National Cataract Awareness Month

 

A cataract is the clouding of the eye’s lens, blocking or changing the passage of light. Cataracts are so common that by age 80 nearly half of Americans have them, leading to blindness in many older Americans. Although it is not specifically known what causes cataracts, there are a number of risk factors including[1]:

  • Intense heat or long-term exposure to UV rays from the sun

  • Certain diseases, such as diabetes

  • Smoking

  • Hereditary influences

  • Eye injuries

Cataracts generally do not cause pain, discomfort, redness, or tears. The following may indicate that you have a cataract:

  • You have blurred vision or double vision

  • You see ghost images or have a sense of a “film” over your eyes

  • Light seems to dim close up or you are stunned by strong light

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that everyone starting at the age of 40 get a baseline eye disease screening, even if you have no trouble with your vision[2].

It is also recommended that if you are over the age of 65 that you get an eye exam at least once per year, even if your vision is 20/20. For more information please visit http://www.preventblindness.org/cataract.


[1] Cataract Prevent Blindness Accessed July 22, 2015

 

[2] 2015 Health Observances and Recognition Days Calendar IHA Online Accessed July 22, 2015

 

 

 

 


Medicare Open Enrollment

Medicare Open Enrollment ended on December 7. If someone missed the Open Enrollment Period and is truly dissatisfied with their Medicare Advantage plan, there is a Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP) that lasts from January 1 to February 14 of the following year. A person in a Medicare Advantage Plan can leave their plan, switch to Original Medicare, and join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to add drug coverage during this period. Learn more about joining a health or drug plan.
There are specific times when a person can sign up for a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO) or Medicare prescription drug coverage . They can also make changes to existing coverage:

1. If they first become eligible for Medicare or turn 65 during the Initial Enrollment Period
2. During certain yearly enrollment periods
3. Under certain circumstances that qualify the person for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP)

Learn more about the Medicare C & D enrollment periods and be sure to take advantage of everything Medicare has to offer.

[1] Understanding Medicare Part C & D Enrollment Periods. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Oct. 2012. Web. Dec. 2013.


BPHC released the new Governance PIN (http://bphc.hrsa.gov/policiesregulations/policies/pin201401.html).  There will be multiple opportunities for training regarding the new PIN, including TA calls specific for consultants and for special populations.

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has released Policy Information Notice (PIN) 2013-01: Health Center Budgeting and Accounting Requirements. The PIN is available at: http://bphc.hrsa.gov/policiesregulations/policies/pin201301.html