The U.S. health care system in is still in flux, with several states mounting court challenges to President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act and reports about Congress amending the law — and the House trying to repeal it. Medicare's fate also may hang on the president's health care reform plan. In response to a report about the health of Medicare, Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, wrote on the White House blog (www.whitehouse.gov/blog) May 13, "Without the historic deficit reduction in the Affordable Care Act, Medicare would have gone bankrupt in 2016 — only five years from now."
Uncertainty is leading people to take charge of their health — and health care — by learning about screenings, information resources, what medical services are available and who offers what. The public also wants to know about alternative therapies, fitness programs, aesthetic improvement options and ways to improve their well-being.
Gambit's 13th annual Wellness Expo™ can be a great resource for solving many of these dilemmas (though not the political wranglings). Lakeside Shopping Center (3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie; www.lakesideshopping.com) plays host to the expo from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 11. More than three dozen exhibitors will man booths covering everything from birth to hospice care, cardiology to hearing aids, massage therapy to diabetes. At some booths, visitors can enter drawings for prizes, and at others they'll find giveaways, health screenings, product samples, free massages, coupons, discounts and more.
Pick up a "Wellness Passport," have it stamped at six different booths and enter a drawing for prizes at Center Stage. That's also where you'll see a lineup of demonstrations on self-defense, dance workouts, yoga, hula hooping, martial arts, brain-balancing and boxing.
The Wellness Expo is presented by East Jefferson General Hospital and is sponsored in part by Canon Hospice, Audibel Hearing Aids, Diagnostic Imaging Services, Harch Hyperbarics and Tulane Medical Center. All of them will have booths where visitors can find out what the businesses can do for them. (See a list of demonstrations on p. 8, a directory of exhibitors' info on p. 9 and an expo map on p. 12.)
East Jefferson General Hospital (EJGH) is serious about its responsibility to deliver quality health care to its community. With more than 3,000 employees, EJGH is one of Jefferson Parish's largest employers, and its community of patients includes an extensive circle of friends and families of its employees. Every patient gets the family treatment, though, because physicians take a multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary approach to diagnosis and treatment. The hospital has 454 beds and 650 physicians on staff.
The 20-acre campus of the publicly owned hospital houses medical office buildings; the Yenni Treatment Center for outpatient cancer treatment; the Domino Pavilion for same-day surgery and outpatient services; the Wellness Center fitness facility and the East Jefferson Imaging Center.
EJGH also tries to improve the health of its community with programs such as free and discounted screenings, HealthFinder's free referral and appointment service and seminars and education programs about a variety of health topics.
Experienced cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons in the EJGH Cardiology unit help patients make the best decisions possible about treatments for cardiovascular diseases. The hospital provides state-of-the-art facilities for diagnosing and treating cardiac problems. Innovations include atrial fibrillation, minimally invasive treatments, video-assisted thoracic surgeries and groundbreaking treatments for pulmonary embolisms and deep-vein thrombosis. It also has an accredited cardiac rehab program.
A Coronary Care Unit provides specialized care to patients with heart attacks, unstable angina and other conditions requiring heart monitoring. EJGH cardiac services received the Gold Performance Award from the American Heart Association.
Cardiology also offers the public free seminars, education and prevention programs about heart disease, obesity and smoking.
Teaching diabetic patients to stay on top of their disease is the goal of the EJGH Diabetes Management Center, which provides the expertise and tools patients need: evaluations, education programs, nutritional counseling, medication management, teaching the symptoms of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia, foot care, fitness and other services. The center also sponsors a support group where patients can share information, food tips, advice and camaraderie.
For the public, Diabetes Management offers free health fairs and classes in diabetes basics and Diabetes Dynamics, a two-class course covering the basics of diabetes management, nutrition, foot care, exercise goal-setting and motivation.
A team of experienced dieticians at EJGH's Food & Nutrition Services Department design medical nutrition therapies to help patients in the hospital recover from surgery or disease and nutrition plans for outpatients to control disease symptoms and improve overall health. The dieticians have expertise in specialized nutrition support for cancer, celiac disease, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, gestational diabetes, heart disease, hyperlipidemias, hypertension and weight management.
Through the Wellness Center, the department performs nutritional counseling for fitness and sports, weight loss, disease prevention and health maintenance. People committed to making lasting diet and lifestyle changes can get on a nutrition counseling program — for about six months — with monthly sessions to keep them on track and help them reach your goals.
EJGH Healthy Lifestyles offers a packed calendar of social events, fitness activities and educational opportunities, including everything from health assessments and nutrition classes to outdoor recreation, weekend excursions, and get-togethers at local venues.
Healthy Lifestyles members can attend seminars by physicians on topics ranging from joint replacement to nutrition. They also receive the latest information on medical breakthroughs and lifestyle choices designed to help them live healthier lives. Activities and classes include prenatal yoga, yoga at the park, sibling classes, tai chi and more.
The program offers free and low-cost health screenings, room upgrades at EJGH, health assessments and discounts at the EJGH Wellness Center, the Woman and Child Boutique and The Fitness Principle. Members get discounts at a variety of merchants in the area and complimentary local fax and copying services are available.
The EJGH Imaging Center on Clearview Parkway gives patients all the diagnostic imaging services of a hospital, but at an off-site location (read: easy parking) where patients can get same- or next-day appointments and speedy results.
More than a dozen radiologists are on staff to consult with patients about tests, perform state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging including open MRI, 64-slice multi-detector CT and X-rays, and to interpret the results.
The center also offers filmless radiology for referring physicians, giving them 24/7 access to the images they need.
EJGH's Oncology unit provides a full spectrum of care for cancer patients in the hospital and those receiving outpatient treatments. The hospital's team includes medical and radiation oncologists, surgeons, hematologists, immunologists, a range of specialized nurses, pain management specialists, dieticians and others who deal with patients' emotional, psychological and spiritual needs.
In 2007 EJGH affiliated with the MD Anderson Physicians Network, which gives local doctors extra resources and the latest information on research and technology for treating cancer patients.
The Yenni Treatment Center provides state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment equipment, including nuclear medicine, CT, MRI, mammography, MRI breast imaging and PET Fusion. The hospital uses a host of therapies, including Trilogy, a beam radiation treatment, and Novalis Tx, image-guided radiosurgery.
A Cancer Care Navigator makes the journey through cancer treatment more manageable, helping with insurance questions, scheduling, medication management and quality-of-life issues.
The Outpatient Infusion Center puts a host of services under one roof. People who receive cancer therapies can sign up for Fast Track, a program that cuts wait and treatment times. EJGH plans to expand the Outpatient Infusion Center from its present 3,300 square feet to more than 11,000 square feet.
Getting enough sleep is essential to good health and can have a marked affect on a person's quality of life, both at work and at home. To determine what interrupts a person's slumber, doctors at the EJGH Sleep Center conduct a sleep study in which a patient spends the night in a quiet home-like bedroom while a polysomnographic technician and respiratory therapist monitor snoring, brain and muscle activity, eye movements, breathing and heart rate to establish sleep patterns. A medical team analyzes the results and develops a course of treatment
Sleep apnea, chronic snoring, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome and insomnia are among the conditions treated at the Sleep Center.
Because EJGH is dedicated to improving the overall health of its patients and their families, the Wellness Center has a variety of fitness programs, education services, social events and other services aimed at helping people live full, healthy lives.
Staff members design individualized fitness regimens, or members can participate in a variety of classes such as tai chi, line dancing and the Latin-inspired dance workout, Spicy Steps.
The 38,000-square-foot medical fitness facility offers cardiovascular exercise plans, strength training, two swimming pools, a steam room and whirlpool, a raised walking track, massage therapists and more.
Specialty classes include meditation, stress management, aquatics for patients with fibromyalgia or multiple sclerosis, and disease management. EJGH dieticians lend their expertise through nutritional counseling for weight loss, gaining strength after a disease or maintaining optimum health.
EJGH Woman and Child Services comprises everything a family needs before and during pregnancy as well as after delivery. The highly trained staff includes obstetricians, high-risk pregnancy physicians, neonatal nurses, certified Lamaze educators, ultrasound technicians and lactation consultants.
Labor, delivery and recovery suites are designed with a home-like atmosphere that promotes bonding with the newborn and can accommodate visits with family and friends.
There are nutrition consultants, a resource library and a breastfeeding center staffed with lactation consultants and nurses.
For babies who need special care, there are neonatologists and a neonatal Intensive Care Unit and nursery. EJGH is among the few hospitals in Louisiana to be awarded a Guided Infant Feeding Techniques Certification by the Louisiana Maternal & Child Health Coalition.
Caring for a terminally ill loved one while also trying to handle the grief associated with death as well as the regular responsibilities of life can be overwhelming. Canon Hospice can help by providing hospice services at a patient's home or in the hospital.
Patients receive medical supplies, medication and equipment as well as regular visits from registered nurses, a 24-hour nursing care line for emergencies and a nursing assistant to help with personal care tasks. A social worker also will visit the patient for counseling and psychosocial support.
Canon professionals also help patients and families come to terms with the terminal illness and offer free bereavement support to families for a year after their loved one dies.
For children ages 7 to 12, Canon sponsors Camp Swan, a weekend camp that provides play, art activities and opportunities for kids to talk about their grief.
Hospice care is available for people who no longer are taking curative treatments for a terminal illness. Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance companies cover hospice.
State-of-the-art hearing aids and caring professionals who teach patients how to use them can help bring the hard of hearing out of their isolation. Audibel Hearing Aids manufactures premium hearing devices and sells them only through the company's network of outlets.
An audiologist tests a patient's hearing, and an Audibel representative consults with the patient about his or her lifestyle to find out what needs and limitations the work and home environments present. A hearing aid is then customized for that patient's needs. A hearing care professional helps the patient decide which of the seven styles is best for them, then performs a fitting so the device is comfortable. Finally, the Audibel team teaches the patient about the hearing aid, how it works and its special features.
Audibel hearing aids include feedback cancelers that eliminate whistling sounds common to hearing aids, and technology that enables the device to work well — even in a noisy environment.
Opened in 1973, Diagnostic Imaging Services (DIS) was the first center in the Gulf South to obtain a high-field open MRI, giving patients a much wider field of vision and less discomfort. It also can accommodate people up to 660 pounds and produces scans quickly.
There are four DIS centers in the New Orleans area, and each offers a relaxing atmosphere where patients can get CTs, MRIs, PET CTs, mammograms and ultrasounds. The company also performs MRI angiography, hysterosalpingogram, digital fluoroscopy, esophagram, pyelogram, myelogram and arthrogram
On the nondiagnostic menu, massages are available.
The DIS Women's Center in Metairie offers digital mammography, ultrasound, hysterosonography, digital X-rays, instant vertebral assessments, cyst aspirations, therapeutic massages and more.
Harch Hyperbarics provides painless, non-invasive hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) for a range of medical problems, including traumatic brain injury, stroke, autism, cerebral palsy, birth injuries, learning disabilities, multiple sclerosis, carbon monoxide poisoning and fibromyalgia.
The therapy involves inhaling 100 percent oxygen in a total body chamber. The oxygen dissolves into all of the body's fluids, carrying it to places that lack good circulation. Normally, oxygen is carried only through red blood cells that travel within the vascular system. The increased oxygen enhances the body's natural healing processes, treating functional changes in body systems caused by injury or disease. The therapy can induce the body to heal tissues and develop new blood vessels at wound sites and is helpful in treating brain and neurological injuries and diseases, cerebral palsy and autism.
Clinic owner Dr. Paul G. Harch is recognized as one of the foremost authorities in the U.S. on the use of HBOT and SPECT brain imaging for neurological conditions.
Tulane Medical Center (TMC) is a teaching, research and medical facility that uses the combined resources of the 234-bed Tulane University Hospital and Clinic and Tulane School of Medicine to provide health care to patients all over the metro area. The comprehensive system has 24 clinics, and specialty centers include Tulane Cancer Center, Tulane Abdominal Transplant, Tulane-Lakeside Women's Center, two multispecialty centers and Tulane Institute of Sports Medicine. Tulane-Lakeside Hospital and Tulane Hospital for Children also are part of the TMC system.
TMC has grown steadily and expanded its interests since its beginnings in 1834 as one of only 14 medical schools in the U.S. It employs hundreds of physicians in a variety of fields covering all areas of health care. In addition to standard departments, patients will find a sleep center and sleep disorders clinic, neurosurgery, human genetics and a mood disorders clinic, as well as centers for pain management, diabetes, headaches, multiple sclerosis, rehabilitation and more.
Other exhibitors at the expo include: BodyTalk NOLA, a holistic energy healing system; Audubon Fertility and Reproductive Medicine, a clinic offering gynecology services and fertility treatments; American Laser Skincare, specializing in laser hair removal, cellulite reduction and skin rejuvenation treatments; Doctors Express, an urgent-care clinic; Doctors Imaging Services, owned and operated by New Orleans radiologists; Upper Cervical Family Chiropractic, focusing on total body wellness and balance; Louisiana Relay Service, a free service that helps the hearing-impaired communicate by phone; TaeKwonDo Plus, which will give away free trial lessons at its booth; and the National Library of Medicine, putting medical information at your fingertips;
The Acupuncture Wellness Center, offering acupuncture, herbal therapies, nutrition counseling and massage; Cellution Wellness Center, which performs laser surgery and aesthetic medicine; New York Life Insurance, a provider of insurance, annuities and investment products; and Paris Parker Lakeside Mall, a full-service hair salon and lifestyle store;
AdvoCare NOLA, a wellness company selling nutritional supplements and energy, weight-loss and sports-performance products; Rejuv Massage Therapy Center (the name says it all); Street Smarts Krav Maga, self-defense, fitness and fighting classes; Superior Healthcare, providing medical care, physical therapy and chiropractic services under one roof; Xtend Barre New Orleans, a full-body immersion workout at the ballet barre; Peoples Health, health care plans for people on Medicare; and Transform, which will hold a drawing for $100 worth of yoga and Nia classes or group training classes;