Big Lake, Alaska and The Susitna Valley News, Weather, Events, And More

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Tuesday, February 20 2018 @ 10:17 AM AKST


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Want to help prevent suicide in Alaska?

Health and WellnessIf you or someone you know is in crisis, worried about someone, grieving, or just really needs to talk, call Careline: 877-266-4357 (HELP). Alaska’s statewide suicide prevention line is free, confidential and 24/7. Or text 4help to 839863 most eves. Careline’s site has veterans’ and other helplines and resources too.

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It’s time to compare and choose 2016 Medicare Part D plans

Health and WellnessThe annual window for Medicare beneficiaries to review their prescription drug, or Part D, insurance plan options for next year is open until Dec. 7, 2015. Alaskans who get both Medicaid and Medicare can enroll or change plans any time

“Consumers should always compare plans, but this year it’s more important than ever,” said Judith Bendersky of Alaska’s Medicare Information Office. “Plan premiums are trending upward for the first time in years, so are many medication costs, and most of the plans that did not have an annual deductible last year now have a $360 deductible.”

Also, Medicare charges penalties if people don’t sign up when first eligible

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DEC Encourages Participation in National Prescription Drug Take - Back Day

Health and Wellness(JUNEAU, AK) – The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) encourages Alaskans to participate in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, September 26 from 10am to 2pm.

The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day promotes safe collection and disposal of unwanted or expired prescription medication. Proper disposal reduces the chance of discarded drugs entering waterbodies and causing harm to public health and the environment.

Alaskans have participated in several collection days over the past five years and have collected over 20,000 pounds of drugs since the event began.

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Alaska Wins $ 2.9 Million Grant for Health Care Workforce Training

Health and WellnessThe Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DOLWD) has won a competitive federal grant to expand Registered Apprenticeship health care training in Alaska. DOLWD applied for the grant in partnership with the Southcentral Foundation and the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority. The grant will accelerate development of training programs for high demand health care occupations.The grant award was announced following a White House summit and Congressional briefing that featured Alaska as one of the leading states that uses Registered Apprenticeship.

"This grant will significantly expand Alaska’s training infrastructure in health care, which has the state’s fastest job growth,” said Commissioner Heidi Drygas. “This funding could not come at a better time, as we ramp up health care training in support of Governor Walker’s Healthy Alaska Plan."

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Administration Implements Healthy Alaska Plan

Health and WellnessSeptember 1, 2015 ANCHORAGE—Governor Bill Walker and Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott today announced implementation of the Healthy Alaska Plan, which will help thousands of Alaskans access the health care they need.

“Many Alaskans are working two or three jobs to make ends meet, and have not been able to afford health insurance,” Governor Walker said. “The Healthy Alaska Plan ensures that working Alaskans will no longer have to choose between health care and bankruptcy.”

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Attorneys General Reach Settlement with Amgen Concerning Illegal Marketing of Medications

Health and WellnessConsumer Alert: The Attorneys General of 49 states have reached a settlement with Amgen Inc. to resolve allegations that Amgen unlawfully promoted medications Aranesp and Enbrel. Aranesp is used to treat certain types of anemia. Enbrel is used to treat a number of conditions, including plaque psoriasis.

The Attorneys General alleged that Amgen violated state consumer protection laws by: (1) promoting Aranesp for dosing frequencies without the Federal Drug Administration’s approval or sufficient scientific evidence to support the levels; (2) promoting Aranesp for anemia caused by cancer without having FDA approval or sufficient scientific evidence to support the claim; and (3) promoting Enbrel for mild plaque psoriasis even though the FDA had approved Enbrel to treat chronic moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.

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Frequently Asked Questions on Medicaid expansion in Alaska

Health and WellnessThe State of Alaska, Department of Health and Social Services has posted a "Frequently Asked Questions on Medicaid expansion in Alaska" which may be viewed here:
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Excavation Training Safety Workshop Available in Anchorage

Health and WellnessThe Department of Labor and Workforce Development encourages Alaskans working in excavations to consider participating in an upcoming safety workshop. Workers can be seriously injured or killed by collapses and falling materials while working in excavations. However, hazards associated with excavation and trenching are preventable.

The Occupational Safety and Health Consultation and Training Section will host excavation training on Wednesday, August 19th from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Professional Engineer Torsten Mayberger, Senior Geotechnical Engineer of P|N|D Engineers, will be the guest trainer. He will discuss soil classification and slope stability failure, and demonstrate why it is essential to inspect the excavation site at the start of each shift, due to the inherent dangers of trenching work. AKOSH consultants will also discuss the excavation standard established in 29 CFR 1926 Subpart P.

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Alaska Awards More Than $300,000 in Clean Water Actions Grants

Health and WellnessA wide range of organizations are the recipients of $304,020 in Alaska Clean Water Actions (ACWA) grants in the summer of 2015. The ACWA partnership between the Departments of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Fish and Game, and Natural Resources awarded 17 grants to assist the State in achieving its clean water goals. The grants focus efforts on waters in greatest need of protection and restoration.

"This grant program allows us to direct federal funds to important clean water projects throughout the State of Alaska," said Michelle Hale, Director of DEC's Division of Water. "Many of the projects awarded augment work being done by other federal, state, and local entities. For example, the Fairbanks Complete Street Construction project is taking advantage of the City of Fairbanks’s Complete Streets Cushman Street upgrade to implement green infrastructure applications.”

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Next Steps on Medicaid Expansion Announced

Health and WellnessJuly 16, 2015 ANCHORAGE—Governor Bill Walker sent a letter to the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee today, giving members the required 45-day notice of his intention to accept additional federal and Mental Health Trust Fund Authority money to expand Medicaid in Alaska.

Governors and legislatures in 29 states plus the District of Columbia have already made the decision to accept Medicaid expansion. Ten Republican governors have approved Medicaid expansion. Republican legislatures in five states have approved Medicaid expansion.

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Increased heroin use in Alaska leads to more deaths and hospitalizations

Health and WellnessDeaths associated with heroin use in Alaska more than tripled from 2008–2013 and inpatient hospitalizations doubled over the same time period, according to an Epidemiology Bulletin release by the Department of Health and Social Services today.

"The drastic increase in opioid pain reliever use over the past two decades has created ‘opioid hunger,’” said Jay Butler, M.D., Chief Medical Officer for the Department of Health and Social Services. “Combined with the influx of cheap and available heroin, this has created a perfect storm of heroin addiction and deaths."

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Governor Lauds Landmark ACA Decision

Health and WellnessJune 25, 2015 ANCHORAGE — Today, in a 6-to-3 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in favor of the defendant in the case of King v. Burwell. The court ruled that federal subsidies are legal in states like Alaska that did not establish state-based health insurance exchanges under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“We are pleased so many of our friends, family and neighbors will be able to continue to receive health care,” said Governor Bill Walker. “Now it’s important that we continue to work toward Medicaid expansion, so more Alaskans can receive the health coverage they need.”
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Medicare video conference at the Big Lake Public Library on July 7, 2015

Health and WellnessThere will be a Medicare video conference at the Big Lake Public Library on July 7, 2015 from 6-8 p.m. If interested please attend, if you know of anyone that might be interested in Medicare in Alaska have them attend.

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Measles case confirmed in Fairbanks

Health and WellnessFAIRBANKS —On June 9, Alaska’s first measles case in more than a decade, was confirmed in Fairbanks. An adult with recent travel to central Asia developed a rash several days after arriving in Fairbanks, Alaska, on May 31. Laboratory testing for measles RNA virus was positive on June 9. Non-immune persons who were in close proximity to the infected person may be at risk of developing measles. “There is potential for wider community exposure, putting non-immune persons at risk for infection,” said Dr. Joe McLaughlin, Chief, Alaska Section of Epidemiology. "It is important for Fairbanks residents to review their and their children's measles vaccination status and make sure they are up-to-date."

The infected person might have been infectious while in several locations in Fairbanks during May 31 through June 7. Federal officials will be contacting persons who may have been exposed on airlines outside of Alaska. The patient was on a flight to Fairbanks that originated in Seattle and did not transit in Anchorage.

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Governor Proclaims June as Safety Month in Alaska

Health and WellnessJUNEAU, Alaska—Governor Bill Walker has proclaimed June as Safety Month in Alaska in concert with the National Safety Council’s National Safety Month. The annual campaign is designed to focus attention on the importance of safety to prevent tragic accidents that hurt Alaska families and businesses.

This year’s theme, “What I Live For,” encourages Alaskans to think about the most important aspects of our lives, and share stories with fellow Alaskans about why safety is so important to maintain our quality of life. Important topics such as transportation safety, prescription painkiller abuse, emergency preparedness, ergonomics, and slip, trip and fall prevention are significant concerns that demand our attention.

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