Sunday, June 3, 2012

EEOC Announces Final GINA Recordkeeping Guidelines

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently announced that on April 3, 2012, the final rules for the federal Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) will go into effect. For those unfamiliar, GINA was first proposed back in March 2009 and prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on the employees (or applicant's) genetic information. The EEOC explains that employers may never make use of an employee's genetic information or family medical history to make job decisions, such as hiring or firing.

Other key points of the law include:

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Applies to employers with 15 or more employees Forbids employers from requesting or buying genetic information about employees (or other family members). Requires any genetic information to be kept in a separate file, apart from the employee's other medical information The prohibition against insurance companies from using genetic information to establish rates, premiums or eligibility.

EEOC Announces Final GINA Recordkeeping Guidelines

Four Common GINA Mistakes

As this new law is still widely unknown, below are some common employment mistakes relating to GINA, and how employers can avoid them.

Failing to Notify Employees: All mandatory employment notices regarding employee rights must now include GINA information.

Using Genetic Information in Wellness Programs: In general, employers with wellness programs are prohibited from gathering GI (which includes family medical histories). There are narrow exceptions to the rule under which employers may gather basic information, and they should take the necessary steps to ensure that it is being gathered in accordance with the law.

Not Segregating Genetic Information from Medical Records: Existing medical records that contain GI, such as health insurance documents and family medical histories, should be filed separately as confidential medical records, apart from the rest of an employee's personnel file. These records should only be made available on a need-to-know-basis.

Gathering Genetic Information During Medical Examinations: While previously permitted under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), gathering GI is no longer allowed after an employment offer has been made, and the employee is required to undergo a medical examination. While it is not common for medical exams to include the gathering of genetic information, if they do, it should stop immediately.

These are just a few examples of 'technical' mistakes employers may make that violate GINA guidelines. Beyond these, however, employers should realize that the new law may impact the workplace in other, less obvious ways. Take the following scenario, for example:

An employee off-handedly comments on a parent's increasing memory-loss. It would be inappropriate, and dangerous, for an employer to pursue that comment for details. In the event that the employee is terminated, laid-off or passed over for a promotion in the future, the employer would be pressed to prove the decision was not based on their concern of the employee inheriting memory issues.

Due to the complexity and nuances of the new law, employers are strongly advised to contact an employment attorney or human resources outsourcing firm to familiarize themselves with the legislation and to determine what steps should be taken to comply the law.

EEOC Announces Final GINA Recordkeeping Guidelines

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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Human Resources Job Description

The interesting role of a Human Resources (HR) Manager ranges from interviewing prospective candidates, to providing the best possible environment for task efficiency at a minimal cost to the company.

Those who are interested in becoming a Human Resources Manager, or beginning their career in this field, must possess Master's degree in the area. They must acquire the skills of short listing candidates for various job positions and interviewing candidates to find out how far they are suitable to perform the tasks in the company and many others. Once a new employee enters the company, they should be made to integrate their work so as to become a part of the well-organized work culture of the company. This is important as the new employees often bring their old habits or work ethics into the new office, which may be at odds with the existing work atmosphere. By being a part of the team, the new employee must assimilate their qualities and must exhibit a give and take attitude to perform better.

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The manager, or those employed in the Human Resources section, must work closely with those in the production team of a company to find out the requirements for temporary staffing and other needs. This assumes urgency at the time when there is most demand for the product. For instance, the demand for heaters goes up tremendously just before winter sets in. In this case, if the heater company fails to stock the products in the market well in advance, their competitors will walk away with the sales and leave the company in financial straits. Therefore, the Human Resources Manager must co-ordinate with all the departments, including the Management and Marketing departments, to know their latest requirements in staffing, and must start the necessary process accordingly.

Human Resources Job Description

In addition, Human Resources departments must also develop retention strategies for skilled workers. To keep such talented persons, the HR department must revise the promotion guidelines with the help of management, and reward all important persons involved in key areas of the company. Frequent reward and making sure the company meets the expectations of the employees mostly results in employees continuing in the company. Instead of an external recruitment drive, retaining the existing workforce in a company's key areas is most profitable to the company. The HR department must always work to promote senior, experienced workers to fill such vacancies. This will improve the employee loyalty and also improves the productivity.

Working in Human Resources is an important and rewarding job, which simultaneously helps the employer to serve the employees as well as helping the employees serve the employer.

Human Resources Job Description

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Youngevity Review - Why Are So Many Raving About This Business?

Youngevity is the only MLM company to successfully establish the Qualified Health Claims for Selenium, a mineral that is one of their main ingredients. This is impressive, as many health and wellness oriented MLM companies have been criticized by the FDA for making false claims.

In addition to being the founder of Youngevity, Dr Joel Wallach is also a naturopathic physician who supports the use of minerals for health benefits. He has devoted much of his time in advocating Selenium, in particular, and Wallach, who is sometimes known as the Mineral Doctor, lectures about his findings all over the world.

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Youngevity offers quality health and nutrition products that can bring about significant health benefits, and Wallach's dedication is matched by the company's.

Youngevity Review - Why Are So Many Raving About This Business?

Wallach established the company, along with Dr. Ma Lan, in California during the late 1990s, and right from the start, the company was known for its use of minerals as ingredients, to provide products that really did improve overall health and well being. The company has grown its customer base over the years, partly due to support from the Medical Board, with some influential names in nutrition, health and medicine.

In addition to their flagship Youngevity line of chocolate products, pet nutrition and home and garden products, the company has grown and expanded their range of products. The company now offers over 400 different products, thanks in part to its other divisions, including Supralife, ProJoba, PureWorks and R-Garden. All products come with a no obligation 30 day money back guarantee, further reinforcing the company's commitment to quality.

Youngevity offers a potentially lucrative business opportunity for anyone in any of the over 50 countries it now operates in. In fact, the company states that their compensation plan is one of the most generous anywhere, thanks to their MLM business structure. All associates can enjoy the best possible 24 hour customer support, a system which allows you to easily access and monitor your account, and fast and reliable order shipping.

The associate who told you about the network will have to be told of your intentions to becoame a Youngevity associate, and then he or she will process your application. Then you are able to access the website, which is free to use, and also take advantage of various useful back office tools. Anyone wih little or no online marketing experience can take advantage of comprehensive online marketing subscription options.

A unilevel system, known as the Stairway to Success, is the key to the compensation plan, and you can earn income by both selling products and recruiting others. You will then enjoy commission income from the sales of others that you have recruited, as well as immediate income from retail profits. If you meet certain qualifications, there are various commissions and bonuses, and there are nine possible levels, each of which will have a bearing on this.

Youngevity Review - Why Are So Many Raving About This Business?

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Promotional Umbrellas For Senior Citizens

Umbrellas have a very high utilitarian value. They protect us from inhospitable weather and like a faithful companion continue to do so for a long time. This long- term utility makes umbrellas an effective promotional item, which can over a period of time reap huge marketing benefits for the company issuing them. 

With a promotional umbrella, your company can target any age group, and it will not go wrong. Be it working men and women, children or teenagers, umbrellas are always welcome as a gift. Now let us examine how umbrellas can be an effective give away for senior citizens.

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Most senior citizens are retired and their main struggle is how to keep themselves occupied. They try to follow a certain routine during the day as many claim that the aging body and mind cannot handle unexpected changes and surprises. They are also prisoners of habit and when they get used to doing a particular thing during the day, they will stick to it, no matter what happens. Not only do they have to take care of keeping their mind active but they also have to take care of their body, which can start behaving unpredictably, after a certain age.   If your company intends to target umbrellas to senior citizens, it needs to keep their habits, patterns and way of thinking in mind.

Promotional Umbrellas For Senior Citizens

Many senior citizens, especially in the Western world, tend to live alone. And because they have nobody to look after them on a regular basis, they are over cautious about their health. They try not to exert themselves, they take their medicines regularly and they take all the possible precautions like not going out if it is too cold or wet. Promotional umbrellas enter the picture here for senior citizens.

Companies can be assured that if an umbrella with their name or logo on it is handed out to the senior citizens, the umbrella will most certainly be used. If it is not raining while leaving the house, an adult or a teen is likely to feel lazy and not carry an umbrella. He or she might think, "I'll see what happens. If it rains, I'll manage something that time." But a senior citizen will not think like that. They will not leave it to risk and end up carrying the umbrella. They are also more likely to carry an umbrella in sunny weather to prevent any possibility of a heat stroke or dehydration.

Senior citizens make an attractive marketing target for promotional umbrellas.

Promotional Umbrellas For Senior Citizens

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Electronic Medical Records - The Pros and Cons

In this digital age, more and more bulks of information which used to be paper-based, from library catalogs to telephone books, are digitized and stored in a central location for easy access. The idea of EMRs started about 40 years ago.

The main proponents of EMRs cite the following advantages:

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(1) The use of EHRs supposedly reduces errors in medical records. There is no doubt that handwritten records are subject to lots of human errors due to misspelling, illegibility, and differing terminologies. With the use of EMRs standardization of patient health records may eventually become acheivable.

Electronic Medical Records - The Pros and Cons

(2) Paper records can be easily lost. We have heard how fires, floods and other natural catastrophes destroy physical records of many years, data which are lost forever. Digital records can be stored virtually forever and can be kept long after the physical records are gone. EMRs also help keep records of health information that patients tend to forget with time, i.e. inoculations, previous illnesses and medications.

(3) EMRs make health care cost-efficient by consolidating all data in one place. Previously, paper-based records are located in different places and getting access to all of them takes a lot of time and money. In a systematic review, Kripalani et al. evaluated the communication transfer between primary care physicians and hospital-based physicians and found significant deficits in medical information exchange. The review recommended the use of EMRs to resolve these issues and facilitate the continuity of care before, during and after hospitalization. EMRs translates into better treatment for patients. Take the example of one asthma center's experience with EMR: "A major benefit associated with EMR implementation was the increase in the number of children who were hospitalized with an asthma exacerbation and received an asthma action plan upon discharge. Prior to the EMR system, [only] 4% received an asthma action plan upon discharge. After implementation of the EMR system, 58% received an asthma action plan upon discharge."

(4) EMRs can save lives. VeriChip, developed by VeriChip Corporation is the first one of its kind ever approved by the US FDA. It enables rapid identification of at-risk patients and access to their medical history, thereby enabling rapid diagnosis and treatment especially in emergency situations. Classic examples are people with diabetes and/or heart problems who have high risk of collapsing and having attacks. VeriChip is also useful in vehicular accidents and other trauma incidents where the victims aren't capable of answering questions. In cases of large-scale catastrophes, VeriChip facilitates tracking and identification of victims. According to a coroner in Mississippi, VeriChip helped identify victims during the Hurricane Katrina incident.

Earlier this year, Google Health was launched, an online personalized health records service. Google Health is based on the principle that since it's the patient's medical record, the patient should control it, decide what should be in it, and who gets access to it. One of the features of the service includes records from hospitals and pharmacies that are Google Health-enabled or are registered Google Health partners.

The HealthVault is another online health information storage service offered by Microsoft with features similar to Google Health. Keith Toussaint, senior program manager with Microsoft HealthVault recently stated " leading hospitals like Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center are actually integrating their systems with both us and Google -- because some people like one or the other. It's a Coke or Pepsi thing."

What are the disadvantages of EMRs? Not surprisingly, privacy rights advocacy groups are the main opponent of EMRs. Here is what they have to say:

(1) EMRs threaten our privacy. In this day and age when people's mantra is "I need my privacy", not many people are comfortable about having their entire medical history recorded and digitized for almost just anybody to see - in other words, incursion into people's privacy. The confidentiality of doctor - patient relationship is still sacrosanct. Besides, medical data can be used against a person in some cases - be it for a job application, insurance coverage or a college scholarship. Although it is against the law to discriminate against people with illnesses and disabilities, it is a fact of life that the fitter you are, the more competitive you are in the job market. The planned incorporation of genetic data in EMRs further adds to people's fear of incursion into their private sphere.

(2) EMRs can lead to loss of the human touch in health care. In the process of digitalization, the interpersonal aspect in health care may be lost. In handwritten hospital charts, doctors and other health care practitioners may write what they think and they feel based on their personal observations in their very own words. EMR is simply about ticking off boxes and crossing out things in electronic forms. The doctors are forced to think in categories and can seldom express a personal opinion on an individual case. Because of the lack of flexibility of many electronic reporting systems, cases of misclassification of patients and their conditions have been reported.

(3) EMRs are not that efficient. Despite efforts in digitalization and standardization, EMRs are actually far from being standardized and not as efficient as it is purported to be. It often happens that one clinic's EMR system is not compatible with that of a general practitioner or another clinic's system, thus belying the claim of added efficiency. In addition, not all users of EMRs are satisfied with the current state of the art. Although the objective is mainly efficiency and healthcare quality, one study showed that nurses in the Netherlands are not completely satisfied with their EMR implemented in 2006-2007.

(4) EMRs are not safe and secure. Google Health and HealthVault are quick in assuring patients of the safety of their online health accounts. Access to the patient's account is only possible using log ins and password. In addition, HealthVault assures that "all health information transmitted between HealthVault servers and program providers' systems is encrypted" and that Microsoft does it best to use the "highest standards of security to safeguard consumer health information from theft, loss, or damage."

However, there are cases wherein passwords and encryptions do not seem to be adequate as data protection tools. Stories of data hacking, stolen identities and blackmail abound. Even high security databases such as those run by banks and credit institutions are often compromised. This impression was aggravated by the many well-publicized incidences of data loss or breach. A few examples are listed below:

November 26, 2007, Canada. Hackers accessed medical information on HIV and hepatitis from a Canadian health agency computer. - September 22, 2008, UK. The National Health Service (NHS) reported the loss of 4 CDs in the mail containing information on 17,990 employees. - September 30, 2008, US. The company Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana confirmed breach of personal data, including Social Security numbers, phone numbers and addresses of about 1,700 brokers. The data was accidentally attached to a general email.

In addition, there is criticism over Google Health not being a "covered entity under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and the regulations promulgated thereunder (HIPAA)" under its terms and conditions and is therefore not subject to HIPAA privacy of individually identifiable health information. The HealthVault terms and conditions do not mention HIPAA privacy laws so it is not clear what its status is regarding this issue.

(5) VeriChip is not for humans. It is to be expected that although many of us are amenable to the use of RFID chips in pets, the idea of implanting similar chips in human beings is bound to raise hackles in humans, no matter what the US FDA says. A big opponent of the VeriChip and similar chips of its kind is the consumer advocacy group In a position paper, Spychip and many advocacy and consumer awareness groups see RFID tagging (be it on your person or on the items you buy) as a major threat to privacy and civil liberties. They see the tagging as some kind of "Big Brother" operation. Another group, the No VeriChip Inside Movement, likens VeriChip as "cataloguing" humans similar to the way the Nazis have tattooed numbers on the skin of concentration camp detainees. Popular Hollywood films on privacy incursions (e.g. The Net, Public Enemy No. 1) increased further people's paranoia about personal data.

Where do we go from here? Without doubt, we have the technology to make EMRs standardized and efficient. Google Health, Microsoft HealthVault and similar online personalized health information accounts are enabling patients to take control of their medical records. The main issues that need to be overcome are data security, protection of privacy and gaining the confidence of the patients. It doesn't seem evident that the use of RFID and similar tagging chips will become acceptable or popular anytime soon. However, we live in a digital world and we cannot hold back progress indefinitely. With improved technology and data protection tools, let us hope the EMR issue will be resolved soon.

Electronic Medical Records - The Pros and Cons

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Some Ethical Issues in Health Care - Requirements and Treatments

When it comes to health care ethical issues, there are almost as many ethical issues as there are health issues to be treated. There are laws in place to direct the behavior of almost every person in the health care personnel chain, from the nurse to the nurses aide who assists them and the doctor who ultimately gets to try and make the decisions to treat within the confines of the insurance system ruling over the life of the patient in question.

There are ethical issues that are clearly defined, such as the requirements for treatment decisions when a patient has a Medical Power of Attorney or a Living Will. Then there are thealth care ethical issues that don't have such clearly defined areas, such as whether it is allowable to withhold a possible lifesaving treatment from a patient only because their insurance will not pay for it.

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Health care providers must make their treatment decisions based on a great many determining factors, perhaps the most constraining of which is the insurance reimbursement regime. If doctors and other health care providers could just treat their patients and have only that to worry about, what a wonderful world it would be. But doctors have to constantly worry about whether or not they and possibly the facility where they practice will be paid by the insurance companies. The next most important factor which affects health care providers ability to provide the care patients truly need is whether or not the patient has been truthful with the information they have given to the health care provider, and whether or not they have had access to health care to establish and maintain their health care needs.

Some Ethical Issues in Health Care - Requirements and Treatments

Ethical concerns also come into play with patients whose family constellations are unclear. A patient who has a spouse has a straightforward next of kin when decisions have to be made. When a patient is separated from their spouse, and even perhaps has a new significant other, the next of kin can be much more difficult to determine, and protecting all health care providers-doctors, hospitals, etc from the liability risk of allowing the person who does not have a legal right to make decisions for a patient is a necessity. The health care ethical issues presented by these kinds of situations are very delicate.

One important ethical concern in health care is the need to protect oneself from the very real danger of the transmission of communicable diseases in bodily fluids. Especially in cases where a patients history is not available, health care providers have the right and the responsibility to protect themselves from viruses and bacteria that may be present in the body fluids of patients to which they are exposed taking care of these patients. However, this must be balanced with the possibility of making patients feel accused or uncomfortable by these same protective measures.

One last important health care ethical issues, especially in this day in age, is the protection of private, personally identifying information. Patients records used to be kept in public places where almost anyone could read them-filing pockets outside their doors, for instance. This kind of situation is not longer allowed, and records are more closely guarded nowadays, and many hospitals now rely on records kept entirely on computers.

Ethical issues are a part of almost every field, but health care has a special place in the system, where people are trusted with making those who are sick feel better, those who are injured able to return to their prior lives, and those who have chronic conditions and those who love them more able to cope with the demands of living with those conditions.

Some Ethical Issues in Health Care - Requirements and Treatments

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Friday, April 20, 2012

How Water Aerobics Can Help With Fibromyalgia Condition

The physical condition fibromyalgia is typified by aches and pains in joints, tendons and muscles. This condition was believed to be psychological rather than physiological - it has now been established that significant chemical changes occur in fibromyalgia sufferers.

Fibromyalgia is not linked to injuries, disease or poor muscle repair ability of the body. Sufferers also do not face greater risk for types of musculoskeletal diseases - the precise cause of fibromyalgia is unknown but may be as a result of stress and pain levels seem to be more evident while resting than during periods of activity.

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Exercise is an excellent way to decrease pain caused by fibromyalgia and in particular aerobics which helps reduce symptoms in sufferers while improving quality of life.

How Water Aerobics Can Help With Fibromyalgia Condition

Aerobic activities increase pulse and respiratory rates - activities can be walking, cycling, running, and swimming however water aerobics seems to be more beneficial for fibromyalgia sufferers than other exercise types.

Aerobics increases muscle strength, decreases morning muscle stiffness, reduces potential injury risks, improves sleeping patterns and decreases pain.

Water aerobics appears to add more impact and value to exercise routines as it helps cushion the joints and muscles while supporting the body and increases resistance and workload required by the muscles to gain the desired effects, also promoting better balance, reducing pain perception and helping relaxation.

Any exercise program should be approved by a doctor who knows the specific needs and medical status of the person concerned. The services of a therapist or qualified instructor should be used initially and at a later stage it may be possible to continue alone with a program in a pool at home.

Begin slowly - 20 to 30 minute sessions twice or three times a week working towards sessions of 45 to 60 minutes. Be aware of any limitations and rest if fatigue is experienced during a workout by simply relaxing in the water - don't ignore pain and always listen to what the body is saying.

Hydration is important while swimming or doing water aerobics - sweating goes by unnoticed in a pool and warmer pools will make a person sweat more - always remember to avoid dehydration.

Numerous studies have shown that fibromyalgia sufferers benefit emotionally and physically from water aerobics. Studies in Spain (2006) and Norway (2001) found that water aerobics improved patient's emotional well being and physical functionality (beneficial in both short and long term programs).

Water aerobics will help fibromyalgia sufferers maintain better relationships with people they have contact with such as family, friends and employers as improved emotional and physical health makes it possible. Productivity at work also increases due to fewer sick days.

How Water Aerobics Can Help With Fibromyalgia Condition

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