Congress Passes ABLE Act: Major Victory for Persons with Disabilities and Their Families

Congratulations to one of our 2015 Disruptive Women to Watch Madeleine Will for all her work on this legislation and on behalf of persons with disabilities. 

(Washington, D.C. – Dec. 17, 2014) – Last night, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014 by a vote of 76 to 16. First introduced in 2006, and subsequent sessions of Congress, the ABLE Act will allow people with disabilities (with an age of onset up to 26 years old) and their families the opportunity to create a tax-exempt savings account that can be used for maintaining health, independence and quality of life.

“Today marks a new day in our country’s understanding and support of people with disabilities and their families,” Michael Morris, National Disability Institute (NDI) Executive Director, said. “A major victory for the disability community, ABLE, for the very first time in our country’s policy on disability, recognizes that there are added costs to living with a disability.” He continued. “For far too long, federally imposed asset limits to remain eligible for critical public benefits have served as a roadblock toward greater financial independence for the millions of individuals living with a disability.”  (more…)

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It’s Holiday Party Time: Are You and Your Guests Safe?

Terri Prof Headshot 0412This month many of us will enjoy festive holiday parties.  Maybe you will be the one hosting the party.   You’ve probably got an image in your head about what the party looks like, who is there and what you will serve.  Perhaps champagne toasts or eggnog will be involved.  Maybe you know that some of your guests will even share a couple of joints. Have you thought about how people will get home safely after your party?  In addition to all of the holiday events in December, there will also be nearly 30 deaths due to alcohol or drug related car crashes every day.

While you may not be the one driving home from your party impaired by alcohol or drugs, your gathering could become one of the statistics and, unintentionally, part of the problem.  News and coverage about alcohol related or drug related accidents focus, rightly, on the victims whose lives are irrevocably changed and the loss their family members suffer.  But how would you feel if you were in any way responsible for a death or severe injury?  What if you were the one driving the car home from someone else’s party?  Would you be able to forgive yourself?  I don’t think I would.  Unfortunately, the victims probably wouldn’t be able to forgive you either. (more…)

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Addiction and the Different Types of the Treatment Programs

ECalhounHeadshot 2October may have officially been named Substance Abuse Prevention month, but addiction treatment is an ongoing battle that lasts throughout the entire year. Recognizing the signs of addiction and knowing where and when to get help are vital tools that everyone should keep in their arsenal. Unfortunately, few people recognize the signs of addiction or know where to get help, which in turn can prolong the amount of time an addict may go without addressing such a serious problem.

So how does one define addiction? Addiction is the inability to resist something that makes an individual feel positively or helps an individual forget stressors and depression. People can be addicted to a multitude of things; some of it is alcohol or drug related, some addictions are action based (such as gambling or controlling body image), and others have addictions to food. Addiction is a very personal problem, and no two individuals have the same story. (more…)

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Disruptive Women Panel Talks Technology & Innovation at mHealth Summit

Tim_HeadshotFor members of a panel during the Disruptive Women session on Tuesday at the mHealth Summit at the National Harbor, innovative ideas had strikingly different origins.

For one panelist, Ramin Bastani of Healthvana, it was a slap from a woman, in response to a question about her sexual health status, which spurred him to change the way patients receive – and exchange – information regarding STDs and HIV. For Jen Hyatt of Big White Wall, it was a note from her mom after jamming to 70s music with friends that helped inspire 20-plus years’ worth of startups and social purpose organizations, the latest which allows mental health patients to access an online ecosystem of behavioral health resources.093_Gaylord

The program, called “Technology Gets Intimate,” was moderated by Nancy Green of Verizon Healthcare and afforded each panelist an opportunity to talk about their disruptive solutions – and the catalysts to achieving them – that put the patient at the center of their health care decisions through digital and mobile. (more…)

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December Man of the Month: John Beilenson

SCP_John_1_WEB_crop_2John Beilenson, President, Strategic Communications & Planning (SCP), is Disruptive Women in Health Care’s December Man of the Month.  John founded SCP (see: www.aboutscp.com), now outside of Philadelphia, in 1987. He has led this socially responsible consultancy since then, working with a wide range of nonprofit organizations, foundations and public institutions to use communications to create social good.

We are featuring John for his “disruptive” efforts aimed at transforming how our healthcare system and the larger society deals with the challenges and opportunities associated with our country’s aging population.

John, how did you become interested in communications in a general sense?

I guess it is in my blood.  I am the grandson of the founders of Peter Pauper Press, an award-winning printing and publishing company in Westchester County, New York, and I remember going to the press as a boy in the 60s, smelling the ink, learning to set type by hand. (more…)

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Drumroll please…today is the day

Today at the mHealth Summit is our Technology Gets Intimate panel. It will be followed by our Women to Watch Reception. For those of you who can’t join us check the blog later this week for a recap.

Missed the blog’s Founder Robin Strongin announcing the event, watch it NOW!

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Healthcare’s Renewable Resource: Authentic Patient Experience

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Cancer is my medical degree. Navigating my way through three distinct cancer diagnoses across three unique stages of life and managing three different treatment paths is my specialty. In the course of enduring Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at age 17, melanoma at 38 and, in 2012, breast cancer at 46, I’ve amassed firsthand expertise in the critical areas of patient-provider communications, care coordination, patient safety, insurance reconciliation, disease prevention, and personalized treatment planning.

From the time of my first cancer diagnosis over 30 years ago to today, cancer has influenced my life and risk of future disease. To put my experience in perspective, the collective time I spent in the throes of surgery, recovery and treatment of my two most significant diagnoses – Hodgkin’s lymphoma and breast cancer –totals twelve months. So, I have spent only 1/30th of my cancer experience fully immersed in the healthcare system. (more…)

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Kaiser Family Foundation Understanding Health Insurance & Open Enrollment Resources

The Kaiser Family Foundation recently released the resources below to help people understand insurance and the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces. We found them helpful and hope you do too.

 Understanding Health Insurance: Consumer Resources

  • Understanding Health Insurance: Consumer Resources (Updated Web Page)
  • Health Insurance Marketplace Calculator (Interactive)
  • Health Insurance Explained: The YouToons Have It Covered (Video)
  • Health Reform Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
  • Health Insurance Quiz (Quiz)
  • Health Coverage, HIV & You (Web Portal) (more…)


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Attending the mHealth Summit? We’ve got a session for you…”Technology Gets Intimate: We’re Making it Personal”

Talking about them can be tough – you know, things like sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, pregnancy or mental health. But what if these private, often hard-to-broach topics were at the core of a discussion surrounding technology and mobile health? Would you listen?

On Tuesday, December 9, at the mHealth Summit at the National Harbor, Disruptive Women in Health Care gets personal by offering perspectives regarding the relationship between technology, health and intimacy. The session will detail opportunities afforded by health innovations that empower consumers and providers to address everyday personal issues, and consider the use of technology as a means to learn more about sex, reach vulnerable populations or make healthier choices.  (more…)

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Struggling with Diabetes? You’re Not Alone

Terri Prof Headshot 0412If you know someone with diabetes, you know how much disruption, discomfort and inconvenience it can cause: dietary restrictions to control blood sugar, frequent finger pricks to monitor glucose levels, injections to deliver insulin and the constant fear that your levels will spike or plummet. All of this effort is necessary to manage the ubiquitous disease. Not managing it well or ignoring it could cause a seizure, a coma, or some other truly unpleasant side effects of irregular blood sugar levels.

While the most extreme health issues have been widely known for type 1 diabetes, more Americans are being sucked into sedentary, high caloric, unhealthy lifestyles causing an epidemic of type 2 diabetes. Both can cause stroke, blindness, heart disease, neuropathy (nerve pain), kidney damage and limb amputations and those diagnosed with diabetes have shorter life expectancies.

Bob K. knows all too well the difficulties of living with diabetes.  Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a young boy, he is now 90 years old and is the longest living diabetic on record. But he will tell you it has not been easy. (more…)

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An Attitude of Gratitude

Amber Coleman-MortleyWe live in a community where there are a lot of military personnel.  We often see them in uniform coming and going during the morning and evening commute.  My children never really noticed until one day I randomly thanked a guy for his service.  I had been having a really bad week and for some reason seeing this man in uniform reminded me that there was a lot in my life to be thankful for.  Acting on impulse  I abruptly blurted out, “Thank you so much for your service”.  The guy smiled a shy smile and went on about his day.

Puzzled, one of my kids says, “Mommy what are you thanking him for?  Who was he?”.

“Well people like him, and others you see dressed in uniform, are making a huge sacrifice. Their spouses, their children, their siblings and their mommies and daddies are all making a sacrifice so that the rest of us can go to buy gasoline to go places we love; buy the toys and things we like; have ideas and express them; safely walk our streets without the threat of bombs.  (more…)

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November Man of the Month: Congressman Tim Walz

Congressman Tim Walz (MN-01) is Disruptive Women’s November Man of the Month. Yesterday at our Disparities and Disservice: Women Veterans Deserve Better Health Care briefing we were pleased to present him with this honor and a t-shirt. As a 24-year veteran of the Army National Guard, Congressman Walz works to assure the safety and security of those who serve and have served in our armed forces. He also works tirelessly to ensure they have access to the benefits they deserve. Because of this and his commitment to providing the men and women who return from service with the opportunity to achieve success, happiness and good health in civilian life we are proud to name him November’s Man of the Month.

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Am I a Veteran?

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This post is part of a new series, Disparities & Disservice: Women Veterans Deserve Better Health Care. The series will culminate with a briefing on Thursday, November 13 at noon.

A very personal story illustrates why we continue to have disparities, especially in health care, among women who served in the military.

I was at an event a number of years ago and towards the end of the program, the master of ceremonies, a retired Admiral, called on veterans by war service to stand and be recognized.  Ten WWII veterans stood and took a bow; four Korean War veterans came to their feet and were honored.  The Admiral then asked for Vietnam War veterans to stand and a third of all in attendance stood and the room went crazy in applause.  At that moment I realized that I was still sitting!  There I was, a 22 year Army veteran who served during the Vietnam and Gulf wars and I was still sitting…it was like a kick in the stomach and then I got angry at myself and the fact that I, who knows better, got distracted by the relationship that the word veteran has to serving in a war which correlates to deployment and combat.

All this all happened in a matter of seconds and once I snapped out of it, I stood up to receive the recognition I was due among my wartime peers.  I did not serve in the war, but I was part of the Vietnam War as I cared for our wounded and their families in military hospitals.  (more…)

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The demoralizing care women veterans receive…I have solutions

diana dThis post is part of a new series, Disparities & Disservice: Women Veterans Deserve Better Health Care. The series will culminate with a briefing on Thursday, November 13 at noon.

Out here, the sunrises and sunsets are breath taking. You can feel the calm and quiet, perfected by the chirping of birds and the rhythm of insects.  Reflection is mandatory.  Rural life is slower.  The night skies are darker, shimmering brightly with millions of stars.  The few sirens we hear sound for a few seconds in the morning, midday and early evening… a sort of alarm clock for farmers.

The isolation is peaceful, centering, inviting…. and dangerous for aging disabled veterans far removed from their Community Based Outpatient Centers (CBOC’s) and VA hospitals and lacking community services.

The average person who suffers an injury goes to the closest ER or clinic. The rural veteran weighs the distance to the VA – mine is a couple of hours away – versus my personal assessment of how badly I am injured or how ill I feel. (more…)

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The Road to Veterans Day 2014 Fact Sheet

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The Road to Veterans Day 2014 Fact Sheet

Summary:

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has an important mission: caring for Veterans and their families, and VA has strong institutional values – mission – critical ideals that must influence day–to-day behavior and performance: Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, and Excellence.

To better fulfill our mission and to improve our service those who have ‘borne the battle,’ their families, and survivors, VA has developed The Road to Veterans Day 2014 — a series of strategies and actions that will enable the Department to:

  • Rebuild trust with Veterans and the American people;
  • Improve service delivery; and
  • Set the course for long – term excellence and reform. (more…)


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