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Blue & You - Spring 2010

Gift to UAMS promotes primary care, pg. 4 Health Advantage has new Web site design, pg. 7 Dr. David on the impact of diabetes, pg. 10 Blue & You Foundation funds CPR training, pg. 18

Gift to UAMS promotes primary care, pg. 4
Health Advantage has new Web site design, pg. 7
Dr. David on the impact of diabetes, pg. 10
Blue & You Foundation funds CPR training, pg. 18

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Spring 10

A publication for the policyholders of the

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield

family of companies

• Save money through preventive

care, Page 14

• Become a fan of fitness, Page 15

• New online national doctor and

hospital directories, Page 21

Baptist Health Medical Center’s latest

Blue Distinction ® Centers of Excellence

featured on Page 8.


Charlie and Shirley Rule participate

in the SilverSneakers yoga class at

Fitness Unlimited in Benton.

on Page 22

5 Personal Health Statements

are here

18 Cleaning out your

medicine cabinet

INSIDE

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24

Out of the Blue

A noteworthy response to the Haitian disaster

Personal Health Statements are here

Certain drugs may increase bleeding in heart

attack patients

Bone-building drugs may lower risk of breast cancer

Chemical in plastics risky?

Three of a Kind: Baptist Health Medical Center

recognized for three Blue Distinction ® Centers

of Excellence

Does eating at night cause weight gain?

Lose weight The Healthy Weigh!

Are “comfort foods” really comforting?

What are comfort foods?

Cost Matters: Save money through preventive care

Become a fan of fitness!

Why do resistance exercises?

Lifelong Health with Dr. David

From the Pharmacist —

Spring cleaning: Your medicine cabinet is calling

The Doctor’s Corner

A Good Investment: The Bank of Lake Village

New online national doctor and hospital directories

Do you cringe at the memory of your teenage years?

Healthy Habits through SilverSneakers ®

Customer Service telephone numbers

Good for you

Cover photo: Baptist Health surgeon, Herbert Hahn, M.D.,

reviews an X-ray before a joint replacement procedure.

Spring 10

is published four times a year by

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield for

the company’s members, health-care

professionals and other persons

interested in health care and wellness.

Editor: Kelly Whitehorn — BNYou-Ed@arkbluecross.com

Assistant Editor: Jennifer Gordon

Designer: Gio Bruno Photographer: Chip Bayer

Contributors: Chip Bayer, Matthew Creasman, Damona Fisher, Kristy Fleming,

Trey Hankins, Heather Iacobacci-Miller, Ryan Kravitz, Kathy Luzietti and Mark

Morehead

Vice President, Communications and Product Development: Karen Raley


Out of the

Blue

A message from our

CEO and President,

Mark White

What’s next for health care reform

As I write this editorial in late February, President Barack

Obama is asking both Democrats and Republicans

to join together for a televised “health-care summit” to

begin another conversation about the future of health

care reform. The President’s agenda for this summit

includes discussion on four topics: insurance reforms,

cost containment, expanding coverage and the impact

health reform legislation will have on deficit reduction.

The President has asked for this new starting point

because the election of a Republican to the Senate took

away the Democrats’ supermajority and put health care

reform almost back to square one. Together, everyone

involved in the health-care industry must develop a balanced

and meaningful approach — an improved healthcare

system that builds on the positive aspects of our

current system.

Our stance on health care reform has not changed.

We support meaningful reform that improves access,

controls costs and improves quality. The rate of growth

in health-care cost is not sustainable in the long term.

We will support responsible changes even if it means

that we, as a health insurance company, must significantly

change the way we do business.

We support the idea that all Americans should have

access to high-quality, affordable health care. Any

reforms should address the issue of the uninsured by

offering financial assistance to those who cannot afford

insurance on their own. For those who have coverage,

we must find ways to effectively control the cost

of medical care and enhance the quality of the care

received.

Without a doubt, increasing cost is the most significant

issue facing health care. It is the primary issue,

and it must be addressed. Cost is the reason why many

Americans do not have health coverage. Cost is why

our current system is unsustainable. True reform must

first address cost. The cost of health-care services

directly impacts your health insurance cost — not the

other way around. In order to slow the growth in costs

our industry must work with consumers, employers,

physicians and hospitals to improve the system.

We must change how we pay health-care providers.

Currently, doctors and hospitals are paid for each

service they provide. We need a system in which doctors

and hospitals are paid to treat a patient’s “medical

episode” rather than each medical service provided.

Expanding health information technology (IT) in the

health-care delivery system will create a more efficient

system (and it is already included in many reform

3

Blue & You Spring 2010


proposals). We need a system that links the health plan,

the doctor, the hospital and the patient together so that

everyone has access to the information they need to

provide the best treatment for each patient and to get

their claims paid as well.

As the state’s leading health insurance provider, we

will be doing our part to improve the system in Arkansas

and make reform meaningful for everyone, regardless

of what happens in Washington, D.C. We know

that many Americans are satisfied with their insurance

and with the health care they receive, so it makes

sense to build on the system we have, not tear it down

and start again.

Like all of you, we don’t know what will happen with

health care reform. We only know that we work for you

and, on a daily basis, are thinking about what is best

for you … our members. We know that when it comes

to reform, everyone has a role to play … the public and

the private sectors need to work together along with

your input to find solutions that work for everyone.

And most importantly, we know the best way for

reform to be successful and meaningful is if we all take

responsibility for our own health. We should all invest in

our own wellness by committing to healthier lifestyles

so we can all prosper no matter what happens in the

future of health care reform.

4

A noteworthy response to the Haitian disaster

More than $34,000 — that’s how

much the employees of Arkansas

Blue Cross and Blue Shield raised for

the American Red Cross International

Response Fund (Haiti). Although the

amount may seem quite astonishing to

some, I’m not surprised.

In response to the devastating earthquake

in Haiti, our employees organized

a week-long fund-raising campaign.

They donated food, material items and

talent to raise money through activities

that included bake sales, silent auctions,

benefit luncheons, breakfasts and more.

To boost participation, the employees requested and

received donations including pizza, box lunches, breakfast

bowls, gifts, cosmetics, jewelry, movie tickets,

gift cards and other valuable items from many local

businesses.

I am continually amazed by our employees’ generosity.

Anytime there is a need or an opportunity to do

something of value for the community — whether it’s

Arkansas Blue Cross employees have a bake sale to raise funds for Haiti survivors.

just down the street or halfway around the world —

they are ‘all in.’ And, their results are always inspiring.

Raising this money took a whole lot of effort, a whole

lot of energy and a whole lot of heart. It is a privilege to

work with such an incredible team.

To honor their work, Arkansas Blue Cross donated

an additional $10,000 in matching funds, for a total of

$44,433 going to the fund.

— Mark White, CEO and president of

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Blue & You Spring 2010


Personal Health Statements

are here!

The wait is over — Arkansas Blue

Cross and Blue Shield members began

receiving the new Personal Health Statements

(PHS) in March. The PHS replaces

the traditional Explanation of Benefits

(EOB) health-care benefit statement,

which was generated every time your doctor

or hospital filed a claim.

The PHS is more comprehensive than

the EOB and designed to make claims

processing easier to understand. With the

PHS, industry terms have been rewritten

into everyday language, claims are more

clearly explained, and members will know

exactly where they are with their out-ofpocket

costs (deductibles, copayments, coinsurance

and more). The PHS also gives more information about

health benefits.

“Our members told us through focus groups that

they want to know first and foremost ‘what do I owe?’”

said Karen Raley, vice president of Communications

and Product Development. “So we’ve put this information

in red on the first page.”

In addition, a ‘Benefits at a Glance’ section has been

added so members are reminded of their health benefits.

Charts and graphs should make the information

displayed easier to understand as well.

The PHS also features:

• A better description of the discounts members

receive on their health-care services.

• Information on how to get in touch with us.

• A quick understanding of how much members

owe and to whom.

• Help in understanding the benefits members have

and how they work.

The ‘Benefits at a Glance’ section also shows members

their personal health benefits and tracks where

they are in meeting deductibles and annual coinsurance

maximums. Pharmacy information has been added, including

generic medication recommendations. Another

new feature on the PHS will be personal health messages

and reminders to get health screenings.

Members still have the option to confidentially view

their PHS electronically by signing up for a notification

e-mail through the My Blueprint member self-service

center. Then, when a new PHS is generated, members

will receive an e-mail.

The new PHS will be issued twice a month instead of

every time a claim is filed. If a member only has pharmacy

claims during a month, the PHS will be issued

quarterly.

The new PHS now is available to all Arkansas Blue

Cross members and will be available later in the year for

Health Advantage members. “We love to hear from our

members,” said Raley. “Feedback always is welcome on

how the PHS can be improved.”

5

Blue & You Spring 2010


4 In t h e Ne w s 3

6

Certain drugs may increase

bleeding in heart attack patients

Heart attack patients are treated

with a wide combination of antithrombotic

(blood clot-preventing)

drugs such as aspirin, clopidogrel

and those that reduce the action of

vitamin K. However, there has not

been much research on the safety

of these drug combinations. A new

article suggests that there may be

an increase in bleeding for patients

taking these combinations of drugs.

The medical journal, The Lancet,

states that the study, conducted

by Rikke Sorensen M.D., and colleagues,

suggests that in patients

with heart attacks, risk of hospital

admission for bleeding increased

with the number of these drugs

used. Researchers suggest that

treatment with the aforementioned

drug combinations only be used

after a complete individual risk assessment

has been conducted.

Sources: Medical News Today, The

Lancet

Bone-building drugs

may lower risk of

breast cancer

Women taking bone-building

drugs (bisphosphonates), such as

Boniva or Actonel, may be getting

an added bonus. Two recent studies

suggest that bisphosphonates may

reduce the risks of breast cancer by

one-third.

But don’t run out and ask for a

prescription just yet. Experts say

that these studies are not definitive

and additional research will need

to be done. Eric P. Winer M.D.,

a breast cancer specialist at the

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in

Boston says, “I don’t think these

studies should be used as a reason

to take a bisphosphonate to prevent

cancer.” He did say, however, “If in

fact you have osteoporosis and you

are taking these drugs, it’s possible

there is an added benefit.”

Sources: The New York Times and

medicinenet.com

Blue & You Spring 2010


4 In t h e Ne w s 3

Chemical in plastics

risky?

The chemical Bisphenol A (or BPA) is present in many hard plastic bottles

and metal-based food and beverage cans. It has been present since the

1960s, but you may have never even heard of it.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National

Institutes of Health have “some concern” about the possible effects

of BPA on unborn children, infants and young children. For

example, scratched baby bottles and cups should be thrown

away, as they can release BPA if it is present.

Currently, the FDA is continuing in-depth studies to answer

key questions and clarify the uncertainties around the

risks of BPA. In the interim, the FDA is taking reasonable

steps to reduce human exposure to BPA in the food

supply.

These steps include:

• Supporting the industry’s steps to stop producing

BPA-containing baby bottles and infant feeding cups

for the U.S. market.

• Facilitating the development of alternatives to BPA

for the linings of infant formula cans.

• Supporting efforts to replace or minimize BPA levels

in other food can linings.

The FDA does not recommend that families change

the use of infant formula or foods, as the benefit of a

stable source of good nutrition outweighs the potential

risk from BPA exposure.

7

Blue & You Spring 2010


When a hospital is recognized

as a Blue Distinction ® Center

of Excellence for a specific medical

specialty, it is worth noting. When

a hospital gains three such distinc-

8

Three of

a Kind

Baptist Health

Medical Center

recognized for

three Blue

Distinction

Centers of

Excellence

tions, like Baptist Health Medical

Center in Little Rock, it is worth

stopping and taking a closer look.

Baptist Health has been a Blue

Distinction Center for Cardiac Care

for more than a year, but it also is

now a Blue Distinction Center for

spine surgery and for hip and knee

replacement. Just what is going on

at Baptist Health Medical Center to

promote such excellent care?

“I think our success here at

Baptist Health is due to a combination

of things,” said Doug Weeks,

senior vice-president and administrator

of Baptist Health Medical

Center in Little Rock. “Our excellent

doctors and our compassionate

caregivers combined with the

latest technology and surgical approaches

have helped us remain as

Arkansas’ most preferred healthcare

provider.”

What is a Blue Distinction

Center?

Blue Distinction Centers of

Excellence must meet high quality

standards established by an expert

Jason Tullis, M.D., a

spine neurosurgeon

with Baptist Health

Medical Center.

panel of physicians, surgeons and

other health-care professionals.

When a hospital has been desig-

Blue & You Spring 2010


nated a Blue Distinction Center, you know they have he was walking, with the help of a walker, down the

expertise in that specialty, that they focus on quality hall! How was that possible?

and that they have a history of patients with positive Dr. Hahn explained that the team of Baptist Health

outcomes. Hospitals provide care differently, and the and OrthoArkansas has worked for years together in

Blue Cross system has created a process where hospitals

can demonstrate their expertise.

entire program from admissions to discharge, allow-

refining joint replacement protocols and integrating the

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield recognized ing the staff to provide efficient, optimum care. “What

Baptist Health’s cardiac care program in its spring 2009 makes this work is the people,” Dr. Hahn said. “Baptist

issue of Blue & You. Let’s take a look at the newly has attracted quality people across the spectrum

recognized areas of hip and knee replacement and of care.”

spine surgery.

There are potential serious complications with joint

replacements, particularly blood clots in the deep veins

Hip/Knee Replacement

of the legs or pelvis (thrombosis) and blocked artery in

Rocky Hodges knows a thing or two about surgery.

the lungs caused by a blood clot (pulmonary emboli). To

Not only is he a registered nurse, he’s been the director

of peri-operative services at Baptist Health Medical

avoid complications, Dr. Hahn said the hip/knee team is

aggressive at getting a patient up and moving as soon

Center in Little Rock for 11 years, overseeing everything

as possible after surgery. The movement keeps blood

from pre-op to recovery. So when it was his turn to be a

clots from forming, and it gives the patient a “sense of

patient, he wanted everything to go perfectly. He could

self, so they don’t think of themselves as crippled.” In

have chosen any hospital, but knowing the quality of

order to keep the pain to a minimum, the surgery site

care he saw day to day, “I wouldn’t have had this done

is bathed in a long-acting anesthetic. Dr. Hahn said that

anywhere else.”

allows the patient to wake up and become active and

In February 2009, Rocky, 56, started to have

trouble with his right hip, a real problem for

someone in such a fast-paced work environment.

By June, he was in constant pain and it

was obvious he needed medical intervention.

Through OrthoArkansas, Rocky was diagnosed

with a cartilage tear and arthritis in the hip joint.

More conservative types of treatment were

tried and exhausted, but by December Rocky

was still limping and an X-ray proved what he

already suspected — he needed a total joint

replacement.

Rocky chose Herbert Hahn, M.D., to do the

surgery on Jan. 6, 2010. The surgery began at 7:30 a.m.

and by 10 a.m. he was in his hospital room. By 3 p.m.

Herbert Hahn, M.D., and Jason Tullis, M.D.

allows the medical team to stay “ahead of the pain.”

“It didn’t hold any fear for me,” Rocky said thinking

back on it, adding that “Dr. Hahn is excellent and my

9

Blue & You Spring 2010


10

Rocky Hodges works

with his therapist,

Melissa Harklay.

staff is the best.” He has been working with a therapist

at home, working to remove the limp that has affected

his gait for more than a year. When it came to being

a patient, Rocky said he knew he wouldn’t get preferential

treatment at

“Dr. Hahn is excellent and

Baptist, though the

my staff is the best,” said

conversations were

Rocky Hodges.

a bit different. However,

being an employee does have its perks — he got

a copy of his X-ray on his smart phone!

Spine Surgery

Cindy Mahan loves technology. As a mathematics

and physical science teacher at Riverview High School

in Searcy, she is always looking for new tools in order

to present information to her students. So when her

back pain became intolerable, she was delighted to

receive the latest technology through Baptist Health

Medical Center.

For at least 30 years, Cindy suffered with back pain

without knowing why. She went to several doctors

without diagnosis. By February 2008, at 57 years old,

she was still teaching, but her legs were going numb

and she had to sit as she taught her classes. She was

slowly losing the ability to do the work she loved.

Cindy’s primary care physician suggested she visit

with Jason Tullis, M.D., a spine neurosurgeon with

Baptist Health Medical Center who had begun doing

consultations in Searcy. “The first tests he did … he

didn’t find a lot,” Cindy said of Dr. Tullis, “but that’s what

makes him different. He was extremely compassionate

and realized there was more to this problem.”

Finally, an MRI and CT scan picked up what years of

X-rays had not. Cindy had a vertebra that was repeatedly

fracturing and healing. Cindy and Dr. Tullis discussed

the situation and determined that she needed surgery

to finally give her lower back the support it needed.

Cindy was concerned that the surgery would be

intrusive and take a long time to heal, taking her away

from the classroom, but Dr. Tullis put her mind at ease.

Using the latest technology and years of experience,

he was able to adapt techniques to create a surgical

plan just for Cindy. “Every surgery is modified to each

patient. Everyone is different,” he said.

Dr. Tullis said the Neurosurgical Spine Center at

Baptist Health recognizes that not only is the spine the

basis of support for the entire body, it also is a conduit

that sends information throughout the body. He said

that while some surgeons may sub-specialize, he has a

holistic view of how the spine functions and works on

Blue & You Spring 2010


issues varying from structural issues, to damage to the school year when her activity loosened a screw that

spinal tissue to tumors, from the base of the spine all had to be removed. “My husband said his hardest job

the way up into the head.

was stopping me from doing too much.”

Dr. Tullis said spine neurosurgeons

have to be dedicated to solving problems

and must have honest conversations

with their patients, balancing the

treatment options and risks with the

intensity of the disease. While some

people may heal over time from back

injuries, others may lose their careers

or risk nerve damage by letting a

condition continue. The Neurosurgical

Spine Center at Baptist Health

Cindy Mahan instructs

one of her mathematics

students, Tevin Larry, at

combines the latest technology with a

Riverview High School

team of dedicated surgeons and support

staff, making it a Blue Distinction

in Searcy.

Cindy’s surgery was scheduled a few days after Center of Excellence.

school let out for the summer. She said Dr. Tullis made

Find your Blue Distinction Center of

two, two-inch incisions to support her spine with rods

Excellence

and screws. By moving “[Dr. Tullis]

For Rocky and Cindy, Baptist Health has renewed

the muscle instead of was extremely

their lives and livelihoods. If you are looking for a hospital

with a Blue Distinction designation, go to our Web

cutting, he reduced her

compassionate and

pain and healing. While

realized there was more sites and visit our “Members” section. We do the work

in surgery, Dr. Tullis discovered

another cause

to this problem,” said for you, so you can be assured you are receiving the

Cindy Mahan. best care possible.

of Cindy’s back issues

— a vertebra had not formed properly at birth, creating

weakness. “Three days later I was comfortably walking

down the hall at the hospital and they let me go home,”

she said.

Cindy said she was determined to be

ready to teach when school started again. Go to Blue & You Online on our Arkansas

She had to go to a teaching in-service six Blue Cross and Health Advantage Web sites

weeks after the surgery and was fine.

for more on our Blue Distinction Centers.

She did suffer a small setback during the

11

Blue & You Spring 2010


12

Does eating at night cause

weight gain?

Is it really true that a midnight snack will pile up around your middle

more quickly than if you had eaten it hours earlier?

The reasoning behind this belief is this: All those calories enter your

system right before you go to bed. While sleeping, those calories build

into fat instead of burning off because you are not being active. And,

while that seems to make sense, the truth is that this belief is largely

a myth.

The fact is your body burns fat even while you sleep. The secret to

avoiding weight gain is a simple matter of mathematics. Burn the calories

you consume. If you take in more calories than you burn off you

will gain weight, regardless of when you take in those calories.

Or, to put it simply, eat less, exercise more and do it for the rest of

your life.

Lose

weight

The Healthy

Weigh!

The Healthy Weigh! Education

Program is free for members of

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield,

Health Advantage (except state and

public school employees*), Blue Cross

and Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan

(Federal Employee Program), Medi-Pak

Advantage (PFFS) and eligible members

of BlueAdvantage Administrators

of Arkansas.

To enroll, complete the attached

enrollment form and return it in the

self-addressed, postage-paid envelope

included in this magazine. The program

starts when you enroll.

After enrollment, you will begin to

receive information through the mail,

which you can read in the privacy of

your own home and at your own pace.

The program is completely voluntary,

and you may leave the program at any

time. If you have further questions

about the program, call the Health

Education Program’s toll-free number

at 1-800-686-2609.

* Our state and public school members can

access the “Nourish” program through

Life Synch.

Simply complete, sign and return the

attached enrollment form in the selfaddressed,

postage-paid envelope.

Blue & You Spring 2010


Are “comfort foods” really

comforting?

When you are

a little stressed,

do you long for

your mom’s

homemade

pancakes dripping

with maple syrup?

Or, maybe just two,

three or a dozen of your grandma’s homemade chocolate

chip cookies? If you believe what you have read for

years, you probably think you are prone to reach for the

familiar — however, that is not as likely as you might

believe.

A new study from the University of South Carolina recently

tested the “comfort food” theory and you might

be surprised at what they found. During the course

of the study, the research showed that as stress and

change increased — individuals tended to pick often

unfamiliar, even healthier foods and lifestyle options.

More research is needed to explain why the comfort

food theory may be a fallacy. However, the research

upends the notion that people turn to the familiar when

their lives are undergoing transformation such as the

loss of a job, getting a new job, a relocation or the birth

of a child. Maybe, these are the times in people’s lives

when they are more open to change.

Source: Journal of Consumer Research,

September 2009

13

What are

comfort foods?

Comfort foods are simple foods that remind us of our

childhood. Surveys list the following as many of our

favorite comfort foods: peanut butter and jelly, grilled

cheese sandwiches, meatloaf and mashed potatoes,

macaroni and cheese, beef stew and apple pie just to

name a few!

Remember, if you think you need comforting

from some comfort foods — try something a

little different. Look for low-fat substitutes or healthier

options. There are lots of healthy recipe options on the Internet

— just visit the American Heart Association’s recipe Web

site, deliciousdecisions.org.

Blue & You Spring 2010


14

Living with a chronic illness can be devastating to

your livelihood, your family and your pocketbook. While

some illnesses give you little warning, many are the

result of years of poor lifestyle choices.

Preventive care is one way you can avoid costly illnesses.

By getting tested regularly for conditions like

high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar

and getting regular immunizations for illnesses like the

flu, you can stay ahead of many illnesses before they

lead to costly medications and procedures.

The most important things you can

do to stay healthy are:

• Get recommended

screening tests.

• Be tobacco free.

• Be physically active.

• Eat a healthy diet.

• Stay at a healthy weight.

• Take preventive medicines if

you need them.

The following are some preventive screening tests

recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services

Task Force.

Men and Women

Obesity: Have your body mass index (BMI) calculated

regularly if you are overweight.

Cholesterol: Men should have their cholesterol

checked regularly starting at age 35; women by age 45.

Have it checked at a younger age if:

You have diabetes.

You have high blood pressure.

• Heart disease runs in your family.

You smoke.

Cost Matters:

Save money through

preventive care

Blood pressure: Have your blood pressure checked at

least every two years. High blood pressure is 140/90 or

higher.

Colorectal cancer: Have a test for colorectal cancer

starting at age 50. Your doctor can help you decide

which test is right for you. If you have a family history

of colorectal cancer, you may need to be tested earlier.

Diabetes: Have a test for diabetes if you have high

blood pressure or high cholesterol.

Depression: If you have felt sad, or hopeless over the

last two weeks or have little interest in doing things,

you may be depressed. Talk to your doctor about being

screened for depression.

Sexually transmitted diseases: Talk to your doctor

to see whether you should be tested for sexually

transmitted diseases.

Men Only

Abdominal aortic aneurysm: If you are between

the ages of 65 and 75 and have ever smoked (100 or

more cigarettes during your lifetime), you need to be

screened once for abdominal aortic aneurysm, which

is an abnormally large or swollen blood vessel in your

abdomen.

Women Only

Breast cancer: Have a mammogram every one to two

years starting at age 40.

Cervical cancer: Have a Pap smear every one to three

years from the ages of 21 and 65.

Osteoporosis (thinning of the bones): Have a

bone density test beginning at age 65 to screen for

osteoporosis.

Source: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

Blue & You Spring 2010


TM

Become a fan of fitness!

The Blue & You Fitness Challenge is hyped to announce

that it’s now on Facebook ® and Twitter! Fan us

on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for the latest Fitness

Challenge updates, reminders, events, photos, etc.

(Find us by searching for Blue & You Fitness Challenge.)

We are excited to join the world of social media and

look forward to building relationships with our participants

and potential fans. Our page on Facebook allows

us to share daily exercise tips and reminders with our

fans. This page also provides a forum for you to share

questions, comments and experiences regarding health

and fitness. Through this page, we hope to keep our

Challenge participants (and anyone else who is interested)

motivated to start and continue a fitness routine

and/or enhance an existing routine. When you follow us

on Twitter (@BYFitChallenge), you also will receive daily

Resistance (weight)

training isn’t just for men.

Research has shown that

there are benefits associated

with resistance

training for everyone

including the elderly.

A new review, which

compiles data from more

than 100 clinical trials,

concludes that progressive

resistance training

can help older people in daily activities, such as climbing

stairs and fixing dinner.

Resistance or weight training is any exercise where

muscles contract against an external resistance to

increase strength, tone, mass and/or muscular endurance.

Here are just some of the added benefits:

exercise tips and BYFitChallenge

reminders.

The Blue & You

Fitness Challenge

is a physical activity

contest during which

participants engage in eligible

cardiovascular exercises for a

three-month time period. The contest

is a way to launch exercise activity

and encourage wellness activities

throughout the year in the workplace

and community. For more

information about the Challenge

visit blueandyoufitnesschallengeark.com.

Why do resistance exercises?

• Resistance exercise can slow down or even reverse

the decline or loss of muscle fibers that occur as we

age by building muscle mass and strength.

• Resistance training builds bone, which is important

for women who are prone to, or have, osteoporosis.

• Research also shows that resistance exercise can

build bone even in the elderly, and more strength

can lead to fewer falls.

• Some evidence suggests that resistance training

may help lower moderately high blood pressure.

• It can raise metabolic rate, which helps you maintain

a proper body weight.

The good news is that it’s never too late to start

resistance training and reap the benefits. But, please

consult your physician before beginning any new exercise

regimen.

Sources: webmd.com and medicinenet.com

®

Facebook is a registered

trademark of Facebook, Inc.

15

Blue & You Spring 2010


Lifelong Health

with Dr. David

David A. Lipschitz, M.D., Ph.D.

1. Medications are beneficial in relieving

symptoms and curing disease, but all

medications come with side effects.

While side effects vary from very common to very

rare, they always happen. In each case, the benefit of

the drug must outweigh the risks for the medication

to be taken. Consult with your doctor and your pharmacist

to make sure the benefits and risks are fully

understood.

16

2. Do not refuse to take a medication because

you are concerned about side effects.

A patient may say, “I hate to take medications,” or “I

am very sensitive to medications,” or “I always experience

side effects.” It is a mistake to refuse to take a

medication that may be beneficial because you are

concerned about side effects.

10 simple steps for

using your medications

appropriately

The number may surprise you, but an estimated 26

percent of all hospital admissions are due to complications

from prescription drug therapy. Because this

problem is so widespread, we must all take time to

understand how to take the medication for a particular

condition, its intended benefits and possible side effects.

Here are 10 steps that may help:

3. Try to begin one new medication at

a time.

If two or three drugs are started simultaneously and

an adverse reaction occurs, it is often impossible to

identify which of the new drugs is causing the problem.

The only course of action is to discontinue the medications,

leading to insufficient care and more confusion.

Sometimes the nature of the illness is such that a doctor

is forced to prescribe a number of new drugs at a

time. On other occasions, it may not be necessary, so

talk to your physician if he or she prescribes multiple

medications.

4. Consider generic medications first.

Often, patients and physicians use the newest and

most expensive medication. And yet, for almost every

disease, there is a generic drug available that has

proven benefits.

Blue & You Spring 2010


Editor’s Note: David A. Lipschitz, M.D, Ph.D., is nationally

recognized as a leader in the field of geriatrics.

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield is honored to have

him as a contributor to Blue & You magazine.

5. The more drugs you take, the greater the

risk of side effects.

Side effects increase dramatically if six different pills

are taken per day. If 11 or more pills are taken daily, you

have a 100 percent chance of experiencing adverse side

effects. All pills count when it comes to the risk of side

effects including prescription, over-the-counter, herbal

remedies or dietary supplements.

6. Identify one physician who knows all the

medications you are taking.

Patients with multiple chronic diseases often go

to multiple specialists who focus exclusively on one

particular problem. One physician starts a medication,

and other physicians are reluctant to stop or change

treatment initiated by another physician. Work with

a primary care physician that you respect,

8. Take a complete list of medications to

every doctor’s appointment.

If medications are changed or discontinued by one

doctor, make sure all your other physicians are aware of

the changes.

9. If a medication does not work, tell your

physician and ask if it can be discontinued.

If you are taking a medication that does not appear to

be helping, the only way to find out is for your physician

to stop the drug. If symptoms worsen, the drug always

can be restarted.

10. Compulsively take medications as

prescribed.

One of the single most critical reasons for medication

problems is non-compliance. Always take your

medications as prescribed, and talk to your

and ask that he or she become responsible

for prescribing and monitoring all

medications taken.

7. Use the same pharmacist

whenever possible.

There are so many different medications

on the market today that it is

Always take your

medications as

prescribed, and talk

to your physician

immediately if you are

experiencing a

problem.

physician immediately if you are experiencing

a problem.

Taking multiple drugs leads to

confusion, which can adversely affect

your care. Take this advice and use

it to make sure you get the optimum

benefit from the drugs you have been

impossible for a physician to be fully aware

prescribed.

of all the potential adverse effects, whether the

prescribed drug is ideal, and if one medication is exerting

either a positive or a negative effect on another

medication taken. Fortunately, a pharmacist has access

to a computer-based program that provides a clear list

of all the potential problems of each drug, the possibilities

of interactions with other drugs, and can identify

obvious mistakes (such as prescribing the same drug

twice or prescribing an incorrect medication).

17

Blue & You Spring 2010


18

Spring cleaning:

Your medicine cabinet is calling

Did you know that medications

have expiration dates on them?

Medications used beyond their

expiration dates can be less effective

or even harmful. This date is

based on experiments to determine

the safety and efficacy of your

medicine. That is why you should

include your medicine cabinet in

your springtime cleaning ritual. You

might be surprised how many of

your medications (prescription and

over-the-counter) have expired.

Checking the expiration date on

medication is easy. Prescriptions

will have expiration dates on the

container; over-the-counter products

have expiration dates on the package,

bottle or container. If the date

has passed, or you can’t read the

date, throw it out. Make a note of

any medications that are close to

their expiration date.

According to the Office of National

Drug Control Policy, you

should not flush prescription drugs

down the toilet unless told to do so

Actiq

Methadose

Avinza

Morphine Sulfate

Daytrana

MS Contin

Demerol

Onsolis

Diastat

Opana

Dilaudid

Opana ER

Dolophine

Oramorph SR

Duragesic

Oxycontin

Embeda

Percocet

Fentora

Percodan

Kadian

Xyrem

Methadone Hydrochloride

Some communities have drug

take-back programs through their

household trash and recycling

service. Ask your pharmacist if she/

he knows of any, or call your trash

and recycling service. If there are

no drug take-back programs in your

area, you still can discard your

by your doctor or in the prescription medications safely in your

information. Most medications can household trash.

be thrown away. There are, however,

some medications that could be cations in your household trash by

You can safely dispose of medi-

harmful or fatal if used by anyone using the following approach:

other than the intended patient. The 1. Remove all medications from

U.S. Food and Drug Administration their containers.

(FDA), recommends flushing the following

medications:

desirable substances (cat

2. Mix the medications with un-

litter,

used coffee grounds).

3. Put the mixture in a container.

4. Seal the container and put it in

the trash.

5. Remove your name and prescription

numbers from the old

prescription containers before

throwing them out.

Remember to add your medicine

cabinet to your spring cleaning

list. It’s one more step to keeping

yourself and your loved ones (pets

included) safe.

From the

Pharmacist

by Brandon Griffin, Pharm D.,

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Blue & You Spring 2010


The

Doctor’s

Corner

to develop multiple sclerosis (MS)

than nonsmokers. People who quit

smoking improve their chances of

by Ray Bredfeldt, M.D.,

Regional Medical Director

Northwest Region, Fayetteville

not developing MS, but they remain

at a higher risk than those who have

never smoked.

was from an increase in heart attacks

and many types of cancer.

Should ovaries be routinely

Can aspirin help those with

colon cancer?

According to a recent study,

people who have colon cancer and

regularly take aspirin are less likely

to die from their cancer than people

who do not. During this 12-year

study, those whose cancer had not

initially spread to other areas of

the body were almost 30 percent

less likely to die if they took aspirin

on a regular basis. The study also

showed that people who took one

regular aspirin per day did somewhat

better than those who took

less that one per day. However,

aspirin does have risks, so patients

also should consult their doctor before

taking it on a regular basis.

Another reason to quit

smoking!

Researchers have found that

smokers are 60 percent more likely

removed during a

hysterectomy? More

evidence says maybe not …

Surgeons often routinely remove

the ovaries during a hysterectomy

because the surgery eliminates

the future risk of ovarian cancer.

Evidence is mounting, however,

that shows this practice does more

harm than good.

A new study reviewed

the outcomes

of 30,000 women

who had a hysterectomy

— half of whom

had their ovaries removed.

The women

who had their ovaries

removed were 12

percent more likely to

die during the next 24

years than those whose

ovaries were left in place.

The increased death rate

Combination of drugs

proves helpful for

Bell’s palsy

Bell’s palsy is a form of temporary

facial paralysis resulting from

damage or trauma to one of the two

facial nerves. According to a recent

study with 2,786 patients with Bell’s

palsy, they are significantly more

likely to have better outcomes if

they are treated with corticosteroids

(such as prednisone and prednisolone).

And, when an antiviral agent

(such as acyclovir) was added, outcomes

were even better.

19

Blue & You Spring 2010


20

A Good Investment

The Bank of Lake Village has remained with Arkansas Blue Cross since 1958

In 1958, Dwight D. Eisenhower was president of

the United States, a first class postage stamp cost

4 cents, and The Bank of Lake Village, Ark., hired Arkansas

Blue Cross and Blue Shield to provide health

insurance coverage for its employees. A lot of things

have changed since 1958, but one thing hasn’t: The

Bank of Lake Village is still with Arkansas Blue Cross.

“Providing health insurance is one of the largest, if

not the largest, benefit we give our employees,” said

Terry Alpe, president of The Bank of Lake Village. “So

it’s a major factor in contributing to the overall cost of

our employee base. It’s reviewed once a year or any

time there are changes regarding increases or decreases

in costs and coverage,” said Alpe.

The bank provides health insurance for about 40

employees from four entities: The Bank of Lake Village,

Jefferson Bank in Mississippi, the Southeast

Arkansas Holding Company and the board of directors.

And, according to Alpe, during the past 50-plus

years Arkansas Blue Cross has consistently provided

the best combination of savings and service. Having

a regional office just up the highway in Pine Bluff has

helped, too.

Said Alpe, “I think the representation that has

been provided out of the Pine Bluff office has been

very good.”

“With Judy, especially,” added Rita Chandler, the

bank’s senior vice president, referring to Judy Stephens

who works at the Southeast Regional Office

in Pine Bluff. “She’s been really helpful. She stays in

touch with us.”

The long-term relationship is something that is appreciated

by the employees of the regional office, too.

“We value all of our relationships with our customers,”

said Dwayne Pierce, regional executive for the

Southeast Regional Office, “but when you’ve had a

relationship with a customer for more than 50 years,

it’s more like taking care of family. I take great comfort

in knowing Judy is working with The Bank of Lake

Village and taking care of our family.”

“My experience has been when our people go to

doctors, hospitals, clinics and pharmacies, there has

been a comfort level knowing that they’ve got a good

insurance provider. That they take with them a coverage

that’s readily accepted and well-known is comforting,”

said Alpe. “There are credentials that come

with having Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield.”

Bank of Lake Village employees

are (front row, left to right) Rita

Chandler, Amanda Murdaugh

and Kim Buckner. (Back row,

left to right) Terry Alpe and

Leslie Shipman.

Blue & You Spring 2010


New online

national doctor and hospital directories

Finding a doctor or hospital in another state is as

easy as going to the new online directories on the Blue

Cross and Blue Shield Association Web site, bcbs.com.

The new National Doctor and Hospital Finder and the

Federal Employee Program online directory provide Arkansas

Blue Cross and Blue Shield members with easy

access to the medical care they need, whether they are

searching their own state or across the nation.

Here are just a few features that make searching for

doctors and hospitals easier:

• Simplified searches with fast results by selecting

“Find a Doctor or Hospital” at bcbs.com.

• New “type-ahead” technology that helps spell city

and specialty names.

• Upfront filtering that eliminates searching for provider

data such as affiliations, recognitions and board

certifications.

• Ability to search for individuals and groups/facilities

simultaneously.

• Mobile access through handheld devices.

“The new doctor and hospital finder will make it

much more convenient for members to locate the appropriate

medical attention they need — and not just in

Arkansas, but nationwide,” said Jim Bailey, senior vice

president of National Business and Inter-Plan Relations.

“It’s just one more way the Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Association is working to improve health care for all

its members.”

Do you cringe at

the memory of

your teenage

years?

21

New research suggests that the social standings of

teenagers has long-term health consequences.

In a study, known as the Stockholm Birth Cohort

Study, researchers noted that the students who reported

lower levels of social acceptance as young teens

tended to have a higher risk of serious health issues as

adults; the same was true for males and females.

Specifically, the study found that children who were

the least popular and powerful at school had more

health problems as adults.

• They were more than four times as likely to require

hospital treatment for hormonal, nutritional and

metabolic diseases as their most popular and powerful

classmates.

• They were more than twice as likely to develop mental

health and behavioral problems, including suicide

attempts and self-harm.

• They also were significantly more likely to develop

drug and alcohol dependency problems, and nine

times more likely to develop heart disease.

Researchers theorize that lower peer status and less

social support results in more negative self-image and

less self-confidence, which in turn could influence the

child’s future ambitions, expectations and choices.

Source: Journal of Epidemiology and Community

Health, September 2009

Blue & You Spring 2010


22

Healthy Habits

through

SilverSneakers

When you’ve been married for 59 years, you develop

a lot of the same habits.

For Charlie and Shirley Rule, those habits include

fitness, fun and friendship through the SilverSneakers ®

program at Fitness Unlimited in Benton, Ark.

The Rules started participating in the SilverSneakers

program about three years ago when Shirley found a

notice about it in the mail. “I figured Charlie wouldn’t

want to go, but he said he wanted to try it.” The two

have been

Enrollment in

fixtures in the

SilverSneakers

SilverSneakers is a

program ever benefit of Medi-Pak and

since. Membership

in Silver-

Medi-Pak Advantage

(PFFS) coverage.

Sneakers is a

benefit of Medi-Pak and Medi-Pak Advantage (PFFS)

coverage.

The Rules try to go to SilverSneakers classes as

often as four times a week. Charlie provides entertainment

by printing out jokes and funny stories for Barbara

Kane, their instructor, to read out loud at the beginning

of class.

Shirley said she

and Charlie have

both had their

share of surgeries

and medical

problems, and

Charlie (left) sometimes aren’t

and Shirley

Rule (below) confident in their

participate in

stability, but the

the Silver-

Sneakers SilverSneakers

yoga class

at Fitness classes allow

Unlimited in

participants to

Benton.

use a chair to stay

balanced. If they

feel comfortable,

the participants

can stand, but when they are unsure, they can sit. Yoga

movements have been modified to stretch muscles

from a seated position and Shirley said the cardio program

is quite a workout even using a chair.

Barbara said she has seen the improvements her

participants have made by adding exercise to their lives.

Blue & You Spring 2010


“Everyone says it improves their flexibility and gives

them more energy to do things they want to do in life,”

she said. She said the exercises to loosen the neck

muscles are extremely important for the participants

who still are driving because it keeps them safe on the

road. “Many of them tell me, ‘I almost fell but was able

to catch myself.’”

For Charlie, who retired from the railroad and serviced

both aluminum plants in the area, going to Silver-

Sneakers is a chance to catch up with many friends and

neighbors, “and find out what is going on in the community.”

Shirley said she has tried exercising at home,

but can’t stay motivated. “I like to walk and visit with

people,” she said.

Barbara said the group extends beyond the classroom

and has gotten together for meals and movies

on occasion. For those who have lost their husband or

wife, it may be the only time they get hugs during the

week. “This is a great group,” Barbara said.

For Charlie and Shirley, SilverSneakers is a habit they

will stick with for the fun, fitness and friendship. As

Charlie said, “We hate to miss a class!”

To enroll in SilverSneakers, Medi-Pak and Medi-Pak

Advantage members can go to a participating fitness

center near them and show their ID card. Fitness center

staff will assist with enrollment and provide tours of

the locations. Because new fitness centers are being

added to the program regularly, members can go online

to silversneakers.com to find all participating locations

in Arkansas. You also can call customer service to find a

participating location near you.

Go to Blue & You Online on our Arkansas

Blue Cross and Health Advantage Web sites for

more on SilverSneakers.

SilverSneakers ® is a registered mark of Healthways, Inc. The

SilverSneakers Fitness Program is provided by Healthways, Inc.,

which is an independent company that operates separately from

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

We love to hear from you!

May we help? For customer service, please call:

Little Rock Toll-free

Number (501) Number

Medi-Pak members 378-3062 1-800-338-2312

Medi-Pak Advantage members 1-877-233-7022

Medi-Pak Rx members 1-866-390-3369

Arkansas Blue Cross members 378-2010 1-800-238-8379

Pharmacy questions 1-800-863-5561

Specialty Rx Pharmacy questions 1-866-295-2779

Health Advantage members 378-2363 1-800-843-1329

Pharmacy questions 1-800-863-5567

BlueAdvantage members 378-3600 1-888-872-2531

Pharmacy questions 1-888-293-3748

State and Public School members 378-2364 1-800-482-8416

Federal Employee members 378-2531 1-800-482-6655

Looking for health or dental insurance? We can help!

For individuals, families

and those age 65 or older 378-2937 1-800-392-2583

For employer groups 378-3070 1-800-421-1112

(Arkansas Blue Cross Group Services, which includes

Health Advantage and BlueAdvantage Administrators

of Arkansas)

Prefer to speak with someone close to home? Call or visit one

of our regional offices:

Pine Bluff/Southeast Region 1-800-236-0369

1800 West 73rd St.

Jonesboro/Northeast Region 1-800-299-4124

707 East Matthews Ave.

Hot Springs/South Central Region 1-800-588-5733

100 Greenwood Ave., Suite C

Texarkana/Southwest Region 1-800-470-9621

1710 Arkansas Boulevard

Fayetteville/Northwest Region 1-800-817-7726

516 East Milsap Rd., Suite 103

Fort Smith/West Central Region 1-866-254-9117

3501 Old Greenwood Rd., Suite 5

Little Rock/Central Region 1-800-421-1112

320 West Capitol Ave., Suite 900

You can contact customer service through our Web sites:

arkansasbluecross.com

healthadvantage-hmo.com

blueadvantagearkansas.com

Related Web sites:

blueandyoufoundationarkansas.org

blueannewe-ark.com

23

Blue & You Spring 2010


24

At Arkansas Blue Cross

and Blue Shield, we are

always looking for new

ways to be "Good for You."

Here are some of our

latest accomplishments.

See BlueAdvantage’s new Web site

BlueAdvantage Administrators of Arkansas has a

new Web site! The new design makes it easy to

navigate and puts the tools you need right at your

fingertips. The “Plans & Products” section is designed

with employer groups in mind to help find

the right health-care coverage for your company.

Links under each tab for Members, Employers and

Providers make finding what you need a snap!

Get claims information online

You can receive e-mails to notify you when your

Explanation of Benefits (EOBs) or Personal Health

Statements (PHSs) are available online behind

My Blueprint, our member self-service center. It’s

convenient, fast and easy! To sign up, you must be

registered for My Blueprint. If you haven’t already,

go online and follow the easy registration instructions

from the home page of our Web sites.

Do you have a Personal Health Record?

A Personal Health Record (PHR) is a secure, Webbased,

electronic medical record that combines

information provided by you, your doctor and your

insurance company. To set up your PHR, log in to

My Blueprint, our member self-service center, and

select “Personal Health Record.” Your PHR already

includes your medical history, current medications,

medical tests, a summary of your visits to your

doctor and more. You can add to the information by

including your personal medical history, family medical

history and social history.

A PHR can be extremely helpful in emergency

situations when you may need a doctor to have

access to your medical history and current medications

in a hurry. Or, by using the Health Trackers,

you can provide your doctors a day-to-day glimpse

at your blood sugar levels, blood pressure and other

vital health statistics.

Blue & You Spring 2010

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