HEALTH

HDMA names new VP communications

BY Michael Johnsen

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Healthcare Distribution Management Association on Monday named John Parker VP communications, where he will serve as the association’s lead communications strategist.

Prior to his new role at HDMA, Parker most recently served as the senior director for external affairs at UnitedHealth Group, where he led the company’s communications efforts during the healthcare-reform debate. Prior to UHG, Parker oversaw external communications for the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. While at the Association of American Medical Colleges, Parker served as the primary spokesman with the media on key issues in academic medicine, and managed the association’s external publications.

Parker’s initial exposure to health care was as an editor and reporter for FDC Reports (now Elsevier Business Intelligence). He holds a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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ZonePerfect pairs sweet, salty in new line

BY Michael Johnsen

ABBOTT PARK, Ill. — Abbott on Friday introduced a new line of ZonePerfect Sweet & Salty nutrition bars. The new ZonePerfect cashew pretzel and trail mix bars combine sweet and salty flavor varieties while providing nutrition. ZonePerfect Sweet & Salty bars have 10 g of protein and 19 vitamins and minerals.

To celebrate the launch, the ZonePerfect brand is inviting consumers to treat their sweet and salty sides by requesting a sample bar on ZonePerfect’s Facebook page. Available now, taste seekers can share the offer with their friends while savoring a Sweet & Salty bar for themselves — while supplies last.

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Water Quality and Health Council raising awareness of swimmer’s ear with free pool test kits

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA — Swimmer’s ear accounts for as many as 2.4 million doctor visits and nearly $500 million in healthcare costs annually, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report published Thursday in its "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report" found.

To help raise awareness around the condition, the Water Quality and Health Council is making free pool test kits available to the public so swimmers can check pH and chlorine levels. According to the CDC, pools with proper pH and chlorine levels are less likely to harbor the bacteria that can cause "swimmer’s ear" and the germs that cause other recreational water illnesses, including diarrhea and athlete’s foot.

Last summer, the Water Quality and Health Council provided more than 43,000 free pool test strips to individuals who requested them via the Healthy Pools website. Data submitted last summer by swimmers who had requested the strips found that 40% of pools had either unacceptable levels of chlorine or pH readings.

When testing pool water for proper pH and chlorine levels, the pH should register between 7.2 and 7.8, and the free chlorine level should be between 1.0 and 4.0 parts per million (ppm).

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