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September 5, 2018

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month!

One in 5 children in the United States are obese. Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems that were once seen only in adults, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. The good news is that childhood obesity can be prevented.


In honor of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, Shawnee Health Service encourages your family to make healthy changes together:


  • Get active outside: Walk around the neighborhood, go on a bike ride, or play basketball at the park.
  • Limit screen time: Keep screen time (time spent on the computer, watching TV, or playing video games) to 2 hours or less a day.
  • Make healthy meals: Buy and serve more vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain foods.


Help your child – and your whole family – eat healthy and stay physically active. The healthy habits your child learns now can last a lifetime.


What can I do to help my child stay at a healthy weight?

Help your child stay at a healthy weight by balancing what your child eats with physical activity. Two of the best ways to help your child stay at a healthy weight are to:


  • Help your child and family eat healthier foods
  • Be more physically active as a family


Remember, you are a role model!

Parents are often the most important role models for children. When you choose to eat right and be physically active, your child will be more likely to make those choices, too. Plus, being active and preparing healthy meals together are great ways to spend quality time with your family.


Shawnee Health Service has a fun, educational way to get healthy as a family.

The MEND Program

Shawnee Health Service offers a unique program called MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do It!), an evidence-based healthy lifestyle program that empowers 7-13 year-olds, with the support of their families, to reach and maintain a healthy weight.


MEND does this by helping families change unhealthy attitudes about food and activity (Mind), keep physically active on a regular basis (Exercise), learn how to choose foods that are healthy, tasty and nutritious (Nutrition), and take action to maintain a healthy lifestyle – for life (Do It!).


For more information about the program, visit


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June 26, 2018

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May 3, 2018

May is Mental Health Month.

When you or someone you love is dealing with a mental health concern, sometimes it’s a lot to handle. It’s important to remember that mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable.


So much of what we do physically impacts us mentally. That is why this year’s theme for May is Mental Health Month – Fitness #4Mind4Body – is a call to pay attention to both your physical health and your mental health, which can help achieve overall wellness and set you on a path to recovery. May is Mental Health Month was started 69 years ago by Mental Health America to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of good mental health for everyone.


This May is Mental Health Month, we are focused  how a healthy lifestyle may help prevent the onset or worsening of mental health conditions, as well as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other chronic health problems. It can also help people recover from these conditions. Eating healthy foods, managing stress, exercising, and getting enough sleep can go a long way in making you both physically and mentally healthy.


As part of our commitment to being “Your Health Home,” Shawnee Health Care is committed to taking care of the whole patient. This means that our team understands the complex relationship between emotional illness and other medical illnesses. When we talk about your health, we do not just focus on heart health, liver health, or brain health; when we talk about your health, we talk focus on your whole health.


MHA has developed a series of fact sheets (available at on the importance of exercise, diet and nutrition, gut health, sleep, and stress management. Also new this year is the #4Mind4Body Challenge, where we call on everyone to join us in completing a small task each day during the month of May – and tell us about it on social media using #4Mind4Body. Learn more here:


For more information on May is Mental Health Month, visit Mental Health America’s website at

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April 5, 2018

April is National Minority Health Month

Imagine you are sick, or your child is sick. You go to the doctor, but you are not able to communicate with him to tell him what is wrong, and you can’t understand what he is saying. This is the reality for many Spanish-speakers in the United States. April is National Minority Health Month, a time to learn more about the health status of minority populations. Shawnee Health Care strives to improve the health status of our local Hispanic population through our Farmworker Health Program.


Through our Farmworker Health Program, both Migrant and Seasonal farmworkers are able to access medical, dental, mental health, nutrition counseling, pharmacy and social services. Also, a team of bilingual, bicultural outreach workers are professionally trained to provide medical interpreting in Spanish at Shawnee Health Care, as well as case management, health education, outreach, and help with transportation arrangements.


Karla Grathler, the Program Coordinator, says that while diabetes, hypertension, dental, and skin conditions are all prevalent health problems within this population, one of the biggest health care-related problems she and her team see is the lack of understanding of preventative health care.


“We try to raise awareness of how crucial it is to stay involved in their health care, to get their annual screenings, and to bring their kids to their annual check-ups. Our providers are looking at your overall health, and that’s how you improve your lifestyle and your quality of life.”


Karla and her team say that education is one of the most important things that they do. Maria Arellano, Interpreter/Outreach Worker, says that every time a patient comes in, she tries to give them different health education resources tailored to their healthcare needs. “For example, if they are diabetic, we have resources on how it affects your eyesight down to your toes,” says Maria.


Although medical interpretation and education are important parts of this team’s job, this only scratches the surface of what they do. These women truly advocate for their patients. Karla says, “Our staff are interpreters, but we go beyond that. We wear so many hats. We do outreach, we do medical interpretation, we do transportation, we do case management—patients feel like we can take care of them.” They have this reputation in the community; patients travel from Chester, Red Bud, and Cape Girardeau for their services.


They notice patients feel more confident at their appointments when an interpreter is present. Karla says, “It’s very interesting to see the demeanor of the patients when they do not speak the language of the provider. You think, ‘Oh they’re very shy. They don’t speak. They’re very quiet,’ but I have learned in my experience that this is not always the case. When we put the patient with an interpreter, they start asking questions. They become a different person. Once they hear their native language, they feel, ‘Oh, I can now express myself how I want.’”


These women provide an invaluable service to Spanish-speakers in southern Illinois. Thank you, Karla Grathler, Maria Arellano, Rita Elibey Basillo, Maribel Paleo-Medina, and Nataly Gomez, for your hard work, dedication, and service to our Spanish-speaking patients.


Farmworker Outreach Staff

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March 30, 2018

Attention HFS Medicaid and All Kids Insurance Holders:


You may have received an enrollment packet asking you to select from 1 of 5 health plans. If you did not enroll, then you were likely auto-assigned to a plan. You are allowed to switch plans one time between April 1, 2018 and June 30, 2018.



Shawnee Health Care is contracted with all 5 plans.


Please be aware that many local hospitals and specialists, including Southern Illinois Healthcare (SIH) will no longer be accepting Harmony Health.


You can enroll in or switch plans:

Online at

Or by phone at 1-877-912-8880



If you need assistance completing this process, please call Shawnee Health Service at (618) 519-9200 to schedule an appointment with one of our Outreach & Enrollment Specialists. There is no cost for this service.

Please note that staff at local Illinois DHS offices cannot assist with enrolling or switching plans.


*Please note that our staff cannot make recommendations on which plan to select; they can only assist you with completing the enrollment process through Illinois’ Client Enrollment Services.


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March 26, 2018

WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois


From WSIL — In this Week’s Unsung Hero, leaders at Shawnee Health Care-Carterville Family Practice are praising one of their case managers for going above and beyond his duties.

There’s not one patient case manager Bryan Heine doesn’t give his all to help.


“If we are not able to get the answer, we try to find the answer for patients,” said Bryan.

In fact, he’s called a “miracle worker” by colleague and nurse practitioner, Laura Castillo.


“I think that he goes above and beyond his job title every day,” said Laura.


Bryan has been in the field for 16 years and working for Shawnee Health Service for the past 2 years.


“He has just kind of turned this clinic around in the amount that they utilize their case manager,” said co-worker Sarah Miller.


On a daily basis, Bryan assists patients with a number of resources like insurance, setting up transportation and making referrals. Finding answers is not always easy, especially if a patient can’t afford proper care.


“With rural health, there is such a lack of resources and utilizing case management. It is just essential and Bryan is just so eager to help in any way that he can,” said Laura.


According to Miller, it’s the extra effort he puts in for patients that makes him rare. Sarah says he does more than the job requires. He’s even driven patients to appointments they can’t get to.


“Bryan rarely takes no for an answer. He leaves no stone unturned, does everything, he can to help out his patients,” said Sarah.


Bryan says his parents taught him to put others first, by giving hope. He says he doesn’t feel like he’s doing anything extra-special and is just doing what he was taught to do.


“All of this is helping others. I mean, that’s really, at the end of the day, what it’s about,” added Bryan.

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March 9, 2018

Shawnee Health Care, Terrier Care has launched the Air Quality Flag Program at Carbondale Community High School. The Flag program uses brightly colored flags based on the U.S. EPA’s Air Quality Index (AQI) to notify people and their communities about outdoor air quality conditions. Students will raise a flag each day that corresponds to their local air quality forecast.


The Air Quality Flag Program creates awareness of outdoor air quality conditions. This helps students, faculty, and staff who suffer from asthma, respiratory issues, or heart disease better prepare for air pollution that can make symptoms worse or trigger attacks. The Program also helps faculty and staff plan daily activities that protect the health of students with these conditions.


Shawnee Health Care plans to launch the Air Quality Flag Program at Marion High School, where we operate Marion Wellness School Health Center, soon.


For more information about the Air Quality Flag Program, visit



green flag yellow flag orange flag red flag purple flag

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February 1, 2018

Shawnee Health Service Celebrates Black History Month

The month of February is dedicated to an important minority group in the United States. That group is African Americans. During Black History Month, we celebrate the achievements of African Americans, and recognize the invaluable contributions and influence of African Americans in the United States. At Shawnee Health Service, we especially celebrate the achievements and contributions of African Americans to health care and to the Community Health Center Movement.


The Community Health Center Movement has often times been connected with the Civil Rights Movement. Important visionaries in community health were/are African Americans, and it’s important to recognize their achievements.


Millions of Americans in the 1960’s lacked access to basic healthcare, not only in impoverished inner-city neighborhoods, but also in the rural neighborhoods we are more accustomed to in southern Illinois. Civil Rights activists like H. Jack Geiger and Count Gibson founded America’s first community health centers, and now over 50 years later, health centers like Shawnee Health Service and 9,000 other sites in the United States serve over 24 million patients.


To the pioneers who have focused on community health, we say thank you.



During this observance, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health (OMH) raises awareness of health disparities, particularly in heart health and childhood obesity. OMH also provides a platform for national, state and local health organizations to discuss challenges and opportunities for the African American community, with the goal of decreasing health disparities and improving health outcomes.


This month, Shawnee Health Service will share statistics and resources to our social media pages with the goal of helping to reduce disparities and promote better health for African Americans.



Related image

H. Jack Geiger and Count D. Gibson, Jr.

Posted in News, Uncategorized by marketing
January 22, 2018

It’s a hard truth that the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs has spread nationwide. The problem has risen so high that the CDC has even characterized prescription drug overdose as a public health epidemic. Shawnee Health Service is proud to announce the launch of a Drug and Alcohol Awareness and Prevention media campaign. This campaign will support activities related to prevention, screening, and treatment of patients with mental health and substance abuse disorders.

The goals of the campaign are to:

  1. Increase awareness that opioids can be addictive and dangerous
  2. Decrease the number of individuals who try opioids for recreational purposes
  3. Increase the number of individuals who choose options other than opioids for safe and effective pain management


Prevention activities will focus on drug prevention for young people in cooperation with our two school health centers, Terrier Care and Marion Wellness.  Staff will educate students about the harmful and addictive effects of recreational opioid use. We will also provide training and education to teachers and parents on identifying risk factors and signs of adolescent drug and alcohol use.


To support these efforts, Shawnee Health Service will share educational posters, flyers, factsheets, and other resources designed to educate the public about prescription drug misuse and abuse. We will share these resources through the Shawnee Health Service, Terrier Care, Marion Wellness Facebook pages.


This campaign is supported by Access Increases in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (AIMS) supplemental funding. Other activities supported by this grant include purchase of 3 drug take-back kiosks, creation of educational packets for patients and community members, and other outreach and prevention efforts. Be sure to check our Facebook page for updates on our outreach efforts in the community.


If you have any questions or are interested in bringing one of our trainings to your organization, contact

Posted in News by marketing
December 27, 2017

If you are Medicaid beneficiary, you may have begun receiving notices from Healthcare and Family Services (HFS), leaving you with many questions:


What is Medicaid Managed Care?

  • Managed Care is like private insurance for those on Medicaid. Rather than the state of Illinois paying providers directly, it pays insurance companies to coordinate your care, and the insurance companies then pay for the services you receive


I currently have Illinois Health Connect and received a notice that it is ending December 31, 2017. What do I need to do?

  • Right now you do not need to do anything. The state will continue to pay your providers directly until April 1, 2018.
  • Between mid-January through mid-February, you will receive an enrollment packet from HFS telling you to select a Managed Care plan.
  • You will have 30 days to enroll in a plan. If you do not select a plan before your deadline you will be auto-enrolled into a plan


How will I know which plan to pick?

  • Assistance is available to help you with the process. The organizations listed below provide free enrollment assistance to all members of the community. You do not need to be a patient to receive this service.
  • Shawnee Health Service – (618 )519-9200
  • Christopher Rural Health – (800) 408-7351
  • Rural Health, Inc. – (618) 833-4471


What information should I bring when receiving enrollment assistance?

  • Names of all providers for all household members
  • List of current medications


HFS also has a Medicaid Managed Care in Illinois Frequently Asked Questions page:


If you have any more questions about Medicaid Managed Care, you may contact Shawnee Health Service’s Outreach and Enrollment team by calling (618) 519-9200 or (844) 331-3069.

Posted in News, Uncategorized by marketing
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