OWL ALERT May 1: SAVE OUR PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

SITUATION: California’s public transit systems are facing enormous threats due to budget shortfalls. Ridership and fare revenue plummeted with the pandemic. Ridership is increasing gradually.  Emergency federal rescue funds have played a crucial role in avoiding system collapse, but those funds will run out before ridership rebounds completely. Service cuts and raised fares would fall hardest on people dependent upon public transportation, including seniors.

We need Governor Newsome to throw a lifeline to our transit systems as part of the state budget!
 
ACTION: We cannot afford to allow our transit systems to unravel. Massive service cuts are not an option. The state needs to step in with short term, stop-gap funding to avert this disaster. Contact the Governor and your legislative leaders and tell them to fund public transportation in our state budget.

Governor Gavin Newsomhttps://www.gov.ca.gov/contact/

Assemblymember Phil Ting: https://a19.asmdc.org/contact

 Assemblymember Matt Haney: https://a17.asmdc.org/contact

Senator Scott Wiener: https://sd11.senate.ca.gov/contact

OWL ALERT April 24: SAVE 120 BEDS AT LAGUNA HONDA

SITUATION: San Francisco’s crucial resource for older residents of limited means and major health issues, Laguna Honda Hospital, has been targeted by CMS for closure. The loss of such a vital institution will absolutely result in catastrophic loss of life, and a drastically diminished quality of life for those who survive the closure. 

Closure and evictions begin May 19th; the loss of 120 beds is on the table if LHH does get recertified, even if closure and evictions are avoided.

Local, State, and Federal Government Officials all need to hear from San Franciscans that Laguna Honda must be saved with all beds intact, and we need admissions to restart.

For more information, see https://www.owlsf.org/category/events/ where there is a video of the OWL-SF April meeting in which Drs. Kerr and Palmer explain the situation at Laguna Honda.

ACTION: Help save 120 beds at LHH by signing this petition:
https://www.change.org/p/help-save-120-beds-at-laguna-honda-hospital-in-san-francisco 

Want to do more? See https://panther-gray.web.app/child/laguna-honda-hospital:-call-to-action-

Also please share this message with friends, family and colleagues. 

OWLSF April 22, 2023 Meeting on Laguna Honda: Video and Additional Resources

 

— Here is a link to the current Grey Panthers Call to Action on Laguna Honda: Laguna Honda Call to Action April 2023

— Here is a link to a San Francisco Chronicle article about Laguna Honda, published April 13: These 26 ‘original sins’ brought S.F.’s Laguna Honda to the brink of closure

— Here is an article in neighborhood newspaper Westside Observer, published April 10: Root Cause Factors Refute DPH Claims Minimizing LHH’s Violations 

OWLSF Urgent Announcement Regarding Laguna Honda

Laguna Honda Hospital Call to Action: update April 15, 2023:

For more details: SF Gray Panther Main Laguna Honda Page (new URL):

https://panther-gray.web.app/child/laguna-honda-hospital:-call-to-action-

CLOSURE AND EVICTIONS ARE SCHEDULED FOR MAY 19 2023. A CUT OF 120 BEDS REMAINS A CONDITION (per CMS) FOR ANY PLAN TO STAY OPEN.

What to do:

Sign This Petition: https://www.change.org/p/help-save-120-beds-at-laguna-honda-hospital-in-san-francisco

Save these dates to appear, testify and or (now)write in:

April 18 Tues.-4 pm: Meeting of the SF Health Commission which will include an update on April 11 LHH Joint Conference Committee Meeting. Agenda and supporting documents are here.

See instructions on how to testify in person, by phone and in writing here.

See examples of 150 word statements you can write or say here

It was announced on April 11, 2023 that on April 13, Laguna Honda chiefs will meet with state and federal regulators to discuss the LHH “revised closure plan,” which has not been accepted by these higher ups. We need an update on this!

We are getting uncomfortably close to the May 19 deadline for evictions and closure; this 3rd monthly meeting of the Health Commission will summarize progress so far at Laguna Honda.

Save the date and write your supervisor:

See more details at SF Gray Panthers main Laguna Honda page  about how you can let those in power at all levels of government know that LAGUNA HONDA HOSPITAL MUST STAY OPEN WITH ALL BEDS INTACT: NO CLOSURE AND NO EVICTIONS. Local services for those in need who cannot safely or appropriately live in a nursing home must ALSO be supported, or Laguna Honda will remain in jeopardy indefinitely!
 
Thankyou,
Teresa Palmer MD

 

 

OWL ALERT April 18: Protect Retirement Benefits for Public Workers

SITUATION: Currently the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO), financially harm millions of retirees across our nation by cutting Social Security benefits—including eliminating survivor benefits—for public service workers (such as public school teachers), disproportionately affecting women.

The House of Representatives is considering a bill—H.R. 82 (Graves – LA and Spanberger – VA)—that would repeal these revisions.

ACTION:

  1. Reach out to Representatives who cosponsored the repeal bill in the last Congress but who haven’t yet signed on to the new legislation.
  2. Contact your Representative and urge them to cosponsor the bipartisan bill and move this issue to the forefront.

ACTION: Forward this message to friends, family and colleagues.

Click HERE for a complete list of U.S. Reps (and their contact info).
Click HERE to see which Reps have cosponsored the bill (and their contact info).
Click HERE for a sample message to send, email, or read as a voicemail.

Suggested Message to U.S. House Reps Re: H.R. 82

I am writing to ask for your help in cosponsoring H.R. 82 (Graves-LA and Spanberger-VA) since you were one of the cosponsors of this bill in the 117th Congress. This bipartisan bill will repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO), penalties that financially harm millions of retirees across our nation.
 
The WEP and GPO cut or eliminate Social Security benefits that retirees have paid for. The WEP cuts the earned benefits of public service workers that they paid for during their time working in the private sector. The GPO eliminates the Social Security survivor benefit, even for those with a modest pension. Retired educators can be forced into poverty when their spouse dies, even though their survivor benefit had been paid for by their spouse.
 
Now is the time to take action to repeal these two unjust penalties. The nation has been seeing an exodus of teachers who are either leaving the profession or retiring earlier than planned. The repeal of these two offsets is an important step to help to turn the tide in favor of teachers remaining in the classroom.
 
Please cosponsor the bipartisan bill H.R. 82 (Graves – LA and Spanberger – VA) and move this issue to the forefront.

OWL ALERT April 10: Theater Screening of AMERICAN HOSPITALS: HEALING A BROKEN SYSTEM

Situation:  American hospitals are a sector of the healthcare industry that often gets off scot-free, when debating the cost of healthcare. The hospital industry is charging outrageous fees while sitting on billions of dollars in accumulated cash – while 100 million Americans suffer from medical debt.  

Action:  Join CARA along with Healthy California NOW for a theater screening of the new film, “American Hospitals: Healing a Broken System,” which exposes this sector of the healthcare industry.

This is NOT a Zoom event

A panel of front-line providers and advocates for a healthcare system that provides better care at lower costs will discuss issues raised by the film, propose solutions to the systemic inequities of healthcare, and show how you can get involved in winning guaranteed healthcare in California.     

Here are the screenings in our area:  

Monday, April 17, 2023 in Berkeley at the Rialto Elmwood @ 7:00 PM  https://rialtocinemas.com/coming-soon-elm/american-hospitals-healing-a-broken-system-elm/
Tuesday, April 18, 2023 in San Francisco at the Vogue @7:00 PM  https://ticketing.uswest.veezi.com/purchase/9769?siteToken=qkwymq4me4nthdzzgj9fe08j0r

For screenings in other cities on other dates, go to: https://fixithealthcare.com/events/

OWLSF Advicates Against Out of County Acute Care Transfers

To San Francisco Health Commission                                                   April 6, 2023

Dear Health Commissioners,

     The Older Women’s League is particularly concerned about the continued out of county transfers of San Francisco citizens after acute care hospitalizations.  Placing patients far away from their family and friends delays their adjustment to their new surroundings and to their continued health and quality of life.  Further, family and friends who rely on public transportation to visit loved ones spend hours trying to reach out of county facilities.  Citizens of San Francisco who have lived here, worked hard, paid taxes, and consider this their home deserve better. 

If Laguna Honda does not achieve recertification or if there are bed cuts, the problem of sending citizens out of county  will become even more acute.  Our members are currently experiencing the many difficulties with out of county transfers, and the issue is very real to them. 

The lack of Skilled Nursing Facilities and Subacute Skilled Nursing beds within San Francisco County needs to be addressed.  We have been hearing about the possibility of beds at Chinese Hospital and other places since before the Covid 19 Pandemic.  Please give us an update on where these beds stand now, since it is difficult to see that any progress has been made on that front.  Finally, the data of transfers at the April 4 Commission Meeting was very welcome, but to get an accurate count of SF citizens transferred, we need to know how many of those transfers were not SF residents.  To begin addressing this problem, it is important that the data is complete.

Note:  Mr Morewitz/Health Commission Secretary:

Please forward this to the Health Commission in regards to the April 4 Health Commission Meeting, Item #5.

Respectfully submitted,

Melanie Grossman, PhD, MSW

President, Older Women’s League- SF

 

 

OWLSF Advocates for Community Resources

A letter from OWLSF President, Melanie Grossman, to the Secretary of the San Francisco Health Commission.

mark.morewitz@sfdph.org

From: Melanie Grossman, PhD, MSW

Email: melaniedgrossman@gmail.com

Date: April 4, 2023

Dear Mr. Morewitz/Health Commission Secretary:

Please forward this to the Health Commission and also use the statement below for the minutes of the April 4 Health Commission in the general comments section.

Dear Health Commissioners:

Please schedule a hearing on Sutter/CPMC’s plans for use of the warm pool at Davies Hospital so that the public has an opportunity to express their concerns. There has been a trend toward hospitals all over San Francisco who are registered as not for profit institutions to eliminate community programs that do not garner profits for these supposedly nonprofit hospitals.

Sutter’s warm water pool  provides services to community members who are physically disabled, often in pain and trying to regain mobility and independence. Please do not let this service be the latest in a long line of cuts by Sutter on services that are not profitable for their bottom line. A hearing is absolutely necessary to review this latest rollback in services for the community.

Respectfully submitted,

Melanie Grossman, PhD, LSW

President of OWL-SF

OWL ALERT April 4: SPEED CAMERAS SAVE LIVES

Situation: According to the National Transportation Safety Board, speeding accounts for nearly a third of all traffic fatalities; and according to FHA, speed cameras can reduce crashes on urban streets by 54%.

State legislation is required to allow speed cameras.

AB 645 authorizes San Francisco and a few other cities to install speed camera systems in school zones, on high injury streets and in areas with a history of speed racing and motor vehicle side shows.
See https://walksf.org/2023/03/29/lets-win-speed-safety-cameras-with-assembly-bill-645/ for more information from WalkSF.

Action: Call (the preferred way) or email the Assemblymembers urging them to pass AB 645 to make our streets safer.

Contact:

Phil Ting, District 19 Assemblymember
415 557-2312
assemblymember.ting@assembly.ca.gov

Matt Haney, District 17 Assemblymember
916 319-2017
assemblymember.haney@assembly.ca.gov 

David Sforza, Assembly Transportation Committee
916.319.2093
David.Sforza@asm.ca.gov 

Jim Metropulos, Office of Assemblymember Laura Friedman
916.319.2044
Jim.Metropulos@asm.ca.gov

OWL ALERT March 6: ONLINE BRIEFING ON LAGUNA HONDA HISTORY AND CURRENT CHALLENGES

THE STORY AND FATE
OF LAGUNA HONDA
presented by former SF City Attorney, LOUISE RENNE

SITUATION: Located on a 62 acre campus, Laguna Honda has been serving seniors and adults with disabilities since 1866. A century and a half later, it remains a civic icon, representing San Francisco’s tradition of service to the underserved–and is gravely threatened by the actions of CMS.

ACTION: San Francisco Interfaith Council is hosting a virtual meeting with featured speaker, former SF City Attorney Louise Renne, to educate participants about both the history and current challenges of this crucial institution.

The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 9, from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m.

ZOOM REGISTRATION LINK
(Follow the link below to register for the call. SFIC is taking
this extra step to model best practices for holding virtual meetings).
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMvdumqqzkqHdQ-wubmMW3xW3avG5Jb2iTV

(if you experience issues opening the link,
please copy and paste the link into your browser bar or change browser)

For more information, go to San Francisco Interfaith Council, Events,
https://www.sfinterfaithcouncil.org/sfic-online-briefing-storyfate-laguna-honda-louise-renne

OWLSF/CARA ALERT February 28: TELL SPEAKER MCCARTHY, HANDS OFF MEDICARE, MEDICAID AND SOCIAL SECURITY Rally March 17

NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION to
PROTECT, IMPROVE AND EXPAND
MEDICARE, MEDICAID & SOCIAL SECURITY

 

SITUATION:  Republicans claim Social Security,  Medicare and Medicaid are “off the table” but their plans to weaken and privatize these valuable programs are far from over. Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, is a well known supporter of privatization and spending reduction on each of these crucial resources for older Americans.
 
ACTION: A National Day of Action, sponsored by CARA, is scheduled for Friday March 17 at Congressman McCarthy’s office in Bakersfield.
 
Join the national rally to tell Congressman McCarthy that older Americans are not buying it.
 
Buses to Bakersfield will be picking up supporters from all over the state. In San Francisco, the bus will load at the Main branch of San Francisco Public Library on Fulton and Larkin at 7 a.m. and load for the return trip at 3 to 3:15 p.m. Buses will also be leaving from the North, East and South Bay, as well as other parts of the state.
 
Click HERE to reserve your spot on a bus taking you to the NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION, or contact CARA Executive Director, Jodi Reid at (415) 515-2156, Jreid.cara@gmail.com
 
A rally and demonstration will start at 2:00 pm at:
Congressman McCarthy’s office
4100 Empire drive, suite 150
Bakersfield, CA
 
Participants will meet at 12:30 pm at:
Yokuts Park 
4200 Empire Dr.
Bakersfield, CA

OWL ALERT February 8: KEEP FIGHTING FOR LAGUNA HONDA HOSPITAL

SITUATION: Despite the recent reprieve in discharges from Laguna Honda, discharges are set to start again on May 19.  Past forced discharges have not only been heartbreaking but deadly due to transfer trauma of fragile residents who consider Laguna Honda their home. 

Important issues remain. Laguna Honda is still at risk for loss of 1/3 of its beds due to new CMS regulations. Laguna Honda is also still under threat of closure if recertification isn’t achieved by Nov. 13, 2023.

ACTION: Email, call, or write to Xavier Becerra-Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, including CMS.

  • Laguna Honda Hospital must stay open for San Franciscans in need.
  • No forced discharges.  Discharge and appeal rights of patients must be honored.
  • The City must be allowed to apply for a waiver from CMS’s 2-bed per room requirement.
  • No 120-bed reduction in light of San Francisco’s severe shortage of Medi-Cal beds and appropriate Skilled Nursing beds.

Also: Please share this message with colleagues, friends and family.

Xavier Becerra:

Email: xavier.becerra@hhs.gov
Call: 1(877) 696-6775
Write:
200 Independence Avenue, S.W
Washington, D.C. 20201

OWL ALERT January 29: CELEBRATE TRANSIT EQUITY DAY

“A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars, it’s where the rich use public transportation.”—Gustavo Petro, Mayor of Bogotá

RIDING PUBLIC TRANSPORATION
REDUCES CARBON EMISSIONS SIGNIFICANTLY

SITUATION: Saturday, February 4 is national Transit Equity Day.

SITUATION: Environmental organization 350 Bay Area is celebrating Transit Equity Day and raising awareness of public transit by distributing “I RIDE TRANSIT” sitckers to be worn on outer garments, encouraging riders to be proud and visible in their communities.

ACTION: Contact OWLSF (info@owlsf.org; (415) 712-1695) to request a sticker to wear or stickers to distribute–AND WEAR THE STICKERS.

ACTION: Come to Union Square on February 4th to help 350 Bay Area distribute stickers—Geary and Stockton, 5 p.m.

ACTIONRide public transit—especially if you usually DRIVE.

ACTION: Share this message with friends, family and colleagues.

OWL ALERT January 19: FIGHT PROFITEERING IN MEDICARE

SITUATION: Through the ACO REACH  operational structure of Medicare commercial insurance companies (as well as other profit-driven entities) are being allowed to “manage” the care of millions of Americans who signed up for Traditional Medicare.

Many of these “bad actors” have a documented history of harming patients or taxpayers, as well as a business model that financially rewards them for denying care. Their inclusion in REACH demonstrates that the program is fundamentally flawed, and should be cancelled.

ACTION: Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) has scheduled a webinar called Exposing the Profiteers Behind Medicare REACH, to be held Thursday, January 26th at 6 p.m. Learn how the Protect Medicare coalition is responding to the launch of the program; and how YOU can stand up to these profiteers and save Medicare for future generations. Register HERE for the webinar.

ACTION: Share this message with friends, family and colleagues.

Physicians for a National Health Program
29 E Madison St Ste 1412 | Chicago, Illinois 60602
312-782-6006 | info@pnhp.org

OWL ANNOUNCEMENT: WE NEED YOUR 2023 NOMINATIONS FOR OWL BOARD MEMBERS

OWL ANNOUNCEMENT :

IT’S TIME TO NOMINATE BOARD MEMBERS FOR 2023

Serving on the OWL Board is a great way to meet new people and get involved with meaningful activities. We urge you to contribute to OWL’s future by nominating candidates to serve on the OWL Board.

RESPONSIBILITIES FOR INDIVIDUAL BOARD MEMBERS:

  • Attend monthly Board meetings either in person or via Zoom.
  • Identify important issues for OWL ALERTS for one month of each year.
  • Propose topics for monthly membership meeting.
  • Help organize at least one meeting of your choice.
  • Contribute ideas and (if willing) write articles to the OWL Newsletter.

NOMINATING CANDIDATES FOR BOARD MEMBERSHIP:

  • Ask prospective candidates if they are willing to be nominated. New OWL members or anyone interest in OWL’s mission can be nominated
  • Email your nominee to Betty Traynor: btraynor@att.net.  Nominees can be submitted by calling OWL and leaving a message at  (415) 712-1695, or by emailing OWL at info@owlsf.org
  • Please note that members are welcome to nominate themselves

DEADLINE for Nominations is the January Planning meeting on January 28, 2023. Nominations from the floor can be made at that time.

The list of nominees with brief bios will be sent by email or mailed to members who are not online.

ELECTION OF BOARD MEMBERS will be held at the beginning of the February 25 Membership Meeting. Up to 8 people may be elected.

OWL ALERT January 7: SENIOR SCAM STOPPER SEMINAR

SITUATION: Seniors are most at risk when it comes to criminals attempting to steal money over the telephone and the internet. The need to be savvy and vigilant in protecting ourselves from these scams is ever greater.

ACTION: California State Senator Scott Wiener is collaborating with State Assembly Members Matt Haney and Phil Ting to present an online seminar, SENIOR SCAM STOPPER, on Wednesday, January 18 from 11 a.m. to 12 noon (with more time for Q&A if needed). Click HERE to register and receive the Zoom link. Registration is open until the event begins.

ACTION: Share this message with friends, colleagues and family: ALL ARE WELCOME.

For more information: 
•    visit Senator Wiener’s website: HERE
•    Call: (415) 557-1300
•    Email: sd11.senate.ca.gov/contact

OWL ALERT December 19: SUPPORT MEDICARE – QUICK PETITION SIGNATURE ACTION DURING HOLIDAY

SITUATION: Created by Congress 20 years ago in order to provide better care at lower costs, Medicare Advantage has instead resulted in rising costs and private insurance companies siphoning off billions from Medicare.

SITUATION: A recent New York Times report found that of the private insurance companies offering Medicare Advantage Plans: 9 of the top 10 have overbilled Medicare between $12 and $25 billion, and 6 of the top 10 have been accused of fraud by the U.S. government and whistleblowers.

Health care providers have developed elaborate systems to make patients appear as sick as possible, often without providing additional treatment.

ACTION: In order to protect Medicare from corporate greed, we must get private insurance companies OUT of Medicare.

ACTION: Demandprogress.org has created a petition to urge Congress to ban private insurance companies administering Medicare. Sign the petition HERE.

ACTION: Share this message with family, friends and colleagues in the U.S.