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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A Week of Music and Health Quality

Cyndy Nayer

Highlights from Stevie Wonder and the meetings of Boston and DC.

albumsIt was a week of meetings, concert, new ideas, gorgeous weather, and finding new friends–a week of quality, indeed.  Here are some findings, some musings, and some encouragement to all who are seeking to build quality and safety into health outcomes.

Boston:  No surprise that this beautiful city is accelerating some of the changes we want to see in health care and health outcomes. Meetings with new folks have fueled my energy in advancing the agenda in the all-important Rx development and access.  What’s missing is the value of new and developing treatments in improving the total value proposition:  what’s the worth in a family (quality of life during treatment), a worksite (lower absenteeism and lowering income loss), and to a person (less side effects, easier adherence, getting to cure [where possible]).  Of course I’ve written about this before (Framework for Outcomes-Based ContractingSovaldi Value of a CureSovaldi OBC Contract–Kiss is Still a Kiss), providing the business and outcomes models for using a high-cost drug that gets the person to goal. (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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Lift Every Voice: Listen to Women Veterans

Janice Lynch Schuster

During last week’s Veteran’s Day inspired concerts and tributes to veterans, a Hill-gathering of Disruptive Women (and our man of the month, Rep. Tim Walz, MN) spoke truth with power. Gathered to discuss challenges faced by women veterans, the group included veterans, members of Congress and their spouses, congressional staff, state leaders, and filmmakers. The group had had enough of platitudes and promises. We were ready for disruption, and Rep. Walz delivered just that, saying he was done with “incremental change” (Washington’s latest, favorite buzz-word) and prepared to lead “seismic change.”

walz panelWalz speaks from a place of experience, knowledge, and passion: He is a retired soldier, and the highest rank ranking enlisted man to serve in Congress. During a 24 year stint in the Army National Guard, including a tour of duty in Operation Enduring Freedom, he also taught high school. The latter tour provided him some insight into chaos and disruption. In the 113th Congress, he will serve in leadership roles that include the National Guard and Reserves Caucus, and the Congressional Veterans Jobs.

In his remarks, Walz noted that “it doesn’t take much to offer health care that people can’t access.” He added that although the VA has made some progress since the days when “the best thing the VA could say for what it had done for women was that the exam tables no longer  that face the door.” Later, he added that the VA system—staffed by dedicated people—still has far to go to really offer care for all, noting that, “it is much easier to put up a yellow ribbon then it is to step up care.” (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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The Women Soldiers Speak of Service, and the War Each Day Brings

Janice Lynch Schuster

Cold plunged in from the north
and gripped us with errors of calculation.
We fell to our knees, crumpled heating
bills in our hands, and tried to decide
which worry mattered more:
the goiter on my throat,
blurred vision in swollen eyes,
the baby and her daycare?
Who needs new tires first,
and how long can we burn
kerosene before it kills us? (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?

alfie

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

va_seal_logo

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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How the VA can better service Women Veterans

Digital StillCamera

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.

I am an Army veteran who was disabled during military service, a health policy advocate for my fellow women veterans, and a long-time patient of the VA health care system. As a patient, I have personally received excellent care through VA for more than two decades, and continue to see progress made in the overall delivery of health care to women. As an advocate, I know there are still many policy, program and cultural changes that must be implemented to ensure federal agencies, including the VA, are providing equitable services to women veterans and fully meeting their unique health care and transition needs.

The goal of VA provided care and services should be to recognize military service and sacrifice and assist veterans – all veterans – in successfully transitioning from the military to civilian life. But just to illustrate the severity of the gender-gap, nearly one in four VA hospitals do not have a full-time gynecologist on staff. This is a major shortfall in providing unique, necessary care to women veterans, and it must be fixed. (more…)

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Service

11.6

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.

Meet the women in our film
Meet the women in our social media
Meet the challenges they face:
Fighting to get their benefits
Fighting to get medical care,
Fighting to overcome their visible and invisible injuries.

These women veterans are still serving,
for as they struggle for good and timely medical care for themselves,
they are on the vanguard for all women. (more…)

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No Basic Training without Basic Health Care – Women Veterans Deserve Better Health Care

Robin Strongin

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.

In the continuing effort to protect the American people and our national security interests, women are playing a greater role than ever before in the country’s history.  Today, approximately 14 percent of active-duty military personnel are female, roughly double the number of women in the armed forces in 1980.  And more women are assuming critical responsibilities in combat missions than in any previous conflict.

So we’re seeing significant movement toward gender equity and opportunity when it comes to defending the homeland.  But, when it comes to the health care needs of the women who have given so much to their fellow citizens…well, let’s just say that the federal government has a lot of work to do to live up to its commitments to its women veterans. (more…)

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Innovation when collaborating with Academia and Industry

Nadine Afari

More of the history of productive collaboration between engineers and scientists in academia and in the business entrepreneurship industry needs to be known. The primary beneficiary of this collaboration has been the public. But now, when the public might expect collaboration between academia and industry to be accelerating, it is not. Obstacles to efficient and effective collaboration leading to application have not allowed new technology to keep pace with ever-increasing need. In this analysis, based on experience in both academia and industry, the author provide perspective on current obstacles to academic–industrial collaboration, followed by recommendations on how effective collaboration can be renewed and enhanced.

Consider the progress that has been made in our understanding of the complexity of biological systems and in the sophistication of research tools and methods during the last 50 years. When you compare this progress with progress in the healthcare industry in terms of new applications and productivity; there is a jarring difference. Even when healthcare innovators produce, the implementation and subsequent productivity gains from their new technologies is remarkably slow. (more…)

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