Lakeland Regional launches cardiac rehab program

Lakeland Regional Health, an affiliate of Orlando Health, will begin offering comprehensive cardiac rehabilitation services at its North Campus/Hollis Cancer Center, later this month, also expanding the hospital’s outpatient cardiology services from its Pablo Campus to North Campus. Florida Hospital has filed a letter of intent with the state to add up to 20 comprehensive medical rehabilitation beds to Winter Park Memorial Hospital through delicensure of 10 existing beds and 10 approved beds at Florida Hospital Orlando. The letter is the first step in the state’s Certificate of Need process. Dr. Carrie Sue Cannon, a family physician in Orlando, has had her medical license placed on emergency restriction order by the state health department because of mental-health disorders that affect her skills and jeopardize patient safety, according to documents filed in January — the action is not final and Cannon is entitled to a hearing. The agency has asked the state Board of Medicine to review her case and impose one or more penalties such as license revocation or restriction of practice. An emergency restriction order prohibits Cannon from practicing in Florida, but she can maintain her license. Cannon is currently not practicing, according to her Florida Department of Health profile. The Agency for Health Care Administration has revoked the practice license of Brothers’ Keeper Inc., a homemaker and companion service in Seminole County. It also suspended A.J. Handal, who provides professional early intervention services in Orange County, in a final order from participation in the Medicaid program. People Novlet Mattis is the new Chief Information Officer for Orlando Health. Most recently she was vice president of information technology for Ascension Information Services in St. Louis. Dr. Durkhani Mahboob, a rheumatologist, and Dr. Javier Diago, a family physician, are the newest additions to Lake Regional Health Physician Group. Lakeland Regional Continue Reading

KWK Architects, Residence Life Administrators Reflect on Innovative Levine Hall Design at University of North Carolina

On most university campuses throughout the United States, you will find traditional residence halls, and you will find honors halls. But what happens when the two types of residence halls are combined into a single Living/Learning Community? Such a unique configuration was implemented nearly two years ago with the opening of the $38.5 million Levine Hall at the University of North Carolina - Charlotte. Webster Groves, MO-based KWK Architects designed the university's newest residential building to house 435 total students - a combination of honors and traditional students. Currently, Levine Hall houses 136 honor students, about 31% of the Levine student community. The 160,000-square-foot Levine Hall includes four-bedroom suites and apartments, plus large central lounges and study areas at the end corridors of each floor. Community spaces include a lobby, lounge, resident kitchen, laundry and meeting spaces. The hall's extended "Z" shape creates a significant open lawn which leads to a large arched opening. At this opening are entries to both the residence hall and the honors college zone to provide a separate identity and allow independent operation while encouraging regular use by residents. "The design of Levine Hall at UNC-Charlotte had a very specific directive - the inclusion of an honors and scholars program inside a traditional residence hall. This unique challenge required different unit types, such as suites and apartments, to be embedded within each RA community, as well as academic and administrative support exclusive to honors program students," said KWK Architects Principal Paul Wuennenberg. Two years after Levine Hall's opening, the student housing experts at KWK and UNC Charlotte are analyzing the results of their unique design and seeking answers to their questions: "Are the honors students successfully integrating into the traditional community?", "Is the rest of the community accepting of these students?", "What tools have been used to improve the Continue Reading

2 programs pay you to convert wood-burning fireplaces and pits to gas

The Maricopa County Air Quality Department wants to encourage residents not to burn wood and contribute to air pollution this holiday season. And it wants to help you toward that goal.If you act fast, you might be able to upgrade your wood-burning fire pit for a new, cleaner option at a reduced cost thanks to a partnership among the county, Home Depot and the Arizona Propane Gas Association. The department announced the program Thursday at its kickoff to the annual Burn Cleaner, Burn Better program aimed at reducing smoke in the air during winter.And homeowners in parts of central and south Phoenix, areas that at times experience higher levels of pollution than other parts of the county, can get help converting wood-burning fireplaces into gas units.Converting wood-burning devices to gas-powered ones reduces levels of tiny particulate matter from the soot in wood smoke. That particulate matter, along with pollution from dust, vehicle exhaust and other sources, contributes to the often poor air quality in the Valley, particularly in the winter months.Fireplace and fire-pit use is especially high during the holiday season, which is why the county air quality department holds the annual campaign in December.Here are three ways you can help.Maricopa County residents can get a $75 voucher to be used at participating Home Depot stores toward the purchase of a propane-fueled fire pit. To take part in the program, just email your first and last name to [email protected] first 1,000 people to do so will received a numbered voucher.“We’re very excited to partner with Maricopa County with this,” said Mike Wilson, president of the Arizona Propane Gas Association. “This is a great opportunity to reduce pollution by replacing wood-burning fire pits with propane.”Propane-burning fire pits produce less smoke and soot, which reduces the amount of particulate matter released into the Continue Reading

Cardinal Dolan: We hope compensation program will help victims, Church heal from cases of abuse

When Pope Francis was in New York a year ago, he spoke eloquently of mercy, compassion, reconciliation, and invited all of us to be ambassadors of those touching virtues. Our Holy Father has also christened 2016 a Year of Mercy, and encouraged us bishops to reach out in a new, daring way to people who are hurting or feel cut off from the Church. Inspired by his example, I decided, after a lot of consultation, to take the grace and challenge of this moment and establish an Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program to, please God, promote healing for one group of members in the Church’s family who continue to suffer: the victim-survivors of abuse by clergy. This one sin, one crime, one scandal has gravely wounded us in the Church. I continue to hear it wherever I go. It is true that over the last two decades, the Catholic Church in the United States has made documented progress in dealing with this nauseating crime of sexual abuse, especially since the implementation of the landmark Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People nearly 15 years ago: zero tolerance for guilty clergy with removal from all ministry; full cooperation with law enforcement; public announcement of offenders; comprehensive child safety education, with ongoing monitoring of compliance of safe environment; background checks . . . on and on, leading Dr. Paul McHugh, a recognized expert at Johns Hopkins University in the abuse of children, to comment that the Church is today a leader and model in responding to a scourge that afflicts all our society and culture: the abuse of minors. We have also engaged in pastoral and practical outreach to the victims. Yet the wounds of many continue to fester, and they understandably tell us they await further compassion. That’s my motive, the grace and challenge of this Year of Mercy, in taking a next step, opening this Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program to help, I hope, Continue Reading

Radioactive waste a test for Bevin administration

IRVINE, Ky. – The dumping of out-of-state radioactive waste in Kentucky is the first high-profile test of how Gov. Matt Bevin's administration enforces environmental rules.It may also test how far the administration is willing to go to prevent future dumping.The millionaire businessman campaigned against burdensome environmental regulations and made a former coal mining company executive, Charles Snavely, a top environmental regulator by putting him in charge of the Environment and Energy Cabinet.But hundreds of Estill County residents are now worried about their health, and pressure is on the energy cabinet and the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services - a partner in the investigation with its public health and responsibilities - to determine whether anyone was exposed to excessive radiation.State authorities are also pulling investigative threads to determine what rules may have been broken and by whom - and to find out how widespread the dumping might have been across Kentucky."I hope the Bevin administration will guard the environment as much as possible (and) protect public health," said Nancy Farmer, a retired school teacher and former Irvine City Council member. "I would hope that they would really investigate this matter and use this case to show how serious they are going to be about regulations of dangerous and potentially dangerous concerns."Snavely expressed his resolve in a matter where millions of dollars in potential fines are possible."I have made it abundantly clear that my commitment is to enforce the laws we are charged with upholding, to keep the citizens of the commonwealth safe and healthy, to protect our natural resources and promote a healthy business climate," said Snavely.  "We will hold the violators accountable to the law just as we would in any situation under our jurisdiction."But those strong words contrast Continue Reading

Major League Baseball will test players’ blood for HGH in spring training as part of revisions to drug-testing program announced Thursday

Major League Baseball and the Players Association announced Thursday that they have completed revisions in their drug-testing program, including testing players’ blood for human growth hormone during spring training and increasing the number of random tests for steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs during the season and the offseason. The revisions also include modifying the program’s collection procedures following the Ryan Braun arbitration decision in which an independent arbitrator overturned Braun’s positive test for elevated testosterone because of chain of custody issues involving the collection of his urine sample. The revisions clarify when collectors must deliver specimens to a courier, and how specimens should be stored prior to delivery to the courier, as well as modifying the appeals procedures of the program, including the circumstances under which procedural deviations will result in the invalidation of test results. The parties also agreed to study expanding HGH testing to the regular season and to create an expert panel of recognized ADD/ADHD experts to advise the program administrator on therapeutic use exemption ("TUE") applications for ADD/ADHD medications. "These modifications to expand upon the comprehensive nature of our Program are consistent with our efforts to ensure we are running the highest quality drug testing in professional sports," said Rob Manfred, MLB's Executive Vice President for Economics and League Affairs. "This agreement is a reflection of our commitment to monitoring our program and making upgrades in all possible areas in order to best serve our game." MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner said the changes "reflect the players’ desire to have the strongest possible drug prevention and treatment program in professional team sports." Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

No down payment? A new program could help

Crystal and Anastazio Belmontes spent the past few years working on cleaning up their credit record and saving money to buy a Phoenix home. The couple had cash in the bank and was looking at houses earlier this year, when their car died and their medical insurance costs soared.It was a tough phone call for Crystal, a 32-year-old accountant, to make when she contacted their real estate agent to say the search for a house was off. But her agent knew about a new program that has helped more than 1,000 Valley home buyers with down payments.With more than a $5,000 down-payment grant from the Arizona Housing Finance Authority's Home Plus program, the Belmontes were able to obtain a mortgage on a three-bedroom house in Laveen last month. Their house cost less than $160,000 and is bigger, with enough bedrooms for them and their three children.They are paying only about $150 a month more than they did to rent, and the tax deduction could make up the difference.The Belmontes' payments also could drop within five years if they build up 20 percent equity in their home and are no longer required to pay mortgage insurance on their government-backed loan."We had been renting for 10 years and thought we might not ever get into our own house," Crystal Belmontes told me. "We love our home. Our children are so happy we are right next to a park, and a school is near by."Since the housing crash, lenders are requiring bigger down payments from buyers."The down payment seems to be the biggest issue for first-time and boomerang buyers now," said Dirk Swift, homeownership programs administrator for the Arizona Housing Department's Finance Authority. "Expenses are going up. Wages are stagnant. Rents are sky high, and then there's student loan debt."The Home Plus program was launched in Maricopa County late last year.Unlike many down-payment programs, boomerang buyers — those who lost them through foreclosure — are also eligible if they meet the requirements: an annual income of Continue Reading

Universal pre-K’s integration problem: Bill de Blasio’s admirable and promising program should be doing a better job mixing kids of different backgrounds

Mayor Bill de Blasio took office in 2014 with a promise to end the “tale of two cities” by fighting economic inequality. His administration’s first big policy initiative — to the tune of roughly $400 million per year — was expanding the city’s pre-kindergarten program, on the path to universal pre-K. In providing enough free, full-day, high-quality pre-K seats for all 4-year-olds, of any income, who wish to enroll, the de Blasio administration envisioned a program that would provide something sorely lacking from public preschool initiatives targeted to low-income families: the possibility for socioeconomically (and racially) diverse classrooms. As Deputy Mayor Richard Buery told NY 1 News, “We all know of course that prekindergarten programs have a great impact on the wellbeing of young people in low-income neighborhoods . . . But you also can’t discount the value of those young people being in diverse classrooms, with people of a variety of income levels.” But despite the massive and commendable expansion of pre-K to a predicted 70,000 4-year-olds of a variety of different backgrounds by this fall, universal pre-K is falling short of its goals for integrated classrooms, as I explain in a new report published by The Century Foundation. To begin with, the administration is missing important demographic data. While the city does collect income information from pre-K families in district and charter schools (in the context of the federal free lunch program), it has yet to analyze this data. And it does not collect any income data from families in pre-K programs run by community-based organizations. The preferences in admissions lotteries for pre-K also limit opportunities for fostering diversity. In 2014, almost half of all pre-K programs in district schools filled up entirely with students who live in the attendance zone or who have a sibling in the school, leaving little room to increase diversity Continue Reading

Chris Mullin to become St. John’s coach, former Johnnies star will be 20th coach in program history

On the 30-year anniversary of his final game at St. John’s, Chris Mullin decided to come home. The face and superstar of the team from 1981-1985 returns to that role this coming season as its head coach. As the Daily News first reported on Monday afternoon, Mullin accepted his alma mater’s offer to return the Johnnies to the lofty place they once held. He is expected to dot the i’s and cross the t’s on a contract Tuesday and be introduced as the Johnnies’ 20th head coach on Wednesday. “He’s in,” a source close to Mullin told the Daily News on Monday. St. John’s now has one of six coaches that have been enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. He is the only one to get there as a player. He has never coached a game in high school, college or the pros. Another Hall of Famer gave the move his blessing. LUPICA: MULLIN AND ST. JOHN'S IS PERFECT NEW YORK STORY “This is a great day for St. John's, the whole university," Carnesecca told the Associated Press. “He has always represented St. John's well and I'm sure he'll do a fine job as coach. People seem to be worried about his lack of coaching experience but how many people have had the basketball education he has?” Indeed Mullin’s experience is great. The Brooklyn kid was a high school star at Xaverian in Brooklyn, he went to St. John’s to become the program’s all-time leading scorer with 2,440 points, three times was named Big East player of the Year and drove the Johnnies to the 1985 Final Four. His 16-year NBA career earned him induction to the Hall of Fame in 2011. Since he stopped playing he has been an NBA general manager and executive and now is a Sacramento Kings advisor. Mullin boarded a flight to New York on Monday to finish the contract and get to work. The deal is expected to be slightly richer than the one signed five years ago by Steve Lavin, Continue Reading

Administration for Children’s Services cleans up city child care programs after audit finds violations

Administration for Children’s Services officials have taken steps to clean up 73 city child-care programs after a federal audit in December found violations ranging from missing paperwork to safety issues, agency officials said. Problems uncovered in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services review ranged from rodent feces on cots and lunch tables to children being left alone in classrooms. The federal agency, which funds many city child-care programs, gave ACS up to 180 days to fix the issues or risk losing funding. But as of Friday all the violations deemed most serious-including allegations that kids were mistreated- have been addressed, ACS officials said. “There's no immediate risk to any child in these programs — if there was, we’d shut them immediately,” said agency spokeswoman Jill Krauss. “In all cases, we've aggressively tackled problems, because the safety of children is our top priority.” ACS officials said the agency is on track to fix a slew of less serious violations by filing missing paperwork and repairing broken equipment. Still other violations related to class size rules will be addressed by July, agency officials said. Thousands of city kids aged 2-5 are enrolled in hundreds of federally funded daycare programs in all five boroughs. The city manages administers the funding and is in charge of overseeing the programs. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading