Digest changes, retreat info, health news and county events
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March 12, 2014

LHIC News and Updates

Hello LHIC members!

Thanks to all who attended Monday's LHIC meeting and to Wendy and Sawida from Maryland Nonprofits for presenting the results of the member survey and facilitating a good discussion in preparation for the April 3 retreat.

Digest Changes
Some good suggestions came out of the member survey regarding the weekly digest. Some felt that we should send it only bi-weekly, so we will try that. Please let us know if you feel strongly that it needs to be a weekly publication.

Also, there were suggestions that we include updates and accomplishments in the three priority areas, so we will look at ways to do that in the near future.

If you have news or events that you think are appropriate for the digest, please email Jeananne at jsciabarra@healthyhowardmd.org.

LHIC Retreat
If you haven't already RSVP'd for our LHIC retreat on Thursday, April 3 from 9-5, please do so by Friday March 14.  The retreat will be held at the Hawthorn Center, 6175 Sunny Spring, Columbia. Lunch and snacks will be served. More details to follow.

RSVP here: 

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 awolf@healthyhowardmd.org.

Maryland Health Exchange Updates

Connection Update, Friday, March 7, 2014

  • 38,070 Marylanders have chosen to enroll in private health plans through Maryland Health Connection; 
  • 178,279 Marylanders have created identity-verified accounts;
  • 20,439 Marylanders who who have chosen plans through Maryland Health Connection have paid the first premium for their policies;
  • 95,889 Marylanders signed up through the Primary Adult Care (PAC) program were automatically converted to Medicaid coverage effective January 1, 2014.
Open enrollment continues through March 31, 2014, so Marylanders who have not enrolled yet can still do so.

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

Howard County 

Get Active Howard County is a 10-week healthy lifestyle initiative with a calendar full of wellness activities, workshops, walks, nutrition education, health screenings and more! There will be a special kick-off event at Centennial Park on Saturday, March 22, 8:00 to 10:00 a.m., at Corporate Pavilion H. You can find more information about the program at www.GetActiveHowardCounty.org. We hope our LHIC members will participate and promote the Get Active programs!

Healthy Schools Judges Needed
Healthy Howard is in need of judges for its Healthy Schools Program. Volunteers would need to devote about eight hours over the course of two weeks in early April judging applications. For more information or to volunteer, please contact Kelly Bickersteth, Healthy Schools Coordinator, at 410-313-6264 or kbickersteth@healthyhowardmd.org.

Health in the News
Healthy Weight
West Virginia Makes Progress Reducing Childhood Obesity
More than a decade ago, leaders across the state of West Virginia recognized the serious health and economic consequences related to obesity and began developing a strategy to address the epidemic. The state:
  • began conducting body mass index (BMI) assessments in public schools;
  • passed the Healthy Lifestyles Act in 2005, which called for major changes to promote healthy eating and physical activity in public schools;
  • implemented standards for nutrition and wellness policies in public schools; and,
  • established Change the Future West Virginia, a project aimed at reducing obesity in the Mid-Ohio Valley, a rural six-county region with a population of about 130,000.
These policies appear to be moving the needle on childhood obesity in the state. Among the state's fifth-graders, the obesity rate declined by 8.6% between the 2005-2006 and 2011-2012 school years. Read the full article on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation website here.

Behavioral Health
Parity for Mental Health Services under the ACA 
In 2014, most health insurance plans, including Medicaid managed care plans, must comply with the federal parity law and provide fair coverage for mental health services. The National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) has a web page that can help you determine whether your insurance may be violating parity requirements and what you can do if you believe you have been unfairly denied benefits. Click here for details.

Access to Care
Immigrants and the Affordable Care Act
The National Immigration Law Center provides a helpful web page describing eligibility for coverage under the Affordable Care Act by immigration status. The page also includes verification requirements and can be accessed here.

Upcoming Events 

Latino Health Fair
March 15, noon-4:00 p.m.
Join us for a free health fair at the Wilde Lake Interfaith Center - free health screenings and health information for the Spanish-speaking population in Howard County and adjacent areas. Free health screenings include: blood pressure, colorectal cancer, glucose, cholesterol, children’s dental exam, HIV/AIDS, vision and hearing. 
Maryland Health Connection Enrollment Fair
Saturday, March 15
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
8930 Stanford Blvd., Columbia
Maryland Health Connection is sponsoring a series of enrollment fairs around the state. With the assistance of certified representatives, individuals attending the events will be able to apply for and enroll in Medicaid or qualified health plans. On Saturday, March 15, there will be an enrollment fair at the Door to Healthcare in Columbia. For more information, visit  http://marylandhealthconnection.gov/healthconnectnow.

Health Reform/Healthy Business Forum
March 20, 8:30 - 11:30 a.m.
The Meeting House
5885 Robert Oliver Place, Columbia
In today’s healthcare environment, small businesses worry about two things:
1. How will Health Reform affect my business? Join us to hear how health reform will impact your company! What are the deadlines? How will Health Insurance Exchanges affect your company? What will tax credits mean to you?
2. How can I improve my company’s profitability? Healthy employees miss less work, and they are more productive while they are at work. Hear from companies that are creating healthier employees, and reaping the rewards! Share your challenges and learn solutions.
We hope you can join us for this free breakfast forum. Seating is limited. Please no more than 2 per company.
For more information, please call 410-988-3737 X53. To register, please visit

Healthy Aging and Care Management
March 21, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Elkridge Senior Center
6540 Washington Blvd., Elkridge

Learn about healthy aging behaviors as well as the challenges and management options to ensure your family member's function and quality of life. Presented by Susanne Gibbons, CRNP, Ph.D. and Joseph Gibbons, M.D.  Light healthy refreshments. Registration is recommended but walk-ins are welcome.

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

NAMI Howard County Fashion Show

Sunday, March 30, 2:00 p.m.
Savage Mill
NAMI Howard County in partnership with Success in Style is sponsoring a Spring Fashion Show fundraiser. Please call 410-772-9300 for tickets.

Upcoming LHIC Events

Thursday, 4/3/14
9 am - 5 pm
LHIC Retreat

The Hawthorn Center
6175 Sunny Spring
Columbia, MD
Copyright © 2014 Howard County Health Department, All rights reserved.
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