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Health and Fitness

Health and Fitness

Friday, July 27, 2012

Judge Rules HealthBridge Violated Federal Law

By Aroosa Masroor

www.ctmirror.org

An administrative law judge has issued a decision on two issues raised in a hearing on the controversy between New Jersey-based HealthBridge Management and the employees of five Connecticut nursing homes.
Some 600 employees of the homes—one in Westport—have been on strike since July 3 to protest what they call unfair labor practices.

Administrative Law Judge Steven Davis, in a 23-page ruling issued July 20, agreed with the National Labor Relations Board and New England Healthcare Employees Union, District 1199, that HealthBridge violated the National Labor Relations Act by preventing workers from wearing stickers or distributing flyers advertising that HealthBridge has been the subject of a labor board complaint.

But in the second issue, the judge sided with HealthBridge.

Since the company’s contract with its five Connecticut health care centers—in Danbury, Milford, Newington, Stamford and Westport—expired March 16, 2011, the homes stopped deducting union dues from the employees’ paychecks. The company also refused to remit those funds to the union.

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Posted 05:23 PM
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Plan Set to Collect Life-Saving Umbilical Cord Blood

By Grace Merritt

www.ctmirror.org

Hoping to collect a wider variety of potentially life-saving stem cells, a state committee wants to launch a public umbilical-cord blood collection program by the end of the year.

Under the plan, Connecticut mothers who have just delivered babies could opt to donate their post-birth umbilical cord and placenta to a public blood bank. The donated cord blood, which is rich with stem cells, could be extracted and then transplanted into someone with a deadly disease, possibly saving that person’s life.

Cord blood transplants have been used to treat bone marrow cancers, such as leukemia and multi myeloma; and genetic diseases, such as sickle cell anemia.

Similar to a blood drive, donors would not get any direct benefit from the donation except perhaps the satisfaction of helping someone. “It’s an altruistic thing to do,” said Dr. Edward Snyder, professor of lab medicine at Yale University. He is chairman of the Connecticut Cord Blood Collection Program Committee, which is developing the program.

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Posted 05:14 PM
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Friday, October 28, 2011

‘Spook-tacular’ Happenings on Main Street

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Studio 44 Dance and Fitness Center located at Westport’s 44 Main St. celebrated Halloween tonight with nine different “spook-tacular” performances. The night opened with a bang with a Soprano-themed gangster garbed Jazz number choreographed by Sue Benton and Luisa Tanno. A hip hop presentation of Michael Jackson’s Thriller was one of the night’s highlights as was the dead beauty queens who danced with famed New York choreographer Eddie Villanueva to a Lady Gaga-inspired piece. For more information visit http://www.studio44danceandfitness.com. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Posted 10:45 PM
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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Insurance Department Reduces Anthem’s Rate Hike

By Arielle Levin Becker

www.ctmirror.org

The Connecticut Insurance Department has turned down a request by the state’s largest health insurer to raise premiums by 12.9 percent for more than 25,000 individual-market policies, instead granting the company a 3.9 percent increase.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield had said that the higher increase was needed to account for rising claims costs, increased use of services by members, and state and federally mandated benefit changes.

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But the insurance department found that a smaller increase was appropriate. Actuary Paul Lombardo wrote that the lower figure was based on reducing the operating margin for the plans and removing “underwriting wear-off” from Anthem’s calculations. Underwriting wear-off refers to the decline in members’ health status since they first bought the policies, making them poorer risks.

The 3.9 percent increase could take effect Jan. 1 for about 25,000 policies covering an estimated 48,000 state residents who buy private insurance on their own rather than through their employer.

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Posted 03:23 PM
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Friday, August 19, 2011

Massive Soil Cleanup Planned at Bridgewater

By James Lomuscio

Westport hedge fund Bridgewater Associates has applied to the state and the town to begin a massive clean up of contaminated soil left by a previous occupant at its 25 Ford Road headquarters site straddling both sides of the Saugatuck River.

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Town officials said Bridgewater’s cleanup application will be reviewed beginning next month. A sign notifies passersby of the work. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Much of the heavy metal soil contamination was caused by coal ash used to fill in wetlands years ago and by waste products left behind by Dorr-Oliver, Inc. of Milford, state officials said. Town officials estimated the clean up could cost several million dollars.

Dorr-Oliver had occupied the 5.89-acre site for 18 years, according to Maurice Hammel, remediation director of the Bureau of Water Protection and Land Resources for the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).

Bridgewater Associates did not respond to requests for an interview. But David Fiereck of Loureiro Engineering Associates of Plainville, who submitted the application for Bridgewater, stressed the chemicals left behind pose “no immediate danger, but do not meet the state threshold.”

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Posted 05:30 AM
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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Westporters Help Launch AIDS Clinic in Zimbabwe

Two Westporters are part of a team establishing an HIV/AIDS clinic in Zimbabwe where 13.7 percent of the adult population, or 1.1 million are infected by the virus.

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A doctor explains the B.E.A.T. AIDS initiative and how to take precautions to prevent acquiring the HIV/AIDS virus to a group of Zimbabweans. Contributed photo.

Called World Health Clinicians, (WHC) Inc., the non-profit foundation has reached an agreement with the government of Zimbabwe to create an HIV/AIDS clinic at historic Victoria Falls
 
Westport resident Andrew Wilk is serving as WHC’s board chairman. He is the former chief creative officer of Sony BMG Music and before that, executive vice president at the National Geographic Channel. 
 
“I can’t stand by knowing I can save a mom and her baby for $3 per day,” Wilk said.

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Posted 05:15 PM
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Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Doctor: Surgery Center’s Violations Being Corrected

By James Lomuscio

A Westport doctor said today that his Center for Ambulatory Surgery in Westport should be reopened by the end of the month as he works with the state Department of Public Health (DPH) to rectify 23 violations investigators cited during visits early last month.WestportNow.com Image
The Center for Ambulatory Surgery at 32 Imperial Ave. was ordered closed by the state for health violations. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

The plastic surgery center at 32 Imperial Ave. had its license suspended May 24 and $4,000 fine imposed due to problems found “that may cause a risk to public health,” a DPH report said.

“The state came to my facility and found various deficiencies, 90 percent of which had to do with paperwork,” said Dr. Joel B. Singer, 69, a Compo Road South resident who has lived in town more than 38 years.

“Since then I have been put on notice, and we have been complying. I have basically corrected most of them, and we’re still working on it and plan to have all of the deficiencies corrected by the middle of this month.”

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Posted 09:13 PM
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Monday, December 13, 2010

Whooping Cough Vaccine Available

The Westport Weston Health District today announced the availability of a vaccine against whooping cough.

It said the state Department of Public Health Immunization Program has provided the District with a supply of the vaccine in an effort to vaccinate all eligible individuals against pertussis, also known as whooping cough.

Vaccination with pertussis-containing vaccine is recommended for all persons who have close contact with infants, a news release said.

Eligible persons include post-partum women, mothers and fathers of neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) babies, adoptive families, siblings, and household contacts and caregivers of infants less than 12 months.

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Posted 11:25 AM
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Westport Board Advises Norwalk Hospital

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Members of Norwalk Hospital’s Westport Community Advisory Board took part in an update session at the hospital with advisory boards from other communities. Pictured (l-r) are (front row) Doree Levy, Shelly Kassen, Helen Garten, Teresa Giegengack, Monica Wheeler, and Jonathan Roth; (back row) Norwalk Hospital President and CEO, Dan DeBarba, Norwalk Hospital Foundation Board Member, Amy Schafrann and Christopher Sawch. Board members represent Westport in offering feedback to Norwalk Hospital about the health care needs and interests of area residents.To learn more or get involved, contact Suzanne Schintzius at (203)852-2386 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Posted 03:51 PM
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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Wrecker Fans

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Cousins Sophia Blum (l), 5, and Charlotte D’anna, 6, watch today’s Staples-Trumbull game. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynn U. Miller for WestportNow.com

Posted 03:35 PM
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Report: Nursing Home and Assisted Living Rates Rise

Nursing home and assisted living rates rose significantly from 2009 to 2010, according to the Market Survey of Long-Term Care Costs released today by Westport-based MetLife Mature Market Institute.

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Private room nursing home rates rose 4.6 percent to $229 per day or $83,585 per year, while assisted living rose 5.2 percent on average to $3,293 per month, or $39,516 per year.

These increases come on top of increases from 2008 to 2009 when both nursing home and assisted living costs were up 3.3 percent.

Costs for home health aides and adult day services were unchanged in the past year. Home health aide costs remain at an average price of $21 per hour, while adult day services costs are still $67 per day.

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Posted 01:45 PM
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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Checking Westport’s Waterways

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Volunteers from Connecticut’s Department of Environmental Protection were out checking the water quality and the fish species and population of Stony Brook behind the office building on Sylvan Road South. Westport Conservation Director Alicia Mozian said the monitoring by the DEP’s Fisheries Division indicates water quality—the greater the fish populations and species variety, the healthier the stream. In addition to Stony Brook, the DEP will be sampling in the Saugatuck and Aspetuck Rivers in coming days, she said. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bob Eckman for WestportNow.com

Posted 05:16 PM
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Friday, August 20, 2010

New Haven Resident Tests Positive for West Nile

The State Mosquito Management Program today announced that a New Haven resident has tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV) infection and has been hospitalized.

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“We wish this person a speedy recovery from this serious illness,” said Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. J. Robert Galvin. “This case reminds us of how serious West Nile virus can be and how important it is to do what we can to protect ourselves from mosquito bites.”

So far this season, positive mosquitoes have been identified in 12 towns, including Westport. In addition to this confirmed case, there has been one probable case of West Nile virus infection identified this year
The Department of Public Health said the New Haven resident between 60 -69 years of age became ill during the second week of August and is currently hospitalized.

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Posted 05:15 PM
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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Health Director Urges Vigilance for West Nile Virus

The director of health of the Westport Weston Health District said today that confirmed cases of West Nile Virus in mosquitoes in towns surrounding Westport and Weston should heighten residents’ awareness of the dangers of mosquito bites.WestportNow.com Image
Mark A. R. Cooper:  take precautions. File photo

Mark A.R. Cooper, said the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program found mosquitoes trapped in Norwalk, Bridgeport, Bethel, Orange, and Meriden have tested positive for the virus.
“As West Nile Virus continues to circulate and intensify within the mosquito population, it is likely mosquitoes in Westport and Weston will also become infected, if they have not already done so,” he said in a news release.

Cooper urged residents to begin taking precautions to prevent mosquito bites.

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Posted 03:42 PM
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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

RTM Committee Okays Health District Budget Restoration

UPDATE The Representative Town Meeting (RTM) Finance Committee voted 6-3 tonight to recommend restoration of $13,793 cut by the Board of Finance from the 2010-11 requested budget of the Westport Weston Health District.WestportNow.com Image
Mark A. R. Cooper: cuts will affect emergency response. File photo

The vote followed a warning from the District’s director that unless there is restoration of funds cut from its budget, there will likely be a series of health-related repercussions affecting Westport beaches, schools, farmers markets, septic systems, and the District’s response to emergencies.

Mark A. R. Cooper outlined the possible effects in a letter to Michael Rea, chairman of the RTM Finance Committee.

Cooper said the cut will actually mean a hit of $19,115 to the District budget because by state statute, the District would have to simultaneously reduce Weston’s budget contribution by $5,323.

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Posted 04:41 PM
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