Written on: September 11th, 2012 in Guest Posts
Tobacco Cessation Resources
Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death in the United States. Each year, cigarette smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke account for nearly 1 of every 5 deaths.
In Delaware, smoking is responsible for at least $430 million per year in direct medical costs and an estimated $621 million per year in lost productivity due to sickness and premature death.
The DelaWELL Health Management program is committed to providing state employees with a safe and hazard-free workplace, with abundant opportunities to promote individual health and foster a healthy work environment.
The use of effective tobacco cessation programs and policies can reduce health risks, improve the quality of life for state employees, retirees and their families, lower direct costs such as insurance premiums and worker’s compensation claims and positively impact many indirect costs such as absenteeism and worker productivity.
Tobacco use contributes to an extensive list of serious diseases, including cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, multiple cancers, emphysema, and bronchitis; and second-hand smoke contributes to pediatric illness. We hope to reduce tobacco use within state government by offering cessation programs that encourage tobacco users to quit, and by reducing exposure to second-hand smoke.
The following DelaWELL Health Management programs are available to individuals who are currently enrolled in a State of Delaware Group Health Insurance Plan.
• Tobacco Cessation Health Coaching Program – Free, unlimited coaching for employees, spouses, dependents over 18 and non-Medicare retirees
• Online Tools – Tobacco learning center, tobacco cessation videos, Packwraps Program, daily check-in, online quit progress tracker, Smoke-Free Journal and more
• Plan My Quit website – free quit-smoking tools and information
• Tobacco Cessation Health Seminars
• “Beat the Pack Group Sessions” – 4 week onsite program that provides weekly tobacco cessation group sessions
• $0 copay on prescription Tobacco Cessation Medications
By offering free tobacco cessation resources to state employees, retirees and their families, we hope to make a direct impact on their quality of life and help to facilitate a smooth transition to a tobacco-free environment by supporting them in living happier and healthier lives.
For more about tobacco cessation resources, visit the DelaWELL Health Portal at https://delawell.alerehealth.com or contact the Alere Nurse24 line at 1-866-674-9103, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Written on: September 7th, 2012 in Education
Pens, pencils, laptops, netbooks and notebooks – it’s back-to-school time for thousands of Delaware students and this will be an important year for them, their parents, our educators and our state.
The summer provided many with a much-needed, well-deserved break, but as students and teachers head back into the classroom, there is plenty to do – building on existing programs and beginning new initiatives.
To build on our existing strengths, we will deepen implementation of our Race to the Top plan; raise the bar for students with Common Core standards; and support educators with more meaningful evaluations and professional development.
We’ll also increase our support for struggling schools through the Partnership Zone and Focus School programs. Our teachers and students had great success last year – more than 10,000 additional children left school proficient in reading and more than 9,000 additional students reached proficiency in math. The gains occurred across all grades and subjects.
As excited as I am about that progress, our work isn’t over and there are a handful of new programs to help Delaware students realize success, both in the classroom and beyond. We are preparing hundreds of elementary school students with four world language immersion programs and launched new Early Childhood education initiatives.
While we are on the path to success, we must continue to work hard and we must focus on openly evaluating what is working and be willing to change direction when needed.
For now, I simply want to say thank you to educators, parents, students and communities who have worked so hard to improve student learning over the past few years. I look forward to the coming year and later celebrating with you the even greater gains to come.
Written on: August 31st, 2012 in Recognizing State Employees
This week, we mark the unofficial end of summer – Labor Day weekend – with most people wondering where the summertime went. And, weather pending, it’s a chance for barbecue, baseball, road trips and other activities with friends and family. I hope this message finds you enjoying times with your loved ones or, at the very least, taking a break from your traditional “work.”
It’s important to remember, though, that the Labor Day holiday originally began with the labor movement in the late 1800’s. It honors the men and women who helped build and continue to build our great nation through hard work and diligence. It reminds us of our country’s core values – the hard work it takes to get ahead, the perseverance to do so and the responsibility that comes with economic gains. Every day, men and women continue to build and grow our great nation by the contributions they make at work.
So while you’re focused on spending quality time with loved ones this Labor Day weekend, know we’re doing everything we can at the state level to keep people working and create new opportunities in this changing world.
Over the past few months, I’ve signed several pieces of legislation focused on ensuring Delawareans have the support they need to find gainful employment, including the Veterans’ Opportunity Tax Credit and the Employment First Act.
As students begin heading back to school, we’re working hard to ensure their education prepares them to compete for jobs in an ever-changing global economy. Efforts like our World Language Immersion Program and the Early Learning Challenge Grant ensure even our youngest students are engaged and challenged.
As Governor, I have been fortunate to meet with the leaders of hundreds of companies and ask them how we, as a State, can facilitate their success. They all give similar answers: they want a talented workforce, good schools and engaging community activities for their employees.
In addressing their needs, I believe we’ve made great progress but our work isn’t done. Like the men and women who originated the labor movement over 100 years ago, we must remain diligent and continue working hard in order to keep Delaware moving forward.
Written on: August 31st, 2012 in Effective & Efficient Government
Labor Day weekend is upon us – the unofficial end to summer. This is a great time to look forward and I’m excited by some great opportunities for Delaware. Here are just a few.
This school year, Delaware’s first group of young students will begin learning in Spanish and in Chinese, as kindergartners and first-graders become part of our inaugural World Language Immersion Program. We have teachers from China and Spain working at several Delaware schools to get the program underway. As I mentioned in my State of the State earlier this year, this program is a critical part of preparation for the future. We know when these students grow up, they will be competing for jobs in the global marketplace and when employers choose where to locate jobs, they will look at where employees have the skills to communicate across markets. That will mean fluency in not one, but two or three languages. And so, we begin four World Language Immersion programs this year, involving more than 340 Delaware students. As we add programs, we estimate we will reach more than ten thousand students over the next ten years.
A strong educational program is one of the key things employers look for when deciding where to build and grow their business. Another is quality of life and we’ve been working hard to make community enhancements that not only benefit our neighbors and friends, but also serve to attract new business to Delaware. As part of our Trails and Pathways initiative launched last year, we recently celebrated the grand opening of the first phase of the new Auburn Heights Trail. We also broke ground on a runway extension at the Sussex County Airport, which will help Southern Delaware land more aircraft, and more job opportunities, for the local economy.
At a time of year when elections are very much on voters’ minds, we have made great progress in giving voters greater and more timely information. I recently signed three bills that make significant improvements to Delaware’s campaign finance and lobbying laws. One bill, the Delaware Elections Disclosure Act, is the most significant reform of our state’s campaign finance laws in more than two decades. Voters know they deserve to know more and we are making sure they will.
We also took a significant step forward recently in our efforts to combat prescription drug abuse and diversion, with the official launch of the Delaware Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP). Prescription drug abuse is the fastest-growing drug problem in Delaware and the nation. The PMP is a system that collects information on all controlled substance prescriptions from Delaware-licensed pharmacies and prescribers who dispense controlled substances. It will reduce misuse of controlled substances and promote improved professional practice and patient care. Most importantly – it will help save lives.
Written on: August 21st, 2012 in Effective & Efficient Government
We recently made significant improvements to the campaign finance and lobbying laws in Delaware by signing three bills that increase transparency and provide greater and more timely information to the voters and residents of our state. Here’s what they do:
House Bill 300 – The Delaware Elections Disclosure Act – is the most significant reform of our state’s campaign finance laws in more than two decades. It requires prompt reporting of third-party spending on campaign ads and requires greater disclosure from those who spend money to influence elections. In short, this is an important piece of legislation in our effort to increase transparency in Delaware’s elections.
Of course, even if we have the best and most innovative laws in the country, if we don’t have meaningful consequences for violating those laws, some people may not follow them. So the second bill I signed, House Bill 310, changes the penalty for filing a late campaign finance report from $50 a month to $50 a day and imposes the same fee for incomplete campaign finance reports.
Since 1994, we have had lobbying disclosure requirements that don’t tell the public very much. Our third bill, Senate Bill 185, requires, for the first time, that lobbyists tell the public what issues they are lobbying -what bills, what resolutions, and what regulations they are trying to influence. This is a powerful idea and a big step for transparency in the legislative and regulatory process. Voters will get to see on the State’s website who is working to influence votes in Dover and regulations that come out of state agencies.
At a time when elections are very much on voters’ minds, we are telling them loudly and clearly here in Delaware: you deserve to know more and we are making sure you will.