Tag Archives: health

Texas Hospitals Closing and Cutting Back While Legislature Leaves Health Care Funding for Harris County on the Table

With more and more hospitals cutting back and closing across Texas — particularly in small towns and rural parts of the state — new data show that the state Legislature has a clear way to strengthen Harris County’s health care system. By accepting the state’s share of new federal Medicaid expansion funding, lawmakers in Austin would inject $935,251,060 in health care funding into Harris County, according to estimates calculated by the state’s Health and Human Services Commission and compiled by the Center for Public Policy Priorities (CPPP) Health and Wealth County Checkup.
Ten hospitals have closed in rural Texas in the last two years while larger hospitals, such as the Harris Health system in Houston, have recently eliminated hundreds of staff positions and made other cuts.

“If Texas leaders would accept the federal funds sitting on the table, it would ensure more Harris County residents have access to affordable health care,” said Anne Dunkelberg, Associate Director of CPPP. “Accepting the federal funding available is the number one step legislators could take to provide long-term stability for Texas hospitals, health care workers, and patients.”

Other states have successfully supported their hospitals and patients by accepting new Medicaid funding from the federal government. Conservative states have negotiated deals with the federal government to use the funding for private market-based plans instead of traditional Medicaid. The funding is intended to replace phased-out federal funding for unpaid hospital bills, but Texas leaders have declined to take action so far.
The resources are intended to connect uninsured low-wage workers, such as cooks, home health aides, and child care workers, with either traditional Medicaid or private health insurance. If the Legislature accepted the money on the table, it would shrink the estimated $920,054,995 that Harris County taxpayers currently spend each year on medical care for uninsured county residents. Currently an estimated 226,910 Harris County residents do not receive insurance from their employers or have access to any insurance assistance programs but could obtain coverage if the Legislature took action.
Business leaders, including the Texas Association of Business and numerous chambers of commerce, have called on the Legislature to accept the health care funds, in part because of the opportunity to create new jobs. Economist Ray Perryman calculated that a plan would create 60,157 new jobs in Harris County.
In the absence of legislative action, Texas is expected to lose more hospital jobs and access to medical care. The Quorum Report, an online media outlet monitoring state government, reports “rural hospitals are closing at such an alarming rate in Texas that hospital administrators are beginning to fear wide swaths of the state may be left without the benefit of trauma care and some areas may have no hospital within 100 miles.”
Legislators have filed numerous bills in Austin to accept the Medicaid funding but state lawmakers have not taken action on the bills. The legislative session ends June 1st.


More at TexasWellandHealth.org

Findings Give Hope to Plant Extract as Possible #Lupus Treatment

New findings by a biomedical engineer and his team at the University of Houston (UH) raise hope for a new class of drugs to treat lupus that may not include the long list of adverse risks and side effects often associated with current treatments for this disease.

Lupus, or systemic lupus erythematosus, is a progressive, degenerative disease in which the immune system turns against itself, attacking a person’s healthy tissue, cells and organs. Symptoms range from debilitating pain and fatigue to organ failure and a host of other impairments. An estimated 1.5 million Americans, and at least five million people worldwide, have a form of lupus.

Though there is no cure, a UH researcher and his team are actively working toward finding new treatments and, ultimately, a cure. Chandra Mohan, Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Endowed Professor of biomedical engineering in the UH Cullen College of Engineering, and his group’s latest work could lead to new, more natural therapeutics for lupus that use a plant-derived chemical. The promising findings were recently published in Arthritis & Rheumatology, the monthly journal of the American College of Rheumatology.

With only one drug specifically approved for the treatment of lupus in the past 50 years, lupus patients are commonly treated with steroids, a class of immunosuppressive drugs that delay the development and progression of the disease by suppressing the immune system. By suppressing the immune system in its entirety, however, this mode of treatment carries with it an increased risk of infections and other harmful side effects.

In this latest research, Mohan and his colleagues present new findings that detail the use of a synthetic, plant-derived compound – abbreviated CDDO – that was shown to effectively suppress the multiple steps of lupus development in murine models, including the onset of kidney disease.

One of the most common organs to be attacked by lupus is the kidney, manifesting in lupus nephritis. While this condition doesn’t affect all lupus sufferers, an estimated 40 percent of lupus patients develop it. Lupus nephritis, which causes inflammation of the kidneys and impairs their ability to effectively rid the body of waste products and other toxins, is the leading cause of lupus-related deaths and results in tens of thousands of hospitalizations per year.

“The development of lupus is a two-step reaction. First, the immune system develops antibodies that attack the body’s own DNA, then that activated immune system attacks the kidneys,” Mohan said. “We found that CDDO may block both of these steps.”

Mohan says there is much left to be discovered about CDDO, including how it works in suppressing the progression of lupus. The next step for this research is to confirm whether the CDDO compound suppresses the immune system across the board, or whether it simply suppresses the activation of the specific signaling pathways that lead to the development of lupus. To find this out, Mohan’s group will test it in the lab to see if they can mount the proper immune response. If not, Mohan says the compound likely could be suppressing the entire immune system, which is the current problem with using steroids to treat lupus. Even if the compound is shown to be generally immunosuppressive, however, it still may be a better treatment option than steroids for some patients.


More at www.uh.edu

Houston Children’s Charity Gives Wheelchair Vans to Nine Disabled Houstonians


Houston’s Children’s Charity and AMS Vans, Inc. have partnered together in support of the nonprofit’s “Chariots for Children” program to give nine lucky Houston individuals and agencies a free wheelchair conversion van. Each of these individuals suffer from multiple handicaps that make their everyday life a challenge for them and their families.

These deserving recipients will receive a wheelchair van that provides families with special needs mobility freedom, unlocking opportunities of transportation and travel. With dealerships expanding across the nation, AMS Vans accommodates wheelchair users and their families with a side or rear wheelchair ramp.

WHO: Laura Ward, Houston Children’s Charity Executive Director
Dallas Crum, AMS Vans, Inc. General Manager/Community Relations Manager
Rachael Gordon, Texas Mattress Makers Official Spokesperson
Tilman Fertitta, Houston Children’s Charity Board Member and CEO of Landry’s, Inc.

Images and interviews will be available with each of these admirable Houstonians and agencies who receive a wheelchair van and have their lives dramatically enhanced.

WHY: With the substantial deduction in cost from AMS Vans, this event will be the most vans Houston Children’s Charity has ever awarded in one year. With so many applicants, the nonprofit’s focus has become to award these vans to individuals and agencies with the greatest need and impact in their lives moving forward.

Through “Chariots for Children”, Houston Children’s Charity has awarded 89 passenger vans, 21 handicapped accessible vehicles, three box trucks, one car and two vehicle modifications to 93 agencies and 21 individual families, at a cost of $2,850,698 over the past 17 years.

Additional event sponsors include: Texas Mattress Makers and Silver Eagle Distributors. During the event, Texas Mattress Makers will also make a surprise announcement with donating 200 beds as well as reveal they are the new Bed Partner of Houston Children’s Charity. For over 35 years, Texas Mattress Makers has been producing high quality mattresses with materials purchased exclusively from US based companies with no outsourced labor. They are the experts in the art of making mattresses, knowing which mattress best fits each customer and guarantees sleep satisfaction.

WHEN: Friday, October 10 from 2 PM – 4 PM
3 PM – signature photo opportunity for van giveaway

WHERE: Willie G’s – Post Oak Room
1605 Post Oak Blvd.
Houston, TX 77056

MORE INFO: Houston Children’s Charity is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for Greater Houston’s underprivileged, abused, and handicapped children who have been otherwise left behind. The scope of our support is limited only by the availability of resources. Their goal is to let no legitimate request for assistance go unanswered.

Kenneth Cole: ‘Look Good, For Good’ Ending Homelessness Campaign

Kenneth Cole

Kenneth Cole, a pioneer in the fashion industry who has consistently demonstrated a deep commitment to social change for over 30 years, is introducing a new campaign for fall, LOOK GOOD, FOR GOOD.
Building upon the company’s heritage of promoting “style with a purpose,” as well as Kenneth Cole’s personally vested interest in raising awareness for these causes, the new campaign will support specific charitable projects under three company pillars – Collective Health, Civil Liberties, and Artistic Activism. For the Fall ’14 launch, The Kenneth Cole Foundation will support projects through the St. Luke Foundation for Haiti, HELP USA, and the Sundance Institute. As an extension of the campaign, Kenneth Cole enlisted three photojournalists to chronicle the work of each charity partner. The campaign is being brought to life digitally at kennethcole.com/ForGood that will feature exclusive photographer and video content from Haiti, Sundance and Help USA, as well as an interactive timeline meant to educate the consumer on the brands 30 year philanthropic history.


More at Milled.com

[Photos of the work of Sundance Institute, St. Luke Foundation for Haiti, Help USA]

City of San Antonio to Host 3rd VotoLatino Power Summit

Photo Cred:  VotoLatino
Photo Cred: VotoLatino

The countdown is ON for Voto Latino to arrive in San Antonio for our THIRD Power Summit conference of 2014!

Power Summit brings together young Latinos and community leaders from across the country to network and learn from the very best in advocacy, leadership, and media & technology.

Register today, and get ready for amazing speakers (like our Artist Coalition Co-Chair Wilmer Valderrama and Congressman Joaquin Castro), powerful panels, and even raffles and prizes. Registration is just $25.

AND to top things off, if you’re one of the first three people to register for Power Summit after receiving this email, you’ll receive a FREE Voto Latino 10-year anniversary t-shirt when you arrive at Power Summit!

Houston Texans to Raise Money for Lymphoma Research in Honor of David Quessenberry

David Quessenberry

[Press Release]

OUSTON – The Houston Texans are raising money for the Lymphoma Research Foundation with the proceeds fromTEXANS FOR DQ t-shirt sales, in honor of David Quessenberry, their second-year offensive lineman who was diagnosed with lymphoma in June.
The entire offensive line, led by Chris Myers and Duane Brown, have dedicated the 2014 season to their teammate while he battles for his life.  Brown and Myers have set a goal to raise $100,000 with the sale of the TEXANS FOR DQ t-shirts to be donated to the Lymphoma Research Foundation in David’s name.


“You sit back and think about David Quessenberry dealing with what he has to deal with and we have no complaints in the world,” Myers said. “With everything going on with David right now, this season is obviously going to be dedicated to him.”


The final open practice of training camp on Aug. 14 will be #DQStrong Day.  All staff will wear the shirt on this day and the Texans encourage the fans and Houston community to purchase a shirt and wear them alongside the team.

Shirts will be sold at the Go Texans Store at NRG stadium and online at shop.houstontexans.com beginning today for $20.


#Lupus and Sleep Problems

As we all know, sleep is important to our emotional and physical health. It’s a time to re-boot, refreshing our minds and our bodies to wake up fresh to a new day. But for many people with lupus, a good night’s sleep can be elusive.

A new study published in the Journal of Rheumatology showed that people with lupus have more sleep problems than people in the general population, and anxiety and depression seem related to these sleep disturbances. Fatigue is a major lupus symptom, and not sleeping well only adds to a feeling of fatigue and lethargy. Anxiety and depression are common experiences for people with chronic illness, and it is often difficult to distinguish whether the depression is caused by lupus, if the anxiety is caused by a medication side-effect, or if these emotional experiences are a result of having to cope with having lupus. Regardless, it is a good idea to tell your rheumatologist if you are not getting enough sleep, and also if you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression.

Keeping a sleep diary to track your sleep patterns can be helpful. Perhaps you will notice a relationship with certain factors in your life and the nights that you have sleeping difficulties. For example, maybe every time you had to deal with a challenging person in your life you did not sleep well the night before or after. Or perhaps you notice that since taking a certain medication you have more trouble sleeping.  If you use a smart phone, you can even try a sleep diary ap.

Read more at LupusNY.org

[Recap] #LupusChat with Dr Akerkar on Lupus & Pregnancy

First, a huge thanks to Tiffany (@TiffanyandLupus) and Dr. Shashank Akerkar for the invaluable information. 

Secondly, no I am not pregnant.  I have Lupus and want to share this information with any of my fellow spoonies out there either already pregnant or thinking about starting a family. 

Here is some information that was shared yesterday.  However, I do recommend that you speak with your primary care physician on this matter.

1) Lupus does NOT make is harder to conceive.

2) However, data shows that spontaneous abortions and stillbirths 5 times risk as compared to non lupus pregnancies

3)Fetal loss in decreased from from 40% in 1960–65 to 17% 2000–03.

4) Lupus is not associated with infertility unless the woman has been treated with cyclophosphamide

5) Cyclophosphamide used for nephritis can lead to premature ovarian failure

6) Recent studies a higher incidence of premature menoapuse in #lupus probably due to anti ovary antibodies (Read more here)

7) One should not have active kidney disease (minimum 6 months) prior to planning pregnancy

For more information, visit TiffanyandLupus


Join The Lola Brand for #HashtagLunchbag

2014-07-28 10.31.34

The LOLABRAND is a proud sponsor!

Launched in 2012 by Los Angeles based non-profit, The Living Through Giving Foundation, #HashtagLunchbag is a humanity service movement dedicated to creating fun-family environments to bring together diverse groups of compassionate people in local communities with one common goal: to give back.

#Hashtaglunchbag has exploded into more than 60 cities, using more than 1,000 volunteers to distribute more than 22,000 lunches to those in need. In a very short period of time it is on its way to ending hunger, one lunchbag at a time.

Hunger is a large issue here in Houston, and affects a wide number of demographic groups. This makes events like this important.

Please join me in giving back!

Back to School Health and Resource Fair

FREE health screenings, backpacks, school supplies and fun!

Friday, August 1 , 8am—12pm


Moody Park
3725 Fulton
Metro Rail Stop: Moody Park
 Immunizations (bring shot records)
 Health Screenings
 Vision and Dental Screenings
 Vendors and Resources

Leonel Castillo Community Center
2101 South St
Metro Rail Stop: Quitman/Near
 Backpacks
 School Supplies
 Houston Food Bank
Produce Distribution