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Faith-based group wants dental included in Vermont Health Care Exchange

first_imgThe Board of Directors of Vermont Interfaith Action is calling on the Green Mountain Care Board to include dental benefits for adults in the Vermont Health Care Exchange Plan.‘As more Vermonters have become unemployed or are working in low paying jobs where dental insurance is not offered, and as Medicaid further restricts the use of funds for adult dental care, it is more likely, not less, that more adult Vermonters will postpone preventive care,’Rev. Michael Brown, President of the VIA Board, wrote to the Green Mountain Care Board. ‘It seems unconscionable to talk about making health care ‘affordable’by excluding those who can least afford to be excluded. We feel that the inclusion of dental benefits would be a great expression of justice in our state,’he said.The VIA Board letter was supported by documentation taken from the State of Vermont’s own published reports, that shows that not including dental will end up costing Vermonters more for expensive medical complications that result from lack of oral health. ‘It is a false economy,’the letter said. ‘If we don’t have the funds for prevention through dental care now, how are we going to pay the higher future medical costs for complications that result?’‘It doesn’t make sense to ignore the well documented need for dental benefits to be included,’said Rabbi Joshua Chasan, a member of the VIA Board. ‘Inclusion of dental makes both fiscal and moral sense.’The VIA Board’s call for inclusion of dental benefits follows on recent support for such benefits by Senator Bernie Sanders and others who find the absence of dental benefits in the proposed package to be more of the penny wise, pound foolishness of the existing system which has allowed health care expenses to skyrocket.Vermont Interfaith Action is (VIA) is a faith-based, grassroots coalition of twelve congregations in central Vermont and Burlington that transforms ordinary people into empowered and engaged citizens. Our goal is to create the hope, power, knowledge, and political will needed to make compassion and social justice a reality for all Vermonters, and our mission is to create solutions to systemic issues that prevent our most vulnerable citizens from enjoying the quality of life God intends for us all. Ssource: Vermont Interfaith Action September 7, 2012last_img read more

Southern Vermont receives $470,000 to bolster long-term recovery efforts following Irene

first_imgThe Windham Regional Commission and the Bennington County Regional Commission will receive $470,000 in Economic Development Administration (EDA) funds to bolster long-term recovery efforts in southern Vermont following Tropical Storm Irene, Vermonts congressional delegation announced today. The funds will be used by the regional planning commissions to expand the capacity of public officials and economic development organizations to work with businesses and encourage innovative public/private approaches to promote job creation, support economic diversification, and foster disaster resiliency. Sen. Patrick Leahy, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Peter Welch fought to include the special one-time EDA disaster funding in last years disaster recovery bill, and then advocated for funding for the Windham Regional Commission and the Bennington County Regional Commission in a letter sent to the EDA Regional Director in June 2012. In a joint statement, Leahy, Sanders and Welch said: This infusion of funding will speed the recovery of many southern Vermont communities still working hard to recover from Irene. Vermonters continue to pull together as neighbors and friends to support one another, but there are still many unmet needs. This investment will boost recovery efforts and strengthen the regions long-term economic recovery as we rebound from the damage. Susan McMahon, Associate Director of the Windham Regional Commission, said: Many of our towns have been dealing with public infrastructure recovery and havent had the time or resources to focus on long term development and resiliency planning.  These funds are critical and timely to help our historic downtown and village centers recover and thrive. We are grateful to our congressional delegation, EDA and State and local partners for helping us bring these resources to Southern Vermont. William Colvin, Director of Sustainable Community Development for the Bennington County Regional Commission, said: This project represents a true regional collaboration, as a number of community development, economic development, planning and not-for-profit entities across Windham and Bennington Counties come together to assist those still struggling to recover economically from Tropical Storm Irene.  We are grateful for the funding by the EDA and for the tremendous support of this project shown by Vermont’s congressional delegation.” Laura Sibilia, Project Director for Economic Development with the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation, said: “This project and these funds are critically needed to help Southern Vermont continue to recover from Irene and to create new sustainable opportunities for our economy to thrive.  This is a very good day!  We are so thankful that both of the Regional Commissions understood the critical nature of this project and agreed to partner with us to shepherd the project through the federal systems.”Source: Vermont Congressional delegation. 12.11.2012last_img read more

US, Europe report declining flu markers

first_imgApr 6, 2012 (CIDRAP News) – For the second week in a row, flu activity in the United States showed signs of decreasing, though it’s too soon to say that the season has peaked, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in an update today.Meanwhile, flu activity in most European countries has peaked, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said yesterday in its latest update.In the United States, the percentage of doctor’s visits for flulike illness dropped slightly last week from 2.0% to 1.7%, keeping below the national baseline.The percentage of respiratory specimens that tested positive for flu rose slightly last week, from 19.6% the previous week to 20.5%. The CDC said this indicator varied by region, ranging from 15% to 56.3%. “While influenza activity may have peaked and be declining in some states and regions, other areas may not yet have reached their peak activity level, ” the CDC said in its report, warning that substantial flu activity can persist as late as May.Deaths from pneumonia and flu dropped to 7.2%, which is below the epidemic threshold. The CDC received one more report of a pediatric flu death, bringing the season’s total to 13, which is well below the number seen in a typical flu season. The child’s death occurred in early March and was linked to an undetermined influenza A subtype.H3N2 is still the dominant strain, though the profile of circulating viruses varies from region to region, as well as from state to state, the CDC said. Testing for resistance to neuraminidase inhibitors found one more 2009 H1N1 virus that was resistant, raising the total this flu season to five.Ten states reported widespread geographic flu spread, a drop from 16 reported the previous week.The ECDC based its assessment that the flu season has peaked in many countries on the facts that the percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for flu at sentinel sites has fallen for 5 weeks in a row and on the decreasing trends reported by 19 countries, 15 of them for the second consecutive week.Slovakia is the only country to report an increasing flu trend last week, the ECDC said.The proportion of influenza B viruses detected has risen over the past 7 weeks, a pattern that the ECDC said is often seen late in the season. It said the circulating H3N2 strain is an imperfect match with the H3N2 in the seasonal flu vaccine, which is consistent with the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) recommendation that the strain selection be changed for the upcoming season’s vaccine. In the United States, about 20% of the H3N2 viruses that have been antigenically characterized this season have shown reduced titers with antiserum produced against the current vaccine strain.See also:Apr 6 CDC influenza updateApr 5 ECDC weekly influenza updatelast_img read more