DHHS Highlights Newsletter_Volume 1 Issue 10

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Helping people live better lives.

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Thursday, December 18, 2014 | Vol. 1, No. 10

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, Gov. Heineman Encourage Adoption of Nebraska’s Foster Children


Gov. Dave Heineman and DHHS recently encouraged Nebraskans to adopt children in foster care during November’s Adoption Awareness Month.

The need for adoptive and foster parents continues.

“While we celebrate nearly 450 adoptions so far this year, we must remember that over 300 children are still waiting to be adopted,” said Thomas Pristow, director of DHHS’ Division of Children and Family Services.

“We encourage everyone who is, or has considered becoming a foster parent, to go to the DHHS website and look at the photos of the youth available for adoption. I hope you will be moved to action," Pristow said.

People considering adoption may also call 1-800-7PARENT (1-800-772-7368) for more information.

Gov. Dave Heineman (left) is joined by the Walter Family of Lincoln for the Adoption Awareness Month announcement at the State Capitol.

DHHS' 2014 Annual Report Provides Overview of Services


Helping people live better lives is more than just our mission statement. It’s what DHHS employees do every day.

DHHS employees educate and protect people through public health efforts; assist the elderly, the poor and people with disabilities; provide safety to abused and/or neglected children or vulnerable adults; and serve Nebraskans in need of 24-hour facility care.

Our 2014 annual report provides a basic overview of these services. It’s a great introduction to what we do, with links to more detailed information on our website.

DHHS CEO Kerry Winterer Announces Departure


Kerry Winterer, DHHS CEO, recently announced he will be leaving the agency Dec.19.

Winterer was appointed by Gov. Dave Heineman in 2009.

“It has been an honor to lead this agency which provides services that are oftentimes life-sustaining to hundreds of thousands of our fellow Nebraskans,” Winterer said.

“I also want to thank all the DHHS employees who are committed in their efforts to provide these important services to Nebraskans," he said. "They are mission driven and do great things for the people of the state every day.”

Winterer recently highlighted some of these DHHS accomplishments in an Omaha World-Herald Midlands Voices article.

Lincoln Regional Center Recognized as Top Performer

The Joint Commission, the leading accreditor of health care organizations, recently recognized the Lincoln Regional Center as a 2013 Top Performer on Key Quality Measures®.

The Top Performer program recognizes hospitals for improving performance on evidence-based interventions that increase the chances of healthy outcomes.

LRC is one of only 1,224 hospitals in the United States to earn the distinction and one of only 712 hospitals to achieve the distinction for two consecutive years. 

The Lincoln Regional Center is part of DHHS’ Division of Behavioral Health.

“What matters most to us is the quality and safety of the care that patients receive at LRC,” said Scot L. Adams, director of the Division of Behavioral Health. “LRC being named a Top Performer recognizes the knowledge, teamwork and dedication of staff.”

DHHS’ Division of Public Health Launches New Websites


DHHS’ Division of Public Health recently launched two new websites with resources to help keep Nebraskans safe and healthy.

A new website from DHHS’ Injury Prevention Program provides resources on preventing prescription drug overdoses, motor vehicle accidents, concussions, falls and other causes of injury.

Public Health’s Maternal and Infant Health Program recently launched a new website with safe sleep environment guidelines and other resources on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and Sudden Unexplained Infant Death (SUID).

Beatrice State Developmental Center Medical Director Receives National Award


Dr. Todd Stull, medical director for DHHS’ Division of Developmental Disabilities, was recently presented the prestigious Frank J. Menolascino Award for Excellence from the National Association for the Dually Diagnosed (NADD). 

Jodi Fenner, director of the Division of Developmental Disabilities, said Dr. Stull’s compassionate work makes a difference for Nebraskans with developmental disabilities and their families, communities, service providers and professionals.
“He combines visionary leadership, research, experience and commitment,” she said.  “The result is a standard of care that goes beyond the routine and enhances the quality of life for people across the state.”

The Division of Developmental Disabilities includes the Beatrice State Developmental Center and community-based services.

DHHS' Ebola Website is a Good Resource


The 2014 Ebola epidemic affecting multiple countries in West Africa is the largest in history.

The disease itself is not new to us but having Ebola patients on U.S. and Nebraska soil is.
DHHS’ Division of Public Health understands that people have questions and concerns and its Ebola Facts and Resources website can help Nebraskans sort out fact from fiction and simplify the science. 

The site provides resources from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as Nebraska specific information.

People are also welcome to send Ebola questions or concerns to DHHS.Prepare@nebraska.gov.

Eastern Nebraska Veterans’ Home Welcomes New Administrator


Troy Schulz was recently named administrator of the Eastern Nebraska Veterans’ Home in Bellevue. 

Schulz has a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Care Administration, a Master’s degree in Business Administration and more than 25 years of experience in assisted living, independent living and skilled nursing. 

He replaced administrator Jeffrey A. Smith, who recently retired. 

The Eastern Nebraska Veterans’ Home is part of DHHS’ Division of Veterans’ Homes which also oversees veterans’ homes in Norfolk, Grand Island and Scottsbluff.

DHHS’ Licensure Unit Offices Move

DHHS’ Licensure Unit offices for support services and professional, occupational, and children’s services have recently moved to the first floor of the Nebraska State Office Building at 301 Centennial Mall South in Lincoln.

Licensure Unit offices for health care facility licensure and for research, policy, and quality improvement remain on the third floor of the Nebraska State Office Building.

The Licensure Unit is part of DHHS’ Division of Public Health and tracks more than 168,000 licensed professionals. Of the more than 62,000 licenses renewed through the Licensure Unit last year, more than 54,000 were reviewed online.

Learn more about the Licensure Unit in its fiscal year 2013 annual report.