OCH Community Health Worker Shares Some Love with the Community

VenrunYou don’t have to work in direct patient care to impact patients’ lives in a big way. Ciara Day’s job is testament to that. While a medical degree helps doctors attend to medical conditions, Ciara works to mend the heart. Her entire job is based on the OCH mission of offering assistance in an atmosphere of compassion, respect and dignity. The stories that make up her every day speak to the passion OCH employees have for its patients.

As a Community Health Worker in OCH’s Integrated Care department, Ciara works to empower patients and give them the tools to improve their lives. “Everyone is different,” Ciara says. She says patients need help that is not just limited to healthcare visits with providers: sometimes patients need a ride to the appointment, a shower to clean off the fleas so the patient can address real problems with providers, or basic needs like nutritious food, or a safe place to call home. “It’s my job to check in and make sure those voices are heard.”

When considering healthcare, the Integrated Care department works as a team to look at overall well-being, not just an exchange of symptoms and healthcare solutions. “Everything is a lesson,” Ciara explains. It could mean providing patients with lessons on meal prepping for a chronic illness and what your refrigerator should look like. “You have to meet them where they are. If a patient doesn’t have access to food stamps or their Medicaid gets shut off, we connect them to resources that can help them get access to those things and show them how to work what they have.” Sometimes this means working with patients for a long time, and that’s okay. Changes do not happen overnight and Ciara is dedicated to working long term to better patient lives.

“I’m not afraid to call a patient up and be like, ‘Your provider is worried about you and part of the process for following up is a home visit. When are you available?’” And that’s just what she does. Understanding where a patient is now helps her figure out what the next steps are.

I’ve been doing this in the community for nearly a decade. I was initially hired to help the highest utilizers of the ER. But those aren’t the people screaming for help. It’s the silent ones who need it the most.

Within the first two weeks of joining OCH, Ciara started compiling a pantry for patients. Her office has boxes filled with supplies and walls covered in clean clothes, hygiene products, towels, and now, diapers. “I’m so excited! We just got a partnership approved with the Diaper Bank and now we can get diapers and wipes whenever we need them. We haven’t even started getting food in yet.” Ciara and others in the Integrated Care department do whatever it takes to share a little love.

It’s all a learning process, for Integrated Care and the patient. It is a process of bettering lives and strengthening communities. Community events like HOPE Connection and Everyone Counts in Springfield are integral to the mission. “Getting that access is huge. It’s invaluable to provide access to healthcare and information about how to get signed up for the programs people need.”

Sometimes that learning process takes a long time, like in the case of Allison*. Allison started going to a provider at OCH for over a decade. A  few years ago, she incurred a major life event and a variety of severe health issues that left her on disability and Medicaid, unable to care for herself. The medication she was taking was not working which resulted in chronic pain and a distrust of the medical system. When she moved in with friends, she had a limited food supply and limited quality of life. Ciara worked with her to get her food and looked at housing options. Every trip to the grocery store or produce distribution center was a lesson. “Again, you work with what they have. You shop within their budget. You show them nutritious options they can afford.”

After working with multiple agencies and with the help of Ciara, Allison found an apartment. Ciara helped her move out of her friend’s house and into her first “home” in four years. She showed Allison how to cook the food she has. “Sometimes you just need to let them know what they can do. Boil a potato and don’t add too much butter or cream and you have mashed potatoes.” Teaching patients to have the confidence to take care of themselves is one of Ciara’s favorite parts of her job. “[Allison] called me earlier this week saying she worked for hours cooking onions and potatoes and she was running around her apartment like a crazy person with joy.” It’s always a learning process. One day you boil potatoes; the next, you fry them up with some onions. During the interview, Kristen, the Integrated Care manager ran in the room exclaiming, “I found Allison a couch!” It’s the little successes that show the Integrated Care department and Ciara’s dedication to the patients.

Ciara summed it up perfectly when talking about her own children. “I have three rules. One is care about others. Hold the door open for everyone, not just girls. Always be a degree better of yourself than where you are now.” Always treat others the way you want to be treated. You have to share the love.

Qualifications for the Integrated Care program simply include being a patient at Ozarks Community Hospital. To be eligible for the Primary Care Health Home program, the patient must be a current patient, have Medicaid as a primary or secondary insurance and have one (or more) chronic condition(s). If you or someone you know is an OCH patient and in need of assistance, contact Integrated Care. For more information about the Community Health Worker position, email Ciara Day at cday@OCHonline.com.

*Patient names and health information have been changed to protect patient confidentiality.

Winter Health and Safety Tips

With the New Year and winter in full swing, now is a great time to remind yourself of how to stay safe and healthy with the cold conditions. OCH provider Angela Standefer, FNP-C offers some tips to make it through the winter:

  • Get IMMUNIZED! Anyone over the age of six months should get vaccinated against influenza. If you have a history of asthma, COPD or smoking it is recommended you also get your pneumonia and Prevnar vaccines. Talk to your doctor about vaccines for you.
  • Dress for the weather. A key to staying healthy this winter is knowing the forecast. Check the weather before getting dressed for the day to ensure you are prepared. Choose warm clothing. If it is wet, it is a good idea to wear a pair of water resistant shoes, hat and gloves, and a coat to avoid frostbite.
  • Don’t FALL victim to icy terrain. Watch your step when walking on wet and icy surfaces. The risk of falls can be greatly reduced by choosing appropriate footwear and using salt (or another kind of ice melting material) on the ground. Choose shoes that have traction so your feet are equipped.
  • Humidity isn’t always a bad thing. While humidity can wreak havoc on your hair, it can also prevent dry skin and nose bleeds. Use a humidifier in your home to avoid dry air. If you do catch the sniffles, humidifiers help your body stay hydrated.
  • Have an emergency kit in your car. Traveling even short distances can be hazardous in winter weather conditions. It is crucial to be prepared in case this happens. This includes:
    • Make sure your cell phone is charged so you can call for help.
    • Have a first aid kit in case you get hurt on ice.
    • Keep a blanket or extra coat in the car to keep yourself and the kids warm. While keeping the car running might sound like a good idea at the time, your battery could be depleted before help can arrive, causing further problems.
    • Munchies may be obvious for a long car trip, but they are also a good idea to keep in your emergency kit.
    • Kitty litter can give your car traction when stuck in ice or snow. Keep a cheap bag in your trunk to help you escape the conditions.
    • Keep an ice scraper in your car so if you get into unexpected bad weather, you can keep your windows clean for safe travel.

Depending on the conditions, it may take a long time for a tow truck to get to you in severe weather. Being prepared will allow you to survive the frigid conditions.

  • Carry a medication list with you. Include what medicines you are currently taking, medical allergies and emergency phone numbers on a small piece of paper in your wallet so it can be easily located. If you suddenly fall ill having this information will be helpful.
    • iPhone Hack: You can add your medical information to your iPhone that can be accessed without unlocking your phone.
      • To set up your Medical ID, open the “Health” app. Along the bottom menu, click Medical ID (far right). In the top right corner, click Edit and enter your health information. You can include Name, DOB, Medical Conditions, Medical Notes, Allergies & Reactions, Medications, Blood Type, Organ Donation status, Weight, and Height. Before hitting save, make sure to allow Emergency Access.
      • Your Medical ID can be viewed when the phone is locked by tapping Emergency, then Medical ID.
    • Wash your hands. Good hand washing is one of the most important things you can do to avoid colds and the flu. Covering your cough can also help from spreading germs to your family and friends.
    • Space heaters are convenient, but dangerous. While having a space heater may seem like a good alternative to cranking up the heat, they can also cause house fires or burns on both children and adults. Follow manufacturers’ directions. The safest options for space heaters have a safety mechanism in place that will turn the heater off if it falls over or gets too hot.
    • Chimney sweeps aren’t just for Mary Poppins. If you have a chimney, have it checked by a professional each year before use to make sure it is clean and safe.
    • Carbon monoxide isn’t just in car exhaust. If your home or apartment is heated with natural gas, make sure to have a carbon monoxide alarm to alert you if carbon monoxide levels are dangerously high. If it goes off, leave the home to get fresh air and call 911 from a neighbor’s home.
    • Don’t forget the sunscreen! The cold weather can trick us into thinking we are safe from sunburns. However, snow is a great reflector for the sun and you can still get a nasty sunburn in the winter.

Angela Standefer, FNP-C sees patients for family practice and hepatitis in Springfield in the OCH Medical Offices Clinic and in Bolivar at the OCH Polk County Clinic. She collaborates with Jackie Beene, MD and seeks to bring better health to the community.

The Vaccination Debate: Q&A with the Authors

OCH Pediatrician Christopher Spinelli, DO and Maryann Karinch, a human behavior specialist, recently published a book titled The Vaccination Debate: Making the right choice for you and your children with New Horizon Press. The book is described as:

Rational approach to discussing the science of vaccines in the context of everyday life. As Spinelli and Karinch examine the schedule of vaccines from birth through adolescence, the authors shed new light on this timely and controversial issue, writing with a tone that a pediatrician would use with curious, concerned parents. (Goodreads, 2015)

Prior to publication, the authors sat down and answered some frequently asked questions in the “vaccination debate.” Read their answers to the questions below:

  1. How safe are vaccines?

For people with healthy immune systems, they are generally completely safe. We say “generally” because in rare cases, a genetic abnormality makes a vaccine unsafe for the individual with that condition. Yet, despite the rigorous testing of vaccines to ensure their safety and effectiveness—often decades of research and testing—89 percent of the people who participated in the C.S. Mott Children’s National Poll on Children’s Health rated “vaccine safety” as the most important topic in children’s health research today. Anecdotal “evidence” about adverse reactions has a profound effect on public opinion, despite the overwhelming scientific evidence that vaccines are safe for almost everyone.

A slight fever in response to a vaccine is normal; it doesn’t mean the vaccine is unsafe. Nearly all vaccines can induce fever since they rev up the immune system and fever is a feature of the immune system.

  1. Why do we give vaccinations to kids for diseases that we rarely or never see anymore?

The short answer is: Because you don’t want to see them ever again. The vaccine for smallpox was removed from the schedule in 1980 when smallpox was considered eradicated globally. It would be great if we eradicated other diseases and no longer needed those vaccines, either. But the reality is that diphtheria, polio, measles, mumps, chickenpox, whooping cough and other diseases that many people have never seen still exist and are potentially fatal.

  1. What about “herd immunity”—doesn’t that protect us?

Herd immunity means that enough people have immunity to a contagious disease that the people who don’t have immunity are safe. If people didn’t travel outside of their communities, it would be fairly easy to achieve herd immunity for a lot of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles and mumps. But we do travel and people without immunity are vulnerable.

Herd immunity is generally defined in terms of 90-95 percent of a population being immune to a particular contagious disease. Think about how fast those numbers can tumble downward when just a few new unvaccinated kids enter your local elementary school, or one new family without immunity joins your church.

Herd immunity only works if we keep vaccinating against diseases we rarely see anymore—and then only stop when we never see them anymore.

  1. What’s wrong with alternative vaccination schedules, so that babies don’t get so many shots at once?

The success of vaccinations in controlling and eradicating disease involve both the science of antigens and the science of timing. The schedule reflects the science of timing, meaning that vaccines are given at times in a child’s life when preventing the disease is vitally important to help the child thrive. For example, if a child of one year old or under contracts measles, the chances that the disease leads to very series health issues or death are much greater than if an older child contracts measles. For that reason, the vaccine is scheduled when a baby hits the one-year mark. Also, studies show that children have more anxiety about vaccines (even infants) if they are subjected to multiple “shot visits” with fewer vaccines each time instead of multiple shots a fewer visits.

  1. Why not just let kids catch “childhood diseases” to build immunity—like people used to do?

Parents who believe it’s better for a child to get a disease that probably isn’t life threatening—and these typically include measles, mumps, chickenpox, flu, rotavirus and whooping cough—seem comfortable with ideas that don’t make sense to most doctors and nurses. Exposing a child to these diseases is not just a matter of mortality, but a matter of morbidity; the disease is accompanied by symptoms that can be awful for a child. Secondly, in treating the disease after the child gets it, medications are generally involved. These can include antibiotics, cough medicine, anti-diarrheal medication and more. In the case of chickenpox, there may be permanent scarring. The third consideration is the younger sibling, perhaps an infant, who is far more vulnerable to devastating effects of the disease than an older brother or sister.

Here’s a final thought: Most parents who push this theory that it’s better to let the child get the disease have never seen the bad outcomes; they have not experience them firsthand. Ask parents who have experienced the bad outcomes of vaccine preventable disease and see what they say about this question.

  1. How effective are alternatives to vaccines, like breastfeeding and homeopathic medicines?

Babies are continually getting extra antibodies from their mothers’ breast milk. (Formula-fed kids are lacking in this extra immunity.) But while the advantages provided by breastfeeding are long-lasting, they don’t last forever. Breastfeeding is a superb complement to vaccination.

The argument to avoid vaccines in favor of homeopathically prepared preventative solutions is deeply flawed—and we say that with all due respect to homeopathy as a source of remedies for problems that already exist. Leading spokespersons for homeopathy assert that the reason that solutions with undetectable amounts of active ingredient work is that, when the body has a need for a substance, that need creates hypersensitivity. When the body senses that what it needs is nearby, it takes advantage of it. Knowing this, how would a homeopathic formula work as a prophylactic since, at least in theory, it’s administered while the body is healthy and not in need of the substance?

  1. Why are things like aluminum and thimerosal in vaccines?

Vaccines contain more than the virus or bacterium that serves as the main ingredient because some are used as preservatives, some are suspending fluids, some serve as culture material to grow the bacteria or virus, and some are enhancers that help improve the vaccine’s effectiveness.

Aluminum is an enhancer, also known as an adjuvant. The intended role of adjuvants is to provide more antibodies and prolong the vaccine’s protection by boosting the immune system’s response to the virus or bacteria agent. The inactivated type of vaccine requires adjuvants to stimulate an immune response. This is partly why it’s possible to reduce the number of actual antigens from the viruses and bacteria needed to make the vaccine, but still get effective protection. In the 1960s, there were about 3,000 antigens in a pertussis (whooping cough) vaccination. Now there are five.

Thimerosal is a preservative. Preservatives and stabilizers enable vaccines to remain unchanged when they’re exposed to heat, light, acidity or humidity. Preservatives are not, by their nature, “good” or “good for you,” and research continues to try to determine the most benign preservatives for medical applications.

  1. What’s the link between vaccines and autism?

No cause-and-effect link has been proven based on a large body of studies, but that is not the same as saying with certainty there is no link between vaccination and the onset of autism symptoms. The bulk of evidence points to a pattern of autism spectrum disorders that runs in families—meaning the cause of autism appears to be genetic. But—and this is an important “but”—scientists are currently trying to determine the extent to which metabolic, bio-chemical, neurological, and environmental factors affect the emergence of autism.

In other words, evidence strongly suggests that autism is genetic in nature, so vaccines wouldn’t make a child autistic, but some scientists believe that vaccination might trigger a negative response.

  1. What’s the profile of people who choose not to vaccinate their children?

The profiles are so different that it’s shocking. Basically, it’s well-educated people who tend to be liberal politically and shop at places like Whole Foods as well as people with a libertarian orientation who feel that an individual parent’s right to determine what’s best for a child should supersede any government mandates. Caught in the middle are parents who have been exposed to disturbing anecdotal evidence about vaccines and are inclined to take a “modified schedule” approach to vaccinations.

In short, the profile tends to be people whose lifestyle choices, ideology, and fear override scientific evidence.

  1. What are the prospects for vaccines for diseases like cancer, HIV, and Alzheimer’s?

Very good. New ways of developing vaccines have been developed and those new methods open the door to an array of vaccines against diseases like cancer, HIV, and Alzheimer’s, as well as malaria, Ebola, and other diseases that have been a particular threat in Africa—where a child dies every minute from malaria according to the World Health Organization.

Some of these new methods of development have resulted in DNA vaccines, which rely on genetic material to prevent disease. Some of the diseases targeted by researchers developing DNA vaccines are cancer, HIV, malaria, and typhoid.


Goodreads. (2015). The vaccination debate. Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24886662-the-vaccination-debate

#TransformationTuesday: OCH upgrades radiology equipment to better serve patients

Ozarks Community Hospital has transformed radiology equipment systemwide to better serve patients and offer increased services. OCH of Gravette in northwest Arkansas, OCH of Springfield and OCH Christian County Clinic in southwest Missouri have added new updated equipment to increase options for physicians, better evaluate patient conditions and provide further health direction.

As a health system, OCH continues to provide the same quality care but with greater capabilities. The OCH mission is to provide a high quality of care to everyone, regardless of insurance coverage. In fact, more than 80% of patients have governmental insurance or are self-pay. The ability to provide high-quality and technologically advanced radiology services will help OCH better serve its patient population and the surrounding communities.

Springfield & Nixa

OCH of Springfield and the OCH Christian County Clinic also received upgrades to their equipment. The OCH of Springfield hospital received a new SOMATOM Perspective 64-Slice Scanner and ACUSON S2000 ultrasound. With these updates, OCH of Springfield hospital now has radiology equipment directly comparable to nearby hospitals. The OCH Christian County Clinic in Nixa upgraded its CT Scanner to a SOMATOM Emotion 16-Slice CT Scanner.

The new equipment at OCH of Springfield provides expanded services including:

  • Coronary Computed Tomography Angiography (CCTA): A heart imaging test that helps determine if plaque buildup has narrowed a patient’s arteries.
  • Low Dose Lung Screening: This screening meets CMS guidelines for a lung cancer screening. These are recommended annually for high risk populations/patients and have shown to contribute to a 20% reduction in mortality.
  • Cardiac Calcium Scoring: This is a quick, painless, noninvasive procedure to accurately determine the degree and severity of hard plaque within the coronary arteries. These are recommended for anyone at risk of coronary artery disease, including healthy males over the age of 40 and females over the age of 45.

 AR before after


The new equipment makes OCH of Gravette the only all-digital radiology department in its region. OCH of Gravette received massive upgrades and updates including a new SOMATOM Perspective 64-slice CT Scanner, a Siremobil Combact L (C-ARM), a Multix Select and Multix Fusion x-ray machines, a portable Mobilett Mira x-ray machine, and ACUSON S2000 and ACUSON Freestyle Ultrasound System.

The new equipment offers additional testing capabilities including:

  • Coronary Computed Tomography Angiography (CCTA): A heart imaging test that helps determine if plaque buildup has narrowed a patient’s arteries.
  • Low Dose Lung Screening: This screening meets CMS guidelines for a lung cancer screening. These are recommended annually for high risk populations/patients and have shown to contribute to a 20% reduction in mortality.
  • Cardiac Calcium Scoring: This is a quick, painless, noninvasive procedure to accurately determine the degree and severity of hard plaque within the coronary arteries. These are recommended for anyone at risk of coronary artery disease, including healthy males over the age of 40 and females over the age of 45.
  • QCT Bone Density Test: This is a CT scan with special software used to diagnose or monitor low bone mass. Bone density testing is recommended for anyone at risk of or with evidence of osteoporosis.

In January 2015, the Association for Medical Imaging Management (AHRA) announced that OCH of Gravette was one of six recipients of the AHRA and Toshiba Putting Patients First grant to improve the safety, understanding and comfort of pediatric radiology procedures. This KidSTRONG pediatric safety program at OCH of Gravette is a coinciding compliment to the comprehensive technology upgrades. The radiology department has been completely renovated due to the state of the art radiology equipment, with an emphasis on pediatric-friendly facilities and a comforting experience for families.

“The KidSTRONG pediatric safety and education component paired with the complete overhaul of our radiology department in Gravette increases community resources,” says Ronda Kruetzer, radiology manager at the hospital. “These upgrades have enabled OCH to provide safe, quality and worry-free care for the region’s residents right in their hometown,” says Ronda.

Ignoring high blood pressure can be deadly

Family practice provider J.D. Eiman, PA-C shares insight about high blood pressure and why it’s something you shouldn’t ignore: 

Blood pressure is an important measurement of health.  When the pressure reading is high, it is given the medical term “hypertension.” Hypertension has few symptoms unless extremely high and so that is why it is routinely checked for at a medical office. It is important to diagnose it early, for better health outcomes.

Many people do not realize that uncontrolled high blood pressure is an important risk factor for a heart attack or stroke (think brain attack). So in other words, the two most important organs in your body – your heart and brain are at risk for the most damage. While many people either live or die with a heart attack, with a stroke there are many levels of disability that occur with damage to the brain. Strokes can leave a person paralyzed, unable to communicate or with difficulty swallowing to name just a few. How terrible to think that these outcomes can be avoided with a little medication to control blood pressure!

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There are many different things that can impact your blood pressure that vary from person to person:  older age, race, being overweight, family history, too much salt in your diet, drinking too much alcohol, not getting enough exercise, having diabetes or high cholesterol, and even having low Vitamin D.

There are over 50 different medications and more combinations of those drugs, giving medical providers a multitude of ways to counteract all the different causes of elevated pressure. Sometimes it takes some experimentation to find the right combination for an individual patient, but it is worth the work. If you are diagnosed with hypertension, remember to take your medication and monitor your pressure at home, to help your medical team providing your care.

Next time you see a free blood pressure machine, sit down and see how you are doing. And always ask when you are in the clinic what your results are, so that you can be heart and brain healthy. Remember, as medical professionals, we are here to help, but your health is up to you!


J.D. Eiman, PA-C is a physicians assistant at the OCH of Gravette Clinic. J.D. sees patients of all ages for primary care needs and is also certified to perform DOT physicals. She received her education and training from Texas A&M University and Harding University and is currently a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, Arkansas Association of Physician Assistants, Christian Medical and Dental Association/Fellowship of Christian Physician Assistants and the California Association of Physician Assistants. To contact J.D. at the clinic, call (479) 787-5221.

How to make age appropriate resolutions for your children

IMG_9835If you’re like many individuals, you started the year off with a New Year’s resolution (or two). Now that January is over, take a moment to evaluate your progress. Are you still sticking to your goal? What positive changes have you noticed? If you didn’t stick with it, do you still have a desire to make a change?

If you answered yes to this last question, it’s not to late to start (or restart). OCH psychologist Dr. Erin Golden reminds us that resolutions are difficult to keep because, more often than not, we set ourselves up for failure from the beginning. It’s not too late to start again and make healthy resolutions for you or your family.

Here are three ways in which you can realistically integrate resolutions back in to your and your child’s life:

In helping your child set a resolution, keep in mind that it should be realistic, positive, and age appropriate. Also, keep in mind that children, especially younger children, will need assistance in setting goals for themselves.

Be Realistic:

Parents can start by helping set reasonable expectations. A good resolution should be specific, positive, future-focused and only just challenging enough. While working toward good grades in math, eating more fruits and vegetables, learning how to knit a scarf, reading 10 books in five months are all admirable goals, they can be difficult to achieve. Parents need to strike a balance between concrete plans and the need to be spontaneous.

Take a fresh sheet of paper and have your child write down his or her top three resolutions, leaving a large space between each one for inserting smaller steps. Help your child make them realistic and age-appropriate. Be concrete, specific, and manageable. As is with adults, vague but good-sounding resolutions don’t make for change. For example, ‘I will behave better’ is too general and will be forgotten quickly. Encourage goals that are within their reach, so they don’t get discouraged. Some realistic resolutions for children might be “I’m going to keep my room neater,” “I’m going to be a better friend,” “I’m going to read more,” or “I’m going to get better at tennis.” Even these are broad resolutions that need to be broken down into doable, step-by-step pieces.

Stay Positive:

If adults put resolutions in a punishing, preachy way, children will be turned off. Start by going over the positive things your children accomplished last year. Instead of pointing out shortcomings, be the historian of their previous successes. Point to the bright spot where they’re doing something well. Have them think of things they can do now that they couldn’t do last year.

For example, perhaps your 10-year-old taught themselves to play a difficult song on the piano. Did that success come about because he pushed himself a little harder? Remind him how far that little bit of extra effort took him. Ask your child, “How can you transfer your success on the piano to something else?” You’ve set the stage. Next, look ahead and ask, “What are some of the great things you want to do this year? What do you want to improve? What will make your life better and happier?”

Offer Suggestions:

The big question parents have at this point: Should you make resolutions for your child? Most experts say no. You can guide and suggest general categories for change, help your child clarify goals, and make sure they’re age-appropriate, but children should come up with resolutions themselves. This is how they take ownership of their goals and learn to plan.

The first step is to listen – Ask them what they want for themselves. If it is your agenda that’s driving the conversation, you are not really listening. Still, most children need a little guidance. Come up with three or four broad categories — such as personal goals, friendship goals, helping goals, and school goals — and let them fill in the specifics. You may ask your child: “Are there things that you could do better or differently? For instance, how should you take care of yourself or treat other people?” If they draw a blank, you could offer some examples, such as being nicer to siblings, sharing better with friends, or helping more at home.

What is Age Appropriate?

It is also important help children chose resolutions that are tailored to their age. For the 10 and younger crowd, it’s about keeping it simple and applying resolutions in bite-size chunks. Set one to no more then three resolutions at a time so a child can actually complete them and reap the rewards of resolutions that include feeling successful, proud or healthy. Younger children also may require some changes in their resolutions on the fly to make the resolution clearer or easier to do. Parents need to reassure children that this is OK, and does not mean they have failed, but they have learned a valuable lesson about themselves.

Children ages 7-12 are at the ideal stage to learn to make resolutions but this does not stop children of all ages from making, and keeping!, good resolutions. Children are beginning to be mindful and to understand others’ perspectives. They’re doing more independently, and they’re starting to open up to broader goals of how to become their best selves.

For children 11 and older, resolutions can provide a way to take inventory and find a balance between what’s healthful, fun, and necessary versus what may not be necessary or productive, such as signing up for five after-school programs just to build up a résumé for college. Because they are older, these children should be able to come up with specific, clear and achievable resolutions. At the same time, adolescents may be so busy they often forgo chances to just have fun, play, and develop ways to manage their stress. Stress reduction is important at that age, so resolutions could focus on finding ways to manage it on a daily basis, like listening to music, keeping a journal, or going for a run.

goldenErin Golden, PsyD is a psychologist at OCH Christian County Clinic in Nixa and at OCH Polk County Clinic in Bolivar. She offers evaluation and counseling for adult and pediatric patients. Dr. Golden worked as a psychologist in Arkansas since 2011. She received her education from the University of Michigan and the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology. Dr. Golden is currently a member of the Missouri Association of Play Therapists and the American Psychological Association. Visit http://www.OCHonline.com to schedule an appointment.

Five things Arkansas residents need to know about the Health Insurance Marketplace

OCH is joining the state-wide effort to help educate and enroll Arkansans in a quality and affordable health insurance before the February 15 deadline. certified application counselor gravette ar

Here are five of the most important things residents should know about when buying insurance on the marketplace:

  1. IT’S NOT AS PRICEY AS YOU THINK: The Marketplace helps uninsured people find affordable health coverage. Estimate your premium here: https://www.healthcare.gov/see-plans/
  2. EXEMPTIONS EXIST: Consumers are required to have health coverage in 2015 or you may pay a penalty fee.  However, you may qualify for an exemption or a special enrollment period. Find out if you are exempt here: https://www.healthcare.gov/fees-exemptions/
  3. PENTALTIES ARE EXPENSIVE: In 2015, penalties will be $325 per person, or 2% of your income (whichever is higher). Ouch!
  4. YOU MAY ALREADY BE COVERED AND NOT KNOW IT. You’re considered covered if you have Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, any job-based plan, any plan you bought yourself, COBRA, retiree coverage, TRICARE, VA health coverage, or some other kinds of health coverage.
  5. TIME IS RUNNING OUT! The Marketplace Open Enrollment deadline for 2015 coverage is February 15, 2015, unless you qualify for an exemption or special enrollment period.

Have questions, or need assistance enrolling?  OCH of Gravette has local, trained enrollment staff (CAC’s) on hand in Gravette, Ark. to address questions and assist with enrollment before the Feb. 15 deadline.


Call Melissa at 479-344-6724 or email ARmarketplaceinfo@ochonline.com to ask questions, set up an appointment or sign up! Ozarks Community Hospital is located at 1101 S. Jackson Street SW in Gravette, Ark.