Bridges to Patient Empowerment

The cost to states that did not expand medicaid

Research  shows that 14,000 people would be alive if states that refused to expand their medicaid had done so. If  states were to fully expand Medicaid, the benefits would include:

  • Additional lives saved per year: 14,361
  • Additional infant lives saved per year: 141
  • Additional early-stage cancer diagnoses per year: 5,034
  • Reduction in uninsured opioid-related hospitalizations per year: 17,577
  • Additional bankruptcies prevented per year: 1,517
  • Reduction in families’ accrued medical debt: $6.8 billion
  • Money kept in families’ pockets from less costly credit per year: $2.1 billion
  • Savings to communities from enhanced public safety per year: $7.7 billion
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If you have a pre-existing condition your healthcare is under attack

If you are one of the 50 million American with a pre-existing condition, your right to be insured is under attack. The Trump administration is seeking to invalidate the pre-existing condition protections within the Affordable Care Act ( ACA).

27% of adults under age 65 have a pre-existing condition could be uninsurable in the next couple years. In fact, as reported in forbes, before the ACA was passed, a 2010 study showed that 42% of people aged 50-64 had were unable to buy health insurance in the individual market, had to pay much higher premiums, or had their conditions excluded from being covered. The GOP is arguing that the ACA depends on the individual mandate to make premiums affordable, so taking that part of law away invalidates the entire law. It is true that what makes insurance affordable for all is to make sure everyone is covered. The current health care system does not work when insurance companies have to insure people with health problems at an affordable rate if only the sick get coverage. This is why when the GOP voted to take away the mandate to buy healthcare, it was a fiscally irresponsible move that would break the healthcare system instead of fix it. Because of the Tax Cuts and Job Act that eliminated the individual mandate to buy health insurance, insurance plans are set to increase between 15%- 30% in 2019. Worse, it you were counting on savings from the new tax bill to pay for your increased health insurance costs, the tax policy center found that the average American in the coming years will lose their savings from the new bill and and get a tax increase of $30.00. Meanwhile the tax bill adds 1.4 trillion to the national deficit and in 2019 alone, 3 million will become uninsured, raising costs for the remaining people who are insured. We need all our politicians to come together to fix this situation.

Alternative therapies that may help with pain and addiction

Many of our readers have chronic health conditions that require pain management, but  are often hesitant to use narcotics to control pain because it could lead to addiction. Kimberly Hayes writes on some alternative ways to help with pain management and addiction recovery.Untitled.png

For many people who struggle with addiction, recovery is a long road that has more than one treatment option. It can be difficult to know which option to go for, however, especially when you are also coping with a mental health disorder or a physical health issue. Some methods are meant to be used as complementary treatments, such as art therapy in conjunction with talk therapy; others are alternative treatments, which means they take the place of a method that has already been used.

 It’s essential that you talk to your doctorabout what might be best for you before trying anything new in part because a new treatment method could interfere with your recovery rather than helping. It’s also important to do some research on all the various techniques that have been studied in relation to substance abuse recovery and educate yourself on them before making a decision.

 It is important to note that many chronic pain patientsare prescribed opioids by their doctor as a way to treat their pain. Subsequently, opioids also decrease feelings of depression and anxiety, providing relief for both the body and mind. According to addiction expert Marc J. Romano, “Individuals often find the both the physical and psychological effects to be desirable, which increases risk of ongoing use, increased tolerance, and subsequent dependence,” Romano says. If the idea of becoming addicted worries you, it is important that you talk with your doctor. When used correctly, pain medication offers wonderful benefits. However, there are other natural waysto treat pain such as exercise, diet, meditation, and yoga.

 If you are currently in recovery, keep reading for some great tips on how to get started and what to avoid.

 Relaxation techniques

 

One of the common factors in substance abuse is stress and/or anxiety, which can lead to an individual looking for a way to relax and forget about their worries. Relaxation techniques can include massage, acupuncture, yoga and meditation, among others, but you can try anything that makes you feel good in a healthy way.

 Diet and exercise

Diet and exercisecan be huge factors in recovery. Eating well and getting daily exercise can help you feel more confident, boost your mental health and keep you fit and active, all of which can keep you on a positive path of change after a period of substance abuse. Look online for sample menus and make a shopping list that will be easy to stick to at the grocery store and plan out a workout routine that you can maintain. Sometimes, inviting a friend along on a workout can make it more fun and therefore easier to stay motivated. For more information on making your recovery a success, click here.

 Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness can help you focus on the present and reduce worry and anxiety, and it’s often done in conjunction with yoga and/or meditation. Learning how to narrow your focus can help you cope with stress in the moment and make healthy decisions, which can trickle down to other aspects of your life, including your relationships, your ability to maintain a career and your self-esteem and confidence.

 Art therapy 

Art therapyhas been used for years to help individuals battle various addictions and disorders and has been so effective, in part, because it allows you to relax, focus on the present moment, and release stress, anxiety, and other negative emotions in a positive way. Talk to your doctor about art therapy and its many benefits and think of ways you can get creative; painting, dancing, acting, singing and even cooking are all great ways to relieve stress. Try a few different things to see which ones you like most, and ask a close friend or loved one to do it along with you. 

 Going through addiction recovery is a hard job for most, and there’s no one right treatment for everyone, so it’s important to try various methods until you find out what works for you. Keep communication open with your doctor, friends and family to ensure you’ll have support when it matters most.

 

Kimberly Hayes enjoys writing about health and wellness and created PublicHealthAlert.info to help keep the public informed about the latest developments in popular health issues and concerns. In addition to studying to become a crisis intervention counselor, Kimberly is hard at work on her new book, which discusses the ins and outs of alternative addiction treatments.

 

 

The Special Gratitude You Have For Water When You Have Dysautonomia

Today I’m feeling gratitude for water, the source of life that composes sixty percent of my body. Life can only survive in a very narrow range of temperature, and water is essential to sustaining that temperature range inside each one of us and within the world around us. In fact, every biochemical reaction that occurs within us is dependent upon water. Because of my disease—dysautonomia—I need intravenous fluid to maintain my hydration. On the one day a week that the needle I get this water through is taken out and changed, I can quickly feel how my body loses its blood supply to all my organs, as I grow dizzy and my heart works harder. After I get a new needle put into my body so that water can once again flow through me, I feel life…or hope rushing back to each cell within. Hope because standing seemed like an insurmountable challenge in my weakened state, but given water it becomes an obtainable feat. I may get my water in a different way than others, but being forced to become nourished through IV fluids only emphasizes a truth of life a bit more for me: we are all dependent upon water.

A normal person can go three days without water before dehydration becomes an emergency, but for me it is mere hours before my body’s organs are no longer functioning properly. This different existence from so many others makes me look at people playing sports, or even simply walking on a hot day, with a sort of awe someone does when they witness the miracle of birth for the first time. Rationally, you know people have babies, but actually seeing it gives you a sense of awe in how life begets new life. There is something undoubtably miraculous about the whole process. This is the same feeling I get when seeing a body utilize its water to perform a sport under the duress of hot weather. To witness the small miracles that the body performs to play a sport under the hot sun will often brings tears to my eyes.

Today, I am especially grateful for the water I receive through intravenous hydration now that there is a shortage of IV bags is the USA. This shortage is due to disruption of production that occurred due to Puerto Rico’s hurricane aftermath. Having too much or too little water in a place or a body can cause massive imbalances that impact life in direct and indirect ways. When climate change causes our earth to have more severe weather events, the imbalances in water causes changes to some lives immediately––changes like the ones I see when I don’t get my IV fluid and life, suddenly, becomes very fragile as each heart beat becomes a massive feat to manage. Other changes due to water imbalance will be less pronounced and remain mostly invisible until the crisis is at one’s front door. This is how a normal person dehydrates. Their body can compensate much longer with less fluid––to the point people don’t realize they are becoming dehydrated—that is until it’s an emergency. This is the type of emergency the disruption to the production of IV fluid is creating. I am still getting my fluid. There is no real emergency at this point, but if Puerto Rico does not stabilize soon, it will be an emergency that eventually reaches me and many others. It shows me how interconnected all of life is. Once again, my eyes start to water a little at how each life or life function affects other lives in ways we don’t fully realize until that life or byproduct of one’s life is put into jeopardy. It reminds me that I am grateful that I have the fluid in my body right now to cry tears of awe at life and the miracles that each life performs just by being here.

 

 

In Last Minute Shopping Support BTPE Through Season of Smiles

It only takes a second to switch over to Amazon Smile when you shop, but it makes a big difference to us. Our #SeasonOfSmiles is here because every time we go into a hospital to do art therapy with patients struggling with serious medical conditions, donations from amazon smile help us to provide art supplies and card stock that patients use to create cards that go to other sick patients. In the circle of caring that Bridges to Patient Empowerment creates, patients use their art therapy to support others in a similar situation. That way patients don’t have to go through their worst moments in life alone. With them during their toughest moments is a card full of support from someone else who has been in a hospital bed. As patients share their stories, insights, and hopes with one another through art and inspiring words, they hold each other in the palm of their hand with each medical challenge they face, making the journey of illness a little easier. Please support our charity while you shop using link smile.amazon.com/ch/46-3858114 

Crisis Can Help Us Build Bridges

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How the Opioid Crisis Is Creating a Crisis for Chronic Pain Patients

Article by Daniel Permenter  from The Mighty

I have been diagnosed fibromyalgia, panic disorder, insomnia and quite a few other conditions for five years now. I have experienced a lot and have struggled to find the help I need to make it through my day-to-day routine, much less when life throws me curveballs. I have tried and put into place all manner of methods of managing my conditions. I have changed diet, put in a modified exercise regiment and adjusted my life to fit my condition. I also take prescribed opioids.

News outlets have been reporting on the “opioid crisis” that has arisen. They talk about the real effects on people’s lives. They talk about the families being torn apart with the misuse of the drug. They are representing every side of the issue. Except mine.

I, like many others with chronic illness, rely on the use of these drugs to lead a somewhat regular life. Understandably, we do not represent all responsible opioid use. However, we do regularly get added to the group of people who abuse opioids. The news loves to report the numbers of total users or the max number of prescribed people in U.S. Using these numbers, all kinds of data can be thrown around as to the approximate number of abusers. I am not ignoring the rising numbers of opioid-related deaths. I fear that too many people are caught up in the panic and it is hurting the people who need the help.

I have recently changed pharmacies due to the national response. CVS has come out to say they will not prescribe more than a week’s worth of an opioid to cut down on the number of pills in the public. This hurts in several ways. I now have more co-pays to look forward to paying. I now have the stress of going to the pharmacy once a week instead of once a month. I get to be faced with the pharmacy techs who judge me on my condition. They have to evaluate what I take, how many I take and how often I take it to ensure I am doing everything correctly. It can feel humiliating and debilitating.

It can also lead to them to refusing to fill a medication. When I was first being diagnosed, I had a tech tell me I couldn’t have any more medication, even though I was taking them as prescribed. I have also been through the panic of not being able to see the doctor in time or canceling my appointment so I end up running out before I can get the help I need.

It is so tight now. My new doctor has a new form I had to fill out saying I have to bring all my meds into the office each visit and be subjected to random pill count checks. To quote a friend, “This is victim shaming.” We are not getting the prescribed medications from a drug dealer. We are getting these medications from a licensed doctor who has examined, poked, prodded and run tests to find out what can help. We are not using these pills for recreational use. We are using them so we can get out of bed and live a somewhat normal life and have a job.

This is a crisis. My crisis. My own personal war inside me. I have to fight to get help. I have to fight to get time to go to the doctor each time. Taking off work to go see a doctor takes a lot of time and most jobs are not forgiving. I have to look at what I have and ration. I have several medications that are “as needed.” Do I take them now when I am having a rough day or do I save them in case I have a worse day? Why do I have to choose? Who is speaking for me? For us? I am only one small voice on a small platform. I am speaking up. Don’t forget us in the crisis.

Turning Fear Into Peace

IMG_0413In light of halloween and all the scary stuff going on in the world right now, check out this video on how one patient turned feelings of fear into peaceful ones

How to Turn Fear Into Peace

Vox News Needs Patients Help in Medical Transparency

Share your ER bill with Vox news to help medical billing transparency

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