Wellness roundup: Mission raises minimum wage, ACA and Medicare enrollment info available

FACES OF HEALING: While honoring four women for their courage in overcoming breast cancer and other serious health challenges, the Pardee Hospital Foundation also raised over $142,000 for health services for uninsured or underinsured women at an Oct. 18 event. Photo courtesy of Pardee Hospital Foundation

Foundation recognizes women of hope

At its 22nd annual Women Helping Women luncheon on Oct. 18, the Pardee Hospital Foundation announced this year’s Woman of Hope award recipients, each of whom has overcome a breast cancer diagnosis or other serious health challenge. Joni Mahaffey-Rauschenbach, Carolyn Collins, Tangie Justice and Sally Boyd were the honorees.

The event raised over $142,000 to help uninsured or underinsured women receive a mammogram or other important health services.

Open enrollment for health care coverage begins Nov. 1

The Affordable Care Act health care marketplace will begin accepting reenrollment of current ACA plan members and will sign up new members beginning Friday, Nov. 1, and continuing through Sunday, Dec. 15. Consumers can explore plan options and sign up at healthcare.gov.

Pisgah Legal Services will again provide free, unbiased, in-person assistance for those in need of information about insurance options and assistance with enrollment. “This year we have more capacity than ever before and are scheduling daytime, evening — even weekend — appointments,” said Shannon Cornelius, the organization’s Health Justice Program director, in a press release.

Appointments can be made online at pisgahlegal.org or by calling 828-210-3404.

The nonprofit will also offer drop-in events, including a Saturday, Nov. 2, clinic at Pisgah Legal’s Asheville location, 62 Charlotte St., 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

According to the advocacy group Get America Covered, a national poll of 300 people who are insured through the marketplace, as well as 400 people who do not have coverage, found that 84% of those with ACA plans are satisfied with their coverage. At the same time, among those who are uninsured, the survey found low levels of awareness of the enrollment period that begins Nov. 1 and of affordable options available through the ACA. A summary of the study results is available at avl.mx/6nw.

Mission raises minimum wage

Mission Health announced that it has raised its minimum wage from $11 to $12.50 an hour as of October. The move is part of a corporate change by HCA Healthcare, the Nashville-based for-profit hospital chain that acquired Mission earlier this year.

In a press release, Mission Health clarified that the changes will affect employees in its lowest-wage categories of C (new wage is $12.50 per hour); D (new wage is $12.75 per hour); and E (new wage is $13 an hour). Only employees making below the new minimum wage in each of those categories will see an increase in their hourly compensation. 

Hampton presents recovery program Nov. 5

HopeRx, a coalition to address substance use in Henderson County, presents a program with Ryan Hampton at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5, at the Blue Ridge Community College technology building.

Hampton is four years into recovery from a 10-year opioid addiction, according to a press release. A former White House staffer, he has worked with nonprofits and political campaigns and now focuses on changing the national conversation around addiction. He is also the author of American Fix: Inside the Opioid Addiction Crisis — and How to End It.

Tickets are available for $5 at avl.mx/6nr. Limited sponsorships are available. For more information, contact hoperxhc@gmail.com.

Four Seasons receives telehealth grant

Nonprofit hospice and palliative care provider Four Seasons received a two-year grant from the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality to provide telehealth services for people with serious illnesses in rural areas of Western North Carolina. 

The new grant will build on a previous pilot project and will allow for greater collaboration between pharmacists and other members of the hospice and palliative care team. Using the ADAPT Health platform, pharmacists will be able to interface with the electronic medical record to identify possible drug interactions, make prescribing recommendations and track side effects of medication.

According to a press release from Four Seasons, “The use of telehealth in hospice and palliative medicine allows patients and care teams to better communicate about health care concerns and needs and improves response times to patient needs, especially in rural areas with little access to health care options. The addition of a pharmacist to this care team is unique and one that has the potential to significantly affect care in a seriously ill population.”

State seeks consultant for women and youth involvement in WNC

The N.C. Department of Administration is seeking applicants for a human services program consultant for a multicounty region in the western part of the state. The hiring agency, the N.C. Council for Women and Youth Involvement, advises state leaders and agencies on the status and needs of women and works to improve the state’s response to domestic, family, dating and sexual violence. According to the job posting, the position is “responsible for assessing the needs of women and their families in the region and communicating those needs for the purposes of program and policy change.” More information is available at avl.mx/6ns.

New in health and wellness

  • Mission Hospital, along with other HCA Healthcare hospitals in the region, collected over 22 pounds of opiate medications during its Crush the Crisis opioid takeback day on Sept. 7. Community members participated in the event by dropping off unused and expired prescription medications. 
  • The Food and Drug Administration provides an online tool for finding drug takeback locations near you at avl.mx/6nx. Public locations accepting unneeded medications include the lobby of the Buncombe County sheriff’s substation at 339 New Leicester Highway; the lobby of the Buncombe County Courthouse, 60 Court Plaza; and the lobby of the Asheville Police Department, 100 Court Plaza.
  • Many retail pharmacies also offer a drugtake back service. Asheville Discount Pharmacy provides a locked deposit for unneeded medication at 76 Patton Ave.
  • Givens Communities, a collection of nonprofit senior living communities in Western North Carolina, provided its team members with a three-month training program in LGBT cultural competency through SAGECare. Givens obtained a platinum-level credential, the highest available from SAGECare.
  • Dr. Benjamin Doolittle, a board-certified family medicine physician, joined Pardee Mills River Family Health Center, 156 Cross Road Drive in Mills River.
  • Cassidy Ford joined AdventHealth Medical Group Family Medicine at Black Mountain, formerly known as Parkway Medical Group Black Mountain. She is a familiar face to many there, having worked as a medical assistant with Dr. Robert Barker at this office for three years prior to becoming a certified physician assistant.
  • Physician assistant Adalie Padgett joined the AdventHealth Medical Group Hospitalists at Hendersonville.
  • Blue Ridge Health was awarded a $650,000 New Access Point grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration to open a new community health center, Blue Ridge Health — Swain, in Bryson City.

Buncombe Council on Aging offers Medicare classes

The Council on Aging of Buncombe County, in conjunction with the N.C. Department of Insurance’s Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program, is offering classes on Medicare enrollment, how to avoid penalties and ways to save money.

The classes are free and open to the public and are appropriate for those who are new to Medicare, caregivers and others who help senior citizens. The information presented is unbiased and accurate, and no products are sold, recommended or endorsed.

Programs will be held:

  • Friday, Nov. 15, 2-4 p.m. at Goodwill, 1616 Patton Ave., Asheville.
  • Wednesday, ​Nov. 20, 2-4 p.m. at Blue Ridge Health, 2579 Chimney Rock Road, Hendersonville.
  • Friday, Dec. 13, 2-4 p.m. at Goodwill, 1616 Patton Ave., Asheville.

To register, visit coabc.org or call the Council on Aging at 828-277-8288.

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