Tanzania gets dose of care with Lafayette flavor

A group of 15 folks from Exempla Good Samaritan Medical Center in Lafayette recently took a trip to Tanzania to visit one of Exempla’s adopted sister hospitals.

The group hand-carried huge duffel bags of medicine and equipment to a hospital in the city of Arusha, said Sandy Cavanaugh, Exempla’s vice president for community and business development. The city of 400,000 is known as the gateway for bush safaris and climbs of nearby Mount Kilimanjaro.

The hospital exchange is the latest effort in a more than eight-year program in which health-care professionals here correspond with colleagues in Tanzania, Cavanaugh said. Making such visits in person helps strengthen ties that include previous financial assistance, building projects and equipment, she said.

GHX Inc. helped FDA

Global Healthcare Exchange Inc. in Louisville stands to benefit from the Food and Drug Administration’s newly approved Unique Device Identification rule.

The rule is expected to help increase patient safety and supply-chain efficiency, said Bruce Johnson, chief executive of GHX, a supply-chain management software company which has about 370 employees locally.

If there’s a recall of a certain medical device, the new FDA rule will help companies contact patients who may have had the device implanted surgically, Johnson said. That’s a huge help in advancing patient safety in the future, he said.

GHX representatives worked directly with folks at the FDA on a pilot software for the database, Johnson said. GHX has ramped up its business-solutions consulting department – currently at about 20 people – to make sure it’s ready to help medical-device supply companies who are clients, Johnson said.

About 4,100 hospitals in North America are GHX customers, along with about 1,500 hospitals in the United Kingdom and Germany. The European Union is working on its own version of the device-identification rule, Johnson said.

Do you exercise?

Researchers at the University of Colorado-Boulder want you – but not if you exercise.

Researchers are looking for folks between the ages of 45 and 65 to participate in studies to help document whether or not exercise can help lower blood pressure.

People who want to participate cannot have heart disease and have to be willing to do a treadmill test (run on a treadmill for a certain amount of time as measured by researchers) and have their blood drawn.

Participants also can’t be taking prescription medication and can’t smoke. Specifically, the Integrative Vascular Biology Laboratory wants to determine the effects of lowering blood pressure on a person’s arteries.

Participants will receive a free analysis of their blood cholesterol, body fat and bone density levels, an assessment of their aerobic fitness and blood-vessel functions and receive a dietary analysis from a nutritionist.

To get involved in the studies, contact Jared Greiner at 303-735-4955.

Health insurance update

Here’s more in our ongoing effort to keep you informed about the federal Affordable Care Act, now commonly known as “Obamacare”:

People who work at the Colorado Division of Insurance are available to chat, if you want to discuss health-insurance plans available through the Connect for Health Colorado online marketplace (www.connectforhealthco.com). The federal health-care reform bill was passed by Congress and signed into law in 2010. It requires uninsured people to buy health insurance or face tax penalties.

An estimated 700,000 Colorado residents don’t have health insurance.

Many consumers still are questioning what exactly they have to do to meet the federal deadline on Jan. 1, according to Marguerite Salazar, the Colorado commissioner of insurance.

“We want people to understand their health insurance choices, because when consumers make better decisions, they will be better prepared when they need to use that insurance,” Salazar said in a press statement.

Consumers can call 303-894-7490 or 1-800-930-3745 to get questions answered by Division of Insurance representatives.

Nearly 45,000 people created accounts and about 3,100 purchased health-insurance plans online in October after the Connect for Health Colorado website made its debut on Oct. 1. Close to 31,000 people talked to customer-service agents.

Representatives have said their goal is to enroll at least 136,000 Colorado residents in new health-insurance plans in 2014. The program is supposed to be self-sustaining within three years of its launch, representatives have said.

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

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