first_img Environment,  Press Release,  Public Health Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced that the Department of Human Services (DHS) is exploring the possibility of using Medicaid funds to pay for primary prevention measures that focus on identifying and reducing the sources of environmental childhood lead exposure.“It’s wise for Pennsylvania to consider opportunities to leverage Medicaid funds to combat the detrimental impacts of lead,” Gov. Wolf said. “If it’s approved by the federal government, this proposal could benefit thousands of Pennsylvania’s children who have been exposed to lead or are suffering from lead poisoning, as well as potentially lower health care spending for treating lead-related health problems.”Pennsylvania submitted a concept paper to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), asking them to consider a demonstration to test the effectiveness of using Medicaid funds for primary prevention measures on lead sources such as lead-based paint, dust, and water sources and increase remediation efforts in lead-contaminated housing and child-care facilities across Pennsylvania.According to the California Environmental Health Tracking Program, Pennsylvania is sixth in the nation in the percent of children with lead poisoning. The dangers of lead are widely known. Lead poisoning in childhood is a cause of learning and behavior problems that persist for a lifetime.“Not all communities have the resources to help all children with elevated blood lead levels address the source of exposure or prevent continued exposure,” DHS Sec. Teresa Miller said. “This project could help prevent lead exposure and alleviate the cost of remediation in lead-contaminated housing and child-care facilities across the commonwealth.”Lead exposure often does not manifest in physical symptoms, but may result in long-term neurological damage, especially if the exposure occurs during the critical stages of brain development in early childhood. Lead in a child’s body can slow growth and development, damage the brain and nervous system, cause hearing, speech, learning and behavior problems.Pennsylvania’s Medical Assistance or Medicaid program has long had a central role in helping tackle lead poisoning. Medicaid sets the standard for frequency of lead screening for program beneficiaries, incentivizes screening in its managed care system through provider pay for performance incentives, and pays for environmental lead investigations to identify the sources of the lead exposure in children with elevated blood lead levels.The program also bears the financial consequences of lead exposure, paying for the comprehensive physical and behavioral health services that are available to children who have been exposed.The proposal requests that CMS consider the possibility of a specialized benefit package under Section 1115 of the Social Security Act, which gives the Secretary of Health and Human Services authority to approve experimental, pilot, or demonstration projects that promote the objectives of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Acceptance of the proposal would indicate that CMS is willing consider an 1115 waiver application for this type of benefit package. Upon approval of an 1115 waiver, this demonstration would allow Pennsylvania to test the effectiveness of preventive environmental lead inspection and increased remediation efforts in lowering lead poisoning rates and related spending for services to Medicaid recipients. The demonstration would be available statewide but targeted at children with a high risk of having elevated blood lead levels across the commonwealth.This proposal is one of several initiatives the Wolf Administration has in place or is exploring to combat the pervasive effects of lead exposure among children in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Bureau of Family Health offers a toll-free Lead Information Line (1-800-440-LEAD) to respond to caller questions and provide electronic materials about lead poisoning and other environmental hazards.Also, the health department oversees the Lead Surveillance Program, which tracks and monitors childhood lead activity through the Pennsylvania National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (PA-NEDSS). PA-NEDSS is a web-based application system that receives all lead reports on Pennsylvania’s children. Through PA-NEDSS, the Division of Child and Adult Health Services can identify possible high-risk areas, locate areas of under-testing and identify other potential service need.Find out more about Pennsylvania’s continual progress in reducing childhood lead poisoning here.For more information on the Medicaid program, visit here. Wolf Administration Explores Lead Exposure Prevention and Remediation Initiative SHARE Email Facebook Twittercenter_img March 14, 2019last_img read more

first_imgTrump added that the White House is looking into the matter.Acosta also spoke out about the controversy via Twitter Tuesday saying that the new charges and allegations against Epstein are “horrific.”Acosta added that he is pleased that New York prosecutors are moving forward “with a case based on new evidence.”As for the Florida case, Acosta said: “With the evidence available more than a decade ago, federal prosecutors insisted that Epstein go to jail, register as a sex offender and put the world on notice that he was a sexual predator.”The Florida case involved sexual abuse against minors.The new case involves alleged sex trafficking of underage girls.Critics labeled it a sweetheart deal.Related content:Charges Announced in New York Against Billionaire Jeffery Epstein President Trump broke his silence about cabinet member Alex Acosta while speaking with reporters in the Oval Office on Tuesday.The U.S. Secretary of Labor is facing severe criticism and calls for his resignation in connection to a plea-deal he helped broker for billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein in Florida years ago.Acosta was a U.S. attorney at the time.NEW: Pres. Trump defends Alex Acosta as an “excellent” Labor secretary amid scrutiny over his role in Jeffrey Epstein plea deal, saying “a lot of people” were involved in the deal. “We’re going to look at it very carefully,” Trump adds.— ABC News (@ABC) July 9, 2019last_img read more

first_imgNo related posts. From the print editionSooner or later, things will have to change. According to sustainable agriculture experts, Costa Rica’s current agricultural system is threatening its own future through farming practices that over-exploit the natural resources on which production depends in order to maximize short-term profit. Even solely in economic terms, for a country that depends on agriculture for about  6.5 percent of its gross domestic product and to provide work for 14 percent of its labor force, this a serious issue.The situation here reflects growing worldwide concern for maintaining the ecological foundations that support food production. At the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development held recently in Rio de Janeiro, the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) presented a report entitled “Avoiding Future Famines” that included the alarming fact that 925 million people around the world are malnourished. The increasing demand for food combined with diminishing natural resources on which food production depends, the report states, is pointing toward a potential global crisis.In Costa Rica, sustainable agriculture advocates say that the mass production of cash crops for export such as pineapple, bananas and coffee, which depends on the use of copious amounts of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, likewise threatens the resource base on which the future of agriculture depends. Consequences of this type of monoculture – or the growing of single crops in extensive plantations – include contamination of freshwater, depletion of soil (through degradation of soil diversity and nutrient cycling), and deforestation and loss of biodiversity due to clearing lands to make way for the expansion of plantations. Other problems that arise in this type of intensive monoculture include overexposure of workers to chemicals and other harsh working conditions, and negative effects on the health of nearby communities, including indigenous reserves in some parts of the country.Amid the crisis, things are slowly changing. There is growing interest in, and practice of, organic and other sustainable farming systems in Costa Rica and worldwide, including application of more elaborate philosophies such as Biointensive and Biodynamic farming (see box). An important draw for a growing number of small farms is the personal satisfaction felt by farmers in producing healthy and nourishing food that is also good for the earth. Gina Borrero, a member of the sustainable farming collective Finca Agroecológica Amalur, explains that what compels her is the opportunity “to live and eat sustainably, where you can consume what you produce, and have control over the quality and effect on the environment.”Sustainable agriculture is an approach to producing food that is beneficial to the environment, consumers, animals and producers. It recognizes the importance of minimizing waste, conserving natural resources, economic viability and ensuring productive continuation over the long term.Below is a basic description of some of the more important movements in sustainable agriculture, including the different types of certifications available for producers.Organic farmingOrganic farming has become increasingly popular in Costa Rica, with local and international certification options available as well as opportunities to sell produce at the Feria Verde (Green Farmers Market) and in other venues, including some supermarkets. Organic agriculture relies on techniques such as crop rotation, natural fertilizers and biological pest control. Manufactured pesticides and fertilizers are prohibited, or must comply with very specific standards. In the case of exports, since there are country-specific organic certifications, it is important that growers know the requirements of each country to which they will be exporting. Gabriela Soto, from the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE) explains that the process of organic certification begins by contacting one of several agencies, which will send a questionnaire that determines whether you qualify for the certification that is right for you. The cost of the certification, including inspection and office fees, differs according to farm size, but usually runs about $600. The certification must be renewed and the same fee paid every year. A strategy for small farms is to apply for the certification in groups in order to make the cost more affordable. For those selling locally, Soto suggests another option: “There is also participatory certification, where small growers are organized by a group such as Feria Verde to achieve a collective organic certification.” Such certification is done according to standards agreed upon locally. The prospects for sustainable agricultureUNEP reports that barriers to sustainable agriculture include lack of information, lack of access to start-up capital and a delay on return on investments, and lack of conducive laws and regulations. Although certification is important for accountability and ensuring correct practices, it is difficult for many small farms to afford. Changes in government policies can help surmount these obstacles, but for this to occur there must be increased demand on the part of a population educated about sustainable agriculture. ResourcesOrganic Farming•Feria Verde (Farmer’s Market): Held every Saturday from 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Located inside the sports center in Barrio Aranjuez, 300 m north and 200 m west from Santa Teresita Church. More information at or call 2280 5749•Organic Certification Agencies: Eco-LOGICA, or call 2297-6676 AIMCOPOP, Farming  Biodynamic farming practices include the use of preparations made from herbs, minerals and manure to revitalize soil, efficient water cycling, crop rotation, organic pest and weed control, and the use of compost and green manure. •Demeter Biodynamic Certification:•Costa Rican Biodynamic Agroecological Movement: or call 8301-4377.•Education: Finca Luna Nueva Lodge is a certified organic biodynamic farm in San Isidro. Offering workshops, retreats, biodynamic activities and lodging. Details at or call 2468-4006.Biointensive FarmingThe Biointensive method is an organic, low-input and high-yield system of agriculture that has roots in ancient practiced Asian, Greek and Mayan cultures. •Biointensive Certification: Ecology Action•Biointensive Resource Center:•Education: Finca Acroecológica Amalur (Mother Earth Farm) located in Concepción de San Isidro de Heredia, is a collective that practices biointensive farming and offers hands-on courses. The next course will begin Aug. 26 for five consecutive Saturdays. Information at or call 8822-8512. Facebook Commentslast_img read more