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Living Well Community

Living a healthier life might seem like a tall order - the nutrition, the exercise, the inner happiness, all while taking care of your family! But having some friendly advice at your disposal, whenever and wherever you need it, makes it easier and more fun.

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What Parents Should Know About Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) in Infants and Young Children

North Texas pediatric physician assistant Robert Smith shares important information about this common infection – and what you can do to prevent it.

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Medicaid Renewals are Coming. Here’s What You Need to Know.

Members will get renewal notices in a yellow envelope marked "ACTION REQUIRED" in red ink. When you receive the packet, complete and return it within 30 days. If you miss the renewal deadline, you will have to submit a new application. It’s much faster to renew your coverage than to submit a new application.

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Texas Medicaid Renewal: Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) is ending on May 11, 2023. This means that automatic renewal of Medicaid benefits is also ending. All Medicaid members must submit a renewal application to continue receiving benefits. See below for some common questions and answers about the end of automatic Medicaid renewal.

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Do You Have Diabetes? Here Are Five Steps You Can Take to Control Your A1c.

If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you should check your A1c level every three to six months. Most people with diabetes have a target A1c level of less than 7%. Some special groups like pregnant women or older adults may have a different goal based on what their doctor recommends.

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Texas Medicaid For Unemployment

How—and Why—to Apply for Texas Medicaid After Losing Your Job Did you lose your job—and your health insurance—since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic?

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Finding baby formula during the current shortage

You may know about the shortage of baby formula in local stores, caused partly by Abbott Nutrition’s recall of certain kinds of formula. Production is starting again soon, but it may be a few more weeks before things get back to normal.

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Five Easy & Fun Activities That Don’t Feel Like Exercise

When families exercise together, they can develop healthy habits that last a lifetime. But exercise doesn’t have to be boring or feel like a chore! Here are a few ways to get in shape – and have fun doing it.

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You’ve applied for Medicaid or CHIP. Should you apply for the Marketplace, too?

When you apply for Medicaid or CHIP, you might wait up to 45 days before learning if your application is approved. If you do not get approved, it’s good to have a backup plan. Getting coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace is one way to plan ahead.

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Why COVID Vaccines Are Important for Minority Health

Have you had your no-cost COVID vaccine and boosters? It’s just as important as ever to get your COVID shots—especially if you are a member of a minority group. Read more here.

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When To Go To The Emergency Room vs Urgent Care

When medical situations occur, we’re often faced with uncertainty about where to go for care, especially if the symptoms seem severe and our regular doctor’s office is closed. While the answer is not always simple, knowing the difference between walk-in clinics, urgent care and emergency care and where to seek treatment could save your life in a medical emergency.

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What Parents Should Know About Childhood Vaccines

The best way to treat childhood illnesses is to prevent them. Vaccines, also called vaccinations, were created to protect people of all ages from serious illnesses and diseases. To learn what vaccines are, how they work, and more, keep reading!

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What is the Dallas Healthy Start Program?

The Dallas Healthy Start program is an in-home service that aims to reduce infant deaths, preterm, and low-weight births.  The staff is made up of English and Spanish-speaking community health workers

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What Is a Well-child Visit?

It’s important to schedule regular “well-child” visits with your family pediatrician. During these appointments, parents can check up on their child’s health and make sure they’re growing and developing normally.

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What Happens During a Prenatal Doctor Visit?

Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it can also be stressful. Be sure to go to every recommended prenatal exam. During these visits, your provider will support you—every step of the way.

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What Families Need To Know About Skin Cancer

Skin cancer starts out small, but it can cause big problems. The good news is that, with a little effort, you can prevent it from starting—or spreading. Learn how to protect your family with these great tips.

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What Are the Benefits of Breastfeeding? Valencia Moore Explains

For generations, breastfeeding has sustained life. In addition to its many health benefits there can also be difficulties and challenges for new mothers.  In this video, Valencia Moore, RN, IBCLC shares tips.

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Welcome to the Living Well Blog!

What does Living Well mean? It’s more than just a healthy diet and exercise. It includes all aspects of life.  Our goal with the Living Well blog is to share information and resources to the community

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We’re in this Together

COVID-19 has turned the world upside down.  The “normal” we were used to is a distant memory as we work to learn how to navigate our “new normal.” And, with change comes uncertainty. At Parkland

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The Health Benefits of Breastfeeding

If you’re getting ready to welcome a new baby, you might be thinking about breastfeeding.

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Texas Medicaid FAQ

Texas Medicaid FAQ: Everything you need to know about applying for Medicaid in Texas. Taking care of your physical and mental health is important. Health insurance helps many people stay healthy by making their care more affordable.

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Teen Dating Violence: How to Help Your Child

Teenage relationships can also be heartbreaking—and even violent. The good news is you can help your teenager to protect themselves from unhealthy dating relationships.

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Take Control of Your Asthma and Allergies

Is someone in your family sneezing, wheezing, or coughing? It might be asthma, allergies—or both. Keep reading to learn ways to control symptoms and breathe easier, indoors and out.

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Stay Safe and Healthy After a Hospital Stay

Your hospital stay is over—but your recovery could continue for weeks or months. No matter what sent you there, follow your doctor’s instructions and the tips below.

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Stay Connected with a Free Monthly Phone Plan!

As a PCHP HEALTHfirst STAR Medicaid or KIDSfirst CHIP member, you may qualify for free wireless service through the Assurance Wireless.

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Six Tips for Keeping Your Diabetes in Check

If you or child have diabetes, this can be a good time to get up to date with your recommended diabetes care. Learn six tips to keep your diabetes in check.

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Reward Yourself—It’s Good for Your Health

It’s important to celebrate your successes often. Try out a few of the rewards mentioned. Keep yourself on track during the holidays—and into the new year.

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Register for Our Member Portal and Get a Reward!

Did you know that Parkland Community Health Plan members can receive a $20 reward when they register in our NEW member portal?

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Redeem Your Parkland Rewards

If you have a Parkland Rewards account, be sure to redeem your 2022-2023 points before August 31, 2023.

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Plan Now for Back to School Health Checkups, Vaccines—and More

It’s time to get your child ready for back to school. Whether that means daycare, preschool, or K-12, Parkland HEALTHfirst (STAR Medicaid) and KIDSfirst (CHIP) can help!

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Nine Tips for Managing Asthma at School

Another school year is about to start. If your child has asthma, it’s important to make sure they have a plan to stay healthy during the school day. Get prepared by following these nine tips.

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Need some extra support? Try Findhelp.

Findhelp is a social service organization that directly connects people to local programs and organizations offering assistance. Use the Findhelp directory to find free help near you. It’s convenient and easy to use, and all searches are anonymous – you don’t need to log in or sign up before using the site.

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Need a Ride to the Doctor? PCHP May Be Able to Help

Have you ever missed a doctor visit because you didn’t have a way to get there? PCHP offers non-emergency medical transportation to all HEALTHfirst (STAR Medicaid) members.

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Managing School During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, managing your child’s schooling was easier. You got them to the bus stop—or the school—on time. You checked their homework. Did they need extra help? If so, you called

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Looking for Easy and Convenient Access to Care? Try Telehealth.

Parkland Community Health Plan (PCHP) now offers telehealth services at no cost for all HEALTHfirst and KIDSfirst members age 0-21. This includes easy and convenient access to pediatricians through a partnership with telehealth provider KidzDocNow.

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How to Prevent Preterm Labor

A full-term pregnancy is 40 weeks. When your baby is born after the 37th week of pregnancy, they have a chance to develop as fully as possible before birth. However, if you go into labor and give birth before your 37th week of pregnancy, your baby will be considered “premature” or “preterm.”

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How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes in Children and Teens

If your child or teenager is overweight, they could be at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. When a person has type 2 diabetes, their body does not use insulin well.

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Keep Your Family Safe on Hot Texas Days

People of all ages can become seriously ill during hot days. However, babies and young children are at even higher risk. So before you head out for the day, check this list of summer safety tips.

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Keep Your Child’s Brain Active During Summer Fun

Are you looking for no-cost or low-cost educational activities in Dallas and nearby counties? You’re in luck. Families in North Texas have many resources for in-person and online learning.

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Is it COVID, a cold or the flu?

Do you know the difference between the flu and COVID-19 or the common cold? Parkland Community Health Plan shares the differences between all three.

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How to Talk with Your Teenagers About Sex

As a parent, you know it’s important to talk to your children about preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). This is especially true when they become teenagers.

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How To Quit Smoking

It can be very hard to quit smoking — but it’s one of the most important things you can do to help your baby to be healthy, before and after they’re born.

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How to Choose a Primary Care Provider

Regular doctor visits are important for both kids and adults – and having a primary care provider (PCP) is a great way to stay focused on your health. What is a Primary Care Provider?A PCP provides

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How to Balance Screen Time and Non-Screen Time

When does screen time become unhealthy? When your child spends too many hours on their favorite devices. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), too much screen time may lead to:

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How to Apply for Medicaid and CHIP - Step by Step

You and your family might be able to receive free or low-cost health care through the Texas Medicaid (STAR) and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

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HIV Prevention in Healthcare Webinar Learning Series

The Texas Collaborative for HIV Education & Prevention (TCHEP) is hosting a series of webinars for primary care and emergency care providers.

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Help for PCHP Members Affected by Severe Weather

This week’s winter storm could cause problems across North Texas. If you are a member of Parkland Community Health Plan, there are services available to help you. Important Phone Numbers For medical

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Healthy Food Isn’t Out of Reach

You may be receiving Medicaid benefits through the State of Texas. But did you know that you can also get help buying healthy food when you need it?

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Have the Spring Blues? These Tips Can Help

Even though that change is positive, it can be stressful too—especially if you have the “spring blues.” Self-care is important, and knowing a few tips can help. They are simple, but they are not always easy to do.

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Governor Abbott Announces HHSC Request Of Section 1135 Waiver To Support Health Care Workforce In Medicaid Program

Governor Greg Abbott announced that the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) has submitted a Section 1135 waiver to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services requesting flexibility in administering Medicaid to mitigate potential health care workforce shortages during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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Governor Abbott Announces Approval Of 1135 Medicaid Waiver

Governor Greg Abbott announced that the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) has approved the Section 1135 Medicaid Waiver submitted by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) on March 26, 2020.

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Get Important Medicaid Updates through YourTexasBenefits.com

If you have a HEALTHfirst (STAR Medicaid) or KIDSfirst (CHIP) plan, it’s important to make sure that Texas Health & Human Services (HHSC) has your current contact information on file. If the information is not current, you will miss important updates regarding the expiration of your healthcare coverage.

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Get Help with Food and Groceries — Use Findhelp

Compared to a year ago, prices are up for cereal, meat, milk, produce, and more. The good news is Parkland Community Health Plan offers support through the Findhelp platform.

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Free and Discounted Holiday Food Resources

Is your holiday food budget tight this year? Many communities offer free Thanksgiving meals before, on, or after the holiday. Check out these resources to find options close to you and your family.

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Four Stress Management Tips

The cause of stress is different for everyone. For one person, it could be from trying to pay rent. For another, it could be a result of a health issue. No matter the reason, keeping the negative effects of stress in check is important for your overall health.

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Five Tiny Diet Habits that Equal Big Health Benefits

Summer’s almost here. It’s the perfect time to make some small changes in your daily routine to build better health habits. Small changes in diet and exercise are easy to start. Here are a few to consider.

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FAQ About the COVID-19 Vaccine

Why should I get the COVID-19 vaccine? A COVID-19 vaccine helps protect you from getting sick. That’s important because, if you get sick with COVID-19:there’s no way to know how it will affect you.

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Family Fitness in Five Minutes a Day

How much activity is best? According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, children and teens should aim for an hour of exercise every day.

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Extended Access to Care for COVID-19

We are expanding your access to care, support and resources to help you navigate through this uncertain time. We are committed to making every effort to protect your health by keeping you safe in your home while still enabling you to get the right care.

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Eating Outdoors? Read These Food Safety Tips

Late summer is the perfect time to enjoy meals outdoors. However, on hot days, it’s more important than ever to follow food safety rules. Otherwise, bacteria inside and on the surface of food items can grow to dangerous levels.

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Eat Less Sugar with These Easy Tips

There are many ways to improve your eating habits. Even small changes can make a big difference. If you want to focus on changing just one behavior, try this: Eat less added sugar.

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Easy ways to exercise as a family

Exercise is important every season of the year. When we walk, dance, stretch, swim or exercise in other ways, we feel better in our minds as well as our bodies. This is true no matter how old you are.

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Easy Ways to Eat More Greens

In March, we celebrate both National Nutrition Month® and St. Patrick’s Day. That makes it the perfect month to focus on green foods.

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Easy Ways to Drink More Water

Sometimes there is nothing better on a hot day than a tall, cool glass of water. At Parkland Community Health Plan, we know it can be hard to drink enough water during busy days—and weeks. So how can you sneak in some more sips?

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Developing Pregnancy & Parenting Skills with Lisa Summers & Nolana Johnson

For first-time mothers, there are lots of questions about pregnancy and birth.  Lisa Summers and Nolana Johnson, registered nurses at Parkland Health understand this and offer

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COVID-19 and Medicaid: What to Know About Testing and Other Services

It’s been one year since COVID-19 first came to the United States. The number of infections is getting lower, but new cases are still being reported every day. The good news is that getting a COVID

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COVID-19 Vaccine Resources

DSHS recently launched the Texas Public Health Scheduler to help people sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine through participating public entities across Texas.

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Cinco de Mayo Avocado Recipe

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with these spicy tuna-stuffed avocados! Not only is tuna high in protein and affordable, but avocados are also very nutritious and contain a wide variety of nutrients too.

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Common Milestones for Your Child to Reach by Age Five

At Parkland Community Health Plan, we want to help you to help your children be as healthy as possible, every step of the way. Below, we’ve listed a few of the developmental milestones to watch for by age five.

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CHIP Renewal FAQs

Why do I need to renew my CHIP/CHIP Perinate benefits? In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) temporarily waived the renewal requirements for CHIP

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Children with Disabilities and Bullying: What Parents Should Know

People of all ages can bully others. Almost everyone will experience it at some point in their lives. However, it is not a healthy or “normal” stage of development. About one in five children and teens report being bullied. If your child has a disability or special health need, they are more likely to be bullied, according to stopbullying.gov.

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Childhood Allergies

Childhood allergies are common and can start at any age. Although most allergies are mild, some cases can be serious and life-threatening. Learn more with North Texas Pediatrician Dr. Tania Diaz.

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Black Maternal Health Week: Doing Our Part to Help Prevent Premature Births

In observation of Black Maternal Health Week, Parkland Community Health Plan (PCHP), in partnership with Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation (PCCI) want to highlight our efforts in Dallas to prevent preterm births, which is especially impactful on women in under-served communities.

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Better Sleep Means Better Mental Health

People with these mental illnesses and disorders can have a hard time falling or staying asleep. They also might sleep many more hours than other people.

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Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) – What you need to know about this new member benefit

Starting February 1, 2022, Parkland Community Health Plan will offer Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services. This benefit will be available to HEALTHfirst (STAR Medicaid) members through the Texas Health Steps-Comprehensive Care Program. See below for some common questions about these services.

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American Heart Month Series: What Are Risk Factors of Heart Disease?

If you want to keep your heart, arteries, and veins as healthy as possible, there’s good news. You can take small steps every day to stay well and prevent disease.

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American Heart Month Series: Heart Health Tips for Families

If you want to help your children avoid heart disease when they grow up, read this blog. We give you tips on how to start them on the right track while they are still young.

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A Pediatrician’s Tips for Summer Safety

When you and your children are out in the high temperatures and bright skies of Texas, you have higher risk of illness and injury.

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A Pediatrician Explains: The Importance of Sleep for Children and Teens

A good day begins with a good night’s sleep. It’s true for adults—and especially true for the youngest members of the family. Do you need help getting your baby, toddler, child, or teen on a better sleep schedule? Keep reading for some great advice from North Texas pediatrician Dr. Mary Strength.

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A Pediatrician Explains How to Protect Your Child from Environmental Hazards

What about environmental hazards? “Environment” means both indoors and outdoors. “Hazards” are substances in the air, in water or in everyday household items that can harm your child’s health. Watch as North Texas Pediatrician Dr. Mary Strength explains different types of environmental hazards and how children can be at higher risk from them.

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A Pediatrician Discusses Diet and Nutrition for Children

If children don’t get the proper nutrients in their food, they can have problems with attention, sleep—and many other health issues. These problems can last until they are teens and adults.

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10 Ways to Make Food Last Longer

How can you protect your food—and your family—during the warmer months? Take a look at the tips below for some easy ways to make food last longer.

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10 Health Tips for First-Time Mothers

After those long months of pregnancy, your baby is here at last! Take a look at the tips below for ideas to ease the first few weeks and months of motherhood.

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10 Easy Home Exercises Parents Can Do With Kids

Whether you have just 10 minutes or an hour or more, it all adds up. Every little bit of movement helps to build a healthier body, whether you’re a child or an adult.

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How to Use Your Dental and Vision Benefits

Visiting your doctor isn’t the only way to stay healthy – it’s important to see your dentist and eye doctor, too. Parkland Community Health Plan offers a number of benefits for dental and vision care.

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Suicide in Children and Teens: What Are the Warning Signs?

Children and teens often keep their thoughts and feelings private. But the things they say and do can be clues about their inner struggles. While many young people might show the following behaviors, pay attention to how many are true for your child—and how often you notice them

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COVID-19 and Mental Health Services – Are You Covered?

We’ve all had to make a lot of changes to our daily lives since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Many people are feeling overwhelmed – and not just about the virus. If you need to seek help for mental health treatment, Parkland Community Health Plan has you covered.

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Stay Healthy by Taking Care of Your Teeth

Did you know that good oral health (the health of your mouth, including your teeth and gums) is an important way to keep the rest of your body healthy?

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Choosing a Medicaid Plan for Your Family

You applied for Texas Medicaid. Your application was approved. You are one step closer to better health for yourself and your family. But there are a few more steps you need to take. We’ve listed them here to help you get started right away.

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PCHP Explains: What is Service Coordination?

Managing your family’s care can be a challenge, especially when you’re dealing with several health issues. PCHP offers a service coordination program to help members manage their care. Brandy Tondjo explains the program.

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How to Stay Healthy After Giving Birth

After your baby is born, the first days and weeks back home can be exhausting. It’s important to take extra-good care of yourself as you recover from childbirth.

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A Pediatrician Explains: How to Prepare for a Doctor’s Visit

From birth through late teen years, your child will visit the pediatrician often. Regular doctor visits are a normal part of growing up as healthy as possible. Make it easy for your child—and for you. Prepare ahead of time with these tips from Dr. Mary Strength, a pediatrician in North Texas.

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A Pediatrician Explains: How to Prevent Holiday ER Visits

With just a little more planning, you can prevent a trip to the emergency room during this busy time of year. Dr. Mariel Silva, a pediatrician in North Texas, explains why families end up at the ER—and how to avoid it.

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Three Easier New Year’s Resolutions for 2023

When you make a New Year’s resolution, go easy on yourself. Set a goal that is small enough to stick to every day. Over time, small steps add up to big results.

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Childhood Fear of the Dentist: Here’s How to Help

Does your child have anxiety at the dentist? Here are a few ways to help them feel calmer and more confident.

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A Pediatrician Talks About Preventing Childhood Obesity

In the United States, 1 in 5 children and teens are affected by obesity, meaning they are above a healthy weight for their age and height. How can you help your kids develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime?

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Free Meals—and More!—for Pregnant Members

If you need some help with your food budget, we have good news. There are many food-related resources available to pregnant women and families in North Texas.

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Free Car Seats, Free Safety Checks—and More!

Free car seats are just one of many Value-Added Services for pregnant women and new moms enrolled in our STAR Medicaid or CHIP insurance plan.

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Top Medicaid Benefits for Children and Pregnant Women

Medicaid has a long list of services to help you—and your family—stay healthy and well. Just a few examples of benefits are dental care, allergy medicine, vaccinations (shots), birth control, hearing tests, rides to the doctor and more!

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How to Help Your Child Succeed with ADD / ADHD

North Texas Pediatrician Dr. Mary Strength diagnoses and treats children of all ages with ADD / ADHD.

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Should I Go to the Emergency Room or to My Doctor?

Dr. Silva gives easy step-by-step instructions on how to make this important decision when you or a loved one is sick or injured.

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Texas Expands Opioid Misuse Prevention and Treatment Efforts

Texas continues to fight opioid misuse through millions of dollars in new funding, increased public awareness and an expanded list of medications physicians can use to help Medicaid clients recover from opioid addiction.

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No-Cost Birth Control—Where to Find It

Do you need no-cost birth control pills, diaphragms, condoms, or other family planning services? If you live in North Texas, here are two options to consider.

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American Heart Month Series: What Is Heart Disease?

February—American Heart Month—is an excellent time to learn about heart health for yourself and your family. This blog explains different types of heart disease. Watch for additional blogs covering risk factors and heart health tips for families.

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All About Pyx

All expecting moms can use a little extra support. That’s why Parkland Community Health Plan is happy to offer the free Pyx mobile app to our pregnant members age 18 and older.

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5 Free Apps to Help You Get Healthy in 2021

Do you want your family to be healthier in 2021? The good news is that every little bit helps. And building better health habits is easier than ever when you use health apps on your phone or computer.

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