Monthly Archives: January 2014

The solution to ‘Dental Deserts’ is not complicated.

Dental health is a critical component of medical health. That debate is over. Community Health Centers (CHCs) have understood this sooner than others and intentionally offer dental services alongside the traditional medical services.

Our federal Critical Access Hospital (CAH) program’s sole purpose is to ensure our rural communities have access to medical care. [CAHs are reimbursed by Medicare, on a reasonable cost basis, for applicable patients and services.] Why doesn’t the CAH program include dental health? It’s a stroke-of-the-pen solution to our Dental Deserts!

In 2013 the Minnesota Legislature changed their Critical Access Dental Payment Program (CADPP) to include criteria to designate two additional eligible dental practice types. In 2011 the Kansas Legislature passed a law allowing rural hospitals to employ dentists and provide dental services to their population, and launched a financial impact study of serving their Dental Deserts. State-by-state solutions shouldn’t be needed.

One might hope the ACA will fix this since, after all, it’s really only an insurance/reimbursement problem, right? The ACA solution could provide ~8.7 million more children with some dental benefits, but the adult population would need to be on Medicaid to receive any dental benefits.

Even if the ACA won’t mandate dental care, the CAH program could still encourage ($) CAHs to offer dental health services similar to the CHCs. I don’t see an argument against providing dental health services at critical access hospitals. Isn’t preventative medicine fundamental in the Patient Centered Medical Home?

How HR Can Play a Strategic Role

HR, and anyone else, becomes strategic when their message trumps the other distractions and crises. Everyone knows rules are important and not getting sued is a good thing. But being strategic means moving ahead, not just preventing lawsuits. The day to day (marketing, sales, development, HR, etc) is not strategic. Think corporate growth when presenting your plan, such as hiring foreign nationals for certain roles or rotating the key management team.

When I was a manager at a Fortune 100 corporation our goal was to keep HR out of our way. After all, we had important things to do! Until something went south of course. The problem was communication. All I heard were delays and rules while the C suite was demanding results yesterday. Not surprisingly, my perspective changed when I became a business owner.

Chihuly (the glassblower) has an internship program for artists who have never worked with glass. The outside-the-box thinking and results were unparalleled.

Our football team (Go Hawks!) needs a rules guy, but the strategic players are the offensive and defensive coordinators. Until, however, the rules guy figured out how to push the envelope and create circumstances where they had a strategic advantage. The result is the NFL’s #1 defense (WSJ, Jan 10).

Being strategic is a lot like being an entrepreneur. If you have to ask, should I be an entrepreneur, then the answer is probably no. In the same way, if you have to ask, do you think I’m strategic, then you probably aren’t.

Everyone knows HR is critical to the organization’s success and needs to be in the C suite. But being strategic is a mind-set that drives your perspective and presentation.

Alzheimer’s Minimization (updated)

Alzheimer’​s is an insidious disease. It’s no wonder there are so many Caregiver Support groups, including online groups and 24×7 Helplines for those who can’t leave their patient alone. Coach Broyles’ Playbook for Alzheimer’s Caregivers is excellent.

We’ve received  two additions to our earlier post and embedded them, below, with the suggestions that have made a difference in our patient. These are not complicated or expensive, but they do take some diligence.

A summary of what we’re doing food-wise:

  1. 4-5 oz of 100% Concord grape juice in the morning with his medications to reduce brain plaque (Prevention magazine said red or purple grapes)
  2. Substitute pure coconut oil for other oils whenever possible (coconut oil idea per Dr. Oz & other sources)
  3. Snack: use 1 Tablespoon of pure coconut oil to pop 1/8 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
  4. Minimize ingestion of metals (metals found in brains of Alzheimer’s patients per Dr. Oz). Minimizing aluminum is healthy for all of us, but it’s important to note that metals are also found in medications as well as leaching from several types of cookware.
  5. Minimize meat from four-footed animals; maximize meat from 2-footed animals (birds); and have seafood at least once per week to keep cholesterol low.
  6. Vitamin E can slow Alzheimer’s decline (WSJ Jan 2, 2014)

Plus one very important general anesthesia suggestion:

  1. Don’t undergo general anesthesia unless absolutely necessary. This is often the prelude to severe symptoms of Alzheimer’s. It seems that younger people come out of the “general anesthesia fog” rather well; older people do not do as well. Have seen this happen many times. I truly wish there were more serious research into this matter!

Any more suggestions?! What’s working for you?