Thursday, December 25, 2014
Doctor's Perspective
December holidays bring good will to men

By Dr. Anthony Policastro
Christmas as a holiday was initially celebrated about 1700 years ago. Over time, it has become an event to celebrate in many parts of the world. About this time of year, there are other celebrations. Hannukah is one example and Kwanzaa is another. The result is that many people celebrate during December. They celebrate multiple holidays in multiple ways. One thing they all have in common is wishing others well. When someone wishes another person Merry Christmas, it is like saying "Have a good day." It is meant to wish the other person well. The exact words used are less important than the sentiment being expressed. In recent years, there have been individuals who object to the words. They feel that Happy Holidays should be sufficient. They clearly are playing semantics. It does not matter if I say "Have a good day," or "I wish you well" or "Have a safe trip." The words are not that important. It should not really matter if we wish someone "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Hannukah" or "Happy Holidays." It is about the sentiment that the words express rather than the words themselves. It leaves one to wonder why individuals focus on the words rather than the sentiment. Various psychological theories can be invoked. However, we have learned over the years that people can be offended by words. There are racist words that offend. "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" has some new versions where the words are more politically correct. The Washington football team is caught up in a controversy over the team name. There are sexual words that can cause people to feel uncomfortable. Thus, we need to be careful what we say in mixed company. The result of all this is unnecessary anxiety. The person who wants to wish someone well during the Christmas season is anxious about whether the right words are used. The person who is offended by certain greetings gets anxious when those kinds of greetings are extended. Being politically correct brings with it some undue anxiety. Most of us are able to handle that well. Others have problems with handling even small amounts of anxiety. What we need to do is spend more time worrying about the intent of greetings at this time of year than in deciding what exactly to say.

Grant will improve health care Delaware has been awarded $35 million in federal funds that will fuel efforts to improve patient care, support the health of all Delawareans and reduce the costs of care. The grant, announced by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), is designed to help states implement innovative approaches to delivering and paying for health care. The state's grant proposal presentation, which was led by Governor Jack Markell, highlighted the intended focus to amplify investments already being made by Delaware's health care system to transform health care delivery from a fee-for-service system toward one that rewards quality care and efficiency. "There is great innovation happening across our health care community, improving the lives of patients every day," said Bettina Tweardy Riveros, chair of the Delaware Health Care Commission, the designated state grant recipient. "This grant can support that work, align payment models to make those programs financially sustainable, and create a framework for large health systems, small independent providers, community health organizations and others to participate."

If successfully implemented, Delaware's Health Care Innovation Plan is projected to create more than $1 billion in cost-of-care savings through 2020. The goals of the strategy are to strengthen the primary care system so that patients experience well-coordinated team-based care that delivers better health outcomes, align incentives for providers and health insurers to focus on quality and affordability, support patients to engage in their own health, and support communities to work together to promote health and connect community resources to the health care system. For more information on the Delaware Health Care Innovation Plan, go to the Delaware Health Care Commission's website,

UNA offers LISS grant funds The Low Intensity Support Services grant, known as "LISS," are grant funds made available from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene with oversights from the Developmental Disabilities Administration. The application period for the second round of funds is from Jan. 1-31. United Needs & Abilities has been allocated $532,000 in LISS grants to Maryland residents with intellectual developmental disabilities. Funds will be distributed based on a lottery system. United Needs & Abilities is offering seven workshops to assist people on the application process. For more information about the program and the workshops, call Anita Disbrow, Support Program Specialist/LISS Coordinator, at 410-543-0665, ext. 118 or visit

Dr. Khaled F. Elraie joins Nanticoke Physician Network Nanticoke Health Services and the Nanticoke Physician Network welcome Khaled F. Elraie, MD, FACG, specializing in gastroenterology. He is accepting new patients at Nanticoke Physician Network Gastroenterology in Seaford. Dr. Elraie graduated from Cairo University in Cairo, Egypt in 1988. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Fairview Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. He completed a fellowship in gastroenterology at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C. in 2001. He is board certified in gastroenterology. Dr. Elraie is fluent in English and Arabic and speaks basic French. To make an appointment with Dr. Elraie, call 629-5193.

Diabetes education program At Nanticoke Memorial Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will hold a four-session diabetes education program on Jan. 7, 14, 23 and 30, from 5-7 p.m. at the hospital. Registration is required and the cost of the program may be reimbursable by insurance. This four-session program includes weekly education sessions and individualized meal planning for diabetes self-management. The goal is to give you the self-management skills to control your diabetes. Family members/significant others are welcome to attend. Pre-registration is required prior to attending classes. To register and to obtain more information, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Diabetes Education department at 629-6611, ext. 2446.