DHHS Highlights Newsletter_Volume 1 Issue 5

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014 | Vol. 1, No. 5

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.

USS Nebraska Crew Members Visit Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center in Kearney


Six sailors from the Navy's USS Nebraska visited the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center in Kearney recently. The sailors talked to youth and staff about their experience on the Green Crew of the USS Nebraska and the benefits of serving in the Navy.

The youth and staff had a lot of questions for the crewmen and the crew presented YRTC-K with a framed and signed picture of the USS Nebraska to hang in the facility.

Nebraska Admiral Gloria LaDroit and YRTC-K facility administrator Jana Peterson plan on making this an annual event.

DHHS Recognizes Six Nebraskans for Their Elder Abuse Prevention Efforts


DHHS recently recognized six Nebraskans with Elder Abuse Prevention Advocate of the Year awards for their work to protect the elderly.

Investigator Cindy Koenig-Warnke with the Lincoln Police Department’s Technical Investigations Unit was recognized with the first statewide Elder Abuse Prevention Advocate of the Year Award.

The following people received regional Elder Abuse Prevention Advocate of the Year awards: Richard Belik, Omaha Police Department detective, eastern Nebraska; Lily Hans, coordinator at TRIAD, southeast Nebraska; Sheila Kennedy, with the South Central Nebraska Area Agency on Aging, central Nebraska; Mike Dehart of Bulldog Construction in Nebraska City, southeast Nebraska; and Thelma Whitewater, elder abuse prevention coordinator, Indian Health Services, Winnebago Reservation, northeast Nebraska.

Nebraskans are encouraged to watch for elder abuse and, if they suspect it has occurred, to call the Adult Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-800-652-1999.

Pictured above: Lily Hans, coordinator at TRIAD accepts her Elder Abuse Prevention Advocate of the Year award as Thomas Pristow, Director, DHHS Division of Children and Family Services; and Cynthia Brammeier, DHHS administrator, Medicaid and Long-Term Care, look on.

Prevent Mosquito-borne Viruses This Summer


Nebraska’s first case of the mosquito-borne virus chikungunya (chik-un-GUHN-ya) was reported last month. Public health officials believe the 25-year-old woman, who was hospitalized and later released, was exposed to the disease during a trip to Haiti.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chikungunya isn’t found in mosquitoes in the United States and isn’t spread from person to person.

However, mosquitoes in Nebraska can transmit a variety of diseases including West Nile and certain strains of encephalitis so it’s important to protect yourself from mosquito bites.

Public health officials offer these mosquito protection tips: use mosquito repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535; dress in long-sleeved shirts, pants and socks when you’re outside; and drain standing water around your home. Warm, standing water provides an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes.

DHHS Programs Help Nebraskans Keep Cool in the Summer

DHHS has partnered with 58 organizations in 39 Nebraska communities to distribute fans to Nebraskans. DHHS administers the funds and local participating organizations distribute them. Individuals who need a fan should call the nearest participating organization.

“We expect hundreds of fans will be provided across the state to help individuals and families who are most likely to be affected by the hot weather,” said Thomas Pristow, director of DHHS’ Division of Children and Family Services.

DHHS also offers a program that helps low-income individuals pay energy bills. People who meet the income eligibility requirements can apply online, at any local DHHS office, or by phone at 1-800-383-4278. Individuals in Lincoln should call 402-323-3900 and Omaha residents should call 402-595-1258.

DHHS Assists with Tornado Recovery Efforts; Provides Resources on Coping with Severe Weather


After tornados hit northeast Nebraska on June 16, DHHS employees worked with the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to provide recovery and relief efforts.

Following severe weather emergencies such as this one, DHHS employees ensure there is safe drinking water; check on facilities the agency licenses; connect people to behavioral health resources; and conduct interviews and write news releases to provide information on available resources.

DHHS also offers a variety of online resources to help people cope with severe weather and its aftermath.

DHHS' “Resources for Coping with Severe Weather and Flooding” website connects people to information on safe storm cleanup, mental and emotional health resources, local health departments, National Weather Service reports and road closure information.

Pictured above: Damaged trees and cars line a street in Pilger after the town was hit by two tornados on June 16.

Architectural Firm Starts Work on Central Nebraska Veterans’ Home

Architectural work on the new Central Nebraska Veterans’ Home is set to begin this summer.

In late June, the State of Nebraska signed a contract with Wilkins Hinrichs Stober Architects (WHSA) of Kearney to serve as lead firm on the project.

“It is very important to start the design work necessary to complete the next step in the grant process,” said John Hilgert, Director of DHHS’ Division of Veterans’ Homes. “It has become even more obvious and apparent that federal funding will be forthcoming.  When funding is granted, Nebraska will be ready.”

WHSA was selected after a competitive building process and has 35 years of experience designing senior care projects, including facilities specializing in independent and assisted living, skilled nursing care and memory care.

“I’m confident the leadership of WHSA will result in an outstanding new home that will make Nebraska veterans proud,” Hilgert said.

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