Health and Fitness
Friday, July 27, 2012
Judge Rules HealthBridge Violated Federal Law
By Aroosa Masroorwww.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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Plan Set to Collect Life-Saving Umbilical Cord Blood
By Grace Merrittwww.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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Saturday, October 29, 2011
‘Spook-tacular’ Happenings on Main Street
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
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Insurance Department Reduces Anthem’s Rate Hike
By Arielle Levin Beckerwww.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.
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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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.
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.”
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.
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.
Wednesday, June 08, 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.
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.”
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.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Westport Board Advises Norwalk Hospital
Saturday, November 13, 2010
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.
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.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Checking Westport’s Waterways
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
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.