What the Experts Say

Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 

How to Report Side Effects from Your Vaccine.  After receiving a vaccination, it’s possible you want to ask the CDC if your body’s response is normal. Use the CDC’s V-Safe Check-in Tool anytime after you receive the first vaccination. Link below to get started:

CDC V-Safe Health Check-in

Overview of V-Safe

                     

After you register with V-Safe: you’ll get text a text message asking a series of questions about your experience and what date and type vaccine you received. Your experience matters. 

A steady stream of guidance is being released from CDC for Americans to learn about COVID-19 virus, from Centers For Disease Control. The Federal government jointly with each state’s Health Department remains the most reliable source of information, and evolving precautions as circumstances change.

CDC Best Practices for fully vaccinated people to remain safe, and stop the spread. Link here:  CDC Guidance for vaccinated individuals

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Healthcare and Vaccine Access in COVID-19 Environment

Nearly every state announced effective April 19, the eligibility of COVID-19 vaccine had been expanded to include all over the age of 16. This broad eligibility, combined with reaching the benchmark of 200 million doses given in the U.S. since January, were framed with the staggering reality that over  563,000 deaths occurred in the 12-month period ending April 2021.

While eligibility is no longer a roadblock, the truest measure of combating the coronavirus remains high rates of mass vaccinations that exceed 70% of the population.  In April, the roll-out of the long awaited single-dose vaccine by Johnson and Johnson was interrupted when reported adverse reactions required a temporary suspension. When J&J vaccinations resumed in late April, another major hurdle emerged. 

A surprising number of Americans responded to early surveys, that they did not intend to get the vaccine when it became available. Known as vaccine hesitancy, many reasons were given. Yet an underlying reality is the lower availability of vaccines in underserved communities, along with an effective outreach effort on how to obtain the vaccine.

This lack of vaccine equity, accounts for high rates virus infections, hospitalization and deaths that are disproportionately high in black and brown segments of population.  Snapshot of Virginia deaths and infections by ethnicity illustrates the impact. 

Source: Healthcare and Vaccination Access in COVID-19 Environment, published by Advocates for Citizen Access, April 2021.                

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Hospital Admissions – Know the Facts

Understand the crucial difference between Inpatient Status and Observation Status

It matters how a hospital classifies your admission status.  Decision by admitting doctor will determine what level of support for the patient is available after discharge. Admitting status determines the level of Medicare benefits, such as who pays for your rehab or other services if required. “Observation” status is often assigned when a patient goes to emergency room and later admitted to the hospital. Medicare benefits are drastically reduced if this occurs! Step up. Ask the attending physician right away: “Is patient admitted as in-patient or observation status?” AARP urges that you know your options.  Click link for the full text of AARP report. Beware Observation Status.   Source AARP report, Feb 2018

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Prepare for a Lifelong Home

Approaching the age of 50’s and above will recall these ah-ha moments.  Cozy living environments feel less friendly, as staircase to upper level bedrooms become a journey that requires  advance thinking. And major repairs surface at the most in opportune times.

Homefit Guide by AARP is an excellent tool to asses your home through new and enlightened eyes. Take a room-by-room tour of your home and the HomeFit Quiz. While downsizing is popular topic of baby boomers, this process is not quick, nor 1-size-fits-all.  In the meantime, many simple ways to  examine minor ways to assess your living environment and keep it Home Sweet Home in AARP HomeFit Guide.

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Prevention of Falls is Everyone’s Business

Why it matters. Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries! Many falls  however can be prevented. The George Mason University’s Poised program points to simple steps for prevention.  What can be done can dramatically improve quality of life, and reduce emergency room visits.  According to the CDC, people who fall are often later admitted to a long-term care facility after discharge.  Link for sharable brochure.  Source GMU POISED report: Precision Outreach Intervention Surveillance and Exercise.

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Virginia Dept. of Health on Vaccination Priorities 

Changes in the public health emergency of COVID-19 are updated frequently and reprinted from Virginia Department of Health vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine/  Follow important updates from VDH on vaccination priorities, and eligibility for vaccinations in every phase. Be ready when it’s your turn, use this trusted link.  VDH COVID-19 Vaccination Response – Updates

The mobile app  COVIDWISE, launched in December by Virginia Health Department, is available on Google Play and App Store. COVIDWISE gives up-to-date insight guidance and how to identify hot spots. Download the COVID-WISE app from VHD   

 

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Consumer Protection is Free. Grab yours.

Demand protection today from predatory student loans lenders. 

This is the era of predatory lending in the student loan industry. Predatory lending is  not a new a new story. Similar to the treacherous period of predatory mortgage lending in the early 2000’s, these practices can be tamed with consumer action and proper federal oversight.

Tasked with taming the beast in 2011, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau ultimately returned $12 billion to 29 million people who were wronged by financial institutions. Today’s target of predatory lenders is student borrowers.  But the the newly appointment head of this federal agency, has a track record that raises serious questions about conflict of interest, and outcries are gaining momentum. In particular Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Senator whose relentless efforts to create the Bureau are credited with laying the foundation for much needed federal oversight in consumer borrowing. Warren Slams as “Outrageous” the new appointee of CFPB

Today’s student loan borrowers are poised to elevate the narrative and ensure lenders are held accountable to the highest standards in fair lending practices. While lenders would like to keep their predatory practices undercover and take advantage of the change in leadership at CFPB, a number exposes have been written to keep a spotlight on them Sarah O’Brien uncovered the pattern in here article. CFPB Under Siege since 2017.

Student Loan Borrower Alert! Victimized student loan borrowers and their families are being victimized are mobilizing. One method is to grab the resources of the protection of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB), and lodge written complaints against tactics that are designed to keep borrowers underwater in debt for a lifetime. Now is the time to gain better understanding of http://www.consumerfinance.gov and its important role. Specifically, the price of higher education will not become permanent financial jeopardy for consumers. Written complaints will keep this topic in the forefront. Your direct access is here. Complaint link to CFPB.

Advocates For Citizen Access has launched a survey to compile stories of consumers who prefer another way to elevate the narrative. To complete a brief anonymous survey, request details at info@AdvocatesCA.org.