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Healthy Living for Healthy Life

HYDERABAD : On the occasion of World Heart Day, Apollo Hospitals launched a novel programme called the ‘Healthy Heart Challenge’. As a part of the program people were encouraged to undergo complete screening and those suffering with heart ailments will suggested lifestyle modifications and appropriate management methods. The unique feature of this programme is that if a person certified by the hospital as healthy, suffers a heart attack during the year, Apollo Hospitals will treat him for free.

The programme is being introduced to increase awareness and to educate the community that heart diseases are preventable. The hospitals also organised  Healthy Heart walk from it Hyderguda branch to Basheerbagh flyover to mark the World Heart Day.  Dr. Surya Prakash Rao, head of department of Cardiology, Apollo Hospitals, Hyderguda, said 80 per cent of premature deaths from heart disease could be avoided if risk factors like unhealthy diet,   physical inactivity and tobacco usage could be controlled. He  added that in the last two decades the cardiac patients’ profile has changed for worse.

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Opinion: Little changes can contribute to healthy living

It’s 1 p.m. on a Saturday. It’s raining outside. I’m sitting alone in the corner of the Burbank Drive Taco Bell.

I’ve counted all the times I’ve sworn I would never come back here, traded them in at the local “If I Had A Nickel” machine and spent my earnings on a chalupa meal.

Wrappers are rapidly being made into balls and dropped on the table. Sour cream is dripping onto the tray and swiftly absorbed by too-thin napkins. My stomach is rumbling, gradually reaching its point of saturation with regret.

As I stumble outside, I ring the bell and whisper something about this actually being the last time.

College students have to balance school, work and our shams of relationships on a daily basis. As if that wasn’t enough, every few days we’re reminded of our poor health by accidentally catching glimpses at the caloric information of the box-dinners we’ve been eating for dinner every night of the last month.

It had vegetables in it — it was supposed to be healthy!

We all, at least nominally, want to be healthy. But not many of us are willing to put the work into it.

In an ideal world, we would all be washing our apple slices down with three-times-purified water from our springs of choice. Unfortunately, we happen to live in an imperfect world — one of short lines, value menus and center-console change.

A 2013 study by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy Obesity found that fast food companies poured a whopping (pun intended) $4.6 billion into advertising in 2012. That’s a good few hours at your campus job, even on holiday pay.

But surely those petty endorsement methods don’t work on us educated college kids, right?

Picture this. You’re walking through the Student Union between your two most difficult classes and you notice the perfectly yellow cheese hanging out of the Big Mac. The divinely syrup-like ketchup. The real-meat-looking patty.

As tempting as it may be to get in line, take your number and chow down, think about the last time you did so. Think about the sounds your stomach was made and the disgusted looks from your classmates.

Maybe you would be better to wait out the extra hour for that sandwich at home.

Fine, maybe we eat unhealthily, but it’s still okay as long as we exercise, isn’t it?

Sadly, health doesn’t really work that way. You can’t just cancel out a McDonald’s meal with a guilty conscience and a few jumping jacks.

But let’s just say you could.

A lot of us are so busy we can’t even remember our own names most of the time. Are you really going to run a mile at 2 a.m. after coming to terms with the fact that you’re going to fail your test today?

Probably not. But maybe you could fit a few UREC visits in on your downtime on campus. It is there for a reason.

All right, now let’s talk about the big one: alcohol.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, in a 2012 study, 24.6% of people 18 or older said they had binge drank in the past month. This might be fun while you’re consuming Buffalo Wild Wings by the ton, flooding into Tiger Stadium or flopping off the night bus to your favorite bar.

But how about the next morning?

You may not like it, but your liver is, hopefully, there to stay. So maybe next game day you should do it and yourself a favor by switching to water a little earlier than usual.

The odds, as well as the dollar-off burger coupons, may be stacked against us. But we can prevail. Take some time out of your day to think about what you can do to improve your well-being. And then actually do it.

I’ll be working alongside you in a minute. I just have to throw away this bag of chips first.

Ryan Monk is a 21-year-old chemical engineering senior from Lake Charles, Louisiana. You can reach him on Twitter @RyanMonkTDR.

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Diabetes Prevention Program Offers Knowledge For Living Healthy

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) - Diabetes is reaching epidemic levels in the United States. Right now 29 million people are living with diabetes, and another 86 million have what’s called pre-diabetes.

Pre-diabetes is when a person’s blood sugar levels are high but have not reached the threshold for diabetes. Most people with pre-diabetes are likely to develop diabetes within six years.

“I have three siblings who have diabetes. Me and my brother don’t,” Samuel Jenkins said.

Jenkins doesn’t even have pre-diabetes, but he signed up for the Diabetes Prevention Program anyway.

“I just wanted it for the education factor,” Jenkins told CBS4.

Jenkins says he didn’t just get an education; he got the key to healthy living.

“Fat grams and calories… those are the two things,” Jenkins said with a laugh.

The 16-week class focused around logging everything he ate and all his activity minutes. Jenkins adopted a Husky names Fire that he walks three times a day, every day. He credits Fire with getting him moving again, and he credits the food logs for making him accountable in his diet.

“We had to write down what we ate. So if you ate the chocolate cake, you had to put it down. So we had to be accountable,” Jenkins explained.

Lisa Quintana teaches that accountability. She’s one of the lifestyle coaches who teaches the Diabetes Prevention Program.

“It’s all about food intake and your activity,” Quintana told CBS4.

She says that participants in the class come away with a whole new way of looking at food.

“They can look at food and they know… it’s just going to come automatic for them… how many fat grams is in that hamburger,” Quintana said.

She says one of the big problems that most people face in their daily diet is that they’re not aware of how many fat grams and calories they’re actually eating. When Jenkins became aware, he made a few changes in how much he eats and upped his activity minutes by walking his dog. He was able to lost 25 pounds during the course of the program.

“I haven’t been under 200 pounds since 1996,” Jenkins said.

LINK: Diabetes Prevention Program

- Written for by Special Projects Producer Libby Smith

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Durga Puja 2014 — 10 diet tips to make it healthy

Durga_PujaDurga Puja is one of the most awaited and biggest festivals of eastern India. It is that time of the year when people do not cook food at home and relish traditional Bengali fare at the various pandals and stalls they visit. Though these dishes are scrumptious, they certainly increase your calorie count, not to forget the deep-fried and rich dishes you get at these stalls. While it is unavoidable to eat healthy food during this festive time, certain modifications and tips can still keep you on the healthy track. Here are a few ways to ensure this. 

Eat smart: Friends and family may try to force you to eat, but whenever you face such a situation, eat small portions. If you are tempted to stuff yourself with delicacies, make sure that you cut down on other sources of calories. Try and drink your tea with less sugar or eat one chapatti  less or perhaps reduce the intake of rice.

Go easy on sweets: Bengali desserts are difficult to say no to but if you are on a weight loss diet, make sure you keep a tab on the number of roshogullas or sandesh you eat. Make sure you do not eat more than one or two. If there is an option, opt for sugar-free sweets. 

Take a small plate: You tend to eat less when you serve yourself in smaller plates. Seeing a plate full of food tricks your mind into thinking that there is a lot of food in front of you. Even smaller glasses, bowls, and spoons can help you cut down on the quantity of unhealthy food items.

Avoid fizzy drinks: Soft drinks may please your taste-buds but it does a lot of harm to your body. Carbonated drinks are high on unhealthy fats like trans fats. They also contain a lot of added sugar and are definitely a bad option for people who are diabetic or obese. Instead, replace them with healthy drinks like nimbu paani and coconut water to quench your thirst. 

Don’t skip your exercise: You should always have time for exercise even in the festive season. Try and squeeze in at least 30 minutes’ time for yourself and do some running, or hit the gym, practise yoga or continue with your workout at home. Exercising will help you stay fit and aid in burning those extra calories you are consuming.

Drink loads of water: Drinking plenty of water will help you flush out the toxins from your body. It is necessary that the body receives its much-needed dose of minerals from water. Drink sufficient amount of water first thing in the morning. 

Eat green leafy vegetables: Make sure to add green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, broccoli and spinach in at least one of your meals. They are rich sources of fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals. The fibre in vegetables makes you feel fuller for a longer time and keeps hunger pangs at bay. It is a good idea to have a bowl of salad in the morning before you step out for the day. 

Eat before you leave home:  When you leave home without eating anything, you are likely to eat more as you will be hungry. But if you have a small snack or a small meal before you step out, you will eat relativity lesser than usual. So eat a fruit or a healthy sandwich before you go out to see the pandals.

Choose the lesser evil: If you are unable to find any healthy options at these stalls, you should eat the one which is the least fattening of all. The khichdi offered is quite healthy and you can eat more of this without guilt. 

Eat more during the day: You are likely to be out the entire day during Durga Puja. In order to ration out your meals in a healthy way, make sure you eat the heavy dishes in the morning and keep the lighter ones for the evening. This because your body will use the fat and energy from them during the day but it will be difficult to digest heavy food as the day progresses. 

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New Vitality Health Foods, Inc. Provides Important Health Tips Discussed at … – Virtual

New Vitality Health Foods, Inc. shares tips on how to effectively address a range of current health topics covered at a recent seminar.

Orland Park, Illinois (PRWEB) September 30, 2014

1. Why are some celiacs sensitive to dairy?

The same intestinal villi that process the gluten also process the dairy. Celiacs who eat gluten become [lactose/casein intolerant after the villi and microvilli in their small intestine become damaged. As a result, they are no longer able to catch and break down the lactose/casein molecule, which in turn causes a dairy sensitivity. Also, a person can have casein antibodies.

2. What are your recommendations for [sub-clinical hypothyroid in terms of diet, lifestyle and supplements?

Diet: Today’s modern diet is filled with an overconsumption of sugars and refined carbohydrates that can lead to increased inflammation in the body. Avoiding wheat and gluten is an important dietary change to make. Hashimoto’s and graves diseases are both diseases of the thyroid and autoimmune in nature. It is essential to follow a wheat free, gluten free diet when managing the symptoms associated with autoimmune diseases.

Lifestyle: Proper sleep habits, as well as a regular exercise routine are beneficial.

Important thyroid supplements:

1.    Selenium: If selenium is low, the thyroid will have do its best to work harder to make it’s hormones, and the body will also have a more difficult job changing those hormones into a form your cells can use. This happens because selenium is a chief component of the molecules, which are necessary for your body to be able to create and use thyroid hormones, called seleno-proteins.

2.    Iodine: The problems which selenium deficiency can cause are made more serious when another key nutrient, iodine, is low as well. Selenium is crucial in aiding the body to recycle iodine. A selenium deficiency coupled with an iodine deficiency is likely to lead to thyroid imbalance. Iodine is an element that is needed for the production of thyroid hormone. The body does not make iodine, so it is an essential part of your diet. If a person does not have enough iodine in their body, they cannot make enough thyroid hormone.

3.     L-Tyrosine: Too little L-tyrosine, a critical amino acid, limits the amount of thyroid hormones the body can make. Taking L-tyrosine supplements can kick start a sluggish thyroid

4.     Guggul: Guggul supplements have the ability to regulate thyroid function and improve hypothyroidism. Gugguisterones, found in guggul, have the ability to increase the output of the thyroid gland and stimulate the conversion of the T4 thyroid hormone into its more active T3 form. This can help increase metabolism and burn fat. [ProVitality Thyroid Energy is supplement that offers a broad spectrum of benefits.

3. What do you recommend for perimenoposal woman who experience mood swings great tenderness monthly?

Chaste Berry (Vitex): Both extensive clinical studies, as well as over two thousand years of use in folk medicine, have proven the effectiveness of this remedy. It works by stimulating and normalizing the pituitary gland, which regulates the balance of estrogen and progesterone in the body.

In a normal menstrual cycle, estrogen is higher before ovulation and progesterone is higher after. Many women don’t realize that an imbalance of these hormones can lead to the entire range of symptoms associated with PMS and menopause! Vitex usually has the effect of enhancing progesterone and decreasing estrogen levels.

Vitex itself has none of the hormonal building blocks that many of the medicinal plants used for the reproductive system contain. Instead, this herb nourishes and supports the endocrine system to find its own balance. Almost all of symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle can be treated with this plant. It is the single best herb for treating the many possible symptoms of PMS: cramps, flooding, headaches, depression, water retention, constipation, acne, breast tenderness, and irritability.

Like all herbs, Vitex works best when combined with a lifestyle that includes pure water, whole food, gentle exercise, and plenty of self-love. Vitex is a slow-acting herb. New Vitality Health Foods, Inc. recommends allowing three full cycles for the plant to really work its magic.

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3 tips for following low-carb diets


Doesn’t it seem like a new fad diet pops up every day? One may think that we would eventually run out of food combinations, but new trends just keep emerging. Many of them are variations on the same core principles and any way you cut it, low-carb and low-fat diets are still all the rage. But do they work?

A small study published this month in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine found that obese adults assigned to a low-carbohydrate diet lost more weight over a year than those on a low-fat plan. It is important to note, though, that this study excluded exercise. In fact, the study’s participants were not permitted to exercise during the one-year period, so a true comparison could be made between the two diets alone. But carbohydrates act as fuel for the body, so adding exercise to the mix may have drastically changed the outcome.

Before you jump on the low-carb bandwagon, you should know that following a low-carb diet may impact your sleep patterns. People on a very low carbohydrate diet may spend less time in deep, REM sleep compared with those who eat more carbs, according to a 2008 study in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience. The study only followed participants for 48 hours, so the longer-term effects remain unclear, but the findings do suggest that sleep is affected in the short term by eating a low-carb diet.

This study serves as a reminder that weight loss does not necessarily equate to optimal health. And even the term “low-carb” can refer to a myriad of diets from an Atkins-style bacon fest to a more balanced diet that includes a variety of vegetables. [7 Biggest Diet Myths]

If you want to take advantage of the weight-loss benefits of a low-carb diet, but still consume a balanced diet, here are three tips to consider:

1. Be wary of exclusions. There’s no danger in excluding things like MSG or hydrogenated fats from your diet, but if a diet recommends completely excluding a certain food group, proceed with caution.

2. Remember that all carbohydrates aren’t the enemy.When you hear someone say that carbs make them fat, they are probably talking about things like white flour and sugar. Vegetables also contain certain forms of carbohydrates, and they contain a great deal of vitamins and minerals that the body needs.

3. Evaluate your progress frequently.Are you hungry all the time? Grouchy or sleep deprived? When you start eating healthier, you should also start feeling better. If you aren’t, the diet that you are following may not be the best fit for you. Don’t fall into the trap of getting stuck on a diet just because you’re losing weight. You should also be feeling well.

Healthy Bites appears weekly on Live Science. Deborah Herlax Enos is a certified nutritionist and a coach and weight loss expert in the Seattle area with more than 20 years of experience. Follow her on Twitter@1minwellness, and read more tips on her blog, Health in a Hurry!

Copyright 2014 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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23 health and wellness apps that connect to Apple’s HealthKit

HealthKitThis week several companies announced that their apps now integrate with Apple’s new Health app, which is preloaded on all new iOS devices and any Apple device that downloads the new iOS 8 operating system.

Apple’s HealthKit platform, which feeds health and wellness data from third party devices and apps into its consumer-facing app, called Health, had an initial rocky launch last week when the company said it would delay its launch because of a bug in iOS 8. Since then, the company has published a list in its AppStore featuring 16 “handpicked” apps that were recently updated to integrate with HealthKit.

Several other apps that weren’t included on Apple’s list have also announced HealthKit integrations. Here’s a list of 23 apps that integrate data with HealthKit. 

Sixteen apps featured in Apple’s Health collection:

Centered (Free) – Insurance company Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), which offers insurance plans to residents of Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, launched this app last week. Centered is HCSC’s first wellness app for its members. The app focuses on activity tracking and meditation. Centered will display a daily summary of calories burned, miles walked, and time spent being active every day, but it also offers meditation sessions for users to complete every week that range from four to 19 minutes. The app will send users tips on how to have a successful meditation session and provide them with a history of meditation sessions completed. The steps data will come from the passive tracker embedded in Apple’s Health app.

UP by Jawbone (Free) – Jawbone launched this standalone UP app that will allow smartphone owners who do not own Jawbone devices to track their fitness, nutrition and sleep. This data will instead come from other devices and apps via HealthKit and the Health app. A Jawbone spokesperson recently stressed to MobiHealthNews that this was not a move away from hardware for Jawbone, and that, in fact, there is a new wearable device in the works for the company’s product pipeline. The company sees the standalone app as a way for potential users to try Jawbone’s offerings out before they buy one of their devices.

FitStar Personal Trainer (Free) — This app, which offers users fitness videos, announced this week that the number of calories its users burned from its workout videos would be fed into Apple’s Health app via HealthKit.

Calorie Counter Diet Tracker (Free) — MyFitnessPal’s Calorie Counted and Diet Tracker helps users log their daily food intake. The app offers a database of more than 40,000 foods. Now through the HealthKit integration, users can add their meal summaries, sync their weight, and add exercises to Health. The app will also collect weight data if the user chooses to track it in the Health app.

Human (Free) — Health tracker app Human encourages users to be active for 30 minutes or more every day. The app automatically detects activity including when a user walks, runs, dances or bikes. This data will be fed into Health.

Noom Coach: Weight Loss (Free) — Noom has developed several apps that help consumers stay fit, but has so far integrated Noom Coach with HealthKit. Noom Coach, formerly Noom Weight Loss, tracks diet and exercise, but also offers users a virtual coach, which assigns the user educational articles and challenges associated with his or her daily schedule. With the Health app integration, calorie burn data from other devices will be synced with Noom so the app provides users with accurate calorie estimates. The startup joined the New York Digital Health Accelerator in July 2014.

Run with MapMyRun+ ($2.99) — MapMyRun tracks pace, distance, calories, and time for runners and sends them audio updates while they are running. The app tracks a run in the background so users can listen to music or take calls while working out. This data will also be integrated into Health.

Yummly Recipes (Free) — This app offers users a recipe database in which they can save recipes, share recipes, and receive recommendations based on their recipe choices. Users can search for recipes by holiday, cuisine, taste, diet, nutrition, allergy, cook time, and technique. Yummly will send nutritional data to the Health app with the exact number of servings the user ate.

Fitnet Personal Fitness Workouts (Free) – Fitnet’s iOS app offers users guided workouts that range from cardio and strength training to yoga classes. All classes are five minutes and when the workout is completed users can choose another workout or select the three-minute cool down option. Users can share data tracked during the workouts with Health. The company raised $1.4 million in April. In July, the company began its first clinical pilot, a collaboration with the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC) sponsored by a $15,000 grant from Mozilla. Fitnet worked with eight families in KUMC’s Health Hawks childhood obesity program.

MotionX 24/7 ($0.99) — The app tracks users’ sleep to help them wake up at an optimum time during their sleep cycle so that they will feel refreshed when they wake up. According to the company, its app is within 95 percent accuracy of professional sleep monitors used in sleep clinics. The app will send sleep data to Health.

Carrot Fit ($2.99) — The app includes a snarky female-voiced artificial intelligence (AI) who will cheer the user on when he or she loses weight, but berate him or her for weight gains. In most ways, the app is a straightforward weight tracking app. Users enter their weight manually and the app tracks it on a graph, and also calculates the user’s BMI and allows the user to enter weight loss goals. Carrot will remind users to enter their weight, and will “pass judgment” once they do, either with silly rewards or mocking aspersions. The app also features a cartoon avatar that will change to reflect the user’s weight. With the new HealthKit integration, Carrot will send weight and workout data to Health, and the AI will also comment on and monitor activity logged in Health even if the user isn’t actively using the app.

Zova — Workouts for women (Free)– This app, which offers video-based workouts, was made exclusively for women. The video workouts are all rhythm-focused and data from the workouts is later integrated into Health.

7 Minute Workout (Free) — This app provides users with a short workout that they can do in seven minutes. The workouts are based on 12 high intensity bodyweight exercises. Each exercise is completed in 30 seconds with 10 seconds rest between exercises. Users can import calories burned data into the Health app.

Omvana – Meditation for Everyone (Free) — Omnava recommends guided recommendations based on how stressed the user is. Through the HealthKit integration, Omnava will use HealthKit data to sense the user is stressed based on their other metrics and suggest meditation exercises to complete.

WebMD (Free) – WebMD’s consumer-facing health app integrates a user’s biometric data from certain activity trackers, wireless scales, and glucose meters. While the app tracks steps, sleep, weight and blood glucose data from devices. The app’s newest feature, called Healthy Target, which now syncs with HealthKit, uses data from these various health devices to provide consumers with physician-reviewed information and health tips.

Other apps that integrated with HealthKit at its launch:

iHealth (Free) — Three of iHealth’s apps, My Vitals, My Vitals 2.0, and SpO2, as well as nine devices that connect to the apps will now share data from iHealth via HealthKit into Apple’s Health.

Lark (Free) — Lark focuses on helping people sleep better and stay fit. With the new HealthKit integration, the device will integrate motion data from the Health app to make more sense of a user’s nutrition, exercise, and stress data.

HumanaVitality (Free) — With the HealthKit integration, Humana said members will have an easier time updating the app with their health data so that they can get rewards for making healthy decisions. If Humana members link their health apps and devices to HealthKit, they can earn Vitality points when they hit fitness milestones.

AmWell (Free) — Consumers now have the option to integrate health data from HealthKit, including heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, blood glucose levels, weight, nutritional information, and respiratory rate, into video visits company American Well’s app, AmWell.

drchrono (Free) — Mobile EHR drchrono will now let patients integrate HealthKit data into their personal health record and send it to physicians.

HealthLoop (Free) – HealthLoop, which helps physicians to stay connected to their patients through mobile and web-based surveys, will now integrate with HealthKit to include device and app data when patients share information with doctors.

FitPort (Free) — This app offers users a dashboard from which to view their data. The app collects HealthKit information and displays it to the user in its own dashboard.

RunGap (Free) — RunGap collects data from several running-specific activity trackers including Garmin, Endomondo, RunKeeper, Strava, Runtastic, Polar, Suunto, and Adidas. Users can, in turn, integrate this data into HealthKit.

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Federal health officials confirm first Ebola case diagnosed in the United States



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    A police car drives past the entrance to the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. A patient in the hospital is showing signs of the Ebola virus and is being kept in strict isolation with test results pending, hospital officials said Monday.

    Photo: Lm Otero, Associated Press

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    DALLAS — A patient being treated at a Dallas hospital has tested positive for Ebola, the first case of the disease to be diagnosed in the United States, federal health officials announced Tuesday.

    Officials at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital say the unidentified patient is being kept in isolation and that the hospital is following Centers for Disease Control recommendations to keep doctors, staff and patients safe.

    The hospital had announced a day earlier that the patient’s symptoms and recent travel indicated a case of Ebola, the virus that has killed more than 3,000 people across West Africa and infected a handful of Americans who have traveled to that region.

    The CDC initially embargoed the announcement of the diagnosis until 4:30 p.m. CDT, but then lifted the embargo after several news organizations broke that restriction.

    The CDC has said 12 other people in the U.S. have been tested for Ebola since July 27. Those tests came back negative.

    Four American aid workers who have become infected while volunteering in West Africa have been treated in special isolation facilities in hospitals in Atlanta and Nebraska, and a U.S. doctor exposed to the virus in Sierra Leone is under observation in a similar facility at the National Institutes of Health.

    The U.S. has only four such isolation units but the CDC has insisted that any hospital can safely care for someone with Ebola.

    According to the CDC, Ebola symptoms can include fever, muscle pain, vomiting and bleeding, and can appear as long as 21 days after exposure to the virus.

    Jason McDonald, spokesman for the CDC, said health officials use two primary guidelines when deciding whether to test a person for the virus.

    “The first and foremost determinant is have they traveled to the region (of West Africa),” he said. The second is whether there’s been proximity to family, friends or others who’ve been exposed, he said.

    U.S. health officials have been preparing since summer in case an individual traveler arrived here unknowingly infected, telling hospitals what infection-control steps to take to prevent the virus from spreading in health facilities. People boarding planes in the outbreak zone are checked for fever, but symptoms can begin up to 21 days after exposure. Ebola isn’t contagious until symptoms begin, and it takes close contact with bodily fluids to spread.

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    Mission Health sheds 130 jobs – Asheville Citizen

    Mission Health System has cut 130 jobs but the layoffs come under a reorganization that will ultimately add more workers, CEO Ron Paulus said.

    The company next year will end up with an increase of 147 jobs to handle growth in outpatient services, he said.

    “We are reshaping our organization to meet the needs of our community in the future and there will be more caregivers at Mission next year than there are here today,” he said.

    The company will also raise prices for some laboratory services under the plan.

    The not-for-profit started reorganizing months ago with the goal of cutting $42 million in costs year-over-year and growing revenue by $10 million. That goal increased by $4.2 million this summer to cover additional staff for mental health services.

    The company operates six hospitals in Western North Carolina and ambulatory care offices with about 10,000 employees. The company expects $1.5 billion in gross revenue next year.

    Like other health systems nationwide, it is struggling with declining state and federal reimbursement rates.

    Mission also wanted to give its employees a raise next year.

    Paulus said job cuts, no matter the number, are hard “but comparing that to health systems that have laid off 1,000 people or more, or the more than 20 hospitals that have closed in the last year, we are so far ahead of the game.”

    He detailed the reorganization in an interview with the Citizen-Times on Monday. He told workers about the changes with a video message sent via email.

    Key points:

    • The company has cut 130 jobs, mostly at its main hospital where the largest percentage of people work. Fifty-five of those workers retired and 15 got new jobs at the company. Others may also end up with new jobs.

    • It will add 147 jobs to serve growth in outpatient care. The company standardized pay for duties such as being on-call across its facilities.

    • Mission will add 37 full time positions in Asheville to care for mental health patients. Mission, since June, has seen what Paulus called a “super crisis” in mental health as bed space at private facilities, and at the state hospital, continues to shrink.

    • The company has reduced malpractice and workers compensation payments by $10 million annually under a policy that acknowledges mistakes as soon as they happen and offers financial and other support services, Paulus said. He could not say what the company’s typical exposure to malpractice and workers compensation claims is on an annual basis. That kind of information is typically not public.

    • The company no longer allows its 42 executives to carry forward paid time off for a savings of $1.6 million. Employees below the executive level will still be allowed to carry forward paid time off. The company reduced the number of times staff can sell paid time off back to the company to once a year.

    • Mission expects $10 million in growth with higher volume accounting for half of that. Outpatient centers like the new Mission MyCare Plus in Biltmore Park are expected to drive growth. It is also using grants to improve revenue. The company has raised prices in some laboratory services but cut them in others. Complete blood count test, for example, will be cheaper, Paulus said.

    The healthcare sector cut 52,638 jobs nationally last year, making it second only to the financial industry in layoffs.

    In North Carolina, the industry has lost about 2,000 jobs, according to the N.C. Hospital Association, which based the estimate on media reports.

    Making staff reductions while maintaining quality care is the challenge hospitals face, said Julie Henry, vice president of communications for the association.

    “In a hospital or a hospital system, any cuts are difficult for the hospital to make because hospitals are operating so close to their margins right now anyway,” she said.

    Margins of 2 percent are not uncommon in the industry.

    Mission, under the reorganization, did not end specific services, Paulus said.

    Instead, it used what it calls “value stream mapping” to determine what was best for patients and the health of the community, Paulus said.

    He does not think patients will notice the job cuts. Regional hospitals also took cuts, he said.

    Services changes could happen in the future but “there aren’t plans to make those changes as we sit here today,” he said.

    Paulus, in his interview with the newspaper and message to employees, said the company would continuously change to become more efficient and better serve patients.

    “Our community is absolutely depending on us to get this right,” he said in his video message. “That is an incredible responsibility and a great honor.”

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