April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and comes at a time when our country is experiencing a reckoning with sexual violence. Many people are sharing their experiences with sexual harassment and assault, more institutions are holding perpetrators accountable, and space is being created for authentic conversations about consent.
What really makes a difference? At the High Road School of Hartford, we would say teamwork. We saw the power of collaboration in action recently when a new, innovative mobile dental program was piloted at our high school. The program addresses a critical need in the local area by serving underprivileged students who might not otherwise have access to such care. For some, it was the first time they received basic dental exams and cleanings.
One key exemption included in a pair of paid family and medical leave proposals provides all the evidence Connecticut lawmakers need to vote against these costly new mandates. Advocates say businesses have “a moral responsibility” to provide the benefit to their employees, yet the public sector is exempted from both bills, with state and local government workers left behind.
For the New Haven parents of one young boy who needed a tonsillectomy, the news was grim. Not because his diagnosis was risky or complicated, but because the family’s hospital rejected their health insurance and demanded $9,000 up front for the procedure. By the time their son would be eating ice chips and Jell-O post-surgery, a minimum of $10,000 more would be due. This inflexible posture taken by a reputable Connecticut provider in the face of a healthcare consumer in need is disturbing.
Last week’s dismissal of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary David Shulkin undoubtedly will renew the long-standing debate over privatization of Veteran healthcare. It’s no secret the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has had its problems, as the inspector general’s report on Shulkin’s personal use of travel funds has revealed. Other high-profile debacles, like the wait-times scandal at the Phoenix VA in 2014 and, more recently, the staggering cost overrun of the Denver VA, have caused an erosion of the VA’s brand in the public eye. Yet for all these administrative difficulties — real or perceived — further privatization of VA care is not the solution we need.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.