Free Hearing & Vision Screenings

Washtenaw County Public Health is pleased to announce the availability of free hearing and vision screenings now through August. Screenings are required for all children entering preschool and kindergarten this fall. Screenings are by appointment. Please call 734-544-6786 to schedule.

“Summer time is a great opportunity for children entering preschool or kindergarten to be screened free of charge,” says Deborah Thompson, lead hearing and vision technician with Washtenaw County Public Health.  “Early identification of hearing and vison problems prepares children for future academic and social success. Every child deserves to see and hear as well as possible,” continues Thompson.

Screenings are available for children and young adults up to age 21 and to special education students up to age 26. Washtenaw County Public Health is located at 555 Towner Street in Ypsilanti. The Hearing and Vision program’s summer hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.

The majority of hearing and vision screenings are completed in area schools, including public, private and charter schools and preschools. Office appointments are available for children entering school for the first time, those new to the area or any child who is experiencing hearing or vision difficulties and has not already been referred for follow up services.

Regular vision screenings are scheduled during preschool, kindergarten and grades 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9. During a vision screening, each student is tested for visual acuity, farsightedness, her or his ability to use both eyes together and symptoms of eye problems.

Hearing screenings are scheduled during preschool, kindergarten, grades 2 and 4 and if a child enters the Michigan school system as a new student. Hearing screenings are performed using an audiometer and other equipment based on the child’s needs. Washtenaw County Public Health also retests all newborns in the county who fail their initial hearing screening at birth.

In 2014, Washtenaw County Public Health’s hearing and vision technicians screened 19,762 area children for hearing and 24,476 children for vision. They made over 2,000 referrals for follow up services.

2015 WCMS Bulletin 2nd Quarter Online

The 2015 WCMS Bulletin, 2nd Quarter, now online:

http://digital.turn-page.com/i/504480-april-may-june-2015/0

 

Washtenaw County Public Health 2014 Annual Report Now Online

WCMS 2015 House of Delegates Resolution Results

IMPROVING TRANSPARENCY FOR MEDICAL LEGISLATION BY DR. JAMES SZOCIK

69-15 – IMPROVING LEGISLATIVE TRANSPARENCY – AMEND

THE COMMITTEE AMENDED THE RESOLVED PORTION(S) TO READ:

RESOLVED: THAT MSMS SUPPORT AND ADVOCATE FOR FURTHER TRANSPARENCY IN THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS, INCLUDING THE SOURCE OF LEGISLATION, LANGUAGE REVISIONS, AND EACH REPRESENTATIVE’S VOTE. BY STRIKING THE OTHER RESOLVED PORTIONS OF THE RESOLUTION, THE COMMITTEE BELIEVED THAT THE INTENT OF THE AUTHOR TO PROMOTE BETTER TRANSPARENCY FROM THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS REMAINS WITHOUT BEING TOO PRESCRIPTIVE.

THE COMMITTEE CONCURS THAT TRANSPARENCY IS AN IMPORTANT GOAL TO HAVE BUT ONE THAT MAY BE DIFFICULT TO ACHIEVE. MAINTAINING THE GENERAL INTENT PROVIDES A CLEAR OBJECTIVE TO MSMS, WHILE RETAINING AN APPROPRIATE DEGREE OF FLEXIBILITY WITH WHICH TO ACHIEVE IT.

SUPPORT OF SUICIDE PREVENTION AWARENESS AND EDUCATION BY DR. NEIL ELKIN

70-15 – SUICIDE PREVENTION AWARENESS AND EDUCATION – AMEND

COMMITTEE AMENDED THE RESOLVED PORTION(S) TO READ:

RESOLVED: THAT MSMS SUPPORT EFFORTS TO RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT THE RISING RATE AND DEVASTATING TOLL OF SUICIDE; AND BE IT FURTHER

RESOLVED: THAT MSMS SUPPORT SUICIDE PREVENTION EDUCATION FOR ALL PHYSICIANS, RESIDENTS, MEDICAL STUDENTS, AND ALLIED HEALTH PROFESSIONALS; AND BE IT FURTHER

RESOLVED: THAT MSMS ENCOURAGE ALL PHYSICIANS TO BE ACTIVELY ENGAGED IN SUICIDE PREVENTION AWARENESS WITH THEIR PATIENTS AND COLLEAGUES; AND BE IT FURTHER

RESOLVED: THAT MSMS SUPPORT EFFORTS TO INCREASE RESEARCH ASSOCIATED WITH SUICIDES AS WELL AS SUPPORT EFFORTS TO REDUCE LIABILITY FOR THOSE WHO PROVIDE SUICIDE PREVENTION CARE.

THE COMMITTEE WAS EXTREMELY SUPPORTIVE OF THE RESOLUTION. THE COMMITTEE MOVED TO PROVIDE AN ADDITIONAL RESOLVE THAT FOCUSED ON TWO PARTS:   THE FIRST SECTION WORKS TOWARDS INCREASING RESEARCH WITH REGARDS TO SUICIDE PREVENTION. THE INTENT IS TO ENSURE WE CONTINUE TO COLLECT BETTER STATISTICS AND DATA IN ORDER TO CONTINUE TO PREVENT SUICIDES. THE SECOND SECTION AIMS TO REDUCE LIABILITY FOR THOSE WHO PROVIDE SUICIDE PREVENTION CARE.

BROADENED CONFLICT OF INTEREST BY DR. JAMES SZOCIK

40-15 – BROADEN CONFLICT OF INTEREST DISCLOSURE – AMEND

THE COMMITTEE AMENDED THE RESOLVED PORTION(S) TO READ:

RESOLVED: THAT MSMS AND THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION WORK WITH ACCME AND AOA TO BROADEN THE CONFLICT OF INTEREST DISCLOSURE AND MANAGEMENT OF CONFLICT OF INTEREST TO INCLUDE ALL FORMS OF FUNDING, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO: EMPLOYERS, CORPORATIONS, DRUG COMPANIES, GOVERNMENTAL ENTITIES (E.G., NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH), FOUNDATIONS, SPEAKER’S BUREAUS, SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS, AND UNIVERSITIES.

THE COMMITTEE AGREED WITH THE AUTHOR’S INTENT, BUT WANTED TO PROVIDE A MORE SPECIFIC AVENUE SO MSMS AND AMA WILL WORK THROUGH UTILIZING THE PROPER GOVERNING BODIES OF CME.

MAINTENANCE OF CERTIFICATION CONFLICT OF INTEREST WRITTEN BY DR. SZOCIK

 37-15 – MAINTENANCE OF CERTIFICATION CONFLICT OF INTEREST – AMEND

THE COMMITTEE AMENDED THE RESOLVED PORTION(S) TO READ:

RESOLVED: THAT MSMS WORK WITH THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION TO WORK WITH ANY ORGANIZATION GRANTING MAINTENANCE OF CERTIFICATION TO ENSURE THAT THE PROCESS IS THE LEAST BURDENSOME, FINANCIALLY AND TIME-WISE, ON MEDICAL PRACTITIONERS; AND BE IT FURTHER

RESOLVED: THAT MSMS WORK WITH THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION TO ADVOCATE THAT ANY ORGANIZATIONS GRANTING MAINTENANCE OF CERTIFICATION RECOGNIZE THEIR INHERENT CONFLICT OF INTEREST IN PROMOTING AND MAINTAINING A COMPLICATED AND EXPENSIVE CERTIFICATION PROCESS, REQUIRING LARGE FEES AND ONEROUS EXAM SCHEDULES; AND BE IT FURTHER

RESOLVED: THAT MSMS WORK WITH THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (AMA) TO ENCOURAGE MEMBERS OF THE AMA HOUSE OF DELEGATES TO OBJECT TO ANY ATTEMPTS BY THIRD PARTIES TO REQUIRE MAINTENANCE OF CERTIFICATION AS A CONDITION OF PARTICIPATION OR PAYMENT. THE COMMITTEE SUPPORTED THE CONCEPTS CONTAINED IN THIS RESOLUTION THAT MEDICAL SPECIALTY BOARDS HAVE A SIGNIFICANT FINANCIAL CONFLICT OF INTEREST IN TERMS OF PURSUING MAINTENANCE OF CERTIFICATION (MOC) REQUIREMENTS.

THE COMMITTEE WAS INFORMED THAT THE AMA HAS ALREADY TAKEN ACTION TO OPPOSE MOC. THE RESOLUTION WAS MODIFIED TO ALLOW FOR THE CHANGE TO MSMS POLICY WHILE ALLOWING MSMS TO WORK WITH THE AMA TO ACHIEVE THIS GOAL WHILE NOT REQUIRING MSMS TO TAKE THIS RESOLUTION BACK TO THE AMA TO SIMPLY HAVE IT AFFIRMED AS EXISTING POLICY.

OTHER RESOLUTIONS SUBMITTED BY INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF WCMS INCLUDE:

 ELECTRONIC DATA RECORDS FOR LEGISLATORS SUBMITTED BY DR. JAMES SZOCIK, AS AN INDIVIDUAL

 39-15 – ELECTRONIC DATA RECORDS FOR LEGISLATORS – DISAPPROVE

THE COMMITTEE RESPECTS THE CONTENTION OF THE AUTHOR THAT LEGISLATORS AND ADMINISTRATORS SHOULD BE WILLING TO BE HELD TO THE SAME STANDARDS THEY HOLD THOSE WHO THEY LEGISLATE OR REGULATE. FURTHERMORE, MANY PHYSICIANS WOULD AGREE THAT POLICYMAKERS MIGHT BE LESS CAVALIER ABOUT THE REQUIREMENTS THEY IMPOSE ON OTHER PROFESSIONS IF THEY WERE HELD TO THE NAME REQUIREMENTS. HOWEVER, THE COMMITTEE REALIZES THAT THE LIKELIHOOD OF ACCOMPLISHING THIS RESOLUTION IS REMOTE. ADDITIONALLY, THE COMMITTEE CONSIDERED THAT THE NATURE OF THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS DOES NOT ALWAYS PERMIT LEGISLATORS TO ADHERE TO THE REQUIREMENTS SET FORTH IN THE RESOLUTION. THE COMMITTEE DOES NOT WISH TO REQUIRE STAFF TO EXPEND LIMITED RESOURCES ON AN ENDEAVOR THAT IS SO UNLIKELY TO BE SUCCESSFUL.

DISCOURAGING POLITICAL ACTIVITY IN PHYSICIAN OFFICES, SUBMITTED BY DR. CHERYL FARMER, AS AN INDIVIDUAL

76-16 – DISCOURAGING POLITICAL ACTIVITY IN PHYSICIAN OFFICES – DISAPPROVE

THE COMMITTEE BELIEVES THIS WOULD BE AN INFRINGEMENT OF THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH CLAUSE OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

INFORMED CONSENT PRIOR TO ADMINISTRATION OF MEDICINE WHICH MAY HASTEN DEATH, AUTHORED BY DR. MICHAEL SIMON, AND SUBMITTED BY DR. CHERYL FARMER

77-15 – INFORMED CONSENT PRIOR TO ADMINISTRATION OF MEDICATION WHICH MAY HASTEN DEATH – DISAPPROVE

THERE WAS NO OTHER SUPPORT FOR RESOLUTION 77-15 PRESENTED TO THE COMMITTEE OTHER THAN THE AUTHOR’S TESTIMONY. THE COMMITTEE WAS CONCERNED THAT THE LANGUAGE WAS TOO VAGUE AND COULD BE EASILY MISCONSTRUED. MORE IMPORTANTLY, THE PROPOSED POLICY CONFLICTS WITH EXISTING MSMS POLICY (SEE BELOW).

MSMS STRONGLY ENDORSES THE PRINCIPLE OF INFORMED CONSENT FOR MEDICAL TREATMENT. PATIENTS HAVE A RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE IN DECISIONS REGARDING THEIR HEALTH CARE TO THE EXTENT THAT THEY WISH; AND THEY HAVE A RIGHT TO THE INFORMATION NECESSARY FOR MEANINGFUL PARTICIPATION. MSMS POSITION ON INFORMED CONSENT. HOWEVER, A RIGHT TO THE INFORMATION NECESSARY TO PARTICIPATE TO THE EXTENT THAT THE PATIENT DESIRES DOES NOT IMPLY THAT PATIENTS SHOULD BE FORCED TO ACCEPT INFORMATION DEEMED RELEVANT BY AN OUTSIDE PARTY. RESPECT FOR PATIENT’S RIGHTS ENTAILS RESPECTING A PATIENT’S DESIRES TO RECEIVE OR NOT RECEIVE PARTICULAR ITEMS OF INFORMATION. IN ORDER TO RESPECT PATIENTS’ RIGHTS IN A COMPASSIONATE MANNER, INFORMATION DISCLOSURE SHOULD BE TAILORED TO THE PARTICULAR NEEDS AND DESIRES OF THE PARTICULAR PATIENT. MSMS OPPOSES REGULATORY INTERFERENCE IN THE PHYSICIAN-PATIENT RELATIONSHIP, EITHER TO PROHIBIT THE PHYSICIAN FROM DISCUSSING CERTAIN INFORMATION, OR REQUIRING THAT CERTAIN INFORMATION BE DISCLOSED IN ALL CASES REGARDLESS OF PATIENT CIRCUMSTANCES. [EMPHASIS ADDED] MSMS ALSO BELIEVES THAT CURRENT LAW REQUIRES INFORMED CONSENT FOR ALL MEDICAL TREATMENT AND OFFERS ADEQUATE RECOURSE IF CONSENT IS NOT OBTAINED. THEREFORE, THE SOCIETY SEES NO NEED FOR SPECIFIC LEGISLATION MANDATING INFORMED CONSENT FOR PARTICULAR PROCEDURES OR DISEASES. (BOARD-SEPT 91) [EMPHASIS ADDED]

DISCOURAGING THE PROLIFERATION OF ‘CONCIERGE MEDICINE”, SUBMITTED BY DR. CHERYL FARMER, AS AN INDIVIDUAL

71-15 – DISCOURAGING THE PROLIFERATION OF “CONCIERGE MEDICINE” – DISAPPROVE

THE COMMITTEE PREFERRED LANGUAGE AS AMENDED IN RESOLUTION 23-15 THAT DIRECTS MSMS TO EDUCATE AND INFORM ITS MEMBERS ABOUT ALTERNATE PRACTICE MODELS INCLUDING DIRECTOR PRIMARY CARE CONTRACTS AND CONCIERGE MEDICINE.

A COMPLETE LIST OF THE 2015 HOUSE OF DELEGATES RESOLUTIONS CAN BE FOUND AT :

http://www.msms.org/Portals/0/Documents/MSMS/About_MSMS/House_of_Delegates/2015/2015_HOD_Resolutions_Final_Action_Summary.pdf

 

Don’t Forget to Register for the Tuesday, May 12, General Session on “Physician Burnout”

Please join the Washtenaw County Medical Society at its upcoming general session:

PHYSICIAN BURNOUT.  Prevent.  Detect.  Cope.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Ann Arbor City Club
1830 Washtenaw Avenue
Doors open at 6 p.m.
Dinner at 6:45 p.m. and no charge for members
Program begins at 7:30 p.m.

Featured Speakers:
Kevin Kerber, MD
Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology
University of Michigan Health Service
Director, Dizziness Clinic

Darrell “Skip” Campbell, Jr., MD
Former Chief Medical Officer, University of Michigan Health System
Program Director, Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative

Contact Belinda Chandler, Executive Director at WCMSBChandler@msms.org or 734-668-6241

Doctors, Sheriffs Unite Against Powdered Alcohol in Michigan

LANSING, MI — A powdered alcohol known as “palcohol” has been approved by the federal government, but members of Michigan’s medical and police communities said today it could spell trouble.

“We feel that powdered alcohol equals big trouble in a small packet,” said Dr. Brad Uren of the Michigan College of Emergency Physicians, and President – Elect of the Washtenaw County Medical Society.

Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, and Rep. Scott Dianda, D-Calumet, have introduced legislation in each chamber that would ban the sale and possession of powdered alcohol in Michigan.

“The kids are already looking forward to having this product. They talk about it coming in packets like Kool-Aid,” Jones said at a press conference on Tuesday.

The makers of Palcohol, which got federal approval in March, say it’s safer than liquid alcohol.

Allegan County Sheriff Blaine Koops

“Liquid alcohol is easier to conceal, easier to spike drinks and easier to use to binge drink. It’s much less expensive and allows someone to get drunk faster, both which appeal to the underage drinker,” reads a statement on Palcohol’s website.

The advantage of Palcohol, its makers say, is that people can carry the lightweight substance with them on outdoor activities like hikes. Airplanes could also carry the lightweight powder to save on fuel costs and it could also serve as a medical antiseptic in remote locations, makers say.

But those working to ban the product in Michigan say it would be easier for young kids to conceal and people to sneak into bars or other venues.

Allegan County Sheriff Blaine Koops, who is also part of the Michigan Sheriffs Association, said the product was dangerous.

“This is probably the most reckless and dangerous product that I’ve seen introduced in my tenure as a public safety officer. There’s no redeeming quality for this product,” Koops said.

Allegan County Sheriff Blaine Koops speaks at a press conference in support of bills that would ban powdered alcohol in Michigan.

According to Michigan Alcohol Policy, a group that promotes health and safety, Michigan would join six states that have already banned the powdered alcohol: Alaska, Louisiana, Maryland, South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia. Another 23 states, including Michigan, are considering bans on the product.

In Michigan, the bills that would ban it are House Bill 4416 and Senate Bill 240.

No-Fault Insurance Bill a Shameful Grab – Mitch Albom

You never think about it until it happens to you. Then a car crashes, and your 4-year-old is on a ventilator. Your teenaged daughter is paralyzed. Your husband has permanent brain damage.

Suddenly, the issue of how you care for these loved ones is very real. And how you pay for it is bruising reality. Medical costs can burn through $1 million as if you threw it in a furnace.

For more than 40 years, thanks to a vote we, the people, took in the 1970s, Michigan has led the nation in compassion for victims of catastrophic accidents, people like Erica Coulston, who used to spring out of bed each morning as an active, vivacious 23-year-old. Then, in 2007, a car crash in which she wasn’t even driving left her “in the blink of an eye … a quadriplegic … paralysis of my legs, arms, hands and trunk muscles. … I can no longer sweat like I used to. … I have no bladder or bowel control. … I require assistance with showering, dressing, preparing meals. … I have chronic neuropathic pain …”

She said all this in a testimony this past week before our state legislators, the majority of whom were insensitive enough to keep rushing through a bill that would change Erica’s life and those of victims like her forever.

For greed.

It is shameless. And it must be stopped.

You always should be wary when lawmakers move fast. This same body that couldn’t get its act together to fix our roads — so it told US to go vote on them — has somehow greased a bill that spent one day in a Senate committee, three days in a House committee and could be voted on the floor this week — what? huh? — a bill that would cap, cut, alter and reassign the benefits that catastrophic victims rely on.

Oh. And they’re inserting a provision to make sure we, the people, can never vote on it — even though we were the ones who created this thing and upheld it twice in statewide votes.

Angry yet? You should be furious. Because this bill would take the responsibility of determining what a victim like Erica needs away from a physician and put it in the hands of an adjuster. (Warning flares!) It would make you fight for benefits challenged by insurance companies — who have lawyers on their payrolls — tying you up for months or years, and even if you win, no legal costs would be reimbursed. It would do things like limit nurses or caregivers to one per person (ever tried to lift a large man who’s paralyzed with one nurse?) and cap amounts paid at 150% of what Medicare covers, which they want you to think is generous, until you realize how Medicare woefully limits care and doesn’t even provide many services we now offer. How can you have 150% of nothing?

Why this sudden hurry? Because the relatively small fee each of us has paid per car over the years has built up a victims’ fund that creates palpable lust, like that dragon’s gold in “The Hobbit.”

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, who has spent his life in politics, explained it this way to me: “The fund was created to protect the most vulnerable people in society. … Today it has about $20 billion, but the legislators can’t get to it. … The insurance companies can’t get to it, and it’s driving them crazy. And they’re doing anything they can to tear down that gate.”

This bill would do that, phasing out the entity that controls the fund and opening loopholes through which the insurance companies could refund themselves.

How do they and their government lackeys get the audacity to try this? By “covering” it with talk of costly auto insurance rates. Michigan’s are among the highest in the U.S. (That’s greatly skewed by Detroit’s rates.) And this bill would lower rates by $100 a car — BUT ONLY FOR TWO YEARS!

Will we sell our souls that cheaply?

Who’s kidding who? Whenever insurance companies want something, they threaten high rates or claim they can lower them. I ask you: When, long-term, does that ever happen? Even more to the point: When’s the last time you saw an insurance company suffering?

On the other hand, you can see car crash victims suffering every day in our state. You can see them wheeling into Erica Coulston’s chosen business, a Southfield rehab center for victims like herself — a business she can operate and which clients can come to largely because of our no-fault law.

Without it, these people could be relegated to facilities, or left alone in the house while loved ones scramble for work to pay huge medical costs.

We have to stop this. Not to be scary, but chances are one of you reading this column today will be involved in a catastrophic accident. And when the money runs out, when you’re denied claims, have to fight, when your savings are depleted and your family is beaten down, do you think these legislators are coming by to help you?

Call your representatives. First thing Monday. Tell him or her to vote no. You easily can find them at legislature.mi.gov.

Because you never think about it until it happens to you. And by then it will be too late.

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