Archive for the ‘Health’ Category
“This Tuesday’s Women’s Wellness Program session is our monthly cooking class, held down the street at Algiers United Methodist Church on Opelousas. All women are welcome! This month we’re focusing on healthy snacks.” ~Via Common Ground’s FaceBook Page
There are two links in this post I urge you to contribute to, one being the fund for the recovery of the Garden District robbery and rape victim, the other for the Metropolitan Center for Women and Children. Read on to see why.
More and more, I’m finding it cannot be avoided, no matter how hard women try. We are still surrounded by people who would put us in what they think is “our place,” a position that tends to be highly restrictive on any and all physical and mental levels.
Tell me I’m crazy. Go on and talk down to me, I dare you.
…the out-and-out confrontational confidence of the totally ignorant is, in my experience, gendered. Men explain things to me, and other women, whether or not they know what they’re talking about. Some men.
Every woman knows what I’m talking about. It’s the presumption that makes it hard, at times, for any woman in any field; that keeps women from speaking up and from being heard when they dare; that crushes young women into silence by indicating, the way harassment on the street does, that this is not their world. It trains us in self-doubt and self-limitation just as it exercises men’s unsupported overconfidence.
I wouldn’t be surprised if part of the trajectory of American politics since 2001 was shaped by, say, the inability to hear Coleen Rowley, the FBI woman who issued those early warnings about al-Qaeda, and it was certainly shaped by a Bush administration to which you couldn’t tell anything, including that Iraq had no links to al-Qaeda and no WMDs, or that the war was not going to be a “cakewalk.” (Even male experts couldn’t penetrate the fortress of their smugness.)…
…Credibility is a basic survival tool. When I was very young and just beginning to get what feminism was about and why it was necessary, I had a boyfriend whose uncle was a nuclear physicist. One Christmas, he was telling–as though it were a light and amusing subject–how a neighbor’s wife in his suburban bomb-making community had come running out of her house naked in the middle of the night screaming that her husband was trying to kill her. How, I asked, did you know that he wasn’t trying to kill her? He explained, patiently, that they were respectable middle-class people. Therefore, her-husband-trying-to-kill-her was simply not a credible explanation for her fleeing the house yelling that her husband was trying to kill her. That she was crazy, on the other hand….
Even getting a restraining order–a fairly new legal tool–requires acquiring the credibility to convince the courts that some guy is a menace and then getting the cops to enforce it. Restraining orders often don’t work anyway. Violence is one way to silence people, to deny their voice and their credibility, to assert your right to control over their right to exist. About three women a day are murdered by spouses or ex-spouses in this country. It’s one of the main causes of death in pregnant women in the U.S. At the heart of the struggle of feminism to give rape, date rape, marital rape, domestic violence, and workplace sexual harassment legal standing as crimes has been the necessity of making women credible and audible.
Events and discussions will occasionally converge that lead me to a boiling point on this subject…
Why it’s disgusting and ignorant of you to imply that a woman caught large Mardi Gras beads in a risque manner, for instance. Yeah, it’s one of the oldest, sexist, dumbest Carnival tropes, but it does get tiring after a while. I caught huge, LSU-emblazoned beads just from being at the start of the Thoth parade route. Next Carnival season, I’m gonna ask the next guy I see with giant beads on what he flashed for them.
The horrific news about the murder of paraplegic Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius‘ girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, who was an advocate for victims of sexual abuse.
Controversy over the Eve Ensler-organized One Billion Rising Campaign, which I only just heard about today, but I also wonder about its premise…as do many other women around the world.:
I recently listened to a Congolese woman talk in a speak-easy setting of radical grassroots feminists. She was radiantly and beautifully powerful in her unfiltered anger towards the One Billion Rising movement, as she used the words “insulting” and “neo-colonial”. She used the analogy of past crimes against humanity, asking us if we could imagine people turning up at the scenes of atrocities and taking pictures or filming for the purposes of “telling their story to the rest of the world”. Take it one step further and try to imagine a white, middle class, educated, American women turning up on the scene to tell survivors to ‘rise’ above the violence they have seen and experienced by…wait for it…dancing. “Imagine someone doing that to holocaust survivors”, she said.
I had occasion to speak with someone about the recent kidnapping, robbery, beating, and rape of a young woman in the Garden District, and large chunks of the conversation revolved around the same tropes that come up whenever something like this happens to any woman. It all came around to our living in a world where women are taught “not to be raped,” and the suspicion that comes up is generally directed first against the woman who is the victim rather than the perpetrators. When a victim’s first move is to tell her would-be comforters and shelterers “Don’t touch me. I’m evidence,” then we know who the burden of proof is on.
This hasn’t ended with the capture of the criminals and their upcoming trial. Though a large amount of funds has been raised thus far for the victim’s rehabilitation, she will need far more than that – keep contributing here. This friend of a friend of mine will be grateful.
I ask you to also consider that state budget cuts will likely destabilize what structures there are to assist women who have been victims of domestic violence as well – among them New Orleans’ own Metropolitan Center for Women and Children. They accept donations of time or money here.
Know of any other needy organizations in the city or state that help female victims of abuse, rape, or violence? Please contribute names and links in the comments. It’ll be the best Valentine’s Day gift you give. Honest.
Last night I was at dinner in someone’s home and the following is the abridged version of a portion of dinner conversation. I say abridged because I was so mad that one, the guest had the audacity to discuss politics in a room of people this person had never met, save one, and two I didn’t want to go ballistic and embarrass the host so I left.
Guest: I was at the VA hospital today for (some random event) and was able to see the blueprint of the new hospital.
Me: Oh really, tell me about it…
Guest: Well on Banks street, the old oak trees were saved, and some of the buildings will be built around the oaks, so there will be a corridor down the middle – a shaded promenade with benches and such.
Me: That sounds nice!
Guest: While I was there today, some of the (nameless) dignitaries were discussing how the Charity Hospitals were being dismantled and they were looking at private corporations to take over the care of the patients.
Me: Oh really? Well after Katrina, when Charity hospital was closed down, all the patients had to go somewhere so they were seen at Ochsner, East Jefferson – it didn’t work well and those hospitals lost a lot of money…
Guest: Yeah, one of the doctors at (nameless hospital) was telling me how after the storm, a gun shot wound patient broke into some pharmacy storage area to take medicine, so that didn’t work out too well with “those” (emphasis guest) patients at the private hospitals. So its going to be difficult for “those” (emphasis guest) patients to find somewhere to go.
Me: I honestly don’t see how the state could possibly shut down the Charity Hospitals? What are they going to do with the new hospital? Sell it?
Guest: Well there will be no more Charity system, they are doing everything right now to close all the hospitals. It won’t be an issue especially if Obamacare is defeated in November when Romney wins.
Me: Its called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Plus there is no guarantee Romney will win.
Guest: Well if Obama is re-elected, there are ways to defeat the health care bill.
Me: Oh Really? You know, we really shouldn’t be going there (having political discussion with strangers) at dinner…
Guest: Well how do you think Obamacare is going to be funded? The federal government will need to put up $50 billion dollars they don’t have to pay for it…
At this point I excused myself and helped clear the table and began washing dishes. The guest continued carrying on political discussion with the others remaining at the table which I could hear from the kitchen. I did as much as I could to assist the host – but very soon after when another guest excused themselves it was my cue to leave too.
I find it extraordinarily disturbing that there is a subversive political process going on which is hell bent on obliterating health care for the poor and uninsured in Louisiana. There has already been a loss of thousands of state jobs, and this current round will result in 1500 more people out of work. How does this contribute to the tax base, the spend and growth economy, putting people out of work, regardless of the fact that these are hard working and dedicated state employees? Where are all the students of health care, physicians, nurses, allied health, going to go for training? Not to mention all of the sick, sick patients and not just the victims of and perpetrators of violent trauma: there is no plan in the foreseeable future for the state to pony up through Bayou Health or any other fee schedule to reimburse the private hospitals that will wind up caring for the uninsured poor. And once these private hospitals begin to see red, what will happen to the patients? Will they just start dying in the streets? Where is the social justice in that?
There is a call to action out there, let your voice be heard. Representative Jerome Richard from Thibodaux has called to convene a special session to address the recent bulldozing of healthcare, among other things. Contact your state legislators and senators, and demand they go to special session in November to reverse the evisceration of health care in this state. You the citizens elected the legislators and they answer to you, compel them to do their job and do what’s right by their constituents and not the special interests.
*****UPDATE***** This link will take you to an online petition through Change dot org requesting the legislature to convene a special session to find out what in God’s name is going on with the railroading of health care in Louisiana – please consider signing it – thanks
Citywide Baby Shower
Daughters of Charity Health Center-Carrollton Third Floor, Community Room
3201 S. Carrollton Ave.
New Orleans LA 70118
In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, Daughters of Charity Health Centers (DCHC), in collaboration with Amerigroup, Kiwanis Club of the Westbank Konnection, Dillard University’s School of Public Health, and Healthy Start, will host a Citywide Baby Shower for new and expecting moms at 10 a.m. Friday, August 3 at Daughters of Charity Health Center in Carrollton, 3201 S. Carrollton Ave. This event is free and open to the public. New and expecting moms will receive free breastfeeding information, baby items, consultations with doctors, midwives and nutritionists, and much more.
The HALO Foundation
Holistic Healing for Violent Crime Victims in Healthcare
On Thursday, January 26, 2012 the crime that persists in the City of New Orleans shocked us again. And this time it hit very close to home. One of our own, a home health nurse, who has dedicated her life to home care service, became another Victim of Violent Crime, another statistic in the long list that pervades our community. At 3:30 p.m., in the middle of a beautiful Thursday afternoon, while arriving at a patient’s home, she was robbed at gunpoint, abducted and assaulted.
We all heard the blip on television that Thursday evening and perhaps even a bit through the weekend. But just how many of us paid attention? Just another crime, we all think. And then more information is revealed. The woman is a home health nurse. Uneasiness settles in as she begins to have a face. We realize she is a mother, a daughter, a friend, a caregiver, one like us and the ripple effect begins. For those in the home care and hospice industries, this is a daily fear. For those in healthcare, we recognize we can sometimes be a target. And all of us in the healthcare industry know the unique needs of a Victim of Violence. We are too acutely aware of the long-term effects these acts can have not only on the Victim, but on their families. We know how long and how difficult the road to healing can be.
We call her “Angel” because she needs and wants to be anonymous at this time. She is surrounded by a strong support group of family, friends and mental health professionals. She is comforted, yet gives comfort. Her strength amazes us. She has many needs that encompass the physical, the psychological, the emotional and even the practicality of financial and legal needs. She must process this, begin a path to healing, deal with the stress of the legal aspects and must have a means of support.
She recognizes she needs help, and is willing to accept. She also realizes how this tragic event has affected the home health and hospice community. As a dedicated caregiver who has experienced violence, she seeks a way to care for colleagues who may in the future also become a Victim, and to also work towards better safety systems and policies.
Through this desire, and her need for anonymity, The Healthcare Angels Lifeline Outreach Foundation a/k/a The HALO Foundation was formed on February 15, 2012. A dedicated fund for “Angel” has been established at Regions Bank for donations directed to her. Donations can be made at any Regions Bank to the account of “The HALO Foundation.” 100% of donations made to this account go directly to “Angel.”
We Need Your Help!
Request for Volunteers: We are currently seeking individuals who want to proactively be involved. Our needs are many and we need volunteers and leaders. We have established the following Committees needing volunteers – Program Development, Financial, Fundraising, Public Relations, Information Technology and a Nominating Committee for the Board of Directors. If you or someone you know would like to be involved, please contact any one of us listed at the bottom of this page.
Fundraising: In an effort to help “Angel” concentrate on healing we would like to assist her financially by sponsoring a series of fundraisers. Currently, we are announcing that The HALO Foundation is sponsoring a fundraising event for Angel’s benefit to be held at Mid-City Rock’nBowl on Sunday, June 10, 2012 from 1:00p.m. to 4:00pm. We are in the preliminary planning stages at this time and are working on entertainment and a Silent Auction. We need volunteers and humbly ask that you consider giving us your TIME to help us plan and execute this event, to assist with planning the entertainment or helping to collect donations for the Silent Auction. Please help us in having a successful and fun-filled event by donating your time.
Please share this with your staff, colleagues, family and friends. For More Information:
Mary Kathryn Nichols
MaryKYoung@att.net mail to: MaryKYoung@att.net
Michele Schellhaas, R.N.
Mds0919@yahoo.com mail to: Mds0919@yahoo.com
Tillytoo@aol.com mail to: Tillytoo@aol.com
The Healthcare Angels Lifeline Outreach Foundation
a/k/a The HALO Foundation
Holistic Healing for Violent Crime Victims in Healthcare
The mission of The HALO Foundation is to provide support, resources and a pathway for holistic healing addressing the physical, psychological, emotional, financial and legal needs for members of the healthcare community who become victims of violent crime while in the service of administering care to others.
Our medical community will feel free to administer necessary care to others without fearing for their own safety.
Our goal is simple, yet two fold. We want to provide support and comfort to our colleagues and their families who become victims of violence and to give them a sense of empowerment so they may recover to their full life potential. In addition, we want to be proactive in addressing the safety concerns of healthcare workers in our community. To address these goals we have issued a 7-point plan:
• To provide financial assistance to allow victims and their families to concentrate on recovery;
• To provide a peer support network;
• To provide a network of medical and legal professionals to ensure advocacy through law enforcement, judicial, and healthcare systems;
• To offer in partnership, safety, self-awareness and self-defense presentations, seminars and other professional trainings to healthcare workers;
• To promote community awareness of the daily dangers faced by home care professionals in an effort to promote collaborative community action efforts to stop victimization;
• To work to improve policies and procedures of the medical and legal professions in the treatment of victims of violence throughout the crisis;
• To collaborate with law enforcement and healthcare associations/organizations in an effort to affect the Safety Policy and Procedures and Safety Performance Improvement Plans to better protect healthcare providers working in field positions.
New Nursing Home Trend
Many moons ago, the only people living in nursing homes were the elderly. If your parents or grandparents needed 24 hour care, you could put them in a home where there would be nurses and aids there 24-7 to assist them. But, there’s a new trend going on( here in Louisiana for sure).
Facilities that previously only had elderly people are now getting young folks,folks in their 20′s-50′s…way too young to be in a facility with the elderly.Not only that, a lot of these young people have mental health problemsor drugs and alcohol problems. Some of the young people who end up in these facilities are helpful to the elderly. But a lot of times, they intimidate the elderly to the point where the elderly are afraid to say anything against them. Then, there’s the abuse and the situation of having young, sexual men in a place with females who are either elderly or mentally challenged. I received a phone call today informing me that an elderly female in one such facility was raped by a male living there. That’s a hard pill for a family member to handle. You think you’re doing the right thing by your loved one, putting her somewhere medical care is available, meals are being served, she can no longer wander out of the home so, she’s supposedly safe. Then, you get a call saying someone raped her there.
The nursing game has changed. It’s sad but, it’s true. I’ve heard horror stories over and over again. I’ve witnessed horror stories too. Since there aren’t any place for the mentally ill to go anymore, it seems the new trend is to put them into nursing facilities. But what happens to the poor elderly people who have to be there… with a paranoid schizophrenic, who refuses to take his medication? Who’s really protecting them? Folks call the state all the time and nothing ever changes.
If anyone is thinking about putting their loved one in a nursing care facility, do your research first. Don’t believe what they tell you. Visit there at different hours of the day. Walk every single hall in the facility. Take note of the mental capacity and age of everyone you see, employees included. Let your senses be your guide. What do you see, hear,smell? Hang around for lunch and order a plate, how does it taste? Do you see residents wandering around aimlessly or are they engaged in activities? What is the work environment like? Happy employees take better care of people. Visit as many places as humanly possible before making a decision about where you’ll put your loved one because, the game has changed.Healthcare has changed… and the elderly are suffering because of it.
I’m a registered nurse born,raised and living in the fabulous city of New Orleans. I’m married to a man who’s way too good for me and have two kids who keep me young and zany. My passions are for all things NOLA, Elder Rights and Animal Rights.
This piece was previously published on Bayou Creole’s blog of the same name.
The Supreme Court is gearing up to hear challenges to The Affordable Care Act soon. Access to affordable healthcare is an issue that impacts virtually every person in this country and one we should all be concerned about, whether you’re already covered under a plan or are uninsured. There are so many people in dire straits in our current economic climate and thousands are losing their healthcare benefits along with their jobs. Many are bankrupted after using their life savings to pay for medical costs over the lifetime max allowed by their insurance plans. (Under the plan, annual limits on benefits are phased out by 2014.)
This morning I read a piece in Women’s Voices for Change that has a lot of good information and links about The Affordable Care Act and I’ve decided to publish it here in it’s entirety. I hope you find it as valuable as I have.
The Affordable Care Act: An Online Primer
November 28, 2011 by Janet Golden
Though the Supreme Court is preparing to hear arguments about its constitutionality, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is law, and more provisions are set to go into effect this coming year and in 2013. With that in mind—and to brush up on the basics before the Court digs in—we asked healthcare scholar Janet Golden to give us a quick roundup of information that’s easily available online. —Ed.
On March 23, 2010 President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. (If you’ve got hours and hours of time to kill you can read the whole thing online. Before, during, and after the debate over this legislation, it’s been deemed everything from a sell-out to big business as usual to a socialist plot. But with more of its provisions going into effect in 2012, it’s worth taking a closer look at what’s in it for over-40 women and their families.
A key provision is the mandate requiring individuals to be covered by health insurance. It provides subsidies for low- and moderate-income individuals to purchase coverage, mandates a basic set of benefits, and prohibits exclusions based on pre-existing conditions. The logic of the mandate is simple: for the Affordable Care Act to effectively lower health care costs while covering those with expensive chronic conditions, we all need to participate. It simply isn’t fair for someone to avoid insurance premiums for decades and then, when needing millions in care, to jump into the coverage pool. Moreover, if only those needing care get coverage, insurance rates will be unaffordable. In a 2009 commentary on CBS News Moneywatch, one economist offered a simple explanation of the need for the individual mandate.
So what exactly is in this law—which I’ll call the Affordable Care Act—and how do you get accurate information about the phase-in of benefits? And which provisions directly affect women over 40? The answers can be found at a number of easily understood websites.
The federal government website Healthcare.gov offers a timeline explaining the implementation of the numerous provisions in the law. For example, women who run small businesses or who lead small nonprofit groups became eligible for tax credits for their contributions to their employees’ health insurance retroactive to January 1, 2010. Women over 65 on Medicare who hit the “donut hole” in their prescription-drug coverage received a one-time rebate check for $250, with additional coverage and discounts being phased-in. The website also has a list of the preventive services for women, mandated under the law, that are covered. Notably, mammography, cervical cancer screenings, and well-woman visits are covered. Funds for prevention—including those aimed at smoking and obesity—are increased under the law. It’s worth scrolling through the timeline and looking at the phase-in of various reforms. (Perhaps you’ve gone to the doctor this year and been pleased to find that you don’t have a co-pay for these services!) You’ll find additional information in Healthcare.gov factsheets.
Of the many sites offering information, my personal favorite is the one supported by the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation that funds research on healthcare issues and grant programs aimed at improving healthcare practice and policy. Their timeline and “health reform provisions” tool are the most clearly written and easiest to navigate of any that I’ve found.
Another rich source of information is the Kaiser Family Foundation website. The foundation, which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente or Kaiser Industries, aims to provide independent, factual information on health issues. They have a dedicated discussion of health reform, and if you’d rather watch than read, they produced a short video on the topic narrated by Cokie Roberts. If you think you know all you need to about the Affordable Care Act, you can take their ten-question online quiz and determine your knowledge of the new law. (For the record, I scored 9 out of 10—better than 97 percent of all Americans!)
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act required the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to determine the minimum set of benefits to be provided by all insurers. The Department asked the Institute of Medicine—an arm of the National Academy of Sciences that provides “unbiased and authoritative advice to decision makers and the public”—to propose criteria and methods for deciding what benefits should be covered. You guessed it—the IOM report is available online, too.
The Trust for America’s Health, a non-profit, non-partisan organization focused on public health and disease prevention, also has a website on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The TFAH does an excellent job of pointing to the health-promotion and disease-prevention funding that comes out of the legislation, including better nutrition in schools, injury-prevention programs, smoking-cessation efforts and nutrition labeling in chain restaurants.
As I’ve tried to suggest, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has numerous provisions and a phase-in period of several years. It is aimed at not only providing access to care through insurance, but promoting health through other initiatives. It is complex, but good sources of information are available.
Now, the Supreme Court is getting ready to hear arguments about the law in the wake of conflicting federal court rulings about various provisions. If you’d like to keep up with the news about this and other key health care debates, visit, or sign up for email delivery of Kaiser Health News. Your access to health services and public health efforts in your community, now and in the years to come, may depend upon the Supreme Court’s ruling, so it’s a good idea to stay informed.
Janet Golden is a professor of history at Rutgers-Camden and the author of numerous books and articles. She is a specialist in women’s history, medical history, and the history of childhood.
Testimonial photos via We Are the 99 Percent.
The Big Fix premieres this Friday as part of the New Orleans Film Festival. This documentary film details the massive government cover-up which has taken place in the wake of the BP oil spill. There will be a press conference at 2 pm at the Contemporary Arts Center before the film is shown. The entire schedule for the festival can be found on their website.