(NewsUSA) - Finding the right doctor can mean living a healthier life, or it can be the difference between life and death.
Yet until now, consumers traditionally haven't accessed information that would enable them to find the right doctor for their individual needs. Americans have typically found their physician by word of mouth -- either from friends, family members, their doctor or their insurance list. And the problem is that these references are not subjective and only give a snapshot of a particular doctor -- one who may or may not be the best fit for your needs.
"The Internet has dramatically changed how people get important information and make connections. Just look at the popularity of sites like Zillow and TripAdvisor.com. But unlike shopping for a house or vacation, detailed information about physicians and hospitals hasn't been easy to use for decision-making," says Roger Holstein, CEO, Healthgrades.
But that's about to change. For the first time, consumers can search for doctors based on information that physicians themselves agree are most important: the doctor's experience, the clinical outcomes of the hospital where they practice and the satisfaction of their patients. The new search experience is available free at Healthgrades.com.
The in-depth search capability addresses an important gap -- 90 percent of consumers have said they could make a better choice when selecting a physician if they knew more about the physicians in their insurance plans, according to a Harris Interactive study conducted for Healthgrades.
"Knowing if a doctor diagnoses a particular condition or performs a procedure is critical to understanding their experience in treating patients like you -- which can influence the quality of care you receive," says Archelle Georgiou, MD, a healthcare advisor. "If you are searching for a doctor, Healthgrades should be your first stop."
To find the right doctor for you, visit www.healthgrades.com.
(NewsUSA) - Insects originating in foreign countries, commonly called invasive species, are a major concern in the U.S. because they often don't have natural predators, allowing their populations to grow quickly. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reminds homeowners that several of these invasive species can be a threat or a nuisance to families or properties.
According to the NPMA, here are the five most common invasive species that homeowners encounter:
1. Brown marmorated stink bugs arrived in Pennsylvania in 1996 from Asia. The stink bug earned its name from its tendency to release an odor when disturbed or when crushed. While quite harmful to the agricultural industry, stink bugs do not pose a threat to people's health, but their tendency to invade homes in high numbers can be a nuisance.
2. Red imported fire ants (also known as RIFAs) are an invasive species from Brazil that are found throughout the South and in parts of California and other western states. RIFAs will attack humans who disturb or threaten their nests, inflicting painful bites and stings. Those allergic to insect stings will react more severely.
3. Formosan termites were brought into the U.S. from China in military cargo shipments after World War II. This termite species is one of the most destructive, forming huge underground colonies, and is more aggressive in nature, consuming more wood, flooring and wallpaper at much faster rates than other species. Formosan termites are difficult to control once they infest an area and can cause severe structural damage to a home in as little as six months.
4. Rasberry crazy ants are spreading rapidly throughout the Southwest. First found in Texas in 2002, its common name comes from the workers' habit of running in an erratic, jerky manner when searching for food. The ants can bite humans and feed on plants, other insects and even small animals.
5. Conehead termites, an invasive species native to the Caribbean, were first introduced to the U.S. in 2001 and are currently found in Florida. Unlike most termites, the conehead termite does not rely on underground tunneling to travel. Instead, they forage on the ground like ants, allowing them to spread rapidly. As an extremely aggressive species, they are known to cause widespread property damage in a short amount of time.
For more information, visit www.pestworld.org.
(NewsUSA) - What do shoes have to do with choosing the perfect shingles for your roof?
If you have to ask, then you haven't been paying attention to the seismic shift going on when it comes to marketing to women. For a while now, we've been told that females make more than 80 percent of purchasing decisions. But it's only relatively recently that companies across the spectrum have begun embracing -- no, bear hugging -- women consumers in ways that show they actually "get" the societal changes behind that stat.
Cadillac just released its first-ever commercial depicting a CEOish-looking woman behind the wheel of one of its luxury vehicles, for example, while American Express is out with a new no-fee rewards card targeted to "busy moms." Heck, even the NFL now has a line of sleek, fitted team jerseys that the Seattle Seahawks' Marshawn "Beast Mode" Lynch couldn't even get over his neck.
"Women in the fall are thinking about football as much as the guys are," one executive told Adweek magazine.
Which brings us back to those shoes -- and what may actually go down as one of the most eye-opening nods to women's clout.
Females, according to She-Conomy, now make "the majority of home renovation decisions." (Relax, guys. They're still even less likely than you to want to undertake do-it-yourself projects.)
And so GAF, North America's largest roofing manufacturer -- yes, roofs -- now features a "Style Guide" on its website (www.gaf.com) that couldn't be more female-friendly if Eve had designed it herself while Adam was off dozing.
"Women are extremely important decision-makers, and therefore we're focusing on providing them solutions that not only perform but also provide the sophistication and style to match their personal taste," says Emily Videtto, vice president of shingles and new product development at GAF, which has won the Women's Choice Award for America's Best Roofing Brand for the past three years based on input from general contractors and female customers.
HGTV's design expert Carter Oosterhouse takes a mostly straightforward approach to walking users through the process of picking the right shingles for the desired effect. But GAF apparently realizes that women share a secret (or not so secret) vice that's foreign to most men: a love of shoes.
And so users get to have some fun by matching their fave shoe style to the corresponding shingle type. High heels your thing? "Explore Monaco Shingles," they're told. More the sneakers type? "Explore Timberline Lifetime Shingles."
Now that's getting it.
(NewsUSA) - Unemployment rates and joblessness has been a prevalent topic in the U.S. since the recession began in 2007. Just three years into the country's economic slump, an estimated 8 million jobs were lost nationwide.
While many of those jobs have been regained, the recession is still showing aftereffects in many parts of the country, which are lagging behind in unemployment. East and west coast cities are among the slowest to bounce back. Data from 2013 revealed that of the 13 U.S. cities with the highest unemployment rates, eight are in California and two are in New Jersey.
With all the bad news still out there, there is a light at the end of a long tunnel, and it may be found in the Lone Star State.
The Dallas economy has been booming, coming out of the recession early. In the past four years, Texas has added more than 1.2 million jobs, and more are coming. This spring, automotive giant Toyota announced its plans to relocate its North American headquarters from Torrance, California (where it's been for 57 years) to Plano, Texas, just outside Dallas.
In addition to energy, technology and manufacturing, Dallas also offers opportunities in health care, one of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S. In 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor released an Employment Projections report that named home health care services as the fastest-growing industry in the country, with an estimated 700,000 jobs being added over the next decade. Of the 38 Best Health Care jobs in 2014, physical therapist, registered nurse and nurse practitioner were in the top five.
One Dallas-based company, Axxess (www.axxess.com), is an example of a health care software technology company growing at an accelerated rate. Just over a year ago, Axxess had just 30 employees. With widespread acceptance of its software and increased industry demand, the company now has more than 100 employees and is still hiring. Relocation packages are available to employees moving to Dallas from out of state.
Recently, Axxess announced plans to relocate its corporate offices to a 25,000-square-foot space in Dallas and add more than 100 more employees in the next year. CEO John Olajide plans to expand the company to add more services to its software solutions and bring more mobile health care technology into the home.
(NewsUSA) - Impeccably green mountains overlook a picturesque New England landscape as families gaze upon capped and gowned graduates sitting along mahogany benches. One cannot help but think of this scene as suited only for institutions of the academic elite.
However, a different educational success occurs in this part of New Hampshire, where students wear jumpsuits and study in cells.
Grafton County Department of Corrections in North Haverhill, 35 miles north of Dartmouth College, prides itself on the number of inmates it's able to graduate from the state's new high school equivalency test called HiSET.
"We're the HiSET jail -; we get inmates an education," said correctional educator Kenn Stransky.
A teacher for the last 15 years, eight at the facility, Stransky has led numerous initiatives borrowed from more conventional education environments. For Stransky, to have a real impact on these students, it's about creating an education-focused culture.
"A student is a student," says Stransky on how he views this unique student population.
One such initiative is an alumni tutoring program, in which inmates who've earned their high school equivalency certificate help current inmates who are preparing to take the tests.
"I'm here only once a week, so that's a limited opportunity, but their inmate peers are here all the time and can provide continuous support," Stransky said.
Support for education success goes beyond those directly involved with the education program. Down to each correctional officer, everyone shares the responsibility to motivate inmates to enroll voluntarily and earn their high school equivalency.
"We want them to be a more prepared and better person when they leave the facility," program officer Sgt. Mark Deem said. "Confidence that they could achieve something really makes a difference on whether we'll see them again."
Inmates tend to gain a sense of purpose by graduating from the program, which has been shown to reduce recidivism.
Inmates who participated in education programs have a 43 percent lower chance of recidivating than those who did not, according to a 2013 RAND Corporation study funded by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice.
The facility's honor graduate during this recent graduation is 45-year-old Mary Howard. Howard said that coming from a broken home, hanging around with the wrong crowd and illegal substance use led her to drop out of school early. However, the support and encouragement she received from fellow inmates and the facility's staff kept her focused and driven.
"I have a completely different outlook on my future because there are more opportunities for me when I get out," Howard said.
(NewsUSA) - Turn on the TV, go online or stream music, and it may seem like there is no place for faith in our culture. People -- especially young people -- will share just about any detail of their personal lives, except when it comes to their faith. Many are reluctant or even embarrassed to share how their faith makes them who they are.
Despite this trend, there are tens of millions of Americans who still value their faith tremendously, and they want to make faith more visible. Thanks to a fast-growing social media movement (www.FaithCounts.net) people, regardless of their religion, are openly celebrating their faith -- because they believe faith is a very good thing. How is faith good? Let us count the ways.
1. Faith inspires, empowers and comforts billions of people the world over. And that makes people of faith happier.
2. People and organizations are motivated by their faith to help millions of people every single day, in soup kitchens, hospitals, schools and homeless shelters.
3. People of faith live longer.
4. People of faith are more engaged in civic life.
5. People of faith are more likely to be law-abiding citizens.
6. People of faith are more generous and charitable.
7. Faith has the power to add deep spiritual meaning and help people survive the most challenging times.
And last but not least, a basic teaching of every major world religion asks that we treat others as we ourselves would want to be treated. If more people followed this Golden Rule, that alone would be a positive influence on society. And that's reason enough to promote the value of faith.
What does the future hold for faith in America? Nobody knows for sure, but those who value their faith can help push back against current trends by visiting www.FaithCounts.net and sharing with friends. FaithCounts.net showcases compelling stories about faith through videos, uplifting quotes, articles and images. Hopefully, more people will feel inspired, and ultimately feel good about expressing how their faith makes them who they are.
These are small steps, but they are making a big difference, and FaithCounts.net can help restore the value of faith in America.
(NewsUSA) - NewsusaInfographic - Choosing the right health insurance plan is one of the most important decisions Americans make, yet workers spend more time researching for a car or planning a vacation. In fact, the 2014 Aflac Open Enrollment Survey found many workers spent 15 minutes or less researching their benefits options during open enrollment last year.
See full-sized image here.
(NewsUSA) - With the memory of last winter's harsh heating bills still vivid, North American property owners would do well to embrace proven cost-saving energy efficiency and conservation practices.Space and water heating can consume up to 80 percent of a home's energy use, notably in northern climates. So, a high-efficiency combination space and domestic water heating system is the right home-heating choice for the times, according to Marathon International, the exclusive distributor of Baxi heating and renewable energy solutions in North America."These heating and renewable energy systems have enabled property owners throughout the U.S. and Canada to generate significant energy use and utility cost savings over the past two decades," says Marathon International president Mike Thomas.Up to 98 percent energy efficient, combination gas boilers typically save upwards of 35 percent. On the high side, a Long Island resident is saving over 70 percent annually with a Baxi combi gas boiler, which reduced his previous inefficient oil boiler bills by $3,500. (Learn more at www.wallhungboilers.com.)"Our retrofit applications typically cut utility costs by 35 and 70 percent," Thomas notes. "Our Energy Star-certified Luna Duo-Tec is the only boiler with gas-adaptive technology. It not only ensures proper initial set-up, but also sustains high-efficiency performance for the life of the appliance."The boiler is so quiet that it is approved for closet installation. It has multiple built-in performance enhancement and safety components, such as gas-adaptive and self-calibration technology. It can be used in a range of applications, including in-floor radiant, hydro air, radiators, towel warmers and snowmelt systems.Before investing in the right heating solution for their property, Thomas advises homeowners to talk first with a qualified heating and plumbing installer with gas experience. He further recommends that property owners get an energy efficiency audit, covering their older heating appliance, as well as insulation, windows and doors."Above all, make sure contractors are trained, certified and accomplished in the installation and servicing of the equipment they recommend," says Thomas. "Do they offer annual maintenance and an optional extended parts and labor protection? What utility rebates and other energy-efficiency incentives are available?"Choosing the right heating appliance, properly installed and maintained, is key to achieving energy-efficiency and conservation success. Visit wallhungboilers.com. NewsusaInfographic. See full-sized image here.
(NewsUSA) - More than 200,000.
That's the number of nonfatal occupational back injuries -- 217,666, to be precise -- that resulted in lost workdays in just one year, according to the most recent annual data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics. That's more than the number of work-related head, neck, arm and foot injuries combined.
This has a huge impact on our economy: The World Health Organization has estimated that low back pain alone costs the U.S. between $100 billion and $200 billion annually.
Here's some of the jobs that were most prone to back injuries:
* Laborers and freight, stock and materials movers.
* Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers.
* Nursing assistants.
* Production workers.
Until recently, surgeons could count on a booming business of patient referrals. But these days, given the increasing interest in drug-free, non-invasive alternatives and the reality of the outcomes of surgical care, chiropractic care has become a go-to approach.
"Very few conditions present situations where it is appropriate to proceed directly to the operating room," Natalie Drake of the Texas Institute of Spine and Neurosurgery recently stated. "In many cases, less-invasive options will provide the desired relief."
Cost has also played a factor in chiropractic's rise. As noted in a recent study in the Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics, "paid costs for episodes of care initiated with a D.C. [doctor of chiropractic] were almost 40 percent less than episodes initiated with an M.D. [medical doctor]."
Indeed, as Gerard Clum, D.C., of the not-for-profit Foundation for Chiropractic Progress says, "We're noticing that patients who use chiropractic care as a first choice have better outcomes and incur fewer costs."
To locate a doctor of chiropractic in your area, visit www.F4CP.org/findadoctor.
(NewsUSA) - Remember how mom always reminded you about your posture? Turns out she was right.
Years of poor posture, we now know, puts undue pressure on the spine and supporting muscles and ligaments that can result in everything from back pain to muscle strain to degenerative arthritis. And many of us make things worse on a daily basis.
Research has found that common things like stress, obesity, incorrect posture while sleeping, walking and working, and -- yes, all you fashionistas out there -- wearing high-heeled shoes can contribute to poor posture.
And the back pain alone that often follows hurts us in more ways than one. "Americans spend at least $50 billion each year (seeking relief from) back pain," notes the not-for-profit Foundation for Chiropractic Progress. "And it's one of the most common reasons for missed work."
If you just read those stats while seated, here's a quick checklist to see if you're maintaining the correct posture:
* Relax shoulders and keep forearms parallel to the ground when working at a keyboard.
* Don't cross your legs.
* Use a footrest if your feet don't reach the floor.
For those who are past the checklist stage, know that the federal Agency for Health Care Policy and Research almost twenty years ago recommended spinal manipulation provided by a doctor of chiropractic as a "safe and effective, drugless" treatment for sufferers of low back pain.
"Old habits die hard," says Ron Kirk, DC, an avid supporter of the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress and founder of Straighten Up America (straightenupamerica.org). "But a doctor of chiropractic can recommend exercises to strengthen core postural muscles and can help you choose proper postures to reduce your risk of injury during activities."
For more information, visit www.yes2chiropractic.org.
Watch a related video at http://youtu.be/ye/ynGfJhUtalw.