Thursday, September 20, 2012
Doctors earn learning credit hours

By Dr. Anthony Policastro

Physicians frequently attend medical courses that serve multiple purposes. It might be a chance to learn that what we are already doing is correct or a chance to learn about something new. It might also be a chance to learn how to do a new procedure. I am a developmental pediatrician. For that reason, I attend courses related to developmental pediatrics. I have attended all five of the every other year developmental pediatrics review courses. On the off years, I usually attend the American Academy of Pediatrics annual meeting. There are enough developmental courses there for me to get current information. Earlier this year I attended a course at Johns Hopkins on ADHD. I was planning on attending a course on autism later this year but there was a conflict. For that reason, I will be attending one on eating disorders. All physicians have to earn learning credit hours to maintain their medical license or their hospital privileges. Unfortunately, there are no rules about the type of courses they need to attend. Even though I specialize in developmental pediatrics, I could attend a course on any topic to obtain credit. It might not even be a pediatric course. Most physicians do not waste their time on learning things that have nothing to do with their daily practice. However, there are some who choose courses by their location. These courses might be in an exotic location. They might be on a cruise. They might only involve three hours a day of learning. There is no one that monitors the type of learning that physicians do. I once had a physician who worked for me come to get approval for a course in the Caribbean. When I reviewed the brochure, I noticed that the course involved earning credits by reading material. There were no lectures. The company that sold the course would attest to the fact that you earned the credit. They would also attest to the fact that you did so in whatever exotic location you decided to review the material. At least in this case, the material was related to the individual physician's speciality. At the most recent Board of Medical Licensing and Discipline meeting, we discussed the fact that there are not many guidelines in place for physicians in terms of attending medical courses. For this reason, a national movement has been started to make sure that physicians take courses that are related to what they do on an everyday basis. In addition, there is a goal to see that the physicians use that information in their everyday practice. This will allow them to stay up to date in their practice and to modify the way they do things. Often the public assumes that physicians are learning new things when they go to medical meetings. For the most part that is indeed true. However, that is not the case 100% of the time. For that reason, it offers an opportunity to improve the way we learn about medical changes. It then offers an opportunity to improve the way we actually practice medicine.

Autism Delaware receives award At the 7th annual Autism Law Summit in Washington, D.C., a gathering of the nation's top autism advocates, Autism Delaware was named Advocacy Group of the Year for the agency's effort to get Senate Bill 22 (SB22) enacted into law. The law requires insurance companies to provide coverage of autism therapies, prohibiting insurance companies from denying treatment or dropping a child from a policy because the child has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Autism Delaware was the lead advocate for SB22, working for several years to secure its passage with Autism Speaks and policymakers. SB22 passed unanimously in both chambers of the Delaware General Assembly in late June and was signed into law on Aug. 13, making Delaware the 32nd state in the union to require some form of autism insurance coverage. The law takes effect Dec. 11 and is expected, when fully implemented, to affect hundreds of children with ASDs across Delaware. For more information on how you can help Autism Delaware, visit

Bike to the Bay for MS The annual Bike MS: Bike to the Bay will be held on Sept. 22-23 to raise critical funds to support the 1,550 Delawareans living with MS. This is the largest and longest running cycling event of its kind in Delaware, raising nearly $1 million annually for Delawareans living with MS. Cyclists have a choice of six routes - 17, 45, 75, 100, 15 and 175 miles - depending on how much of a challenge they wish to tackle. This year's finish line has been relocated to Delaware Seashore State Park, just south of Dewey Beach, where there will be plenty of parking, bath houses, support, and finish line festivities for cyclists. There are rest stops every 8 to 12 miles. In fact, Bike to the Bay is often nicknamed "Buffet to the Bay" because each rest stop serves different goodies - everything from apple cider, to baked goods, to scrapple sandwiches. Learn how to volunteer, register or donate, by visiting or calling 302-655-5610.

Bike-A-Thon for St. Jude's On Sunday, Oct. 14, Seaford area residents will team up with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in the fight against childhood cancer. The 25th annual Bike-A-Thon is an event to give area residents the opportunity to help support the lifesaving mission of one of the world's premier pediatric cancer research centers. This event will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 14 at West Seaford Elementary School. For information about this event and to pick up your fundraising packet, contact Ron Breeding, event coordinator, at or 396-0117.

Prepared childbirth classes at PRMC Peninsula Regional Medical Center is offering a series of "Prepared Childbirth" classes in the fourth quarter of 2012. A traditional four week series of classes, which meet only on Mondays from 6 to 9 p.m., will begin on Oct. 15 or Nov. 19. A four week series that meets only on Tuesday nights from 6 to 9 p.m. will begin on Nov. 20. Parents also have the option of a weekend series on Oct. 27 and 28 or Dec. 15 and 16 that will meet from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on both days. All classes will be taught in the Avery W. Hall Educational Center on the PRMC campus. Meet other expectant parents at this interactive course that includes information about prenatal care, labor and delivery, post partum care and infant safety. Classes should be taken during the 6th to 8th month of pregnancy. The fee is $75 for the mom to be and her coach. Pre-registration is required. Participants are asked to bring a blanket and two pillows to each class. For more information, call 410-543-7126 or visit the Classes and Events section of the Peninsula Regional Medical Center website at for online registration.

Annual Go Pink! Health Fair Oct. 5 October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Bayhealth will host the 7th Annual Go Pink! Health Fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 5 at the Dover Women's Center, located at 540 South Governors Ave., Dover. There will be free clinical breast exams; free blood pressure screenings; information on available cancer screening, treatment and survivorship programs; eye health education; health education opportunities and a bake sale. Bake sale proceeds will be donated to Bayhealth's Cancer Screening Assistance Fund to provide imaging services to uninsured patients in lower Delaware.

Go Pink! T-shirts will be available to purchase for a donation of $10 or more. Sale proceeds after expenses will be divided between the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition and breast screenings and education programs available through Bayhealth's Cancer Institute. To order Go Pink T-shirts in advance go to They may also be purchased at one of the hospital gift shops at Kent General or Milford Memorial during normal operating hours.

NMH to renovate main lobby In order to improve the experience of patients and visitors to the hospital, Nanticoke Memorial Hospital is renovating the main lobby throughout the month of September. The newly renovated lobby is scheduled to be complete Oct. 1. Throughout construction, the lobby will remain open to patients and visitors with the exception of the last weekend of the month. Beginning at 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28 the lobby will close, reopening at 6 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 1. Anyone visiting the hospital or needing care during this time should enter the hospital using the Emergency Department entrance. Outpatient Lab Services will remain open on Saturday, Sept. 29 and will be available by entering through the Emergency Department entrance. If you have any questions or concerns, contact Cathy Marketto, advocate, at 629-6611, ext. 3533.

New cases of West Nile virus Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH) has confirmed two new human West Nile virus cases, bringing the state total to five, including the recent fatality. Five human cases is the second largest yearly total in state history; surpassed only by 2003 in which there were 17 West Nile Virus cases. A 73-year-old Newark man remains hospitalized in critical condition, and a 46-year-old Harrington man was treated and released from the hospital. The Newark man contracted the disease in Delaware; the 46-year-old Harrington man may have contracted it in Maryland or Washington, D.C. Since 2002, Delaware has recorded a total of 28 cases of West Nile, with three deaths. Nationwide, since early September, the CDC has recorded 1,993 cases and 87 deaths, with 70 percent of those cases reported in six states (Texas, South Dakota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Michigan). West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquitoes, generally from spring to fall. Nearly 80 percent of people infected with West Nile virus will not become ill. The public is encouraged to report high numbers of biting mosquitoes or other concerns, by contacting DNREC Mosquito Control Section field offices in Milford at 302-422-1512. For more information on Mosquito Control, call 302-739-9917 or visit For more general information on West Nile Virus, go to

Breast cancer support program The Cancer Support Group of Kent and Sussex Delaware, through a grant from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, will present an informative program on breast health issues for uninsured or under insured county residents at the Laurel Public Library at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 10, in the Carpenter Community Room. Nanticoke Cancer Screening Nurse Navigator Melinda Huffman will speak on how low or no cost preventative cancer screening can be obtained for those without insurance. A free, nutritious dinner and other giveaways will be offered after the presentation. All women at high risk of developing breast cancer and who are without adequate medical insurance are encouraged to attend. Pre-registration is required. Only women who register in advance will be able to attend. Tell the women you love about this program. For more information, contact Latrinka Lee at 645-9150, ext. 107 or leave your name with library staff.

'Self Hypnosis for Relaxation' On Saturday, Sept. 29 at 10 a.m., the Cancer Support Community, formerly The Wellness Community, will offer Self Hypnosis For Relaxation. Hypnosis is a tool that can be effectively used when recovering from cancer. Join Shannon Smith from Advanced Hypnosis Associates to learn how to use self hypnosis for relaxation. All programs at the Cancer Support Community are offered to people affected by cancer and their loved ones free of charge. Cancer Support Community is located at 18947 John J. Williams Hwy., Ste. 312, Rehoboth. Register in advance by calling 645-9150. More information about the Cancer Support Community is available online at

Diabetes screening event Bayhealth Milford Memorial and Walmart of Milford will offer a free Community Diabetes Screening event at the Milford Walmart on Saturday, Sept. 29 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bayhealth Diabetes educators will be on-site to provide free finger sticks for assessing random blood sugar, educational materials and more. For more information, call Bayhealth's Education Department toll-free at 1-877-453-7107.

NMH offers CPR classes Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer community CPR classes to anyone interested in learning CPR at the Nanticoke Training Center located on Water Street in Seaford. Participants will learn how to perform the basic skills of CPR on adults, children, and infants and how to help an adult, child, or infant who is choking and use of the AED. This classroom-based, video, and instructor-led CPR course offers families, friends, and community members the opportunity to learn CPR and need a course completion card. Classes are open to participants ages 12 and up. This program is specifically designed for those who prefer to learn in a group environment with feedback from an instructor. The target audience is those who have a duty to respond to a cardiac emergency. Cost is $40. Payment and registration is required by no later than five business days prior to the class. Late registrations may be accepted if seating is available. To register and to obtain a listing of class dates/times, contact the Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Training Center office at 629-6611, ext. 8919. Pre-registration is required.

HIV/AIDS Support Group A new support group for HIV/AIDS will meet every other Wednesday, at 7 p.m., in the Branford Lounge at Epworth United Methodist Church at 19285 Holland Glade Rd., Rehoboth Beach. The group is sponsored by Epworth UMC, CAMP Rehoboth, the AIDs Delaware and Delaware HIV Consortium. For more information, contact David at

Breast cancer support group Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Inc. (DBCC) has expanded its Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey, a program for women newly-diagnosed with breast cancer, by partnering with Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center in Seaford. The free, monthly program is offered at the Cancer Center located at 801 Middleford Road, Seaford, the third Thursday of each month from 3 to 4 p.m. To learn more, call Lois Wilkinson at 672-6435. Registration is required and light refreshments and small gifts are provided.