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Marijuana Center Now Available in Hartford


HARTFORD – Hartford now has its own Medical Marijuana Program.

Arrow Alternative Care, Inc has been authorized by the state’s Department of Consumer Protection to  legally dispense Connecticut-produced marijuana products to seriously ill patients, Commissioner William M. Rubenstein said.

He announced the list of names and locations of the first six dispensary facilities on Thursday

Patients must have been certified by their physicians as potentially benefiting from the use of medical marijuana, and who have registered with the state’s Medical Marijuana Program.

Like the four producers that were awarded licenses in January, the six dispensary facilities were chosen through a competitive process, from 27 applicants that responded to a Request for Applications in November 2013.

The selected dispensary facilities are:

Arrow Alternative Care, Inc. 92 Weston StreetHartford, CT
Bluepoint Apothecary, LLC 469 East Main StreetBranford, CT
D & B Wellness, LLC 2181 Main StreetBridgeport, CT
Prime Wellness of Connecticut, LLC 75 John Fitch BoulevardSouth Windsor, CT
Thames Valley Apothecary, LLC 1100 Norwich-New London Turnpike (Route 32)Uncasville, CT
The Healing Corner, Inc. 159 East Main StreetBristol, CT

 

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Choose One America: Obamacare or Reparations


By Ann-Marie Adams

With only one day left to sign up for the Affordable Care Act, opponents are still removing logic and common sense from arguments that tout the ACA as unsound. Basically, they don’t want to subsidize insurance premiums for Americans on the government exchange.

This debate, seen as another attempt to gut the law, comes weeks after the Congressional Budget Office released a report that says the ACA, or Obamacare, would nix 2.3 million jobs. According to some, this would shake the foundation of the American economy.  Most recently, a divided federal appeals judge said it was “an unmitigated disaster.”

Really?

Dr_AnnMarie_AdamsBefore we move into hyperbole, we should examine the drawn-out brouhaha (more than 50 attempts to repeal it) over the ACA in an uncomfortable context.

the-hartford-guardian-OpinionThe health care law, otherwise known as Obamacare, allows uninsured people—mostly poor whites, the elderly and people of color—access to health insurance. The main arguments against it are that universal healthcare—found in other developed countries, is too costly for America—the richest nation on the planet. And Americans will become lazy and work less because they have access to healthcare.

Sounds ludicrous? It is.

But I would urge some opponents of universal healthcare to consider the life of Henrietta Lacks, a poor black woman whose cells were taken without her consent and then used to develop cures for polio, vitro fertilization and other vital scientific breakthroughs in science.

This fascinating topic was recently discussed at the Avon Free Public Library. Two of the Lacks family members participated in the discussion. The series offered an opportunity to explore not just health, ethics and race but the healthcare industry itself.

For more than 60 years, the healthcare industry made billions from Lacks’ cells. And today the Lacks family still wonders why their mother’s immortal cells did so much for science, and they can’t afford health insurance. After all, some in the Lacks family argue, their mother’s He-La cells benefited “the whole world and all they got was her Bible and medical records.”

The story of Henrietta Lacks’ immortal cells is both amazing and unsettling. And the question of how race played into her healthcare is not difficult for some of us to answer. That’s because we know that race is a central theme in America. And it is well established that race affects healthcare delivery and outcomes.

This is not an attempt at what some people would call “race hustling.” It’s about highlighting certain facts in American history. I’m aware that many Americans have not studied U.S. history. But that doesn’t mean the rest of us who did should acquiesce to them.

Consider this: In 1951, a scientist at Johns Hopkins took slices of the woman’s tumor and decided to grow them, so he could “figure out the causes of cancer.” This is long after doctors found a dime-size tumor on her cervix. They kept sending her home until she protested and begged for admittance, so she could be treated. By then, her body was riddled with cancer.

UnknownThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, a book based on the Lacks family, details the encounter.  And people are rightfully asking whether this family is owed something for thier contribution to humankind. This is a good conversation to have amid the tired healthcare debate over whether to repeal Obamacare.

I think giving access to healthcare for the Lacks family and others in similar situations should be favorable over reparations. At least, this is one way of looking at it. Or perhaps it’s time Americans opposed to Obamacare choose: universal healthcare or reparations?

Some would argue for both.

Interestingly and ironically, the same argument used for not paying reparations has been used in the Lacks family’s case. Many are quick to offer statements and questions like: It’s impossible to calculate how much money is owed. Those who did the crime did their time on earth and died. And who would pay?

In both cases, the consequences of those past actions by individuals and institutions still linger. The Lacks story, among many, illustrates the need for universal healthcare in America.

Americans should consider universal healthcare as a human rights issue, or think of universal healthcare as payback for all the historical wrongs done not just to the Lacks family for “the good of humankind” but to all those other wrongs done in the name of science.

The most famous one in public memory is the Tuskegee Syphilis study, which began in 1932 and ran until 1972. In this study, the United States Public Health Service conducted an experiment in watching black men died from syphilis. The doctors didn’t tell these men they had syphilis. And they didn’t get healthcare. This story, like many, illustrates black oppression and medical neglect.

The Tuskegee case is more prominent, however, because it happened to black men. But there are other lesser-known atrocities, which happened to black women. Besides the Lacks case, we have the notorious J. Marion Sims, the so-called father of gynecology who used enslaved African women as experimental subjects.

These stories are known because the records exist. And unless we want to have more reasons to dig up America’s past medical atrocities, we should perhaps silence the chatter about repealing Obamacare.

If talk about a repeal of Obamacare persists, we should juxtapose that discussion with a public debate about reparations.

I’m so ready for that.

Dr. Ann-Marie Adams is the founder of The Hartford Guardian. Follow her on twitter @annmarieadams.

Photo: Ann-Marie Adams/The Hartford Guardian: ( l to r): Shirley Lacks, Victoria Baptiste, Dr. Robbin Smith.

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Hartford PPSNE to Help With ACA Enrollment


HARTFORD —  With about a week left in the Affordable Care Act open enrollment period, Planned Parenthood of Southern New England will be offering opportunities for city residents to get new health insurance before the March 31 deadline.

Planned Parenthood certified application specialists will be hosting Affordable Care Act Education & Enrollment Fairs to help residents get covered. Additionally, two dedicated Outreach and Enrollment Specialists are scheduling private appointments with Connecticut residents, so they may sign up for new health insurance.

“With the enrollment deadline less than two weeks away, Planned Parenthood is resolute in our efforts to help as many uninsured women and men obtain health insurance as possible,” said Judy Tabar President & CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England. “Preventive services are expanded under Obamacare and women can no longer be discriminated against for having a preexisting condition. The new health care law ensures women can take charge of their health and well-being and PPSNE experts are here to make that process easier.”

Expanded preventive services include birth control, which is now treated like all other preventive care, meaning it is available without a co-pay. Ninety-nine percent of American women between the ages of 15 and 44 who are sexually active have used birth control at some point, and nearly 60 percent of women who take the birth control pill use it for medical reasons other than contraception, such as treatment for ovarian cysts, hormone replacement after chemotherapy, endometriosis and more. Birth control is just one example of the many benefits provided under the ACA.

Certified application counselors will help people sign up for new health insurance on the following dates and Planned Parenthood locations:

Monday, March 31, 10:30 AM – 6:30 PM

Hartford North Health Center

1229 Albany Avenue

Hartford, CT 06112

Saturday, March 29, 11 AM – 4 PM

New Haven Administrative Office

345 Whitney Avenue

New Haven, CT 0651

Wednesday, March 26, 4 – 7 PM

Bridgeport Health Center

211 State Street

Bridgeport, CT 06604

Tuesday, March 25, 4 – 7:30 PM

Torrington Health Center

249 Winstead Road

Torrington, CT 06790

 

 

 

 

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Don’t Believe the Hype Against Obamacare; Sign Up for Insurance


If you are uninsured and live in the Greater Hartford area, all roads should lead to Community Health Services on Albany Avenue to sign up for the Affordable Care Act.

Don’t believe the hype against so-called Obamacare. That’s because your insurance premium could be less than $100. And if you are eligible for Medicaid, your insurance premium could definitely be $0.

editorialbannerthumbAt this point, responsible individuals would have done research and found out the facts for themselves before they let people give them all kinds of cock and bull stories. And check this out: The people who are discouraging, or sabotaging other people’s effort to sign up, have insurance themselves. Yes, people. They have insurance.

If you want to be covered by health insurance this year, the deadline to sign up is March 31. Appointments are available for next week. If you miss this deadline, you have to wait until November to sign up for the following year. But for now, any individual could try the service for one year and judge for herself whether there are drawbacks to being on this particular insurance. Duh!

For many, it takes less than 30 minutes, with the help of a staff person, to sign up. And it’s best to go before crunch time because even now the state’s website, accesshealthct.com, occasionally malfunctions. And CHS workers and others have to call in to AccessHealthCT to sort out kinks in the system.

To date, more than 5 million people across the nation have enrolled.  And in Connecticut, more than 160,000 have enrolled, surpassing the state’s targeted goal of 100,000.  We can only think more people are not enrolled because anemic strategies have been employed to reach the people who need the insurance the most.

That’s unfortunate.

But with 10 days left to go, uninsured people should embrace the unknown and sign up today. With uncertainty, it is indeed better to be safe than sorry. And as we have seen on numerous occasions, ignorance coupled with an unexpected medical condition, can be extremely expensive.

Get to it.

 

 

 

 

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Officials Urge Sign Ups for Insurance


HARTFORD – Gov.  Dannel P. Malloy and L.t Gov. Nancy Wyman on Thursday made a final push to get more Connecticut residents signed up for health insurance.

Both Malloy and Wyman asked leaders of Connecticut’s faith community to talk with their congregants this weekend, in advance of the final week of open enrollment for Access Health CT.

“Connecticut is leading the nation when it comes to providing residents with affordable health care.  In fact, other states are now beginning conversations on how to adopt our model because of the tremendous work being done by Access Health CT,” Malloy said in a release to the press.  “With the final weekend approaching, I am asking leaders of our faith community to talk with their members about not letting this opportunity pass them by.  Obtaining health care is too important, and the more people that sign up, the better off all of us will be.”

Wyman, who heads the AccessCT Health Commission said signing up for health insurance is easy on the state’s website.

To date, Access Health has enrolled 165,091 residents since its launch on October 1, 2013.

In a letter to the faith community send in February, Chief Executive Officer of Access Health CT Kevin Counihan said, “With the end of the open enrollment session fast approaching, we want to make sure that every Connecticut resident in need of health care coverage is aware that the deadline to enroll is March 31, 2014. I hope that you will take advantage of one of the many options available to you, such as enrollment fairs and retail stores.”

All consumer support is free, and provided by people who have been trained and certified by Access Health CT.

For a listing of these fairs click here: http://learn.accesshealthct.com/events/

Residents can continue to compare plans and shop for coverage online at:www.accesshealthct.com or call 1‐855‐805-HEALTH (4325) to speak with an AHCT representative.

A list of upcoming enrollment fairs and a link to locate an in-person assister are available at http://learn.accesshealthct.com.

 

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Health Foundation Seeks Proposals


HARTFORD – The Connecticut Health Foundation announces a new funding opportunity that aims to prioritize the needs and preferences of people of color while implementing health reform.

The “Diverse Advocacy and Consumer Engagement in Health Reform” initiative will invest in nonprofits led by and serving people of color to ensure health reform truly benefits all the residents of our state.

Under the “Diverse Advocacy and Consumer Engagement in Health Reform” initiative, CT Health will award four to six grants ranging in size from $25,000 to $50,000 each to nonprofit organizations that use advocacy and consumer engagement strategies to advance their work.

Beyond the grant funding, this initiative aims to expand the organization’s work, and to connect with the growing network of groups involved in advocacy and consumer engagement strategies in health reform.

This Request for Proposals (RFP) is open to Connecticut-based, nonprofit organizations led by a person of color that serve people of color.

CT Health will be holding two information sessions for interested applicants.

  • Tues., March 18 3:00 – 4:30 p.m., Location:  Mt. Aery Baptist Church, 74 Frank Street, Bridgeport, CT
  • Wed., March 26 – 10:30 a.m. – 12 noon, Location:  Hartford Public Library, 500 Main Street, Hartford

More information about the RFP can be found here.

 

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Walter “Doc” Hurley’s Daughter Found Dead


HARTFORD – The daughter of the late Walter “Doc” Hurley died Sunday in her home on Ridgefield Street.

Hartford Police found Muriel Hurley’s body in the home she shared with her father at 289 Ridgefield St.  Police said they received a call at about 5:30 p.m. and found Hurley’s body unresponsive. Her body was taken to the medical examiner’s office in Farmington.

muriel-hurley-cooperHartford Det. Brian Foley said the autopsy, at this time, was inconclusive.

A long-time education, Doc Hurley  founded The Doc Hurley Scholarship Foundation, which awarded scholarships to high school students. He also died on Feb. 9. He was 91.

Muriel Hurley, who served as an executive director of her father’s foundation, was under investigation for alleged mismanagement of the foundation.

The state filed a lawsuit against her, accusing her of allegedly using the  foundation’s money for personal use.

During the state’s investigation, the The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving began the Doc Hurley Scholarship Fund for Greater Hartford to carry on Hurley’s legacy.

Photo: Facebook.com

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Company: Beware of Carbon Monoxide


HARTFORD —  Once you become a homeowner, the safety of your home and the loved ones who live there become a main concern. A few common precautions you’ve taken to protect your family from danger include having a security system professionally installed, regularly testing your smoke detectors and creating an emergency escape plan. But you may be neglecting one of the biggest dangers lurking in your home: carbon monoxide.

That danger is known as carbon monoxide (CO) – a colorless, tasteless and odorless gas that is undetectable by human senses. Carbon monoxide is created by burning fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood or charcoal. It can emit from any source that burns fuel, including furnaces, fireplaces, space heaters, central heating systems, stoves and automobiles. These products are designed to function safely and only release a harmless amount of CO into the air, but improper use, damage or faulty construction can cause them to produce high levels of the toxic gas, which can be lethal.

The effects of carbon monoxide can be deadly. In the body, red blood cells absorb carbon monoxide quicker than they pick up oxygen. When high levels of carbon monoxide are present, the body begins to replace oxygen with carbon monoxide in the blood, which blocks oxygen from getting into the body. As a result, the victim may begin to experience headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. If left untreated, carbon monoxide poisoning can result in death.

So how can you protect your family from carbon monoxide? CASIA recommends these tips.

First, install CO detectors in your home to alert you of unsafe gas levels. A trusted alarm company will be able to recommend appropriate detectors for your home and determine the best place to put them. You can find an alarm company that is a member of CASIA visiting www.casiact.org

The life span of a detector can range anywhere from five to seven years, so check the manual and replace detectors accordingly. Additionally, many wireless detectors utilize lithium batteries, which typically last between two to five years and then need replacing. Proper maintenance of the detectors in your home help ensures their reliability.

Make sure everyone in your home knows what the detector sounds like. Develop an escape plan to ensure your family will be able to safely exit your home during an emergency situation and practice your plan as a family once a month.

It’s also important to use household appliances safely. To avoid a carbon monoxide leak, have your heating system, water heater and other fuel-burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.  Only use your appliances in the way they are meant to be used, and never used damaged appliances.

Carbon monoxide is a danger that is impossible to detect on your own. Enlist a security company to install a CO detector and use these tips to keep your family safe and sound.

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Trial Lawyers Aim to End Distracted Driving


HARTFORD – The Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association will kick off its 2014 End Distracted Driving program  on March 12 and then  address more than 50 of its  members in Hartford about the issue of distracted driving.

The kick off will begin at 9:30 a.m. at Lewis Mills High School in Burlington and will be started by Philadelphia trial lawyer Joel Feldman, whose daughter was killed in 2009 by a distracted driver.

Attorney Feldman will be speaking to students at Lewis Mills High School about the dangers associated with distracted driving.  He will be joined by CTLA attorney members, Timothy O’Keefe of Hartford and William Beckert of Plainville.

After the high school program, Feldman will address head to the Hartford Club in Hartford and conduct training that aims to help lawyers join the campaign in making End Distracted Driving presentations to high school students and other community groups across Connecticut.

 

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FLOTUS Invites Hartford Residents to Enter Healthy Kids’ “State Dinner” Competition


HARTFORD –First Lady Michelle Obama are asking Greater Hartford residents to join in her effort to promote cooking and healthy eating.

FLOTUS has once again teamed up with Eipcurious, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to host a nationwide recipe challenge that would help ensure that children “learn healthy habits early in life.”

Recipes can be submitted March 5th through April 5th, online at recipechallenge.epicurious.com, or via mail at “The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge c/o Epicurious.com,” 1166 Avenue of the Americas, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10036Winners will be notified in May.

Research shows that children who help with cooking and meal preparation are more likely to consume fruits and vegetables, and they are more aware of the importance of making healthier food choices.  The third annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids’ “State Dinner” encourages kids across the country to come up with healthy, original creations.

The third “State Dinner” invites parents or guardians and their children, ages 8-12, to create and submit an original lunch recipe that is healthy, affordable, and tasty.  In support of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative, each recipe must adhere to the guidance that supports USDA’s MyPlate (at ChooseMyPlate.gov) to ensure that the criteria of a healthy meal are met.

Entries must represent each of the food groups, either in one dish or as parts of a lunch meal, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy foods, with fruits and veggies making up roughly half of the plate or recipe.

All U.S. states and territories, including Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands, are invited to participate.  Delta Air Lines will fly fifty-six children and their parent/guardian (one pair from each of the 50 states, plus the U.S. Territories, D.C., and Puerto Rico) to the nation’s capital where they will have the opportunity to attend a Kids’ “State Dinner” at the White House hosted by Mrs. Obama.  A selection of the winning healthy recipes will be served.

The winning recipes will be chosen by a panel of judges, including Nilou Motamed, Tanya Steel, Let’s Move! Executive Director Sam Kass, U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Education representatives, as well as junior chefs.  At the conclusion of the Kids’ “State Dinner,” a free, downloadable and printable e-cookbook featuring the winning recipes, nutritional analysis, photos and drawings, will be available via LetsMove.govUSDA.govEd.gov,epicurious.com and recipechallenge.epicurious.com.

The White House Kids’ “State Dinner” will take place later this summer.

For more information and contest rules visitrecipechallenge.epicurious.com.

 Photo Credit: Whitehouse.gov

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