At a Glance for Jan. 1, 2015

Tenn. residents eligible for free flowering trees

arbor-day-logoResidents of Tennessee can ring in the New Year with 10 free flowering trees by joining the Arbor Day Foundation any time during January.

The 6- to 12-inch trees will be shipped at the right time for planting, between Feb. 1 and May 31. To join, send $10 to Ten Free Flowering Trees, Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor Avenue, Nebraska City, NE 68410, by Jan. 31 or join online at

Municipalities issue reminders about closings

Happy-NYDBartlett city offices will be closed Jan. 1, and trash pickups will be delayed by one day. The animal shelter and the library will be closed. The Bartlett Recreation Center will be open Jan. 1 from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Lakeland City Hall and the senior center will be closed Jan. 1, and trash pickups will be delayed by one day.

Arlington Town Hall will be closed Jan. 1, and trash pickups will be delayed by one day.

Lung cancer screenings to be offered free to high-risk individuals

cigarette-buttFor the first time ever, starting Jan. 1, individuals who are at high risk for developing lung cancer may be eligible for screening at no out-of-pocket cost. In Tennessee, this includes most people with private insurance, individuals who are enrolled in their state health insurance marketplaces, and people enrolled in state Medicaid expansion who will be eligible for early detection screening without cost to them.

Patients considered to be high risk and potentially eligible for screening are:

  • 55 through 80 years of age
  • people who have a 30 pack-year history of smoking (this means 1 pack a day for 30 years, 2 packs a day for 15 years, etc.)
  • current smokers, or people who have quit within the past 15 years.

Screening people at high risk has the potential to save more than 13,000 lives a year across the U.S.

“This is important news for many people at high risk of developing lung cancer. With screening becoming available to many at no out-of-pocket cost, many more people in Tennessee who should be screened can be,” said Barry Gottschalk, president and CEO of the American Lung Association serving Tennessee. “The American Lung Association recommends that anyone who meets the high risk criteria should talk to their doctor about screening and check with their health insurance provider to see if their coverage includes screening.”

Individuals who are enrolled in state health marketplace plans, enrolled in Medicaid-expansion programs and those with non-grandfathered private insurance plans who meet the screening criteria will have insurance coverage for screening without co-payments or other barriers starting January 1, 2015 or the beginning of their next plan year.

The American Lung Association has created the attached chart to help explain lung cancer screening coverage. The Lung Association also created the attached checklist for individuals to use when calling their insurance companies to determine if they are eligible for screening with no cost.

The American Lung Association also provides many free resources for lung cancer patients and their caregivers. Patients can determine if they are candidates for lung cancer screening through the online tool,

Additional resources include Facing Lung Cancer: Support from Day One, a comprehensive online resource with interactive features that offers education and support to people living with lung cancer and their loved ones.

The Lung Connection is an online community where individuals living with lung disease and their caregivers can discuss how lung disease affects their lives and share experiences with peers.

Medicare, which provides health care insurance for most Americans over the age of 65, is in the midst of a separate National Coverage Determination process to determine coverage for lung cancer screening among its beneficiaries. A final coverage announcement from CMS is expected for Medicare patients in February.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women in the United States. The five-year survival rate for lung cancer patients is only 17.8 percent. An annual low-dose screening test for individuals at high risk has the potential to dramatically improve lung cancer survival rates by finding the disease at an earlier, more treatable stage. The USPSTF estimates that if everyone who is at high risk is screened, there will be a 14 percent reduction in lung cancer deaths in the United States.

To increase awareness about lung cancer — from the importance of screening to treatment and support options — in May, the American Lung Association launched LUNG FORCE, a national movement focused on fighting lung cancer in women.

Despite being the No. 1 cancer killer of women, lung cancer is on the radar of only 1 percent of women, according to the Women’s Lung Health Barometer. LUNG FORCE is seeking to right this wrong: it’s about education, uniting women to make a difference and inspiring America to take action against the devastating disease that is lung cancer.

“The most important risk factor for lung cancer is smoking, and the best thing people can do to reduce their risk is to stop smoking or never start,” advises Gottschalk. “The American Lung Association has been helping people quit smoking for over 40 years. We believe anyone can quit and we have the tools and resources to help smokers quit for good.”

The American Lung Association has helped more than one million people quit smoking through its Freedom From Smoking® rogram and its Lung Helpline at 1-800-LUNGUSA. Information on screening and other lung cancer risk factors including exposure to secondhand smoke, radon, air pollution and other hazardous materials, can be found on the American Lung Association’s website.

Also see: