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Carmel, CA Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. Which Guarantees Many Pension Plans Could Run Out Of Money In Eight To Ten Years

by Richard Kuehn on 07/25/14

With the stock market soaring to new levels, many retirees believe that their pensions are safe and sound.  Once significantly underfunded during the recession, most have recovered significant ground, although many remain underfunded.  Those who have money in pooled pensions (which are common in many industries) could have significant problems according to the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC).  They recently announced that their program "is more likely than not to run out of funds in eight years, and highly likely to do so within 10 years."  The plan currently faces a long-term deficit of $8.3 billion, a number which is expected to grow to $49.6 billion by 2023.  Hopefully Congress will allow the PBGC to raise rates to employers to cover the deficit so employees are not left in the lurch.

Carmel, CA New Mammography Test Called A Tomosynthesis Holds Promise

by Richard Kuehn on 07/24/14

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has found that adding a newer test called a tomosynthesis to a traditional digital mammogram can significantly increase the detection rate for breast cancer as well as reduce false positives.  The new procedure is almost identical to a mammogram, except the new test equipment moves around the breast as it does digital imagery, rather than staying stationary like a traditional mammogram.  The procedure is new and so the equipment is expensive.  Only 1,100 of 13,500 mammography units in the U.S. can perform the new procedure.  However, as the technology gains in popularity, this number will likely grow significantly.  There are more than 38 million mammograms performed in the U.S. each year. 

Salinas, CA CEO Of Natividad Medical Center Resigns Abruptly

by Richard Kuehn on 07/23/14

Natividad Medical Center CEO Harry Weiss announced that he is resigning his post effective on Friday after service in that capacity for almost six years.  Weiss said, "I am very grateful for and want to honor the growing list of NMC’s team?led innovations and successes over the past seven?plus years, including the following:

 • NMC has virtually erased all hospital?acquired infections in recent years.

• NMC has made material improvements in its Quality of Care scores known as “Core Measures.”

• NMC has made material improvements in its independent Patient Satisfaction scores.

• NMC started a vaginal delivery after previous C?Section program, the only one in the region.

• NMC added dedicated 24/7 anesthesia for its OB program back in 2009.

• NMC totally revamped its Hospitalist program.

• NMC added the Rapid Medical Examination in its Emergency Department.

• NMC achieved a “Center of Excellence” rating in Bariatric Surgery.

• NMC expanded its D'Arrigo Family Specialty Services.

• NMC was selected to move forward to serve the region for Level II Trauma.

• The expansion of the physician residency program.

• The imminent opening of a new 20,000 square foot family practice residency clinic on the 3rd floor of building 400 by the end of 2014.

• Nearly $50 million in new capital improvements for NMC.

Carmel, CA Prostate Cancer Treatment Used For Decades Found To Have Little Use

by Richard Kuehn on 07/23/14

One of the most common treatments for men with early-stage prostate cancer is a drug therapy (called androgen deprivation) to suppress their production of testosterone.  However, the results of a major new study from Rutgers Cancer Institute which was published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine found little use for this treatment.  "There are so many side effects associated with this therapy, and really little evidence to support its use," said Dr. Grace Lu-Yao, the lead author of the report.  "I would say that for the majority of patients with localized prostate cancer, this is not a good option," she said.  There are significant side effects to this therapy, including impotence, diabetes and bone loss. One physician, Dr. McKiernan, told the New York Times that the results of the study were eye-opening and even alarming.  "This isn't the first study that suggests that there's no added benefit to this therapy.  But there are still a fair number of doctors recommending it and patients receiving it.  Today it is estimated that at least 25% of men over the age of 75 are considered "chemically castrated" due to receiving this treatment.  Men are usually put on the drugs for life, which substantially raises their risk of fractures, hot flashes, diabetes and heart disease.  

Carmel, CA Diabetes : Tips To Prevent Low Blood Sugar

by Richard Kuehn on 07/18/14

The number of cases of diabetes in the United States continues to soar.  If you have been recently diagnosed with the disease, you need to study the subject and find out what you can and can't eat, and tell your friends and family know what to do if your blood sugar gets dangerously low.  One publication that I like to read is called Diabetes Forecast.  In their latest issue, they had an article entitled 10 ways to prevent low blood sugar.  Their suggestions included:

Understanding your medications;

If using a fast-acting insulin, pay attention to blood glucose levels one to two hours after injection;

Avoid insulin mix-ups;

Know the symptoms;

Follow the "Rule of 15";

Carry a glucose source at all times;

Wear a continuous glucose monitor (CGM);

Get enough sleep;

Eat when you plan to eat; and

Pay attention to physical activities.

To read this and other insightful articles, Click here.

Carmel, CA Elder Abuse Runs Rampant : The Attorneys At Legal Services For Seniors Can Help

by Richard Kuehn on 07/18/14

Sadly, the number of financial elder abuse cases continues to be on the rise.  Often times, seniors are abused by a friend, relative or someone else that they trust.  Legal Services for Seniors offers free help from qualified attorneys which may help you get some of your money back if you have been a victim.  "We provide full legal representation to seniors in Monterey County for those 60 years of age and above at absolutely no charge," executive director Kellie Morgantini told the Carmel Pine Cone.  They also help with disputes with Social Security, health care providers, housing rights, wills, probates, guardianships and other conflicts.  "What we tell people is that elder abuse appears in many different forms.  It can be financial, it can be physical, or it can be a combination of both," said Morgantini.  About 30-40% of the cases that Legal Services for Seniors fields involves Internet and phone fraud.  Don't fall for these scams where people tell you that you have won something but you have to send in money in order to collect your prize.  There are many different scams and they are constantly changing.  If you feel you have been or could be defrauded, give these free attorneys a call at 899-0942.

Corral de Tierra, CA Caregiver Private Duty In Home Senior Companion Aide Jobs Available (Also Carmel, Gilroy, Hollister, Monterey, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach & Salinas)

by Richard Kuehn on 07/17/14

I am happy to say that business is booming at Family inHome Caregiving!  We have had a greater than anticipated influx of new Clients over the past two weeks, many of which have been referrals from past and current Clients.  Our reputation for having the best caregivers in Monterey County is growing.   We are currently looking for a handyman as well as qualified caregivers.

Family inHome Caregiving of Monterey is seeking compassionate, mature and dependable caregivers (Companion Aides) who want to improve the lives of our elderly Clients by providing in-home, non-medical care, particularly those seeking live-in positions or those who can work 24-hour shifts.  Our services include:

        Caring companionship

        Meal preparation

        Incidental transportation

        Running errands

        Light housekeeping

        Medication reminders

        Monitoring of safety while bathing

        Information and referral services

        Other services that improve the safety, security and quality of life of seniors.

If you believe you would make an exceptional Companion Aide, we would love to hear from you!  We prefer those with experience helping the elderly, disabled and others with mobility problems.  Having cared for those with dementia and/or Alzheimer's is a plus.  To work for us, you must have excellent references, a clear criminal record, a good driving record, and an insured reliable vehicle.  To apply, please visit our web site www.fhcofm.com, click on careers where you can fill out an application online.  We have immediate openings all over Monterey County.  Service areas include:

Aromas, Carmel, Carmel-by-the-sea, Carmel Highlands, Carmel Valley, Castroville, Corral de Tierra, Del Rey Oaks, Gilroy, Gonzales, Greenfield, Hollister, King City, Marina, Monterey,  Morgan Hill, Moss Landing, Paicines, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach, Prunedale, Salinas,  San Juan Bautista, Sand City, Seaside, Soledad And Tres Pinos

Carmel, CA Elder Abuse Update : 66-Year Old Woman Gets Nine Year Prison Term For Scamming Friends Out Of $6 Million

by Richard Kuehn on 07/17/14

A 66-year old woman who bilked dozens of local seniors out of millions of dollars couldn't keep her mouth shut in court and ended up getting an even longer sentence than expected when the judge said a letter which was supposed to be a mea culpa for her crimes actually made things worse.  The contents of the letter were not made public, but the woman's defense attorney's argument for a three-year sentence fell flat on the court and the judge said of the letter, "I just don't see in this letter true remorse and true acceptance of responsibility."  Barbra Alexander was sentenced to nine years in prison for stealing $6.3 million from people who thought they were her closest friends as well as others who heard about her on her financial radio talk show called "Money Dots".  Alexander also was a partner in Monterey-based APS Funding from which she embezzled money to pay some investors in the Ponzi scheme she was sent to prison for, as well as buy jewelry and do a $200,000 kitchen remodel.  "The deceit was particularly painful because the victims are folks who thought they had a relationship with Ms. Alexander," said Judge Koh.  "You ended my trust in my fellow man forever," a 70-year old woman told the court.  She had to borrow money from relatives to travel to the trial after losing everything.  Another 62-year old woman ended up living in her car and selling her wedding ring to pay for medication following the collapse of Alexander's Ponzi scheme.  For this, nine years doesn't seem long enough.

Carmel, CA Alzheimer's Caregivers Have Hope : Research Shows Music Really Does Sooth The Soul

by Richard Kuehn on 07/15/14

I saw an early release of a wonderful movie called Alive Inside, the winner of the Sundance 2014 Audience Award.  Thanks to Jack Nybloom and the Camera Cinemas for putting this screening together (it will be available in theaters next month).  The movie tells the story of a number of victims of Alzheimer's disease, dementia, M.S. and other debilitating conditions which went from an almost comatose state to literally coming alive when they were given iPods loaded with the music that they love.  It was wonderful to see their eyes light up, with some of them getting up and dancing when they were previously depressed, lifeless and often bed-ridden.  It's amazing to see the power of music and what it can do to people that are ill.  Regular readers of my blog know that both my father and my grandmother had Alzheimer's disease when they passed away.  Typically, as Alzheimer's victims grow older, they lose short term memories but often revert back to another time, sometimes their childhood but often a happy time during their lives.  My grandmother thought she was in her 40's when she was in her 90's and I would often see her staring in the mirror, perplexed by the image she saw.  I witnessed the "Alive Inside" phenomenon with my grandmother on a number of occasions.  Once, when she was given a new medication she suddenly "woke up" and remembered everything except the last five years.   She didn't know where she was and she was terrified.  But often times it was music that would awaken her.  We would often take her to a place in Carmel Valley where she would dance with cowboys as if she didn't have a care in the world.  This movie is amazing in that it shows how music and memory are correlated.  MusicAndMemory.org are trying to raise money in order to help these seniors which have severe memory disorders.  One of the saddest things about the film is that it interviewed a gerontologist who said he was free to write thousands of dollars per month in prescriptions but was unable to get a patient reimbursed for less than $100 for an iPod despite the fact that it may be much more effective than adding on another prescription.  Hopefully MusicAndMemory.org can change that.  There are now 100's of MUSIC & MEMORY Certified Care Facilities across the nation, but there should be thousands.  Please help them if you can afford to.

Carmel, CA Centers for Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) Management Competence Under Fire

by Richard Kuehn on 07/15/14

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one of the most trusted agencies in the Federal Government, is now in the public cross-hairs after mishandling anthrax which has called the whole agency's testing and emergency practices into question.  In addition to potentially exposing dozens of its employees to the deadly bacteria, the chief of the agency Dr. Thomas Frieden, was called into the limelight after his workers accidently shipped a dangerous strain of avian influenza to the Department of Agriculture.  That virus, known as H5N1, has already killed more than half of the 650 people who have been exposed to it over the years.  "I was, just frankly, stunned and appalled," Dr. Frieden told The New York Times.  Sadly, Dr. Michael Bell, who was appointed by Dr. Frieden to a new position overseeing laboratory safety, said that researchers are so tired of the daily grind of working with deadly microbes that they have ceased following safety protocols.  With the current mess still ongoing at the Veterans Administration, the Obama Administration will now have its hands full trying to save another once-venerable health institution.

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