SOUTH

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS -

KINGSPORT, Tenn.— With the help of six em­ploy­ers in north­east Ten­nessee and south­west Vir­ginia, Well­mont Health Sys­tem in Kingsport in­tro­duced a free com­mu­nity health ini­tia­tive known as Well­mont LiveWell. East­man Chem­i­cal Co., Food City, Alpha Nat­u­ral Re­sources, Dom­tar Corp., Elec­tro-Me­chan­i­cal Corp., and Strong­well are the part­ners work­ing with Well­mont to pro­vide the on­line por­tal fo­cused on a com­mit­ment to well­ness and healthy liv­ing. The web­site, launched on July 10, al­lows par­tic­i­pants to take a per­sonal health as­sess­ment, ac­cess a health li­brary and cal­en­dar of lo­cal health events, and sign up to re­ceive per­son­al­ized health in­for­ma­tion. “To­gether, with other busi­nesses and com­mu­ni­ties, we can have a fun­da­men­tal im­pact on our re­gion,” Jim Rogers, East­man’s chair­man and CEO, said in a news re­lease. Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent re­port is­sued by the Robert Wood John­son Foun­da­tion and the Univer­sity of Wis­con­sin Pop­u­la­tion Health In­sti­tute, most coun­ties in north­east Ten­nessee scored in the mid­dle or lower half in their state for health out­comes, while three coun­ties in south­west Vir­ginia ranked in the top five un­health­i­est for their state. — Rachel Lan­den

TAL­LA­HAS­SEE, Fla.— The U.S. Jus­tice Depart­ment filed a law­suit against Florida, ac­cus­ing the state of un­nec­es­sar­ily in­sti­tu­tion­al­iz­ing about 200 dis­abled chil­dren in nurs­ing homes

and cut­ting ser­vices that would al­low them to re­ceive care at home. Fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tors vis­ited six nurs­ing homes around the state and iden­ti­fied about 200 chil­dren they said didn’t need to be there and could ben­e­fit from care at home or else­where in the com­mu­nity. The in­ves­ti­ga­tors found that once in the fa­cil­i­ties, many chil­dren stay for years, some grow­ing up in the nurs­ing homes. The in­ves­ti­ga­tion found cold, hos­pi­tal-like fa­cil­i­ties where chil­dren share com­mon ar­eas with el­derly pa­tients and rarely leave or go out­side. In­ves­ti­ga­tors noted that the chil­dren are not ex­posed to so­cial, ed­u­ca­tional or recre­ational ac­tiv­i­ties crit­i­cal to de­vel­op­ment. They also said ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties are limited to as lit­tle as 45 min­utes a day and that many of the chil­dren’s fam­i­lies live hun­dreds of miles away, ac­cord­ing to the law­suit. Par­ents say they have no other op­tion be­cause the state has slashed in-homes ser­vices, in­clud­ing nurs­ing care for crit­i­cally ill chil­dren on ven­ti­la­tors and feed­ing tubes. Florida Agency for Health Care Ad­min­is­tra­tion Sec­re­tary Liz Dudek said in a state­ment that the state had re­cently im­proved an “al­ready strong pro­gram” and that 31 chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties have been dis­charged from nurs­ing fa­cil­i­ties this year. Fed­eral of­fi­cials said they have “met mul­ti­ple times with state of­fi­cials in a good faith ef­fort to achieve res­o­lu­tion of the vi­o­la­tions,” but ul­ti­mately de­cided “com­pli­ance with the (Amer­i­cans with Dis­abil­i­ties Act) can­not be se­cured by vol­un­tary means,” ac­cord­ing to the law­suit.

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