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Thursday, March 22, 2012

American nurses pictured with "America's Doctor", Regina Benjamin, M.D. (pic left), with two nurses Juliana L'Heureux and LT. USPHS Christine Collins Special Assistant to Dr. Benjamin
Dr. Benjamin spoke about the "Power of Prevention"

LEWISTON Maine- It was an honor and privilege to meet the US Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, M.D., when she spoke and listened to a panel of health care consumers about the importance of wellness and prevention coverage in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA), at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston.  Dr. Benjamin explained the four areas of personal health behaviors whereby prevention can have the most impact on reducing the cost of care for people with chronic illnesses and preventing them from occurring:  (1) Eliminate tobacco use (2) Increase exercise (3) Manage alcohol and eliminate substance abuse and (4) Improve nutrition. 

A consumer panel spoke about how prevention initiatives have saved lives.  A young woman told the story about how insurance coverage under her mother's health insurance plan after college allowed for her to receive treatment post an anomaly found in her regular PAP test, saving her from the complications of having cervical cancer.  Another lady spoke about how preventative mammography covered by health insurance prevented her from experiencing an invasive breast cancer tumor from spreading.  Without the mammography, the panelist said her tumor would have been detected too late for curative treatment to ensure significant impact.  

A Lewiston physician told the audience how he sees patients every day who have chronic illness that could have been better treated, less expensively, or even prevented altogether, if more prevention services were covered by health care insurance.

Dr. Benjamin spoke about how health care is not a place where people "go" to get care. Rather, health is a behavior where we practice wellness in our communities, in our workplaces, neighborhoods and where we worship.  "I believe in the power of prevention", she said.  "Prevention is part of who we are, it's where we live, work and pray," she said.

Lt. Christine Collins, RN, BSN, BS, MA, (pictured right) accompanied Dr. Benjamin on her listening visit to Maine. Lieutenant Collins is a highly decorated Afghan War veteran trauma nurse (note her impressive line of awards) and an officer in the United States Public Health Service.  


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