BCH part of national cancer-prevention study

The American Cancer Society wants you.

If you’re between the ages of 30 and 65 and never have been diagnosed with cancer, you can volunteer to be part of a historic cancer-prevention study.

Up to 500,000 people across the United States can enroll to help researchers better understand what roles lifestyle, environment and genetics play in causing or preventing cancer.

Boulder Community Hospital is leading the charge to get people enrolled locally.

Go to the hospital at 1100 Balsam Ave. in Boulder from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13, for a half-hour sign-up visit. Other sessions are planned from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14, at Community Medical Center, 1000 W. South Boulder Road, Lafayette, and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, at the Tebo Family Medical Pavilion of the Foothills campus, 4715 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder.

Volunteers will sign a consent form, complete a brief survey, have their waists measured and give blood samples. They’ll also fill out periodic follow-up surveys.

Previous studies started in the 1950s confirmed the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. Studies also showed links between larger waist sizes and increased death rates from cancer and other causes. They also showed the impact of air pollution on heart and lung conditions.

For more information, go online at cancer.org/cps3 or call 1-888-604-5888.

One-stop shopping

Lafayette-based Clinica Family Health Services offers “integrative care,” meaning that you can see a therapist when you go for a doctor visit even if you only booked an appointment for a bum knee.

It sounds simple, but it’s more on the cutting edge of patient treatment than you think.

Less than 5 percent of local health providers offer such services, said Laird Cagan, a former president of the Boulder County Medical Society and a doctor at Frontier Internal Medicine in Longmont.

With the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed by Congress in 2010, more integrative care is expected in the coming years, according to Cagan and others in the industry. Now known as “Obamacare,” the health-care reform law is aimed at lowering the cost of health care and lowering the number of uninsured Americans.

One of the law’s new buzzwords is “patient-centered medical home.” When doctors and clinics get incentives to offer such “home” services in the future, patients who go to a doctor for a physical might also be able to see a nutritionist — or could get stop-smoking tips during a visit to get a flu shot.

Most small practices have yet to implement such services, although there’s a lot of talk in the industry about what will come next, Cagan said.

‘Pay or play’

Under the new health-care reform law, companies with at least 50 workers must provide health insurance to all employees who work at least 30 hours per week, starting in 2014.

The “pay or play” provision could have big implications for the local economy, according to Denise Dougherty, director of employee benefits at Taggart & Associates Inc., doing business as Taggart Insurance in Boulder.

“A lot of those companies are going to be forced to cut hours,” Dougherty said at a recent health-care roundtable event sponsored by the Boulder County Business Report.

Help with Medicare

Need help deciding what to do about your Medicare insurance? A free state program can help.

If you’re enrolled in Medicare and want to change to a different plan, you must make a decision by Dec. 7. Open enrollment for prescription plans and Medicare Advantage plans also runs through Dec. 7.

Call the Colorado Division of Insurance’s State Health Insurance Assistance Program at 1-888-696-7213, or call Medicare directly at 1-800-633-4227.

Watch out for scams, too. Legitimate insurance carriers do not sell insurance plans door-to-door, according to the division. Contacting you by phone is inappropriate, too, unless you requested it or already are a carrier’s customer.

Beth Potter may be reached at 303-630-1944 or bpotter@bcbr.com.

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