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Open enrollment for insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace® begins November 1 and continues through January 15, 2023.  During this time, you can enroll in, re-enroll in, or change a 2023 health plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace®. Coverage can start as soon as January 1, 2023.

ChesPenn’s Certified Application Assisters can help you get insured through Pennie, Pennsylvania’s health insurance program.

Call 484-462-0028 to get on the road to better health!

 



November is COPD Awareness Month – and not coincidentally, The Great American Smokeout is on November 17.  COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is an umbrella term for emphysema and chronic bronchitis.  Smoking is its primary cause.

COPD can progress for years undiagnosed.  Some of the first symptoms are shortness of breath, chronic cough or wheezing, chest tightness, and sudden tiredness.  While many people are not diagnosed until their 40s or later, cases in individuals as young as 20 have been confirmed.

If you’ve ever had a friend or loved one with COPD, you know the suffering it causes.  Breathing becomes harder by the year.  It becomes impossible to go out of the house without portable oxygen, and eventually even to get around at home without continued access to oxygen.  Flare-ups can mean visits to the emergency room when it suddenly becomes impossible to catch a breath, even with oxygen and breathing treatments at home.  The strain on the heart often leads to congestive heart failure.  It’s a terrible disease and terrible to watch for friends and loved ones.  There is no cure, and treatment options are limited.

There is one easy way to prevent COPD – don’t smoke and if you do, stop. Now.  ChesPenn offers smoking cessation counselling with free nicotine replacement under the Southeastern Pennsylvania Tobacco Control Project (SEPA).  Anyone interested in the program can contact Tina Beahm, Community Health Educator, at 610-485-3800 Ext. 687.  Find additional smoking cessation resources through the PA Free Quitline:  1-800-QUIT-NOW or https://pa.quitlogix.org/en-US/Enroll-Now .

November 17 is a great occasion to begin the journey to healthier lungs and a longer life!



Ashlee Mathis and Angie Moore

When you go in for a medical visit you probably think “I’m going to see my doctor” not “I’m going to see my medical assistant.”  But your medical assistant can be just as important to your care as your doctor.  They take your vitals, get your history, and may administer vaccines.  You and your doctor both depend on their training and dedication to make sure you get the care you need.

At ChesPenn, Ashlee Mathis trains and supervises all of our medical assistants.  Twenty years ago, she started her career at what was at that time Crozer’s Center for Family Health at Upper Darby.   This site eventually became the location of Crozer and ChesPenn’s collaboration to provide family medicine residency training in a community health center setting.  Ashley worked for Crozer for 17 years, becoming the Clinical Manager for the Residency Program.  She then spent 5 years in Population Health where she developed the training programs for Crozer’s Family Medicine MAs.

In 2019 Ashlee joined ChesPenn as Clinical Support Manager, leading MA staff across all three sites.   She was drawn to ChesPenn in part by the extraordinary resources we can offer to patients.  “What I love most is the community we serve and resources we can provide.  Talking to patients who came here as kids and now bring their kids.  And the resources – social services, behavioral health dental care – you don’t get that in most primary care practices.  It’s a dream to have all of those services.”

Ashlee was also excited about the payment model at ChesPenn, especially the fact that uninsured patients can pay on a sliding fee scale.  “When I first interviewed that was a big motivator,” she shared.  “Because I worked in population health – I’ve seen the challenges for patients who are uninsured – what is available to them and what isn’t.”

The consensus among Ashlee’s coworkers is that she is a strong, supportive leader, partner, and mentor.  Lead Medical Assistant Angie Moore described her as “a team player who is wise and is so many wonderful things.  She takes care of us; she makes sure we’re ok.  She communicates well.”  Office manager Elide Marquez Romero added, “Ashlee’s willing to do anything that the patients need.    She cares about the patients.  We work great together – we’ve joked that just the two of us could run the whole office if we had to.”

When asked about the challenges of her role she pointed to the staffing issues that ChesPenn shares with other healthcare organizations in the current workforce market.  “I think our biggest challenge is staffing but that’s not specific to ChesPenn – that’s everywhere.  The providers have been very accommodating – they and the nurses help us out.  We just work together as a team to overcome the challenges.”

ChesPenn has recently received funding to launch a training program for medical assistants.  Ashlee is looking forward to the start of the program.  “I’m excited about the possibility of starting a MA training program.   This could open up opportunities for kids in the schools as well as for us. MAs are actually relatively new – only 20 or so years – and the training and scope of care have really expanded.  It’s a great opportunity for someone coming out of high school to get started in healthcare.”

Ashlee’s experience as a trainer and leader makes her the perfect person to lead this new training initiative, building ChesPenn’s ability to train and develop generations of young healthcare professionals for the future.

 



According to researchers at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, the incidence of pediatric diabetes has increased significantly since the beginning of the pandemic.  Compared with rates in previous years, the number of diagnoses among Black youth doubled during the first year of the pandemic, and the number of diagnoses among Hispanic youth almost doubled.   This is especially bad news for ethnic minority families in economically challenged communities, which have historically had higher rates of diabetes.

ChesPenn pediatricians have especially noted a significant increase in prediabetes among their patients, mostly connected to the dramatic increase in obesity among children and youth since the beginning of the pandemic.  Prediabetes is a warning families can heed that children are either becoming insulin resistant or are not producing enough insulin to metabolize the sugar in their system.  Families who can catch this process early can avoid the need for life-long medication and the serious health consequences that come with diabetes.

Dr. Jenna Higgins, Pediatrician at The Center for Family Health at Eastside, shared that she and her colleagues focus on healthy life choices for children who are at risk of diabetes.  According to Dr. Higgins, “We don’t focus on weight. But healthy eating habits and more activity.  We try to suggest one or two healthy changes so families don’t get overwhelmed.  Things like not eating in front of the TV or switching juice or soda for water can make a big difference and are relatively easy changes to make.”

Risk factors to be aware of include:

  • Overweight
  • Having a family member with type 2 diabetes.
  • Being born to a mom with gestational diabetes(diabetes while pregnant).
  • Being African American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American/Alaska Native, Asian American, or Pacific Islander.
  • Having one or more conditions related to insulin resistance.

If your child is overweight and has any two of the risk factors listed above, talk to your doctor about getting his or her blood sugar tested.



Tye Spady-Blair, Public Health Dental Hygiene Practitioner
Tye Spady-Blair, Public Health Dental Hygiene Practitioner
Keri Kilgore, Public Health Dental Hygiene Practitioner
Jaclyn Gleber, PHDH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like all good dental practices, we encourage our patients to begin bringing their children in as soon as they have their first tooth, and to make sure the whole family has a cleaning and check-up every six months.  Often, we think about this in terms of preventing dental pain and preserving healthy tooth function.  But it’s important to remember that dental hygiene is about much more than appearance or even the ability to chew comfortably. Good hygiene, including brushing, flossing, and regular cleaning, keeps teeth and gums healthy.  A healthy mouth is essential to your overall health.  Infections in the mouth can travel through the bloodstream and cause illness elsewhere.  They make it more difficult to keep diabetes under control.  Poor dental health increass the risk for poor birth outcomes. Sealants for children provide additional protection by preventing cavities.

As a community health center, ChesPenn’s focus is always on prevention wherever possible.  Our Public Health Dental Hygienists are avid educators.  They work with medical staff to ensure children have their first visit as soon as their teeth come in.  They go out into the community to teach and screen for dental disease.

Dental Hygiene Fun Facts:

Fact #1: Fones School of Dental Hygiene opened in 1913 as the first dental hygiene school in the country.

Fact #2: The first bristle toothbrush was introduced in 1948; before that, animal hair was widely used.

Fact #3: Tooth enamel is the hardest thing in the human body.

Fact #4: Tooth decay is the second most common disease in the United States.

Fact #5: Regular dental cleanings can prevent heart attacks.

Six Steps for Proper Brushing and Flossing:

  1. Get the right angle – ensure you tilt the brush at a 45-degree angle
  2. Gently move your toothbrush back and forth but be sure you are not too rough.
  3. Cover all surfaces of your mouth including inside, outside, top, and bottom.
  4. Spend about 30 seconds on each quadrant of your mouth.  Many electric toothbrushes will time this for you.
  5. Don’t forget to brush your tongue as well. A lot of bacteria lives on your tongue, so brushing that away will not only help get rid of the bacteria, but also give you fresher breath.  If that’s uncomfortable, you can try a tongue scraper.  They are less likely to trigger gag reflexes.
  6. Don’t forget to floss!

October is National Dental Hygiene month.  If you haven’t seen your hygienist, make an appointment.  And thank your hygienist for protecting your whole health.

For a fun introduction to brushing for your kids, watch “Teach Me How to Brushy,” put out by The Oregon Dental Hygiene Association.  It’s an oldie but goodie.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ugQLL65BKc

 



Chelsea Spiegelhalder’s family has deep roots in Coatesville.  Her grandmother was a nurse at Coatesville Hospital long before it became Brandywine Hospital.  Her father was a pharmacist.  All of her family members have volunteered in local organizations and in their church. Chelsea herself has served on the Board of Directors of a local nonprofit.  Many of her patients know her or her family because of their work in the community.  That relationship often makes it easier for patients to trust Chelsea’s advice about managing their health.

Chelsea’s father was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 7.  In part because of her dad’s experience, her passion is providing care to patients with diabetes.  In her view, while it is a complicated disease, the treatment does not have to be.  Communication and education are key – and the whole family has to be involved.  Managing diabetes means lifestyle changes that work best when the patient’s family adopt them together.  Because Type 2 diabetes, the most common form, runs in families, these changes can benefit everyone in the family.  Chelsea shared that the ability to provide telehealth visits that began during the pandemic has been a real asset in caring for patients with diabetes.  Especially for new patients, getting the right medication dosages can take some trial and error and a short telehealth visit to discuss blood sugar levels and make adjustments can be just as effective as visiting in person.   Patients can often fit these visits into their day, even at work, without having to travel to ChesPenn.

October 6 – 10 is National Physician Assistant Week.  It’ to s a good time to reflect on the contributions made by physician assistants (Pas) to the health of the community.  PAs provide preventive health services, diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and often serve as a patient’s principal healthcare provider PAs are highly trained, licensed professionals who work collaboratively with a physician as part of a team approach to healthcare.  As such, they are often patients’ primary health providers, consulting with the team physician as needed in complex care cases.  This model expands our ability to provide quality care while managing healthcare costs.

Since she joined ChesPenn in 2009, Chelsea’s family has grown.  She has three children under 6 and has adjusted her schedule to ensure a healthy work-life balance.  But her passion for community health is undiminished.  She shares her pride in her work with her children, instilling her love of community service in them even at their young ages.  Chelsea’s dedication to caring for others embodies ChesPenn’s spirit.

 

 

 

 



Every October, pink ribbons appear all around us – on social media, in the news, even on food items. Breast Cancer Awareness Month will be on many minds this month, so it’s a great time to answer some common questions about what may put you at risk and what may help protect you:

 

Does Smoking Cause Breast Cancer?
Smoking has been shown to increase the risk for many forms of cancer, including breast cancer. Not only that, but secondhand smoke also increases risk. ChesPenn offers smoking cessation support so this is a great time to speak to your provider if you smoke.

 
Does alcohol consumption raise my cancer risk?

One drink per day has been shown to slightly increase the risk of breast cancer. Having more than one drink per day has shown to be a more significant risk factor, and the alcohol content doesn’t matter: wine, beer or a mixed drink. Alcohol also increases estrogen in your bloodstream. One glass of red wine a day may have heart health benefits. Most important – discuss your alcohol consumption with your healthcare provider.

 
Is there a link between oral contraceptives and breast cancer?

There is an increased risk for women using oral contraceptives for more than 5 years. However, because of the low concentration of hormones in today’s contraceptives the risk is minimal, unless you have a family history of breast cancer. As always, communication with your healthcare provider is key.

 
Is there a link between hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and breast cancer?

Yes. HRT is not recommended for most menopausal women. Your provider can discuss alternative approaches to managing symptoms.

 
Does my diet affect my risk of breast cancer?

A healthy, low-fat diet (less than 30 grams/day) can help lower the risk of breast cancer. Fat triggers estrogen production, which can raise the risk for breast cancer.

 
Can exercise reduce my breast cancer risk?
Healthy activity strengthens the immune system. Just 30 minutes/day can lower the risk of contracting breast cancer.
 
 
Should I perform regular breast self-exams?
According to the American Cancer Society, Most often when breast cancer is detected because of symptoms (such as a lump in the breast), a woman discovers the symptom during usual activities such as bathing or dressing. Women should be familiar with how their breasts normally look and feel and should report any changes to a health care provider right away.
 
When should I get a mammogram?
 Women at high risk for breast cancer should follow their care provider’s recommendations regarding the timing of mammograms.
Women between 40 and 44 at average risk for breast cancer have the option to start screening with a mammogram every year.
Women 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.
Women 55 and older can switch to a mammogram every other year, or they can choose to continue yearly mammograms.
Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live at least 10 more years.
 
If you put off getting your mammogram during the pandemic, NOW is the time to catch up!
 
 
For more information, visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation (https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/)



We don’t like to talk about it.  And that’s the problem.  Conversations about mental health are uncomfortable and we can always find a reason to wait, or tell ourselves that we are ok, or that our loved one is ok.  But what if they are not?  What if we are not?  What if this is our one opportunity to prevent a tragedy?  A few moments of discomfort are trivial compared to a lifetime of grief for those left behind.  National Suicide Prevention Month is the perfect time to learn how to respond to a mental health crisis.

We are living through a time of extraordinary stress.  The pandemic and the economic and social upheaval that have occurred in its wake have taken a toll on our collective mental health.  According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, there were 1.2 million suicide attempts in 2020 in the U.S.  Mental health professionals report disturbing spikes in patient reports of depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.  At the same time, we face a shortage of behavioral health resources.  The closure of Brandywine Hospital and cutbacks at Crozer Health have made locating mental health services more difficult than ever for people living in the communities we serve.

Fortunately, help is as close as your phone.
Anyone needing help can call 988 or text HELLO to Call 988/Text Hello to 741741

 

 

 

 

 

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To learn more, or locate training resources check out these sites:

https://www.chesco.org/4191/TrainingsWorkshops

https://www.preventsuicidepa.org/task-force-county-init/delaware/



ChesPenn celebrated National Health Center Week from August 7 – 13.  We were honored to host federal, state and local elected officials and their representatives, including Representative Mary Gay Scanlon, Pennsylvania Senators John Kane and Tim Kearney, Pennsylvania Representative Gina Curry,  staff from Senator Kearney and Representative Scanlon’s offices, and Upper Darby Mayor Barbarann Keffer’s office.  The officials and their teams toured our health centers and shared in dialogue about our community impact and hopes for the future.  We were grateful for their enthusiastic support for our work and look forward to partnering with them in the future.  We were also joined by the League of Women Voters of Chester and Delaware Counties and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, who assisted patients with voter registration.

National Health Center Week (August 7 – 13) is an annual celebration with the goal of raising awareness about the mission and accomplishments of America’s health centers over the past five decades.  This National Health Center Week honors those front-line providers, staff, and beloved patients who lost their lives during the (ongoing) COVID-19 pandemic. From the very beginning of the crisis, Community Health Centers began finding innovative ways to provide preventative and primary care to their patients.

Over the course of the week ChesPenn provided lunch for our staff and cupcakes from Dia Doce Cupcakes in West Chester.  Each employee received a gift bag with goodies as a small thank you for the extraordinary work they do each day to care for residents of the communities we serve.

 

Shy’Quan Davis, CEO Sue Harris McGovern, State Senator John Kane, U.S. Representative Mary Gay Scanlon, Board Treasurer Karen Vesely, and Board Secretary Rea Roeder at Eastside
League of Women Voters of Delaware County registered Upper Darby patients to vote.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Board Secretary Rea Roeder, CEO Sue Harris McGovern, State Senator Tim Kearney, State Representative Gina Curry and Upper Darby Deputy CAO Rita LaRue
Chair massages were provided by Gentle Force Mobile Massage


When Lashira Council was growing up, her father was convinced that she would grow up to be an attorney.  She would advocate for other people, always seeking justice. She was voted “most outspoken” in middle school because she stood up for what was right. But Lashira had other ideas.  As she explains it, “I’ve always been interested in the connection between thought and behavior.”  And that gave her the direction for her passion to help others – behavioral health.

Immediately after graduation from college, Lashira began her career in behavioral health as a residential worker at Devereaux, a behavioral health organization with multiple residential facilities in Pennsylvania and around the country. Later, she became a mental health case manager at Crozer Health.  Here, she found her true vocation.  She obtained a master’s degree and completed an internship in drug and alcohol counseling.  In 2017 Lashira became Service Coordinator and Youth Prevention Supervisor, for Crozer-Keystone Recovery Center, developing policies and procedures for the center and supervising staff while continuing to counsel patients directly.  She has also served as a group facilitator for Healing and Strength, a program offered by the Chester Community Coalition that provides trauma-informed group settings where children, youth, and adults can process trauma and grief and learn skills to move toward healing.  Lashira joined ChesPenn in August as our Behavioral Health Manager.  She will supervise ChesPenn’s other Behavioral Health Consultants and also provide direct care to patients at our Eastside location.

Lashira continues to have an interest in working with patients with substance use disorder (SUD) and has been certified in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy.  This is an approach developed to alleviate the distress associated with traumatic memories.  She hopes to be able to offer this treatment to patients at ChesPenn.  Lashira shared that she is learning the Behavioral Health Consultant model and is excited about building mental health services at ChesPenn.

Lashira shared the story of a patient with SUD who had been mandated by the court to receive therapy and was very resistant to working with her.  They worked through the patient’s trauma history and the patient learned new, healthier ways to process his trauma and communicate with others.  During their time together she was able to witness the transition from an external requirement for her patient to seek change to a true internal motivation to change his life.    At the end of their time together, the patient gave her a plaque that reads “With God all things are possible.  Thank you, Lashira for being an inspiration in my life.”

Lashira’s prescription for responding to the stress of our times:  “Practice empathy and grace for yourself and others.  Acknowledge progress and change.  Ask for help.  Stay hopeful.”


Locations

Center for Family Health at Eastside
125 E. 9th Street
Chester PA, 19013
Medical Phone: 610-872-6131
Dental Phone: 610-874-6231

Center for Family Health at Coatesville
744 East Lincoln Highway
Suite 110
Coatesville, PA 19320
Phone: 610-380-4660

Center for Family Health at Upper Darby
5 South State Road
Upper Darby, PA 19082
Phone: 610-352-6585

Administration

1510 Chester Pike,
Suite 200
Eddystone, PA 19022

Phone: 610-485-3800
Fax: 610-485-4221
FTCA Seal 5.3.22

Copyright by ChesPenn 2022. All rights reserved.