Tuesday, January 29, 2013
By Arielle Levin Beckerwww.ctmirror.org
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will unveil a plan to dramatically shift the way seniors and people with disabilities receive services by increasing the availability of home care while offering funds for the nursing home industry to eliminate beds and change their business models, according to documents obtained by The Mirror.
The effort has significant implications for the state’s growing population of seniors and for Connecticut’s finances. More than 10 percent of the state’s budget is now spent on long-term care paid for through Medicaid, and the number of people getting the services is expected to rise by more than 20 percent by 2025.
The plan is the product of more than a year of work by state officials, consumers, advocates, and the home care and nursing home industries, and builds on more than a decade of policy goals. It is intended to address several major barriers that policymakers say make it significantly harder to get care at home than to get a bed in a nursing home.
Those include a fragmented system of getting coverage for home care, workforce shortages, the lack of accessible and affordable housing and transportation, and the discharge of patients from hospitals to nursing homes, where they often stay.
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Monday, January 28, 2013
By Grace Merrittwww.ctmirror.org
Whooping cough, a childhood scourge in the 1940s, has had a resurgence in Connecticut as part of a national epidemic.
The outbreak peaked in Connecticut in September with 178 cases reported in 2012, though numbers are still coming in. This is a big increase from 68 cases last year, and roughly double the normal caseload for the state, said Kathy Kudish, epidemiologist with the state Department of Public Health.
“Compared to the last decade, this is the highest number of cases we’ve seen,” Kudish said.
Many of the cases were reported in the western part of the state, predominantly in Fairfield and Litchfield counties, Kudish said. She said it is unclear precisely why that area had higher numbers. It could be that the disease is circulating more there or simply that the area is better about testing for and reporting the illness, she said.
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Friday, December 14, 2012
As part of a study of the extent of pesticide contamination of private wells, the Westport Weston Health District, in cooperation with the Connecticut Department of Public Health, is offering to collect and have tested 10 homes in Westport and 10 homes in Weston, free of charge.
Homes selected for the study should have been built before 1980 and may have undergone pesticide applications to control termites, according to an announcement on the Town of Westport website.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health is conducting similar sampling of private wells in other municipalities throughout Connecticut, an announcement said.
Test results will be provided to each participating homeowner with a letter explaining the meaning of the results with suggestions as to how to correct any problems identified.
Thursday, October 11, 2012
About 75 persons tonight attended a Westport Public Library screening of the film “Head Games” that describes the increasing awareness of the concussion crisis in American sports. Westporter Ann Sherwood, whose child suffered a concussion, gets a show of hands after asking the audience, “How many of you here tonight are parents?” Pippa Bell Ader, an organizer of the evening’s event, said her 16-year-old son, a high school sophomore, suffered a concussion playing touch football. She said the purpose of the screening was “to improve concussion awareness, to understand the dangers of repetitive concussions and the need for safety practices.” Ader said the film can be acquired on iTunes for $6.99. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Thursday, August 09, 2012
Mark Cooper, director of the Westport Weston Health District (WWHD), said today “it was only a matter of time” before mosquitoes trapped in Westport tested positive for the West Nile virus, and he urged residents to take a series of precautions.
On Tuesday, the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program announced that mosquitoes tested positive in 32 towns including Westport. (See WestportNow Aug. 7, 2012)
“With the frequent rains and hot temperatures, there are perfect conditions for mosquitoes to breed, and West Nile Virus to amplify within the mosquito population,” Cooper said. “This is something that happens every year.”
To prevent mosquito bites, Cooper suggested residents wear clothing that covers skin surfaces, use mosquito repellents and “eliminate any pool of water that mosquitoes can lay their eggs in around their home or business.”
Friday, July 27, 2012
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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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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
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
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
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
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
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.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Indeego Day Spa is opening this weekend at 979 Post Road East in Westport. Trained in China in specialized body massage, co-owners Christine Wu and Nancy Wang said that their skills “combine Asian and western massage and body treatment methods.” They were students at Body Concepts Wellness in East Rutherford, N.J. and later served as masseuses in Stamford. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
It was back to business almost as usual today at Westport’s New York Sports Club after a fire in the sauna on Monday.
“As of 5 a. m. today we are open for business as usual, thank God,” said Stehanie DiNoi, master trainer.
She said the only areas closed were the men’s and women’s saunas.
Fire investigators said they traced the fire at the business at 427 Post Road East in the Compo Shopping Center to an electrical problem above a sauna. Damage was limited to the immediate area.
Monday, December 14, 2009
The Westport Weston Health District today began accepting appointments for anyone over six months to receive the H1N1 flu vaccine.
Previously because of limited supplies, there had been restrictions on those eligible to receive the vaccine.
It also announced availability of seasonal flu vaccine.
H1N1 flu clinics were scheduled for Wednesday as well as Dec. 29 and 30.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
The Westport Weston Health District said today it has seasonal flu vaccine available and has scheduled a clinic on Thursday, Dec. 17.
The clinic is open to anyone 6 months of age or older wishing to be vaccinated and there is no residency requirement, the District said. Anyone under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
The cost of the vaccine is $32, payable by cash or credit card. There is no cost to Medicare Part B participants. Medicare B participants must bring their Medicare cards to the clinic for billing purposes.
The clinic is by appointment only via the District Web site.
The Westport Weston Health District (WWHD) said today it has scheduled an additional H1N1 flu vaccination clinic for Monday.
It reminded parents of children under the age of 10 that a second dose, administered 28 days after the first, is recommended to provide full protection. The clinic is intended for residents of Westport and Weston who are eligible to receive H1N1 vaccine according to current guidelines.
Both the inactivated injectable formulation and the live attenuated nasal spray will be available at this clinic, the District said.
Residents must have an appointment; no walk-ins will be accepted. To schedule an appointment, visit the WWHD Web site and follow the link to the H1N1 Vaccine information page.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
The Westport Weston Health District (WWHD) said today it has scheduled additional H1N1 vaccination clinics on Tuesday, Nov. 24, and Monday, Nov. 30.
To schedule an appointment, visit WWHD’s Web site and follow the link to the H1N1 Vaccine information page.
The clinics are only for those residents who are eligible to receive the inactivated, injectable formulation of the H1N1 vaccine, the District said.
The supply of injectable vaccine remains limited, so those eligible must have an appointment; no walk-ins will be accepted, according to an announcement.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
A Norwalk Hospital cancer specialist told the Westport Rotary Club today that “explosive inroads” are being made in the treatment of cancer. Dr. Richard Frank said that in 10 years “when someone has cancer their cell information will be accessible online and a specific cocktail (treatment) will be administered.” Frank, a hematologist/oncologist and director of cancer research at the Whittingham Cancer Center at Norwalk Hospital, is the author of “Fighting Cancer with Knowledge and Hope.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Thursday, November 12, 2009
The Westport Weston Health District said today it has scheduled an H1N1 vaccination clinic for Tuesday.
The clinic is only for those residents who are eligible to receive the H1N1 live, attenuated nasal spray formulation of the vaccine.
The supply is limited, so those eligible must have an appointment, no walk-ins will be accepted, an announcement said.
To be eligible, you must be in at least one of the following groups:
Thursday, November 05, 2009
UPDATE A scheduled H1N1 flu clinic at the Westport Weston Health District on Tuesday has been canceled because of a shortage of the vaccine, Mark A. R. Cooper, director of health, said today.
Lexi Eudowe, 3, of Westport started to get a bit apprehensive as the flu vaccination line moved forward at the Westport Weston Health District on Wednesday. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynn U. Miller for WestportNow.com
He said an “overwhelming turnout” by the public at the District’s Wednesday H1N1 flu clinic prompted the action.
The District went through more than 500 doses of the vaccine during the scheduled three-hour clinic that had to be extended 90 minutes because of the turnout, officials said.
The State of Connecticut has advised the District not to expect additional supplies for next 10 days, Cooper said.
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Today’s Westport Weston Health District H1N1 flu vaccine clinic at its Bayberry Lane headquarters drew a crowd for the 3 p.m. - 6 p.m. event. The lines outside the District began to grow quickly as the walk-in clinic opening drew near. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) David Dreyfuss for WestportNow.com