From the daily archives: Friday, June 17, 2011

By David Sayen

Regional Administrator

U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services


You may have heard something lately about “preventive health care.” What does that mean, exactly?

At its most basic level, preventive health care means living a healthy lifestyle. Eat a balanced diet. Exercise regularly. Maintain a healthy weight. And stop smoking.

People with Medicare can benefit from these healthy living habits as much as anyone. But Medicare also covers a wide variety of screenings and tests to help detect preventable and chronic diseases early, when they’re at their most treatable and curable stages.

The federal health reform law made significant improvements to Medicare’s preventive health benefits by eliminating cost-sharing requirements for many of them. The idea was to encourage people with Medicare to get more preventive screenings and counseling to help them lead healthier and longer lives.

For example, there are no longer any out-of-pocket expenses when you get a “Welcome to Medicare” physical exam. This one-time exam is offered during the first 12 months after you’ve enrolled in Medicare Part B.

During the exam, your doctor will record your medical history and check your height, weight, and blood pressure. He or she will also calculate your body mass index, give you a simple vision test, and give you advice on preventing disease and staying healthy.

In addition, the health reform law makes it possible for people with Medicate to get a free annual wellness exam.

When you get this exam, your doctor will go over your medical and family history and develop or update a personalized prevention plan for you. Your doctor also will check for any cognitive impairment and risk factors for depression, and review your functional ability and level of safety.

During the first two months of this year, more than 150,000 people with Medicare got a wellness exam.

Medicare also covers shots for flu, pneumococcal disease (which can cause pneumonia and meningitis), and Hepatitis B. Flu, pneumococcal infections, and Hepatitis B can be life threatening for older people, and we recommend that all people over age 65 get flu and pneumococcal shots. Most people only need the pneumococcal vaccine once in their lifetime.

And remember: these shots are free for Medicare beneficiaries.

Beneficiaries also can get screened for cardiovascular disease and for several kinds of cancer, including breast, prostate, cervical/vaginal, and colorectal cancer.

Take colorectal cancer, for example. This type of cancer is usually found in people age 50 and older and the risk of getting it increases with age.

Medicare covers screening tests to help find pre-cancerous polyps, which are growths in the colon, so they can be removed before they turn cancerous. Medicare will pay for a fecal occult blood test, a flexible sigmoidoscopy, a screening colonoscopy, or a barium enema.

Medicare beneficiaries pay nothing for fecal occult blood tests. And they pay nothing for the flexible sigmoidoscopy and the screening colonoscopy, if their doctor accepts the Medicare-approved payment amount.

Diabetes is a big problem in this country and Medicare covers screening for people at risk for the disease. For people who have diabetes, Medicare covers certain supplies and educational training to help them manage it.

If you need help to stop smoking, Medicare pays for up to eight face-to-face counseling sessions per year with a doctor or other Medicare-recognized practitioner.

Medicare also help pay for tests for glaucoma, HIV, and osteoporosis (brittleness that places people at risk for broken bones).

The truth is that Medicare beneficiaries don’t use these preventive health services as much as they should. But getting screened can help them stay healthy and live longer – and save the government billions in healthcare costs.

It’s a classic win-win.

David Sayen is Medicare’s regional administrator for California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii, and the Pacific Trust Territories. You can get answers to your Medicare questions by visiting or calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).


Westmorland, Calif. – U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Indio Station arrested a man early this morning attempting to smuggle more than $350,000 worth of narcotics.

A service canine alerted agents to the presence of contraband in the vehicle.
Indio Station Border Patrol agents discovered approximately 8 pounds of cocaine and 140 pounds of marijuana concealed within an engine compartment of a vehicle at a highway checkpoint.

The incident occurred at the Highway 86 Checkpoint near Westmorland around midnight, when a Border Patrol canine team alerted to a 2004 Chevrolet Silverado during primary inspection. The driver, a 34-year-old United States citizen, was referred for further investigation. A thorough search of the vehicle resulted in agents discovering approximately 8 pounds of cocaine and 140 pounds of marijuana concealed within an engine compartment.

The driver, vehicle, and narcotics were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.



Calexico, Calif. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Calexico downtown port of entry arrested a Mexican citizen after discovering 40 pounds of cocaine and four pounds of methamphetamine hidden in the vehicle he was driving.

The incident occurred yesterday at about 9:30 a.m., when a CBP officer conducting inspections of vehicles and travelers entering the U.S. referred the driver, a 25-year-old male, for further examination.


During an intensive examination on the brown Toyota Camry, a CBP officer discovered 15 wrapped packages of cocaine co-mingled with three wrapped packages of methamphetamine. The narcotics were concealed inside the roof of the vehicle with a combined street value of approximately $404,000.

The driver, a resident of Mexicali, Baja California, was turned over to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and transported to the Imperial County Jail where he currently awaits arraignment.

CBP placed an immigration hold on the Mexican citizen to initiate removal from the U.S. at the conclusion of his criminal proceeding.

CBP seized both the vehicle and narcotics.


By Luke Phillips
The Holtville City Council voted 4-1 to approve design concepts and phasing for a project to improve Mack Park and also voted to make changes to the city’s capitol improvement budget to include the new project at their regular meeting Monday.
But some on the council say they want to start on another long-awaited city project before work begins on Mack Park.
Council member Richard Layton reminded the council that plans to build a skate park in the city were approved more than a year ago and said he would like to see focus return to that project first.
“It needs to start at the same time or before,” Layton said.
Council member Jerry Brittsan, who voted ‘no’ on the park improvement plans, also wondered what happened to the skate park project and disapproved of the large amount of money being set aside for Mack Park.
“I’m concerned with the fact that we had $160,000 set aside for Mack Park, then we adjusted it to $282,000 and all of sudden now we’re up to $990,000 and there’s still no skate park,” Brittsan said. “The skate park that was scheduled to be on fourth street was about $600,000 and I don’t know why that hasn’t been done.”
“No regard has been given to the Little League for their initial offer for the city to purchase the lighting and the Little League would provide the labor and equipment for the landscaping as well as the maintenance,” Brittsan continued. “And as a matter of fact, the $990,000 doesn’t include the lighting for the ball park.”
The plan approved by the council Monday would have the park project completed in three phases. The first would include the installation of landscaping, concrete sidewalks, new chain link fencing, a new retaining wall, picnic tables, a Tee Ball backstop and, as recommended by the planning commission, a playground complete with play equipment, shade covers and a rubberized surface. City Manager Laura Fischer has also recommended upgrading the sidewalks to concrete rather than decomposed granite, which would bring the total cost for the first phase to $744,457.
Phase II would include planting additional trees and shrubs, installing extra picnic tables and additional walkway lighting fixtures at a cost of $151,673.
Phase three would include the installation of Musco Sports Field Lighting systems at a cost of $290,220, bringing the total project costs to $1,186,351.07.
The council also voted 4-1, with Brittsan dissenting, to modify their 2011/12 capitol improvement budget to fund Phase I and Phase II of the project.


Paying & Saving

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OF THE GRADUATES of the schools in Imperial Valley. I hope you have successful careers and great life experiences always.
While you’re contemplating what to do with your future, take a look at these prices for gasoline posted online as of this week.
If you want to change the world, getting these numbers in line would be a very good place to start.
Prices are quoted in US dollars per gallon for regular unleaded as of March 2011

Oslo, Norway $6.82

Hong Kong$6.25

Brussels, Belgium $6.16

London, UK $5.96

Rome, Italy $5.80

CANADA $5.36

Tokyo, Japan $5.25

Sao Paul o , Brazil $4.42

New Delhi, India $3.71

Sidney, Australia $3.42

Johannesburg , South Africa $3.39

Mexico City$2.22

Buenos Aires, Argentina $2.09

Riyadh , Saudi Arabia $0.09

Kuwait $0.08

Caracas , Venezuela $0.12

Gee, if only the U.S.  was an oil producing nation…..
Hey, wait a minute!!! we are; what the hell happened ?!!

Very good information since reports have come out that the age of American dominance will end in 2016 with the emergence of China as the leading country in the World.
Did you see that Diane Sawyer did a special report where they removed ALL items from a typical, middle class family’s home that were not made in the
There was hardly anything left besides the kitchen sink. Literally. During the special they showed truckloads of items – USA made – being brought in to
replace everything and talked about how to find these items and the difference in price etc..
It’s interesting that Diane said that if every American spent just $64 more
than normal on USA made items this year, it would create something like
200,000 new jobs!
Are we Americans as dumb as we appear — or — is it that we just do not think while the Chinese, knowingly and intentionally, export inferior and even toxic products and dangerous toys and goods to be sold in American markets?
70% of Americans believe that the trading privileges afforded to the Chinese should be suspended.
Why do you need the government to suspend trading privileges? DO IT YOURSELF, AMERICA !!
Simply look on the bottom of every product you buy, and if it says ‘Made in China  ‘ or ‘PRC’ (and that now includes Hong Kong ), simply choose another
product, or none at all. You will be amazed at how dependent you are on Chinese products, and you will be equally amazed at what you can do without.
Who needs plastic eggs to celebrate Easter? If you must have eggs, use real  ones and benefit some American farmer. Easter is just an example. The point  is do not wait for the government to act. Just go ahead and assume control on your own.
THINK ABOUT THIS: If 200 million Americans refuse to buy just $20 each of Chinese goods, that’s a billion dollar trade imbalance resolved in our favor…fast!!
If most of the people who are reading this matter would plan to implement this on May 1st and continue it until June 1st.
That is only one month of trading losses, but it will hit the Chinese for 1/12th of the total, or 8%, of their American exports.
Then they might have to ask themselves if the benefits of their arrogance and lawlessness were worth it.

%d bloggers like this: