Support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention “Out of the Darkness” Walk

I’m walking in the Out of the Darkness Rochester NY Walk to fight suicide and support AFSP’s bold goal to reduce the suicide rate 20% by 2025.

I have lost 3 fellow workers and dear friends over the the last 8 years. And now I find myself facing this within my family. I struggle to stay strong for all of those who need me. But I find I am fighting 2 battles, 1 of medical issues, which causes the second of just being fed up with things and at times finding them ready to call it quits. These are the ones I need to stay strong and find the help they need.

Please help me reach my goal by clicking here. All donations are 100% tax deductible and benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), funding research, education, advocacy, and support for those affected by suicide.

Thank you for your support!

Larry Crawford

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Update on Retiree Health Benefits: December 2016

Members of the S.O.A.R. Retiree Health Benefit Subcommittee recently met with our legal representative regarding the following issues:

  • How many members have responded to the letter mailed out this summer to move to the next step of our legal action?
    We have received many responses. According to our legal rep, everyone that responded retired prior to the Blue Value Plans going into effect. This is a good thing because all contract language is the same for retirees that retired prior to 2006, including 2005. The contract language states that retirees of the county shall receive fully paid BC/BS protection and dental insurance which was in effect at the time of retirement.
  • The status of our legal action regarding involuntary changes to retirees’ health care plan. There was no real good news. Our legal representative is still undecided on how to pursue an action regarding changes to our healthcare plans. Our legal representative explained that until there is a decision in the CSEA and the Social Workers pending cases he cannot determine whether we should pursue a Grievance process or a Class Action litigation. Therefore, there is no way he will be able to file a suit before the end of the year.

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Heart Palpitations

Below is an article written by James D. Gallagher, M.D., of the University of Rochester Medical Center Cardiology Division

Yes, the weather is changing and getting cold. Some of you may be shoveling snow now. With increased activity, sometimes you may notice an increase in extra heart beats. Or, you may notice these extra heartbeats more after exertion.

Many people experience palpitations, racing heart beats, or irregular heartbeats at some point in their life. Some are not very bothersome and some are. Some are not very serious and some are. There are multiple causes for this, such as electrical rhythm problems called premature atrial contractions, premature ventricular contractions, atrial tachycardia, atrial flutter, atrial fibrillation and the list goes on. Ultimately, to determine what is causing palpitations, one needs to have an electrocardiogram done at the time of the palpitations.

An electrocardiogram, also called an ECG or EKG, is where wires are connected to patches on the body so an electrical signal from the heart can be recorded. This is painless. Often, if you are not having the palpitations when you see your medical provider, the ECG may look normal. Again, to determine the cause of the palpitations, an ECG at the time of the symptoms needs to be done. As such, a home cardiac monitor may be prescribed. This is a small box that one carries on their belt with several wires going from the box to patches on the chest. You can typically keep working while wearing the monitor. In fact, we usually want people to continue their normal activities including exercise or whatever brings out the palpitations while wearing the monitor.

Because many of you may be independently minded, if you desire to try to catch these palpitations with a device at home, there are companies such as AliveCor, which make cell phone cases you can purchase that have electrodes on them that can record the electrical signal of your heart during the event. The device then saves the recording and you can show them to your doctor.

The abnormal rhythm that we find then determines what treatment you may need, whether it is medications or a procedure such as an ablation or defibrillator.

Dr. Gallagher is an expert in management of pacemakers, defibrillators, and resynchronization devices. He specializes in treatment of patients with cardiac arrhythmias, including ablation of these arrhythmias.

For more information, please give him a call at (585) 276-3000.

Deadline to Submit Your Response to S.O.A.R.’s Legal Representative

Several months ago and under the guidance of our legal team, the S.O.A.R. Health Benefits Subcommittee mailed out a letter to all past and present S.O.A.R. members.  The letter requested that any individual who experienced involuntary changes to their retiree health benefits respond to the office of Trevett Cristo Attorneys with information on their particular case. 

This is a reminder that the deadline to contact our legal team to give them the details of your situation is the end of the business day on November 21, 2016.  

Changes in Health Insurance Coverage

Over the last month, S.O.A.R. Board members have received several telephone calls from retirees advising us that a representative from the Monroe County Human Resources Department informed them that their child (or children, all of whom are under 25 years of age) had been removed from their health care coverage. As the Affordable Care Act guarantees coverage for dependent children up to age 26, we pursued the matter on their behalf.

We have been in touch with a staff member in the local office of Congresswomen Louise Slaughter, who has informed us that, based upon our knowledge of each incident, the children of these retirees are indeed still covered. That being said, this staff member advises any individual who believes that their child has been improperly removed from coverage needs to write a letter to her office so that she can initiate an official inquiry and determine the truth. In addition, ALL individuals that have had their health insurance coverage affected in any way by the actions of Monroe County employees are also urged to write a letter describing their experience to the following individual:

US House of Representatives
Congresswomen Louise Slaughter’s Office
ATTN: Ms. Patricia Larke
3120 Federal Building
100 State Street
Rochester, New York 14614

No phone calls please; a written inquiry must be submitted for the Congresswoman’s office to initiate an investigation.

Henrietta Ambulance Has Received National Accreditation

Henrietta Volunteer Ambulance has received accreditation from The Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS).

From the CAAS website:

“(CAAS) was established to encourage and promote quality patient care in America’s medical transportation system. CAAS is an independent Commission that established a comprehensive series of standards for the ambulance service industry.

“CAAS accreditation signifies that your service has met the “gold standard” determined by the ambulance industry to be essential in a modern emergency medical services provider. These standards often exceed those established by state or local regulation. The CAAS standards are designed to increase operational efficiency and clinical quality, while decreasing risk and liability to the organization.

“The process includes a comprehensive self-assessment and an independent external review of the EMS organization. This independent process provides verification to your Board of Directors, city council, medical community and others that quality care is provided to the community.”

The CAAS Accreditation will last for the next three years.

“It is a very prestigious honor to be accredited,” says Captain Reg Allen. “It’s just an opportunity for us to make sure we do the best job possible for our community.”

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Support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention “Out of the Darkness” Walk

In the United States, a person dies by suicide every 13.3 minutes, claiming more than 39,500 lives each year. It is estimated that an attempt is made every minute, with close to one million people attempting suicide annually. Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. among adults 18-65, the second leading cause of death among teens and young adults, and individuals ages 65 and older account for 16 percent of all suicide deaths. This is a public health issue that does not discriminate by age, gender, ethnicity, or socio-economic status.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) funds research aimed at improving our understanding of suicide and ways to prevent it as well as educational programs to increase awareness about prevention, warning signs and the psychiatric illnesses that can lead to suicide.

As the core of the Out of the Darkness Walks, the Community Walks are proof that when people work together, they can make big changes in our world. Taking place in hundreds of cities each fall, these walks raise awareness for our important cause as they raise the resources we need to carry out our mission.

Click here to help support S.O.A.R.’s own Larry Crawford as he participates in the Rochester Out of the Darkness Walk

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Look Out for the 2016 Retiree Questionnaire

The 2016 County of Monroe Retiree Questionnaire has been sent out by the human resources office.

If you receive the questionnaire, please complete the form and then use one of the return receipt methods available from the Post Office to send it back. This will insure that you can prove that the county received it.

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