State health department now offering e-mail alerts

Filed under: Health Care |

An automated e-mail subscription service that alerts subscribers to natural disasters and pandemic influenza is now available from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
The updates are delivered through e-mail and text-enabled devices.
“We want to do more than just post information on a Web page and hope people see it,” said Natalya Verscheure, grant manager in the department’s Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response. “Now we can notify people when the information they want and need is available online.”
The free service is accessible at
Subscribers can choose from several categories related to the state’s emergency preparedness and response activities.
They also can subscribe to news and events, success stories, recent disease outbreaks and biological incidents, and severe weather alerts.

County foster care program

What happens when children in foster care get too old for foster care?
Answer: they have to start living on their own.
The El Paso County Department of Human Services works with 16- to 21-year-old foster children to prepare them for independent living.
This service is made possible through the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program. The El Paso County Board of Commissioners approved next year’s County Chafee Plan during its Aug. 30 meeting.
National and state studies show that children leaving foster care were over-represented on the welfare roles, in homeless shelters and in the prison system.
During 1986, the Federal Initiative for Independent Living became law. It prepares young adults to be successful after leaving the child welfare system, said Commissioner Sallie Clark.
Chafee is 100 percent federally funded and is a statewide independent living program that each county can use to provide resources for foster teens to successfully make the transition to living on their own.
Last year, 201 foster teens participated in El Paso County, an increase of 9 percent from 2005. DHS counselors teach life skills such as how to open and maintain checking accounts, budgeting, problem solving, cooking, finding safe living arrangements, searching for jobs, finishing high school and filling out job or scholarship applications.
The average amount of time El Paso County foster children spend with the Chafee Program is 13 months.

Senior eye care

The Colorado Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons is encouraging seniors to be more proactive about their eye and vision care.
September is Save Your Sight month, and the group is working with EyeCare America, a nonprofit that provides eye exams and eye health information to medically underserved communities, to bring attention to the problem of aging eyes.
The groups are providing five tips to maintain healthy vision in older years:

  • Vitamin A is great for your eyes and will help you maintain a healthy vision. Foods rich in vitamin A include carrots, yams and dark, leafy greens.
  • Research your family history of eye disease. In many cases, having a family member with an eye disease, such as glaucoma, greatly increases your chance of getting the disease.
  • Protect your eyes from the sun. Overexposure to the sun’s rays can lead to cataracts. Your sunglasses should have UVA and UVB protection.
  • If you are older than 65, have your eyes examined annually.
  • Call (800) 222-EYES to determine if you qualify for a free eye exam.

The program offers eye exams and up to one year of medical care at no out-of-pocket cost for seniors who are without an ophthalmologist.
The Seniors EyeCare Program help line operates 24 hours a day, every day, year around.
In Colorado, EyeCare America has 104 volunteer ophthalmologists that have served more than 5,549 people.

Osteopathy program OK’d

Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine, the first college of osteopathic medicine in Colorado, has received provisional accreditation from the American Osteopathic Association that will allow it to offer its curriculum to students of osteopathic medicine.
The college is the newest of 28 osteopathic medical schools in the United States.
The school will begin recruiting and interviewing for its first class of 150 students, who will start next August.
One of every five medical students enrolls in an osteopathic program, making it the fastest growing segment of health care in the United States.
The university is developing a 145,000-square-foot campus in Parker. Phase two plans include the addition of colleges of allied health and nursing, and will add 50,000 square feet to the campus. Additional plans include colleges of pharmacy and dentistry.
Amy Gillentine covers health care for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.