DHHS Highlights Newsletter_April 2014

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Friday, April 11, 2014 | Vol. 1, No. 1

DHHS’ Highlights is published by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services for those interested in the latest information on health and human services issues. Please subscribe to or share the newsletter by clicking on the "Share" button.

DHHS’ Aid to Dependent Children Employment Assistance Program Ranked 1st in Nation

Nebraska’s Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) employment assistance program was recently ranked first in the nation by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF).

A study by ACF looked at the number of adults entering employment and retaining their jobs through three consecutive quarters. It also looked for increases in these individuals’ earnings during that time period. Nationally, Nebraska’s program ranked highest in these categories.

“Thanks to the daily, one-on-one work of our employees, and the training ADC clients receive from our contractors through our Employment First program, we’re able to provide these individuals a pathway to a more self-sufficient future,” said Kerry Winterer, DHHS CEO.

Helpline Serves Thousands in First Quarter, 2014

Helpline Logo

Three thousand Nebraskans were assisted through the DHHS Helpline between January 1 and March 15, 2014. The Helpline, formerly called the System Advocate, is operated by Diana Duran with DHHS’ Communication and Legislative Services.

The Helpline is available Monday through Friday, 8-5 Central time. The toll-free number is 800-254-4202. The local Lincoln number is 402-471-6035. The Helpline is also available by email.

We know you have real questions and concerns, and we want you to know a real person is here to help.

Hastings and Lincoln Regional Centers Recognized

The Joint Commission, a national organization that evaluates health care entities based on quality standards and measurements, recently accredited the Hastings Regional Center (HRC) for three years for behavioral health care services.

The Lincoln Regional Center (LRC) was also fully accredited by the commission for all services surveyed for behavioral health care and hospital standards. Accreditation is awarded to health care organizations that comply with Joint Commission standards at the time of an onsite survey.

LRC was also recognized by the Joint Commission as a “Top Performer on Key Measures.” It was the only psychiatric hospital in Nebraska and one of only 18 state-operated hospitals in the country to receive this designation.

Free Trainings Offered to DD Families, Providers

Tom Pomeranz

Dr. Tom Pomeranz, a nationally-recognized trainer in the developmental disabilities field, is providing free training to DD families and providers across Nebraska. The training sessions, offered by DHHS through a contract with OMNI Behavioral Health, promote community participation to help people achieve a higher quality life. Trainings are being offered at locations across the state. Register online, by email or by phone: 402-397-9866, ext. 120.

Pictured: Dr. Tom Pomeranz

Vital Stats Report Released; DHHS Processes 60,000 Records Each Year

Approximately 60,000 records of vital events are filed each year with DHHS’ Office of Vital Records. These records provide statewide statistics on births, deaths, marriages and divorces. The recently released 2012 Nebraska Vital Statistics report shows increased marriage ages and a record-low infant mortality rate among other trends.

Eastern Nebraska Veterans’ Home Receives National Award

Excellence in Action Award

The Eastern Nebraska Veterans’ Home (ENVH) in Bellevue received an Excellence in Action award from the National Research Corporation. The honor recognizes long term care and senior living organizations that achieve the highest level of satisfaction among residents. Only four veterans’ homes in the country received this recognition.

Pictured: John Hilgert, Director of DHHS’ Division of Veterans’ Homes (left) and Jeff Smith, ENVH administrator (right).

Behavioral Health Conference To Be Held May 19-21

The state’s annual behavioral health conference will be held May 19-21 in Lincoln. The Success, Hopes, and Dreams Conference will include information on peer support, PTSD, the criminal justice system, trauma and psychotropic medications. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services co-sponsors this conference with the Mental Health Association of Nebraska.

“The conference is an opportunity for consumers to talk to others who are living in recovery and for others to gain critical insight on current issues,” said Scot L. Adams, director of DHHS’ Division of Behavioral Health.

Cancer Claims Life of DHHS Medicaid and Long-Term Care Director Vivianne Chamount


Vivianne Chaumont, Director of DHHS' Medicaid and Long Term Care, passed away April 10 after a battle with cancer.

"The Department has lost a director who was a dedicated public servant, one who cared deeply about the program she oversaw and the people who received those services," said DHHS CEO Kerry Winterer.

Public Health Promotes Radon Testing

House radon icon

Dr. Joseph Acierno, Chief Medical Officer and director of the Division of Public Health, encourages Nebraskans to test their homes for radon, a natural gas which is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.

“People don’t realize that they are at risk of lung cancer even if they don’t smoke,” Acierno said. “It’s important to reduce the risk as much as possible, and radon testing is a good step.”

DHHS’ Nebraska Radon Program provides information on free or low-cost radon test kits.