Valley fever in people, pets is seminar topic

The University of Arizona Retirees Association and Tucson Medical Center will hold a free seminar titled “Valley Fever: People and Pets” from 1 to 3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7. 

The event will be in the Marshall Conference Center at Tucson Medical Center, 5301 E. Grant Road (enter from Craycroft Road). 

RSVP is requested due to limited seating. To RSVP, call TMC Senior Services Reservation Line at 324-4345. For more information and directions, call 324-1960. 

Scheduled speakers include Dr. John Galgiani, director of the Valley Fever Center for Excellence at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. His lecture topic is “Doing Better With Valley Fever: Where Do We Go From Here?”

Veterinarian Dr. Lisa F. Shubitz, who does valley fever research and consults on valley fever cases in animals, will speak about valley fever in animals.

$4M expansion begun at Douglas med unit

Representatives of Bisbee’s Copper Queen Community Hospital and local elected officials launched a $4 million expansion and renovation project for the Douglas Medical Complex earlier this month. 

Hospital officials have been working with the Douglas City Council to develop the project, which is aimed at enhancing and expanding the existing health-care services at Copper Queen Medical Associates Douglas.

Pre-existing-condition program is extended

The federally run Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) is offering two additional months of coverage to enrollees who have not yet found new health insurance.

The transitional coverage through March 31 will allow current enrollees more time to review options on the health insurance marketplace, which offers federally subsidized insurance through the Affordable Care Act, federal officials say.

Enrollees will be notified by mail of the offer to extend their PCIP plan for an additional month, along with details about cost-sharing. Program leaders say eligible enrollees can purchase PCIP transitional coverage by sending in February and March premium payments, which will be the same monthly rate that they paid for January 2014.

The federal Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan was created to help uninsured people with a pre-existing condition get care at affordable prices and to serve as a bridge to 2014, when insurers are no longer allowed to deny coverage to people with any pre-existing condition, such as cancer, diabetes or asthma.

The federal government runs the plan for 23 states, including Arizona, plus the District of Columbia. Other states choose to administer the programs themselves.

PCIP enrollees can visit with questions about benefits, doctors and services.

AZ is ranked 48th for emergency-care access

The American College of Emergency Surgeons recently ranked Arizona 48th out of 50 states for access to emergency care.

The state ranks among the bottom 10 for access to several essential medical professionals, including registered nurses; ear, nose and throat specialists; and orthopedists and hand surgeons, according to the surgery organization’s state report card, released this month. 

The report recommends the state expand its health-care workforce and increase hospital capacity.

It also recommends additional graduate medical education funding for more residency positions.

Compiled by reporter Stephanie Innes; email notices for Health Briefs to her at