Thursday, March 14, 2013
Unhealthy habits like cigarette smoking steal health care dollars

By Dr. Anthony Policastro Stealing money from others is a crime. This is true if you rob someone, shoplift objects or embezzle at your job. No matter what the circumstances, taking money from others is a crime. However, that is not true in medicine. Individuals with unhealthy habits raise the cost of insurance premiums for those individuals without those habits. That is true if it is commercial insurance. In those cases, the other individuals insured by that company pick up the extra cost. That is true for those covered by Medicare and Medicaid. In those instances, the taxpayers pick up the cost. A lot is written about Medicare fraud from the physicians' standpoint. Not much is written about excess medical expenditures for people with bad health habits. The most obvious example is cigarette smoking. Health care costs due to lung cancer and COPD are not usually fully paid by the individual. However, we do have increased taxes on cigarettes. We do make it inconvenient for smokers in public. Actually smokers should be glad that they are only inconvenienced. If the price of a package of cigarettes was raised to cover medical expenses due to cigarette caused diseases, smokers would not be able to afford a pack of cigarettes. In case you wonder why we do not do that, the answer is interesting. Right now, it would cost too much to make counterfeit cigarettes. However, if the price went up, there would be a market for cheaper counterfeit cigarettes. The bottom line is that cigarette smokers are stealing our health care dollars. There are a lot of health care costs associated with drunk driving. We have created many laws to try and prevent people from driving while intoxicated. They have helped. However, they have not solved the problem. I have always been of the opinion that we should confiscate the cars of drunken drivers. We could then sell them to get funds to support the victims of drunk drivers. If someone has to buy a new car every time they decide to drink and drive, that would be fair. Drunken drivers are also stealing our health care dollars. They do it indirectly. Their victims use up those dollars. We have not gone as far with other health care costs. For example, we spend billions of dollars every year to provide care to brain injured victims of motorcycle crashes. They choose not to wear helmets, but they expect every one else to pay their medical bills when they get injured. These brain injured individuals also steal our health care dollars. Those three groups are obvious to describe. However, they represent a very small portion of the money that unhealthy habits steal from us every day. The health issues suffered by morbidly obese individuals take dollars away from us. The health issues suffered by individuals who do not take their medication as prescribed take dollars away from us. The health issues suffered by those with unhealthy life styles take dollars away from us. One of the things that I point out to overweight children that I see is how much weight they gain from drinking soda. One 12 ounce can of soda per day gives 130 calories. In one month that is 3,900 calories. That is about a pound of weight. Thus drinking 12 ounces of soda per day adds 12 pounds of weight per year. There is no logical reason for an obese individual to be drinking non-diet soda. All that does is add more weight. Ultimately, that extra weight will cause problems that will take dollars out of our pocket. Thus the obese individual who buys soda on a regular basis is one more individual who is stealing from us. One might think that I am exaggerating in saying these things. I suspect that I am doing so to make a point. However, we do need to realize that our unhealthy habits do not just affect us. They affect those around us. They affect those individuals by having them have to chip in money for our health care. Ultimately, that is just like stealing money.

Creative Couture show The Auxiliary of Bayhealth Milford Memorial Hospital invites you to a Creative Couture Fashion & Art Show on Thursday, March 21, at Abbott's Grill in Milford. The event opens at 11:30 a.m. with a Meet the Artists reception, featuring artists from the Mispillion Art League of Milford. Each artist is donating a small work which will be placed on each table and taken home by a lucky person seated at the table. Cards by each of the artists will also be available for sale, and three artists will be offering to do commission work. The boutiques Coolspring Cottage of Coolspring, Twila's of Lewes and South Moon Under of Rehoboth will have models for the fashion show. Tickets for a 50/50 raffle will be for sale, as well as drawings for a $50 gift certificate to Abbott's Grill and a $150 gift certificate from Jane and Georgie. Abbott's Grill will offer a buffet lunch at noon. Tickets, which are $35 per person, may be purchased at Reflections Gift Shop at Milford Memorial, through any member of the Milford Memorial Hospital Auxiliary Board or by calling Cynthia Jones at 302-270-1842. All proceeds benefit Bayhealth Milford Memorial.

Free dental services The Wicomico Civic Center in Salisbury is hosting an event for anyone in need of dental work that does not have insurance or cannot afford it on Friday, March 15 and Saturday, March 16 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dentist and dental assistants are coming together through the Mission of Mercy to provide "free, no obligation, no income verification or restrictions" for adults 18 and older who may need fillings or dental repairs, work, etc. First come, first serve basis. This event is not just for the poor and the homeless.

Free colorectal screenings To mark National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March, Bayhealth will offer free colorectal cancer screenings on the following dates, times and locations: Tuesday, March 26 at 5 p.m. at the Cancer Center, Milford Memorial Thursday, March 28 at 5 p.m. at the Cancer Center, Kent General Colon cancer is the third leading cause of death for men and women. The American Cancer Society recommends all men and women be screened for colorectal cancer beginning at age 50. Those at high risk for the disease, including African-Americans or those with a family history of colorectal cancer, should be screened at an earlier age. The screening will consist of a digital rectal exam (DRE) along with a fecal occult blood test (FOBT) to check for hidden blood in your stool. To register for a free screening, call Jennifer Nack at 302-430-5324 at least two weeks before the screening date.

Bayhealth expands MRI services Bayhealth announces the expansion of MRI capabilities and services at Milford Memorial. Breast MRI, rectal MRI, prostate MRI, MR enterography and non-contrast vascular MRI are now available to patients. To learn more about imaging services at Bayhealth Milford Memorial or to schedule an appointment, call 302-430-5707 or visit

Bayhealth nurse honored by peers Michaela Simms, CNA, is the most recent winner of the 1A Peer Award at Bayhealth Kent General. Even on her busiest, most demanding days, Simms shares her cheerful smile and "Yes, I can" attitude with her patients and colleagues. "Her patients and their families love her," said 1A Nurse Manager Dianne Halpern, RN, MSN, CNML. "Everyone agrees: she is wonderful to work with." "Working at Bayhealth has inspired me to pursue my RN credential and dedicate my future to nursing," Simms said. "I love coming to work here." Simms joined Bayhealth in July 2012. Previously, she worked at Envoy of Denton, in Denton, Md., a residential community providing 24-hour nursing care, pain management, and a variety of therapeutic programs. Given three times a year, the 1A Peer Award recognizes service excellence and exceptional teamwork.

Voss joins Smyrna practice Bayhealth Family Medicine, Smyrna and Christina Bovelsky, MD, welcome Nurse Practitioner Sandi Voss FNP-C. Voss received her undergraduate degree in nursing from Wesley College, her master's degree in adult nursing from Widener University, and her post graduate certificate as a family nurse practitioner from Wilmington University. Voss has been employed by Bayhealth for many years and was instrumental in the development of Bayhealth's school based Wellness Centers at Smyrna, Dover, Caesar Rodney, Lake Forest, PolyTech, Milford, and Woodbridge. She is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. In addition to her clinical practice,

Dr. Rosell named to panel Wilfredo Rosell, MD has recently been named to the physician panel of Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center. Dr. Rosell, an internal medicine physician who specializes in hyperbaric and wound management, brings with him broad experience in wound care, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and internal medicine.

Dr. Rosell is a graduate of the Cebu Institute of Medicine in Cebu City, Philippines and completed his internal medicine residency at Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn, N.Y. He is board certified in internal medicine and a member of the American College of Physicians. Dr. Rosell is credentialed in wound care management and hyperbaric medicine, having received extensive training through Comprehensive Healthcare Solutions in Naperville, Ill. To schedule an appointment, call 628-8322.

Diabetes Wellness Center to open Bayhealth will open a Diabetes Wellness Center in Dover this spring. Bayhealth's Diabetes Wellness Center will be staffed by certified diabetes educators, who may also be registered nurses, pharmacists or nutritionists working to support physicians caring for diabetics. Physicians may refer their adult patients to the Diabetes Wellness Center. "The staff of the Diabetes Wellness Center will be able to see patients on a regular basis to educate them on the importance of monitoring their medications and providing information on how they can better self-manage their diabetes," said Bayhealth Director of Education Kate Salvato, MSN, RN, NEA-BC. Bayhealth health educators will also assess hospitalized inpatients and make appointments for them with the Diabetes Wellness Center before they are discharged from the hospital, so that education and self-maintenance begin as soon as possible, decreasing the risk for future hospitalizations. The Diabetes Wellness Center will be located in the Outpatient Rehabilitation Building, 560 S. Governors Ave. in Dover. For more information, call 302-744-6773.

Weaver earns certification Kelly B. Weaver, MSN, RN, OCN, clinical research specialist at Beebe Medical Center's Tunnell Cancer Center, has earned her Oncology Nursing Certification (OCN), validating her knowledge and skills in working with cancer patients. This accomplishment also reflects her focus on offering quality care to the patients at the Tunnell Cancer Center. Kelly, originally from Baltimore, Md., graduated from Towson University's School of Nursing in 2006 with a bachelor of science degree in nursing. In 2007, she accepted a new graduate nurse position at Beebe Medical Center, and worked for five years on the third floor in the Medical-Surgical Unit and developed an interest in oncology. Kelly was accepted into the University of Delaware School of Nursing's Clinical Nurse Specialist program in September 2009. Her graduate clinical experience at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore affirmed her focus on the care of patients with cancer diagnoses and their families. She accepted a clinical research position at the Tunnell Cancer Center in November 2012 and passed her OCN certification in December. Days later, she completed her graduate coursework and earned the master of science degree in nursing.

Ethics conference at PRMC When New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a ban on super-sized sodas sales, his decision created a media uproar. Advocates of individual liberty invoked fears of a "nanny state" where government officials would invade personal freedoms. Bloomberg's defenders pointed to the epidemic of obesity and the long tradition of governmental responsibility for public health. Add into this mix the impact of the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and you have the ingredients for this year's Peninsula Regional Medical Center Patient Care Advisory Committee's eighth annual ethics conference. The conference topic is "Health Care Reform: Nanny State or Responsible Stewardship?" and will be held on Thursday, April 4, from 5 to 9 p.m. in the Hallowell Conference Center at Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury. Cost to attend the conference is $50 for physicians, healthcare professionals and the general public, $40 for PRMC and Salisbury University employees and $20 for full-time students and chaplains/clergy. A dinner will be provided. Registration is required by Thursday, March 28. For information or to register, visit, call Debora Musser of the Peninsula Regional Medical Center Pastoral Care office at 410-543-7157, or email

Community Health Promotion awards The Governor's Council on Health Promotion & Disease Prevention announces a call for submissions for Recognition of Community Health Promotion. The goal is to recognize the efforts of municipalities that are championing the health and well being of their local residents. Recipients will be communities that have demonstrated effective planning and implementation of best practice and/or creative and visionary programs to improve physical activity, nutrition/healthy eating, tobacco-free lifestyles, healthy environments; promote healthy lifestyles and integration of the needs of individuals with limited mobility and disabilities. All applicants must represent an incorporated municipality located within the State of Delaware and must focus on policy and practice changes related to improving the overall health of its respective community members. For more information and an application, contact Dr. Milton Delgado at or 302-444-9142. The deadline to submit an application is April 12. Upon submission, all applications will be reviewed by a subcommittee of the Governor's Council on Health Promotion & Disease Prevention.

Alzheimer's Caregiver Support Group Cadia Rehab Renaissance near Millsboro is hosting and facilitating an Alzheimer's Association Caregiver Support Group that meets the fourth Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. All meetings are open to the public and interested parties are invited to attend. Alzheimer's disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. One person out of eight who reaches the age of 65 will develop Alzheimer's, as will one person out of every two who reaches the age of 85.

2013 Walk MS dates The Delaware Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society has announced the 2013 Walk MS dates and is inviting all Delawareans to join the movement. Each year thousands of loved ones, friends, and neighbors throughout Delaware – from Wilmington's Riverfront to Sussex County's Baywood Greens – lace up and step out in solidarity, with hopes of creating a world free of MS. Last year, over a quarter million dollars was raised to help out the 1,550 Delawareans living with multiple sclerosis. The Twilight at Heritage Shores walk in Bridgeville will be held on May 31 and the walk at Baywood Greens will be held on June 7. To register, visit or call 302-655-5610.

End-of-Life Coalition awards dinner Rita Landgraf, secretary of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, will be the keynote speaker at the Delaware End-of-Life Coalition's 5th Annual Excellence Awards Dinner on Thursday, March 21. This event honors the outstanding professionals throughout the state who make a significant difference in the care of individuals dealing with end-of-life issues. The dinner costs $65 and will be held at the Deerfield Country Club, Newark. These awards recognize physicians, nurses, certified nurse assistants, counseling professionals and community organizations for their significant contributions to the betterment of patients and their families at the end-of-life. Sponsorship packages are available and nominations are still being accepted, visit Plan to attend the celebration and meet Crystal Rush, Miss Delaware International. To register visit

CPR classes offered 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 receive a course completion card. Classes are open to participants ages 12 and up. The target audience is those who have a duty to respond to a cardiac emergency because of job responsibilities or regulatory requirements. Cost is $45. 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 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.