Bath salts: The newest, most dangerous, designer drug

State and federal bans, combined with the arrest of a man accused of being the area dealer, have slowed down Midland County’s ordeal with a new, and very dangerous, designer drug.

Bath salts, a designer drug that has nothing to do with bathing products, is synthesized in overseas super labs then sold through the Internet. It became popular in Europe in 2007. By 2009, it had made it’s way to the United States.

Recently it was the root of an epidemic in northern Michigan, causing Marquette County Health Department officials to declare an emergency public health order when they tallied 13 emergency room visits by people high on the drug from November 2010 to February. There were two deaths.

via Bath salts: The newest, most dangerous, designer drug – Midland Daily News: News.

CDC Vital Signs – Making Health Care Safer: Stopping C. difficile Infections

People getting medical care can catch serious infections called health care-associated infections (HAIs). While most types of HAIs are declining, one – caused by the germ C. difficile* – remains at historically high levels. C. difficile causes diarrhea linked to 14,000 American deaths each year. Those most at risk are people, especially older adults, who take antibiotics and also get medical care. When a person takes antibiotics, good germs that protect against infection are destroyed for several months. During this time, patients can get sick from C. difficile picked up from contaminated surfaces or spread from a health care provider’s hands. About 25% of C. difficile infections first show symptoms in hospital patients; 75% first show in nursing home patients or in people recently cared for in doctors’ offices and clinics. C. difficile infections cost at least $1 billion in extra health care costs annually.

via CDC Vital Signs – Making Health Care Safer: Stopping C. difficile Infections.

The Accident Pyramid – Feeling Lucky?

To often the interest in safety comes after a serious accident which is unfortunate. The key is to treat near misses as if they could have been serious.

Frank Bird, a US safety researcher, discovered that for every serious workplace accident there were 600 near misses. Bird’s findings are shown in the pyramid diagram below.

Accident Pyramid

It’s important to make near miss reporting part the safety culture. What is the ROI on accidents avoided?

Risk Managements 3 Simple Rules

When University of Louisiana at Monroe risk management and insurance majors asked small business owners how they make decisions about managing their business risk, most of them told us they rely heavily, if not completely, on their insurance agent.

But sometimes insurance isn’t the best way to manage risk.

The decision about when or whether to use insurance to manage risk can be complicated, as can the decision about what types of insurance to buy for what risks. While insurance agents can help you decide the types of insurance to buy, they might not help you decide when not to buy insurance.

Fortunately, there are three simple rules that will get you headed in the right direction when deciding “to insure or not to insure.”

They are: don’t risk a lot for a little; don’t risk more than you can afford to lose; and consider the odds.

Source – Christine Berry director of the Small Business Risk Management Institute at the University of Louisiana.

Five Steps to a Healthier Workforce and Lower Health Care Costs

We have found that the key to a successful wellness strategy is to implement a process that follows the 5 steps of risk management.

* Identify risk with Health Risk Assessment at over 90% participation without paying employees to complete one. (high participation is key and where most wellness plans fail)

* Analyze the HRA summary to identify your populations 4 key risk factors along with health plan and work comp claim data. (without high participation in the health Risk Assessments this information may not be credible)

* Control risk by implementing a customized health and wellness strategy which includes face to face or telephonic coaching to encourage behavior change. (without behavior change there will be no savings)

 * Finance risk by matching the right benefit plan design to assure that any savings go to the employer instead of the insurance company.(we have been successful in getting work comp carriers to give savings upfront by demonstrating successful implementation of the first 3 steps)

* Measure results by benchmarking how many risk factors each employee has in 3 groups low, medium and high. Most groups start at around 50% low risk and will move up to 70% low risk in 3 to 4 years.

Fewer risk factors leads to less disease and lower cost.

The Total Value of Health

The total value of health is much more than just medical/hospital & drug costs yet that is what most employers concentrate on. Add to the list absenteeism,  disability, worker’s comp, effectiveness on job, recruitment, retention &  morale of a workforce. To be effective employers must deploy strategies that keep their employees heathy& safe at home and at work. This will have a huge positive impact on a company’s bottom line.

Wise Words from Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett speaking to a group of college students made a statement that is worth repeating.

“There are 7 billion people in the world and everyone has their own ticket,” he said, adding that only five out of every 100 people are born in the United States. “Would you want to give up your ticket and pick another from a hundred? If you don’t want to play that game, you’re saying you’re among the luckiest 1% of humanity.”

Ten Steps to Manage Work Stress

  1. Improve your time management and organization skills.
  2. Of the many things you can to in this area the best ones include getting a to do list that works, learning to say “no”, asking for help when you need it, and stop setting unrealistic goals for yourself.
  3. Relax and breathe deeply.
    Whether you are feeling overwhelmed by the amount or work you have to do or if someone is “in your face”, a good thing to do is to “breathe through your nose”. You can’t get as worked up if you force yourself to breathe through your nose. Your body simply can’t maintain the same level of energy without that extra oxygen you get when breathing through your mouth.
  4. Take more breaks from your work.
    Even a five-minute break will help. Get away from your desk. Go for a walk – outside is better, but up two flights of stairs and back down is good too. Getting more exercise in general will help you reduce your overall stress levels and that will make it easier to reduce your stress level at work.
  5. Lighten up.
    Smile more. We all know laughter reduces stress. You will be amazed at how much more pleasant the people around you are when you make an effort to be pleasant yourself.
  6. Learn to listen better.
    Rather than getting upset when others disagree with you, listen actively and find the areas of agreement. Be assertive and stand up for yourself, but don’t be rigid.
  7. Fix your environment.
    Make whatever adjustments you need to the lighting, temperature, noise level, and other controllable factors in your office.
  8. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
    Realize that there are some things that just aren’t worth worrying about and there are some things you just can’t change. Don’t waste time stressing over the things in either category.
  9. Get more sleep.
    This is another of the things you can do to reduce your overall stress that will have benefits at the office as well. In addition to reducing your stress, it will increase your energy level and your ability to concentrate.
  10. Find a mentor
    If not a mentor, a friend will do. Having someone to talk to can take a lot of stress off you.
  11. Spend more time with optimistic people.
    Negative people will pull you down to their level. Choose to work with people who have a positive attitude instead. Hacked

HACKERS CRACKED into online shoe powerhouse, stealing the personal information of 24 million customers, official said. Shoe shoppers were shocked to check their inboxes Monday to find notices from the company telling them that their information had been compromised and asking them to change their passwords. In the email to customers, the company said “there may have been illegal and unauthorized access” to customer information including names, email addresses, billing and shipping addresses, phone numbers and the last four digits of customers credit card numbers.

via WSJ Professional Article –