Archive for Year: 2013
Virginia’s Mental Health System Stretched to Limit
December 10, 2013
Community Services Board (CSB), state-mandated agencies that provide public mental health services throughout the state of Virginia, are experiencing an unyielding shortage of inpatient psychiatric beds. Within the last fiscal year, Northern Virginia CSBs had to send 224 patients to other parts of the state because there were no available inpatient beds in the area. In some cases, some hospitals are not willing or able to take certain types of patients, including involuntary commitments or people with serious behavior issues. Anne Edgerton, executive director of the advocacy organization Mental Health America of Virginia, said Virginians should focus on programs and services aimed at getting people mental health care early, before the behavior turns toward crisis mode. Read more.
Loudoun Cares’ Andy Johnston named Times-Mirror’s 2013 Citizen of the Year
November 29, 2013
There’s no precise formula to compute how many people Johnston’s helped in his decade as executive director of Loudoun Cares, a nonprofit hub dedicated to assisting other nonprofits in the county. Johnston’s achievements can’t be measured in cold, hard figures; instead, they’re calculated in effort, conversations and endless hours ensuring local nonprofits are clicking. Read more.
Hospitals Try to Be Child-Friendly As They Face More Young Patients
November 22, 2013
Due to medical advances, hospitals are treating an ever larger population of children with medically complex diagnoses. Many of these children become “frequent fliers” in the hospital system, experiencing pain and fear along the way. Studies show that these children may end up suffering from long term psychological trauma due to their experiences in the hospital. In an effort to reduce the distress of children, hospitals are adopting innovative ways to create positive outcomes. Read more about some of these successful new hospital initiatives.
You can also use Wall Street Journal’s public resources to read the article:
Investing in Pre-Schools
November 14, 2013
There is plenty of evidence supporting the idea that early childhood initiatives are one of the best ways to intervene and reduce the toll of crime, drugs, and educational failure. Read about the success of the Oklahoma Project, where they are investing in preschools now instead of prisons later.
Healing Through Humor
October 31, 2013
A new film, “Comedy Warriors, Healing through Humor”, was shown at a private screening at the inaugural Middleburg Film Festival last weekend. In the film, wounded soldiers show the audience how humor slowly helped them and their loved ones through the healing process. Loudoun County’s own Rob Jones, a Lovettsville native, is one of the stars of the film. Jones is a double amputee after losing both his legs to an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan in 2010. Read more about the film and how humor can help heal.
Beamer Learns About Cancer
September 12, 2013
100WomenStrong member, Cindy Chambers, has published another children’s book in her Beamer Book Series! Cindy’s latest publication, Beamer Learns About Cancer, is a great resource for children and their families who are confronted with a cancer diagnosis. Ten year old, Gabriella Miller, who is fighting cancer, writes the introduction to this book. Gabriella provides practical advice about what it’s like to be in a hospital and imparts hope for the future. The book is written in an encouraging and supportive style, using straightforward language to help kids better understand cancer and its treatments. Gabriella’s mother says, “It is difficult enough for us as adults to understand cancer, but, for a child, it is near impossible. Thank you, Cindy, for writing this book that explains cancer in simple terms that empower us with knowledge and understanding.” For more information on the Beamer Book Series, please visit http://www.tellmetown.com/beamer-and-friends
Hunger Action Month
September is Hunger Action Month, an annual effort to raise awareness to the issue of hunger across the nation and in our own backyard. The Feeding America nationwide network of food banks such as Blue Ridge Area Food Bank and food pantries such as Loudoun Interfaith Relief, unites to encourage individuals to take action in their communities. What can you do to help end hunger and help feed those in need in Loudoun County? Visit http://www.brafb.org and http://www.interfaithrelief.org to find out.
Loudoun County and the Uninsured
By Janet Lyman, 100WS Grantmaker
In one of the states’ richest counties, when a family experiencing economic instability – low wages, unstable housing or lack of health insurance – needs routine care or encounters a medical emergency or debilitating illness, where can they turn? Fortunately, in Loudoun County, a set of concerned organizations, citizens, and volunteers have built options to address both primary and preventive healthcare and housing instability. This article explores how the Loudoun Free Clinic, Healthworks of Northern Virginia, and INOVA’s Mobile Hope (just three of the multiple services available) can help families in need.
For illustrative purposes, let’s look at a family comprised of adults, children, and seniors who lack health insurance and have housing challenges. We can explore how these organizations could help the family and, in addition, ensure their continued contributions to the economic health and wellbeing of the overall community. While not comprehensive of all services, the following illustrates the maturity, scope, and applicability of services.
Loudoun Free Clinic
For uninsured adults aged 18-64 in our family, the Loudoun Free Clinic, a non-profit volunteer based organization established in 2002, is a gateway to medical care. The Clinic provides a range of services as well as access to specialty services at no cost for families with income level that falls within the 200% of the Federal poverty level. Uninsured adults are more likely to postpone or forgo health care altogether, and are less able to afford prescriptions or follow through on recommended treatments. Without care, treatable conditions can escalate to complex and serious illnesses that jeopardize an individual’s wellbeing and the family’s economic security. In 2012, medical in-clinic visits numbered 3,793, a 31% year over year increase. In addition, the Free Clinic provided 13,938 prescriptions valued at $1.8M. In the contracting economy of 2012, the clinic saw a 57% increase in the number of patients.
Healthworks of Northern Virginia
For the children and seniors in the family lacking health insurance, they can turn to Healthworks of Northern Virginia. Many local health care providers no longer accept new Medicare and Medicaid patients. And, as we have all experienced, children need ready access to both preventive and primary care. Healthworks, a nonprofit Federal qualified health provider with centers in Leesburg, Sterling, and Herndon, provides medical, dental, and behavioral health care to anyone in need, regardless of age or ability to pay. Healthworks accepts all patients, regardless of income or insurance status – Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, no insurance or the underinsured. More than 90% of families at Healthworks are lower income (within 200% of the Federal poverty line) and 69% would be better served in languages other than English.
And what if housing is an issue for our family too? For homeless children, or those in precarious housing situations, there is Mobile Hope. INOVA Mobile Hope Services travels throughout Loudoun County and cares for precariously housed and at risk youth. Without any questions, for children 18 and under, Mobile Hope will provide food, clothes, blankets, and personal items. Recently, 658 children in our county were in homeless or in precarious housing arrangements. Some 40% of these students do not have a parent or guardian in their lives. They sleep in cars, the woods, abandoned buildings or “couch surf” with friends. And there may be a larger population at risk – some 700-800 children may also be precariously housed or at risk that have not been identified.
While we can hope our family can build future economic stability, services from these providers can go a long way to enabling them to be more capable to perform at work and school. And ongoing preventive care can keep small health crises from escalating into events which undermine family well-being and security. Kudos to the leaders and volunteers who make such services available in Loudoun County!
For more information about these services:
For a Free Clinic eligibility appointment, call 703-779-5424. More information at loudounfreeclinic.org.
To schedule an appointment for you or a family member at Healthworks, call 703-443-2000 and patient’s forms are available at hwnova.org.
Contact Mobile Hope at 703-858-8801. More information at INOVA.org.
Study Shows Widely Varying Prices at Area Hospitals for Treatment of Identical Conditions
What if you suffer a major brain hemorrhage with complications? If you seek help in Olney, Maryland, you might visit MedStar Montgomery Medical Center, which will charge you $12,873 on average (in 2011) to stabilize your condition and bring you back to health. But if you are in downtown DC, you may take an ambulance to George Washington University Hospital, which lists treatment for the exact same condition at $106,103. Why would George Washington University Hospital charge 86% more for treatment of the same condition? Read more.
Home Visiting Programs: Preschool in its Earliest Form
Through programs across the country, nurses, social workers or trained mentors offer support to… Read more.
Homeless Youth in Loudoun County
By Ree McDermott, 100WS Donor-Advisor
Touted as one of the richest counties in the country, it is easy to assume that Loudoun’s youth have secure housing situations. Yet during the 2011-2012 school year Loudoun County Public Schools identified 785 children and youth as homeless or “precariously housed.” That number has tripled since the 2008-2009 school year. It is likely there are many more precariously housed and at risk youth living in Loudoun County who have not yet been identified.
How do we define homeless children and youth? Under the federally funded McKinney-Vento Act, homeless children and youth are defined as “individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.” In other words, these kids sleep in cars, abandoned warehouses, bus stations, park benches or “couch surf” among their friends. Nearly one in four f these young people do not have a guardian or parent in their lives.
The causes of homelessness can be complex. The most common reasons for homelessness involve domestic violence, chronic substance abuse, chronic health problems and mental illness. The lack of affordable housing in Loudoun County also plays a role. Many families have to double-up in their living arrangements for financial reasons.
While there are no simple solutions to homelessness, organizations within Loudoun County are making a difference on multiple fronts. Loudoun’s Continuum of Care – a community coalition of public, non-profit, and faith-based organizations – provides a variety of shelter and support services to children and youth who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Continuum of Care’s overarching goal is to ensure that there is a continuum of services to meet the needs of homeless persons in the community. They do this by collaborating with established charitable organizations such as Volunteers of America, INMED, Good Shepherd, and LAWS.