Thursday, January 11, 2007

Blog Carinvals


Check out the latest Change of Shift hosted by Kim McAllister RN at Emeriblog.

For all the policy wonks, Health Care Renewal is hosting the Health Wonk review this month. topics range from access to care, single-payer insurance and Gov.
Schwarznegger’s universal health plan for California.

Friday, January 5, 2007

A historic day for the women of America

Yesterday Nancy Pelosi of California took the speaker's gavel from Rep John Boehner of Ohio. The New York Times reported. “This is an historic moment,” Mrs. Pelosi said in her first remarks as speaker of the 110th Congress. “It’s an historic moment for the Congress. It’s an historic moment for the women of America. It is a moment for which we have waited for over 200 years.”

Currently we have 50 Democratic women in the U.S. House, 11 in the U.S. Senate, and 46 in important statewide positions across the country, the largest increase in a single election of Democratic women at this level in history!!

The new speaker of the house has demonstrated her commitment to health care and health during her tenure in congress. Mrs. Pelosi's legislative record includes protecting workers, and promoting health care, including women's health and the creation of a nationwide health tracking network to examine the links between environmental pollutants and chronic disease. She is the creator of Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS program. She has also successfully increased access to health insurance for people with disabilities by ensuring continuation of their health care coverage. Health Care issues will be top priority on the Democrat's list in 2007 addressing interest of the middle-class and work-class Americans. Including prescription drug coverage, minimum wage, and health insurance for the uninsured.

Additionally, Mrs Pelosi is not immune to the issues of nursing. She had selected a nurse activist and former lobbyist Catherine Dodd to serve as a director of her home office in California. Mrs. Pelosi also wrote the forward to Policy and Politics in Nursing and Health Care ( 5th ed.)

in which she states:

"Nurses have significant knowledge about the health issues facing our nation. They must recognize how they can effectively use their expertise to improve health policy, and ultimately the health of our citizens.......If health professionals want their perspectives on problems heard, they must bring information to those who make decisions and the staff who advise them. There are many advocates on all sides of each issue, all competing for access to those who make decisions. Therefore, nurses must not only understand their issues in great depth and be able to articulate a solution, but they should also know the weaknesses and strengths of the positions of other stake holders."

The speaker has spoken...are you listening??

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Health Affairs: 25 most read papers of 2006

Celebrating it 25th anniversary, The Health Affairs blog is offering free access to the top 25 most read articles until January 19th. This is interesting reading if you are at all passionate about health care and health policy.
Topics include:

"The paper on nurse staffing in hospitals by Jack Needleman and colleagues took the top spot for a paper published in 2006 with 37,547 pageviews. Two papers from 2005 earned the “most-read overall” ranking: “Can Electronic Medical Record Systems Transform Health Care?” by Richard Hillestad and colleagues from Health Affairs’ September/October 2005 issue attracted 40,263 pageviews in 2006, and the medical bankruptcy Web Exclusive by David Himmelstein and colleagues from February 2005 continued its high readership, adding 39,262 pageviews in 2006 to its over 70,000 pageviews from 2005, thus surpassing 100,000 readings of the paper."

Thank you Health Affairs for sharing!

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

"Meditate and eat your veggies" a patient perspective.

Ken Wilber, author, philosopher, creator of Integral Theory, writes about his recent frightening and amazing experience at an ER and intensive care unit in a Colorado hospital. It is amazing what the human body can withstand especially when throughly cared for. KW you are an inspiration and I am glad you made it through. Godspeed.

"At 8:30 PM on Tuesday, December 5, 2006, while Becca and I were watching a movie, I had a grand mal seizure that was quite severe. Although these are common with CFIDS/REDD/ME, it has only happened once to me before, as far as I can tell. A really major grand mal seizure can kill you. Although this one didn't do that, it came damn close, and was in any event severe enough to precipitate ten more equally severe seizures-one after another after another. By the time they got me to the ER and stabilized-about 12 hours later-not only had I suffered around a dozen grand mal seizures in a row, I had essentially flat-lined three times and had the electric paddles applied to my chest three times-overall, a pretty gruesome ordeal......The doctors told me that the only reason I survived was that I was in such good physical shape at the beginning of the ordeal. When people started asking how I managed to get through something like this, I therefore started joking, "Meditate and eat your veggies."


Ladies, silicone is back!

Under pressure from silicone implant manufacturers, The FDA approved the use of new generation silicone breast implants in November 2006. This will mean "big money for easy surgery" for plastic surgeons. Dr. Edward Melmed comments in the LA times that despite FDA approval, silicone implants are still unsafe and will require replacement surgery at least once in a lifetime. Dr. Edmond also reports that the FDA requires manufacturers to study 80,000 women within the next 10 years...the administration seems to have adopted the policy "Approve now, test later".

"Despite these known hazards, the Food and Drug Administration, under pressure from implant manufacturers, plastic surgeons and patients, is allowing as of Jan. 1 a new generation of silicone implants in women age 22 and over. The new generations of implants, we are assured, are less likely to rupture. However, this claim has been made for every previous generation. To monitor women's health, the FDA will require women who receive implants to have regular MRIs and has recommended that the implants be replaced every 10 years. It is a pity that women will become the experimental lab rats for these implants. They, not the manufacturers, will have to pay for the MRIs and replacements as recommended. Most plastic surgeons vehemently deny any connection between health complaints and leaking silicone implants. But I have seen a disturbing number of patients with symptoms, including fatigue, short-term memory loss, joint and muscle pains, skin rashes, disturbed sleep patterns, depression and hair loss, that clear up when implants are removed."

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

New year, same issues.

Back and still recovering from the jet lag. Italy is a beautiful country, the people are hospitable and the food, exquisite. Staying with an Italian family helped me move through the country fairly easy and stress free. I even passed by Berlusconi's "castle" in Portofino and walked along the walkway that he had built for himself by the sea so he would not have to jog on the road. I read about his visit to the US for his pacemaker placement, and not only did he forsake his own country's health care system, (in which his administration underfunded), he showed his gratitude by spewing sexist and derogatory remarks about "ugly" American nurses. Mr. B you are one class act. You will hear from me soon. Ciao.

The Washington Post reported on 12/25/2006 that college for health care professionals continues to bottle neck, refusing up to 2/3 of nursing school applicants for admission. Evidently the problem is not lack of is lack of funding. Colleges are not financially equipped to handle these students and there is a dearth of instructors. Registered nurses will make more money at the bedside than as teaching instructors. However there have been some effort put forth. For example, Timothy M Kaine (D) of North Virginia , proposed a 10% increase in nursing instructors salaries. The state was alloted $1.5 million funding for education of registered nurses. Great work.

And thank you for continuing to research and give the nursing profession the proper attention that it needs in the media and policy formation.