!!

Jillian Saldana and Amelia De La Torre are Medical Assistant's at Erie Family Health Center.

Here is a group shot of the Case Managers at Erie Humboldt Park Health Center: Maria Matias, Lymari Castillo, Patricia Diaz, Nancy Edwards, Liliana Grisales, IIliana Gonzalez, Alma Herrera, Timikia Jones, Lissa Ortega, Alexandra Ortiz, Patricia Perez, Teresa Ramirez, Camen Rodriguez, Celia Romo, and Gabriela Medina.