Archive for the ‘Health and Human Services’ Category

Joe Biden To Lead White House Task Force on Working Families

December 22, 2008

Speaking to ABC’s “This Week,” Biden said he believes the vice president’s role is to provide “the best, sagest, most accurate, most insightful advice and recommendations he or she can make to a president to help them make some of the very, very important decisions that have to be made.”

On Sunday, Obama’s transition team announced the new “White House Task Force on Working Families” — a major initiative targeted at “raising the living standards of middle-class, working families in America.”

Vice President-elect Joe Biden will chair a new task force aimed at helping working families.

Vice President-elect Joe Biden will chair a new task force aimed at helping working families.

Other members of the task force will include the secretaries of labor, health and human services, and commerce, as well as the directors of the National Economic Council, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Domestic Policy Counsel, and the chair of the Council of Economic Advisors.

In an interview with ABC’s “This Week,” Biden said it’s a “discrete job that’s going to last only for a certain period of time.”

“The one thing that we use as a yardstick of economic success of our administration: Is the middle class growing? Is the middle class getting better? Is the middle class no longer being left behind? And we’ll look at everything from college affordability to after-school programs, the things that affect people’s daily lives. I will be the guy honchoing that policy,” he said.

Biden said he will have the authority to get a consensus among the task force — but will use his relationship with the president if a consensus isn’t reached.

“If in fact there is no consensus, [I’d] go to the president of the United States and say, ‘Mr. President, I think we should be doing this, cabinet member so-and-so thinks that. You’re going to have to resolve what it is we think we should do.’ ”

From Ed Hornick and Josh Levs
CNN

Read the rest:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/12
/21/transition.wrap/index.html?eref=rss_topstories

Related:

Obama Creates Task Force for Working Families

Biden: “Working Families Czar”
http://atimetochoose.wordpress.com/2008/12/21/bide
n-working-families-czar-how-appropriate/

Obama’s Careful Triangulation

Obama’s New Vision for Vice President Joe Biden

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Dear President-elect Obama: America’s Healthcare Nightmare — 90% Failure Rate Sector

December 18, 2008

American healthcare has a secret few want to face; conditions “worse than Federal prison” in some cases.

American nursing homes and healthcare for the elderly dehumanizes, degrades, demeans and even harms the people that paid for middle-class and middle-aged Americans and their many luxuries.

After visiting a friend in a nursing home yesterday, my companion said, “That place is worse than Federal prison.” 

My friends are “retired convicts,” as one said.  He told me he’d rather be on death row than in the nursing home facility we visited yesterday.

Our friend in the nursing home wasn’t sure he was getting the proper medications, hadn’t had a bath or shower in weeks and a human waste bucket that had been next to his bed for days stood close to his cold breakfast.

And he’s one of the lucky ones.

More than 90 percent of  nursing homes were cited for violations of federal health and safety standards last year, and for-profit homes were more likely to have problems than other types of nursing homes, federal investigators say in a report issued last September.

The report last September by Daniel R. Levinson, the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services said 17 percent of nursing homes had deficiencies that caused “actual harm or immediate jeopardy” to patients.

The veterans of  World War II, for example, the people Tom Brokaw called the  “Greatest Generation,” sometimes live out their last days of their lives in their own filth — and in facilities paid for mainly by your tax dollars and your insurance companies.


Tom Brokaw by David Shankbone

The poorer you are in America the more likely you are to become  neglected, unwashed and uncared-for as an older prerson put away in a nursing home.

You can bet Tom Brokaw won’t end up living in aged squalor.

We’ve visited hundreds of nursing homes over the past year.  Some good.  Some bad.  Some deplorable.

But our overarching impression is this: while you are making money and lots of it, America loves you.  After your energy and money runs out you’ll be treated like an African refugee from Darfur.

There is now a move to rate nursing homes nation-wide.  We support this effert.

The nursing home “industry” is opposed to ratings and angry.

The system “is poorly planned, prematurely implemented and hamhandedly rolled out,” said Larry Minnix, president and chief executive officer of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, an industry trade group.

If you’ve been in a below average nursing home lately, you’ll likely support the new rating system — any new rating system.

Related:
Nursing home industry worries about new ratings

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90% Of Nursing Homes Cited For Poor Care, Violations; 17% Do Harm

By Robert Pear
The New York Times

More than 90 percent of nursing homes were cited for violations of federal health and safety standards last year, and for-profit homes were more likely to have problems than other types of nursing homes, federal investigators say in a report issued on Monday.
.
About 17 percent of nursing homes had deficiencies that caused “actual harm or immediate jeopardy” to patients, said the report, by Daniel R. Levinson, the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Problems included infected bedsores, medication mix-ups, poor nutrition, and abuse and neglect of patients.

Inspectors received 37,150 complaints about conditions in nursing homes last year, and they substantiated 39 percent of them, the report said. About one-fifth of the complaints verified by federal and state authorities involved the abuse or neglect of patients.

About two-thirds of nursing homes are owned by for-profit companies, while 27 percent are owned by nonprofit organizations and 6 percent by government entities, the report said.

The inspector general said 94 percent of for-profit nursing homes were cited for deficiencies last year, compared with 88 percent of nonprofit homes and 91 percent of government homes.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/30/us/30nursing.html?_r=1&a
dxnnl=1&referer=sphere_related_content&partner=rss&emc=r
ss&adxnnlx=1229594626-bUq4AQL/mqsIcfbvqCGZwQ

Illinois Governor in Corruption Scandal

December 9, 2008

Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois was arrested and charged with corruption, including an allegation that he conspired to profit from appointing a senator to succeed Barack Obama.

By Monica Davey and Jack Healy
The New York Times

Frank Polich/Reuters

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald discussed the charges against Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois at a news conference in Chicago on Tuesday.

Mr. Blagojevich, a Democrat, called his sole authority to name Mr. Obama’s successor “golden,” and he sought to parlay it into a job as an ambassador or secretary of Health and Human Services, or a high-paying position at a nonprofit or an organization connected to labor unions, prosecutors said.

He also suggested, they said, that in exchange for the Senate appointment, his wife could be placed on corporate boards where she might earn as much as $150,000 a year, and he tried to gain promises of money for his campaign fund.

Amanda Rivkin/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois.

If Mr. Blagojevich could not secure a deal to his liking, prosecutors said, he was willing to appoint himself.

“If I don’t get what I want and I’m not satisfied with it, then I’ll just take the Senate seat myself,” the governor said in recorded conversation, prosecutors said.

A 76-page affidavit from the United States Attorney’s office in the Northern District of Illinois says Mr. Blagojevich (pronounced bluh-GOY-uh-vich) was heard on wiretaps over the last month planning to “sell or trade Illinois’ United States Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama for financial and personal benefits for himself and his wife.”

The charges are part of a five-year investigation into public corruption and allegations of “pay to play” deals in the clubby world of Illinois politics. In addition to the charges related to Mr. Obama’s Senate seat, they include accusations that Mr. Blagojevich worked to gain benefits for himself, his family and his campaign fund in exchange for appointments to state boards and commissions.

The authorities recorded Mr. Blagojevich speaking with advisers, fundraisers, a spokesman and a deputy governor, using listening devices placed in his office, home telephone, and a conference room at the offices of a friend, prosecutors said.

Federal authorities said Mr. Blagojevich’s chief of staff, John Harris, was also named in the complaint. Both men are expected to appear in federal court for the first time later Tuesday.

At a news conference, Patrick Fitzgerald, the prosecutor, said that Mr. Blagojevich had gone on a “political corruption crime spree,” and that his actions had “taken us to a truly new low.”

“The conduct would make Lincoln roll over in his grave,” Mr. Fitzgerald said.

He added that the complaint “makes no allegations about the president-elect whatsoever.” In one passage of the complaint, Mr. Blagojevich is quoted cursing Mr. Obama in apparent frustration that “they’re not willing to give me anything except appreciation.”

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/09/us/pol
itics/10Illinois.html?_r=1&hp