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Barangay Nutrition Scholars: Davao’s Food Revolution Warriors

Posted: July 31, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Written By: Patmei Bello Ruivivar Tuesday, 31 July 2012 Category: Lifestyle

As part of Davao Citys Nutrition Month celebration, a summit of Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNS) from the 182 barangays in the city was held last Friday, July 27, 2012 at the DMMA gym in Tigatto.

With the summit theme of BNS Katambayayong sa Syudad sa Dabaw, the BNS was tasked to be the partners of the city in implementing the Davao Food Revolution in all barangays. A joint program of the City Government of Davao and the Mindanao Commission on Women (MCW), the Davao Food Revolution is an advocacy campaign for access to affordable healthy food in public schools and low-income communities.

To feed their children healthy food at home, parents must have ready access to stores that sell affordable healthy food. Unfortunately, neighborhood stores in low income communities tend to sell a lot of processed food and junk food. Even the street food available are not really nutritious or even prepared safely and hygienically.

According to the BNS volunteers at the summit, children will choose healthy food over junk food if it is readily available, affordable, and convenient to eat. So they all got excited when the MCW Mothers for Peace Organic Food Cart came to the summit to let the BNS volunteers taste the healthy food made of organic ingredients. The food samples served were camote binangkal, malunggay pulvoron, camote tops juice, and ginger with lemongrass juice made of fresh, local and organic ingredients from healthy recipes developed by the City Agriculture Office.

Healthy food need not be expensive if people grow their own food in their home gardens and community gardens. The Food Revolution encourages people to have control over how their food is produced, prepared, sold, and consumed. It discourages dependence on big corporations that mass produce food that may not necessarily be healthy. With the rising cost of health care, it is wise for the city to invest in nutrition by providing funds to child nutrition programs, making fruits and vegetables available in school canteens, implement wellness policies and expand nutrition education.

The healthy food carts can also be a social enterprise for women in low-income communities. MCW has set up a Mothers for Peace Fund to support women micro-entrepreneurs who want to engage in the production and retail of healthy food in schools and communities.

Join the Food Revolution now!

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Barangay Nutrition Scholars: Davao’s Food Revolution Warriors

Schiff Nutrition International, Inc. Announces Fiscal 2012 Fourth Quarter and Year-End Results

Posted: at 1:12 pm


Schiff Nutrition International, Inc., (SHF), announced results for the three- and twelve-month periods ended May 31, 2012.

We are pleased with our fourth quarter performance as it reflects strong execution against our growth strategy, stated Tarang Amin, president and chief executive officer. Net sales grew 30%, driven by a 59% increase in our branded business. Our gross profit margin grew 1,100 basis points to 49.5%, reflecting our progress building premium brands, leading innovation, expanding the channel and geographic footprint of the company, pursuing acquisitions, and driving world-class operations. Our probiotics and Airborne acquisitions added to the strong contribution of our core brands MegaRed and Move Free."

Fiscal 2012 Fourth Quarter Results

For the fiscal 2012 fourth quarter ended May 31, 2012, net sales were $67.4 million, compared to $51.9 million for the same period in fiscal 2011. The 30% increase reflects growth in key brands, new product introductions and contribution from acquisitions. Branded sales of $59.9 million were partially offset by an expected decline in the private label business. The higher mix of branded sales resulted in gross profit margin of 49.5%, compared to 38.2% a year ago. Total operating expenses increased to $27.1 million from $14.9 million a year ago reflecting the anticipated increase in selling and marketing expenses and $3.4 million in acquisition related costs, $2.0 million of which was non-deductible for income tax purposes. Net income for the fiscal 2012 fourth quarter was $2.0 million, compared to net income of $3.1 million for the same period in fiscal 2011. Earnings per diluted share were $0.07 for the fiscal 2012 fourth quarter, compared to $0.10 for the same period in fiscal 2011. Adjusted EBITDA, which is defined as income from operations before depreciation, amortization, stock-based compensation and completed acquisition related costs, was $12.4 million for the fiscal 2012 fourth quarter, compared to $7.5 million for the same period in fiscal 2011.

Fiscal 2012 Full Year Results

For the fiscal year 2012, net sales were $258.9 million, compared to $213.6 million for fiscal 2011. Selling and marketing expenses were $60.3 million, or 23% of revenue, compared to $34.7 million, or 16% of revenue. Gross margin for the fiscal year 2012 was 46.1%, compared to 38.0% for fiscal 2011. Net income for the fiscal year 2012 was $13.7 million, compared to net income of $12.6 million for fiscal 2011. Earnings per diluted share were $0.47 for the fiscal year 2012, compared to $0.43 for fiscal 2011. Adjusted EBITDA was $38.7 million for the fiscal year 2012, compared to $28.9 million for fiscal 2011.

We are positioning Schiff as a leader in the nutritional supplements category. Our fiscal year 2012 investments in brand building and innovation drove strong sales and gross margin growth. For fiscal 2013, we are committed to building upon this momentum, concluded Amin.

Company Outlook

Fiscal 2013 net sales are expected to grow 40.0% to 43.0% as compared to fiscal year 2012 net sales of $258.9 million. Expected sales growth includes contributions from new products, brand building and Airborne, which was acquired on March 30th. As previously announced, Airborne had net sales of approximately $72 million for the twelve months ended February 29, 2012. Gross profit percentage is expected to be in the range of 48.0% to 50.0%. Selling and marketing expenses, as a percentage of net sales, are estimated to be in the range of 25.0% to 27.0%. Other operating expenses are estimated at approximately $35.0 million to $37.0 million. The company anticipates its operating margin will be in the range of 12.5% to 14.0%.

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Schiff Nutrition International, Inc. Announces Fiscal 2012 Fourth Quarter and Year-End Results

The Female Health Company Reports Third Quarter Operating Results

Posted: at 1:12 pm

CHICAGO, July 31, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Female Health Company (FHCO), which manufactures and markets the FC2 Female Condom, today reported its financial results for the third quarter and first nine months of FY2012. The Company will host an investor conference call today at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time to discuss these operating results and other topics of interest (see details below).

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120712/MM39764LOGO)

For the three months ended June 30, 2012, unit sales increased 157% compared with the third quarter of FY2011. Net revenues increased 146% to $8.7 million, compared with $3.5 million in the three months ended June 30, 2011.

"We are delighted with the strong revenue gains posted during the third quarter and first nine months of Fiscal 2012," noted O.B. Parrish Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Female Health Company. "This reflects increasing demand for the FC2 Female Condom. We believe rising global demand is based on the fact FC2 provides dual protection against unintended pregnancies as well as sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS. We are pleased that FC2 makes an important contribution to saving lives and reducing healthcare costs, especially in view of the fact that HIV/AIDS is now the leading cause of death worldwide among women 15 to 44 years of age."

Cost of sales increased 97% to $3.4 million in the third quarter of FY2012, compared with $1.7 million in the third quarter of FY2011, due to the increase in units sold. Gross profit increased 192% to $5.3 million, or 61% of net revenues, in the most recent quarter, compared with $1.8 million, or 52% of net revenues, in the third quarter of FY2011.

Operating expenses for the quarter ended June 30, 2012 increased 82% to $2.5 million when compared with operating expenses of $1.4 million in the third quarter of FY2011. The increase was primarily due to an accrual for fiscal year-end incentive payments based on the expected achievement of performance goals relating to the Company's unit sales and operating income, as well as increased spending on marketing, education and training, and on legal and consulting services. During the third quarter of FY2011 the cumulative bonus accrual was reversed because the Company determined that FY2011 performance targets would not be achieved.

Operating income increased 523% to $2.8 million in the three months ended June 30, 2012, compared with $0.5 million in the prior-year quarter. The increase was primarily due to higher gross profit, partially offset by higher operating expenses.

The Company reported net income of $2.5 million, or $0.09 per diluted share, in the third quarter of FY2012, a 512% increase over net income of $0.4 million, or $0.01 per diluted share, in the third quarter of FY2011. The Company recorded a currency gain of $0.02 million and a currency loss of $0.02 million during the quarters ended June 30, 2012 and 2011, respectively.

For the nine months ended June 30, 2012, unit sales increased 112% over the first nine months of FY2011. Net revenues increased 119% to $25.1 million, compared with $11.5 million in the nine months ended June 30, 2011.

Cost of sales increased 76% to $10.3 million in the first nine months of FY2012, compared with $5.8 million in the corresponding prior-year period, due to the increase in units sold. In the nine months ended June 30, 2012, gross profit increased 164% to $14.9 million, or 59% of net revenues, compared with $5.6 million, or 49% of net revenues, in the first nine months of FY2011.

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The Female Health Company Reports Third Quarter Operating Results

IDC Health Insights Releases MarketScape Report on Top U.S. Care Management Vendors for Healthcare Payers

Posted: at 1:12 pm


Today, IDC Health Insights released a new MarketScape report that evaluates the top nine U.S. Care Management vendors for healthcare payers. The comprehensive study, IDC MarketScape: U.S. Care Management 2012 Vendor Assessment for Healthcare Payers (Doc #HI235803), evaluates the post-reform era market landscape and profiles the following vendors: Casenet, Inc., Click4care, Inc., DST Health Solutions, Landacorp, IkaSystems, Medecision, McKesson, TriZetto, and ZeOmega.

The IDC Health Insights report found the care management market will be a highly volatile and evolving market through at least 2015. As vendors position for new opportunities in the post-reform era, there will be an unprecedented expansion of functionality and services. Key solution investments include embedded and integrated analytics, provider and consumer engagement strategies and technologies, real time triggers and alerts, integration of clinical data, and multi-platform channel delivery including cloud and iPad initiatives.

"Healthcare payers should expect continued changes within the care management market as a new generation of health and population management solutions will emerge, said Janice Young, program director of IDC Health Insights. Care management is a traditional solution and service for the healthcare payer industry and yet in many respects, this is an emerging market, repositioning for the reform era. Extensive application and functionality development, considerable corporate changes among vendors, as well as payer and solution market changes, will require a new level of solution assessment and risk management.

IDC MarketScape criteria selection, weightings, and vendor scores represent well-researched IDC judgment about the market and specific vendors. IDC analysts tailor the range of standard characteristics by which vendors are measured through structured discussions, surveys, and interviews with market leaders, participants and end users. Market weightings are based on user interviews, buyer surveys and the input of a review board of IDC experts in each market. IDC analysts base individual vendor scores, and ultimately vendor positions within the IDC MarketScape, on detailed surveys and interviews with the vendors, publicly available information and end-user experiences in an effort to provide an accurate and consistent assessment of each vendor's characteristics, behavior and capability.

For additional information about this study, or to arrange a one-on-one briefing with Janice Young, please contact Julie Crotty at 978-877-0053 or Julie@attunecommunications.com. Reports are available to qualified members of the media. For information on purchasing reports, contact insights@idc.com; reporters should email Julie@attunecommunications.com.

About IDC MarketScapes

IDC MarketScape vendor analysis model is designed to provide an overview of the competitive fitness of ICT (information and communications technology) suppliers in a given market. The research methodology utilizes a rigorous scoring methodology based on both qualitative and quantitative criteria that results in a single graphical illustration of each vendors position within a given market. IDC MarketScape provides a clear framework in which the product and service offerings, capabilities and strategies, and current and future market success factors of IT and telecommunications vendors can be meaningfully compared. The framework also provides technology buyers with a 360-degree assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of current and prospective vendors.

About IDC Health Insights

IDC Health Insights assists health businesses and IT leaders, as well as the suppliers who serve them, in making more effective technology decisions by providing accurate, timely, and insightful fact-based research and consulting services. Staffed by senior analysts with decades of industry experience, our global research analyzes and advises on business and technology issues facing the payer, provider and life sciences industries. International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology market. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the worlds leading technology, media, research, and events company. For more information, please visit http://www.idc-hi.com, email info@idc-hi.com, or call 508-935-4445. Visit the IDC Health Insights Community at http://idc-insights-community.com/health.

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IDC Health Insights Releases MarketScape Report on Top U.S. Care Management Vendors for Healthcare Payers

Health Savings Accounts Grow to $14.1 Billion in June

Posted: at 1:12 pm


Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are estimated to have grown to more than $14.1 billion in assets representing 7.1 million accounts through June 30th, 2012 according to a survey and resulting research report conducted by Devenir, an investment firm that specializes in providing investment options for HSAs.

The survey data was collected in July, 2012 and primarily consisted of top 50 HSA providers in the health savings account market, with all data being collected for the June 30th, 2012 period dating back to June 30th, 2011. As we continue to research the HSA marketplace we are pleased with the credible and insightful data provided regarding HSA usage and adoption at an industry level, says Eric Remjeske, President and Co-Founder of Devenir.

Key findings from the Devenir Midyear 2012 survey and research report:

We continue to be very interested in understanding how HSAs are being funded and used, finding that both employers and employees are playing a significant role in contributing to HSAs to help save for future medical expenses, said Jon Robb, Lead Research Associate with Devenir. Devenir projects the HSA market may reach $25 billion in assets by the end of 2015, with HSA investment dollars growing rapidly as health savings account users balances become larger, representing almost 19% of all HSA assets by the end of 2015.

Projections derived from Midyear 2012 Devenir HSA survey, press releases, previous market research, and market growth rates. Projections are barring any regulatory or market environment changes.

Forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and assumptions based on historical growth, the economy, other future conditions and forecasts of future events, circumstances and results.

About Devenir

Devenir, a full-service broker dealer and registered investment advisor based in Minneapolis, is a national leader in providing customized investment solutions to the HSA Custodian marketplace. As an HSA industry leading investment firm, Devenir offers a host of investment options to suit the unique needs of employers, banks, third party administrators and plan participants. http://www.devenir.com

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Health Savings Accounts Grow to $14.1 Billion in June

DENR-IX joins the 38th National Nutrition Month (NNM) Celebration

Posted: at 2:11 am

by H. A. Ascura/DENR-IX PR

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region -IX, has conducted various activities in support to the observance of the National Nutrition Month (NNM) pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 491 or the Nutrition Act of the Philippines with this years theme Pagkain ng gulay ugaliin, araw-araw itong ihain.

Regional Executive Director (RED) Arleigh J. Adorable led his officials and employees in attending a Nutrition Seminar which was held last July 9, 2012 at the Office of the RED Covered Court DENR, Sta. Maria, Pagadian City, Zamboanga Del Sur.

Nutrition Officer III Nimfa D. Ekong from the National Nutrition Council- Zamboanga City was the resource speaker. According to her, the month long observance aims to increase vegetable consumption; promote vegetable gardening as a source of additional food and income; and increase demand for vegetables can help local vegetable farmers.

In her power point presentation, Ms. Ekong explained the rationale of the NNM theme: 1) Filipinos are eating less and less vegetables. Based on food consumption surveys conducted by Dept. of Science & Technology (DOST) Food & Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), Filipinos on average are eating less and less vegetables per day in the last three (3) decades. From 145 grams per day of vegetables in 1978, consumption has decreased to 110 grams per day in 2008. Based on the 2012 NNM Talking Points, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends eating a minimum of 400 grams of vegetables and fruits per day which is equivalent to five (5) servings per day with 3 servings of vegetables per day. 2) Vegetables as part of a healthy diet can help prevent major non-communicable disease. Adequate consumption of fruits and vegetables reduces the risk for cardiovascular diseases, stomach cancer, and colorectal cancer. 3) Consumption of vegetables can help micronutrient deficiencies. Eating a variety of vegetables together with fruits ensures an adequate intake of most micronutrients, dietary fibers and a host of essential non-nutrient substances. 4) Having vegetable gardens in the household can increase supply and availability of vegetables for families. Only 67.7% or 7 out of every 10 households had vegetable gardens or fruit trees based on the 2008 National Nutrition Survey.

Ms. Ekong made mention that malunggay plant (from its roots, barks, leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds) contains more nutritional value compared to other vegetables. She also shared technique on how to cook vegetables mixed with malunggay fruits.

The display of NNM streamer, press release as well as the conduct of radio program and guesting over DXKP-RPN in Pagadian City were undertaken by DENRs public affairs office to raise public awareness and participation while the livehood training-workshop was sponsored by DENRs Gender and Development (GAD) in cooperation with Technical Education and Skills Development Administration (TESDA) -ZDS Provincial Office.

For the latest Zamboanga City and Philippine news stories and videos, visit ZamboTimes.com

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DENR-IX joins the 38th National Nutrition Month (NNM) Celebration

New School Cafeteria Guidelines Make A Healthier Back-To-School Season

Posted: at 2:11 am

SANTA MONICA, Calif., July 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- When students arrive at school this fall, their cafeteria will look a lot different. School meals must meet new federal nutrition standards requiring more whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and less sodium and calories, as detailed in an article in the July issue of Food Nutrition & Science.

"With the ever-increasing childhood obesity rates, the government had to step in and help guide schools to provide healthier options for children," says Phil Lempert, founder of Food Nutrition & Science and CEO of The Lempert Report and SupermarketGuru.com. "I support these efforts and am confident the better foods will not only help their bodies, but their minds too."

Every school meal will come with fat free or 1percent milk to provide the calcium kids need for strong bones, and lunch entrees will meet strict limits on saturated and trans fats. Cafeterias will serve a wider variety of vegetables each week, including vitamin packed choices like broccoli, sweet potatoes and red pepper strips, and more fiber-rich beans and legumes.

Also in this month's issue results from a recent study from the Economic Research Service that shows price increases for some high-calorie foods and beverages can lead to lower children's BMI (body mass index). According to the study, a 10 percent increase in the price of sodas lowered BMI .42 percent over a year, and that same increase in the price of 100 percent juices and starchy vegetables lowered BMI .3 percent over a year.

Among other informative articles, this month also includes an interview with Deb Roussou, author of 350 Best Vegan Recipes, and Jerry Lynch, chief sustainability officer for General Mills.

About Food Nutrition & Science With more than 26,000 readers, Food Nutrition & Science is the only monthly newsletter created for all food industry players to communicate about the safest, most efficient and healthiest ways to get food to our plates. Founded by food industry analyst and CEO of The Lempert Report and SupermarketGuru.com Phil Lempert, Food Nutrition & Science provides readers analysis and offers discussions on all issues relating to the food industry. To learn more about healthy foods, trends, recipes and maneuvering the supermarket download "Smarter Shopping with Phil Lempert," a state-of the-art mobile app available at iTunes.

For more information or to subscribe to Food Nutrition & Science, please visit http://www.FoodNutritionScience.com.

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New School Cafeteria Guidelines Make A Healthier Back-To-School Season

Zumba Fitness Gets Infrastructure in Shape with Opscode

Posted: at 2:11 am

SEATTLE, July 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --Opscode, the leader in cloud infrastructure automation, today announced that Zumba Fitness, the world's largest and most successful dance-fitness program, has deployed Opscode Hosted Chef to automate its entire cloud infrastructure, from development environments to change control processes in its Amazon EC2 and Rackspace clouds. With Hosted Chef, Zumba has eliminated manual infrastructure management, saving significant amounts of time and money, while ensuring resource consistency and reliability for its high-traffic website.

"In many ways, our website is the hub of our business, with everything you see in the fitness parties first going through the web, from class schedules to our online store," said Douglas Jarquin, Technical Operations Manager, Zumba Fitness. "Hosted Chef ensures our website operates effectively around the clock by eliminating the risk of human error and ensuring resource consistency all the way up the compute stack."

Since its inception in 2001, the Zumba program has grown its dance-fitness program to more than 12 million people taking weekly Zumba classes in over 110,000 locations across more than 125 countries. To support its vibrant user base, Zumba's website provides everything from class schedules and locations to an online store and video archive. Powering its website are primary Amazon EC2 servers and failover Rackspace servers, providing a reliable and easily scalable infrastructure for Zumba's online operations.

Customer Benefits:

Using Amazon EC2 as its primary infrastructure and Rackspace for failover, Zumba needed an automation engine capable of managing the complexity and constant change inherent in using large-scale IT infrastructure in the cloud. Leveraging Hosted Chef, Zumba has automated every component of both its Amazon and Rackspace clouds, ensuring its development, staging and production environments operate seamlessly in bringing new applications and services to Zumba's website.

"Zumba is a great example of how businesses of all kinds are leveraging the economies of the cloud to rapidly expand their business," said Adam Jacob, Chief Customer Officer, Opscode. "By pairing its cloud infrastructure with Hosted Chef and a DevOps mentality, Zumba now has the business agility and resource consistency to continue growing its customer base."

About OpscodeOpscode is the leader in cloud infrastructure automation. Opscode helps companies of all sizes develop fully automated server infrastructures that scale easily and predictably; can be quickly rebuilt in any environment; and save developers and systems engineers time and money. Opscode's team is comprised of web infrastructure experts responsible for building and operating some of the world's largest websites and cloud computing platforms. More information can be found at http://www.opscode.com.

Press Contact: Lucas Welch lucas@opscode.com 206-745-0000

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Zumba Fitness Gets Infrastructure in Shape with Opscode

Charter Fitness Employee Saves Club Member from Cardiac Arrest

Posted: at 2:11 am

CHICAGO, July 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --Anna Henson, an employee of Charter Fitness of Bloomington, saved the life of a club member after he went into cardiac arrest on July 8, 2012. The club member had been sitting on a bench in the club when he passed out and fell to the floor. Hensontook immediate action.She called 911, retrieved the club's defibrillator and began CPR keeping the member alive until paramedics arrived. The member later recovered at the hospital.

"We are trained at Charter Fitness to respond to emergencies. I am glad that I could help and that he is OK," said Anna Henson.

In a statement from Bloomington Fire Department, Captain Brad McCollum wrote, "The patient's survival from this event was due in large part to the quick action of your employee (Anna Henson)."

"We take the health and well-being of Charter Fitness' members very seriously and are very proud of Anna Henson's life-saving efforts," said Dan Collins, Director of Sales, Charter Fitness. Every club is equipped with a defibrillator, and each employee is trained on how to respond to a serious event such as a cardiac arrest.

A week after the incident, the member came into Charter Fitness of Bloomington with flowers, gifts, and many thanks for Henson.

Charter Fitness Franchising LLC was recently approved to franchise its Charter Fitness Health Club brand nationally. The Company recently converted 38 Cardinal Fitness locations in Chicago, downstate Illinois and Northwest Indiana to the Charter Fitness brand, increasing the number of clubs to over 40 in five states. It is now the largest health club business in the Chicago, IL metropolitan area, and expects to hire 200 employees over the coming months.

About Charter Fitness Franchising LLC

Based in Orland Park, IL, Charter Fitness Franchising LLC is a health club franchise with over 40 locations in five states. Charter Fitness health clubs offer members a clean, comfortable and convenient workout experience with best-in-class fitness equipment for as low as $10 per month. Charter Fitness strongly believes in community involvement and is a member of the International Health Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA). http://www.CharterFitness.com

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Charter Fitness Employee Saves Club Member from Cardiac Arrest

24 Hour Fitness Releases Exclusive Team USA Workouts

Posted: at 2:11 am


According to a recent member poll by 24 Hour Fitness, 65 percent of club members prefer to see an athletes warm-up and training routines when watching behind-the-scenes footage around the Olympic Games.

In celebration of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, 24 Hour Fitness proudly partnered with Team USA and three U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes to offer exclusive signature workouts fortheir fans. This elite team of athletes, known as Team 24 Hour Fitness, includes:

Designed to inspire 24 Hour Fitness members and fans to reach for their fitness goals and give them a sneak peek at what it takes to train like some of our nations best athletes, the workouts are available at the 24 Hour Fitness page on YouTube and on The Blog at 24hourfitness.com/teamusa.

Additionally, 24 Hour Fitness invites members and guests to participate in exclusive Team USA Boot Camps with exercises designed to enhance agility, speed, power, strength and quickness. Developed in partnership with the USOC, the boot camp provides a full-body workout to give members and guests a sense of the skills U.S. Olympic athletes use in their training regimens. These classes are being offered through Aug. 3 at participating 24 Hour Fitness clubs nationwide, with schedules available at 24hourfitness.com. Guests are also welcome to participate by downloading a free pass at 24hourfitness.com/pass.

24 Hour Fitness is a proud official sponsor of the United States Olympic Committee and Official Fitness Center Sponsor of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams. To learn more about 24 Hour Fitness visit 24hourfitness.com.

About the Member Poll

The 24 Hour Fitness club member poll, measuring how members are motivated and inspired by the Olympic Games, was distributed by email and fielded from March 12 to 21, 2012, to a random sample of more than 400 club members across the country.

About 24 Hour Fitness

Headquartered in San Ramon, Calif., 24 Hour Fitness is a leading health club industry pioneer, serving nearly four million members in more than 400 clubs across the U.S. Since the first club opened in 1979, the company has been dedicated to helping members change their lives and reach their individual fitness goals. With convenient club locations, personal training services, innovative group exercise classes and a variety of strength, cardio and functional training equipment - 24 Hour Fitness offers fitness solutions for everyone.

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24 Hour Fitness Releases Exclusive Team USA Workouts

Altegra Health Certified by CMS for Processing Institutional Encounter Data

Posted: at 2:11 am

MIAMI LAKES, Fla., July 30, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Altegra Health, Inc., a leading provider of technology-enabled revenue management services to healthcare organizations for data analytics, risk adjustment and encounter reporting, today announced that it has received End-to-End Certification from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for the processing of institutional encounter data.

Altegra Health became certified after achieving a 100 percent acceptance rate during official testing on the CMS Encounter Data Processing System (EDPS). The certification provides CMS approval for Altegra Health to begin submitting institutional encounter data as an authorized third-party submitter for clients that have completed the EDS (Encounter Data System) implementation. The company received Professional Encounter Data End-to-End Certification in April 2012.

"Altegra Health continues to expand its encounter reporting capabilities to help health plans receive accurate reimbursement in support of excellent care, ultimately leading to superior member outcomes," said Kevin Barrett, Altegra Health President and CEO. "Certification from CMS for full-service encounter data processing is a reflection of our expertise and commitment to providing industry-leading revenue management systems and services to our health plan partners."

CMS expects to utilize the submitted encounter data for a variety of purposes, including determining the risk adjustment factors used to adjust Medicare Advantage plan payments, updating associated risk adjustment models, and monitoring utilization and cost trends.

Altegra Health's encounter reporting services provide health plans with a turn-key solution to effectively address the transition to EDPS and ensure continuity of their data and payments. In addition to meeting requirements to transform data into an encounter for submission to CMS, Altegra Health provides a single source platform for error review and management, claims reporting, statistical analysis, and financial reporting.

Achievement of this key processing capability is a significant milestone in continuing to provide Altegra Health's health plan partners with industry-leading solutions to meet their encounter reporting requirements and to deploy their revenue management programs.

About Altegra Health

Altegra Health(TM) is a leading provider of business, technology, and consulting solutions that improve healthcare organization performance by aligning the company's best-in-class capabilities with health plan and provider clients' existing capabilities, resulting in comprehensive, integrated solutions for revenue management. The company is uniquely positioned to provide risk adjustment, encounter reporting, eligibility and enrollment, quality reporting, reimbursement, and advisory services that enhance the member and provider experience, strengthen compliance, and improve overall healthcare organization performance. For more information, visit AltegraHealth.com.

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Altegra Health Certified by CMS for Processing Institutional Encounter Data

Hero Health Hire Reaches First Anniversary of Helping Veterans Find Success in the Civilian Workforce

Posted: at 2:11 am


Last summer, health care industry executives, with the support of government and military leaders, launched a new initiative called Hero Health HireSM, a program to employ, train and support veterans and, in particular, disabled veterans or Wounded Warriors who suffered physical and mental injuries as a result of their military service. One year later, the program has gained 34 health care industry partners, representing more than 750,000 employees across the country with 3,304 worksites covering every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

As a nation we have a duty to honor the sacrifice of our military veterans by helping them make a smooth transition to the workforce, said U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. By connecting veterans with dedicated partners in the health care industry, the Hero Health Hire program is helping train and support our talented soldiers as they take on new challenges in high-growth sectors. This all hands on deck response is a fitting tribute to the dedication and determination shown by our service members each and every day.

Weve been very pleased to see the continued momentum and support for the Hero Health Hire initiative, said Ren Lerer, M.D., chairman and CEO of Magellan Health Services and founder of the program. Our nations veterans bring a unique set of skills, discipline and determination to the work force, and its encouraging to see more organizations embracing these men and women and helping them develop their careers.

Hero Health Hire is unique in that it is an industry-specific initiative that is helping health care employers both small and large share best practices and key insights for hiring and supporting wounded veterans as they transition to civilian jobs, said retired Maj. Gen. Elder Granger, M.D., who joined Hero Health Hire as honorary chairman in November. In the past year, weve been successful in building a sizeable network of employers in the health care industry who work together with military leaders through Hero Health Hire to help facilitate the placement of these wounded veterans in positions that best suit their skills and interests.

Since its founding, Hero Health Hire has held bi-monthly workshops and webinars for partner companies to help them begin or improve their veteran and wounded warrior recruitment and support programs. Hero Health Hire representatives have served on various military branch-sponsored Wounded Warrior Employment Conference planning committees and have supplied workshop instructors to work with disabled veterans preparing for the transition to civilian employment. Hero Health Hire leaders have spoken at recent conferences such as the US Armys AW2 Employment Conference and the U.S. Navys Annual Wounded Warrior Hiring and Support Conference.

The newly established Hero Health Hire Advisory Board met this past June in Washington, D.C. The boards mission is to provide strategic guidance to help the organization expand the program and develop additional resources to support the partners hiring efforts.

As we continue to grow and welcome new employers into Hero Health Hire, we want to enhance the infrastructure of the coalition to provide even greater tools, educational programming, military community relationships and, in general, to assist our partners with making the most of their wounded warrior and veteran recruitment efforts, said Michele Deverich, executive director of the Hero Health Hire initiative. We look forward to expanding our reach and the opportunities to connect Hero Health Hire employers with the brave men and women who have served us so well through our advisory board of strong, dedicated leaders.

Members of the advisory board include: Ren Lerer, M.D., Magellan Health Services; Maj. Gen. Elder Granger, honorary chairman, Hero Health Hire; Lynne Broussard, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana; Barbara Delano, Bon Secours Health System; Nancy Evanko, CRC Health Group; Karen Ferrell, Apollo Health Street; Lorraine Field, TriWest Health Alliance; Donna Hoffmeier, HealthNet Federal Services; David James, Humana Government Business; Linda Jimenez, WellPoint Inc.; Zach Parker, Defense Logistics Health (DLH); Tracy South, HMS; and Greg Alleyne, representing the Veterans Administrations Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Services (VR&E) as an honorary advisor.

In the first year, the following companies have joined the Hero Health Hire initiative: Magellan Health Services, AGIS Network, Ameritox, Apollo Health Street, APS Healthcare, the Bobby Dodd Institute, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island, Bon Secours Health System, Booz Allen Hamilton, CareCore National, Centene Corporation, Cigna, CHSi, CRC Health Group, DLH, Express Scripts, Florida Blue, Health Care Cost Recovery, Inc., HealthNet Federal Services, HMS, Horizon Healthcare of New Jersey, Inc., Humana Government Business, Independence Blue Cross, Logisticare, Loyola Recovery Foundation, Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield/Cambia Health, ResCare, SRA International, TriWest Health Alliance, UHS, UPMC, ValueOptions and WellPoint, Inc.

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Hero Health Hire Reaches First Anniversary of Helping Veterans Find Success in the Civilian Workforce

Proteus Digital Health Announces FDA Clearance of Ingestible Sensor

Posted: at 2:11 am


Proteus Digital Health, Inc. announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared its ingestible sensor for marketing as a medical device. The ingestible sensor (formally referred to as the Ingestion Event Marker or IEM) is part of the Proteus digital health feedback system, an integrated, end-to-end personal health management system that is designed to help improve patients health habits and connections to caregivers.

Proteus has worked collaboratively with the FDA since 2008 to determine the regulatory pathway for this innovation, which represents a new category of medical device and patient care. The application was ultimately processed in accordance with the de novo provisions of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act for low-risk devices that have no predicate on the market.

We are thrilled to have achieved this important milestone to market our ingestible sensor in the United States now, as well as in Europe, said Dr. George M. Savage, co-founder and chief medical officer at Proteus Digital Health. We are very much looking forward to bringing the benefits of our ingestible sensor to the American public in the form of innovative product offerings.

The FDA validation represents a major milestone in digital medicine. Directly digitizing pills, for the first time, in conjunction with our wireless infrastructure, may prove to be the new standard for influencing medication adherence and significantly aid chronic disease management, said Dr. Eric Topol, professor of genomics at The Scripps Research Institute and author of The Creative Destruction of Medicine: How the Digital Revolution Will Create Better Healthcare.

The Proteus ingestible sensor can be integrated into an inert pill or other ingested products, such as pharmaceuticals. Once the ingestible sensor reaches the stomach, it is powered by contact with stomach fluid and communicates a unique signal that determines identity and timing of ingestion. This information is transferred through the users body tissue to a patch worn on the skin that detects the signal and marks the precise time an ingestible sensor has been taken. Additional physiologic and behavioral metrics collected by the patch include heart rate, body position and activity. The patch relays information to a mobile phone application. With the patients consent, the information is accessible by caregivers and clinicians, helping individuals to develop and sustain healthy habits, families to make better health choices, and clinicians to provide more effective, data-driven care.

About Proteus Digital Health

Proteus Digital Health, Inc. is developing and commercializing digital health feedback technology that is integrated into ingestible products. This provides an unprecedented view into an individuals personal health choices and physiologic response, allowing patients to better manage their health and more effectively collaborate with caregivers and clinicians, while enabling new information-based business models. Proteus received a CE mark in August 2010 and U.S. FDA approval in July 2012 for its technology platform. Headquartered in Redwood City, Calif., Proteus is privately held and funded by Carlyle, Essex Woodlands, Kaiser Permanente, Medtronic, Novartis, Otsuka, ON Semiconductor and other investors. For more information please visit http://www.proteusdigitalhealth.com.

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Proteus Digital Health Announces FDA Clearance of Ingestible Sensor

North Carolina Health Information Exchange and Orion Health Extend the Reach of Statewide HIE with Direct Secure …

Posted: at 2:11 am


Orion Health, the leader in health information exchange (HIE) and healthcare integration solutions, and the North Carolina Health Information Exchange (NC HIE), today announced that NC HIE has expanded the reach and capabilities of the statewide HIE with the implementation of Orion Health Direct Secure Messaging, a secure communications network that will provide healthcare organizations throughout the state with an additional means of safely sharing health data between physicians and facilities. The success marks the latest milestone for NC HIEs development of a robust exchange that connects providers, hospitals and public health departments throughout North Carolina. NC HIE already relies on Orion Health HIE, powered by Orion Health Rhapsody Integration Engine, Clinical Data Repository and Clinical Portal, as the technology backbone for the statewide exchange.

Developed using the national standards put forth by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technologys (ONC) Direct Project, Orion Health Direct Secure Messaging is available as a standalone tool as well as part of Orion Health HIE. Orion Health Direct Secure Messaging allows medical professionals to securely send and receive text-based email messages over the Internet, including patient referrals and continuity of care documents. The network also gives healthcare organizations the ability to communicate across state lines with any ONC-compliant Direct secure messaging system, including facilities that may not have electronic health record systems in place, and meets Meaningful Use requirements.

Since going live with Orion Health HIE in April 2012, NC HIE has supported real-time access, exchange and analysis of health information. The HIE, along with Community Care of North Carolina (CCNC), is currently onboarding clinicians at physician practices, health clinics and hospitals throughout the state. To date, more than 70 providers are enrolled and have processed over 1 million transactions. In addition to being able to use Orion Health Direct Secure Messaging, branded by the HIE as NC DIRECT, providers will soon also be able to take advantage of Orion Healths Meaningful Use-certified EMR Lite module via the HIE, which gives basic electronic medical record (EMR) functionality to providers whose organizations lack their own EMR technology.

The implementation of NC DIRECT through Orion Health Direct Secure Messaging is another step forward in NC HIEs mission to give physicians across North Carolina access to patients health information when and where its needed, said Jeff Miller, CEO of the North Carolina Health Information Exchange. NC HIEs ongoing partnership with Orion Health will evolve as our HIE does. Orion Healths solutions give us the flexibility and guidance that we need in order to foster improvements in patient care across hospitals, physician practices and other healthcare facilities in North Carolina.

NC HIEs implementation of Orion Health Direct Secure Messaging further extends the power and reach of its health information exchange solution, giving providers immediate access to patient data while also meeting Meaningful Use requirements, said Paul Viskovich, president, Orion Health North America. As NC HIE continues to expand, Orion Health will draw upon its years of experience working with regional and statewide HIEs in the U.S. and abroad to ensure that the organizations technology infrastructure and provider tools will facilitate higher quality care for patients throughout the state.

The NC DIRECT solution is free for participants of NC HIE. The cost for non-members is one hundred dollars per year, per mailbox. For more information on NC DIRECT, visit http://www.nchie.org.

About NC HIE

North Carolina Health Information Exchange (NC HIE) is a private nonprofit that provides North Carolinas health care system with a Health Information Exchange (HIE) technology infrastructure to support real time access, exchange and analysis of health information. NC HIE makes critical data available when and where its needed to improve health outcomes and control health care costs for North Carolina residents. For more information, visit http://www.nchie.org.

About Orion Health Inc.

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North Carolina Health Information Exchange and Orion Health Extend the Reach of Statewide HIE with Direct Secure ...

Accretive Health Enters into Settlement Agreement with Minnesota State Attorney General with No Admission of Liability …

Posted: at 2:11 am


Accretive Health, Inc. (AH) today announced that it has entered into an agreement to settle the allegations brought against the Company by the Minnesota State Attorney General earlier this year following the theft of a laptop, from which no patient data was accessed. The settlement contains no admission of liability or wrongdoing.

Additionally, throughout the course of her investigation, the Attorney General did not and could not identify a single patient in Minnesota who experienced a problematic interaction with an Accretive Health employee. The Company also said that in its experience it never witnessed client personnel demonstrate inappropriate behavior toward a patient and there were no cases found of a single patient, out of millions of interactions, that even alleged they were ever denied care by any person. In order to prevent this matter from being a continued distraction, the Company has entered into a settlement that makes clear that there was no wrongdoing on its part and no findings of fault against any of its employees.

Even though we believe the claims against us were either baseless or exaggerated, we have used this opportunity to carefully examine our own practices in order to ensure we are setting the very highest standards for our own performance and achieving the best possible outcomes for hospitals, patients and communities. said Mary Tolan, Chief Executive Officer. Entering into this settlement agreement allows our Company to put this matter behind us and prevents further distraction from the important work that we do for our hospital clients.

The Minnesota Attorney Generals actions towards Accretive Health were unnecessarily aggressive and, unfortunately, will cost more than 100 Minnesotans their jobs, she added.

As outlined in the settlement agreement, Accretive Health has chosen to wind down its remaining client services in Minnesota at this time. The Company may continue licensing its revenue cycle technology to the clients it served in the State and will evaluate whether or not it chooses to return to Minnesota with client services. The company will also pay a settlement sum of $2,490,400.

Accretive Healths Dedication to Improving Outcomes for Patients and Hospitals

Our focus now is on the future, at a critical time for the healthcare industry, when hospitals are in clear need of the service and support we offer. To ensure we continue to provide them with the best solutions, we constantly seek to ensure we are setting the very highest standards for our own performance and achieving the best possible outcomes for hospitals and patients, Ms. Tolan said.

Accretive Health works with non-profit hospitals as a positive and constructive partner so that they have the resources they need to provide high quality care and fulfill their community obligations. It helps ensure that insurance companies and government programs pay the hospitals for the care they provide and, as a patient advocate, helps patients find all available public and private insurance coverage and care. To date, Accretive Health has helped more than 250,000 uninsured patients obtain coverage for their care.

The Company said it is committed to the highest standards in confidentiality of patient health information and maintains robust policies and practices to ensure that patient information is well-protected. In the aftermath of the theft of an unencrypted company laptop, which was the basis for the Minnesota Attorney Generals Complaint, Accretive Health terminated the employee responsible and strengthened its laptop encryption practices. The Company is now actively pursuing HITRUST Certification of its data security policies and procedures.

Accretive Health Enters into Settlement Agreement with Minnesota State Attorney General with No Admission of Liability ...

Health Net Federal Services Receives Full HIPAA Accreditation from URAC

Posted: at 2:11 am


Health Net Federal Services, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Health Net, Inc. (HNT), announced today it has been awarded full Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy (Business Associate & Covered Entity), Version 3.0 accreditation from URAC, an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

Health Net Federal Services URAC accreditation for HIPAA Privacy demonstrates our commitment and accountability to designated national standards and safeguards established by HIPAA to ensure the privacy, protection and integrity of personal and identifiable health information of those we serve, said Tom Carrato, president of Health Net Federal Services.

Health Net Federal Services should be commended for meeting strict quality standards, said Alan P. Spielman, URAC president and CEO. It is critically important for health care organizations to make a commitment to quality and accountability. URAC accreditation is a demonstration of that commitment.

URACs mission is to promote continuous improvement in the quality and efficiency of health care management through processes of accreditation and education. For more information on URAC, visit http://www.urac.org.

Health Net Federal Services has a long history of providing cost-effective, quality managed health care programs for government agencies, including the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. As the managed care support contractor for the TRICARE North Region, Health Net Federal Services provides health care services to approximately 3.0 million uniformed services beneficiaries, active and retired, and their families. In addition, Health Net Federal Services provides high quality, cost-effective health care solutions for veterans, as well as behavioral health services for active duty service members, veterans and their families. The TRICARE North Region includes: Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky (except Fort Campbell), Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin. In addition, the contract covers a small portion of Missouri and Iowa. Visit http://www.hnfs.com for more information.

About Health Net

Health Net, Inc. is a publicly traded managed care organization that delivers managed health care services through health plans and government-sponsored managed care plans. Its mission is to help people be healthy, secure and comfortable. Health Net, through its subsidiaries, provides and administers health benefits to approximately 5.6million individuals across the country through group, individual, Medicare (including the Medicare prescription drug benefit commonly referred to as Part D), Medicaid, U.S.Department of Defense, including TRICARE, and Veterans Affairs programs. Health Nets behavioral health services subsidiary, Managed Health Network, Inc., provides behavioral health, substance abuse and employee assistance programs to approximately 4.9million individuals, including Health Nets own health plan members. Health Nets subsidiaries also offer managed health care products related to prescription drugs, and offer managed health care product coordination for multi-region employers and administrative services for medical groups and self-funded benefits programs.

For more information on Health Net, Inc., please visit Health Nets website at http://www.healthnet.com.

This release contains a link to other sites that are not owned or controlled by Health Net. Please be aware that Health Net is not responsible for the contents linked or referred to from this release. Links to other websites are provided for the users convenience. Health Net does not express an opinion on the content or the properties of such linked websites and disclaims any liability in connection therewith.

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Health Net Federal Services Receives Full HIPAA Accreditation from URAC

City, school longevity pay tops $9M

Posted: at 2:10 am

Home > News City, school longevity pay tops $9M By Thor Jourgensen / The Daily Item

LYNN Taxpayers paid $9.2 million in longevity pay extra money given to most city employees after theyve worked a certain number of years in 2012, according to city records.

That amount included $6.4 million paid in longevity to 1,254 school employees last year, according to School Business Administrator Kevin McHugh. Another $2.7 million paid to almost 600 other city workers represents a three-fold increase in longevity pay during the last 20 years.

McHugh said about 730 school employees do not receive longevity.

Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy said city employees receive the money regardless of how theyve performed.

It is a perk, a bonus paid not for any merit, said the citys chief labor contract negotiator.

School Committee member Rick Starbard agreed, saying longevity awards all city and school workers.

You can be a super teacher or a crappy teacher, come five years, youre getting longevity, he said.

Described in a statement from Police Association President William Sharpe as wage increases that are tied to the number of years an employee remains employed..., longevity has been a half century-old staple of municipal bargaining contracts, according to union officials.

I see longevity as an incentive for qualified, experienced employees to remain on the job, said Roger Ennis, the citys chief inspector and president of a city union representing about 50 municipal supervisors and school nurses.

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Nutrition council acts on malnutrition cases

Posted: July 30, 2012 at 2:13 am

Sunday, July 29, 2012

BANGUED, Abra -- Members of the Provincial Nutrition Council (PNC) has been doubling efforts to trim down malnutrition rate in the province, the highest in the Cordillera Administrative Region.

As part of the various activities being carried out like health education, the PNC is going around the province this Nutrition Month, checking on the implementation of the nutrition programs of the municipal health units.

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Abra has the highest rate of malnutrition in the entire Cordillera region, posting 12.77 percent malnutrition rate in 2011, but down from 14.25 percent malnutrition rate in 2010.

Mary June Adriatico-Algarne, provincial nutritionist, said a total of 4,138 children out of the 32,000 children in Abra are recorded as malnourished.

Per statistical report of the Abra Integrated Provincial Health Office, the following are the top 10 malnourished municipalities in the province: Danglas 26.34 percent; Pilar 22.36 percent; Lagangilang 21.86 percent; Tineg 19.04 percent; San Quintin 18.93 percent; San Isidro 18.26 percent; Malibcong 17.25 percent; Tayum 15.45 percent; Manabo 13.70 percent; and Boliney 12.90 percent.

Most of the malnourished children are those who are underweight, which Algarne said, could be attributed to poverty as indicated by the lack of food, especially vegetables and other nutritious food that are supposed to be given to children on a daily basis.

Aside from the inadequacy of food, another reason or cause of malnutrition is the inappropriate intake or wrong choices of food, especially among children, who love to eat junk foods.

The PNC effort is backed by Nutrition Month celebration's theme, Pagkain ng Gulay ugaliin; Araw-araw itong ihain to remind parents of the importance of giving their children vegetables and other nutritious food that boost the health condition of the family members. (Maritess Beas)

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Nutrition council acts on malnutrition cases

Health care co-ops won't be deterred

Posted: at 2:13 am

Statement from National Alliance of State Health CO-OPs (NASHCO) president John Morrison on Labor-HHS FY 2013 Appropriations Bill:

Though yesterday's actions by the subcommittee are regrettable, health CO-OPs are not deterred. Our members are diligently working to implement a new form of health insurance in their respective states, which will provide Americans with affordable, accountable, and consumer-governed health insurance options. These qualities were some of the most basic goals of health insurance reform, and we are excited about the plans that will be offered to future customers when the state insurance exchanges go live in 2014.

While yesterday's vote appeared to be a purely partisan exercise that has little chance of moving forward, Democrats, Republicans, independents, and people who are apolitical will continue to develop health CO-OPs. Though their politics may differ, they all agree that our health care system was broken, and health CO-OPs represent a truly innovative way to provide our fellow citizens with a solution to their health insurance needs. If Congress could function similarly, there is no challenge health care or otherwise that couldn't be overcome.

NASHCO is a nonprofit corporation formed to promote the development and success of the health co-op movement. NASHCO is composed of dedicated teams of volunteers throughout the nation seeking to establish a new way of accessing care using the cooperative governance model. The Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative of southeastern Wisconsin is a member of NASHCO. For more information, visit http://www.nashco.coop.

Health care co-ops won't be deterred

Health care, jobs top concerns for Canadians: poll

Posted: at 2:13 am

Health care and unemployment continue to top the list of issues Canadians deem worrisome but, according to a monthly poll, priorities vary widely when broken down by region.

Every month, the pollsters ask 1,000 people across the country via an online panel which three of the following topics do you find the most worrying about Canada? The options include health care, taxes, crime, poverty/inequality, immigration control, unemployment/jobs, corruption, education, environment and moral decline.

While most people, regardless of region, said health care and unemployment/jobs were their top concerns, further down the list, provincial differences become clear.

John Wright, senior vice-president of Ipsos Public Affairs, which has conducted the monthly survey in Canada since 1990, said this is a very diversified country . . . while there may be an underlying concern about the economy and health care which is constant the next number of issues are very regionalized and for very distinct reasons.

Wright said the issues can often be linked to current events in each province, demonstrating the effect news stories and government announcements have on public opinion.

In Eastern Canada, unemployment and poverty are top of mind, while the No. 1 concern for Quebecers is corruption. Further west, citizens in the Manitoba and Saskatchewan provinces cite crime as their greatest worry, above both unemployment and health care. Meanwhile, concern over inequality/poverty has risen consistently in the Prairies since January. In Alberta, health care dwarfs any other concern. Wright said thats fuelled largely by strains on the system brought by an increased population looking for jobs in the provinces booming oilsands. And, in British Columbia, much like Ontario, unemployment and health care top the list of concerns. However, while the environment is a growing concern in B.C., Ontarians have recently been more focused on crime.

The big three concerns in Ontario were unemployment/jobs (50 per cent), health care (45 per cent) and taxes (32 per cent). The environment was last in line of issues keeping Ontarians up at night, with just 12 per cent, beat only slightly by education, at 13 per cent.

In Quebec, corruption (47 per cent) trumped health care (46 per cent) and taxes (32 per cent) as the major concern for citizens.

Wright said the ongoing Charbonneau commission, which is looking into allegations of corruption involving construction firms, local and provincial governments, political parties and organized crime, has raised that issue from 25 per cent in December 2011 to top of mind today.

In Saskatchewan and Manitoba, crime (38 per cent) and unemployment/jobs (35 per cent) were top of mind. Health care and poverty/inequality were tied at 33 per cent. Crime, although on a decline from a recent high in September 2011, when 60 per cent of prairie dwellers cited it among their three top concerns, still beat out corruption (23 per cent) and the Environment and Education, which were tied on the bottom rung at 13 per cent.

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Health care, jobs top concerns for Canadians: poll

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