Better Health, Better Life: Newsletters
President and CEO
Working Together to Reopen Safely
What a year it has been! As many businesses and families recover from the effects of the pandemic, it’s important to remember that we all play a role in keeping each other safe. With the health of Hawaii’s people and economy at risk, we responded quickly to deliver resources where they were needed the most.
Improving the quality of health and safety for our members is always top of mind for us. Our UHA Health Care Services team has been hard at work with two programs that I would like to share. The first being, our outreach to parents with young children to remind them of childhood vaccinations. The concern was that during COVID-19, parents may have been reluctant to keep routine well baby visits, when infant vaccines are administered.
The second project I would like to share involves medication nonadherence, or when patients don’t take their medications as prescribed. Our Care Management team identified members who may benefit from understanding the importance of their medications and have started to work with each member to get them on the right track. We strive to live by the values of our founders—physicians who dedicated their lives to helping others. It is our goal to make health insurance simpler and more caring.
We saw the various needs in our community and directed approximately $475,000 toward COVID-related funding to help local hospitals and non-profits including Hawaii Foodbank, Hawaii Meals on Wheels, Family Hui Hawaii, the Salvation Army, Child & Family Service and The Queen's Health Systems.
During these challenging times, I encourage you to think of ways to support each other. Whether it’s wearing your mask, encouraging your family and friends to take the vaccine, or sharing mental health resources with someone in need. Together, we will overcome this.
Dr. Kathleen Kozak, MD
How Do You Know if You Have Arthritis?
May is Arthritis Awareness Month! How do you know if you have arthritis? Well, it often starts as a dull ache in the joints after you use them a lot. For example, if you have been walking for a while, and your ankles or knees hurt. But sometimes it can be that stiff feeling you might get when you wake up in the morning and need a bit of time to stretch and get moving. If it’s in the back, then you might have problems standing up straight or walking without being a little hunched over. If it’s in the knee, you might notice some swelling or pain when you get up to walk around.
The best way to treat arthritis is to keep moving. If you don’t use it, you might lose it, so staying mobile is very important. Studies have shown that rather than avoiding activities, it’s the continued movement and muscle strengthening that helps to improve the symptoms of stiffness and pain. Weight loss can also help to take away some of the stress on the joints, particularly the lower body, including the back, hips, knees, ankles, and feet.
The best exercises are the easiest. Stretching, especially if you are at a job and sitting down a lot, can really help to keep the joints from stiffening up. Walking, even if it’s only for a short distance, can also help to keep the muscles moving and help to reduce the pain from arthritis. It’s really important to keep up with an exercise routine, so that you can slow down the process. Also, activity helps so that you don’t need to take daily pain medication.
If arthritis gets worse, it can lead to surgery to replace joints, like hips, or knees, as a last resort. Before that happens, take the time to go for a walk – after all, it’s preventing arthritis, and it’s good for the rest of the body, too!