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Smart Choices for Your Health: Resources for selecting a provider

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(Family Features) Getting health care for yourself or a loved one is a big responsibility, especially if you’re just getting started with Medicare or have changes in your life, such as a new diagnosis of a condition or disease. It can be overwhelming if you need services like nursing home care, have to find a new doctor or get home health care.  

Using online tools like “Find Care Providers” on Medicare.gov can make it easier to make comparisons and help choose doctors, hospitals, nursing homes and more for you or the person you are helping provide care to. Consider these benefits of using the comparison tools to narrow your options.

A Resource for Research

The website provides a simple search and compare experience that allows you to find providers near you. Simply put in a ZIP code and the type of provider to receive a list of providers, their contact information and a map of locations. The information even includes “star ratings” and services provided. The tool can be used to find all sorts of providers, including doctors, hospitals, home health care agencies, skilled nursing facilities, rehabilitation providers, hospice and dialysis facilities.

For example, two sisters needed to find a nursing home that was right for their father. This proved to be a difficult, emotional decision. They didn’t know what nursing homes were in the area where he lives, so they entered his ZIP code and searched for nursing homes. They then received a list of each one in his area, complete with ratings as well as staffing data and inspection reports.

Using a laptop, desktop, tablet or mobile device, you can see how patients rate their care experiences at the hospitals in your area and find home health agencies that offer the services you might need, like nursing care, physical therapy and occupational therapy.

Contact information for local inpatient rehabilitation facilities or long-term care hospitals is available, as well as hospice quality care ratings and specific care details, such as which dialysis facilities offer home dialysis training.

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Finding Health Care Services

Many factors influence who you trust with your health care. In some cases, family, caregivers or friends may offer referrals to a doctor or medical facility based on their own experiences, and that can be a helpful guide.

Whether you have referrals or are starting from scratch, you can compare health care providers near you using the Medicare.gov tool, pinpointing which category of services you need, whether it’s doctors and clinicians, hospitals, hospice and home health agencies, dialysis facilities, inpatient rehabilitation centers or nursing homes.

In addition to searching by your location using your address or a combination of city, state or ZIP code, you can search by provider type and keyword to generate a list of providers that could fit your needs.

Finding a Doctor Who Fits

When you’re looking for a new doctor and not sure where to start, the tool makes it quick and easy to find and compare doctors in your area. You can find contact information, practice locations, specialty and hospital affiliation as well as hospital ratings. 

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Selecting the “compare” button allows you to compare up to three different health care providers at once. When you’re ready to schedule a visit with a new provider, be sure to take time during your scheduling call to verify general information, like the office location, whether the office is accepting new patients with Medicare and whether you need a referral to be treated.

Comparing Nursing Homes

Whether you’re planning ahead or need to make an unexpected decision, there’s a lot to think about when choosing the right nursing home for you or someone else. Many family members and caregivers prioritize location so they’re able to check in and visit frequently, but there are many other important factors you may want to consider, too.

The comparison tool at Medicare.gov provides filtering options that allow you to personalize your results by sifting through the criteria that matter most to you, such as inspection results, number of beds, staffing data and more.

You’ll be able to check out the nursing home’s overall “star ratings.” The information can serve as a guide of a provider’s track record to help assist you with finding a home that best suits the person’s needs.

Visit Medicare.gov/care-compare to access the tool and find health care providers and services in your area that fit your needs.

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Paid for by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Caregiver Guide

Making decisions as a caregiver can be challenging but taking advantage of available resources can help you feel more confident in your choices.

For example, Medicare.gov allows you to find information about health care providers, hospitals, nursing homes, hospice, home health agencies, dialysis facilities, inpatient rehab and long-term care hospitals near you. The website also provides quality ratings, so you can see the provider or facility’s history of service, among other details that help you make the most informed decision on behalf of the person you’re helping.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images


SOURCE:
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services


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Rebecca Jo is a mother of four and is a creative soul from Phoenix, Arizona, who also enjoys new adventures. Rebecca Jo has a passion for the outdoors and indulges in activities like camping, fishing, hunting and riding roller coasters.

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Health

Observing World Cancer Day

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World Cancer Day is an international day marked on 4 February to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its preventiondetection, and treatment. World Cancer Day is led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to support the goals of the World Cancer Declaration, written in 2008. The primary goal of World Cancer Day is to significantly reduce illness and death caused by cancer and is an opportunity to rally the international community to end the injustice of preventable suffering from cancer. The day is observed by the United Nations.

World Cancer Day targets misinformation, raises awareness, and reduces stigma. Multiple initiatives are run on World Cancer Day to show support for those affected by cancer. One of these movements are #NoHairSelfie, a global movement to have “hairticipants” shave their heads either physically or virtually to show a symbol of courage for those undergoing cancer treatment. Images of participants are then shared all over social media. Hundreds of events around the world also take place. (wikipedia)

https://stmdailynews.com/category/lifestyle/health-and-wellness/health/

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FDA CDC News

Food Safety Tips for Game Day

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/PRNewswire/ — Super Bowl Sunday is coming up and you may be planning a party with friends and family. These parties often involve finger foods, communal dishes, and treats that are left out for long periods of time—which can lead to foodborne illness (also known as food poisoning).  Don’t let foodborne illness ruin the fun. Check out these tips from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and learn how you can keep your food safe.

Food Safety Tips for Game Day

CLEAN

  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food and after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and handling pets.
  • Wash your cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and counter tops with hot soapy water after preparing each food item.
  • Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running tap water, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten. Scrub firm produce with a clean produce brush.

SEPERATE

  • Separate raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs from other foods in your shopping cart, grocery bags, and refrigerator.
  • Use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry, and seafood.
  • Never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs unless the plate has been washed in hot, soapy water.
  • Don’t reuse marinades used on raw foods unless you bring them to a boil first.
  • If baking, make sure that no raw flour is on surfaces that contact other foods.

COOK

  • Use a food thermometer to ensure the safety of meat, poultry, seafood, and egg products. These foods must be cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature to destroy any harmful bacteria.
  • When cooking in a microwave oven, cover food, stir, and rotate for even cooking. If there is no turntable, rotate the dish by hand once or twice during cooking. Always allow standing time, which completes the cooking, before checking the internal temperature with a food thermometer.

CHILL

  • Refrigerate or freeze meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, and other perishables within 2 hours of cooking or purchasing. Refrigerate within 1 hour if the temperature outside is above 90° F.
  • Divide large amounts of leftovers into shallow containers for quicker cooling in the refrigerator.

SERVE

  • Keep cold foods chilled to 40 °F or below and hot foods heated to 140 °F or above.
  • If you’re planning a buffet and aren’t sure how quickly the food will be eaten, keep serving portions small. Prepare a number of small platters and dishes ahead of time and replace the serving dishes with the fresh ones throughout the party.
  • Don’t add new food to an already filled serving dish. Instead, replace nearly empty serving dishes with freshly filled ones.
  • Watch the clock with leftovers. Whether you’re sending “doggie bags” home with guests or are saving them for yourself, leftovers should be refrigerated as soon as guests arrive home and/or within 2 hours!

Learn more at:
http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/BuyStoreServeSafeFood/ucm328131.htm

SOURCE U.S. Food and Drug Administration

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FDA CDC News

FDA Concludes that Existing Regulatory Frameworks for Foods and Supplements are Not Appropriate for Cannabidiol, Will Work with Congress on a New Way Forward

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Statement From:Janet Woodcock, M.D.
Principal Deputy Commissioner – Office of the Commissioner

January 26, 2023

Given the growing cannabidiol (CBD) products market, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration convened a high-level internal working group to explore potential regulatory pathways for CBD products. Today we are announcing that after careful review, the FDA has concluded that a new regulatory pathway for CBD is needed that balances individuals’ desire for access to CBD products with the regulatory oversight needed to manage risks. The agency is prepared to work with Congress on this matter. Today, we are also denying three citizen petitions that had asked the agency to conduct rulemaking to allow the marketing of CBD products as dietary supplements.  

The use of CBD raises various safety concerns, especially with long-term use. Studies have shown the potential for harm to the liver, interactions with certain medications and possible harm to the male reproductive system. CBD exposure is also concerning when it comes to certain vulnerable populations such as children and those who are pregnant. 

A new regulatory pathway would benefit consumers by providing safeguards and oversight to manage and minimize risks related to CBD products. Some risk management tools could include clear labels, prevention of contaminants, CBD content limits, and measures, such as minimum purchase age, to mitigate the risk of ingestion by children. In addition, a new pathway could provide access and oversight for certain CBD-containing products for animals.

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The FDA’s existing foods and dietary supplement authorities provide only limited tools for managing many of the risks associated with CBD products. Under the law, any substance, including CBD, must meet specific safety standards to be lawfully marketed as a dietary supplement or food additive. 

The working group, which I chair, has closely examined studies related to the CBD-based drug Epidiolex, published scientific literatureinformation submitted to a public docket, as well as studies both conducted and commissioned by the agency. Given the available evidence, it is not apparent how CBD products could meet safety standards for dietary supplements or food additives. For example, we have not found adequate evidence to determine how much CBD can be consumed, and for how long, before causing harm. Therefore, we do not intend to pursue rulemaking allowing the use of CBD in dietary supplements or conventional foods. 

CBD also poses risks to animals, and people could be unknowingly exposed to CBD through meat, milk and eggs from animals fed CBD. Because it is not apparent how CBD products could meet the safety standard for substances in animal food, we also do not intend to pursue rulemaking allowing the use of CBD in animal food. A new regulatory pathway could provide access and oversight for certain CBD-containing products for animals.

The FDA will continue to take action against CBD and other cannabis-derived products to protect the public, in coordination with state regulatory partners, when appropriate. We will remain diligent in monitoring the marketplace, identifying products that pose risks and acting within our authorities. The FDA looks forward to working with Congress to develop a cross-agency strategy for the regulation of these products to protect the public’s health and safety.

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