Howard County enrollment resources, updates, and health news
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February 5, 2014

LHIC News and Updates

Hello LHIC members!

The Strategic Planning Committee had a very successful kick off meeting with Maryland Nonprofits last Thursday.  We had a lively discussion about the LHIC's history, its successes, and what we would like to improve in this re-direction.  Maryland Nonprofits is now working on the survey all LHIC members will take, as well as identifying key stake holders to interview. They will present the data they collect at the LHIC meeting in March.

Thank you again for your patience with the retreat date.  I'm having some difficulty getting a date finalized, but am working on it daily.  I will send our an invitation as soon as I solidify the date and site.

Remember, we're now on Facebook! Please "like" us and spread the word about the LHIC. Check the page for LHIC updates, local and national health news, as well as information about local events here in Howard County. If you have something you'd like to post on the page, email Alisha at

Maryland Health Exchange Updates

Connection Update, Friday, January 31, 2014

This week, Governor O'Malley signed into law an emergency bill that will allow Marylanders who tried unsuccessfully to purchase coverage to gain coverage through the Maryland Health Insruance Plan.  This bill was proposed by Governor O'Malley and Lt. Governor Brown as one of several efforts to help individuals gain coverage.  Enactment of the law follows news last week that more than a thousand households registered for the retroactive coverage option, which will allow Marylanders who experienced technical challenges on the website prior to January 1 to enroll in the private plan of their choice with coverage retroactive to January 1. 
Other updates include:
  • Enrollments in qualified health plans increased to a total of 26,832 individuals; 
  • More than 144,904 Marylanders have created identity-verified accounts;
  • 95,318 Marylanders signed up through the Primary Adult Care (PAC) program were now automatically converted to Medicaid coverage effective January 1, 2014.
Open enrollment continues through March 31, 2014 so Marylanders that have not enrolled yet can still do so.

For more updates on ACA enrollment, see the full report.

Howard County 

Do you need ACA enrollment materials? Healthy Howard's Patricia Omana, the regional outreach manager, has free enrollment materials available for anyone who needs them. These include posters, flyers and brochures. She is also available to do outreach, meetings and trainings on enrollment and the Affordable Care Act.  You can contact Patricia at or 410-313-5170. She is anxious to partner with anyone who may need assistance. See detailed information from the Door below.

Info from the Door to HealthCare:
The Door to HealthCare provides free help in choosing affordable, quality health coverage. The Door is the official source for information in your local community, serving Howard County.

We offer:
- Practical answers about new changes in health care
 - Personal support for making the right choice
- Assistance with signing up for health insurance

We have a number of certified staff that are available to help. We are located at 8930 Stanford Boulevard, Columbia, MD 21045. We have three easy ways to reach us.

Call Center at 855-288-DOOR (3667)
Visit our website at www.thedoortohealth or
Come to our office
People who need health coverage can come to the Door to HealthCare for help. Our hours of operation are: Monday-Tuesday-Friday 8:30AM to 5:00PM; Wednesday-Thursday 8:30AM to 6:00PM and Saturday the 8th and 15th of February and March from 9:00AM to 3:00PM.
We can go to your location, give a presentation and enroll your staff.

Health in the News
Healthy Weight
House Approved Compromise Farm Bill; Senate, President Expected to Follow Suit
The House of Representatives approved a compromise Farm Bill last week that includes an $8.6 billion cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) over ten years ; according to estimates from the Congressional Budget Office, approximately 850,000 SNAP households will see their benefits lowered by $90 per month. Other nutrition-related provisions in the bill include a $125 million authorization for the Healthy Food Financing Initiative and continued authorizations for SNAP’s nutrition education programs and the Fresh Food and Vegetable Program. The Senate is expected to pass the bill today; the White House has indicated that President Obama will sign it. 

Behavioral Health
New State-Specific Report on American's Behavioral Health Released
A new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) illuminates important trends – many positive -- in Americans' behavioral health, both nationally and on a state-by-state basis.

SAMHSA's new report, the "National Behavioral Health Barometer" (Barometer), provides data about key indicators of behavioral health problems including rates of serious mental illness, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse, underage drinking, and the percentages of those who seek treatment for these disorders. The Barometer shows this data at the national level, and for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. 

The Barometer indicates that the behavioral health of our nation is improving in some areas. For example, the rate of prescription pain reliever abuse has fallen for both children ages 12-17 and adults ages 18-25 from 2007 to 2011 (9.2 percent to 8.7 percent and 12.0 percent to 9.8 percent respectively).
Read Maryland's report here.

Access to Care
Minority of Uninsured Expect Health Care Gains in 2014
Only one in four uninsured people believe their health care costs will improve from 2013 to 2014, according to data from the Health Reform Monitoring Survey. Less than one-third of uninsured respondents expect health care quality and access to improve over the same time span. Researchers say the survey findings indicate that more and better outreach is needed to educate uninsured people about free or low-cost health insurance through expanded Medicaid programs or subsidies to help them purchase health insurance in the new marketplaces. Read the report here.

Funding Opportunity
Check out these Robert Wood Johnson's funding opportunities!  Does your organization have a program that could qualify?

Upcoming Events 

Lunar New Year 4712          FREE
Banneker Room of the George Howard Building
Wednesday, February 5 at 5:00 pm
Howard County will celebrate Lunar New Year 4712, Year of the Horse.  The celebration will feature cultural performances and ethnic food.  Please RSVP to

Adult/Child/Infant CPR and AED
Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia, MD
February 10, 5:30-9:00 p.m. 
Learn the skills needed to clear an airway obstruction, perform cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED). Earn a two-year American Heart Association completion card. This is not a health care provider course. $55. Sign up here.

Intervals - Good For Your Heart       FREE
Feb 12th 6:45-7:30 pm 
Cardio cardio cardio, oh my! What is the right program for you?? Should you try the long, medium intensity route? The stay home on the couch route? Or the do 15 - 20 minutes at a conversational pace workout? If you spend hours every week feeling like a hamster on the treadmill and experience little results, come learn an alternative way to liven up your cardio program. Follow the link in the title to learn more and sign up.

Making the Case for School Wellness | Action for Healthy Kids Parent Leadership Series   (WEBINAR)
Wed, Feb 19, 2014, 2:00pm ET; 1:00pm CT; 12:00pm MT; 11:00am PT (60 minutes)
Before telling your school community how to change, you have to give them the “why.” Learn how to build awareness, support and momentum for creating healthier school environments by talking about the obesity crisis and the learning connection, reviewing current school customs and sharing best practices and success stories. This webinar will also teach you how to answer common questions and concerns about your school wellness initiatives. Click the link above to register.

ASIST Suicide Prevention Workshop                FREE
Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center
March 7 & 8
The ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) workshop is for caregivers who want to feel more comfortable, confident and competent in helping to prevent the immediate risk of suicide.  Over one million caregivers have participated in this two-day, highly interactive, practical, practice-oriented.  Participation on both days is requred.  There are only a few spaces left so sign up now!  Call Tamara Van-NewKirk at (410) 531-6677.

Weighing in on Your Child's Weight
HCGH Wellness Center 
March 25, 2014
6:30 - 8:30 pm
Learn about what parents can do to help their overweight child achieve a healthy weight.  A pediatrician and psychiatrist will share ideas, tools, and tips to help children reach a healthier weight.  Register for the class at or call (410) 740-7601.

Upcoming LHIC Events

Monday, 2/24/14
12 noon-1 pm

Next Executive Committee meeting at 8930 Standford Blvd., Columbia, MD
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