Home Health Care

Metro Preferred Home Care (5033 Lapalo Blvd., Suite B1, Marrero, 328-4431) opened recently to serve residents in Jefferson, Plaquemines and Orleans parishes. The business also has a location in Metairie.

Metro Preferred offers a complete range of services for in-home care, including skilled nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, medical social workers and home-health aides. Patients need a physician´s order to receive services.

The Marrero business is a subsidiary of Amedisys Inc., which provides home health care nursing services in 17 states across the South, Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.

Nominate a Hero

From now until Sept. 30, you can nominate your favorite heroes of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita for a Tribute to Excellence Award by the Arthritis Association of Louisiana. The awards are for people who gave their time and resources in rescue, cleanup and restoration efforts following the storms. To make nominations, visit or call (866) 390-8736.

Walking for a Cure

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is holding its 2006 Walk to Cure Diabetes at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 11 at Aububon Park Shelter No. 10. Registration is 8:30 a.m., or you can register online at The walk will include food, children´s activities and more. Anyone who raises $100 will receive a special T-shirt on the day of the walk.

Help Is Here

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals´ Office of Mental Health has set up free crisis counseling services to help survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita deal with stress, depression and anxiety. The Louisiana Spirit project is funded through grants from FEMA and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Call Louisiana Spirit at (800) 273-8255 or (800) 273-TALK and receive an immediate referral to a crisis counselor. The grants do pay for treatments such as hospitalization or intensive, long-term treatment interventions.

Officials say no medical record will be established in an individual´s name when they call Louisiana Spirt. The service is confidential, and each caller may speak with a trained professional counseler. Tom Kirkpatrick, state coordinating officer with the Louisiana Governor´s Division of Emergency Management, says crisis counseling is a key part of recovery services in Louisiana and that it is normal for people affected by the storm to feel depressed or anxious.

More Doctors, Please

The Delta Regional Authority has implemented the Delta Doctors program, which allows foreign physicians trained in the United States to work for three years in medically underserved areas where there are physician shortages.

The Delta Regional Authority is one of the few government agencies that is allowed to recommend that the State Department approve visa waivers. That waiver is important because medical school graduates from other countries who matriculate in the United States normally must return to their homeland for at least two years after graduation. Under this program, they can remain in the United States if they work 40 hours a week providing primary medical care in their specialty fields in underserved areas.

More than 50 such physicians already have been placed in the 240 counties and parishes within the Delta region. The foreign physicians are placed in the areas only after an employer tries for six months to recruit an American-born doctor. For more information about the program call R.L. Condra at (202) 434-4870 or visit the Web site at

Register for Evacuation Help

Seniors and people with disabilities in Jefferson Parish who need help to evacuate before a hurricane can now register with the Jefferson Louisiana Aging and Disability Station (or

The Jefferson Council on Aging and the Jefferson Parish Office of Emergency Management is collecting information for a database list that will be given to emergency personnel if a mandatory evacuation is called. Registration packets are available at the Council on Aging (6640 Riverside Drive, Suite 140, Metairie, 888-5880 or 800-635-1437) and must be completely filled out.

New Technology

Lakeview Regional Medical Center (95 E. Fairway Drive, Covington, 985-867-3800; last month became the first institution on the Northshore to provide patients with state-of-the-art Computer Tomography (CT) scanning technology. LightSpeed Volume Computer Tomography (VCT), known as 64-Slice, provides highly detailed images of the human body and reduces the radiation dosage previously required by 10-34 percent.

Touro Infirmary (1401 Foucher St., 987-7011; also recently installed a 64-Slice in its facility in Uptown New Orleans.

CT scans traditionally have been used for detecting stroke, cancer, head injuries, herniated disks in the back, locating fractures and evaluating bone and tissue damage in trauma patients, but 64-Slice also can be used for cardiac patients to non-invasively and painlessly capture images of heart and coronary arteries for a better diagnosis.

Health Care in Bywater

Crescent City Physicians Inc.´s St. Claude Office (3322 St. Claude Ave., 947-7754), a subsidiary of Touro Infirmary, reopened late last month in Bywater after being closed since Hurricane Katrina.

Just Excellent

Vista Surgical Hospital (9032 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge, 225-819-0983), one of only a few hospitals in Louisiana that specializes in bariatric surgery, has been designated a Center of Excellence by the American Society for Bariatric Surgery (ASBS). Surgeons Drs. Drake Bellanger and Andrew Hargroder also were cited for their excellence.

The designation recognizes surgical programs and surgeons who have a demonstrated favorable short- and long-term outcomes in bariatric surgery through a critical review by experts on a surgical review committee of the ASBS.

Bariatric surgery is a weight-loss procedure for people who are morbidly obese, which means they are at least 100 pounds over their ideal body weight, have a body mass index of 40 or higher and have a significantly increased risk for obesity-related conditions that can result in serious disability or death.

Arsenic Levels Elevated

There are increased levels of arsenic and lead in New Orleans´ soil following Hurricane Katrina, according to a study published in Environmental Science & Technology, a journal of the American Chemical Society.

Researchers at Texas Tech´s Institute of Environmental and Human Health completed two studies of soil and sediment in the months following Katrina and found arsenic and lead levels in the soil were higher than before the storm. Forty of 43 samples taken from multiple sites in the city — including spots in the 6th and Ninth wards, areas near the Industrial Canal and the Superdome — exceeded Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for arsenic; some lead samples exceeded the EPA´s safety standards by more than four times.

Research team leader George Cobb points out that ¨the majority of metals were not present at concentrations that suggest a widespread and immediate need for concern. However, arsenic and lead did frequently exceed EPA´s criteria for assessing human health risks. This poses difficult policy decisions for the regulatory community.¨

The study suggests that rebuilding plans should include focused sampling in neighborhoods to identify specific hot spots that need to have metal levels capped or may require measures to prevent dangerous exposure to returnining residents.

Take a walk in the park to cure diabetes.
  • Take a walk in the park to cure diabetes.

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