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Blog Posts from 2011

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.

2011

Dec 15, 2011 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

Read Linda Murra's Parting Speech as President of the APHA

Download the speech fro the APHA website

The important stuff: Parting words from APHA’s president

Linda Rae Murray, MD, MPH

It has been an honor to represent you as APHA president. In my travels, I have often recounted the following story.

When my youngest granddaughter, Ty, was about 6 years old, I asked the usual question adults ask: “What did you learn in school today?” I expected the usual — “Nothing.” But one day, she surprised me and asked, “Did you know that eggs are really dead baby chickens?” I chuckled, “Yes, baby, I knew that.”

Her little face looked suspicious. “Then did you know that we used to be slaves?” Yes, I responded. She pointed her finger and shook it at me, saying, “You are supposed to tell us the important stuff!”

Despite reminders to Tyler and her big sister, Amina, to brush their teeth, cover their coughs, wash their hands and eat their vegetables, I had failed in my duty to tell them about the important stuff.

That is what children expect of grandmothers and what communities expect from public health. Our routine advice about exercising, avoiding tobacco, driving sober and eating fruits and vegetables daily helps people and even saves lives, but it is not the important stuff.

The huge jump in U.S. life expectancy that occurred over the past century didn’t happen only through individual lifestyle changes. It occurred because of basic changes to the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. Chattel slavery was ended, the nation was enriched by millions of immigrants, the eight-hour workday was won, workers organized and fought for the rights of ordinary folks and nutrition improved. Public health leaders saw issues such as mine safety, meat safety, sanitation and sewage infrastructure, slums and poverty as important battles. In the past, we did not pick battles simply because they were “winnable” by marking measurable progress in a few years. We picked battles because they went to root causes of the pain and suffering.

We have retreated to technocratic tasks, categorical programs and “evidence-based,” narrowly focused interventions while losing the faith of the people we serve. In America, your SAT score, your chance of chronic disease and the length of your life is determined by your gender, the color of your skin, the nature of your accent, the social class of your parents and the ZIP code in which you reside far more than individual attributes.

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We need to speak clearly and forcibly to answer the important question for every policy, whether at the village or international level: Does it help or hurt human health? We must mobilize for the important battles directed at changing the inequitable distribution of power, money and resources that determines population health. We must renew our fight against racism and discrimination by ethnicity, class and gender. The core mission of public health is social justice. We must never forget the important stuff, because injustice is killing millions of people.

If we rally with the people we serve, then we can leave our grandchildren a world that is at peace, where justice rules, and its people — all of them — are healthy.

Copyright The Nation’s Health, American Public Health Association

 

Dec 10, 2011 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

Mayor Emanuel's Cuts Mental Health Services -- We Need a Comprehensive Mental Health Plan

Recently the Chicago City Council passed the Mayor’s budget eliminating, among other things, half of the city-run mental health clinics.  The amount of mental health services was already inadequate before this cut.  This is in addition to the total absence of mental health services within the Cook County Health and Hospital System and the millions in cuts to the state mental health budget last year. 

Meanwhile more people lack health insurance in our state and the numbers of people needing mental health services continues to grow.  The unintended consequence of all of this is that we warehouse people with mental illness in, of all places, our prisons and jails where they will also not get treatment for their mental illness. 

The ultimate inconsistency is that the cost of incarcerating a mentally ill person is much larger than the cost of mental health treatment in an outpatient clinic.

This should be intolerable in a civilized society.

We call upon our political leaders to take a more wholistic approach by developing  a comprehensive public system that follows a statewide plan and is implemented regionally.

This piecemeal approach we have now is a costly failure.

 

Quentin Young, Founder & Chairman Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

 

Nov 30, 2011 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

Margie Schaps quoted in Crain's Chicago article on Northwestern Hospital's talks with Roseland Community

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Northwestern in talks to link up with Roseland Community

By: Micah Maidenberg November 29, 2011

(Crain’s) — Executives with Northwestern Memorial HealthCare in Streeterville and Roseland Community Hospital on the Far South Side have held preliminary talks about a partnership between the institutions, which operate on opposite ends of the health care spectrum.

Northwestern Memorial Chief Operating Officer Dennis Murphy and other executives met several weeks ago with Roseland Chairman Ronald Blackstone Jr. and Roseland’s former chairwoman and incoming CEO, Dian Powell, Mr. Blackstone confirmed.

While a merger was not discussed, the topics included a possible role for Northwestern in the development of a new medical district in the area around Roseland Community and whether the giant teaching hospital could send medical residents to treat patients at Roseland, said Mr. Blackstone, who also is president of RJB Properties Inc., an Orland Park-based facilities management and janitorial company.

Both sides agreed to meet again early next year, he said.

Northwestern, with a strong pool of insured patients, had net patient revenue of $1.59 billion in the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, compared to $64.2 million for Roseland Community for its fiscal year ended March 31, 2010, the most recent year available.

An alliance with Roseland Community could bolster Northwestern’s non-profit image as it seeks to overturn a decision by the Illinois Department of Revenue to deny tax-exempt status to its Prentice Women’s Hospital.

“It’s in their own best interest to provide as much charity care . . . as possible to show they’re doing their part as they go into negotiations with the state,” said Margie Schaps, executive director of the Health and Medicine Policy Research Group, a Chicago-based organization. “You’re better off going into that negotiating room with something to show.”

Read the full article

Nov 14, 2011 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

Obama Jobs Plan to target health care workforce development and deployment

From The Washington Post, November 13, 2011

By Sarah Kliff

The Obama administration will announce Monday as much as $1 billion in funding to hire, train and deploy health-care workers, part of the White House’s broader “We Can’t Wait” agenda to bolster the economy after President Obama’s jobs bill stalled in Congress.

Grants can go to doctors, community groups, local government and other organizations that work with patients in federal health-care programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. The funds are for experimenting with different ways to expand the health-care workforce while reducing the cost of delivering care.

There will be an emphasis on speed, with new programs expected to be running within six months of funding. “This will open the inbox for many innovators and organizations that have an idea to bring to the table,” Don Berwick, administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said in an interview. “We’re seeking innovators, organizations and leaders that have an idea to bring into further testing.” Read more

Nov 08, 2011 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

CLASS Act, Voluntary Long-Term Care Insurance Program of Affordable Care Act, is Called-Off

???????HMPRG's Associate Director for the Center for Long-Term Care Reform, Kristen Pavle, is featured on the Illinois Health Matter's blog. Kristen's blog article: "CLASS Act, Voluntary Long-Term Care Insurance Program of the Affordable Care Act, is Called-Off," details the recent decision by the Obama Administration not to further pursue the CLASS Act. Kristen explains LTC, and why providing long-term care through insurance programs is essential, and largely absent in today's health care system.

Questions? Comments? Thoughts? Post on the Illinois Health Matter's Blog to start the conversation; or contact Kristen Pavle, Associate Director, Center for Long-Term Care Reform.

Nov 07, 2011 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

You Don't Want to Miss HMPRG's 30th Anniversary Gala on November 12, 2011!

Logoevent

Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG), has reached a milestone: our 30th Anniversary – which we could not have done without the the network of funders, policy makers and advocates, community providers, donors, organizations and partners who share our mission and vision.

We’re celebrating on Saturday, November 12, 2011, with a Gala in the Sidney R. Yates Gallery at the Chicago Cultural Center. 

BE
In addition to our featured speaker,
author/commentator Barbara Ehrenreich, we will also be honoring three people who have helped to shape and grow our organization: our Co-Founder, John McKnight- a pioneer in the development of asset-based models for community-building; health preventionpioneer, Yolanda “Bobby” Hall, one of the organization’s founding board members; and Margie Schaps, a respected health policy and advocacy leader and our Executive Director for over 18 years. 

Download the Invitation

Purchase Tickets Online

 

For more details about the evening visit http://www.hmprg30.com

Registering after November 8th? Please phone in your RSVPs by mid-day Wednesday, November 9th to Ann Duffy at 312-372-4292 or email Ann

  Unable to attend? Make a donation to the  Quentin D. Youg Fund for Health Justice

 
For information about the event email Karin Pritikin or call her at (312) 372-7292,extension 30


We look forward to celebrating with you in November!

Oct 18, 2011 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

In Sun-Times Editorial Veteran Physicians Warn of Dire Consequences to Public's Health if County Subsidy is Slashed

download the article from The Chicago Sun Times

Editorial: Docs say more cuts bad for county health care

Last Modified: Oct 17, 2011 10:03PM

Governments at all levels are slashing budgets, eliciting cries of pain and sky-is-falling warnings that the neediest among us will suffer — some exaggerated, some justified.

Against that backdrop, we listened carefully when four veteran doctors from Cook County’s public health system came to see us recently warning of dire consequences if the health system’s subsidy from the Cook Country Board were substantially reduced.

“To us, cutting the budget when we can’t even meet the need now is ludicrous. . . . We work at maximum capacity all the time,” explained Dr. Shari Schabowski, an emergency room doctor at Stroger Hospital. “Our system is saturated with super-sick people, so regular medical care doesn’t happen.”

This comes from doctors on the front line, top professionals who could work elsewhere but have chosen to work with, and now advocate for, patients who have nowhere else to turn.

They make a compelling case — but so does Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who is finalizing a 2012 budget that is roughly $315 million in the red. As she should, Preckwinkle is pushing every county-funded agency to do more with less. Read the full article

Oct 12, 2011 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

Join HMPRG for our 30th Anniversary Gala on November 12, 2011!

Shortarrow

Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG), has reached a milestone: our 30th Anniversary – which we could not have done without the the network of funders, policy makers and advocates, community providers, donors, organizations and partners who share our mission and vision.

We’re celebrating on Saturday, November 12, 2011, with a Galain the Sidney R. Yates Gallery at the Chicago Cultural Center. 

BE
In addition to our featured speaker,
author/commentator Barbara Ehrenreich, we will also be honoring three people who have helped to shape and grow our organization: our co-founder, John McKnight- a pioneer in the development of asset-based models for community-building; health preventionpioneer, Yolanda “Bobbie” Hall, one of the organization’s founding board members; and Margie Schaps, a respected health policy and advocacy leader and our Executive Director for over 18 years. 

Download the Invitation

Download the RSVP Card

Purchase Tickets Online

  Unable to attend? Make a donation to the  Quentin D. Youg Fund for Health Justice

Download Tribute Book Specs  (Final Deadline October 18)

For more details about the evening visit http://www.hmprg30.com

We look forward to celebrating with you in November!


For information about the event email Karin Pritikin or call her at (312) 372-7292,extension 30


For information about sponsorships email Joseph Leigh Designs or call (847) 869-5423

 

Oct 11, 2011 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

Quentin Young, Margie Schaps featured in New Public Health Text

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HMPRG Founder/Chairman, Quentin Young, MD and Executive Director, Margie Schaps, MPH are featured in the newly released Mastering Public Health: Essential Skills for Effective Practice, Barry Levy aand Joyce Gaufin, Eds. (Oxford, 2011).

Along with Ida Hellander of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), they wrote a Commentary on Lessons Learned from Advocacy for Health Care Reform that appears in Section 2. Persuading Others: How to Advocate.

Order the book

 

Oct 03, 2011 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

HMPRG is Turning 30! Come Celebrate With Us November 12th, 2011

(Click on each image to open full size)

Front panel


Download the invitation          Download the RSVP card

  Invite-corrected address


Purchase Tickets Online

Purchase Tribute Book Ads Online

Sponsorship Info

For information about sponsorships or to purchase tables

email Joseph Leigh Designs or call (847) 869-5423

  Ehrenreich panel

For more details about the evening visit http://www.hmprg30.com

HC-most recent


For information about the event email Karin Pritikin

or call her at (312) 372-7292,extension 30

 

We look forward to celebrating with you in November!

 

Sep 14, 2011 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

“Raising Expectations” State Level Report Card released for Long Term Services and Supports

AARP, the Commonwealth Fund and the SCAN Foundation recently released an interactive website where several measures of long term supports and services are evaluated.  The project is called Raising Expectations.

There are four Category Choices: Affordability & Access; Choice of Setting & Provider; Quality of Life & Quality of Care; and Support for Family Caregivers.  With several indicator measurements per Category, there is a lot of data to explore using the website

Of note, Illinois ranked in the 2nd Quartile overall.  For Affordability & Access and Quality of Life & Quality of Care, Illinois ranked in the 1st Quartile. However, for Choice of Setting & Provider and Support for Family Caregivers Illinois ranked in the 3rd Quartile.  To read more about the overall findings of the project and to compare all states graphically, check out the Executive Summary.  

One interesting thing that I found by clicking around is that Illinois ranks the highest in percentage of nursing home residents with low care needs at 25.1%.  This is compared with Maine who ranks the lowest at 1.3%. 

If you find any interesting data points, or having any thoughts about how Illinois ranks, or this report—let Kristen Pavle, Assistant Director and Policy Analyst at the Center for Long-Term Care Reform know.  We are interested in hearing from you! Email Kristen by clicking here.  Or call: 312.372.4292 x 27.

Aug 30, 2011 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

HMPRG's Janna Stansell's Broadcast Comments/Analysis on the Charity Care Issue

 

Janna Stansell Policy Analyst at HMPRG sheds light on the Charity Care and Tax Issue on NBC Chicago:

http://www.nbcchicago.com/shows/nonstop/The_Talk__Hospitals_Under_Fire_Chicago-128088458.html

Other other broadcast commentary and analysis from some of our partners:

 

 

Aug 26, 2011 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

Quentin Young's Letter to the Editor re: Charity Care published in today's Chicago Tribune

Please click on the link below to view Quentin Young's letter to the editor regarding Charity Care. Health & Medicine Policy Research Group has also been working with the Fair Care Coalition on this issue. Their letter was published as well.

Letter to the Editor

Aug 18, 2011 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

Senator Martinez Supports Public Hearings Re: Charity Care

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From Progress Illinois, Sally Ho Wednesday August 17th, 2011, 3:41pm


State Sen. Spearheads Public Hearing For Hospital Charity Care

The Fair Care Coalition rejoiced upon the news that the Illinois Dept. of Revenue rejected three hospitals applying for tax exemptions, claiming they didn’t provide enough charity care to qualify.

At a press conference in Chicago Wednesday, state Sen. Iris Y. Martinez (D-20) announced plans to spearhead public hearings on the issue. Earlier this year, she pushed SB 1881, the Hospital Fair Care Act, which remains stalled in committee. The bill sought to reform the property tax break given to non-profit hospitals as leveraged by how much charity care they provide.

Martinez was quick to clarify that her district has no hospitals, although there are many surrounding it, including Swedish Covenant Hospital and Norwegian American Hospital.

“I’m not targeting any hospitals," Martinez said. "I don’t think hospitals should lose their tax exemption; I don’t think it’s in their best interest or the interest of the communities. I think [the revenue department’s decision is] a wake-up call. The department is cracking down and if you're not providing the charity care, then you’re gonna have to be accountable.”

Aug 17, 2011 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

Tribune Article: Mayor Outlines New Wellness Plan for the City

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chicagotribune.com

City gets new prescription for better health

Mayor's Healthy Chicago wellness plan outlines areas needing improvement, strategies to achieve it by 2020

By Monica Eng, Tribune reporter

August 17, 2011


 

Vowing to improve the health of Chicagoans and cut the government's soaring health care costs, Mayor Rahm Emanuel went to a sweaty fitness room in Humboldt Park on Tuesday to unveil a comprehensive health agenda that includes a citywide "wellness plan."

As part of Emanuel's effort to launch initiatives in his first 100 days, the mayor and Health Commissioner Bechara Choucair presented a Healthy Chicago plan that outlines 12 priority areas — and dozens of measurable health goals the leaders hope to achieve by 2020.

The priorities include reduced tobacco use, obesity reduction and prevention, HIV prevention, adolescent health, cancer disparity reduction, better access to health care, healthy mothers and babies, communicable disease control and prevention, healthy homes, violence prevention, and public health infrastructure. Choucair says they have identified more than 120 strategies to address them.

The leaders did not specify concrete sources of funding for all the programs outlined in the agenda but said they believed their aggressive plan would attract more outside funding by demonstrating the city's commitment to targeted, transparent and evidenced-based health improvement strategies.

Along with the priority areas, Healthy Chicago presents at least 16 goals — addressing problems from adult smoking and teen pregnancy to racial health disparities in breast cancer and infant mortality — whose progress will be measurable through a "dashboard" of online charts that will be updated each August, according to Choucair.

"On top of that, on a monthly basis we will be issuing a report to update the mayor and the rest of Chicago about the progress toward advancing the policies, evidence-based interventions and health education messages aimed at achieving the goals," Choucair said in the Humboldt Park field house. "So it won't be like, 'We're announcing this today and see you in 2020.'"

"By having a clear mission with clear priorities and having a way to measure them and make sure we are not only setting goals but achieving them … we will have the greatest impact on our public health," said Emanuel, who said he works out daily and even shared with the audience his training regimen for an upcoming triathlon.

Download the full article

Aug 17, 2011 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

Tribune Article: Department of Revenue Denies Tax Exempt Status to Three Local Hospitals

Download the full article

chicagotribune.com

Illinois Department of Revenue denies tax exemptions for 3 hospitals

Ruling on Northwestern Memorial Hospital's Prentice Women's Hospital, Edward Hospital in Naperville and Decatur Memorial Hospital based on charity care

By Kathy Bergen, Tribune reporter

August 17, 2011

The question of how much charity care a not-for-profit hospital must provide to qualify for a pass on property taxes surfaced again Tuesday when the state denied exemptions for three hospitals, including Northwestern Memorial Hospital's Prentice Women's Hospital.

The decision follows in the wake of an Illinois Supreme Court ruling last year that the state revenue department was correct in withdrawing Provena Covenant Medical Center's property tax exemption in 2004. The court found the Urbana hospital failed to justify its exemption by providing charity care to just 302 patients, or less than one-half of 1 percent of the patients it served in 2002.

Provena, however, said it provided more than $38 million in "free care and other community benefits."

The other two hospitals denied exemptions by the Illinois Department of Revenue on Tuesday were Edward Hospital in Naperville and Decatur Memorial Hospital. More decisions are expected and could affect about 15 other health care systems.

While property taxes do not provide revenue to the state, they are the lifeblood of many cash-strapped cities, school districts, park systems and libraries.

"The Illinois Supreme Court provided guidance in the Provena case. … We are applying that interpretation of the law," the revenue department said in a statement. "The fundamental question is whether hospitals operate as businesses or as charities."

Read the full article

Aug 17, 2011 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

Quentin Young Posted in CNBC Article on Ilinois Authority Over Hospital Closures

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Illinois has rare authority over hospital closures

The Associated Press
| 15 Aug 2011 | 01:15 PM ET

CHICAGO - Cook County officials, facing a multimillion-dollar budget deficit, are begging to close a hospital that serves the poor in Chicago's southern suburbs. But no hospitals can shut down in Illinois until a nine-member state board gives the green light.

The panel — the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board — wields a rare authority over hospital closures, one that doesn't exist in most states. The board is scheduled to vote Tuesday on Cook County's proposal to shut down Oak Forest Hospital and turn it into an outpatient center. It rejected a similar request in May.

Emotions surrounding the decision have run high; the board initially rejected Cook County's closure plan after patients and union workers loudly protested that it would hurt health care in the already underserved area. But largely overlooked in the debate is how the board's power is a rarity in government regulation.

Only a handful of states — among them, Connecticut and New Jersey — require hospitals to obtain "certificate of need" approval before shutting down. In Tennessee, only hospitals designated critical in rural areas must get state approval to close.

"It is unusual for a state law to require a CON for closures of hospital services," Duke University law professor emeritus Clark Havighurst said. "It would seem in these tough times that municipalities like Cook County ought to be free to make spending choices without state regulators' interference."

But a board member of the American Health Planning Association, Pennsylvania-based consultant John Steen, said there's value in openiopening a hospital closure decision to public scrutiny, which happens during the CON process.

Read the full article to see what Quentin has to say about this process...

Aug 17, 2011 Written By: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)

Article in Chicago Tribune: Cook County Wins Fight to Convert Oak Forest Hospital to Outpatient Center.

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chicagotribune.com

Cook County wins fight to convert hospital to outpatient center

State board OKs Oak Forest Hospital plan over continued protests

By Erika Slife, Tribune reporter

August 17, 2011