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Blog Posts from 2009

Welcome to the blog for Health & Medicine. We're a 33-year old 501c3 nonprofit that operates as an independent, freestanding center driven by a singular mission: formulating health policy, advocacy and health systems to enhance the health of the public.

2009

Dec 29, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

Quentin Young Receives Lifetime Membership Award from Health Care for the Homeless Clinicians' Network

During the recent celebration of the 25th anniversary of Heartland Alliance’s Healthcare for the Homeless program, Quentin Young was honored with a lifetime membership award by Health Care for the Homeless Clinicians' Network. The award was presented at a breakfast for Young held at Café Too (one of Inspiration Café cafes). 

Pictured below: Quentin Young, MD with John Lozier, MSSW, Executive Director, Health Care for the Homeless Clinicians' Network  The award reads:With grateful appreciation for his leadership in the Single Payermovement, and for his great character, Quentin Young, MD, has beennamed an Honorary Lifetime Member of the Health Care for the HomelessClinicians’ Network. December 17, 2009

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Pictured below: Front row (from left): Quentin Young, MD, Chairman, Health & Medicine Policy Research Group; John Lozier, MSSW, Executive Director, Health Care for the Homeless Clinicians' Network 

Back Row (from left): Jack Salmon, PhD, Board Member, Health & Medicine; Bechara Choucair, MD, Board Member, Health & Medicine;  Margie Schaps, MPH, Executive Director, Health & Medicine;  Joe Zanoni, MILR,  Board Member, Health & Medicine;  Lon Berkeley, President, Health & Medicine

Photo 1

Dec 29, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

The Tribune proposes to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory...

From Quentin Young (Health & Medicine's Founder and Chairman) and Margie Schaps (Health & Medicine's Executive Director):  The admittedly complex reality of Cook County budgeting has miraculously produced the preconditions for genuine fiscal and medical reform.  The creation of an independent board which has proven to be dedicated and effective in confronting the political mess that passes for county government is a marvelous civic achievement.  Its early track record is laudable, with significant reforms already in place. This was accomplished in an era requiring serious budget reductions.

Remember, also, that their decisions were made in an environment of increased need from the growing number of uninsured sick people.

This is the precise moment to reward the Independent Board’s virtue with support in this historic transition from maladministration to a reliable efficient service to those in need.  The County Board and the public should heed Health System CEO William Foley’s clear- eyed report that the recent abrupt further reductions in the health budget will wreak havoc.  It will force cutting of vital health services during this critical period. 

The County Board recently reduced the odious sales tax by half.  This is certainly popular with the tax- burdened public. But to slash revenue at this moment of significant reform is opportunist and dangerous. Our nation’s economy is troubled; the County’s resources are even more stressed. 

The challenge we in Cook County face is: can we continue to move to a more accountable, more effective health system at this time.  We believe achieving this requires prudent but adequate funding of the Independent Board’s program of reform.  This requires securing available state and federal governmental funding, continuing to improve insurance collections, and expanded grant support that has been neglected heretofore.

Dec 22, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

Profiles in Service - Chicago Schweitzer Fellows in Action

View these two powerful Profiles in Service from The Chicago Schweitzer Fellows Program. A reminder,  applications for the program are due February 1, 2010.  Learn more about the application process

Sara Van Koningsveld, a Columbia College Dance Movement Therapyand Counseling student, received a Schweitzer Fellowship award to helpimprove the health and well being of an underserved Chicago community.She designed a project to reduce stress and improve self esteem forresidents of Deborah's Place. We thank Sara and the women at Deborah'sPlace for their participation in this video. ©2009 Health and MedicinePolicy Research Group, Chicago, IL 

When he received a Schweitzer Fellowship in 2007, University ofChicago medical student Jason Waldinger decided to create a tutoringprogram for underserved youths at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club. Hewas successful with sustaining the project, and it is still goingstrong with the help of students from the University.

Dec 22, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

Letter in The Southtown Star from Concerned Doctors; Re: The Cook County Health & Hospitals System

A letter in the December 13, 2009 Southtown Star from concerned members of the medical staff of the Cook CountyHealth and Hospitals System and members of Doctors Council, SEIU.

...Weare writing with regard to your recent editorial regarding Cook County.This editorial has taken President Todd Stroger to task regarding thetax increase without addressing the most crucial issue at hand,guaranteeing the survival of the Heath and Hospitals System, as well asthe needed expansion to meet heavy new demand.

Much is made about problems and waste in Cook County government, butas staff on the front lines of health care delivery, we see very littleof it. The staff we work with - from technicians, to clerks, to nursesand doctors - are largely hard-working and dedicated, and struggling tokeep up with the growing patient load. The business of saving livesgoes on daily. Come and watch us work! Read the full letter



http://www.southtownstar.com/news/opinion/letters/1934077,121309letters.article
Dec 22, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

HMPRG's Sarah Schriber Interviewed on the Need for Aftercare for Juveniles in the Justice System


Hear Sarah Schriber; Senior Policy Consultant for Health & Medicine's Court Involved Girls work, in this WBEZ interview.

Juvenile justiceexperts are meeting in Chicago today to talk about the best ways tohelp kids who’ve been incarcerated make a good adjustment when they goback to their communities. The Illinois Department of Juvenile Justicesays it’s planning to transform the way the system works in CookCounty. But, WBEZ has learned the department hasn’t filled out thepaperwork required to get an already promised $4-million federal grant. 

Read or listen to the interview through the link below.

City Room™ - Metro - Is Dept. of Juvenile Justice Letting Grant Money Slip?.
Dec 14, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

Quentin Young & Margie Schaps Quoted in Sunday New York Times Article on County Budget Woes

 

Chicago News Cooperative

Budget Woes Fray County’s Public Health System

By DON TERRY

Published: December 12, 2009

As a rule, Sam Garcia, 51, is so busy struggling to get by that he does not have much time to follow the maneuverings of Illinois’s elected officials. Nearly a year ago, Mr. Garcia lost his job at a suburban sheet metal plant, his health insurance and a piece of his pride all on the same day.

But Todd H. Stroger, the president of the Cook County Board, got Mr. Garcia’s attention last week when he warned about the consequences of the board’s vote to roll back the county’s part of the sales tax to 1.25 percent from 1.75 percent on July 1. Mr. Stroger said the board’s action created a $75 million hole in the county health care budget, necessitating deep service cuts, hundreds of layoffs and posing a risk that county hospital patients might “needlessly die.”

“It scared me,” Mr. Garcia said on a recent Saturday night while he waited in the emergency room at John H. Stroger Hospital. The hospital is named after Todd Stroger’s father, who was county board president for 12 years, from 1994 to 2006, until he had a stroke. “Where else am I going to go when I get sick?”  Read the full article

Dec 09, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

Action Item: Derail the "Fast Track Commission" and Protect Medicare!

Please signThe Frances Perkins Center's petition to protect Medicare and Social Security from "fast track" cuts (and pass it on to all your colleagues and friends)

From The Frances Perkins Center: A few days ago, Ben Bernanke encouraged Congress to act like bank robber Willie Sutton (left) and raid Social Security and Medicare, saying, "That's where the money is." In his re-appointment hearing on December 3rd, Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke called for cuts in Medicare and Social Security, reminding Congress that it could even repeal Social Security and Medicare. "It's only mandatory until Congress says it's not mandatory," he stated.

What's going on? A conservative group of Democrats and Republicans in Congress are trying to scare us into thinking that the only way to reduce the budget deficit is by cutting Social Security and Medicare. These fear-mongerers are telling us that those programs must be cut now -- not in the open by elected officials who are accountable to us, but behind closed doors by an unelected commission. As with the "weapons of mass destruction" fiasco, they're hoping that in fear we'll agree to give away more of our American rights and privileges -- in this case, social programs. Senators Kent Conrad and Judd Gregg, along with a group of colleagues, say that they'll hold the budget hostage until their fast-track commission is appointed, a commission that's hostile to Social Security and Medicare.

We need to get word to Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and Barack Obama that cutting social programs is the WRONG way to cut the deficit. A fast-track commission that limits debate and allows only an up-or-down vote on its proposals is undemocratic and anti-American. Robert Kuttner said this1 in the Huffington Post on November 30th about the Conrad-Gregg proposal for a fast-track commission: 

"We do need to reduce the ratio of debt to GDP. But we need to do it after the economy is back in recovery. And we need to do it using the normal legislative process. And above all we need to use progressive taxation rather than program cuts."

FACT: Social Security is not contributing to the deficit. The 2009 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees stated that Social Security ran a surplus of $180 billion last year with a reserve of $2.4 trillion. The Congressional Budget Office, in its August 2009 forecast, said that full benefits can continue to be paid until 2043.
FACT: There is ample time for Congress to review options for adjusting the Social Security system through the usual legislative process. Congress should do its job, not hide behind an unelected, unaccountable commission.
FACT: Such a hasty and undemocratic procedure would be unprecedented. Since 1935, Social Security legislation has always had the benefit of full hearings before the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee, executive sessions giving all members a chance to offer amendments, and unlimited debate and opportunity for amendments in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
FACT: More than 52 million people are depending on monthly benefits this year. Wounded soldiers and their spouses and children receive Social Security benefits, as well as the families of soldiers who have died for their country. Social Security continues to provide benefits to the families of those who lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks, and millions of others whose families have met unthinkable calamity.
FACT: The solution to Medicare and Medicaid's rising costs can be found by cutting the cost of health care and fixing our broken system, not by cutting services. The bills under consideration in Congress, though not perfect, would help do that.
FACT: The projected deficit--which seems like a huge number--isn't that huge. As pointed out by Paul Krugman on his blog2, our debt-service burden is about the same as that of 1992 under President H.W. Bush.
FACT: There are and always have been politicians who oppose Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid, and would like nothing better than to see these programs cut to shreds.3 There are also many corporate titans who'd like to see all those dollars invested with their Wall Street firms (remember George Bush's privatization?).
FACT: There are many ways to cut the deficit. Why are these Senators so eager to cut social programs but so reluctant to raise taxes on billionaires and corporations?

Don't let the alarmists frighten us into cutting the very programs that have kept our people healthy and our communities solvent in these dire financial times.
Derail the fast-track commission! Add your name to the petition

Dec 07, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

Good article on patient numbers as an indicator of threat re: possible closures at Oak Forest & Provident Hospitals

Quentin Young, and Margie Schaps are quoted in the following article from The County Line at Chicago Current by Alex Parker, December 7, 2009

Low patient numbers key as threat of hospital closures looms

In 2008, Oak Forest Hospital’s emergency department saw an averageof eight patients a day. Of its 213 beds, only 55 to 60 are in use.

The bed count at Provident Hospital has steadily shrunk to 85, and only 60 are in use.

It’s inefficiencies like these, which can mean high operating costsand hefty budgets, that are key in the debate of whether to close OakForest and Provident.

Health system CEO William Foley is weighing that move following the partial repeal of the sales tax.

The repeal of one-half percent of the county sales tax increasemeans the health system is poised to enter 2011 without an estimated$75 million in county funds. Coupled with the loss of $162 million inoutside federal funds, officials are bracing for the loss of 1,250 morejobs and the potential loss of services.

They’re are unsure what kind of benefits the health system will getfrom Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, and the system has grappledwith tens of thousands of out-of-county patients, costing it about $50million a year.

The options are grim, but it would take a lot for county leaders to close two of the county’s three hospitals. Read the full article

Hear a podcast  segment on the implications of tax rollback on the County health system on today's 848 on WBEZ

Dec 04, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

Interesting article from Crain's Chicago Business on hospitals seeing the upside to home-based health care...

From the November 2, 2009 Crain's Chicago Business, an article by Mike Colias

Growth Rx: Keep Patients Away

As seen in Crain's Chicago Business
Published November 2, 2009
By Mike Colias

TomCornwell is on pace this month to make his 25,000th career house call,a milestone that has cost his employer millions of dollars in forgonerevenue by keeping sick patients out of the hospital.

"They'repaying me to keep business away," says Dr. Cornwell, a geriatrician whohas worked for Central DuPage Hospital for 12 years. "But it makesperfect sense to give the sickest patients good care at home so theydon't have to go to the hospital unnecessarily."

Many localhospitals are arriving at that same conclusion, prodded in part bymeasures included in sweeping health reform bills grinding throughCongress that would penalize hospitals that have a revolving door forchronically sick patients, a big driver of rising medical costs. Thehospitals are beefing up home-care services to more closely monitorthose patients in hopes of preventing costly readmissions — and afuture hit to the bottom line.

"Home care has become a strategicopportunity for hospitals because of incentives that are coming toprevent unnecessary admissions and improve long-term outcomes," saysNathan Cohen, a senior analyst at Sg2, a health care consultancy inSkokie.

Illinois hospitals have more work to do than most: Astudy published in the New England Journal of Medicine in April foundthat 21.7% of Medicare patients discharged from Illinois hospitals in2004 returned within a month — the nation's fourth-highest rate.

Read the full article

Dec 02, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

Two Articles on Cook County Health Issues

Article 1, from Chicago Current, presents a recap of Tuesday county board vote to override President Stroger’s veto and move forward with a tax rollback - with comments from health system CEO William Foley. Article two is a Chicago Tribune opinion piece on preserving the old county hospital building as the office location for the health system.


Cook Commissioners override sales tax veto

  • By Alex Parker 
  • December 01, 2009 @ 1:37 PM
  • Cook County Commissioners dealt President Todd Stroger a blow today, overriding his veto and sustaining the rollback of the one half percent sales tax that they said harmed county residents, slowed business and is illogical in a bad economy.

    Commissioners took advantage of a new state law requiring only 11 votes to override the veto, instead of the previous 14. Twelve commissioners voted in favor of the rollback, which will create a hole in the 2011 budget of between $188 million and $200 million.

    The tax will be reduced beginning in July.

    Stroger and his allies, Commissioners Jerry Butler, Joan Murphy, Deborah Sims and William Beavers warned that repealing the tax would have devastating consequences on the county health system, which would lose between $75 million and $80 million in county subsidies next year.

    “There’s not a lot of fat in our budget in this fiscal year,” health system CEO William Foley said at a press conference after the vote. In order to plug the hole, Foley said the health system board would consider all options, including closing Provident and Oak Forest Hospitals. It will likely layoff up to 1,250 employees, in addition to roughly 1,000 who have been or will be laid off between now and the spring.

    “We’re looking at everything,” he said. “We will not be able to treat as many people. This will go against the goal of our strategic plan, which is to increase access (to health care).” Read the full article


    Chicago's Ellis Island (Tribune Editorial) 

    Through much of the 20th century, when de facto segregation excluded poor minorities from numerous upscale Chicago hospitals, thousands of America's top physicians offered world-class care to millions of the city's newcomers -- Eastern Europeans, African-Americans, Latinos, anyone in need. Cook County Hospital, the Beaux Arts gem on West Harrison Street, delivered their babies by the tens of thousands -- the future Mayor Harold Washington included.

    Cook County Board members mothballed the nearly century-old structure after completion in late 2002 of its replacement, Stroger Hospital. Now the County Board can give this aging but solid landmark to Chicago's poor -- it's been called our Ellis Island -- new life as rehabbed and badly needed office space for the county's health system.

    We hope today's board members appreciate the rich history they can preserve, and the sensible economics they can embrace. The opportunity to achieve both goals has just landed in their laps.

    A county-ordered study by real estate analysts Jones Lang LaSalle recommends modernizing the old hospital to replace the county health system's current headquarters, a dilapidated former nursing dormitory that's begging to be demolished. The county's conversion of the old hospital to administrative space would offer "the highest and best market use and lowest overall cost," says the study, which also evaluated conversions to a hotel, rental housing, condos, senior housing and other possible improvements for the Near West Side's medical district. Read the full article

     

    Nov 24, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Observations from Kristen Pavle, Policy Analyst at Health & Medicine's Center for Long-Term Care Reform

    Observations from Kristen Pavle, MSW, Policy Analyst at Health & Medicine's Center for Long-Term Care Reform:

    Recently attending an Elder Economic Security Initiative state partner summit in Washington, D.C., I had the privilege to meet with two Congressional staff policy advisors who worked for the Senate Special Committee on Aging. 


    The Senate Special Committee on Aging was established as a temporary committee in 1961 and was granted permanent status in 1977.  Special committees do not have legislative authority, but are a reliable and essential source of research and information, and often useful in pushing legislation for consideration.  It is currently chaired by Senator Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin).

    Some key Senators who have played a role in the Senate Special Committee on Aging include:
    •    Senator Frank Moss (D-Utah)—worked on paying attention to unacceptable nursing home conditions
    •    Senator Frank Church (D-Idaho)—focused on protecting older Americans from age discrimination
    •    Senator John Heinz (R-Pennsylvania)—researching the Medicare’s Prospective Payment System and the “quicker and sicker” discharge idea

    The Special Committee on Aging staffers had much valuable information about current health and aging legislation, for example: the Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement Act(Senate Bill 647), the Physicians Payments Sunshine Act (Senate Bill 301), and the Medicare Payment Improvement Act of 2009 (Senate Bill 1249).

    Health & Medicine is partnering with the University ofIllinois at Chicago School of Public Health—Great Lakes Centers forOccupational and Environmental Safety and Health, in convening an OlderHealth Care Workers Workgroup.  It was reassuring to hear that a keyfocus of this Special Committee was older workers! Here is a summary of current legislation on older workers from the Special Committee on Aging.

    Please contact me if you have anycomments or questions about my experience with the Senate SpecialCommittee on Aging, the Elder Economic Security Initiative, or ourCenter on Long-Term Care Reform.

    Nov 19, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Elder Economic Security Initiative (EESI) Update

    Health & Medicine’s Center for Long-Term Care Reform was designated by the Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW), a national organization, to be an official state partner in the Elder Economic Security Initiative (EESI) several years ago.  


    EESI provides information about the actual cost of living, the Elder Index, for older Americans.  There is a clear gap between what a typical older American makes through Social Security, pensions and other government programs, and the actual cost of living (click here for more information in Illinois).  The Elder Index accounts for people living on their own or as couples, and as renters, owners with mortgages or owners without mortgages.  In addition to housing, the Elder Index takes into account the cost of living, including: healthcare, transportation and food.  The Index is based on geographic locations throughout individual states.

    •    Currently, EESI  is active in 12 states: Massachusetts, California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Connecticut, New Jersey, Michigan, New York, West Virginia, and New Mexico

    •    The Elder Index has been completed in 9 states, including Illinois

    •    The Elder Index and concepts of the Initiative are incorporated into policy course curriculum for graduate social work students at the University of Chicago


    Check out WOW's EESI website and blog for more information on EESI at a national level.


    The Elder Economic Security Initiative in Illinois will be forming a coalition of stakeholders and working to have the Illinois Elder Index used as a benchmark for service provision for older adults. Keep checking back for updates!

    Nov 19, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    From NHeLP: Loopholes in Prescription Drug Coverage

    From Steve Hitov at National Health Law Program (NHeLP)

    Turns out the “deal” struck by the administration and the Senate with the drug industry to buy its support for health reform contains a tiny loophole.  While the industry promised modest discounts on certain drugs, primarily for people caught in the Medicare Part D donut hole (which, lest we forget, was necessitated only by the MMA’s wholesale capitulation to the drug industry), the administration and the Senate neglected to specify the base line price from which those discounts would be taken.  So, coincidentally if one is to believe the drug industry, or in preparation for its promised discounts if one is not inclined to accept the industry’s explanation as gospel, drug prices have risen in the last year at  a pace not seen since 1992.  Let’s see, what major health initiative was afoot in 1992?   Why, health reform, coincidentally.   The more things change .  .  .  

    Read NHeLP's November 18, 2008 Editorial 

     

    Nov 19, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    CLASS Act - Long Term Care Receives Support At National Level

    Long-term care is receiving attention on a national level!  Currently over 10 million people need long-term care services and supports, with an aging population this number is continuously growing.  Long-term care services and supports are essential to helping older American age in their homes and communities. While we at Health & Medicine’s Center for Long-Term Care Reform recognize the dire need for a long-term care system in Illinois, it is good to see some recognition of these issues at a federal level as well.  

    The Community Living Assistance Services and Support (CLASS) Act is a bill “to amend the Public Health Service Act to help individuals with functional impairments and their families pay for services and supports that they need to maximize their functionality and independence and have choices about community participation, education, and employment, and for other purposes.”

    The CLASS Act was introduced in both the House of Representatives (HR 1721) and the Senate (S 697), and is also included in the final health reform bill in the House, “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act (HR 3200).

    The CLASS Act makes it more affordable and accessible for older adults and persons with disabilities who have long-term care needs to purchase care services helping them remain in their homes and communities.  

    Key Points:

    The CLASS Act would establish automatic enrollment of workers by employers in a national insurance program; workers may opt-out

    • Enrollment in the program consists of monthly premium deductions from payroll
    • Individuals must pay into the program for 5 years before claiming benefits

    The CLASS Act insurance program benefits persons needing non-medical long-term care services and supports, with two or more activities of daily living

    • Activities of Daily Living include things like: eating, bathing, dressing, and transferring

    The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) concluded that the CLASS Act will not cost the government during the first 10 years

    The CLASS Act also alleviates the burden of financing long-term care for Medicaid

    • A projected $2.5 billion will be saved in the first 10 years

    The Kaiser Family Foundation does a great job explaining all the details. Check out their site  There “The Sleep in Health Care Reform: Long-Term Care and the CLASS Act” has a wealth of information.

    Nov 13, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Brief Summary of Margie Schaps' Comments on Health Reform and Disproportionate Share Hospitals

    Last month, Health & Medicine's Executive Director Margie Schaps was a panelist for Health Care Reform: Its Implication for Women, a symposium sponsored by Chicago Foundation for Women and the Anti-Defamation League and hosted at Seyfarth Shaw LLP i Chicago.   Below are a summary of some of Margie's comments:

    Margie Schaps, executive director of the Health and Medicine Policy Research Group (a Foundation grantee), spoke about the challenges that health care reform poses for hospitals that serve primarily low-income communities, namely Disproportionate Share Hospitals (DSH). These hospitals, which operate as safety net institutions, receive most of their funding from the federal government through DSH payments. If the new health care reform passes, more Americans will have health insurance, and there will be less need for DSH hospitals. Unfortunately, under the reform, “half a million people [still] will not have health insurance,” Schaps asserted. She reminded us that, if DSH hospitals no longer receive proper funding, there “will always [be] people who are undocumented, mentally ill, and have drug addictions who will not be able to take advantage” of the hospitals’ services. Schaps helped remind us that, while many Americans will be covered under the new health care reform, there will still be a significant number of uninsured who will not have access to health care.

    Read the brief summary of the symposium posted on Chicago Foundation for Women's website. 

    Nov 12, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Ralph Nader: Still Waiting for Health Care

    From Nader.org

    Still Waiting for Health Care

    The House of Representatives debate on the health insurance “reform” is over with the Democrats failing the people and the Republicans disgracing themselves as having left their minds back in the third grade (with apologies to third graders).

    House Democrats were determined to pass any bill with a nice sounding name, such as “The Affordable Health Care for America Act”. Single payer, full Medicare for all was never on the table even though a majority of citizens, physicians and nurses support that far more efficient, free choice of health care professionals, system.

    There are no effective cost containment or prevention measures in the bill. The public option is so weak it will be a receptacle for the sickest of patients among the meager number of people who qualify for its coverage. There are no provisions to reduce the number of people (100,000) who die annually from medical malpractice in hospitals.

    Nor is there a major program to reduce the tens of billions of dollars that is stolen yearly out of Medicare from criminals inside and outside the medical profession. Read the full posting
    Nov 12, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    NILC Alert on Passage of HR 3962: The Impact of the House Reform Bill on the Immigrant Community

    Steve Hitov from the National Health Law Program shared the following  good summary from the National Immigration Law Center on how immigrants are treated in the health reform bill that passed in the House last week, saying :  " The current proposed treatment of  immigrants, lawful and otherwise, in the House and Senate ranges from merely uncharitable and occasionally ill-advised (in the House) to truly Xenophobic, bordering on hateful (in the Senate).  For those on the list who think we are, or as a country ought to be, better than that, NILC has conveniently provided a list of possible Next Steps below to guide you in your efforts to convince your elected officials that it is at best bad manners to invite immigrants into our house (remember, many of restrictions, like the 5 year ban from Medicaid and CHIP, apply to legal immigrants) and then treat them like 18th century kitchen help."

    NILC_logo_homepage

    A Move Forward - Health Reform Passes in the House of Representatives

    The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly for Immigrants
    Late Saturday night, November 7, 2009, the House of Representatives passed the "Affordable Health Care for America Act" (H.R. 3962) by a close vote of 220-215. This health reform
    legislation could be a critical step towards changing the status quo to help Americans obtain quality, affordable health care. Yet the bill sends mixed signals to immigrants in terms of whether
    immigrants and their families will be fully integrated in our communities with fair access to affordable health care.  Read the rest of the email that was sent.

    Nov 10, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Margie Schaps on the Anti-Choice Actions in the House

    From the Chicago Foundation for Women's "Tuesday Blast" 
    Photo1677

    Margie Schaps (left), executive director at our grantee Health and Medicine Policy Research Group, saidto us, "Representative Stupak and his fellow anti-choice demagogues inthe House have set reproductive health rights back decades. We must allredouble our efforts to ensure that the Senate bill does not includethe restrictive language of the House." Schaps was a panelist at ourOct. 14 panel on women and health reform, cosponsored by the Anti-Defamation League.

    Read CFW's November Tuesday Blast on the Threat to Reproductive Rights

    Nov 09, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    The House Health Reform Bill: From Bad to Worse...

    Quentin Young had this to say about the House bill:    This weekend, the US House passed (by a vote of 220-215) a very compromisedhealth reform bill. The public option is battered and is expected to be furtherdiminished by the US Senate. It has been mandated that the uninsured secure insuranceor face serious fines. No real cost control elements have found their wayinto  a bill which, in brief,significantly expands the power of the Insurance Industry and Big Pharma. Itcannot - and will not - achieve universalcoverage, improved quality or controlled costs.

    A promise from Speaker Pelosi to submit single payer reformto a House vote was, at the last minute, abandoned. Single Payer leaders in theHouse (Conyers, Kucinich, & Weiner) were co-opted. A main argument againstthe Weiner Amendment was the assertion, from Speaker Pelosi, that, were she toallow a vote on the Weiner Amendment, she would also have to allow otheramendments including those supporting anti-choice financing. In fact, a verylarge anti-choice amendment was accepted,which makes this bill even worse than itwas…

    Nov 06, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Quentin Young/William McNary Chicago Trib Letter to the Editor Re: The CCHHS Interim Board

    The Emergency Network to Save Cook CountyHealth Services was among the earliest proponents of an independentcounty health system board, and we too welcome its efforts to create anefficient public health care system ("Don't back down," Editorial, Nov.4).

    To do so appropriately, however, is a challenging task given thecomplexities of health care needs and services in this large anddiverse county. The board's fundamental responsibility, as laid out inits establishing ordinance, is to provide universal access to qualityhealth care, regardless of a patient's ability to pay. Consequently,any long-term plan for transformation adopted by the health systemboard must be framed, first and foremost, by its effectiveness inmeeting the health needs of all county residents.

    As clearly documented by the board's outside consultants, the demandfor health services in the county exceeds current resources, increasingthe importance of efficient operations. However, efficiency in meetingthat demand means doing more with existing resources, not using fewerresources to do less. Read the entire letter

    Nov 06, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    We're Having an Impact on the Cook County Health & Hospitals Systems (CCHHS) Strategic Planning Process...

    The Cook CountyHealth and Hospitals System Board has been holding a second round of local town hall meetings toshare their preliminary recommendations from their strategic planningprocess. Health & Medicine has strongly urged the public to attend thesemeetings  to voice their concerns and responses to what is beingproposed. The result: County residents in attendance have  told the Board thatthey need to slow down, and  take more time considering the impact  of therecommendations. The Board has listened, and has now issued a revised draft of their recommendations.

    For now, no additional town hall meetings are scheduled, but please let us hear from you if you have concerns or ideas you would like us to bring forward.  You can leave comments here at the blog or email Margie Schaps at Health & Medicine.

    Oct 27, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Excerpts from "Revisiting the Scene: Quentin Young's Chicago" a short documentary shot on location, are now viewable on YouTube.

    Excerpts from "Revisiting the Scene Quentin Young's Chicago,"a short documentary shot on 10 locations across the city, are now on YouTube. View three clips from the film below.

    View all 10 clips from Revisiting the Scene: Quentin Young's Chicago

    Order the film

    Oct 22, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Candidates and issues sorting out for Cook County Board of Commissioners Race...

    From Quentin Young:  And so the season begins... Though the election is some months away, already the candidatesand issues are sorting out for the Cook County Board of Commissioners.  All 17 seats are in play…

    Presently President Stroger has indicated a bid for reelectionthough his polls have him barely in double digit territory… Toni Preckwinkle, 4 Ward Alderman, has announced hercandidacy and is building a campaign staff and platform… Congressman Danny Davis, a past Commissioner, is circulating two petitions – one for reelectionto Congress and one for the Cook County Board Presidency.  (Whichever post he chooses will greatly affectthe Ccounty Board race…) Forrest Claypool , sitting 12th District Commissionerwho lost to Stroger by 2 % points the last time around, has indicated adisinterest in County electoral politics and is moving to the private sector…

    Meanwhile President Stroger has suddenly increased his very publicdissatisfaction with the independent health board which was created at the timehe sought his reviled,  highly unpopularpenny increase in county sales tax.  Allof the urgent fiscal and administrative decisions will be developed during the upcomingcampaign. The overall estimates of the governing commission, so far, aregenerally favorable.

     

    Oct 21, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    "Backstory" on the Need for the Nursing Home Task Force

    Oct 21, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    HMPRG's Testimony from Cook County Health and Hospitals System's Strategic Planning Town Hall Meeting (10/20)

    HEALTH AND MEDICINE POLICY RESEARCH GROUP

    Testimony before the Cook County Health and Hospitals Systems Board

    October 2009

    My name is Margie Schaps, I am the Executive Director of the Health and Medicine Policy Research Group, a policy and advocacy group that has worked to improve health systems and the health of the public in Chicago, Cook County and the State. We have worked on issues related to the County Health system for all of our 28 years, were instrumental in making the case for the new hospital and for the creation of the Independent Board of Directors.

    Health and Medicine believes that the County Health system is so complex and large and that it should be, like nearly all other large public health systems in the country, governed by an independent board of directors.  The current board should be applauded for all that it has accomplished in its short tenure including hiring of a strong competent CEO, and for undertaking the difficult task of strategic planning.

    That said, we have serious concerns about the recommendations that are being put forth in the preliminary strategic planning document and want to raise several issues that do not seem adequately addressed in the document:

    • First and foremost the system is different from all other hospitals and health centers in our communities….your responsibility is to a population, those who need the public health system. Therefore you need to take a population based approach to all of your recommendations and evaluate each of them on how they will affect the health of the public.  The so called plan put forth is not a coherent plan based on the population needs of our County…rather it is a series of individual recommendations that do not come together around improving the health of the county’s residents.


    • Recognizing that your mission is to serve all regardless of ability to pay, you are still in a position of needing to maximize revenue into the system. No other public health system in the country has been able to draw commercially insured patients into their system, and we should assume the same will be true here. Given that reality, the Systems board should proceed to work closely with Medicaid. There is no mention in the document of working with or planning with the state Medicaid program….they need to be viewed as a partner with the County health system, and this should be undertaken in a very aggressive manner


    • As for specifics in your recommendations—first with regard to partnering with FQHC’s to provide primary care.  This certainly has some merit, but must be done with the greatest of caution…FQHC’s are very diligent about keeping the percentage of uninsured to a manageable amount for them to remain solvent…many FQHC’s in Chicago keep their percent uninsured at or below 10%, others are able to go as high as 40%.  In LA County, the health system got out of the primary care business by “partnering” with other health centers, and did not get any insured patients back into their system. We should enter into agreements with health centers only after making sure that the County Health system gets what it needs and deserves out of the relationship, ie. If patients need hospitalization will they guarantee they return to County, even, and especially if they are insured patients. Will County residents be able to train at these sites, and if not what will that mean to your training programs?


    • Hubs of care: Again, there might be some merit to this notion, but it must be remembered that people want to get primary care close to where they live. Furthermore, there might be significant financial implications by taking certain services outside the hospital—Medicare and Medicaid rates for specific services pay much higher rates when the services are provided within the hospital than they do outside.


    • All public systems face the problem of losing patients to other hospitals once they get insurance. The way to address this in part is to have comprehensive, population based programs to address serious health issues like cancer, stroke, diabetes and heart disease. If people are convinced their health issues are being addressed comprehensively they will be more likely to stay within the system even when they become insured


    • Provident: The south side needs health care facilities. The University of Chicago is cutting back on the amount of free care and Medicaid they will provide. There may be an opportunity to collaborate with the Uof C and get support from them for serving low income people on the south side. The Systems board should appoint a task force to look closely at what opportunities there may be for Provident before making any final decisions on its fate. Furthermore, if the system decides to maintain emergency services at Provident, this can’t be done without having some level of inpatient services.


    • Oak Forest: Again, I would reiterate that the greatest growing need in the County is on the south side and the southern suburbs. Before making significant changes to the Oak Forest facility we would recommend appointing a  task force to look at all options to serve the growing population in need in that area.


    • One of the only things that all health reform proposals in Congress right now share is that everyone with an income below 133% of poverty will be covered by Medicaid.  This does mean that many of the people now served in the County system will have Medicaid…the challenge to the System is to create programs and services that will manage the health problems faced by this population and will make people want to use them.


    • Finally, we urge the board and the system leadership to look for opportunities to collaborate or merge with other public systems, including the Chicago Department of Public Health and other public systems across Northern Illinois.

    Oct 20, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    HMPRG's Margie Schaps speaks about Charity Care on Crain's ChicagoBusiness.com

    Oct 20, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Health and Medicine Policy Research Group Testimony - Nursing Home Safety Task Force Meeting (Chicago, IL, October 20, 2009)

    Below is testimony deivered today at the first open, public meeting of the Illinois Nursing Home Task Force

    My name is Phyllis Mitzen.  I speak on behalf of the Health & Medicine Policy Research Group, Center for Long-Term Care Reform in commending Michael Gelder and the Nursing Home Safety Task Force for the way you are handling this delicate and extremely important topic.  The collaboration among state departments is not only refreshing but necessary to successfully improve the way people are served in our Illinois nursing homes.  The current ‘crisis’ evolved over the years because of Illinois’ failure to adequately plan for the long term needs of people with severe mental illness. Nursing homes stepped in to fill the void and the state responded by adding regulations.

    At the risk of repeating what has already been stated, the state of Illinois has a moral obligation to care for the health care needs of our most frail and vulnerable citizens, including meeting their mental health needs.  The severely mentally ill deserve competent and appropriate care that they are not currently receiving in some nursing homes, despite explicit regulations.   

    To maintain the dignity of all people residing in nursing homes, we must learn from research into best practices and benefit from the experiences of other states who have encountered similar difficulties.  The problems are too significant for expediency to triumph over careful planning.  While we understand that fiscal realities may not permit the separation of frail older adults and younger disabled people from the mentally ill in these nursing homes, Illinois must invest resources to serve each of these individuals in evidence-based programs where each person can live safely and receive the services they need.  It is imperative that people are effectively assessed and reassessed to ensure that their well-being, safety, and needs are met throughout their stay in our nursing homes.
     
    Long term care planning requires a systematic approach.  We are pleased that the Governor has taken this first step to bring all of the parties around the table to address nursing home safety. That said, we find ourselves in this current situation with a need to change the entire long-term care system: the nursing homes are in obvious need of purposeful intervention AND the home and community based services we offer are in dire need of attention and funding.  Five years ago, the state legislature mandated that Illinois transform its comprehensive system of older adult services. Central to this transformation was the commitment to care for people at home, rather than in nursing homes, for as long as possible.  This goal remains essential if we are to take seriously the wishes of the state’s elders and their families.  We trust that this present collaboration among state departments will serve as a model to guide further reform of long-term care.  This commitment must extend to all people who need assistance.  It has been said that a crises is too important to waste.  We are in crises now—budget woes that are threatening home and community-based services, serious problems within our nursing homes, cuts to other services we need and value.  Let us use this crisis to make a renewed commitment to those among us who must rely on others to do what so many of us take for granted.  We who are seated in this room recognize the gravity of this situation; if we do not act with urgency, the long-term care system in Illinois will continue to show up as exposes in the Chicago Tribune.

    Phyllis B. Mitzen, Co-Director
    Center for Long-Term Care Reform
    Health and Medicine Policy Research Group
    312-372-4292

    Oct 12, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Chicagoans, Tune into CAN-TV for Provocative Dialogue on Health Care Reform

    The ARC09 Forum held September 19, 2009 at Access Living: The Fierce Urgency of Now- HealthCare and Human Rights with Dr. Linda Murray and V.J. Prashad will air on Sunday October, 18th 1 PM on CAN TV, Channel 21.  Revisit the speaker list and the forum "framing"

    The forum hosted by Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellows on September 22, 2009 at UIC: Health Reform: Successes and Failures from Varying View Points, will air Tuesday, October 13th, 9:30 AM on CAN-TV Channel 19 and Tuesday, October 20th, 12:30 PM, on CAN TV Channel 21. Revisit the speaker list for that forum

    Oct 08, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Cook County Health & Hospital System (CCHHS) Strategic Planning Has Broad Implications for All Systems of Care in County!

    From Margie Schaps & Quentin Young: A bit of background: The CCHHS Interim Board was implemented as a way to address nepotism, inefficiency and sweetheart contracts. (HMPRG was instrumental in developing the ordinance for the new System Board.) The Board - highly skilled health and public service professional receives no financial remuneration or benefits - is very dedicated and focused. They have devoted many hours in restructuring the system.

    It took 1 year for this Interim Board to pick top leadership and begin personnel and budget reforms that have been quite successful. The new CEO, William Foley, is  experienced, professional, and goal directed and is putting in place a highly qualified team. Now, the CCHHS is undergoing strategic planning that is going to have a significant impact on all systems of care in the County.  On October 7, 2009, a day long strategic planning retreat was held, facilitated by Integrated Clinical Solutions, Inc.

    Thepreliminary recommendations of CEO Foley, his team, and the consultants - which the public has an opportunity to comment on -  are asfollows:

    • CREATE “HUBS” OF PATIENT CARE AT PROVIDENT,OAK FOREST HOSPITAL (OFH) AND STROGER HOSPITAL
    • ELIMINATE INPATIENT CARE AT OFH
    • ELIMINATE INPATIENT CARE AT PROVIDENT
    • ELIMINATE OB SERVICES AT PROVIDENT 
    • PARTNER WITH RUSH AND UIC ON PEDIATRICS AT ONE LOCATION, NOT NECESSARILY STROGER HOPSITAL
    • CLOSE SOME OF THE ACHN CLINICS AND CONSOLIDATE  OTHERS INTO “HUBS” AND PARTNER WITH FQHCS DEPENDING ON THE NEED
    • LOBBY FOR THE CONTINUATION OF THE INDEPENDENT BOARD

    Health & Medicine(HMPRG) is in the process of developing comprehensive reaction to these dramatic recommendations, which will result in significant changes to the System. In the meantime, we remind you that the ordinance that created the Interim Board had a three-year "lifespan" 1/2 of which has passed during this start-up process.  Serious consideration must be given to extend the Interim Board's tenure - by granting additional years, or making their tenure open-ended until terminated by the elected County Board. The Emergency Network to Save Cook County Health Services must address this soon. 

    CCHHS is about to hold a second round of Community Town Hall Meetings to present the System's plan for the future of healthcare in the County. This series of meetings will focus on sharing information gathered during the first series of community meetings, and will give the public another opportunity to comment on the strategic direction of the Health System. Health & Medicine  encourages people to attend and voice their opinions.  Download, share and post the flyer with meeting dates and times.

    We will be posting and updating information as it comes in...

    Oct 07, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    From Tim Foley: CBO Estimates for the Gazillionth Time that Public Option Saves Money

    From change.org (read more of their postings in the column at far right)

    ...OK, this is just getting plum silly.

    You don't hear as much these days about how giving people the choice of enrolling in a government-administered insurance plan based on Medicare as one of many options in the Exchange marketplace will cause the end of private insurance as we know it (the Congressional Budget Office score predicting only 10-15 million people would enroll in a public option certainly put the damper on that myth). But you do hear all the time from Republicans and so-called moderate Democrats that "we can't afford a public option." They're playing on the confusion that "the public option" is the entirety of health reform, which it certainly is not. In fact, the public option is a net cost-saver.  The Congressional Budget Office confirmed for the umpteenth time today that having it as part of health reform saves money for all of us.

    To review, the CBO scored the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee bill twice -- once with an employer mandate and public option and once without. They found that a health care package with employers sharing responsibility and including a public option cost $400 billion less one that didn't have those items. Then they scored just the public option in the initial draft of the House bill and found that having it saved money -- $150 billion less -- vs. not having it.

    Read the rest of Tim's post

    Oct 06, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Two Recently Released Reports from HMPRG's Center for Long-Term Care Reform

    The Determination of Need (DON) Study: A Response to Legislative Mandate PA 95-565

    InJanuary, 2008, the Center  was asked by the Department to assist inresponding to legislative mandate, PA 95-565.  Advocates for theelderly were concerned that the service package available to people age60 and older through the Illinois Department on Aging is less robustthan that offered through the Department of Human Services for peoplewith disabilities who are under age 60.  The Center (principal authors - HMPRG's Phyllis Mitzen, Marianne Brennan  and Rebecca Finer, HMPRG consultant Martha Holstein) collaborated withthe Center for Research on Health and Aging at the University ofIllinois at Chicago which provided the statistical analysis of IDoA’sCommunity Care Program and the Home Services Program.  The Center, inaddition to coordinating the project, provided an analysis of aging anddisabilities services in six best-practice states: Arizona, Minnesota,Ohio, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin. The Study is the first indepth analysis of the Community Care Program since it’s inception in1982. The Determination of Need, Service Cost Maximum Study, submitted to IDOA in June, 2009, was broadly distributed by the Department and appears on HMPRG’s web site.  Read and Download the report

    Home Again Report: Final report to theIllinois Department on Aging (IDoA) on the Enhanced Transition HomeAgain Program (Home Again)

    HomeAgain Report: Final report to the Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA)(principal authors HMPRG's Phyllis Mitzen, Marianne Brennan, HMPRG consultant Martha Holstein)  on the Enhanced Transition Home Again Program (Home Again).  In July,2005, the IDoA initiated a transition demonstration project—HomeAgain—in six pilot areas in the state. As outlined in IDoA’s Requestfor Information, the purpose of the Home Again program is to “assist[senior] nursing facility residents who want and are able, to return totheir homes and communities.” Assistance is provided through enhancedsupports, including one-time transition costs, an expanded array ofon-going services, and dedicated transition case management. At the endof the first two years, the program had assessed 532 clients andtransitioned 209 back into the community. This final report provides adescriptive analysis of program implementation and outcomes of HomeAgain.Read and download the report

    Oct 05, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    From our Friends at NHeLP (and TheHill.com) a Reminder that Rumors of the Death of the Public Option May Be Exaggerated...

    Image001

    From our friends at NHelp, a reminder that rumors of the death of the public option may be somewhat exaggerated. 

     "...from the Hill (that's a publication, not just a location) come these three articles on the behind the scenes movement on the public option in health reform.  What any of this will mean at the end of the day is unclear, but at a minimum it means that the obituaries for the public option  on the national news last week  were premature .  So, it Is not too late to be heard on this subject if you are so inclined."

    Reid, Baucus ready to split on public option for healthcare as vote nears J. Taylor Rushing

    Dems Face Choices on Public Option Plans  Jeffrey Young

    Senator Schumer  Says Centrists "Very Open" to Public Option Michael O'Brien

    Thanks for sharing! 


    Sep 29, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    NPR Story on San Francisco's Universal Health Care Plan

    From the NPR Website...

    The Healthy San Francisco Plan, the city's public health plan for the uninsured, has many of the elements currently under consideration in Washington, D.C. It was proposed as a stopgap measure until Congress moved ahead with universal coverage. Now, it's being heralded as a public option that works and a model for reform. Sarah Varney reports for member station KQED.

    Listen to the story or read the transcript

    Sep 29, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    View Materials from Our Recent Conference on Older Health Care Workers

    Inthe next decade the annual growth rate of older workers is anticipatedto be four times greater than the rest of the workforce which hasprofound implications in the direct care professions – as agingpatients will be cared for by an aging workforce! That was the focus of“Older Healthcare Workers: Addressing Health and Safety Challenges onthe Job,”a conference in Chicago co-hosted by Health &Medicine Policy Research Group and the Great Lakes Centers forOccupational and Environmental Safety and Health of the School ofPublic Health, University of Illinois at Chicago. 

    Speakers included:Michael Gelder, Senior Advisor on Health Policy from the Office ofGovernor Pat Quinn; Robert Wordlaw from the Chicago Jobs Council; RobynGolden from Rush University Medical Center, Older Adult Programs;Martha Holstein & Margie Schaps of Health & Medicine’s Centerfor Long Term Care Reform; Marsha Love, Naoko Muramatsu and JosephZanoni from the School of Public Health.

    To view materials from this Conference on Older Health care Workers use this link or view our Special Page on Long Term Care (center column).

     

    Sep 24, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Regional Health Care Safety Net Summit Participants Get Palmetto Insights from Steve Skardon

    Sept 23 Skardon safety net mtg 005

    On September 23, 2009,  health safety net stakeholders from across the northern Illinois region met to learn from Steve Skardon, Executive Director of the Palmetto Project in South Carolina.  The Palmetto Project is a statewide, nonprofit corporation whose mission is to put innovative ideas to work solving social and economic problems in South Carolina. Steve Skardon's slide presentation can be accessed  in the slideshare reader in the far right column. BTW Slideshare also lets you view presentation transcripts on the site... We'll have notes from the summit to share soon...
    Sep 23, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Conference Focused on Creating Safe Workplaces for Aging Direct Caregivers

    In the next decade the annual growth rate of older workers is anticipated to be four times greater than the rest of the workforce which has profound implications in the direct care professions – as aging patients will be cared for by an aging workforce! That was the focus of “Older Healthcare Workers: Addressing Health and Safety Challenges on the Job,”an upcoming conference in Chicago co-hosted by Health & Medicine Policy Research Group and the Great Lakes Centers for Occupational and Environmental Safety and Health of the School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago.  Speakers included: Michael Gelder, Senior Advisor on Health Policy from the Office of Governor Pat Quinn; Robert Wordlaw from the Chicago Jobs Council; Robyn Golden from Rush University Medical Center, Older Adult Programs; Martha Holstein & Margie Schaps of Health & Medicine’s Center for Long Term Care Reform; Marsha Love, Naoko Muramatsu and Joseph Zanoni from the School of Public Health.

    Sep 22, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Health & Medicine ED, Margie Schaps speaking on panel at Symposium on Health Care Reform: Its Implications for Women

    Panel discussion co-sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League and Chicago Foundation for Women, and hosted by the Seyfarth Shaw LLP Women's Network 

    Wednesday, October 14, 2009. 8-8:30 a.m. Breakfast and networking 8:30-9:30 a.m.

    Seyfarth Shaw LLP131 S. Dearborn, Suite 2400, Chicago 

    Registration: Go to http://www.cfw.org/adlhealthreform (free but space is limited)

    Moderated by Ellen McLaughlin, partner at Seyfarth Shaw LLP.

    Panelists 

    Anne Scheetz, MD- a physician in solo private practice, making house calls to elderly people unable to leave home to obtain medical care. 

    Margie Schaps, MPH - executive director of the Health and Medicine Policy Research Group, a Chicago-based policy development and research center (and Chicago Foundation for Women grantee) with a 28-year history of policy development and advocacy for the health of the public. 

    Lee Francis, MD, MPH - president and CEO of Erie Family Health Center. 

    Sep 21, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    In Chicago? Celebrate the Visionaries Who Put Reform Within Reach. 2009 HMPRG Awards Ceremony & Cocktail Party!

    Sep 17, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Quentin Young on the Baucus Proposal, Obama and more...

    Sep 17, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    ...from the Concord Coalition...

    View Growing Health Care Costs and the Federal Debt ,a PowerPoint by Diane Lim
    Rogers, Chief Economist & Sara Imhof , Midwest Regional Director of The
    Concord Coalition (http://www.concordcoalition.org/) You can view other Health & Medicine presentations in the slideshare player in the column at the right.


    Sep 14, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Disturbing Immigration info from NHeLP

    NHELP

    From the National Health Law Program  [Last week, AP reported] on the Senate Finance Committee’s ongoing efforts to appease the mostconservative elements of the electorate.  Not content with sacrificingundocumented immigrants on the altar of health reform, it appears they are nowwilling to toss legal immigrants and women’s reproductive health care onto thepyre as well. The NationalImmigration Law Center issued an action alert suggesting steps that peoplecould take to try to stop the spread of this xenophobic virus.  For those whodecide to do something, you might also want to point out that the absence ofcomprehensive reproductive health care threatens a woman’s health as well as herright to health.  It appears that if the least charitable among us are willingto shout long enough and loud enough, they may succeed in limiting “healthreform” to services for white males.  The more things change . . . Read the AP article.

    Sep 14, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Some important reports on poverty from Urban Institute Resources

    UnderstandingPoverty

    The shareof Americans living in poverty jumped to 13.2 percent in 2008—up significantlyfrom 12.5 percent the year before, new Census Bureau data reveal. For a familyof four, this means making ends meet on less than $22,000 ayear. In an arrayof timely analyses, Urban Institute researchers offer perspectives and insightsinto the circumstances of nearly 40 million poor men, women, and children. Thesereports, commentaries, and more are on the Urban Institute's "Understanding Poverty" website.

    • "Poverty in the United States,2008," by Greg Acs: "A key to avoiding poverty is work, but even amongworkers age 16 and over, poverty rates grew between 2007 and 2008 as wages andhours slipped."
    • "Testimony on Income and Poverty inthe United States: 2008," by Harry Holzer: "The worst is yet to come. Evenif the recession officially ends this year—meaning that the production of goodsand services in the economy begins to recover—the unemployment rate will likelycontinue to worsen for the rest of this year and into next year?. Real income,therefore, will continue to fall and poverty will continue to rise for a fewmore years—and almost certainly by much more than what we have witnessed between2007 and 2008."
    • "Rising Poverty ThreatensNeighborhood Vitality," by Margery Austin Turner: "In recent years, overalllevels of black-white segregation have been declining, albeit slowly, whilesegregation of Latinos has climbed. Although a growing share ofU.S. neighborhoods are racially andethnically diverse, low-income African Americans and Latinos in particularremain highly clustered in predominantly minorityneighborhoods."
    • "Transitioning In and Out ofPoverty," by Signe-Mary McKernan and Caroline Ratcliffe: Slightly more thanhalf of the U.S. population experiences povertybefore age 65. Roughly half of those who get out of poverty will become pooragain within five years.
    Sep 14, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Getting out the health care reform message...

    Gordon Mayer from Community Media Workshop at Columbia College Chicago asked us some interesting and provocative media-related questions about what it's like to have an organization whose "issue" is front and center in with the media and public. Health & Medicine's founder, Quentin Young, our Executive Director, Margie Schaps and Development Officer, Karin Pritikin gave the questions some thought...  

    From the  interview posted in the Community Media Workshop's Blog: NP Nonprofit Communicator"

    Health & Medicine Policy Research Group is rolling with health care on the front pages Health-care reform has been huge a time or two since Quentin Young founded Chicago-based Health and Medicine Policy Research Groupin 1980 to channel his and others’ activism to change the way the U.S.delivers health care. Health & Medicine “operates as anindependent, freestanding center driven by a singular mission:formulating health policy, advocacy and health systems to enhance thehealth of the public,” as they say on their blog.

    Read the full  interview

    Sep 11, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Watch Quentin Young on Amy Goodman

    Watch the video of Quentin's September 10th appearance along with Jesse Jackson. For transcripts: http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/10/obama_urges_lawmakers_to_pass_healthcare  
    Sep 09, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    "Mad as Hell" Physicians will make a stop in Chicago!

    MadasHell

    CHICAGO, IL (9/9/09) – Furious with the lack of real health care solutions coming out of Washington, D.C., a group of “Mad as Hell” physicians set out from Portland, Oregon, yesterday on an unprecedented road trip across America to lobby Congress for a single payer health care system. On Saturday, September 26, they bring their “Care-A-Van” to Chicago for a town hall meeting at the University of Illinois at Chicago.


    The group is inviting the public to the meeting, which kicks off at 11 a.m. at the UIC School of Pharmacy, 833 S. Wood Street. The Chicago stop comes just days before the doctors’ journey culminates with a protest on the steps of Congress on September 30. 

    “We’re mad as hell because our health care system is run by people who profit from illness,” says Dr. Paul Hochfeld, lead Mad As Hell Doctor. “Other wealthy nations have test-driven single payer, and it works. But elected officials in America have closed the door to discussion. We’re here to open it.” 

    The Mad as Hell doctors have requested a meeting with President Obama upon their arrival in Washington, and public emails supporting the meeting have already overwhelmed the White House email box. Adam Klugman, National Creative Director for the physicians' tourstated, "Chris Whitty from the White House Office of Scheduling called me and said he has been 'besieged with emails' from the millions of single payer supporters in this country...I told him that we'd be glad to take the letter down, just as soon as the President agrees to meet with us." 

    Several national advocacy organizations are supporting the Mad as Hell Doctors by organizing rallies and town hall meetings. In Chicago, the group is sponsored by the Illinois Single Payer Coalition and the UIC Graduate Student Council, with support from Chicago Single Payer Action Network, Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), and the Progressive Democrats of America.

    “Single payer covers everyone, and it’s sustainable – it pays for itself and has inherent cost controls,” says Dr. Quentin Young, a well-known Chicago physician and National Coordinator of PNHP. “But physicians support it above all because it will allow us to give our patients the care they need.”

    For more information on the Chicago stop, and to RSVP, please visit  http://MadDocsChicago.com
    For "Mad as Hell Doctors" on the web, please visit, http://www.MadasHellDoctors.com

     

    ###

    Sep 09, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    An interesting spin on the impact of health care "reform" on family caregivers...

    From an August 13 Commentary posted to New American Media by Carol Levine:

    Health reform is here again, and unlike recent attempts to bring the United States into the Age of Enlightenment, this time some of the currently uninsured 45.7 million Americans may obtain access to health insurance. 

    But access to insurance alone will not solve problems of mismatched financial incentives, patient safety, fragmentation, inadequate primary and geriatric care and health disparities, such as between white and ethnic groups. Without reforming the delivery system, insurance reform will be a half-way measure. 

    What’s more, as currently formulated, health reform does not include access to long-term care. Sen. Ted Kennedy’s proposed Community Living Assistance Services and Support (CLASS) Act—given a recent nod by President Obama—would be a government long-term care insurance program and a limited solution at best. 

    Read the full post


    Sep 08, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Quentin Young, on observing a recent Health Reform Rally in San Francisco

     In this season of public debate and town hall meetings, a rally was called for the civic center in San Francisco, last week when I was visiting. I attended, curious to see how things progressed as, after all, half the democratic leadership resides in a 30 mile radius: Speaker Pelosi, George Miller, Pete Stark, Barbra Lee...  in a word it is a liberal stronghold for the democrats. 

     

    The object was to show popular support for the administration's health reform bill (which, of course, has not been revealed yet, except for the public option pseudo debate).  In other jurisdictions, the unequivocal theme has been “pass the administration’s bill for a public option (?) mandate."  Significantly, however, the large single payer movement in the Bay area was wooed and welcomed. Indeed at least 2 of the endless parade of speakers explicitly supported the single payer proposal with more than enthusiastic crowd response. The whole exercise was a microcosm of the countervailing forces in play now.  The right wing disruptors and fearmongers were NOT in evidence except for a few signs at a distance from the rally. The speakers burned bridges by making the public option a true test of wills  even though the administration may already have given away this alternative.

     

     

    The president’s highly touted address on health reform this coming Wednesday will indicate the strategy having gained nothing at all of bipartisanship in the Congress after weeks of giveaway. For us single payer buffs, the debate will extend  well beyond the president’s September 15th deadline and gives us a rare opportunity to explain our proposal - an outstanding virtue of single payer health reform is its simplicity. Without ignoring the really dangerous anti-democratic mood of the hardcore right wing ideologues, the national debate on fundamental health reform has garnered much more significance because the various trends have escalated the significance of the reform.

     

    The new debate - changing element is, of course, Representative Anthony Weiner’s opportunity to introduce 676 as a substitute for the administration’s proposal as agreed to by Pelosi. For the first time in legislative history, a firm vote will indicate legislatively at least, the current dimension of single payer strength.  Read Weiner's enlightening post in the September 7th Huffington Post, “Giving Single- Payer a Second Look.

    Sep 03, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    ...stronger leadership presenting real facts and forcing real reform is the only way to transform our health system...

    Margie Schaps says: I attended Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky’s health reform town hall meeting Monday evening in Skokie and found it thoroughly disheartening.  Of the roughly 1400 people who made it into the high school auditorium it appeared that maybe 30% were intent on disrupting any possibility of civil discourse on one of the leading challenges facing our nation.  Misinformation abounded from the audience and most attempts by the Congresswoman to shed light were disrupted, heckled and dismissed.

     

    One thing I have to say for the people who are so anti reform of any kind….they are very organized.  I left the meeting convinced that stronger leadership presenting real facts and forcing real reform is the only way to transform our health system. This so-called public engagement the Congress is attempting to do is simply not working.

    Sep 03, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Change.org's Tim Foley asks, "Does President Obama Have ANYTHING New to Say on Health Care?"

    Says Tim: The rumor mill is churning. A blog post by Marc Ambider and a WhiteHouse Message Guru David Axelrod quote to the Associated Press suggestthat within the next week, President Obama is set to “get specific.”There will be details. There will be preferences. There may even be atelevised speech. The goal, as described by Ambinder, is to give Congressional Democrats “a true presidential plan that they can sell.” But will there be anything new? My Magic 8 Ball tells me, “All signs point to no.” Read the full post at Change.org

    Sep 02, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Whither Goes Health Reform?

    The  National Health Law Program (NHeLP) shared this link to a post in today's  Politico by Mike Alleh and Jim Vandehei, titled " Under fire, President Obama shifts strategy"    as an indication of the "unhealthy" direction the Obama administration seems to be heading on health reform. 

    The NHeLP email reminded us that "...if this positionwere adopted by a Republican administration, people would justifiably bescreaming that the government was openly selling out to the insurance industry. The nature of an action, however,  does not change because of the party, or thepurported motivation, of the actor.  What may be even worse is the effort topaint this contemplated capitulation as an act of courage against the “unreasonable” demand that health reform be meaningful, not just aminiscule improvement over the current chaos that passes as our “system.”  

    NHeLP's email goes on to say,:  "Fortunately,today’s news also included a statement that the AFL-CIO will not support anyhealth reform without a  public option (which, lest we forget, was thecompromise in lieu of a single payer system that was agreed to by advocates ofhealth reform before real health reform negotiations even started).  So, now maybe the time for people who are not on the lunatic fringe to speak up.  Unlessmore people take the position of the AFL-CIO, we will surely get health reformwithout a public option, which, despite the administration’s attempts to spin itotherwise, is indeed indispensible to meaningful reform.  That is exactly whythe insurance companies and the Republicans are fighting so hard to keep it outof any bill that passes.  Without a public option, they understand that veryquickly life will return to business (i.e., the business of health care) asusual, with new abuses rising up to “compensate” for those that are addressed byhealth reform.  If that is your concept of health reform, then silence is anoption.  If not, then someone needs to hear about it. "

    Sep 02, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Bring Your Friends to a Public Symposium - Health Reform: Successes and Failures from Varying View Points

    Speakers with varying viewpoints will discuss the Obama Plan (andhow it has transformed to the current legislation), the successes andfailures of health reform to date, and how the public can influence theprocess. (Presented by the 2009/2010 Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellows)

    Tuesday, September 22, 2009
    UIC School of Public Health
    Auditorium
    1603 W. Taylor Street, Chicago
    5:30pm- 7:30pm

    Featured Speakers: Dr. Claudia Fegan - Practicing physician for Cook County Health and Hospitals System and board member of Physicians for a National Health Program; Hank Scheff - Director of Research and EmployeeBenefits of the American Federation of State, County and MunicipalEmployees (AFSCME) Council 31;  Jonathan Vanderbrug - Health Care Justice Director, Campaign for Better Health Care. Download the  event flyer

    RSVP encouraged: email rsvp@hmprg.org or call 312-372-4292 ext. 24

    VFHR

    Sep 01, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    A Canadian dispels the fear tactics associated with Canadian health care

    Martin Elfer, a Canadian living in the United States while he  work on his master'sdegree writes...

    "...And I've had the strange and special privilege of training theeyes of an outsider on America's debate over health care. I've watchedthis debate and sometimes been mystified and sometimes been inspired bythe turns that it has taken. What I didn't expect is to feel hurt. Butthis is the very emotion that I experience as I hear my country'shealth care system characterised as something broken and to be feared... Read his entire post in the Joplin Independent.

    Aug 31, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Martha Holstein's NYT Letter to the Editor, August 21, 2009

    Martha Holstein, PhD, is Co-Directorof HMPRG's Center for Long-Term care reform and a professor ofethics.

    To the Editor:

    Re “Obama’sTrust Problem” (column, Aug. 21):

    Thank you, Paul Krugman, for so perfectly expressing the feelings of thisprogressive. I defended Barack Obama, despite his relative inexperience, duringthe primaries because I believed that his open style of governance was the bestroute to sound policy. I didn’t expect that this approach would result in thealmost complete abandonment of core commitments, whether it was about torture,habeas corpus or health care.

    Sadly, I am becoming edgy about how deeply he holds those commitments. WhileI won’t switch sides, in 2012 I will be far less willing to devote time andmoney to the Obama campaign than in 2008. I don’t think I will be alone in thisresistance. At a minimum, I will be looking for a display of personal integrityand respect for all the progressives who were his deepest and most loyal supporters.It is indeed time for change.

    Martha Holstein
    Chicago, Aug.21, 2009

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/22/opinion/l22krugman.html?_r=1


    Aug 26, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Take Action for Affordable Hospital Care!

    Click on this link to add your name tothe letter that the Fair Care Coalition is sending to the Cook CountyCommissioners, asking them to vote in favor of the Healthcare Access ProtectionInitiative (HAPI) ordinance, which was introduced on June 16, 2009 and sent tothe Finance Committee.

     

    Make sure YOUR voice is heard!

    Aug 25, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Four recent articles/posts on the health reform standoff...

    ...that we found particularly thought-provoking.

    Carol Miller’s “Where’s the Wizardof Oz When We Need Him?,”  from the TaosDaily Horse Fly, August 15, 2009

    http://www.taosdaily.com/index.php?fuseaction=home.viewarticle&article_id=3083

     

    Leslie Savan’s "Joe Scarborough Is Shocked, Yet Awed by Single-Payer Logic," from The Nation, August 20, 2009

    http://www.thenation.com/blogs/notion/464837/joe_scarborough_is_shocked_yet_awed_by_single_payer_logic

    GeorgeLakoff’s, “The Policy Speak Disaster for Health Care,"  from truthout.com, August 20,2009

    http://www.truthout.org/082009B

     

    Guy Adams' "The Brutal Truth About America's Healthcare," from The Independent, August 15, 2009

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/the-brutal-truth-about-americarsquos-healthcare-1772580.html

    Aug 20, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    The American Public Health Association's (APHA) Criteria for a Public Plan


    1. All individuals and families shouldbe eligible for the public plan, regardless of income.

    2. The public planmust be affordable to consumers. Affordability means the costs to consumersincluding any premium, copayments, or out of pocket costs
    arereasonable.

    3. The public plan should serve as a model that shifts theemphasis of health systems from acute medical care toward prevention andwellness by:
    • Enhanced provider payments for prevention and earlyintervention
    • First dollar coverage of clinical preventive healthservices
    • Moving to outcome based reimbursement payments
    • Requiring theuse of health information technology (IT)
    • Requiring linkage to the nation’spublic health system
    • Using proven population based strategies at theprovider, health plan and community level
    4. Coverage should at aminimum use the actuarial equivalent of the Federal Employees Health BenefitPlan standard option benefit package and should
    include the following publichealth services:
    • Evidence-based clinical preventive services
    • Behavioral health services
    • Dental & vision care
    • Reproductivehealth services
    • Disease management
    5. The public plan should ensurethe inclusion of the current network of safety net providers.

    6. Thepublic plan’s practices and policies should serve as a model for affordabilityfor other health plans within the existing health system. This should bereflected in setting provider payments, which should also be adequate enough toensure patient access to providers. The plan must be organized and governed tobe administratively efficient, keeping administrative costs low consistent withother public programs.

    Link to APHA statement on the EQUAL site from the Center for Policy Analysis' Health Reform & Public Health Testimony & Comments.

    Aug 20, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Steffie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein's Comments on Taxing of Employer Paid Health Insurance

    Excerpt from their post published in the New England Journal of Medicine, August 19, 2009: Many health economists, ranging from Democratic advisor Jonathan Gruber1 to the Heritage Foundation,2 have argued that tax subsidies for employer-paid health insurance encourage over-insurance and are highly regressive, directed mainly to higher-income families. We beg to differ. The subsidies meet the usual definition of progressivity: they taper down (as a percentage of income) as income rises. Ending them would inflict a regressive tax increase, taking a larger share of income from insured near-poor and middle-class families than from the wealthy.

    Read the post

    Aug 17, 2009 Written By: Martha Holstein

    Health Care Reform--A Summary of Several Key Issues

    Thanks to Rick Moody, Director of Academic Affairs, AARP, for aptly summarizing some of the positions in the debate about health care ref

    Read the summary

    Aug 17, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    The path we hope the CCHHS Board will take...

    The CookCounty Health and Hospitals System is at a crossroads right now.  Thestrategic planning process now underway will chart a course for the comingyears: will the decision be made to simply be a tertiary care institution andleave primary care to the FQHCs?  Will the decision be made tocomprehensively address the health care needs of the poor only in Cook County? Or, will the System’s board embrace this opportunity to create anintegrated system of comprehensive care, teaching and research, across northernIllinois,joining with the surrounding counties who already use many of the services ofthe Cook County System?

    Health & Medicine hopes the lastchoice will be the path chosen. We intend to have our voice heard at thetown hall meetings coming up this week and next and hope you’ll let your voicebe heard too. (Meetings begin at 6pm and are on August 21, 2009, at TrumanCollege, 1145 West Wilson Avenue, Chicago; and on August 24, 2009 at the Math andScience Academy, 8601 West Roosevelt Road, Forest Park.)

    Aug 13, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Quentin Young Comments on Recent Disrupted Town Hall Meetings

    Aug 10, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Action Required! Share the Vision for Cook County Hospital!

    We wanted to share the following information concerning an extremelyimportant meeting about the future direction of Cook County Hospitaland urban health care as we know it.  Please, come out, or send arepresentative and make your opinions known.  These are the last threemeetings! 

    Download the following:

    Download the CCHHS Questionnaire for Town Hall Meetings

    Strategic Planning Meeting-Truman College

      Town Hall Meetings Final Flyer

    Town Hall Release

    Please pass this message on to your listserv and your individualcolleagues, and make calls or send faxes to those you know who don’thave e-mail access. If you want to give written testimony pleaseprovide 15 copies.  All oral testimony is limited to 3 minutes.

    Thanks in advance for taking action!

    Aug 05, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    View David Scheiner on Chicago Tonight with Phil Ponce

    President Obama's personal physician for more than 20 years tells Chicago Tonight's Phil Poncewhy he's critical of his former patient's proposal to change the waythe nation provides health care.

    Watch the Video

    Aug 05, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Organizations Whose Work HMPRG Watches...

    Aug 04, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Quentin Young and Margie Schaps on Building Social Movements

    We've been having hallway discussions of late about the different ways organizations messaged and mobilized friends and supporters in the pre-web world and today; and how new media tools like this blog not only provide opportunities, but also present some logistical challenges!

    QDY-forpost Quentin- An exampleof an early movement I was connected to: In 1937-39, I was a member of theAmerican Student Union – a national organization of high school youthprotesting   fascism, racism.  The depression was raging.  It was a politically charged time and we were“blessed” (I use the term with quotations) by powerful enemies who served as amotivation force. Hitler was gaining in Europe.Other fascist leaders were rising to power. These events, and later, WorldEvents like Peal harbor were powerful motivators. I wouldn’t say young peoplejoined in droves, this was never a majoritarian movement. Though one dominantforce that moved us to action was the race issue. Discrimination against blacksin housig and jobs. The reality of lynchings. (We tried to pass an anti-lynchigbill in the senate; unsuccessful, but this was a time when there were severalhundred lynchings a year.) As black families moved into white neighborhoods(sometimes with the assistance of movement groups), racist realtors wouldresort to blockbusting (i.e. panic peddling among white families.)  members of movement organizations would bemobilized to protect Black families against real violence that would often takeplace, and to demonstrate for housing and employment equality.

    Quentin- We were initiallyrecruited by students from Universityof Chicago.  The proximity of HydePark High School tothe University ofChicago played a role inthe way our  “movement” grew. Collegestudents recruited youngsters, exploited our youthful zeal as they exposed usto the issues of the day.  The org had150 members locally.

    Quentin- We connectedlargely via meetings, not unlike today’s meetings they had  fairly versatile  formats: sometimes a  well-known speaker or someone with special knowledgeor credibility about an specific issue, sometimes in large auditoriums,sometimes smaller rooms.  There wereother organizations fighting fascism in the city, and other youth organizationsin neighborhoods on the north and west sides.   Occasionally we joined with them for largerconferences, but we focused on building awareness within our own communities.

    Quentin- Wedistributed literature – which was much harder to produce then—one needed tohave type set by a printer, or to have access to a mimeo machine…  We had newsletters. We spoke publicly.  The tools available for mobilization wereprimitive.

    Margie-forpostMargie-Thinking aboutthe Women’s Movement in the Sixties, how important it was for us to know that similar actions were taking place elsewhere in thecounty. We used conference calls to touch base with activists in othercities; with organizations like The Boston Women’s Health  Book Collective. It was empowering – made usfeel stronger. In some ways we felt that the Midwestlagged behind what was happening on the East Coast. The calls wereopportunities for us to learn from those east Coast organizations.

    Margie- I think aboutthe Obama campaign as the perfect confluence of old and new mobilizationmethods/models: traditional doorbell ringing and buttonholing and face to face relationshipbuilding, combined with powerful viral media.  I think there is a “reality” to  face-to- face relationship-building that is vital and that is possibly not as “real”as the kind of relationship- building that takes place online, but then again, Iknow many of our younger supporters/board members etc. prefer written andonline ways of connecting.  

    Quentin-Anobservation of the difference between 21st Century organizing andthe way things happened 60-70 years ago: In the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70saction took place at meetings and demonstrations.  For example, in 1937 there was a strike at one of the smaller steel plants in South Chicago. During a Memorial Day picnic, peoplemarched toward the plant and Chicago Police fired into the crowd, killing 11and injuring many more.  This event,which came to be known as The Memorial Day Massacre mobilized people to act.There was a huge rally at orchestraHall. It is what radicalized me as a young high school student. (Hear Quentin describe theseevents in this excerpt from “Revisiting the Scene: Quentin Young’s Chicago). 

    Today’s media (TV/DVDs/MP3 players/The Internet  and now social media) has transformed where people are and live.  People stay in their homes and connect usingthese new social medial tools and channels. That is where they are. There is less physical outwarddirection. Theaction people take now is different.  Therecent demonstration and sit-in over the proposed closing of the RepublicWindows plant attracted attention and resulted in action, but it wasn’tattended by many people and it petered out quickly.

    Margie-Today youlearn about an issue online, or from a blog post, or an email someone hasforwarded, and you take action by “clicking here to donate” or by “emailingyour congressman” or by forwarding the link to your friends and mobilizing lots of people to e-blast an organization oran elected official to express your ideas.

    Margie-Ourorganization, which Quentin founded in 1981 with John McKnight, used to write longpolicy papers,  really meaty 50 pagedocuments that were read by no more than 50 ofour collaborative partners. These dayswe’re evolving toward much briefer messages, distilling issues and action stepsinto much shorter form/format.

    Margie-There is a newmovement building model emerging. As a policy organization, we still use face-to-face meetings to address issues/inequities and develop solutions. Thisdevelopment of policy is not the movement building part.  Movement building takes place as we use newmedia tools to mobilize interested people to make decisions and take action onthese highly specific issues…

    Quentin- Theissues that we work on are emblematic of the larger social injustice that needsto be addressed. We  create “smallmovements’ around “hunks of oppression that are mapped onto the larger social and health trendsand issues.  Free standing birth centersare a good example fo what I mean. We worked for 20 years on the issue of giving medicallyunderserved women in Illinoisaccess to choice in childbirth.  It’s a w omen'sreproductive rights issue. There’s a sexual/gender equality dimension. There isa need to oppose vested interests  thatcontinue to oppress the public– in this case the obstetrical specialties. Ittook 20 years to get legislation passed to allow the building of these centersin Illinois.There is now public acceptance of the idea. So the small movement we built within the health policy sphere, toleverage change, is now broadening as we make the next step public, garneringbroader support from the public to demand these options in their communities.

    Margie-And by mappingthis small movement onto the larger issues of health access for women and foreveryone, it becomes more than an example of a hard won victory twenty years inthe making, serving as both a motivator andan example of change in process. It really is movement-building on multiple levels. Social media tools  will play a large role in getting the wordout and mobilizing small groups and  the public for progressive policy change. 

    QandM

    Aug 03, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Check Out Bill Moyers interview with Wendell Potter, former head of PR at CIGNA

    Check out Bill Moyers' July 10interview with Wendell Potter, former head of Public Relations forCIGNA on PBS (From the PBS site: "...With almost 20 years inside thehealth insurance industry, Wendell Potter saw for-profit insurershijack our health care system and put profits before patients. Now, hespeaks with Bill Moyers about how those companies are standing in theway of health care reform."

    Aug 01, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Regional Health Care Safety Net - Dedicated Page

    We recently held "Beyond Medical Services: Developing a Roadmap for Improved Health in an Era of HIE,” a regional forum, and the first in a series of forums focusing on Safety Net Issues.  We are planning additional forums to begin this summer.  Bookmark this blog page to access news, updates and resources related to the strengthening of the Regional Health Care Safety Net.

    ___________________________________________________________________________________

    "Beyond Medical Services: Developing a Roadmap for Improved Health in an Era of HIE” (Co-hosted by The Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council and the Healthcare Consortium of Illinois) was held on Tuesday, March 23rd from 9am-1pm at the Oak Park Public Library.  

    In attendance were public health, medicine, behavioral health, and other safety net professionals, who came together to learn what was happening in HIE planning in Illinois; to hear from experts in nursing, public health, case management, and behavioral health informatics, and to discuss action steps for improving health as state-wide health information exchange is developed.

    Guest speakers included the following. A pdf of their presentations (where available) can be downloaded by clicking the link after their names.


    • Kelly Ducheny, PsyD, Director of Behavioral Health Services, Howard Brown Health Center


    Aug 01, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Free Standing Birth Centers

    Aug 01, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Court Involved Girls

    Aug 01, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellows Program

    Aug 01, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Center for Long-Term Care Reform

    Welcome to the blog sub-site for The Center for Long-Term Care Reform. If you subscribe to the Health & Medicine comment feed, you will be able to post comments to some of the posts that appear in this section.

    Two recently released reports from HMPRG's Center for Long-Term Care Reform (The Determination of Need Study and the Home Again Report)

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    July 8, 2010

    20-30 Year Olds - You Can Do Your Part To Ensure SocialSecurity's Robust Survival!

    Posted byKristen Pavle,  Policy Analyst, Center for Long-TermCare Reform

    Social Security Will Be Around When You Retire… If YouWant It To Be!

    There seems to be agrowing opinion among 20 and 30 yearolds about the United States Social Security program:  thatit will not exist upon our retirement, sowhy should we care?  Perhaps I am missingsomething here, but the mere fact that we are paying into the SocialSecurityprogram NOW, for others’ benefits, is reason enough to care!  Iwant this program to exist in my retirement,too.  But even this is only a minorreason to becomemoreinvolved in the discussion surrounding Social Security as a youngerperson. 

    As of 2006, theSocial Securityprogram has provided more than $541.6 Billion dollars in benefits toover 49million individuals.  Social Securityallows citizens of this country to retire with the earned privilege—anenforceable right—of an income after a lifetime of work.  SocialSecurity retirement income, withbenefits also paid to spouses, widows (or widowers), minor children, andpeoplewith disabilities represents a fundamental cornerstone of our society.  Becauseof Social Security, older Americansare no longer the poorest demographic in the country.  Itis the most visible symbol ofintergenerational connectedness and the last remaining leg of thethree-leggedstool (savings, pensions, and Social Security) that its foundersenvisioned.  Today it is the bedrock of economicsecurity, particularly in old age, for thousands of people, especiallyolderwomen.  Not only do I urge you to careabout Social Security, but I want to start the discussion on WHY weshould allcare about the concept of “social security” as manifested by the SocialSecurity program.   

    What Does the DataSay About Social Security in the Long-Term?

    Didyourparents ever tell you not to worry about Social Security, because theprogramwould not be around for you would not enjoy its benefits?  Well,they were not exactly right.  According to the “2009Annual Report of theBoard of Trustees of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and theDisability Insurance Trust Funds” (read: Annual Report on the SocialSecurityProgram), intermediate (neither conservative nor liberal)projections forthe solvency of the Social Security program are as follows:

    • By2016 the benefits program will be paying out more than it will begainingin revenues, thus beginning to deplete the trust fund.
    • By2024 the Social Security pot of money, the trust fund, will no longerbegrowing. 
    • By2037 the Social Security trust fund will be exhausted, empty, no moneyleft. But income will still be coming into the system from payrolltaxesso benefits will be paid but at a reduced amount.

    Maybe yourparents were right…?  But, these figures about financingSocialSecurity in the long-term function under a rather large assumption: that there will be no structural changes inhow the Program operates.  However, lasttime I checked we live in a democratic nation.  Ascitizens, we have a choice to demonstrateour commitment to Social Security so that benefits can be available INFULLwhen we retire.

    Advocatesfor Social Security are equipped with many ideasfor how we can change the structure by which the Program operates,giving it fullfinancial sustainability beyond 2037, when WE retire.  SocialSecurity’s problems are political, notfinancial.  Contrary to popular opinionit is not in crises; it does not contribute a single penny to thedeficit.  In fact, it is in surplus.

    A Call for YourVoice to be Heard: Focus Group

    • Areyou in your 20’s or 30’s?
    • Do youhave an opinion on Social Security?
    • Do youhave questions about Social Security or an interest to learn more?

    In an attempt at brevity, Iwill close this blog articlewith an invitation to continue the discussion. Health & MedicinePolicy ResearchGroup (HMPRG) wants to talk with you.  On Wednesday, July 28thfrom 6-8pm, HMPRG will host a focus group for individuals intheir 20s and 30s on SocialSecurity.  We look to you to help usbuild a campaign to get all younger people committed to SocialSecurity’srobust survival.  Quite honestly, we wantto turn you into an informed advocate for a strong Social Securityprogram, onethat will be there for each succeeding generation.  Remember,it is the only source of income thatyou cannot outlive.

    Please contact KristenPavlefor details and to RSVP.  

    ________________________________________________________________________________

    May 27, 2010

    CMS Actively Promotes the Community Living Initiative, Offers Assistance for State Long-Term Care Reform

    We'd like to share a letter from Cindy Mann, Directorof Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS), to State Medicaid Directorspromotes the Community Living Initiative, and offers assistance to states tobalance the long-term care system to reflect more home and community basedoptions for older adults and persons withdisabilities.

    In Ms. Mann’s letter to StateMedicaid Directors, she outlines “Opportunities and Partnership –Tools forCommunity Living”.  CMS offers, among othersupports:

    ·        technical assistance,

    ·        waiver programs,

    ·        information on managed care modelsfor long-term care,

    ·        information on affordable housingoptions,

    ·        support for infrastructure reforms,

    ·        financial support for demonstrationprojects,

    ·        guidance in dischargeplanning.

    We commend CMS for continuing topromote the Community Living Initiative, and for assisting the states in ourefforts to balance the long-term care system to reflect more home and communitybased options for older adults and persons with disabilities.  This letter is agreat opportunity for education and advocacy to ensure that Illinois takes advantageof the support and guidance CMS is offering.  Please visit this link to read theletter in full: http://www.nasua.org/pdf/health_reform/CMS%20Olmstead.pdf.

    May 26, 2010

    AmidstFederal and State Budget Crises, are Elderly Safety-Net Programs,Social Security, Safe?

    Barack_Obama_Eco_secur
    Photo from Organize for America- Barack Obama - on flickr

    National Commission on Fiscal Responsibilityand Reform, and Social Security

    On February 18,2010, President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order to establish the NationalCommission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (Commission).  TheCommission aims to provide recommendations on balancing the federalgovernment’s budget by 2015.  Further, the Commission will recommendaction to improve the fiscal outlook of the country in the long-term.  Alot of discussion about the country’s long-term fiscal outlook hascentered on entitlement programs, specifically where money coming in tofund programs has fallen below program expenditures.  There has beenquite a bit of conversation about theSocial Security entitlement program as a possible way to help reign inspending and balance the budget.

    TheSocial Security entitlement program in the United States has a longhistory; President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed it into law in 1935,passing Congress as part of the New Deal.  Social Security is a socialinsurance program for retired persons, disabled individuals, andindividuals who depended on a family worker who has died.  SocialSecurity is a safety net for many Americans, and specifically many olderadults. With more than 47 million Americans depending on SocialSecurity income, and over two-thirds of retirees relying on SocialSecurity for the majority of their income, it isimperative we protect and strengthen the Social Security program. As the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform continuesto meet, behind closed doors, advocacy to preserve Social Security mustbe a priority.

    The TrueCost of Living for Older Adults, Illinois Perspective

    WiderOpportunities for Women (WOW), a non-profit based out ofWashington D.C., created the Elder Economic Security Initiative (EESI)several years ago.  EESI approaches building economic security throughadvocacy, organizing, and research.  A key part of EESI is the ElderEconomic Security Standard™ Index, calculating the cost of living for anolder adult.  The Illinois state partner for EESI is Health &Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG) and detailedinformation about EESI can be found on the HMPRG website.  InIllinois, and across the country, EESI is revealing that frequentlyolder adults cannot make ends meet based on their income and the cost ofliving. 

    According to the policy brief, “EldersLiving on the Edge: When Meeting Basic Needs Exceeds Available Income inIllinois”  inIllinois 1 out of 5 older adults relies solely on Social Security. Unfortunately, the average Social Security payment for a single, retiredIllinoisan does not cover the cost of living.  Using EESI as a tool,specifically the data of the Elder Economic Security Standard™ Index,Illinoisans can advocate in many ways to protect the economic securityof its older adult population.  One way is to advocate for thestrengthening and preservation of the Social Security program.  With somany older adults in Illinois relying on Social Security and currentlyunable to afford the cost of living in the community, any disruption ofSocial Security benefits would be tragic.

    Fiscal Budget & Illinois State Budget, HowDoes This Affect YOU?


    As Washington D.C.tackles the federal budget, states have the task of managing their ownbudgets.  Illinois is in abudget crisis, with a deficit of $13 billion, almost half of the state’sgeneral fund revenue.  Attempting to come up with a solution tothis deficit has not been easy—state employee pension plans, socialservice agencies, health care agencies, and the education system haveall been threatened by budget cuts.  Illinois'budget deficit threatens important health and social programs, andis already affecting social service agencies throughout the state. Particularly concerning to the aging community is the delay in payingsocial service agencies that provide care for the elderly. 

    Withoutproviding payment to state-funded social service agencies, many olderadults will not be able to access the services they need to remainhealthy and viable in their communities.  As the Federal Commissionresearches ways to balance the federal budget and talk of changingSocial Security continues, the economic well-being of older adults hasnever been a more pertinent issue.

    WhatYou Think About the Budget Matters! Let Your Voice Be Heard!

    WiderOpportunities for Women (WOW) is hosting its second annual Blog Day,Wednesday May 26th, 2010: “America’s Budget Matters, So Does Yours.” Theposts on HMPRG's about the impact of both the federal and state budgetdeficits and their impact on the aging community are only the beginningto an ongoing discussion of elder economic security, and we want to hearfrom you:

    •    Do you have anything to contribute to thisconversation about the federal deficit?
    •    About Illinois’ budgetdeficit?
    •    About cuts to social service programs in Illinois?
    •   About preserving Social Security?
    •    How do potential budget cutsaffect you?

    Please leave your comments below. HMPRG is working with WOW to make sure that your voice is heard, thatthe Federal Commission and the Illinois state government knows thattheir decisions affect you.  Our country, and our state of Illinois, isin difficult times. Now is not a time to be quiet, but a time toadvocate for your right to remain economically secure in your homes andcommunities as you age.



    May 19, 2010

    Elder Economic Security—Update

    The U.S. Census Bureau recently announced the creation of a supplemental measure to the federal poverty level.It’s about time! It’s been 50 years since the original poverty level wasdeveloped and its methodology has yet to be updated. This antiquatedmeasure fails to capture the true number of Illinois elders and familiesstruggling to meet their basic needs.

    Elders in Illinois are having atough time making ends meet with one out of five living on SocialSecurity alone. The average Social Security payment for Illinois’selders is $12,996. This payment barely surpasses the original federalpoverty line, and is not enough for these elders to be economicallysecure. According to the Illinois Elder Economic Security Standard™ Index (Elder Index),a geographically-based measure of what elders need to age in placecreated by Wider Opportunities for Women and the Gerontology Instituteat the University of Massachusetts-Boston,  a single elder renter needs$19,810 a year.

    The proposed supplemental poverty measure is agood first step, because it will improve on how poverty is currentlymeasured by providing new data including the cost components of food,housing, and clothing. But, the supplemental poverty measure alone isnot enough.

    Decision makers need tools that accurately reflectthe real cost of aging in place. For instance, the Elder Indexdemonstrates that seniors have high health costs, which may affect theirability to pay for other basic needs. In Illinois an elder in fairhealth pays $357 a month for health care while an elder in poor healthpays $387. And if long-term care services are needed, these costs candouble or even triple what an elder needs to make ends meet. 

    Additionaldata is necessary to better capture elders’ real costs and to determinethe best way policy makers, administrators and service providers canutilize funds and target strategies to promote economic security.

    Thesupplemental measure is sure to spur continuous and much neededdiscussion as we grapple with how best to define economic security inour state and in our country.  We’ve already waited too long. Too manyelders and their families live without enough to meet their basic needs.Now is the time to move past simply measuring what it means to bedeprived to what it means to be secure.

    Please see, “Elders Living on the Edge: When Meeting Basic NeedsExceeds Available Income in Illinois” for more information, andcheck out Health & Medicine’s involvement with the ElderEconomic Security Initiative

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    April 26, 2010

    Updateon Illinois' Money Follows the Person (MFP) Program

    Health&Medicine’s Center for Long-Term Care Reform has supported the supportedthe MoneyFollowsthe Person (MFP) program in Illinois since 2007, when the demonstrationproject began in the state. MFPisa federal demonstration grant to assist individuals living innursinghomes for 6 months or longer to transition back into a home andcommunity basedsetting.  Through MFP, Illinois was awarded $55.7 million intheform of enhanced Medicaid reimbursements for a 5 year program,2007-2011.

    Although Illinoishad set the highest goal for number of people to transition from nursinghometo home and community, the state has been slow in getting started inhelpingpeople make their transitions.  Illinois is not alone,however, and most states are finding it difficult to meet theirtransitiongoals. 

    As a result of the passage of the HealthCareReform legislation, the MFP grant has been extended through 2016withadditional federal funds allocated to the program.  Theeligibility requirements have also beenchanged, including the length of stay in the nursing facility;individuals whohave been in a nursing facility under Medicaid payment for at least 3monthsare now eligible for MFP transitional services.

    As Illinoiscontinues to reform its long-term care system and works to promotequality homeand community based service options, MFP is an important demonstrationprojectfor the state.  Although Illinois hasbeen transitioning people out of nursing facilities into the communityat aslower pace than originally planned, the Health Care Reform legislationgivesthe state the opportunity to make some adjustments in the project andworktowards increasing transitions.

    Check out this Kaiser Family Foundation article formoreinformation on the Money Follows the Person grant: http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Stories/2010/April/22/states-struggle-to-move-people-out-of-nursing-homes.aspx

    Questions?Contact KristenPavle, Policy Analyst, Center for Long-Term Care Reform 

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    April 12, 2010

    Hypodermic-needle

    Author: Nadia Chivers, Policy Intern, Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

    Editor: Kristen Pavle, Policy Analyst, Center for Long-Term Care Reform, Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

    The Outlawing of Physical and Chemical Restraints

    Since October 1990, nursing homes across the country have had to comply with a federal mandate, The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987, that restricts the use of inappropriate physical and chemical restraints on nursing home residents unless the restraint is necessary to treat their medical symptoms.

    Physical restraints restrict a person’s movement and may include leg and arm restraints, hand mitts, vests, ties, and trays/tables/bars that cannot be removed from a chair or bed and limit the person’s mobility.

    While the use of physical restraints in nursing homes serves some legitimate purpose, unnecessary use has drastically reduced in the past 20 years.  The same cannot be said for the use of chemical restraints.  While psychotropic drugs are often an essential form of treatment in nursing homes, they become chemical restraints when they are used to control a resident’s behavior rather than administered for medical purposes.

    The misuse and overuse of psychotropic drugs on nursing home residents has been well documented and is now considered by some experts to be the newest form of nursing home abuse.  It is estimated that 1 in 4 patients in the U.S. receive anti-psychotic drugs and 15,000 nursing home patients are killed each year due to unnecessary anti-psychotics.  

    As a response to the inappropriate use of psychotropic drugs in Illinois nursing homes, the Illinois Nursing Home Safety Task Force (The Task Force) has included in its Final Report a recommendation that a policy be developed to assure these drugs are used properly. 

    Read the full post

    ____________________________________________________________________________________

    March 10, 2010

    The Nursing Home Safety Task Force has released its final recommendations and has a working group meeting twice a week to discuss translating these recommendations into legislation.  However, AARP and Advocates have also been busy drafting their own legislation addressing nursing home care in Illinois. Per AARP’s press release early March 9, 2010:

    The legislation – Senate Bill 685 – is sponsored by Senators Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago), and is supported by AARP Illinois, The Community Renewal Society,  SEIU Healthcare Illinois, Illinois Citizens for Better Care, the Jane Addams Senior Caucus, AFSCME, Illinois Association of Long Term Care Ombudsman, the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, Age Options, Next Steps, Supportive Housing Providers Association, Health & Medicine Policy Research Group, and the Shriver Center on Poverty Law, the Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living and Health and Disability Advocates.”

    Click here for a view of video footage from the AARP Press Release,from NBC Central Illinois News

    We will continue to keep you up-to-date on the various pieces of legislation concerning Nursing Home Reform and let you know how you can become involved as opportunities arise.  For more information, please contact: Kristen Pavle, Policy Analyst, Health & Medicine’s Center for Long-Term Care Reform. 312.372.4292 x 27 or email Kristen.

    ____________________________________________________________________________________

    February 25, 2010

    Nursing Home Reform in Illinois

    Nursing Home Safety Task Force

    On October 3, 2009, Governor Pat Quinn formed the Illinois Nursing Home Safety Task Force.  The Task Force was charged with addressing the serious issue of mixing populations of persons with mental illness with the elderly and other physically disabled. 


    On February 19, 2010, the Task Force released its Final Report to the Governor.  The Final Report includes 38 recommendations applying to persons with mental illness that currently occupy nursing home beds. 


    Three broad categories are used to organize the recommendations:

    • Enhance Pre-Admission Screening and Background Check Process,
    • Set and Enforce Higher Standards of Care, and
    • Expand Home and Community-Based Residential and Service Options.

    Task Force on Aggressive Timeline for Reform

    Task Force chairperson Michael Gelder has set an aggressive timeline to achieve the proposed recommendations.  Nine “Immediate Implementation Workgroups” have been assigned to implement recommendations by April 30th, 2010.  These workgroups will focus on areas including:

    • Pre-Admission Screen and Resident Review (PASRR) enhancement,
    • Criminal Background Checks,
    • Psychotropic Drugs, and
    • Supportive Housing Expansion.

    Center for Long-Term Care Reform Influences Task Force

    Illinois leads the nation in caring for persons with mental illness in nursing homes.  Health & Medicine’s Center for Long-Term Care Reform recently produced on the subject, looking historically at how Illinois finds itself in this current situation, “Illinois Nursing Homes as Care Providers for Mentally Ill: How Did We Get Here?”  The Center for Long-Term Care Reform has also researched the federal Pre-Admission Screening and Resident Review (PASRR) program and submitted a report on PASRR to the Task Force.

    Recognition from Federal Government & Moving Forward

    The Illinois Nursing Home Safety Task Force has done a great job at convening the major state departments and producing recommendations to reform the current system of nursing home referral, admission, and care.  There has been a lot of movement around nursing home reform since the inception of the Task Force:

    • In a letter to chairperson Michael Gelder, Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez of the United States Department of Justice expressed praise for the reform the Task Force promises.
    • A Chicago Tribune article publicized Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office and local police are performing unannounced visits and safety checks at troubled nursing facilities as a result of the Task Force.
    • Multiple parties are drafting legislation for nursing home reform: the Nursing Home Safety Task Force, advocates for the elderly and mentally ill (AARP and others), and the nursing home industry. 

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    February 18, 2010

    Illinois Nursing Homes as Care Providers for Mentally Ill: How Did We Get Here?

    The Illinois Nursing Home Safety Task Force has taken the initiative to address the serious situation of mixing populations of persons with mental illness with the elderly and others with physical disabilities in nursing homes.  In moving forward to address the current challenges, it is helpful to look historically at how we arrived here.

    Please read Health & Medicine's Center for Long-Term Care Reform’s research report that looks at the care of persons with mental illness after deinstitutionalization in the United States and in Illinois.  It is our hope that this review will help as we plan for the future.  If you have questions or comments about the document, please do not hesitate to call or email Kristen Pavle, or call Kristen at (312) 372-4292 ext. 27.

    ____________________________________________________________________________

    November 24, 2009- Observations from Kristen Pavle, MSW Policy Analyst at Health & Medicine's Center for Long-Term Care Reform:

    Recently attending an Elder Economic Security Initiative state partner summit in Washington, D.C., I had the privilege to meet with two Congressional staff policy advisors who worked for the Senate Special Committee on Aging. 


    The Senate Special Committee on Aging was established as a temporary committee in 1961 and was granted permanent status in 1977.  Special committees do not have legislative authority, but are a reliable and essential source of research and information, and often useful in pushing legislation for consideration.  It is currently chaired by Senator Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin).

    Some key Senators who have played a role in the Senate Special Committee on Aging include:
    •    Senator Frank Moss (D-Utah)—worked on paying attention to unacceptable nursing home conditions
    •    Senator Frank Church (D-Idaho)—focused on protecting older Americans from age discrimination
    •    Senator John Heinz (R-Pennsylvania)—researching the Medicare’s Prospective Payment System and the “quicker and sicker” discharge idea

    The Special Committee on Aging staffers had much valuable information about current health and aging legislation, for example: the Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement Act(Senate Bill 647), the Physicians Payments Sunshine Act (Senate Bill 301), and the Medicare Payment Improvement Act of 2009 (Senate Bill 1249).

    Health & Medicine is partnering with the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health—Great Lakes Centers for Occupational and Environmental Safety and Health, in convening an Older Health Care Workers Workgroup.  It was reassuring to hear that a key focus of this Special Committee was older workers! Here is a summary of current legislation on older workers from the Special Committee on Aging.

    Please contact me if you have any comments or questions about my experience with the Senate Special Committee on Aging, the Elder Economic Security Initiative, or our Center on Long-Term Care Reform.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    CLASS Act - Long Term Care Receives Support at the National Level

    Long-term care is receiving attention on a national level!  Currently over 10 million people need long-term care services and supports, with an aging population this number is continuously growing.  Long-term care services and supports are essential to helping older American age in their homes and communities. While we at Health & Medicine’s Center for Long-Term Care Reform recognize the dire need for a long-term care system in Illinois, it is good to see some recognition of these issues at a federal level as well.  

    The Community Living Assistance Services and Support (CLASS) Act is a bill “to amend the Public Health Service Act to help individuals with functional impairments and their families pay for services and supports that they need to maximize their functionality and independence and have choices about community participation, education, and employment, and for other purposes.”

    The CLASS Act was introduced in both the House of Representatives (HR 1721) and the Senate (S 697), and is also included in the final health reform bill in the House, “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act (HR 3200).

    The CLASS Act makes it more affordable and accessible for older adults and persons with disabilities who have long-term care needs to purchase care services helping them remain in their homes and communities.  

    Key Points:

        The CLASS Act would establish automatic enrollment of workers by employers in a national insurance program; workers may opt-out

    • Enrollment in the program consists of monthly premium deductions from payroll
    • Individuals must pay into the program for 5 years before claiming benefits

        The CLASS Act insurance program benefits persons needing non-medical long-term care services and supports, with two or more activities of daily living

    • Activities of Daily Living include things like: eating, bathing, dressing, and transferring

        The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) concluded that the CLASS Act will not cost the government during the first 10 years

        The CLASS Act also alleviates the burden of financing long-term care for Medicaid

    • A projected $2.5 billion will be saved in the first 10 years

    The Kaiser Family Foundation does a great job explaining all the details. Check out their site  There “The Sleep in Health Care Reform: Long-Term Care and the CLASS Act” has a wealth of information.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    HMPRG Testimony delivered to The Illinois Nursing Home Safety Task Force - October 20, 2009

    Some background on the task force: Governor Pat Quinn appointed the Nursing Home Safety Task Force in response to a series of articles in the Chicago Tribune by David Jackson and Gary Marx.  The central issue currently being addressed is the mixing of two populations with very different care needs: those with severe mental illnesses and the elderly.  Yesterday at the Thompson Center in Chicago, Phyllis Mitzen, co-director of the Center for Long-Term Care Reform, spoke to the Nursing Home Task Force.  This Task Force Meeting featured public testimonies and drew a crowded room of about 50 people (see link below to the Tribune article covering this meeting and quoting Ms. Mitzen).  We welcome you to read the series of Chicago Tribune articles that sparked the formation of this Task Force (links posted below) and visit the official Illinois Nursing Home Safety Task Force Website (link posted below) to voice your opinion.

    Illinois Nursing Home Safety Task Force Website:www.nursinghomesafety.illinois.gov

    Chicago Tribune coverage of Public Testimonies at October 20th Task Force Meeting ( Health & Medicine’s co-director of the Center for Long-Term Care Reform Phyllis Mitzen testified at the meeting and is quoted.) http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/chi-nursing-home-hearing-21-oct21,0,256620.story

    Nursing Home Expose Series in Tribune: http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/chi-nursinghome1-ledeallsep29,0,357882.story

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/chi-nursing-home-screening-30sep30,0,4763747.story

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/chi-nursing-home-businessoct01,0,4644230.story

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Older Health Care Workers Conference Follow-Up

    Health & Medicine Policy Research Group and the Great Lakes Centers for Occupational and Environmental Safety and Health (University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health) co-hosted the Older Healthcare Workers Conference in the morning of Tuesday September 29th, 2009.  The conference, on campus at the University Illinois of Chicago, included roughly 50 participants with a diverse range of backgrounds.  The conference was a successful stepping stone to convening major home care agencies, health care organizations and workers, policy and research professionals, and labor unions in addressing the important and growing population of older adult healthcare workers.  Participants and organizers alike agreed that this conference is only the beginning of a dialogue that must be continued on the topic.

    Speakers and workshops focused on five main areas of Older Healthcare Workers:

    1.) recruitment and retention issues

    2.) training and promotion

    3.) workplace design and accommodating workers with disabilities

    4.) wellness and health promotion programs

    5.) workplace policies and legislative initiatives. 

    Let's keep the dialogue going about these issues and possible solutions. Send your thoughts, resources, news and other information to Kristen Pavle at Health & Medicine and we'll post items here. 

    If you subscribe to the Health & Medicine comment feed, you will be able to post comments to some of the posts that appear in this section.

    Conference Materials

    Conference Presentations (You can also view these in the slideshare.net reader in the far right column.)

    Additional Materials

    Workshop Summaries

    View conference photos on facebook


    Jul 29, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    2009 HMPRG Awards-Call For Nominations

    As part of the 25th anniversary of Health & Medicine Policy Research Group in 2006, we established an awards program to honor those individuals and organizations that have shown leadership and vision in the fight for health system reform.

    As we all work to create a just health system, we want to take time out,once again, to celebrate those individuals and organizations whose work stands out as exemplary.We are asking your help submitting nominees for the 2009 HMPRG Awards which will honor accomplishments in Health,Medicine, Policy, and Research; along with the fifth award acknowledging work done by a Group.

    This time around, current and past Schweitzer Fellows are also being invited to nominate an Emerging Health Leader from agencies where they have done their placements. Health & Medicine also plans to present a special award to several local high-schoolers committed to social justice and activism.

    (The awards will be bestowed at a celebration & cocktail party on the evening of Thursday, October 1,2009, so be sure and save the date!)

    Click here to learn more about the award criteria and download the nomination form.

    This event has passed, view our video and photos of the 2009 HMPRG Awards Event.

    Jul 29, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Call to Action: Tell Your Legislators We Need a Tax Increase to Fund the Safety Net for the State’s Most Vulnerable!

    Call to Action: Tell Your Legislators We Need a Tax Increase to Fund the Safety Net for the State’s Most Vulnerable!

    Whatare the human realities of the budget brawl in Springfield? Politicalposturing, old feuds and recriminations have very effectively obscuredthe facts and the real effects on people of Illinois of the proposedbudget cuts.

    Download the Fact Sheet and Action Steps


    Jul 29, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    From Quentin Young

    Links, posts, articles and other content from HMPRG Founder Quentin Young, MD, will appear here...

    Read Quentin & Margie's interview on building social movements pre- and post Internet

    Read Quentin's June 24, 2009 - Testimony To The House Ways & Means Committee

    Listen to Quentin Young’s WBEZ interview on his 6 decades as a physician activist.

    Listen to the August 11, 2008 WBEZ interview with Quentin Young: A Doctor’s Recollection of ‘68?

    Part 1-Where we are and where we need to be- comments delivered by physicianactivist Quentin Young at Rebel Without a Pause, a March 7, 2009,celebration hosted by Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

    Part 2-Where we are and where we need to be- comments delivered by physicianactivist Quentin Young at Rebel Without a Pause, a March 7, 2009,celebration hosted by Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

    Excerpt from Revisiting the Scene: Quentin Young's Chicago, a short documentary, filmed on 10 locations in Chicago; produced by Health & Medicine Policy Research Group, directed by Chicago filmmaker Judy Hoffman and shot by kartemquin's Jim Morrissette. Get more information or purchase this film.

    Jul 29, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    From HMPRG Staff

    Links, posts, articles and other content from HMPRG Staff will appear here...
    Jul 29, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    From the HMPRG Board

    Links, posts, articles and other content from HMPRG Board Members will appear here...
    Jul 28, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Rebalancing-meaning and subtext...


    The buzz word in long-term care these days is “rebalancing.” The meaning and the subtext bear close study...

    To learn more read: Taking Care Seriously: Illinois at a Crossroad, by Martha Holstein for the Health & Medicine Policy Research Group http://hmprg.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/taking-care-seriously.pdf

    Jul 28, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    View Slides from the Safety Net Conference

    Jul 28, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    QuickPost | TypePad

    QuickPost | TypePad.

    From Health & Medicine Board Member, Heather O'Donnell (Center for Tax and Budget Accountability Policy Director for Health Care and Human Services)

    Safety Net Fact Sheet

    CTBA's April 2009 Analysis of the Tax Exemptions Granted to Non-Profit Hospitals in Chicago and the Metro Area and the Charity Care Providers


    Jul 27, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Inside this Blog

    Jul 27, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    QY looks at CC

    QY looks at CC
    Jul 27, 2009 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

    Welcome to HMPRG's Blog

    Health & Medicine Board, Staff and Guests post regularly on health policy issues of the day; link our blog to our website, facebook, slideshare and our other channels. In the far right hand column, you will find feeds from some of the blogs we follow. Please note that the views expressed by these bloggers do not necessarily reflect our positions, interests, strategies or opinions, but are intended to provide access to some of the current discussions on health policy and system reform. To learn more about our work, or to donate to Health & Medicine, visit our website at: http://www.hmprg.org   We invite you to follow us on facebook, too.

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