Baltimore County Now
Barbara McLean, M.D.
Chief, Bureau of Prevention, Protection, and Preparedness
Baltimore County Department of Health
Still haven’t gotten a flu shot? Think it’s too late in the season?
With all the news stories about the “mutated” strain and the effectiveness of this year’s vaccine, you may feel like it’s not necessary to get flu shot. The truth is—you should still get vaccinated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 36,000 people die, while 200,000 are hospitalized from the flu every year.
While this year’s vaccine is not a perfect match for this year’s virus, vaccination can still provide protection and might reduce severe outcomes such as hospitalization and death. Other documented benefits from flu vaccination include reductions in the length of illnesses, related doctors' visits and missed work or school.
Now I’m sure you’re doing your best to stay healthy by covering your coughs and sneezes, and keeping your hands squeaky clean, but taking a shot in the arm is still the best defense this flu season.
So are you ready to pull up your sleeve and take a shot? If so, the Baltimore County Department of Health is holding a “last call” flu vaccination clinic just for you on Saturday, January 17, from 9 a.m. until noon. The clinic will be held on the first floor of the Drumcastle Government Center at 6401 York Road, 21212. No appointment is necessary, the flu shot is free and only injectable vaccine will be offered while supplies last.
Come on, this could be your last shot to get a free flu shot. If you have not received the flu vaccine this season, remember, it’s not too late to vaccinate!
For more information, call 410-887-BCHD (2243)
Lynn McCamie, Conference Chair and Manager, Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, Baltimore County Department of Aging
One of the important trends in health care and human services is the empowerment of the individual. Increasingly, we have opportunities to take charge of our health care, our careers and our finances, rather than allowing the “experts” to dictate our choices.
How can we bring empowerment to seniors and people with disabilities?
Teaching individuals to advocate for themselves is an important way to ensure that consumers can be in charge of their lives. Social workers, case managers and other professionals can support consumers to identify their strengths and take charge of their lives rather than “doing for” them. What a refreshing change!
Whether you are a professional, a consumer or a citizen with a passion for social change, the tools you need to empower yourself or others include legislative advocacy, knowledge of the legal system, techniques to avoid fraud and scams, and hands-on tips from consumers who have transformed their lives.
Learn all of this and more at the 12th Annual Advocacy Conference “Learning from the Leaders: Models of Advocacy for Older Adults and People with Disabilities.” The conference will be held on November 13, 8:00 a.m. -4:00 p.m., at the Hunt Valley Inn at Cockeysville. This dynamic day, presented by the Baltimore County Consortium for Professional Education in the Field of Aging, offers cutting-edge presentations on topics that will equip professionals for the future. Along with the featured sessions the conference will offer a 3 hour ethics session, “Dignity of Risk; Balancing Safety and Personal Choices,” which meets the social work requirement for ethics CEUs. The entire conference offers 5 Category I CEUs for social workers. Registration is $65. For day’s agenda and registration form, go to
http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/aging/advocacyconference.html, or call 410-887-4200.
Take a welcome break, earn CEUs and learn about advocacy from inspiring leaders! Hope to see you there.
Sherry Kolbe, Manager
State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), Baltimore County Department of Aging
Is your Medicare Part D plan the best fit for you in 2015? Each year, Part D plans are permitted to change. These changes may involve the drug formularies, tier structures, premiums and/or contracts with pharmacies.
Granted, the plans sent Notification of Change letters at the end of September for 2015, but how many of us actually read them? Even if you read them, you are not able to compare your plan with others unless you go onto the Medicare Plan Finder on www.Medicare.gov.
Too overwhelming? Help is here in Baltimore County
If all of these steps seem a bit overwhelming for you or a loved one, there is help for you through Baltimore County’s State Health Insurance Assistance Program’s (SHIP) team of volunteers. Dates have been set for the SHIP team to go to twelve of the twenty senior centers. Just call SHIP, 410-887-2059, to schedule an appointment to have a one-on-one conversation with a volunteer counselor. Once a member of the team enters your drugs into the Medicare Plan Finder, you will be able to review your options to either enroll in a new plan or stay in your current plan. You will be able to leave this meeting with a sense of satisfaction knowing you are in the best plan for your current drug list for 2015.
Do you qualify for financial assistance?
Counselors will also assess if you eligible for financial assistance to help pay for your Part D premium and or drug co-pays. Too many Medicare beneficiaries are eligible for assistance and may never have heard of the programs or think they are over-scale. Let the SHIP team share with you the details of programs that may help to save you money