Home » News » Newsletters » Classified Benefits Newsletter » Classified Benefits & Wellness Newsletter April 2019 Issue #6

Classified Benefits & Wellness Newsletter April 2019 Issue #6

Published by:

Arthur Hart, Classified Benefits Coordinator

Phone: 541-790-7679 e-mail: hart_a@4j.lane.edu


It’s Spring!

This is a great time to consider sun safety, as our days are getting longer and brighter.  Here are some sun safety tips for spring.

Can your eyes get sunburned?  When your eyes get too much exposure to UV light, temporary sunburn or permanent damage can occur.  Over time, the sun’s rays can seriously damage our eyes, leading to vision loss and conditions from cataracts and macular degeneration to eye and eyelid cancers.

  • A hat with a brim of at least 3 inches can block as much as 50% of UVB rays from reaching your eyes.
  • Wearing sunglasses is a great way to protect your eyes, but be sure to select sunglasses that block at least 99% of both UVA and UVB light.  The district VSP vision benefit does provide a $300 allowance for ready-made non-prescription sunglasses in lieu of prescription glasses or contacts once a year with $20 copay.
  • UV-blocking contact lenses can also provide a measure of protection.  Class 1 UV-blockers provide the greatest measure of UV protection.

The need for sun safety has become clear over the past 30 years, with studies showing that excessive exposure to the sun can cause skin cancer and premature aging of the skin.  Anyone can get skin cancer, regardless of age, gender or race. In fact, it is estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.

  • Clothing can be a great defense against harmful UV rays.  Consider choosing clothing with sun protection in mind.  Clothing sun protection is measured in UPF.  The higher the UPF number, the better the protection.
  • Sunscreen is also a great way to reduce your sun exposure.  Generally recommended is a waterproof broad–spectrum sunscreen with 30 SPF or greater.  Remember to use lip balm with 30 SPF as well.  Reapply sunscreen every couple of hours.
  • Hats.  I can’t say enough great things about hats.  Wearing a hat with a big floppy brim lets people know that you’re not just fashionable; you’re also looking out for your fabulous skin.
  • Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM.  Shade isn’t perfect and you are still exposed to UV rays from reflected surfaces, but shade can be a key component to sun safety.

For more information on sun safety, visit www.cdc.gov

OEBB Wellness Resources

Find that program that’s just right for you.  As an OEBB member, you have a variety of wellness programs available to you through your OEBB Moda or Kaiser medical plan.

OEBB Wellness Resources include programs for:

  • Chronic Disease Management
  • Depression & Stress Management
  • Diabetes Prevention & Management
  • Diet & Exercise
  • Health Assessment
  • Sleep Management
  • Tobacco Cessation
  • Weight Management

Whether you prefer in-person groups, one-on-one coaching, or self-paced online programs, there’s something for everyone!  Visit the OEBB Wellness Resources web page and discover what you’ve been missing.

Drug Recalls

A drug recall is the most effective way to protect the public from a defective or potentially harmful product. A recall is a voluntary action taken by a company to remove a defective drug product from the market. Drug recalls may be conducted on a company’s own initiative or by US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) request.

Drug recall classifications fall into three categories:

  • Class I: A dangerous or defective product that could cause serious health problems or death.
  • Class II: A product that might cause a temporary health problem, or pose slight threat of a serious nature.
  • Class III: A product that is unlikely to cause any adverse health reaction, but that violates FDA labeling or manufacturing laws.

Recent news regarding blood pressure medication has heightened people’s interest in drug recalls.  Fortunately, the FDA provides an easy to use and searchable database for drug recalls which can be found at: https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/DrugRecalls/.  The FDA drug recall list provides detailed information regarding over-the-counter and prescription drug recalls.

“Any doctor will admit that any drug can have side effects, and that writing a prescription involves weighing the potential benefits against the risks.”

–Mark Udall

2019 Business Commute Challenge

Join a friendly competition – workplace against workplace – to see who can get the most of their employees to walk, bike, bus, carpool, or telecommute the week of May 11-17. The Eugene-Springfield workplace with the highest participation wins, along with great prizes for individuals!

Why should you participate in the 2019 BCC?

  • It’s good for the environment
  • Saves you money by driving less
  • Builds teamwork with your coworkers
  • Good for your health
  • To just have fun

Last year, 2,715 local employees formed 233 teams who took the Challenge. In just one week, BCC participants reduced single-person car travel by more than 95,000 miles and reduced 97,000 pounds of CO2. Whether you’re a bus rider, you’re thinking about trying bike commuting for the first time, or you want to have fun with your co-workers, the BCC is for you!

Learn more at https://www.commutechallenge.org/ Registration is now open.  Sign up today!

Looking for a PERS Class?

Coming up on Tuesday, May 7th, Kris Kartub of Valic will be presenting on PERS retirement in the Ed Center Auditorium at 4:30.  More information will be emailed out as the day approaches.

You can also search for other available PERS workshops online on the PERS website: www.oregon.gov/PERS/.

PEP Funds

A second PEP Fund request can now be made for up to $200.  PEP fund request forms can be found on the 4J website.  All reimbursement requests must be received by May 15, 2019 for payroll processing.

The PEP Fund provides opportunity for professional development, and is intended to help classified employees improve professional knowledge, competence, skills and effectiveness relevant to their current district position. The program allows for reimbursement for job-related training activities, tuition reimbursement, registration or material costs, conferences, and workshops. PEP funds are limited to staff development options that are initiated by employees.  Requests are processed on a first-come, first served basis until funds run out.

Please contact Arthur Hart at hart_a@4j.lane.edu or 541-790-7679 for questions regarding the use of PEP funds. 

Are You Listening?

Several studies have indicated that there is a connection between hearing loss, brain function decline and loss of brain tissue.  Adults with hearing loss appear to lose brain mass at a faster rate than individuals with normal hearing.  Hearing loss should not be considered an inconsequential part of aging.

You can do some things to avoid noise-induced hearing loss, and keep age-related hearing loss from getting worse.

  • Avoid Too Much Noise- If you have to shout over the noise around you, it’s loud enough to damage your hearing.  Noise-induced hearing loss is a result of the loudness of sounds and how long you hear them.
  • Wear Hearing Protection- If you know you’re going to be around loud sounds for more than a few minutes, think about wearing protection, such as earplugs and earmuffs.
  • Don’t Smoke- Research shows tobacco use can make you more likely to lose your hearing.
  • Check Your Medications- Some medications can damage your hearing. About 200 drugs can damage hearing, including some antibiotics and cancer-fighting drugs.
  • Don’t Stick Things In Your Ears- Cotton swabs, paperclips, corkscrews, and other tools do not belong in your ears, and can cause permanent damage.  Earwax is a helpful and natural part of your body’s defenses, and normally will not need attention from you. If an earwax buildup becomes a problem, consult your doctor about safely removing it.

Do you already have hearing loss? Do not go gentle into that good night, or at least don’t go quietly.  A recent study in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society suggests hearing aids can slow cognitive decline in people who are hearing-impaired.  The finding of a reduction in rate of cognitive decline following hearing aid use suggests that effective identification and treatment of age-related hearing impairment may have a significant impact on age-associated cognitive trajectories and possibly reduce the incidence of dementia.

Both Moda and Kaiser 4J insurance plans offer Hearing Aid coverage of a $4,000 benefit every 48 months. Member is responsible for 10% of in-network costs.

I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.                                      –Larry King

This newsletter is reviewed and edited each month by the District 4J and OSEA representatives of the Classified Joint Benefits Committee (JBC).The information in this newsletter is summarized, and is not intended as advice or counsel.

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