DHHS Highlights Newsletter_Volume 1 Issue 8

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014 | Vol. 1, No. 8

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.

Veterans’ Homes Earn Perfect Scores on V.A. Surveys


For the second year in a row, all four of Nebraska's veterans’ homes have received perfect scores on their annual Health Care System Surveys by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The four homes, administered by DHHS’ Division of Veterans’ Homes, include the Eastern Nebraska Veterans' Home in Bellevue, the Grand Island Veterans' Home, the Norfolk Veterans' Home and the Western Nebraska Veterans' Home in Scottsbluff.

“Having all four homes receive perfect survey scores for two consecutive years is an outstanding achievement,” said Gov. Dave Heineman. “This accomplishment demonstrates the dedication of the employees of our veterans' homes and the quality of care they provide to those who have served our country.”

Grand Island Veterans' Home employees form zeroes in honor of GIVH's zero deficiency survey from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

CFS Launches Bridge to Independence Program


On Oct. 1, DHHS’ Division of Children and Family Services launched Bridge to Independence, a program that will help young adults who age out of state custody transition to adulthood.

In the program, also called b2i, eleven independence coordinators will provide guidance to former and current wards who will soon age out of the system.

“The program allows good flexibility to meet the needs of former wards," said Kerry Winterer, DHHS CEO."Our independence coordinators are trained to provide them with resources so they can make informed decisions about their future."

Public Health Helps Promote Governor’s Wellness Awards


Dr. Joseph Acierno, Chief Medical Officer and director of DHHS’ Division of Public Health recently helped Gov. Dave Heineman announce the 2014 recipients of the Governor’s Wellness Award.

Fifty Nebraska employers were honored for their efforts to promote workplace wellness programs.

“We hope to encourage more businesses in Nebraska to offer employee health and wellness programs,” Dr. Acierno said. “The Nebraska Worksite Wellness Toolkit is a great resource for employers interested in developing or expanding their wellness programs.”

The Governor’s Wellness Awards are presented annually and are good for three years.

Dr. Joseph Acierno, Chief Medical Officer and director of DHHS’ Division of Public Health (at podium), and Gov.Dave Heineman recognize recipients of the Governor’s Wellness Awards.

YRTC-K Accredited by American Correctional Association


The Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center in Kearney (YRTC-K) was recently accredited by a team of auditors from the American Correctional Association.

The facility was found to be 100 percent compliant on 38 mandatory requirements and 99 percent compliant on 333 non-mandatory measurements.

YRTC-K has received 100 percent compliance on the mandatory requirements before, but the 99 percent compliance on non-mandatory measurements is a new high.
“It was the best audit we’ve had at the facility," said Jana Peterson, YRTC-K administrator. "It was really a team effort with the youth and staff working together to accomplish it."

The three-day audit for accreditation is conducted every three years.

Behavioral Health Holds Celebration of Life Ceremony

DHHS' Division of Behavioral Health held a celebration of life ceremony and moment of silence recently at the Lincoln Regional Center.

The ceremony honored Nebraskans who lived and died at state psychiatric institutions and are buried in Regional Center cemeteries.

“There has been a nationwide movement to bring attention to those buried at state mental hospitals and Nebraska has been working on this for several years,” said Scot L. Adams, director of the Division of Behavioral Health.  “By remembering their places of burial, we’re recognizing their humanity and showing that they haven’t been forgotten.”

DHHS operates Regional Centers in Lincoln, Hastings and Norfolk.

Public Health Offers Free Well Water Screenings


Staff with DHHS’ Division of Public Health offered free water well screenings during the Husker Harvest Days farm show.

Private water well owners could bring a cup-size sample of water to Public Health staff members for  nitrate level screenings.

Test results were ready on site within 15 minutes and DHHS field representatives were available to provide advice to well owners.

“Testing private water wells for nitrates is something that should be done at least once a year, in mid to late summer,” said Dr. Joseph Acierno, Chief Medical Officer and director of the Division of Public Health.

For more information on keeping your drinking water safe, contact Public Health’s Water Well Standards Program.

Hundreds Attend Recent “It’s My Life!” Conference


More than 600 people attended the Division of Developmental Disabilities’ recent “It’s My Life!” Conference in La Vista.

The conference was geared toward people with developmental disabilities, their parents or guardians, service providers and others who work in the field of developmental disabilities.

“Our goal is to help people with developmental disabilities and those who work with them identify and use resources and systems to support all people in living an enviable life,” said Jodi Fenner, director of the Division of Developmental Disabilities.

The conference also featured speakers, activities, and artwork and entertainment by Nebraskans with developmental disabilities.

Public Health Employee Dean Cole Recognized


Dean Cole, an emergency medical services (EMS) and trauma program manager with DHHS' Division of Public Health, was recently honored with the Kenneth Kimball Award.

The award recognizes people who have played an important role in improving the quality of Nebraska's EMS system.

Cole started his EMS career in 1976. He started working for the state as the metro EMS specialist in 1988 and has been with DHHS since 1994.