Monday, November 30, 2009

Bronx Talk Tackles Health Care Reform

Dr. Jonathan Arend, NPA NY Legislative Director, and Tim Foley of NPA NY's
community partner organization NYC for Change, discuss pending national
health care reform legislation on the local television program Bronx Talk on
November 30. Click here or see below to watch this in-depth conversation.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Calling on the Conscience of Senator Lieberman

A group of NPA physicians joined a vigil outside Senator Lieberman's residence on Sunday evening, November 15, 2009. Several hundred gathered at his former high school in Stamford, Connecticut to appeal to Lieberman's conscience and allow an up or down vote on health care reform, including a public option. Mayor Malloy, Reverend Heichler, Reverend Grubbs, Rabbi Fuchs, and Rabbi Fish spoke with passion in support of a public option. After their speeches the group formed a procession across the street to Lieberman's residence, where spoken and written prayers were delivered. The event was organized by the Interfaith Fellowship for Universal Health Care. In attendance were NPA Drs. Oni Blackstock, Alex Foster, Aaron Fox, William Jordan, Sharon Phillips, and Dana Schonberg.

Read an article in the Stamford Advocate about the event and see a slideshow here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thank you, Congressman Towns!

Today I attended the rally organized by The purpose of the rally was to thank Congressman Ed Towns (NY-10) for his part in ensuring the passing of the health care reform bill H.R. 3962. The Honorable Mr. Towns, his staffers, community members, and patients attended the rally. I spoke at the rally; I was pleasantly surprised having the attendees thank me for coming out. It was clear to me that they felt good about having a doctor there with them.
-- Carol V.R. De Costa, M.D., M.S.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sarah Miller, M.D., and I spoke at an OFA event in Setauket, Long Island on November 9th. We had a great turnout of about 40 attendees, who had lots of great questions about health reform. The forum was specifically regarding women's access to health care, and Dr. Miller shared an experience showing how even women with insurance have trouble getting their needs met. One of her patients needed a birth control method for medical reasons and was turned away many times because her insurance, run by a Catholic organization, did not cover birth control methods under any circumstances. Getting the care she needed required multiple trips to various physicians and would have been much simpler if insurance companies were required to cover basic reproductive health care needs. I recounted the story of a woman I met in the Emergency Department about a year ago who had been ignoring her chest pain for weeks out of fear of the hospital bills she would incur if she came in. By the time I met her, she was gravely ill and required emergency surgery for a ruptured aortic aneurysm. Unfortunately, she did not survive, and left behind a husband, children, and grandchildren who might have had much more time with her if she had had access to the care she needed.

The audience had many questions about how the bill would affect them, including those on Medicare and those who were younger, what services would be provided, and what the current proposals in Congress entail. We had a great time educating and learning from this wonderful audience.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Phone Bank for Health Care Reform! Historic!

Hours before the historic House vote , about 70 grassroots volunteers, including NPA New York members, made phone calls to urge fellow New Yorkers to call their representatives, demanding their support for health care reform. Together, we made almost 1700 calls to constituents of Representatives Dan Maffei (NY-25) and Scott Murphy (NY-20). Sharon, John and I called over 100 constituents to Rep. Murphy's district. At some point, so many messages were left on Murphy's New York voice mail that we ended up giving out the DC office phone number, his fax number and his email address. Apparently, our group effort had some part on getting Maffei on board, whereas Murphy failed to listen to his constituents. To all our New York Reps who voted for health care reform, we thank you! More here.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"Die In" For Affordable Health Care

I joined MoveOn.Org members on November 2nd in front of the New York Times building to emphasize the very real death toll caused by lack of access to affordable health care. To memorialize the 122 Americans who die every day because they don't have health insurance, stories of people who died prematurely were read aloud and the readers took a place among the dead on the ground.

I spoke about a patient I saw in the emergency room who had been suffering from chest pain for weeks but did not go to her physician because she had no insurance coverage. She was found to have a dissecting aortic aneurysm and did not survive the surgery to repair it.

The number of 122 dead daily from lack of insurance belies the thousands more who daily suffer permanent disability because they were unable to access health care. I am optimistic that the current legislation will help solve some of these access issues.

See video of the event on YouTube here.
See coverage in the Greenwich Village Gazette here.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Black Women's Health Imperative Town Hall Meeting in Baltimore

The Black Women's Health Imperative, Raising Women's Voices and the Mayor's Office of Baltimore organized a town hall on 11/4 in Baltimore entitled "Raising Black Women's Voices for Health Reform".

As a panelist, I provided a physician's perspective for why health reform was needed and specifically addressed disparities in the rate of uninsurance and health outcomes for Black women. The panelists included the founder of BWHI, the interim commissioner for the City of Baltimore Health Dept., a representative from a youth advocacy group, and professor of health policy. The discussion was lively and passionate. Most in the audience were anxious to address to the problem of uninsurance and underinsurance and the rising cost of health care. Many suppported health care reform efforts and were there to share their personal stories. Audience members wer encourage to take action in support of health reform by calling their congress members and spreading the word to family and friends.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Dr. DeCosta's Story - Why We Need Healthcare Reform

Dr. DeCosta talks about what happened to her patient in the current healthcare system,and explains why we urgently need healthcare reform.(Videographed & Edited by Junko Ishikawa)