City of York - Bureau of Health Newsletter
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September 2016

September is National Preparedness Month

Are you prepared to survive a major earthquake, blizzard, fire, flood, act of terrorism or other disasters? The time to start thinking about what to do in an emergency is before it happens. By following some simple guidelines you can help prepare your family, neighborhood, business or school to be better prepared and self-sufficient to deal with a disaster.
The City of York maintains a formal disaster plan designed to coordinate emergency services. Four key steps to preparedness include: having a plan, keeping supplies, staying informed, and being involved.
Stay Informed
Follow local weather and news for up to date information on the current situation.  Local broadcasters and media will transmit emergency alert messages from the York City Emergency Management Authority or the Mayor. 
Be Involved
Know what’s available in your neighborhood and if there is an organized neighborhood association for coordinating preparedness activities.
Become a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member.  The CERT program trains residents on disaster preparedness and hazards that may impact their area. Using classroom training and practical exercises, CERT members learn to assist their neighbors and co-workers after a disaster when professional responders are not immediately available to help.  For more information on CERT programs contact the Emergency Planner for the City of York, Mike Shanabrook at 849-2441.

Resources and information:

Child Passenger Safety Week

Every year, thousands of children are tragically injured or killed in car crashes. In fact, car crashes are a leading cause of death for children. All 50 States, the District of Columbia, and all U.S. territories require the use of car seats for children traveling in motor vehicles. Car seat laws were enacted because they save lives and prevent injuries. As of August 12, 2016, Pennsylvania's Child Passenger Safety Law was enhanced when Senate Bill 1152 was signed into law by Governor Wolf on June 13, 2016. The law requires children to be secured in a car seat facing the rear of the vehicle until age two, unless the child outgrows the maximum weight and height limits designated by the car seat manufacturer.

As part of Child Passenger Safety Week the City of York – Bureau of Health,  in collaboration with Safe Kids of York County, will be holding a car seat check event in York City on Friday, September 23, 8:30 am - 12:00 pm by appointment only. This project is funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant. Call the City of York—Bureau of Health at 717-845-6532 to register.

Parents and caregivers need to make certain they and their kids are properly buckled up on every trip, every time. PennDOT reports that in Pennsylvania, from 2010-2014, 82% of the children under age 4 who were involved in crashes and restrained in a child seat sustained no injury. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), on average, two children under 13 were killed and 308 were injured every day in 2014 while riding in cars, SUVs, pickups, and vans. The good news is that the 2014 numbers show a significant improvement from 2013, with a 5-percent decrease in fatalities and a 10-percent decrease in injuries in 2014. We can continue to decrease these numbers with the proper use of car seats, booster seats, and seat belts.  

For questions about car seats and/or information about other car seat checkup sites, contact Safe Kids York County at: 1-888-232-SAFE (7233).

Fall Prevention

Did you know that 1 in 3 Americans aged 65+ falls every year?  Many people think falls are a normal part of aging. This, however, is a myth. Through practical lifestyle adjustments, evidence-based programs, and community partnerships, the number of falls among older adults can be reduced substantially and prevented.

Exercising, managing your medications, having your vision checked, and making your living environment safer are all steps you can take to prevent a fall.

To promote fall prevention, the 9th annual national Falls Prevention Awareness Day will be held on September 22, 2016. The National Council on Aging has designated the 2016 theme as “Ready, Steady, Balance: Prevent Falls in 2016.”

Matter of Balance, an evidence-based fall prevention class for older adults, will be held this fall and winter as another way to prevent falls in older adults.  Contact Holly Beistline at for more information on these classes.

Prescription Drug Monitoring Program

The Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) launched user registration for the new Pennsylvania Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PA PDMP) on Aug. 8, 2016. The DOH has been conducting extensive outreach to educate Pennsylvania health care providers about this valuable tool and to encourage registration. The PA PDMP became available for patient query on Aug. 25, 2016, giving prescribers and pharmacists an additional resource for making informed clinical decisions by providing them access to their patients’ controlled substance prescription history (Schedules II – V).

Prescribers (or their delegates) are required to check the PDMP system for each patient the first time the patient is prescribed a controlled substance by the prescriber, or if the prescriber believes or has reason to believe, using sound clinical judgment, that a patient may be abusing or diverting drugs. However, as a best clinical practice, the DOH recommends prescribers and pharmacists check the system every time before prescribing or dispensing. For more information including tutorials, FAQs and registration instructions, please visit​


City of York - Bureau of Health in the Community

A big thank you to pharmacists from York Hospital who came out to Yorktown Senior Center to educate and answer questions about prescription drug management on August 25, 2016.

Mayor Bracey and Bureau of Health staff attended the York Fresh Food Farms open house event held on August 30, 2016.  The City of York – Bureau of Health supported the York Fresh Food Farms project by applying for and receiving PA DOH grant funds to advance urban farming initiatives in the City of York.

Eva Walker, Community Health Nurse, performing blood pressure screenings at the BTCC Women’s Healthy Hangout held at Bible Tabernacle Christian Center on August 27, 2016. 

Notes from the Doc:
Dr. Matthew Howie

September has arrived, and with it we see children going back to school, local gardens finishing their productive season, and maybe even a hint of a break from our persistent heat. As we look forward into fall, I also want to highlight September as National Recovery Month.

Many in our city and county struggle with addictions and we are faced with this reality all too frequently when we watch the news and read the paper. The consequences of addiction can be dramatic – car accidents, drug arrests, increases in violence in our communities. These struggles also can be less public, but equally devastating – disintegration of the family, financial loss, damaged relationships and loss of a sense of self-worth.

However, there is hope. Many who have been caught up in addiction are able to make their way, step by step, into recovery. Sometimes there are set-backs and the road is rarely a perfectly smooth one. But with the support of the community, those neighbors and friends who are carrying this burden can reclaim their lives and reconnect with family and friends. They can get jobs, return to their community, and rebuild their self-belief. We should celebrate this month with those who have made it back to us from their addiction.

Much work is being done in our community to try and bring more of our fellow citizens out of addiction and into recovery. Please look for those opportunities around you where you feel you can help make a difference. Have your church host a Narcotics Anonymous meeting, volunteer to help someone in recovery put together a resume, or volunteer at one of our soup kitchens. It is our community that suffers when one of our own goes through addiction, and it will take that same community to help those with addiction to move toward recovery.
In Health,
Dr. Matt
Dr. Matthew Howie, MD, Medical Director

Barbara Kovacs, MPA, Director
Clinician's Corner

August 2016 Communicable Disease Report

Prescription Drug Monitoring Program - Clinical Resources

C. Kim Bracey, Mayor
Copyright © 2016 York City Health Bureau, All rights reserved.

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101 S. George St., P.O. Box 509
York, PA 17405

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