Illinois Public Media News

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - September 30, 2011

State Releases List of Non-Compliant Public Pools

The state of Illinois has released the list of non-compliant public pools that will be shut down tomorrow because of a drainage issue.

Illinois' Department of Public Health announced this week that new drain covers are needed so swimmers won't get trapped.

In Champaign County, that list includes one municipal pool and three motels. Rantoul's Hap Parker Family Aquatic Center, which is closed for the season, is on the list.

One of the motels listed, the Historic Lincoln in Urbana, has been closed since 2009 and undergoing massive renovations under a new developer. The county's list also includes Champaign's Country Fair Apartments and Lake of the Woods Apartments in Mahomet.

Four swim clubs in Macon County could be impacted. The Decatur Surf Club, Sun and Fun Swim Club, and Holiday Park Swim Club, and Mt. Zion Swim Club are part of the list, as is the Decatur Family YMCA. But the Y's Exective Director says that listing was error on the state's part.

The operator of the one community pool in Paris on the state list says he's aware of the drainage issue, and the pool closed two years ago. Will Welsh, Executive Director of the Paris Community YMCA, said the Y hopes to collect the $3,500 dollars necessary to fix the pool and reopen it by next summer.

The Paxton Park District Pool is also listed, and closed for the year. On its web site, a message from the district says the community is doing all it can to reopen sometime in 2012.


WILL - Illinois Public Media News - September 29, 2011

Christie Clinic Says It Won’t Talk With PersonalCare

The parent company of health insurance provider PersonalCare says it's continuing negotiations with Christie Clinic, but the Champaign-based medical clinic says it's not interested.

Christie Clinic first announced on Tuesday that PersonalCare had terminated its contract with the clinic, and that patients should switch to other providers in the next enrollment period (Oct. 10 - 28, 2011).

But in a statement posted Wednesday on the University of Illinois HR homepage, PersonalCare said it was still negotiating with Christie Clinic --- at least regarding its Open Access Plan for state employees and retirees.

"Although our agreement is scheduled to terminate on January 1, 2012, it is PersonalCare's strong desire to continue our long-standing partnership with Christie Clinic and that Christie Clinic remain an in-network provider for years to come", the statement said.

The News-Gazette reported that according to a spokesperson for PersonalCare's parent company, Coventry Health Care, the contract termination was a procedural move needed to renegotiate a new contract.

But a statement issued today on the Christie Clinic website that since their contract with PersonalCare had been renewed in the past by simply amending the old agreement, there was "no requirement to terminate the existing agreement in order to renegotiate specific terms".

"Because the Christie Clinic team is committed to providing the highest quality health care to the communities we serve, we are working closely with our patients, the state of Illinois and private employers to make this transition as seamless as possible for Christie Clinic patients," Christie Clinic said in an earlier statement. "We will be working directly with employers and their brokers who currently contract with PersonalCare about their options."

People in Champaign County who want to have uninterrupted access to Christie Clinic physicians are being urged to switch to Health Alliance HMO coverage or Health Link's Open Access Plans in the next enrollment period.

The University of Illinois said it is reviewing what the contract termination means for U of I employees and their dependents who are enrolled in the PersonalCare health plans, and if any decisions need to be made during the upcoming Special Healthcare Enrollment Period.

Categories: Health

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - September 28, 2011

Questions Loom Over PersonalCare Contract Termination

The news Tuesday that PersonalCare is terminating its contract with Christie Clinic leaves some unanswered questions for people who rely on PersonalCare for service.

Claudia Lennhoff heads the group, Champaign County Health Consumers. Lennhoff said her organization just renewed its employer group plan with PersonalCare.

"I don't know what kind of coverage PersonalCare will actually be offering us, so that we can access physician services," Lennhoff said. "So, It's a very distressing situation, and certainly if we had known that this was something that might happen, I really probably would not have renewed with PersonalCare.

In a statement, Christie Clinic said it will work with employers and their brokers who contract with PersonalCare to discuss their options.

Meanwhile, the University of Illinois said it is reviewing what the contract termination means for U of I employees and their dependents who are enrolled in the PersonalCare health plans, and if any decisions need to be made during the upcoming Special Healthcare Enrollment Period.

A request for comment from PersonalCare was not returned.

Categories: Education, Health

AP - Illinois Public Media News - September 28, 2011

Brain Scan Could Study Alzheimer’s Disease

MRI brain scans are commonly used to detect brain tumors or concussions in athletes. Now a similar scan is being tested to study Alzheimer's Disease.

An MRI shows the structure of the brain -- what it looks like. Whereas an fMRI is used to show how the brain functions. It can tell which areas of the brain are more active when you are at ease.

Researchers think the fMRI can be used to detect changes in this resting state which can indicate brain disorders such as depression, autism, and Alzheimer's.

"Before I have the symptoms, I could have an fMRI test," said Dr. Tom Ala, interim director for the Center for Alzheimer's Disease at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. "The fMRI test could say 'you are cool no problem', I'm not as worried. If the fMri test says the arrow is pointing in that direction because of this test, this biomarker, I could start treatment."

Patients cannot use this technology for Alzheimer's yet because it is still in the testing phase.

(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Categories: Health, Science, Technology

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - September 27, 2011

PersonalCare Terminates Contract with Christie Clinic

PersonalCare is terminating its contract with Christie Clinic, effective January 1st.

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, the clinic announced the health insurance contractor's plans.

The end of the contract will impact state workers and retirees, and those connected to other PersonalCare plans.

People in Champaign County who want to have uninterrupted access to Christie Clinic physicians are being urged to switch to Health Alliance HMO coverage or Health Link's Open Access Plans in the next enrollment period.

Categories: Government, Health, Politics

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - September 27, 2011

Food Insecurity Focus at Hunger Symposium

At the 5th annual Hunger Symposium on Sept. 26, 2011 in Champaign, food insecurity took front stage.

People talking at the Hunger Symposium

Two million people in Illinois deal with food insecurity, and in eastern Illinois that number is about 80,000, according to a study released by the group, Feeding America. It's a problem that's being addressed through programs like the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. Local food pantries are also working hard to feed people who need food assistance. At the 5th annual Hunger Symposium on Sept. 26, 2011 in Champaign, food insecurity took front stage. The event was put on by the Eastern Illinois Food Bank and the Family Resiliency Center. Illinois Public Media's Jeff Bossert talks with Sean Powers, who attended the meeting.

Download mp3 file

AP - Illinois Public Media News - September 23, 2011

VA Health Center in Danville Alerts Vets About Privacy Breach

A veterans health center in Danville has alerted more than 500 veterans of a breach involving their personal information that puts them at risk for identity theft.

The Commercial News in Danville reports an appointment book from the VA Illiana Health Care System has been missing since July 14.

The appointment book included veterans' last names and last four digits of their Social Security numbers.

Illiana director Michael Hamilton says there's no reason to believe the information has been misused or stolen. He says the VA is alerting veterans so they can take precautions against identity theft.

Precautions include requesting a free credit report and placing a "fraud alert'' on credit accounts.

Hamilton says VA staff members are reviewing policies and procedures in hopes of preventing future breaches.

Categories: Criminal Justice, Health
Tags: crime, health

AP - Illinois Public Media News - September 20, 2011

Cook County Man Dies from West Nile Virus

Illinois health officials say a Cook County man has become the first person this year to die after contracting the West Nile virus.

The Illinois Department of Public Health said Tuesday that the man was in his 60s and had underlying health conditions. He was diagnosed with the virus in August and died earlier this month.

Officials say eight human cases of West Nile virus have been reported in Illinois this summer. The first two were reported Aug. 19 - involving a Cook County man in his 80s and a Franklin County man in his 30s.

The virus is transmitted by mosquitoes that pick up the virus after feeding on infected birds.

Symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches - though most people will show no symptoms at all.

Categories: Health
Tags: health

AP - Illinois Public Media News - September 20, 2011

Latinos Make Up Largest Minority Group in Illinois

U.S. Census figures show Hispanics are now Illinois' largest minority group, outnumbering African Americans. But not all communities are welcoming the trend, according to a professor a the University of Illinois.

Hispanics now make up nearly 16 percent of the state's population, an increase of nearly 500,000 people from a decade ago. The shift in demographics has put an emphasis on immigration issues such as housing and educational opportunities for Latinos and Latinas.

Jorge Chapa teaches Government and Public Affairs at the U of I, and he also co-authored the book "Apple Pie and Enchiladas: Latino Newcomers in the Rural Midwest."

"They are growing much more quickly than the capacity and the knowledge and how to serve them," Chapa said.

Chapa said very few Hispanics serve on local school boards or in other administrative roles. He said there are also communication barriers in medical care and schools. In addition to growth in Chicago and the collar counties, Illinois' Cass County has seen an influx in Latinos since the last census.


WILL - Illinois Public Media News - September 19, 2011

Champaign County to Discuss Publicizing Restaurant Inspections

Champaign County to Discuss Publicizing Restaurant Inspections

A Champaign County Board member says he will push for a new rule requiring restaurants in the county to post their health inspection scores.

Categories: Government, Health, Politics

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