Now is the time for addiction treatment solutions that work

Every fatal opioid overdose means our system has failed to provide treatment. A patient of mine — I’ll call him John — overdosed and almost died last year. After missing a visit in our addiction treatment clinic, he was brought in to the emergency department after being found nonresponsive in his car. John’s close call could have been avoided. When he had first come to our clinic months before, worn-down from years of addiction to heroin and prescription opiates, he was ready to change his life and get treatment.

Why we should believe Hartford is getting better and stronger

In his third State of the City address, Mayor Luke Bronin described Hartford as “better and stronger” and cited awards won and initiatives championed. While residents, public officials, and pundits debate the extent to which “Hartford Has It,” unprecedented collaboration among Hartford’s community-based organizations, anchor institutions, city government, residents, and community activists is reason for hope. Cooperation in developing compelling grant applications to support new city initiatives is impressive evidence of a collective commitment to improve the health and well-being of all residents, including those most disadvantaged.

Addiction is a disease, not a moral failure

As the father of a child struggling to overcome a serious substance abuse problem, I’ve been forced to confront deeply held personal and societal beliefs about the relationship between addiction and personal responsibility. A quote from philosopher Brendan de Kenessey’s excellent article, captures how I long thought about the issue. But I’ve come to understand that this deeply held belief is mistaken. Addiction is not a choice.  And because it is not a choice, it is also a mistake to think of addiction as a moral failure.

Pregnancy resource centers should stop lying to women!

You have a quarter mile left to go and just two minutes until your appointment. You’re in a rush because you had to leave work early and you’re a little nervous. Unsure of where the office is located you’re relieved to see the number so you pull in, park, and start walking quickly toward the medical building. That’s when you notice them, a group of people holding signs seemingly standing in the way of the entrance.

Helping people with disabilities live independently saves state dollars

Eugene is 64 years old with a long history of coronary heart disease. He has a tracheotomy to help breathe and spent more than a dozen years in nursing facilities. But after two failed attempts to move out of the facility and into the community, he finally has an apartment of his own and he’s going back to school. His story is marked by both tragedy and successes. But Eugene’s story is also proof that where there is a will to persevere and support to help make it happen, people with disabilities and complex needs can thrive in the community, improve their quality of life and save the state millions in far more expensive care.

Pregnant women deserve accurate information, trustworthy medical care

In recent years, the anti-abortion movement has passed more than 400 state laws that shame, pressure, and punish women who have decided to have an abortion – despite the fact that three-quarters of voters support access to abortion. But the anti-abortion movement has also pursued a lower-profile, more insidious strategy of setting up shop in our neighborhoods, opening nearly 2,500 “fake clinics” that pose as women’s medical facilities, but instead of providing legitimate medical services, use lies, pressure, and deceit to prevent women from getting an abortion.

HB 5416: Protecting pregnant women or infringing on free speech?

Connecticut House Bill No. 5416 proposes to prohibit deceptive advertising practices of “limited services pregnancy centers” which it defines as pregnancy services centers that “do not provide referrals to clients for abortions or emergency contraception.” The bill has generated both strong support and opposition from the medical and religious communities. Below are excerpts from a sampling of public testimony from people and organizations that oppose or support the legislation.

Insurance should provide women’s preventative care, including contraception

As a physician who cares for Connecticut women’s reproductive health needs, I urge the Connecticut State General Assembly to pass the HB 5210, an Act Mandating Insurance Coverage of Essential Health Benefits and Expanding Mandated Health Benefits for Women, Children and Adolescents. This bill would require private insurance plans available in Connecticut to cover specific preventative services, including contraception, for women without added cost to policy-holders. Women should have access to preventative care regardless of action in Washington, D.C. and we in Connecticut can and must protect this essential care for the women of our state.

Protect funding for school-based health centers

Under pressure to end a long running stalemate over the Connecticut state budget last year, lawmakers made a number of decisions that continued the destructive trend of unraveling the human services safety net. The continuation of recent years’ cuts to state subsidy funding for School Based Health Centers (SBHC) is among the most destructive of these reductions. With the new legislative session underway, we are hopeful lawmakers will find a way to halt this trend and reject the governor’s current proposal to reduce the budget further, by 5.84 percent, on top of the 2.14 percent cut to the SBHCs in last October’s approved budget.

Democrats should leave pregnancy resource centers alone!

“It’s a blessing to have them in my life” said Jennifer Gambo, of Middletown, to a reporter outside of a pregnancy center targeted by Democrats this session. She and many thousands of women were helped by Connecticut pregnancy resource centers last year with counseling, pregnancy testing, education, ultrasounds, donations, encouragement and compassion for free.  It was not only free to the women who sought their help, but free to the state of Connecticut, which offers no financial support to the 27 centers throughout our state that offer care to all women.

Patient privacy at risk for the sake of medical data

It is truly amazing that medical records are considered less important than are phone records to be protected by the 4th amendment.
With H.B. 5290 and S.B. 16, Connecticut continues to override patient privacy rights in order to get data to determine Connecticut’s health care policies.

Medicaid work requirements don’t work for Connecticut patients

Connecticut is not a bad place to be on Medicaid, but it’s about to become a lot worse. As an internal medicine primary care resident, I care for many patients insured through Medicaid, a program which allows my patients’ chronic diseases (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and depression) to be managed according to the most up-to-date evidence available. I screen my patients for colon cancer and cervical cancer. I counsel them to avoid tobacco, drink alcohol in moderation, and comfort them in difficult times. I have a lot to do to help my patients maintain their health.