Category: Healthcare

Congressman Blasts GOP Health Plan, Calling It ‘Nothingcare’

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Rev. Jesse Jackson, Congressman Danny K. Davis, state Rep. Camille Lilly and other lawmakers and community leaders during a press conference last Friday at Loretto Hospital in Austin. | Michael Romain/VFP

Monday, May 8, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Several years ago, a sudden, “catastrophic” diagnosis of end-stage renal disease forced Monica Fox to stop working.

“I spent three years on dialysis — three days, four hours at a time,” said Fox, who received a kidney transplant five months ago, a gift she attributed to the Affordable Care Act.

Fox spoke at a May 5 press conference convened at Loretto Hospital in Austin by U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis (7th), Rev. Jesse Jackson and other lawmakers, healthcare providers and union officials one day after the House Republicans narrowly passed a bill designed to repeal and replace the ACA, popularly known as Obamacare.

Fox and others who spoke at the press conference variously called the Republican plan “Trump-care,” “Trump-don’t-care” and “Nothing-care.”

“The ACA made it possible for me to have the proper insurance I need,” said Fox, who lives in the south suburbs.

“While I have been unable to work, I’m getting to the point of going back to work. If [the Republican plan] goes into effect, I will be faced with devastating news that i have a pre-existing condition that may not be covered by my employer’s insurance,” she said. “That’s disgusting and whoever thinks that’s a good idea is sick.”

The Republican plan, which passed 217 to 213 on a party-line vote, now makes its way to the Senate, where many Democratic and Republican lawmakers, including Davis, believe it’s likely to either die from lack of support or be completely overhauled.

The House bill that passed Thursday is the Republican Party’s second attempt to repeal and replace the ACA since President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Both attempts have generated considerable popular backlash.

According to a Quinnipiac University National Poll released in March, voters in the U.S. opposed the first GOP health plan by a 3 to 1 margin.

“Disapproval of the Republican plan is 56 – 22 percent among men, 56 – 13 percent among women, 54 – 20 percent among white voters, 64 – 10 percent among non-white voters, 80 – 3 percent among Democrats, 58 – 14 percent among independent voters and by margins of 2-1 or more in every age group,” reads a statement released by Quinnipiac in March.

According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the first version of the Republican bill, which failed to come to a vote, would take away health insurance from 24 million Americans within 10 years, cut federal funding of Planned Parenthood and it could spell the end of Medicaid expansion, a provision of the ACA which allowed millions of low-income Americans to receive health coverage, among other possible consequences.

During last Friday’s press conference, Jackson and others didn’t mince words when talking about the Republican plan’s potential effects on the lives of poor, elderly, disabled and minority Americans.

“In Illinois, 37 percent of the children receive coverage through Medicaid. There are 649,000 Illinoisans enrolled under ACA and this bill is designed … cut that out and replace it with Trumpcare, Nothingcare,” Davis said.

“Implementation of the Republican bill will lead to loss of coverage for 24 million people nationwide. Overall, 44,269 Illinois residents covered under the ACA and [more than 252,000] are covered under expanded Medicaid, which will be in danger in Illinois.”

“This is a shame, an international disgrace,” said Jackson, who also said that the attempt to repeal the ACA marked “the unraveling of our democracy.”

State Rep. Camille Lilly (78th), who is also Loretto’s vice president for external affairs and development, said that the repeal of the ACA will “harm our local community here in Austin and on the West Side. It will devastate us.”

Lilly referenced a bill she introduced that allows felons returning home from prison to get signed up with the ACA 45 days before their scheduled release.

Loretto’s CEO and chief medical officer, Dr. Sonia Mehta, said that a possible repeal of ACA would “negatively impact our ability to take care of our communities.” Mehta said that 85 percent of Loretto’s patients are enrolled in either Medicare or Medicaid.

Oak Park resident Melanie McQueen said that the bill will put children with preexisting conditions in danger.

“This is literally a life and death situation,” she said. “There’s no reason in today’s age we have children who will die because of something preventative. When we say it affects all of us, it affects even our unborn children.” VFP

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Dominican Launches New Health Sciences College With Goal to Train More Minorities in the Field

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Dr. Richard “Sal” Salcido, the founding director of Dominican University’s new master’s degree program in physician assistant studies, operates on a 3-D cadaver inside of Palmer Hall, where the university’s new College of Health Sciences in housed. | Below, Debra Gurney, the executive director of the college’s undergraduate nursing program, sits with a medical manikin. | William Camargo/Wednesday Journal

dominicannewcollege_wj_120716_3Tuesday, December 6, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Dominican University in River Forest launched their College of Health Sciences this year, which includes undergraduate degree programs in nutrition and dietetics, medical studies, and nursing, plus a new master’s degree program in physician assistant studies. The latter, university officials said, will begin enrolling students in early January.

In a statement, officials said the new college is “part of an ongoing effort to meet critical shortages of health care workers in Illinois and across the nation.”

“We are committed to preparing many historically underrepresented practitioners in the health sciences, including women and minorities, to become exceptional, compassionate health care professionals in their communities,” said Dr. Dan Beach, the interim dean of the College of Health Sciences.

“In addition, we are focused on helping first-generation college students pursue their dreams in the medical field,” he said.

In an interview last week, administrators in the new college explained there has been increased demand among incoming students to study health sciences.

“The nursing major for undergraduates has been the [most popular program among incoming freshmen] for two or three years,” said Debra Gurney, executive director of nursing and chief nursing officer at Dominican.

“We just admitted our third cohort of students,” Gurney said. “We started out three years ago in the fall with 18 students and now we have a total, between the juniors and seniors, of 102 students in the pipeline.”

Dr. Richard “Sal” Salcido, founding director of physician assistant studies, said the demand for physician assistants (PA’s) — who are similar to general practice doctors and qualified to examine, diagnose and treat patients while being supervised by physicians — is rising, in part because of the program’s return on investment.

“I think probably about 98 percent of [PA’s] get jobs before they graduate and the average salary is over $90,000 a year,” said Salcido, adding that the two-year PA program, which costs about $88,000, is much less expensive and less time-consuming than becoming a full-blown doctor — which can take up to 14 years after medical school, internships and residencies are completed.

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According to the Association of Medical Colleges, the median four-year cost of medical school in the United States was nearly $280,000 for private schools and more than $200,000 for public schools.

“There’s not enough health care professionals to care for patients in the hospital and, of course, baby boomers are being admitted to the hospital in force,” said Gurney. “When we started, our mission was to provide the community with nurses because there’s a nursing shortage; then we extended [that mission] to the graduate level with the physician assistant program.”

Dominican officials said that the College of Health Sciences launch required a multiphase buildout of the university’s Palmer Hall, which now features simulation hospital rooms stocked with state-of-the-art 3-D anatomy tables and medical manikins that can replicate numerous functions of the human body — from breathing and bleeding to giving birth.

In addition, Gurney and Salcido said, the new college experienced an infusion of personnel this year, with the nursing program going from two full-time faculty members when it began to six full-time faculty members and 15 part-time members. The new PA program has around five full-time and two part-time faculty members.

Beach estimated that the additional capital and personnel costs for expanding, and launching, the nursing and PA programs were around $3 million to $4 million, with much of that paid for by private funding from donors.

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It’s an investment, university officials said, that will pay off in spades, considering the growth of the health care industry. By 2024, according to recent data published in Health Affairs, spending on health care could account for nearly one-fifth of the U.S. GDP.

Salcido, who was recruited by Dominican from the University of Pennsylvania, where he worked on trying to attract more underrepresented minorities into health care fields.

According to a study published last year in JAMA Internal Medicine, only 15 percent of the nearly 17,000 medical school graduates in 2012 were members of minority groups, including 7 percent black and 7 percent Hispanic.

“The medical profession in itself doesn’t really match the pluralistic society we live in,” Salcido said. “Only about 3 percent of Hispanics are able to get into PA schools. So, we made it a mission to recruit students who are minority, who are first to go to college and who are military veterans. We just filled our first class [of 30 students] and we have about 11 Mexican-American students who sailed right through the admissions process. We got about 14 who are the first to go to college.”

Among those students is 27-year-old Gabriela Velazquez, a graduate of College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts and a native of Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. Velazquez, who is the first in her family to go to college, said she worked for several years before enrolling in Dominican’s PA program.

“As a PA, you have more time with patients and more patient interaction,” Velazquez said. “You can also move between different specialties pretty easily. That caught my attention. But the main reason I wanted to [pursue this field] was to give back to Pilsen, which is really under-served in the area of health care.”

“We work so hard in building a program,” said Beach. “The culmination of that is actually seeing the faces of students when they get on campus. It wasn’t just the students; they brought family, too. They all remarked what a warm, accepting, supportive atmosphere they found here. There’s a lot of competition to get into these programs, but the competition is over now. The important thing is to get everybody across the goal line.” VFP

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Proviso East, D89 Schools to Get More Behavioral Health Services with $928K Loyola Grant

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A child going into school. | Loyola Medicine

Thursday, October 27, 2016 || By Community Editor || @maywoodnews

[Loyola University Health System/Newswise] Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing faculty Diana Hackbarth, PhD, RN, FAAN, and Fran Vlasses, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, ANEF, FAAN, have been awarded a $928,000 grant over two years from the Health Resources and Services Administration to integrate behavioral health providers into nurse-led primary care teams.

The goal is to increase access to care, enhance care coordination between providers and improve outcomes in underserved community-based settings.

“There is so much need in our community to recognize and provide services to people with behavioral health needs,” said Dr. Hackbarth, who is a professor at Niehoff. “It’s a great opportunity to reduce the stigma of mental illness, promote social and emotional health and expand needed services.”

Part of the funding is for the expansion of behavioral health services at Proviso East High School, where Niehoff faculty have been providing behavioral healthcare as part of its School Based Health Center (SBHC). The program will also support behavioral health services in elementary schools in Maywood and Melrose Park.

In addition, the grant will be used to expand behavioral health services at the Family Medicine Clinic, located at the Loyola Center for Health on Roosevelt, 1211 W. Roosevelt Road, Maywood. The grant will pay for an additional behavioral health provider and a consulting psychiatrist, allowing for easier access to mental health screenings and earlier access to treatment.

Finally, the project will promote interprofessional collaborative practice (IPCP) by training nurses, nursing students and other health professionals to be comfortable in screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment

“We want people to get the mental healthcare they need as soon as possible through better integration of behavioral health services into primary care at Loyola,” said Dr. Vlasses, who is also a professor at Niehoff.

This effort is a collaboration between Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and Loyola University Health System. VFP

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Westlake Hospital Offering Free Mammograms During Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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Monday, October 3, 2016 || By COMMUNITY EDITOR || @maywoodnews

According to the 2016 Ford Warriors in Pink Survey, nearly all Americans (98 percent) “are aware breast cancer is a serious health threat; 98 percent recognize that it affects women, while 89 percent recognize it affects men.”

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so organizations like Ford Warriors are taking to media platforms like the Today Show to broadcast messages of prevention and wellness.

Westlake Hospital, 1225 W. Lake St., in Melrose Park is celebrating the month by offering free mammograms, as it does every year, to residents living in the west suburbs.

All participants must be at least 4o years old, or between 35 and 40 with a strong family history of breast cancer, and are required to some proof of residency, such as a photo ID, driver’s license or utility bill.

All FREE screenings must be scheduled and take place in October. A physician’s order is also required. Call (708) 783-5000 to setup a screening mammogram today. Space is limited. VFP

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Cook County to Launch Health Program for Uninsured

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Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle during a recent news conference announcing the county’s new health program for the uninsured. | Cook County Board of Commissioners 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

According to the Cook County Board, there are an estimated 900,000 people in Illinois, most of whom live in Cook County, who are uninsured because they’re immigrants, can’t afford private plans or haven’t enrolled in a public health plan.

At a board meeting last week, county commissioners approved an ordinance that would launch a program designed to provide those residents who have fallen through the cracks with regular heath care.

Under the new ordinance, Cook County residents whose incomes are up to twice the federal poverty level, which is $48,600 for a four-person household, will receive “a membership card, member handbook and an assigned ‘medical home,’ and primary care physician at one of [Cook County Health & Hospitals System’s] community health centers where they can receive consistent primary and specialty care at CCHHS facility,” according to a recent statement by the county board.

“Health care is a human right,” said CCHHS CEO Dr. Jay Shannon. “A person should be able to receive the necessary proactive medical care they need to live a healthy life and not have to only rely on emergency care when they are acutely ill.”

The county’s new initiative, often referred to as a direct access program, is scheduled to start accepting eligible patients by early 2017. Individuals who are currently members of the county’s CareLink program, which discounts medical care for eligible patients who aren’t insured or can’t afford private insurance deductibles, will be allowed to transition into the new program.

“We cannot have a healthy economy or a healthy city without a healthy workforce,” noted Commissioner Bridget Gainer (10th), who along with Commissioners Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (7th) and Robert Steele (2nd), along with members of Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s Cook County Health Care Task Force, conceived the idea for the direct access program.

“This means having strong primary and preventive care,” Gainer said, “not just an emergency room.” VFP

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Maywood Park Could Be Torn Down This Summer, Auction Completed | Loyola Named Among Country’s ‘100 Great Hospitals’

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A horse racing harness that was up for auction from Balmoral Park and Maywood Park racetracks. || Bernie Tafoya | Caption: CBS Chicago

Friday, May 13, 2016 || By Michael Romain 

Everything was up for sale: starter cars, starting gates, restaurant equipment and even the escalators. Now, those assets, from the now-defunct Balmoral Park and Maywood Park horse racing tracks, are all sold.

They were part of an online personal property auction put on by Loeb Winternitz Industrial Auctioneers and Yellen Partners.

“Almost 1,000 bidders participated in the auctions, and the piecemeal sale generated recovery values well above pre-auction estimates,” said Charles Winternitz, president of Loeb, in a May 13 statement.

“We are proud to have participated in the sale of these venerable Chicago landmarks and especially happy to have helped reach such a good result for interested parties, noted Brian Yellen, president of Yellen Parnters, in the statement.

Now with the auction completed, Maywood Park might be coming down, according to owner Duke Johnston, who said the tracks will be torn down this summer.

“If a slot bill ever passes, I think you’d find someone to buy it, develop it into a casino and you get some horse back, some jobs back, but no one is willing to take a flyer on the state of Illinois right now,” Johnston told CBS Chicago in April.

According to that report, the owner “believes his tracks were doomed when Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed legislation that would have allowed slot machines at horse tracks.”johnston-auction-2

Some of the photos up for auction from the Balmoral Park and Maywood Park horse racing tracks, owned by the Johnston family. | Bernie Tafoya | Caption: CBS Chicago

For Third Year in a Row, Becker’s Names Loyola to List of 100 Great Hospitals

Loyola Center for Translational Research and Education

By Loyola University Health System || Originally Published: Newswise || 5/10/16

For the third year in a row, Loyola University Medical Center has been named to Becker’s Hospital Review’s list of “100 Great Hospitals in America.”

Hospitals on the list are known for multiple reasons, including having a strong history of medical innovation, providing top-notch care to patients and conducting leading-edge research.

The Becker’s editorial team selected hospitals based on rankings and awards from respected sources, including U.S. News & World Report, Truven Health Analytics, Healthgrades, the American Nurses Credentialing Center and The Leapfrog Group. In examining each hospital, the editorial team considered questions such as “Would you take a loved one here for care?” and “Would this hospital be on a short list of places to visit for an important procedure or health issue?”

According to Becker’s, each hospital on the list has a strong foundation of high-quality care, stellar credentials and a focus on doing what is right for patients. Listed hospitals are home to many medical and scientific breakthroughs, provide best-in-class patient care and are stalwarts of their communities, serving as research hubs or local anchors of wellness.

Becker’s Hospital Review is a monthly publication offering business and legal news and analysis relating to hospitals and health systems.

Loyola physicians are national and international experts in their fields and members of the faculty of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. Many physicians conduct research on heart disease, cancer, bone marrow transplant, organ transplant, orthopaedic problems, neurological disorders and other conditions. With four nationally ranked specialties, Loyola University Medical Center ranks among the top three Illinois hospitals in U.S. News & World Report’s 2015-16 Best Hospitals rankings. VFP

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Loyola Opens $137M Research Center in Maywood; Village Teams With Nonprofit To Put People To Work

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Loyola’s new, $137 million Center for Translational Research and Education, located on Loyola’s medical complex, which straddles First Avenue and Roosevelt Road in Maywood. The center opened on April 21. | Photo courtesy Loyola University Chicago

Wednesday, April 27, 2016 || By Michael Romain 

Last Thursday, Loyola University Chicago opened the Center for Translational Research and Education (CTRE) — a five-story, $137 million facility located on the institution’s health sciences campus in Maywood.

The 225,000 square-foot facility is the largest one the university’s ever built, according to an April 21 statement Loyola released on the day of the opening. The building will be home to 500 students, staff and faculty members.

“In medicine, research is a team effort and collaboration leads to innovative discoveries,” said John P. Pelissero, Loyola’s interim president, in the April 21 release.

Pelissero said the new building will unify the Maywood complex’s Stritch School of Medicine, the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and Loyola University Health System with the goal of rapidly translating fundamental scientific discoveries into “real treatments for human health.” That goal, university officials noted, aligns with the university’s 5-year plan, which is called Plan 2020: Building a More Just, Humane, and Sustainable World.

The new facility is expected to become gold LEED-certified and includes “two two-story atriums to promote outside-the-lab collaboration, a 90-seat seminar room, and a 265-seat auditorium for lectures and health-related community events.”

Larry M. Goldberg, the president and CEO of Loyola University Health System, said the Maywood complex is “one of few academic medical centers in the country in which a hospital, medical school, nursing school and major research center are connected on one campus,” according to the statement.

Maywood and the Chicago Lighthouse team up to put people to work, April 29

Maywood residents who have a desire to connect with potential employers can show up at the Village Council Chambers, 125 S. 5th Ave., in Maywood, on Friday, April 29, from 12 p.m. until 3 p.m., for critical information on doing so. See more below:

Put Maywood to Work

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A N N U A L  E A R T H  D A Y  C L E A N  U P, A P R I L  3 0

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In honor of the late Lennel Grace, a tireless Maywood advocate for clean paths, sidewalks and streets, attend this year’s annual Illinois Prairie Path Cleanup, Saturday, April 30, 8:45 a.m. to 12 p.m., starting at 11th Avenue and Prairie Path, in Maywood. RSVP JoAnn Murphy, so she can plan accordingly.

Operation Uplift to host April 30 reunion kickoff/fundraiser, in lieu of annual luncheon

West TownOperation Uplift, the Maywood nonprofit that operates the West Town Museum of Cultural History and hosts an annual Martin Luther King, Jr., luncheon, has announced that it will be hosting a reunion kickoff to help support and bring awareness to its daily services in lieu of a luncheon this year.

“Please help us continue to provide more cultural awareness to our local community, stimulate individual growth,  community pride, and educate the Proviso Township area about the collections of art, artifacts and significant historical materials we hold within our doors,” according to a recent release put out by the organization.

The reunion kickoff activities will include educational tours, an African attire fashion show, live entertainment and food.

It will take place on Saturday, April 30, from 1 PM to 4 PM, at Operation Uplift/West Town Museum, 104 S. 5th Avenue, Maywood.

Donations or pledges of any amount are greatly appreciated. Those who give via checks should make them payable to: Operation Uplift, Inc.

For more information please call Jeri Stenson at 708-289-4955 or email operationupliftinc@gmail.com. VFP