- Community Health Survey Finds Increase in Access to Health Insurance Under ACA (July 2017)
Survey results show that residents of Larimer County have seen dramatic gains in health insurance coverage since 2013. The survey from the Health District of Northern Larimer County also finds that many residents have experienced fewer struggles with medical bills and debt collectors, put off fewer visits to mental health providers, and filled prescriptions that previously might have gone unfilled due to cost.
The findings are part of the Community Health Survey, a large, scientifically designed study the Health District has conducted every three years since 1995. Results help the Health District and other local organizations gauge the community's health and track changes in healthcare access over time. The most recent survey of 2,279 randomly selected adult residents of Larimer County took place in the fall of 2016.
In 2016, 4 percent of local adults ages 18-64 reported having no health insurance, down markedly from 12 percent three years earlier. The number of people who were uninsured for long periods of time -- seven months or more -- also decreased significantly, from 17 percent in 2013 to 6 percent in 2016. Those with the lowest income (138 percent or less of the federal poverty level) saw the steepest drops with 6 percent uninsured for longer than seven months in 2016, down from 47 percent three years earlier.
The survey showed improved access to a variety of health services. The number of local residents reporting no insurance for prescriptions dropped from 14 percent to 7 percent. Among those with the lowest incomes, there was a steep decrease in the number of people who were said they were unable to fill a prescription due to cost (27 percent to 12 percent).
Residents whose incomes were at or just above poverty were less likely to delay getting mental health care. The number of people who put off visiting a mental health provider due to cost declined significantly, from 49 percent to 19 percent.
Gains in coverage had wide-ranging impacts on people's personal and financial well-being. Those who reported having medical bills they couldn't pay right away and had to pay over time declined from 31 percent in 2013 to 28 percent in 2016. Residents least able to pay for medical care got a reprieve from debt collectors as the number of people at or just above poverty who had been sent to collections for unpaid medical bills decreased from 22 percent to 15 percent.
The 2016 Community Health Survey was a random-sample survey of 2,279 adult residents of Larimer County. A more detailed summary of recent survey findings related to coverage gains can be found on the
Health District website. For more information on the Community Health Survey, contact Richard Cox at the Health District at 970-224-5209, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Health District is a public agency that provides residents of northern Larimer County with dental, mental health, and preventive health services, in addition to connecting people to more affordable prescription and health insurance options.
- West Nile Virus Season Begins in Larimer County (June 29, 2017)
The Larimer County Department of Health and Environment reported that mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus were trapped in Berthoud, making this the first positive sample in Larimer County in 2017. The presence of infected mosquitoes will likely increase in Larimer County in the coming weeks, as the hot weather speeds up both mosquito and virus reproduction. West Nile virus is most frequently transmitted locally in July and August.
West Nile disease is a viral infection that is spread to people by bites from infected Culex mosquitoes. Symptoms can range from none at all to severe illness. About 75 percent of people who are infected have no symptoms; about 25 percent will develop West Nile fever. Less than 1 percent develop the more severe neuroinvasive form, which can lead to hospitalization, critical illness, chronic disability, or death.
Larimer County Department of Health and Environment works with cities, Vector Disease Control International (formerly Colorado Mosquito Control, Inc.), and Colorado State University to monitor and assess the risk to Larimer County residents. The Health Department also works with homeowners associations to provide advice on eliminating sources of mosquito breeding and other methods of mosquito control.
West Nile virus can be prevented. In addition to community efforts, such as larviciding, reducing water where mosquitoes can breed, and spraying for adult mosquitoes, individuals can remember to use the 4 D's to help prevent West Nile virus disease:
- DEET or other effective mosquito repellent - Use an EPA-registered mosquito repellent that has been proven to be effective against West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes. DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (also called PMD), and IR3535 are good choices.
- Dusk to Dawn - Avoid exposure during peak Culex mosquito feeding times, from dusk through dawn.
- Dress - Wear long sleeves and pants to keep mosquitoes from biting.
- Drain - Remove standing water in your yard or garden to minimize mosquito breeding areas.
For more tips on what you can do to prevent West Nile virus, visit the Larimer County website.
- Youth Mental Health First Aid Training This Summer (2017)
These free 8-hour trainings are designed to assist those who work and interact with youth to identify symptoms or behaviors of developing mental illness and equip them with the tools they need to reach out and offer help. Youth Mental Health First Aid is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people, such as parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school
staff, coaches, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other community providers.
The course introduces common mental health challenges in youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Some of the topics covered include depression, anxiety, substance use and other mental health issues.
Upcoming dates are Tuesday, June 20 and Wednesday, July 26. These trainings are held 8:00am-5:00pm at the Health District of Northern Larimer County, 120 Bristlecone Drive in Fort Collins. Registration is required. For more information or to register, contact Emily Leetham at 970-494-4370 or by email at email@example.com.
- Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is April 29 (2017)
National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible way of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the public about the potential for abuse of medications. On April 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., local law enforcement and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will provide an opportunity to properly dispose of unneeded and/or expired prescription medications.
The Prescription Drug Take-Back program addresses an important public safety and public health issue. Many people are not aware that medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are increasing, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.
Drop-off sites will be at the following locations:
- Fort Collins: Fort Collins Police Services, 2221 S. Timberline Road, north parking lot
- Fort Collins: Colorado State University Police Dept., 750 S. Meridian Ave.
- Loveland: Loveland Police Department, 810 E. 10th St.
- Wellington: Larimer County Sheriff's Dept., at Family Dollar parking lot, 8099 S. 6th St.
- Windsor: Windsor Police Department, 200 N. 11th St.
The service is free and anonymous. Law enforcement officers will be present with the drug disposal box at all times. At the conclusion of the event, the boxes will be sealed and turned over to the DEA for proper disposal.
Many kinds of prescription and over-the-counter medications may be brought to this event for disposal, including pet medications. However the following items will NOT be accepted: liquids, intravenous solutions, injectables/needles, syringes, mercury (thermometers), oxygen containers, chemotherapy/radioactive substances, pressurized canisters and illicit drugs.
DEA website for additional information and other local drop-off sites.
Information on environmentally sound disposal methods that minimize opportunities for misuse and protect the environment will be available at the Fort Collins collection site. Flushing medications down the toilet or throwing them in the trash could cause pollution of lakes, streams and water supplies and pose potential safety and health hazards.
Fort Collins Police Services also has a year-round drug take-back program with a secure bin for the collection of prescription/over-the-counter drugs. Residents may drop off unneeded or expired over-the-counter and prescription medications in the Fort Collins Police Services lobby, 2221 S. Timberline Road, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The same restrictions on eligible/ineligible items apply (see above). For additional information contact Fort Collins Police Services at 970-221-6540.
- Elder Care Resource Day Set for April 1 (2017)
The Elder Care Network of Northern Colorado presents the annual Elder Care Resource Day on April 1 at the Fort Collins Senior Center, 1200 Raintree Drive. Registration starts at 7:30am, and workshops take place from 8:00am to 1:45pm.
This year's topics include Advocating for an Older Adult, Advance Directives and End-of-Life Care, When Aging Parents Can't Manage Their Money, Senior Housing Options, Mental Health and more.
Registration is required. A $10 donation per person is suggested. You may register online, or download the registration form and mail it in. Go to www.eldercarenet.org. Registration includes three sessions, handouts and lunch. For more information, visit the website or call 970-495-3442.
The Elder Care Network is a group of organizations/individuals who work to support seniors by providing resources and information for seniors and caregivers.
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