A Guide to the New Health Insurance Exchanges

Given all of the rhetoric about the Obama administration’s health care law, it’s not surprising that many consumers are confused about how the new insurance exchanges will actually work. Some states that oppose the law have gone as far as intentionally limiting the information that trickles out to its residents

But after much anticipation, the curtain will finally rise on the exchanges next week, providing millions of consumers with an online marketplace to compare health insurance plans and then buy the coverage on the spot.

The exchanges are likely to be most attractive to people who qualify for subsidized coverage. Individuals with low and moderate incomes may be eligible for a tax credit, which can be used right away, like a gift card, to reduce their monthly premiums. People with pre-existing conditions will no longer be denied coverage or charged more (this applies to most plans outside the exchanges, too). And all of the plans on the exchanges will be required to cover a list of essential services, from maternity care to mental health care. Read more of A Guide to the New Health Insurance Exchanges.

Ohio hospital tries to force chemo on Amish girl, raising questions about rights of parents

A legal fight between a hospital and an Amish family in Ohio over whether doctors can force their 10-year-old daughter to resume chemotherapy after her parents stopped treatment is again raising questions about what rights parents have in making medical decisions for their children. The answer in this latest case likely will be settled in court after Akron Children’s Hospital sought to have limited guardianship of the girl given to an attorney who’s also a registered nurse. If a judge approves, the guardian — not the parents — would decide whether the girl should continue chemotherapy for her leukemia. More.

My Stroke of Luck

NY Times reporter ANDREW C. REVKIN writes of his unexpected stroke in 2011 and provides waning signals of a stroke.

High-End Health Plans Scale Back to Avoid ‘Cadillac Tax

“Say goodbye to that $500 deductible insurance plan and the $20 co-payment for a doctor’s office visit. They are likely to become luxuries of the past,” warns the NY Times here.

Living History program introduced to Los Gatos volunteers

Chaplain Maryellen Garnier advises Los Gatos volunteers on Living History Program

Chaplain Maryellen Garnier advises Los Gatos volunteers on Living History Program

Mountain View Chaplain The Rev. Maryellen Garnier (at left)  introduced a diverse group of volunteers to the Living History Program© as practiced on our Mountain View campus during December’s Spiritual Care Seminar in Los Gatos.

“We are looking for ways to bring this innovation service to our patients here,” Los Gatos Chaplain The Rev. Thomas C. Jackson said. “We’ll be looking for a team of between four and six people who are willing to serve as needed on one day a week.”
Through the Living History Program©, patients create their own personal “living history” which serves as an introduction for those caring for the patient. Each history is compiled by a specially trained volunteer.

After approval by a patient, a copy of the history is placed in their medical record. We will also make copies of the history for the patient to give to their family. If you want to help please contact Chaplain Tom Jackson.

Pumpkin Carving Contest 2012

Each year, folks at this hospital join in a pumpkin carving contest. Here are some of the entries for 2012:

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The Dirty Little Secret of Nursing Homes

The percentage of nursing homes cited for deficiencies in “hand hygiene” has been rising in recent years. Inspectors found such deficiencies in fewer than 7.4 percent of nursing homes from 2000 to 2002, but by 2009 found them in close to 12 percent. Some states did better: Hand hygiene citations in Pennsylvania in 2009 came from just 6 percent of facilities. Some fared much worse: Michigan that year was at 15 percent. More at the NY Times.

Spiritual Care for Rehabilitation Center Patients

2012 Spiritual Care Seminars

June 18, 2012, 1:30 PM @ Los Gatos Conference Room 2


Have you ever tried to go from the hospital to the Rehabilitation Center in a wheelchair? Donned a pair of glasses that let you see with limited vision? Tried to complete a simple task without the use of one hand? Wondered how to communicate with someone whose speech has been damaged by a stroke? These are some of the challenges we’ll address June 18 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. as we work to understand spiritual care of Rehabilitation Center patients.

We’ll also hear stores of hope and inspiration along with practical tips. Open to Spiritual Care volunteers from our Los Gatos and Mountain View campuses. Please RSVP by June 14, 2012 to our chaplain at Thomas_Jackson@elcaminohospital.org.

Are you a real morning person?

Are you a real morning person? This version of a test commonly used by sleep experts can determine whether you are a lark, a night owl or somewhere in between. Click the box in front of your answer and we’ll add up your score. And if you know you’re a night owl but still fantasize about greeting the dawn, there is hope. Read  “So You Think You Can Be a Morning Person?”