Health & Wellness

Monday, May 8, 2017

Sen. Bill Cassidy to appear on Jimmy Kimmel Live! tonight

Posted By on Mon, May 8, 2017 at 1:33 PM

At a Metairie town hall in February, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy faced a crowd of constituents angry about GOP health care proposals.
  • At a Metairie town hall in February, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy faced a crowd of constituents angry about GOP health care proposals.

Bill Cassidy, Louisiana's senior senator and a physician, will appear on tonight's Jimmy Kimmel Live! to discuss health care in America. The show airs at 10:35 p.m. on WGNO-TV.

After Kimmel's emotional monologue last week about the recent birth of his child Billy — who was born with heart disease — Cassidy on Friday coined the term "Kimmel Test" to describe what his standard would be to vote for a new health plan:
The Louisiana Republican cited Kimmel's passionate monologue on health care when responding to a question from CNN's John Berman on whether he could "support a bill that allows insurance companies to cap their payouts to customers."

"I ask does it pass the Jimmy Kimmel test," said Cassidy, who is also a physician. "Would the child born with a congenital heart disease be able to get everything she or he would need in that first year of life ... even if they go over a certain amount?"
While the House of Representatives last week voted for the American Health Care Act to replace the Affordable Care Act, the plan is considered DOA in the Senate in its current form. Cassidy has created his own Patient Freedom Act.

Other guests tonight on the Kimmel show: Zach Galifianaikis, Tracee Ellis Ross and Logic.

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Thursday, May 4, 2017

How Louisiana's members of Congress voted on GOP health care plan

Posted By on Thu, May 4, 2017 at 3:30 PM

In March, protesters in New Orleans rallied for better health care as Congress prepared to vote on devastating cuts to the Affordable Care Act. - KAT STROMQUIST
  • In March, protesters in New Orleans rallied for better health care as Congress prepared to vote on devastating cuts to the Affordable Care Act.

Five of six Louisiana members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted in support of the American Health Care Act, which rolls back Medicaid benefits by nearly $900 billion over the next decade, allows companies to raise premiums for people with "pre-existing conditions" and ditch certain essential health benefits, blocks funding for Planned Parenthood and generally guts most of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Republicans failed to push through a repeal of the ACA in March, a bill the Congressional Budget Office estimated would result in the loss of coverage for 24 million people, a report that crippled the bill's chance of successful passage. The office didn't have enough time to score the latest bill before a vote.

All 193 House Democrats voted against the latest bill, including New Orleans Rep. Cedric Richmond, the only Louisiana Democrat in the House.

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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Child care issues in Louisiana hurting workers and employers, study finds

Posted By on Tue, May 2, 2017 at 11:00 AM


A wide-ranging survey of families with children age 4 and under in Louisiana found that lack of consistent access to child care is hurting workers, cutting into state tax revenues and costing Louisiana employers $816 million a year via absences and employee turnover.

The study, which was released May 1 by Louisiana Policy Institute for Children (LPIC) and Louisiana State University's Public Policy Research Lab, is the first of its kind to focus on workplace productivity as it relates to child care in the state, its authors said. Its findings describe a landscape in which half of survey respondents are relying on their child's parent or another family member to provide child care during the work day. One in six study respondents had quit a job as a result of child care issues; many who answered the survey described leaving full-time employment to pursue part-time employment or turning down promotions due to problems with child care.

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Plans to grow medical marijuana discussed in Louisiana House committee

Posted By on Thu, Apr 27, 2017 at 1:50 PM


The lucrative nature of marijuana sales was at the center of a House Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, Aquaculture, and Rural Development discussion today about a law that puts the state into the marijuana distribution business.

Louisiana State University and Southern University are the two schools that plan to grow marijuana at separate facilities for use as medical treatments authorized under legislation approved last spring that legalizes and regulates such distribution. LSU’s operation alone is estimated to cost between $10 million and $15 million, and lawmakers were warned it will take seven to eight years for the operation to become lucrative.

LSU Vice President for Agriculture and Dean of the College of Agriculture Bill Richardson said a contractor will be selected within the next three to four weeks.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Mental health resource fair is at Delgado May 1

Posted By on Tue, Apr 25, 2017 at 11:49 AM


Delgado Community College hosts a resource fair and panel discussion May 1 to raise awareness of mental health-related issues and services in the city.

The fair begins at 11 a.m. at the University's Student Life Center. At noon, there's a discussion and accompanying luncheon called "Moving Mental Health Services into a Collaborative System of Care.” The panel includes comments from National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) board president Chuck Credo, Early Psychosis Intervention Clinic educator Ashley Weiss, Keith Grant of Louisiana Healthcare Connections and District B Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell. (Participants must register to attend the discussion; email for details.)

The events coincide with the beginning of May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month. This campaign attempts to highlight and reduce stigma associated with mental illnesses, such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic distress disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders and others. Recent National Institute of Metal Health Data indicates as many as 9.8 million adults, or more than the entire population of New York City, are living with serious mental illness, and high rates of mental illness (often coupled with low access to care) are common throughout the Gulf South.

It's free to attend both events, which also include massages from the school's massage therapy program. Call (504) 671-6004 for more information. 
Location Details Delgado Community College
City Park campus, Student Life Center, Lac Maurepas room
New Orleans, LA

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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Hundreds attend New Orleans March for Science (slideshow)

Posted By on Sat, Apr 22, 2017 at 4:46 PM

In this strange new world — where the valley between truth and satire grows ever-foggier and sometimes it seems as though reality itself is slipping  — scientists on seven continents and in New Orleans converged April 22 for rallies in support of facts, objective research and other previously undisputed elements of their work.

Hundreds of people in New Orleans, including a sizable contingent from a visiting conference of physical anthropologists, gathered at City Hall Saturday for a rally and March for Science defending scientific and medical research funding, opposing the politicization of research results and celebrating the role of scientists in protecting the environment and human society.

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Bossier City abortion clinic reported as closed as Trump signs anti-abortion legislation

Posted By on Thu, Apr 13, 2017 at 6:07 PM

At a Feb. 10 Planned Parenthood rally, a supporter steps in front of an anti-abortion activist. - KAT STROMQUIST
  • At a Feb. 10 Planned Parenthood rally, a supporter steps in front of an anti-abortion activist.

Recent news from upstate Louisiana and from Washington, D.C. suggests an ever-more fraught environment for abortion rights advocates and women who require abortion services.

Earlier this week, a short Associated Press report seemed to confirm the closure of Bossier City Medical Suite, one of the state's four remaining clinics that provided abortion. A news release from the anti-abortion group Louisiana Right to Life cited public records indicating the return of the clinic's license to the Louisiana Department of Health; the clinic's phone number appears to have been disconnected.

Nationally, several major media outlets are reporting that President Donald Trump has signed legislation permitting states to withhold federal family planning dollars (Title X funds) from outlets which also provide abortion services, such as Planned Parenthood. (Federal dollars themselves already cannot be used to pay for abortion services, so this new legislation restricts funds used for other aspects of women's reproductive health, like contraception and check-ups.)

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Huh? Louisianans love Medicaid expansion, but hate "Obamacare"

Posted By on Wed, Apr 12, 2017 at 11:46 AM

A "second line for health care" last month in New Orleans drew health care providers who spoke out in favor of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. - KAT STROMQUIST
  • A "second line for health care" last month in New Orleans drew health care providers who spoke out in favor of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.

In spite of “widespread approval” of last year’s Medicaid expansion in the state, Louisianans largely have an unfavorable and deeply divided view of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to The Louisiana Survey 2017’s fifth report released today by the Reilly Center for Media and Public Affairs.

The survey shows that overall 72 percent of Louisiana respondents approve of the state’s expansion of its Medicaid program, while less than 50 percent have a favorable opinion of the ACA, which provided for the expansion.

Nevertheless, in the last three years more Louisianans have signaled they approve of the federal health care law, which has been nicknamed Obamacare.

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Friday, April 7, 2017

LGBT health care symposium April 10 highlights community's unique needs

Posted By on Fri, Apr 7, 2017 at 9:37 AM


A symposium hosted by LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine April 10 will call attention to health care issues for people who identify as LGBT. A panel, which includes doctors, an attorney and LGBT Community Center director Sebastian Rey, will touch on topics including transgender medicine, reproductive care for LGBT couples and expectations for providers.

In a city with one of the nation's highest percentages of (self-identified) LGBT folks, New Orleans organizations recently have been making strides toward community resource-building. The LGBT Community Center staged a grand reopening in February, and LGBT elder care network NOAGE kicked off a health care provider network to help both seniors and doctors work with the community. NOPD recently designated a liaison for LGBT outreach, and a heavily attended town hall highlighted policy suggestions from transgender women to New Orleans City Council members.

The health care symposium begins at 6:30 p.m. at the medical school's Medical Education Building (1901 Perdido St.). It's open to the public and free to attend.

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Friday, March 31, 2017

In Louisiana parishes, number of people receiving disability benefits increasing faster than national average

Posted By on Fri, Mar 31, 2017 at 2:26 PM


A lengthy Washington Post story published March 30 profiles an Alabama man's experience applying for disability benefits to illustrate a larger point: applications for benefits are on the rise in economically depressed rural America. The story (and accompanying analysis) suggests that confluence of scarce jobs, poor access to health care and socio-emotional factors such as declining family and community connections may have contributed to the rise in the number of people whose health has deteriorated enough — or whose prospects are bleak enough — to turn to disability benefits, particularly in rural regions.

Writer Terrence McCoy reports:

Between 1996 and 2015, the number of working-age adults receiving disability climbed from 7.7 million to 13 million. The federal government this year will spend an estimated $192 billion on disability payments, more than the combined total for food stamps, welfare, housing subsidies and unemployment assistance. ... 

Across large swaths of the country, disability has become a force that has reshaped scores of mostly white, almost exclusively rural communities, where as many as one-third of working-age adults live on monthly disability checks, according to a Washington Post analysis of Social Security Administration statistics.

Rural America experienced the most rapid increase in disability rates over the past decade, the analysis found, amid broad growth in disability that was partly driven by demographic changes that are now slowing as disabled baby-boomers age into retirement.

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