Chandler Unified School District Holds Health Fair

The Chandler Unified School District (CUSD) held its annual health fair on October 15, 2013.  Each year the event is well attended by hundreds of people looking to improve their health and wellness.  Vendors of benefits to CUSD are included as well as other health guests and screening staff.  Darlene Kracht of the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) helped coordinate and plan the event with the staff of CUSD as part of their ongoing membership.

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“It’s great to see the big turn-out and the commitment on the part of the CUSD administration and employees to supporting each other in their health efforts,” Darlene Kracht stated.  “This year alone several people learned about conditions warranting a follow-up with their doctor.  The CUSD health plans emphasize wellness and early prevention and this is just one of many projects they pursue to that end.”


Cathy Giza and Dee Ostrowicki were key staff for the event for CUSD.  Congratulations to CUSD for making such concerted efforts to help their employees and their families!


VSEBT and UHC Team Up to Provide Bilingual Health Website

United Healthcare (UHC) in their preferred provider status with the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) is providing an online Bilingual Health Information Center Website.  This is increasingly important in places like Arizona where language can be a serious barrier to proper treatment.  Speaking a second language is difficult enough, but many of the medical terms used are not picked up in daily life, leaving patients frustrated describing or understanding their conditions.  Savings and better health outcomes result when patients are able to clearly communicate their symptoms, problems and any adverse treatment reactions.  Congratulations to both organizations for taking this critical step to improve health care services to individuals in their own native language.

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New Features Offered on Bilingual Health Information Center Website


As a reminder, one way UnitedHealthcare Latino Health Solutions has responded to the needs of Hispanics in utilizing mobile devices is by developing the Bilingual Health Information Center. The mobile website offers access to extensive and culturally relevant health and wellness information and resources when users enter from a smartphone browser.

New features have recently been added to the website. The new features include:

  • · A glossary of medical terms
  • · Healthy recipes
  • · Podcasts
  • · Sharing capabilities
  • · Other tools and resources in both English and Spanish

Digital strategies, such as the use of mobile devices to increase Hispanics’ access to health information, are essential in assisting them to become empowered and educated health care consumers. This technological approach may lead to better health outcomes and help cultivate healthier lifestyles.

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The Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) through its preferred provider United Healthcare (UHC) is providing the service “Source 4 Women” at this link:

Source 4 Women

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Source4Women offers free online seminars and events focused on keeping you and your family healthy. These one-hour seminars are fully interactive and include audio and video of the speaker. Best of all, there is a question and answer period with the speaker immediately following the presentation.


Upcoming topics:

May 14, 2013: The Magic of the Mediterranean Lifestyle

June 11, 2013: Smart Fitness: Most Powerful Super Foods

Register at:

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VSEBT and UHC provide January Healthcare Updates

United Healthcare, in conjunction with its partnered independent trust, the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) provides monthly updates to all its members on important topics in wellness, healthcare and benefits.  Here is the January update:

UHC Updates Jan 2013 (3)

Thank you to UHC and VSEBT for sharing this information publicly with their non-members so they can benefit and know the information they should be receiving from their own employee benefits providers.








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The Dr. Oz Show: Trim the Holiday Fat


  • Health and Wellness Video Clip from The Dr. Oz Show: Trim the Holiday Fat

This month’s video clip from The Dr. Oz Show, “Trim the Holiday Fat,” offers tips on how to stay healthy during the holiday season.


UnitedHealthcare posts video clips each month featuring Dr. Mehmet Oz, a renowned physician, bestselling author and host of The Dr. Oz Show, which airs daily on TV stations across the United States. The clips focus on achieving or maintaining a healthy weight, heart health, exercise and healthy eating, and can be easily shared by copying and pasting the Web link into an email or Web browser. Each clip will be available online on and for six months.


These video clips are part of UnitedHealthcare’s commitment to work with Dr. Oz to support health and wellness topics on his show. Access and click on “Local Listings” to find out when and on what station The Dr. Oz Show airs in your area.

The Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) has teamed up locally with UHC to bring this and other information to all of their member organizations, employees and families.  Thank you to Sheri Gilbert of Valley Schools for this information.

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October is Breast Cancer Screening Month

Valley Schools Employee Benefit Trust (VSEBT) and United Healthcare have made Breast Cancer screenings their priority for October.  This is a link to a brochure on the topic:

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If you work at a location with over 2,000 women, odds are one will die each year because they do not get early screenings for breast cancer.  How long can we tolerate such a situation when the solution takes just one doctor visit per year from age 40 to 50, and just once every two years after that?  What does it take for women to care about their own health?  Some studies have shown that the top three reasons women don’t go are 1) Fear it will hurt; 2) convenience; and 3) they are afraid to find out bad news.

As a man, we are even worse.  Less than 15% of men get their regular prostate exams, even though that is a major killer of men.  Why?  1) convenience; 2) afraid it will hurt or be embarrassing; 3) they are afraid to know the results.  How many times have women been the “responsible ones” and nagged their men into life saving treatments?  It is time to turn that concern to your own health.

VSEBT and UHC are working together.  VSEBT also has the Wellstyles program which provides points and prizes for health living, and the PREP program to give discounted medical premiums for early screenings.  VSEBT works with Mobile Onsite Mammography (MOM) and with SOLIS to get women onsite or easy appointments for care.  They have managed to slightly increase screening percentages.  Nationwide, those percentages have actually dropped.

I personally talked to a woman who lost her mom and sister to breast cancer but won’t get her mammography because she “doesn’t want to know.”  Dying of breast cancer is not easy.  Once it metastasizes it moves throughout your body, getting into your bones.  Bone death is a terrible pain barely muted by morphine.  Unfortunately, I have personally suffered bone death which was cured by removing about fourteen inches of bone.  The pain is indescribably.

When breast cancer reaches this point, total chemotherapy and radiation provides the only slim hope of remission.  You lose your hair, your taste, your weight, you throw up, you have no strength.  Every day you regret not having got that test…  Because it was not convenient, your breasts were squished, you were afraid to know the truth…

Call today if you need a test or show any peculiar signs.  Don’t wait.  Your very life depends on it.

For more information, you can call your doctor.  For information on innovative wellness programs, call Andrea Billings or Sheri Gilbert at VSEBT at 623-695-5982.


Pink NFL – Does Anyone Care?

The NFL is completing its breast cancer awareness week, where many of the players, cheerleaders and fans wear pink and encourage women to get their mammograms.  Several players and commentators mentioned during the game losing mothers, sisters, and wives to breast cancer.  This is just one of many efforts in the last few years, including the Susan Komin Race for the Cure and other programs.  But has it worked?  Sadly, the answer is no.  Over the last several years, women are getting about two percent less screenings.

There are 250,000 new cases of breast cancer each year.  Around 50,000 are in women 40 to 50, but those tend to be the most quickly growing types.  That is why women over 40 are asked to get checked once per year.  There are also 5,000 men per year that develop breast cancer and sadly, they are usually unaware until it is too late.  Women over 50 are at the highest risk, yet studies show that older women often believe they are “passed the time to worry about breast cancer” at the very time they are at highest risk.  Part of this is the preponderance of TV ads that show young women in breast cancer ads.  The odds of getting breast cancer before 40 are slim indeed.

Here are some charts showing breast cancer screening rates.  Early detection can make breast cancer much more treatable and less costly.  The later it is detected, the higher the cost and the greater the mortality.  It is also important to know that some breast cancer appears as a rash on the breast, not a lump.  Get any irregularities checked immediately.


Source for graph data: National Center for Health Statistics. Health, United States, 2009: With Special Feature on Medical Technology Adobe PDF file [PDF-10.5MB]. Hyattsville, MD. 2010.

Mammography Percentages by Race and Ethnicity

The graph below shows the percentage of women aged 40 years and older who had a mammogram in the last two years, grouped by race and ethnicity.

Percentage of U.S. Women Aged 40 Years and Older Who Have Had a Mammogram in the Last 2 Years by Race* and Ethnicity†

Line chart showing the percentage of American women who reported having a mammogram in the last two years, by race and ethnicity. The data points are reported in the table below.

Race* or Ethnicity 2000 2003 2005 2008
White only 71.4 70.1 67.4 67.9
Black only 67.8 70.4 64.9 68.0
American Indian/Alaska Native only 47.4 63.1 72.8 62.7
Asian only 53.5 57.6 54.6 66.1
Hispanic or Latina† 61.2 65.0 58.8 61.2

*Estimates for Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander are considered unreliable and are not shown in this graph.

†The group, or category, called “Hispanic” may include race categories like white, black, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Asian/Pacific Islander.

Mammography Percentages by Education Level

The percentages of mammography screening vary by education level. Women with the most years of schooling are most likely to have had a mammogram in the last two years. The graph below shows the percentage of women aged 40 years and older who had a mammogram in the last two years, grouped by their highest level of education.

Percentage of U.S. Women Aged 40 Years and Older Who Have Had a Mammogram in the Last 2 Years by Education Level

Line chart showing the percentage of American women who reported having a mammogram in the last two years, by education level. The data points are reported in the table below.

Education Level 2000 2003 2005 2008
No high school diploma or GED 57.7 58.1 52.8 53.8
High school diploma or GED 69.7 67.8 64.9 65.2
Some college or more 76.2 75.1 72.7 73.4

Mammography Percentages by Age

The percentages of mammography screening vary by age. Women aged 50 to 64 years are most likely to have had a mammogram in the last two years, followed by older women and younger women. The graph below shows the percentage of women aged 40 years and older who had a mammogram in the last two years, grouped by age.

Percentage of U.S. Women Aged 40 Years and Older Who Have Had a Mammogram in the Last 2 Years by Age

Line chart showing the percentage of American women who reported having a mammogram in the last two years, by age group. The data points are reported in the table below.

Age Group 2000 2003 2005 2008
40 to 49 years 64.3 64.4 63.5 61.5
50 to 64 years 78.7 76.2 71.8 74.2
65 years and older 67.9 67.7 63.8 65.4


So what can be done?  The Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) has teamed up with SOLIS, Mobile Onsite Mammography (MOM) and United Healthcare (UHC) to provide programs and incentives for women through their Wellstyles and other programs.  While nationally testing rates are going down, VSEBT has been successful in getting their membership rates to increase early detection.  The screenings are tied to wellness points and prizes and/or to lower premiums for healthcare.

Fighting cancer is an uphill battle.  Despite the massive publicity, fewer women are taking the critical step to get regular screening.  To contact VSEBT to find out more on how you can improve your rates, talk to Andrea Billings or Sheri Gilbert at 623-695-5982.