Could classifying homelessness as a health condition be key to solving the problem? State Sen. Josh Green thinks so.
Hawaii senator and practicing ER doctor, Josh Green, sees the issue first-hand and wants to redefine chronic homelessness as a medical disease that allows doctors to prescribe housing using Medicaid funds. “I see the same patients over and over again,” he said. “Every time they come to the hospital the bills are thousands and thousands of dollars. And they don’t get better. They have the same problems when they come out,” said Green, chairman of the state Senate Human Services Committee.
Vice News Correspondent, Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani, went to Hawaii to talk to about his proposal as well as the homeless Hawaiians who would benefit. “I think one of the most shocking things for anyone who watches this story is really that juxtaposition of thinking Hawaii is this glamorous paradise island and then really seeing first-hand the level of crisis,” Caroline expressed. Her story focuses on a proposal before lawmakers that would allow doctors to use money from Medicaid to get chronically homeless people into housing. “There is a discourse going on across the country right now about health care and this story really is a component of that conversation.”
Hawaii receives $2 billion a year in Medicaid, but that money is often spent as inefficiently as possible. 3.6 percent of recipients, many of whom are homeless, use 61 percent of the state’s Medicaid budget on emergency care. Hawaii has the highest homelessness rate of any American state — and it was the first to declare the problem an official state of emergency, in 2015. According to outreach workers, the majority of people living on the street’s in the islands suffer from some type of mental illness. Roughly 19,000 (18%) people in the state are considered to be chronically homeless — that is, on the streets for an extended period of time, and with a disabling condition. Lack of affordable housing in the islands remains the single biggest reason so many people find themselves on the streets.
We know that when you pair people with severe mental health and substance abuse issues with housing, their condition improves dramatically.
Senator Josh Green introduced a resolution that would declare homelessness a medical condition in order to use Medicaid funds to help cover housing. The resolution does build upon a national movement of linking housing to health. While the idea has sparked controversy, the plan continues to move forward at the Capitol. Green’s proposal requires the auditor to assess the impact of using Medicaid funds to provide coverage for the treatment of homelessness. Green believes it would cost the state an extra $200 million a year to restore the state’s mental health and drug treatment facilities. Hawaii’s behavioral health safety net shouldered deep cuts during the recession, and Green said re-allocating some of the state’s $2 billion Medicaid budget could help better fund those programs. “If we spent some of this which is private insurance money on this as a health problem then we won’t have to rely on major increases on the state budget,” Green said.
Trisha Kajimura, executive director of Mental Health America of Hawaii, said better funding is part of the solution. “We need more doctors and more staff in general, especially psychiatrists and people who are able to prescribe medications for mental illness,” she said. Kajimura added that if the money isn’t spent now, the problem could persist for decades. She added that people can’t heal without a roof over their head. “In terms of affordable rental housing, if we don’t build more stock and make that available to people who are almost homeless, at risk for homelessness or homeless, we’re not going to get anywhere,” she said.
One of the most shocking things for anyone who watches this story is really that juxtaposition of thinking Hawaii is this glamorous paradise island and then really seeing first-hand the level of crisis.
The state is part of an effort to get 30 chronically homeless people off the streets and moved in to Oahu apartments by June. “It will be interesting to see if others states go down this road of trying to think a little more creatively,” Modarressy-Tehrani said. Honolulu officials and social service agencies are working to get homeless residents into two apartment complexes in Honolulu under the state’s Housing First program. The homeless residents will also get moved in to market-rate rental units across Oahu, where they will have access to social services for help with drug and alcohol problems and mental illness.
State officials said the University of Hawaii’s Center on the Family will monitor the residents’ progress. The goal is to fill the gaps that often prevent people from securing housing or having access to social services. “We’re getting the people with the highest needs off of the streets and putting them in a stable place where they can get better and not return to homelessness,” said Scott Morishige, the state’s homeless coordinator. “We know that when you pair people with severe mental health and substance abuse issues with housing, their condition improves dramatically.”
As the Commander-in-Chief wielded his version of “[applied] intelligence and common sense” he and his cabinet kept us in a state of confusion speaking in his non-inclusive tone about what’s not gonna happen while being very clear that many of the things vulnerable, marginalized Americans would prefer not to happen, in fact will! While continuous leaks of information undermine his administration, he points to examples of his “real leadership.” While many in the press are waiting for him to display true presidential demeanor – he instead seems to have pivoted right back to his unpolished, tactless points of view.
While many in the press are waiting for him to display true presidential demeanor – he instead seems to have pivoted right back to his unpolished, tactless points of view.
In the “what’s next?” whirlwind we all face listening to his rhetoric it seems like competition, choice and credits were the main points made by President Trump in his pseudo-campaign rally Wednesday evening. Mere slogans like “buy American and hire American” tantalize many peoples ears but don’t match up with the facts.
Trump was scheduled to speak directly about healthcare and school choice in Nashville, but there was more talk of “fake news” covering his rants and less about the increasing Republican opposition to his proposed health care plan.
In a healthcare town hall event broadcast right after the President sidestepped his script on the topic, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Tom Price spoke as he often thanked people for their service and respective cancer-remission, but rarely answered many of the people’s direct questions, often misrepresenting their actual proposed plan.
Trump’s cabinet have become the authors of utter chaos and Trump himself the commander of confusion, as mere slogans override the facts, and half truths and lies pour out at an unprecedented rate. However, there is no confusion that the vulnerable and marginalized are not yet a priority in this administration and there’s little confusion about that.
MCJ contributor – Atiba Nicholas
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You may not talk to your relatives all the time, but that’s family. When you see each other during the holidays or at a big family event/gathering, then it’s all love right? So don’t let that precious time go to waste by talking about the weather, or your new job, etc. As family, more than ever, we need to make sure that each one of our family members is doing well in all aspects of their life.
So, talking to you now, here are questions we need to ask our relatives when we see them, talk to them on the phone, text, or skype. These questions help determine where they are at and what they need to do.
1. When was the last time you went to the doctor and what did he/she say? A lot of family members will say that they indeed have gone to the doctor, but it’s been awhile. If they only answer with, they said that I’m fine. Then ask the name of their doctor and give that doctor a call to see what they really said. If the family member can’t remember the name of their doctor, it’s likely they didn’t go, so you can have them make an appointment right then and there.
2. What’s your blood pressure? With heart disease being the number one cause of death in African Americans, high blood pressure is a first indication. So be sure to see what your loved one’s blood pressure is. If he/she does not know then more than likely, there is a Walmart, Walgreens, CVS or other drugstore close to you because many of them have blood pressure monitors that you can administer yourself. It’s a small price to pay for piece of mind, knowing that your relatives are okay.
3. Who in the family suffers from a major illness (including mental)? That’s a family health history question that goes unanswered in many households. It’s important to know who and what side of the family has had what disease like cancer, stroke, etc so you know if you or your children may be affected. Don’t just settle for answers about physical illnesses, be sure to ask who in the family suffered from mental illness too. Catching it early or before it has a chance to hit you is key to changing your family health history for good!
4. How often do you get out to exercise? Even if it’s just walking, making sure your family members are doing something–ANYTHING–to get their bodies moving is a must. If you can tell they don’t get out much then suggest they take at least one day out of the week to do 15 minutes or just walk around the block, walk inside of the mall, go swimming, play their favorite sport, etc. Physical activity is key in living a longer life.
5. Do you have someone to talk to when you are feeling down? Sometimes, just knowing that a person is available to talk to is enough to make people feel at ease. I know it’s hard sometimes to always be available for that begging cousin or that needy uncle who seems to be always trying to start a business, but they are family and there’s a way you can still talk to them while not feeding into the negative. Don’t ignore their calls and just make sure there is someone they can confide in, even if it’s not you.
That’s family y’all. And family is all we have. Thanks for listening.
Most married men live by the mantra – “happy wife, happy life.”
Well, whoever came up with that saying wasn’t lying, according to a new study published in the medical journal Health Psychology.
Research shows that good and bad physical health is determined by the happiness of a person’s wife or husband. More than 1,900 heterosexual couples were surveyed for the experiment.
Individuals with a disgusted, or angry spouse had an overall health worse than individuals with happy partners. Those with discontented wives or husbands also were more physically impaired and didn’t exercise as much.
“We’ve known for a long time that when we surround ourselves with happy people, we’re happier,” the study’s lead author, William J. Chopik, said in the New York Times. “But now we know that it not only makes us happier but healthier as well.”
When the spouse is happy, Chopik explained, he or she is more supportive at home and encourages better eating habits.
Here are a few tips to keep your spouse happy at home:
Don’t be afraid to regularly remind your partner that you appreciate them and the things he or she does – everything from cleaning the kitchen to walking the dog to helping the kids with the homework. Unhappiness begins as soon as one person in the marriage feels unappreciated.
Don’t be afraid to show affection through light kisses when your spouse comes home from work or hugs when he or she has had a bad day. The little things go a long way in preserving happiness in the marriage.
It’s easy to give way to the laziness when keeping up your appearance. Keep in mind the days when you first met your partner. What did you wear on dates? How did you flirt? Was there a certain hairstyle your partner liked on you? Being sexy for your spouse will help keep the fire lit.
I was aware that female heart attacks are different, but this is description is so incredibly visceral that I feel like I have an entire new understanding of what it feels like to be living the symptoms on the inside. Women rarely have the same dramatic symptoms that men have… you know, the sudden stabbing pain in the chest, the cold sweat, grabbing the chest & dropping to the floor the we see in movies. Here is the story of one woman’s experience with a heart attack:
“I had a heart attack at about 10:30 PM with NO prior exertion, NO prior emotional trauma that one would suspect might have brought it on. I was sitting all snugly & warm on a cold evening, with my purring cat in my lap, reading an interesting story my friend had sent me, and actually thinking, ‘A-A-h, this is the life, all cozy and warm in my soft, cushy Lazy Boy with my feet propped up. A moment later, I felt that awful sensation of indigestion, when you’ve been in a hurry and grabbed a bite of sandwich and washed it down with a dash of water, and that hurried bite seems to feel like you’ve swallowed a golf ball going down the esophagus in slow motion and it is most uncomfortable. You realize you shouldn’t have gulped it down so fast and needed to chew it more thoroughly and this time drink a glass of water to hasten its progress down to the stomach. This was my initial sensation–the only trouble was that I hadn’t taken a bite of anything since about 5:00 p.m.
After it seemed to subside, the next sensation was like little squeezing motions that seemed to be racing up my SPINE (hind-sight, it was probably my aorta spasms), gaining speed as they continued racing up and under my sternum (breast bone, where one presses rhythmically when administering CPR). This fascinating process continued on into my throat and branched out into both jaws. ‘AHA!! NOW I stopped puzzling about what was happening – we all have read and/or heard about pain in the jaws being one of the signals of an MI happening, haven’t we? I said aloud to myself and the cat, Dear God, I think I’m having a heart attack! I lowered the foot rest dumping the cat from my lap, started to take a step and fell on the floor instead. I thought to myself, If this is a heart attack, I shouldn’t be walking into the next room where the phone is or anywhere else… but, on the other hand, if I don’t, nobody will know that I need help, and if I wait any longer I may not be able to get up in a moment.
I pulled myself up with the arms of the chair, walked slowly into the next room and dialed the Paramedics. I told her I thought I was having a heart attack due to the pressure building under the sternum and radiating into my jaws. I didn’t feel hysterical or afraid, just stating the facts. She said she was sending the Paramedics over immediately, asked if the front door was near to me, and if so, to un-bolt the door and then lie down on the floor where they could see me when they came in. I unlocked the door and then laid down on the floor as instructed and lost consciousness, as I don’t remember the medics coming in, their examination, lifting me onto a gurney or getting me into their ambulance, or hearing the call they made to St. Jude ER on the way, but I did briefly awaken when we arrived and saw that the radiologist was already there in his surgical blues and cap, helping the medics pull my stretcher out of the ambulance. He was bending over me asking questions (probably something like ‘Have you taken any medications?’) but I couldn’t make my mind interpret what he was saying, or form an answer, and nodded off again, not waking up until the Cardiologist and partner had already threaded the teeny angiogram balloon up my femoral artery into the aorta and into my heart where they installed 2 side by side stints to hold open my right coronary artery.
I know it sounds like all my thinking and actions at home must have taken at least 20-30 minutes before calling the paramedics, but actually it took perhaps 4-5 minutes before the call, and both the fire station and St Jude are only minutes away from my home, and my Cardiologist was already to go to the OR in his scrubs and get going on restarting my heart (which had stopped somewhere between my arrival and the procedure) and installing the stents. Why have I written all of this to you with so much detail? Because I want all of you who are so important in my life to know what I learned first hand.
1. Be aware that something very different is happening in your body, not the usual men’s symptoms but inexplicable things happening (until my sternum and jaws got into the act). It is said that many more women than men die of their first (and last) MI because they didn’t know they were having one and commonly mistake it as indigestion, take some Maalox or other anti-heartburn preparation and go to bed, hoping they’ll feel better in the morning when they wake up… which doesn’t happen. My female friends, your symptoms might not be exactly like mine, so I advise you to call the Paramedics if ANYTHING is unpleasantly happening that you’ve not felt before. It is better to have a ‘false alarm’ visitation than to risk your life guessing what it might be!
2. Note that I said ‘Call the Paramedics.’ And if you can take an aspirin. Ladies, TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE! Do NOT try to drive yourself to the ER – you are a hazard to others on the road. Do NOT have your panicked husband who will be speeding and looking anxiously at what’s happening with you instead of the road. Do NOT call your doctor – he/she doesn’t know where you live and if it’s at night you won’t reach him anyway, and if it’s daytime, his/her assistants (or answering service) will tell you to…
…call the Paramedics. Your doctor doesn’t carry the equipment in his/her car that you need to be saved! The Paramedics do, principally OXYGEN that you need ASAP. Your Dr. will be notified later.
3. Don’t assume it couldn’t be a heart attack because you have a normal cholesterol count. Research has discovered that a cholesterol elevated reading is rarely the cause of an MI (unless it’s unbelievably high and/or accompanied by high blood pressure). MIs are usually caused by long-term stress and inflammation in the body, which dumps all sorts of deadly hormones into your system to sludge things up in there. Pain in the jaw can wake you from a sound sleep. Let’s be careful and be aware. The more we know the better chance we could survive to tell the tale.“
Reblog, repost, Facebook, tweet, pin, email, morse code, carrier pigeon this to save a life!
The humble New Year’s resolution, so easy to make, so difficult to keep. First a basic tip for making resolutions: You’re more likely to keep a commitment if it’s simple and actionable than vague and unrealistic.
Once you have your resolution set, put a plan in place for making it happen. Here are a few tricks for common resolutions and the best lifestyle hacks for making them a reality this year. Very little willpower required.
1. The resolution: Stop going back for seconds (or thirds) at dinner.
The hack: One of the easiest ways to reduce portion size is a simple swap that involves no willpower whatsoever. Simply switch your oversized dinner plates for smaller ones. According to a paper published in the Journal of Consumer Research in 2012, people tend to serve themselves larger portions when provided with larger plates and bowls. It’s also worth adapting your plate selection based on the food you’re serving.
“My main recommendation is to have two sizes of plates,” study author Koert van Ittersum told Forbes in 2012. “If you’re eating very healthy food opt for the bigger plate, if it’s a less healthy meal, use the smaller plate.” And, of course, everything in moderation. “I don’t suggest you eat your dinner from a coffee cup saucer,” Van Ittersum said.
The benefits: Excess weight negatively impacts almost every metric of health, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. While ideally, we’d all prefer to maintain a healthy weight, for the more than 30 percent of Americans who are obese, losing as little as 5 to 10 percent of body weight offers huge health gains.
2. The resolution: Exercise in the morning before work.
The hack: Getting up early is hard, so set yourself up for success. Step one: go to bed early! Set yourself a bedtime alarm if you have to. Step two: remove excuses. Pack your bag the night before. Some early birds even swear by sleeping in their workout clothes, so they just can roll out of bed and go.
The benefits: You’re less likely to skip your workout when tempting plans — hello, happy hour — pop up. Plus, you’re setting yourself up to be in a great mood for the rest of the day. “Morning workouts result in better energy levels throughout the day and give you more mental alertness and sharpness,” Dr. Cedric Bryant, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer of the American Council of Exercise told The Huffington Post in November.
Still, it’s important to keep things in perspective. The most important thing isn’t when you exercise — it’s that you’re exercising in the first place.
3. The resolution: Practice gratitude, every single day.
The hack: It’s all about accountability. Find yourself a gratitude buddy and make a pact to text each other three things you’re grateful for each day. Bonus points for this one, because you’ll strengthening your relationship with your gratitude buddy in the process.
The benefits: Gratitude has huge mental and physical perks, including improved well-being, reduced anxiety and depression and even better sleep. “Grateful people engage in more exercise, have better dietary behaviors, are less likely to smoke and abuse alcohol, and have higher rates of medication adherence,” Robert Emmons, a psychologist at the University of California, Davis told Live Science in 2014. “Gratitude is good medicine.”
4. The resolution: Stop texting during family dinners.
The hack: Instead of picking on one another for this nearly universal bad habit, we’re in favor of turning this family resolution into a game. Start by putting all of your phones in a basket for the duration of the meal. The first to reach for his or her phone does the dishes.
The benefits: When you put away your phone while interacting with another person, you’re sending them an important non-verbal message: my time with you is important to me.
The research confirms it. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found that the presence of mobile phones negatively impacts closeness, connection and conversation quality, especially when individuals are discussing topics that matter to them.
5. The resolution: Pare down your closet to the essentials — and keep it that way.
The hack: Practice the “one-in-one-out” method. Every time you buy an item of clothing you have to donate or ditch something from your closet. While it might seem like a strict rule, it’s a good way to evaluate how much you value potential purchases and cut down on impulse buys.
The benefits: Too much clutter can be a direct pathway to stress and a distraction from productivity, but cleaning out an entire house or apartment is a daunting task. Instead, tackling one task at a time helps you see results. Even better, achieving small goals, such as organizing your closet, can prime you for bigger projects in the future.
“We know from research that little acts of neatness cascade into larger acts of organization,” Christine Carter, a sociologist at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center told in 2013.