Vaccination rates plummet amid pandemic

Health news from MESSA

Michigan’s vaccination rates have plummeted during the pandemic, putting our kids at risk for other serious illnesses such as measles and whooping cough. In May, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported that child vaccinations were down 44.5 percent overall compared with the previous two years.

That is a significant drop that can have serious health consequences for kids, said Dr. Julia Spalding, MESSA’s medical director.

No one can deny that this is a tough time to be a parent. With COVID-19 cases rising across Michigan, the temptation to keep a healthy child far away from the doctor’s office is strong. However, keeping your child up to date on vaccinations is a crucial part of protecting their health that should not be ignored.

If you’ve been putting off a well-child visit, it’s time to get back on schedule. Being prepared for what to expect can help alleviate your concerns about taking them to the doctor. Here are some questions to ask your child’s doctor office MESSA logo RGB Blue no tag R 2before visiting:

  • Is my child up to date on their vaccinations?
  • Do you have designated hours for well-child visits to keep healthy kids separated from children who may be ill?
  • Are there separate entrances for healthy children and those who may be ill?
  • Do you offer remote check-in from my vehicle?
  • Do patients wait in the waiting room or in the parking lot?
  • Do you offer vehicle visits, where the provider meets the patient in the parking lot?
  • How often are the waiting rooms and patient rooms sanitized?

Adapted from an article in the MESSA DiscoverYou May/June 2020 newsletter

COVID-19 has disrupted the structure and routine of daily life, and it has taken a toll on MAPE members and their families. While life as we knew it won’t return any time soon, there are ways to cope with this new way of life by focusing on overall wellness — both physical and mental.

MESSA Health Promotion Consultant Rhonda Jones is the driving force behind MESSA Wellness, a program that focuses on mindfulness, movement and nutrition to help members feel MESSA logo RGB Blue no tag R 2calmer, stronger and healthier overall. Jones is a registered nurse and certified health education specialist with a master’s degree in health behavior. She’s also a personal trainer and has extensive training in mindfulness practices.

Since the Stay at Home order has been in place, Jones has heard from MESSA members experiencing depression, anxiety and fear. Members are also reporting high levels of fatigue, low levels of motivation and a propensity to overeat.

“Anxiety and depression has probably been the No. 1 thing that people are reporting, which leads to the other things,” Jones said. And those feelings can lead to greater health issues, including weight gain, high blood pressure or diabetes.

Without being able to travel to member meetings to help start or revive a worksite wellness program, Jones decided to host weekly wellness sessions during May on Zoom. As part of MESSA’s Spring Self-Care Challenge, she brought together experts in mindfulness, movement and nutrition to help reduce members’ stress during this time of heightened anxiety. All of the sessions can be viewed on MESSA’s YouTube channel: https://youtube.com/MESSAhealth.

Excerpted from an article in the MESSA DiscoverYou May/June 2020

As a MESSA member, you have access to Express Scripts pharmacy for convenient home delivery of the medications you take regularly.

The benefits of using Express Scripts include home delivery of a three-month supply of your long-term medications, free standard shipping and 24/7 access to a pharmacist from the privacy of your home.MESSA logo RGB Blue no tag R 2

3 STEPS TO GET STARTED

  1. Log in to your MyMESSA member account. Click the “Rx home delivery” link to register, transfer eligible prescriptions to home delivery and order refills.
  2. Contact your doctor. Call your doctor to obtain a new prescription for a 90-day supply of your long-term medications.
  3. Register adults covered by your plan. Dependents over 18 need to register with Express Scripts separately at express-scripts.com, and they need to authorize you to view and order prescriptions for them, if desired.

Just like at a retail pharmacy, your standard copayments and deductibles apply. Please note that short-term medications such as antibiotics must be filled by a local retail pharmacy, and specialty medications must be filled through your local pharmacy or via AllianceRx Walgreens Prime, a specialty home-delivery pharmacy.

For questions specific to Express Scripts’ delivery service, call Express Scripts at 800.903.8346 (TTY: 800.876.1089).

MESSA DiscoverYou is a bi-monthly health and wellness newsletter available to MESSA members. For more information about MESSA health benefits and services, call 1-833-341-6276. Visit MESSA online at www.messa.org.

Improve mental, physical health by getting enough rest

Excerpted from an article in the MESSA DiscoverYou March/April 2020 newsletter

Do you get at least seven hours of sleep each night? If not, you should plan to hit the sheets earlier tonight.

Overworked or overstressed adults often tend to treat sleep as a luxury rather than a necessity. However, getting enough sleep is as critical to your overall well-being as eating and breathing. Research shows that robbing yourself of sleep can impact your ability to store memories and concentrate, as well as regulate your mood and appetite. It can lead to weight gain and a weakened immune system.

The problem is that too many people don’t get as much sleep as they should. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get at least seven hours of sleep every night. However, more than one-third of adults report they usually get less than that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Shorting yourself on sleep puts you at greater risk for developing chronic conditions, according to the CDC, including:

  • CancerMESSA logo RGB Blue no tag R 2
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Heart attack
  • Kidney disease
  • Stroke

MESSA is offering full coverage — with no deductibles, co-pays or coinsurance — for medically necessary testing and treatment for COVID-19 for all MESSA members and their covered dependents.

MESSA will also cover fully all medical and mental health telehealth visits with in-network providers through June 30. There is no cost to members or their covered dependents. MESSA members have easy access to Online Visits, where you can visit a doctor or a therapist without leaving your home using a smartphone, tablet or computer. To get started with Online Visits, go to messa.org/onlinevisits or download the Blue Cross Online Visits app.

Additionally, MESSA members have free access to NurseLine, which is staffed 24-hours a day by registered nurses. Call NurseLine at (800) 414-2014.

For more information on these services to MESSA members and their covered dependents, please visit https://www.messa.org/covid19