Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Supervisors approve $13 million plan to reduce number of mentally ill in county jail

Wednesday, May 15th, 2019

May is Foster Parent Recognition Month

The Contra Cost Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, May 14 recognized May as Foster Parent Recognition Month. Supervisors’ resolution noted there are approximately 1,100 children and youngsters in foster care in the county. At the ceremony, supervisors presented the resolution to first time foster parents Patricia and Ryan Streeter of Antioch, who became the foster parents of two-month-old Samuel. The couple are the parents of their eight-year-old biological son Josiah. The supervisors’ resolution noted the importance of Foster Parent Recognition Month in Contra Costa County for “being provided with a safe, secure and stable home environment, along with the compassion and nurturing of foster relative and non-relative families….” Photo by D. Borsuk

By Daniel Borsuk

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors approved on a 4-0 vote Tuesday a $13 million multi-faceted plan that aims to detour people with mental illness who are in county jail and to relocate them in appropriate mental health facilities. Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg was absent.

Chief Assistant County Administrator Timothy Ewell told supervisors the county has grant applications pending totaling about $13 million that will help the fund the recommendations from Policy Research Associates.

Supervisors accepted 13 recommendations drafted by Policy Research Associates, a Delmar, NY-based firm that conducted a conference last January with Contra Costa mental health, medical, law, political officials and other community stakeholders in attendance.

Policy Research Associates researchers Brian Case and Regina Hueter co-authored the study “Sequential Intercept Model Mapping Report for Contra Costa County.”

Supervisors quickly approved the Policy Research Associates report. There were no comments from the public.

Since 2015, Contra Costa County has been involved in the nationwide Stepping Up movement designed to reduce the number of persons with mental illness in county jails. The county’s inmate population’s daily mental illness rate hovers around 15 percent. That is comparable with a national average of 17 percent.

“We have more critically mentally unhealthy people in our jails than in our hospitals. The question is how do we intercept these people?” asked Board Vice Chair Candace Andersen of Danville, who attended the Policy Research Associates conference in January.

The 13 recommendations the supervisors adopted in the “Sequential Intercept Model Mapping Report for Contra Costa County,” include:

  • “Establish an Uber committee and process that allows for shared leadership, responsibility, coordination, and oversight of justice system and behavioral health innovation and reform.”
  • “Establish standardized metrics and data-sharing across county agencies to improve data-informed decision-making.”
  • “Increase county-wide deflection and diversion strategies. Explore the need for a 24-hour crisis stabilization and triage center and a mental health first responder co-responder strategy.”
  • “Further incorporate the use of peers and peer support and recovery across intercepts.”
  • “Identify ‘familiar face’ high utilizer populations to help manage costs, reduce unnecessary utilization of services while increasing individual stabilization. Develop ‘higher utilizer’ strategies.”
  • “Implement a comprehensive substance use disorder strategy: Population identification & treatment resources in the jail & community.”
  • “Examine the need for pre-trial interventions to reduce failure to appear of individuals who are booked and released.”
  • “Improve and pre-and-post-arrest diversion opportunities for the incompetent to stand trial populations.”
  • “Review and address problems solving court criteria to align with national best practice
  • “Increase equity and access to services regardless of AB 109 funding.”
  • “Improve jail-based services and transition planning to reduce recidivism and improve health and other outcomes for detained or jailed individuals.”
  • “Continue to build probation Best Practices, training, and coordination to reduce technical violations and probation revocations.”
  • “Work with Center for Medicare and Medicaid services and the state of California to establish an agreement that allows parolees to access Medi-Cal and receive county services.”

Supervisors also approved the following consent calendar items:

Danville Blvd.-Orchard Court Roadway Project

Supervisors approved a $375,000 Public Works contract with Quincy Engineering Inc. for civil engineering services for the Danville Boulevard-Orchard Court Complete Streets Improvement Project to be completed by March 31, 2021. The road project includes the construction of a roundabout at Danville Boulevard and Orchard Court to reduce speeds and improve pedestrian crossing. The project also includes the restriping of the roadway and lane reconfiguration and storm drain modifications, landscaping, storm water treatment, signage, utility adjustments and changes to existing roadside features.

Emergency Driving Program

Gave the green light for the Sheriff-Coroner to sign a $165,000 contract with the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training to provide an emergency vehicle operations course instruction for the period July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020. The course will serve 110 students at an initial cost of $1,500 per student.

Redesiginating the John Muir Medical Center as Official Trauma Center

Supervisors redesignated John Muir Medical Center as the county’s official trauma center through May 21, 2031. In approving the consent item, supervisors agreed John Muir Medical Center’s trauma center has seen its patient rate grow by 53 percent since 2011, but its trauma inpatient volume has remained relatively steady with an average of about 1,200 inpatients per year. With the supervisors’ consent action, the county will receive $350,000 a year during the duration of the agreement from John Muir Medical Center for the county to fund programs to decrease violence or prevent injuries throughout the county.

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Kaiser responds to Tuesday evening’s planned healthcare worker protest at headquarters

Tuesday, May 7th, 2019

In response to yesterday’s announcement by SEIU United Healthcare Workers, regarding launching a protest at Kaiser headquarters in Oakland, today at 5:00 p.m., John Nelson, Vice President Communications, Kaiser Permanente offered the following response.

Regarding the question about gardeners:

As we do with our other medical center campuses, Kaiser Permanente is engaging a professional commercial landscaping vendor at our remaining facilities in Northern California, giving all of our campuses the benefit of the most expert, efficient, and ecologically sound practices.

The decision about landscaping affects 63 employees, some of whom have already found other positions at Kaiser Permanente. We value these employees, and any affected employee who wishes to remain employed with Kaiser Permanente in a new role will be able to do so.

SEIU-UHW is making statements about Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to its employees that are misleading and incorrect. The truth is that Kaiser Permanente is growing and adding jobs overall. With more than 149,000 employees and 16,000 physicians, we have added more than 13,000 jobs in the state since 2016.  In fact, the number of our employees represented by SEIU-UHW has grown by more than 8,000 statewide since 2016.

On the planned labor activity:

Kaiser Permanente has been notified by SEIU-UHW leadership that the union plans to conduct informational picketing at several of our California offices and medical centers during May 2019. It’s important for our members and patients to know that informational picketing is not a strike and it does not impact our care delivery or operations. While this union is staging picketing, the physicians and employees of Kaiser Permanente will remain focused on the important work of delivering high-quality, affordable care to our members and improving the health of the communities we serve.

Kaiser Permanente started bargaining with the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions in mid-April. We believe that by working together in partnership with the unions that represent our employees, we will continue to achieve the best results for our members, patients, and the communities who depend on Kaiser Permanente to provide high-quality, affordable health care — and help to keep Kaiser Permanente a great place to work for all. We reiterate our pledge to bargain in good faith and our commitment to reach fair and equitable agreements that provide our employees with excellent, market-competitive benefits and wages.

We are disappointed that some union leaders are choosing to make false allegations and pursue an adversarial, destructive approach as part of their bargaining strategy.

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Healthcare workers to launch protest Tues, May 7 at Kaiser Headquarters over job cuts, company’s spending

Monday, May 6th, 2019

Claim health giant is sitting on $31 billion, yet layoffs begin June 7

OAKLAND, Calif. Hundreds of healthcare workers, elected officials, faith leaders and community members concerned about healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente’s increasingly profit-driven behavior will rally at 5 p.m., Tuesday, May 7 at national company headquarters, 1 Kaiser Plaza in Oakland, to urge the company to reverse its plan to eliminate jobs at several facilities across Northern California. It is part of a protest at the headquarters and will include an encampment of laid-off workers and their families, a candlelight vigil, visits from politicians and clergy, and the building of a live garden.

“It really tells you something that Kaiser is sitting on tens of billions of dollars in reserves and paying its CEO $16 million a year but then cuts good jobs that support families – it tells you Kaiser is a corporation that has stopped caring about the community,” said Phil Osmond, a Kaiser gardener for 23 years in Oakland. “Kaiser is a non-profit company, and for many years it acted that way and was part of the community. But over the past 10 years it more and more acted like a typical for-profit corporation worried only about the bottom line.”

Under the plan, 63 gardeners will lose their jobs June 7 and an outside company would oversee an entirely new workforce that is paid less and receives fewer benefits than current Kaiser employees. Nearly 100 federal, state and local elected officials in California have sent letters to Kaiser opposing the corporation’s outsourcing plans.

Although the gardeners may be eligible for other jobs within the company, many are concerned they will not find suitable positions because they pay less, are part-time or do not match their skills and experience. Supporters of the workers also have expressed concern that a majority of the affected staff are women and people of color.

The gardeners work at facilities in the following 16 cities: Antioch; Fremont; Manteca; Modesto; Oakland; Richmond; San Francisco; San Jose; San Leandro; San Rafael; Santa Clara; Santa Rosa; Stockton; Vacaville; Vallejo; and Walnut Creek.

Despite being a non-profit organization and self-described community-oriented health provider, Kaiser appears to be behaving just like any other large, for-profit corporation. It reported reserves of $31.5 billion and profits of $6.3 billion the last two years. In 2017, its CEO received a 60 percent raise to more than $16 million in annual compensation, and 35 other executives received more than $1 million annually.

All the while, because it’s a non-profit organization, Kaiser does not have to pay income taxes or property taxes—thus saving itself an estimated $1.1 billion on California and federal income taxes alone in 2017. In contrast, the savings from outsourcing the gardeners is about $1 million, meaning those jobs could easily be protected without putting even a perceptible ripple in the company’s bottom line.

More than 55,000 Kaiser Permanente employees in California are members of SEIU-UHW.

SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) is one of the largest unions of hospital workers in the western United States with 95,000 members. Learn more at www.seiu-uhw.org

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National Prescription Drug TAKE BACK in Antioch, throughout county Saturday, April 27

Friday, April 26th, 2019

On Saturday, April 27, 2019, from 10 AM to 2 PM, the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff, local police departments and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.

Bring your pills for disposal at the following sites. The DEA cannot accept needles or sharps, only pills, patches, and liquids sealed in their original container. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

DROP OFF LOCATIONS:

-Antioch Police Department, Front Lobby, 300 L Street, Antioch, CA

-Brentwood Police Department, 9100 Brentwood Blvd., Brentwood, CA

-Danville Police Department, 510 La Gonda Way, Danville, CA.

-Lafayette Police Department, 3471 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, CA

-Orinda Police Department, 22 Orinda Way, Orinda, CA

-Pittsburg Police Department, 65 Civic Avenue, Pittsburg, CA

-San Ramon Police Department, 2401 Crow Canyon Road, San Ramon, CA

-Office of the Sheriff Muir Station, 1980 Muir Road, Martinez, CA.

(Field Operations Building)

-Office of the Sheriff Bay Station, 5555 Giant Highway, Richmond, CA.

(West County Detention Facility)

-Office of the Sheriff Blackhawk, 1092 Eagle Nest Lane, Danville, CA

The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue. According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs. The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet. The DEA’s Take Back Day events provide an opportunity for Americans to prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths.

For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the Take Back event, go to the DEA Office of Diversion Control website at: www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov.

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Learn about hearing loss at Tre Vista Senior Living in Antioch on Tuesday, April 23

Monday, April 22nd, 2019

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Relay for Life Car & Motorcycle Show fundraiser in Antioch May 4

Monday, April 15th, 2019

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Double lung transplant recipient from Antioch featured in Giving Me Life art exhibit at Highland Hospital

Friday, April 5th, 2019

Liver recipient, Debra Harkness (left) and double lung recipient, Damita Barbee (center) of Antioch at the opening of the exhibit on Friday, April 4, 2019. Photo by Donor Network West.

April is Donate Life Month

The “Giving Me Life: A Visual Journey of African-American Organ and Tissue Transplant Recipients” art exhibit has officially opened at the Alameda Health System (AHS)-Highland Care Pavilion Lobby. AHS has partnered with Donor Network West, the organ and tissue recovery organization for Northern California and Nevada, to bring “Giving Me Life” to AHS. The exhibit underscores the need for more registered donors within the African-American community through social documentary. April is Donate Life Month and the exhibit will be on display at Highland until April 30.

Antwone Johnson, the brother of organ donor Anthony Johnson, gave a very emotional testimony at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 4.

“I lost my brother about a year ago at Highland Hospital. He died unexpectedly after experiencing seizures that sent him into cardiac arrest. When I was first approached about donating his organs I was not interested, but as I sat in the hospital, I reflected on the fact that he was the kindest person I ever met. He would give you his last dollar without knowing where his next one was coming from. I joke that I hope the cruelest, corrupt person received my brother’s heart because there is no way they can continue to be unkind with a piece of Tony in their body.”

In addition, Johnson shared that he is humbled to be able to save someone else’s life through his decision to donate his brother’s organs.

Currently, African-Americans make up 5% of the 13 million people in Donor Network West’s donation service area, however, they represent 10% of those waiting for organ transplants in the region. The exhibit is a visual testimonial of nine local African-American transplant recipients who have overcome incredible obstacles in their respective journeys toward health and wellness thanks to organ and tissue donation.

“We are pleased to collaborate with Alameda Health System to bring the Giving Me Life exhibit to Highland Hospital in Oakland, which boasts a proud legacy of African-American culture, art and social justice. We deeply respect Alameda Health System’s commitment to promoting healthy equity and access for all patients, 30% of whom are African-American. Our hope is to spark new conversations, and inspire more African-Americans to register as organ donors,” said Janice F. Whaley, Chief Executive Officer of Donor Network West.

Damita Barbee, a double-lung transplant recipient from Antioch, and one of the people featured in the Giving Me Life exhibit will be traveling to Italy this year, something she was not able to do five years ago. She was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, but is now thriving. In her spare time she shares her story with others, hoping to encourage as many people as possible to become registered donors.

“I am very passionate about finding solutions that will help our patients live healthy lives. There are many people on the transplant waiting list and this exhibit is a great way to raise awareness about the need,” said Luis Fonseca, AHS Chief Operating Officer and Donor Network West board member.

About 50 people attended the event. Participants included Donor Network West Ambassadors, transplant recipients, donor families, AHS staff, community members, and representatives from Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Assembly Member Rob Bonta’s office.

Nearly 1,400 people are waiting for an organ transplant in Alameda County. One organ donor can save the lives of up to eight people and a tissue donor can heal 75 others. Anyone can register as a donor at DonorNetworkWest.org or at the DMV.

About Donor Network West

Donor Network West is the federally designated nonprofit, 501 (c) (3) organ and tissue recovery organization that serves 13 hospitals and more than 500,000 people in Northern Nevada. Established in 1987, the organization saves and heals lives by facilitating organ and tissue recovery for transplantation and research. Donor Network West is accredited by the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) and the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB) and partners with the Department of Motor Vehicles and the state-authorized donor registry. For information, visit DonorNetworkWest.org and follow us on social media: @mydnwest

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County Supervisor Diane Burgis schedules surgery to repair heart valve

Friday, February 22nd, 2019

Supervisor Diane Burgis. Herald file photo.

In an open letter to District 3 residents, Supervisor Diane Burgis, who has served the district since 2016, issued the following statement regarding her health.

“When I count the things I am grateful for, representing you is right up there with my family, friends and good health. I am humbled and honored for the trust that you have placed in me, and I take the responsibility that comes with that trust very seriously.

That is why I want you to know that I am having heart surgery on February 25 to replace an aortic valve due to aortic stenosis, or a narrowing of my aortic valve. What some don’t know is that when I was seven years old, I had this same procedure, and my surgeons told me then that I would likely need another surgery later in life. The good news is that due to my overall health, the operation is happening much later than they predicted.

My doctors, who have performed hundreds of these procedures, assure me that my prognosis is excellent and that I will be better than new after the surgery. I will be in the hospital for approximately one week and then at home for recovery.

In the meantime, I promise that you will receive the same high level of service, sound decision-making, and representation as always. My staff and the County staff will keep me updated on the issues, and my office will continue the vital work that we are doing, in consultation with me, and under the leadership of my Chief of Staff, Mark Goodwin.

I also want to put everyone on notice – if you think it’s hard to keep up with me now, just wait!! I look forward to continuing our work together to create opportunities and find solutions to our challenges in Contra Costa County.

I also can’t wait to ride my bike on the Marsh Creek trail, hike up Mount Diablo, kayak on the Delta, chase my beautiful grandson, and get back on the tennis courts!

I am ready for more adventures in this terrific life!

Thank you for your support, and well wishes.”

Mark Goodwin, Burgis’ Chief of Staff will be the primary point of contact during Supervisor Burgis’ surgery and recovery. Well wishes may be sent to Supervisor Burgis at her main office, 3361 Walnut Boulevard, Suite 140, Brentwood, CA 94513.

Supervisor Diane Burgis represents District 3, the largest of the five Contra Costa County Board of Supervisor districts, which includes Antioch, Bethel Island, Brentwood, Byron, Discovery Bay, Knightsen, and Oakley in East Contra Costa County and Blackhawk, Diablo and Tassajara Valley in the southern portion of the district.

 

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