DHHS Highlights Newsletter_Volume 1 Issue 4

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014 | Vol. 1, Issue 4

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’ North Platte Office Hosts Awareness & Recognition Event for Foster Families


DHHS Division of Children and Family Services' employees in North Platte honored foster families with a “Foster a Future” event May 17 at the city's Cody Park.

More than 90 people attended the carnival-like event that featured cotton candy, sno-cones, hot dogs, and activities like gunny sack races and hoola hoop competitions.

“We wanted to make people aware of the need for foster parents, thank our current foster parent homes and have a fun, free and family-centered event,” said Tina Gastineau, Resource Development Supervisor, North Platte.

CFS staff collaborated with the Nebraska Foster and Adoptive Parent Association, St. Francis Hospital, Right Turn and Project Everlast to host the event.

Elaina Davis, daughter of Laura Davis, Resource Developer, North Platte, plays with a dog at the Foster a Future event.

BSDC Staff and Residents Run Charity Lemonade Stand


Beatrice State Developmental Center (BSDC) staff and residents ran a lemonade stand from June 2 to 4 to raise funds for Alex’s Lemonade Stand, a foundation that funds childhood cancer research. 

BSDC staff and residents offered treats and drinks for free-will donations. Staff members donated the items the residents offered and all proceeds went to Alex’s Lemonade Stand.
From left: Anna; Amy Sturm, Active Treatment Program Assistant; Janelle Weir, Active Treatment Program Specialist; and Kim.

The Nebraska Clean Indoor Air Act Celebrates Five Years


June 1 was the fifth anniversary of the passage of the Nebraska Clean Indoor Air Act.

Nebraska is one of 16 states with 100 percent smoke-free laws in all non-hospitality workplaces, restaurants, bars and gambling venues.

“Being smoke free is something we often take for granted in Nebraska these days,” said Judy Martin, Deputy Director of  DHHS’ Community and Environmental Health, “Visiting another state is often a stark reminder of how wonderful it is for all indoor workplaces and indoor public places to be smoke-free."

For more information about the law and Nebraska’s successful transition to clean indoor air, visit SmokeFree.ne.gov.

Norfolk Veterans’ Home Receives Perfect Score on Performance Survey


For the third year in a row, the Norfolk Veterans’ Home has received a perfect score on its annual Health Care System Survey by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The survey ensures that NVH meets all of the requirements of a licensed Skilled Nursing Facility.

Jerry Eisenhauer, the facility’s administrator, attributed NVH's high marks to its dedicated staff and volunteers.

“It’s a team effort from everyone connected with Norfolk Veterans’ Home that has allowed us to maintain consistently high standards of care,” he said.

In addition to Norfolk, DHHS runs veterans' homes in Bellevue, Grand Island and Scottsbluff.

NVH employees hold up three fingers in recognition of the facility's third straight perfect score on the Health Care System Survey.

DHHS Promotes World Elder Abuse Awareness


DHHS continues to promote World Elder Abuse Awareness  by educating people about elder abuse and neglect warning signs.

One in 10 Americans is a victim of elder abuse, neglect or exploitation and only one in 14 cases is reported to authorities.

“That’s why it’s so important for Nebraskans to learn how to recognize and report elder abuse and neglect. It’s everyone’s responsibility,” said Thomas Pristow, director of DHHS’ Division of Children and Family Services.

To learn more about the signs of elder abuse and neglect, visit DHHS’ Adult Protective Services website. If abuse is suspected, call the Adult Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-800-652-1999. Callers can remain anonymous.

Jodi Osborn, of Lincoln, holds a photo of her mother, who was the victim of elder abuse and was murdered a year ago. Obsorn wants to help other families recognize the signs of abuse.

Connections Newsletter Brings DHHS Employees Together


DHHS has more than 5,000 employees in offices across the state.

The employees work in the department’s six divisions: Behavioral Health; Children and Family Services; Developmental Disabilities; Medicaid and Long-Term Care; Public Health; Veterans’ Homes; or in Operations or the Office of the Chief Executive Officer.

Connections is a monthly online newsletter featuring articles on DHHS programs and services, and employees who have been recognized for their accomplishments in and outside of the workplace.

The newsletter also features letters of appreciation submitted by DHHS clients or partners and a monthly column by DHHS CEO Kerry Winterer.

You can subscribe to receive Connections by email here and also access the current issue and past issues.

Public Health Issues Health Alerts on Nebraska Lakes

DHHS’ Public Health Division works with the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ), Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Water Quality Extension Program to send out health alerts on public lakes during the summer.

NDEQ does sampling for toxic algae and bacteria at 50 public lakes weekly. If a lake is determined to have unsafe levels of toxic algae or bacteria, the agencies issue a health alert. 

A lake must go two consecutive weeks with readings below the established threshold for toxic algae and bacteria before the alert is lifted. While the health alert is in effect, designated swimming beaches are closed and signs are posted warning people to use caution.

Public lake sampling results and health alerts are updated and posted on NDEQ’s website every Friday.

Motorcyclists' “Pony Express” Promotes Children’s Mental Health Awareness


They rode 900 miles in three days.

From May 28 to 31 a “Pony Express” made up of volunteer motorcyclists traveled across the state collecting hundreds of letters about children’s mental health.

The volunteers started their journey in Gering and traveled east across the state collecting letters about children’s mental health.  On May 31, they delivered the letters to the State Capitol in Lincoln.

“Children’s mental health is important to their success in life,” said Scot L. Adams, director of DHHS’ Division of Behavioral Health.  “This ride shows support for increasing their mental well-being.”

Volunteer motorcyclists park in front of the State Capitol before they deliver letters about children's mental health on May 31.