Featured Interview


My guest is Chrystal from L.A.. She is just one of many positive diabetics making a huge difference in the diabetes community. She is a chemist, and diabetic activist. After Chrystal's diagnosis of type 2 diabetes in November 2007, she created SexyDiabetic.com; and donates a good portion of her time connecting and sharing experiences, both inside and outside the online diabetic communities.


Chrystal has shared with us her personal experiences living with diabetes; her role in the diabetic community; some of her current diabetic project she's working on during black history month.


We talked about some of the struggles we we face, getting the African American communities and all other people of color educated on the dangers of diabetes; as well as the fears and discrimination that still exist for diabetics today.


Click here to listen with your default media player

Richard A. Vaugn


For 2012 I thought it would be wonderful to start the year off with a positive interview!


My guest is Richard A Vaughn. He has written an awesome book called "Beating The Odds - 64 years of Diabetes Health". In this book, he takes us on a journey through his diabetic life.


From the moment he was diagnosed with type 1 at the age of 6, all the way up through completing his masters degree, @ a time when people thought diabetics shouldn't go to college (because diabetes was considered a disability then).


Richard also talks about his wonderful family and grand children, in addition to participating in the Joslin Medalist Study, funded by the JDRF & National Institute of health..


Richard is definitely an inspiration to us all. He has showed us insulin dependent people, how to live healthy emotionally & physically by example, with either no, or the least amount of complications possible; coming from a time when life expectancy for a diabetic was no later than 40 years old.


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Click here to listen with your default audio player!


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You can purchase Richard's book by clicking on the graphic of his book below.




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Diabetic PlayList

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What's in your headphones? We all know how important exercise is to any diabetic, however, the music you exercise to is also just as important too! Music can make the difference between a 3 minute workout, and a 30 minute workout. Personally, I am an oldies guy, and my musical tastes are pretty eclectic and diverse. The above playlist consist of music I am listening to on my Anddroid when I exercise or power-walk. As my mood changes, so shall the playlist.
TuDiabetes
Diabetic Connect
I'm a member of Diabetic Connect
Dear Janis
I'm a member of Dear Janis
Diabetes Stats



Socks4Life is working hard to inform their customers about diabetes.
Click here to read article


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By Melissa Westphal
Norwich Bulletin

ROCKFORD, Ill. — Shopping for health insurance plans has become increasingly stressful for small-business leaders and their employees.

Choosing the right insurer — for the right price — is a time-stealer, tearing them from their focus on customers and profits.

“It takes a lot of time to dig through the different plans and meet with people. It’s a part-time job” in itself, says Lucas Derry, executive vice president of Header Die & Tool Inc. in Rockford. “That’s time I (can’t) dedicate to strategic planning, to growth, to face-time with customers.”

For workers, it’s an ever-increasing financial burden.

Family premiums for Illinois workers rose 5.6 times faster than their paychecks from 2000 to 2007. On average, premiums rose by 73.1 percent, although median earnings rose by 13.1 percent, according to the nonpartisan Families USA, a research and advocacy group based in Washington.

Increasingly expensive medical technology and rising prescription-drug costs are the culprits behind the steadily rising costs, says Kim Bailey, a senior health policy analyst for Families USA. Those increased costs force employers into the agonizing annual process of finding affordable health insurance plans, even if it means reducing coverage or increasing premiums for employees. For some of them, dropping health insurance is the only option — which creates different problems as trained and trusted workers find work with employers who offer it. The number of Americans covered by employment-based insurance fell more than 5 percent between 2000 and 2007, Families USA reported this year. Many Rock River Valley employers provide coverage, but more are asking employees to help foot the bill.

Mike McKinnon, president of Rogers Brothers Galvanizing, says the company covered 100 percent of the premiums for its 75 employees about five years ago. But it fell to about 85 percent in 2007 because of increased costs. Rogers Brothers absorbed the increases for 2008 but asked employees to cover a larger part of their deductibles. “There is a considerable amount of administrative time involved in the insurance process,” McKinnon says. “It’s more of a retention tool because it’s something you want to offer to keep people.” Gary Dietz, a Rogers Brothers employee of 15 years, wasn’t surprised to learn that his health insurance costs through work would increase. But the company did a good job of explaining why, Dietz says. “They had a meeting before they ever raised the premiums. They explained where their money goes as a company and how much insurance costs have shot up.” Dietz, his wife and their four sons — ages 14 to 22 — are covered by his employer insurance plan, and he most notices the increase when it comes to filling prescriptions.

Still, he’s grateful the company offers it: “They shopped around and got their money’s worth.” Gloria Stuhr Pernacciaro, CEO of metal stamping company Reliable Machine, says the company shopped 11 other insurance carriers this year but stayed with Blue Cross/Blue Shield. That meant better coverage but increased costs. The company had not increased employee contributions since 2005, but Reliable couldn’t weather a 24 percent cost increase this year without passing it on. “We will have to find ways to save money in other areas to make up for the increase in health-care costs,” she says.

For instance, Reliable changed its production schedule in February 2006 so crews work four 10-hour days each week, saving the company money and giving employees three-day weekends. Pernacciaro also says employees were involved in investigating alternatives for insurance coverage so they better understood the costs.

Health insurance is the third-largest cost for Header Die & Tool, behind labor and raw materials, Derry says. Derry doesn’t see a point when the company would have to drop health insurance for employees, but deductibles and employees’ out-of-pocket expenses will increase. “We’re doing everything we can internally with employees to work on wellness initiatives and sharing what the costs are and how that affects the company. This does affect the overall bottom line of the company. When you absorb more costs, there is less left at the end of the day.”

About 50.7 million American families will spend more than 10 percent of their pre-tax income on health-care costs in 2008, and more than one-fourth of insured Americans report problems with medical bills or are paying off medical debt. Ella Hushagen, a health policy analyst and state policy coordinator for Families USA, says Illinois lacks protection in the individual insurance market to protect consumers, and some of the same issues can be applied to the small-group market.

The state needs to limit how much insurers can charge people based on their health status, she says, and needs to implement a minimum medical loss ratio to make sure insurers are using premium dollars efficiently. Hushagen also recommends requiring insurers to seek prior approval before increasing premiums. “Those are especially helpful for smaller firms because they see more impact from just one person’s health. In this case, there would be better risk-sharing capacity.”

Melissa Westphal can be reached at (815) 987-1341 or mwestpha@rrstar.com.

The bottom line
A report last month from the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health policy and communications research group, shed some light on why health care is so costly:

Expanding wealth. As nations become wealthier, they spend more money on health care. New treatment options and the development of new technology affect cost, too.

Obesity. People are getting fatter, and the chronic diseases related to obesity, such as hypertension and diabetes, tax the system because more people are seeking medical care and buying prescription drugs. About 45 percent of Americans suffer from one or more chronic illnesses, which account for 70 percent of deaths and 75 percent of all health-care spending.

Comprehensive health benefits. In a predictable irony, when insurance pays a higher percentage of the cost, people use more health care.

Inefficiencies in medical care delivery, such as lack of systems for electronically storing and transmitting health data, is another factor.

Prescription drug spending. It stood at $216.7 billion in 2006, more than five times higher than the $40.3 billion spent in 1990. Three factors driving those increases are increased use, price increases and changes in the types of drugs used.

Reforming the system
The National Federation of Independent Business (fixedforamerica.com) has published its small-business principles for health-care reform.

Included in those efforts is a list of 10 points:

1. Universal. All Americans should have access to quality care and protection against catastrophic costs. A government safety net should enable the neediest to obtain coverage.

2. Private. To the greatest extent possible, Americans should receive their health insurance and health care through the private sector. Care must be taken to minimize the extent to which governmental safety nets crowd out private insurance and care.

3. Affordable. Health-care costs to individuals, providers, governments and businesses must be reasonable, predictable and controllable.

4. Unbiased. Health care and tax laws should not push Americans into employer-provided or government-provided insurance programs and hobble the market for individually purchased policies. Small employers should be treated the same as large employers, who already can pool across state lines. A health-care system built on employer mandates is unacceptable.

5. Competitive. Consumers should have many choices among insurers and providers. Policymakers must alleviate the limitations that state boundaries and treatment mandates place on competitiveness.

6. Portable. Americans should be able to move throughout the United States and change jobs without losing their health insurance.

7. Transparent. Information technology should enable all parties to access accurate, user-friendly information on costs, quality and outcomes. Providers must be able to obtain relatively complete medical histories of patients. At the same time, patients’ privacy must be guarded zealously. The private sector must play a vital role in developing the new technologies.

8. Efficient. Health-care policy should encourage an appropriate level of spending on health care. Laws, regulations and insurance arrangements should direct health-care spending to those goods and services that will maximize health. Adequate risk pools throughout the health-care system are vital to accomplishing these goals.

9. Evidence-based. The health-care system must encourage consumers and providers to accumulate evidence and to use that evidence to improve health. Appropriate treatment choices and better wellness and preventive care should be key outcomes.

10. Realistic. Health-care reform should proceed as rapidly as possible, but not so quickly that firms and individuals cannot adjust prudently. It is important to assure that no one’s quality of care suffers as we move to provide coverage for all Americans.

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