OWL ALERT May 31: WEAR ORANGE AND PROTEST GUN VIOLENCE

Situation: As we learned at OWL’s recent Membership Meeting on gun violence with Brady CA speaker Ruth Borenstein, there are more guns than people in the U.S. Additionally, according to the CDC, guns have become the leading cause of death among children. Women are often the targets of gun violence.

Action: We must demand stricter gun laws, more background checks, and insist that the glorification of guns and weapons be stopped in films, television, print media, advertising and the Internet.
                               _________________________________________________________

Join moms, grandmothers, students, gun violence survivors, and community partners from around the Bay Area at the annual Wear Orange march across the Golden Gate Bridge! Wear orange and gather for a rally at the Marin Vista point at 11 AM, with a march across the bridge to follow.

Click HERE to find out more about Wear Orange events near you.

If you can’t make it to the rally or the walk across the bridge, just wear orange on Sunday, June 4 and let everyone know that you support stricter gun laws, background checks and a stop to the continued glamorization of guns.

OWL ALERT May 25: Include Protections for Seniors in Law Enforcement Manuals

Situation Existing law requires law enforcement agencies to protect elders and adults with disabilities from abuse. AB 751 will additionally require local police and county sheriff departments to include information about the elements of such abuse—and specific procedures regarding investigating that abuse— in their policy manuals. 

AB 751 has already passed the Assembly and is now in the California Senate. 
 
Action: 
 1Call, write or email your California Senator and demand that they vote YES on AB 751 protecting Seniors and Adults with Disabilities.   

2) Spread the word about this important legislation to your friends living in California and ask them to support this bill by contacting their own representatives and asking for their support.

Contact info:

Scott Weiner
455 Golden Gate Avenue
Suite 14800
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 557-1300
Click HERE to email State Senator Wiener

Click HERE to find your California State legislator and their contact info.

OWL ALERT May 18: Tell Biden and Feinstein to Protect Medicare

Situation: Government audits have uncovered millions of dollars’ worth of overcharges by Medicare Advantage Plans due to improper diagnosis coding in billing Medicare. This practice drains the Medicare Trust Fund that we have contributed to over the years. 

Additionally, the Department of Justice has joined False Claims Acts lawsuits against private insurance companies to recover these overpayments and to prevent privatization of Medicare and profiteering by investor-backed insurance companies who reap profits rather than focus on improved and accessible health care for all.

Action
1) Contact President Biden and urge him to continue to protect Medicare by preventing Medicare Advantage plans from draining the Medicare Trust Fund.
2) Contact Dianne Feinstein who sits on the Senate’s Judiciary Committee and ask her to continue to support the False Claims Act lawsuits by the Justice Department, which aim to recover Medicare overpayments to private insurance companies due to their improper up-coding of diagnoses

Joe Biden
Click HERE to email
1-202-456-1414 (Switchboard)
1-202-456-1111 (Comments)
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500

Diane Feinstein
Click HERE to email.
Main: (415) 393-0707
One Post Street, Suite 2450
San Francisco, CA 94104

OWL ALERT May 12: Domestic Workers Deserve Dignity, Safety and Resources

Situation:  Domestic workers include those providing a variety of services to low income Seniors and people with disabilities who need help to remain in their homes. Yet, domestic workers, along with day laborers, are the only class of workers excluded from California’s health and safety protections (Cal/OSHA).

California senate bill SB 686 helps ensure that more people are employed as In Home Support Services (IHSS) workers in California by demanding they be treated with dignity and respect, through better benefits, higher wages, and inclusion in safety regulations.

Action: Help push for SB 686:

  1. Click HERE to contact Governor Newsome and ask him to get behind IHSS workers by supporting SB 686.
  2. Click HERE to sign the petition from Hand In Hand—The Domestic Employers Network—endorsing SB 686.
  3. March in Sacramento next Wednesday, May 17: biggest mobilization of the campaign for domestic worker health and safety—SB 686—to demand respect and dignity for care work in our homes. Free buses from San Francisco and Oakland.  To reserve a seat, contact info@domesticemployers.org.

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. 

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.

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/

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 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.

OWL ALERT DECEMBER 9: FIGHT FOR SOLAR POWER IN CALIFORNIA

SITUATION: For two decades, Net Energy Metering has helped increase the installation of new solar panels by allowing new residential adaptors to receive financial credit for surplus energy they send to the electrical grid.

SITUATION: The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) proposes to slash this crucial credit to future adaptors by 75%, which would send rooftop solar off a cliff.

ACTION: December 15 is the day they vote the proposal up or down. Here’s what you can do:

  • Email Governor Newsom.  Tell him the CPUC’s most recent proposal is too extreme and he must step in. Suggested language can be found at this petition link.
  • Call the Governor at (916) 445-2841 today.  Say something like: My name is ___ and I live in ____. The CPUC’s latest rooftop solar proposal is still too extreme. We need you to step in. California should be doing more, not less, to promote rooftop solar. Please show us you are serious about rate hikes, blackouts and air pollution. Say no to the utilities’ profit grab, and yes to helping millions of working and middle class people get solar.
  • Sign the petition

For more information, here is a recent article in the San Francisco Examiner: SF Examiner: New CPUC Rule Puts the Dimmer on Solar Power

OWL ALERT December 3: FUND CLIMATE ACTION IN SAN FRANCISCO

SITUATION: SF has been slow to address our climate crisis—-and it’s going to be expensive. We need to continue to find new ways to plan, and fund planning and implementation. Relevant bond issues will be discussed at the Board of Supervisors’ meeting on Tuesday, December 6.

ACTION: Implore the Board of Supervisors to adopt the resolution urging the Capital Planning Committee to include Climate Action Plan (CAP) funding priorities recommended by the Center for Law, Energy & the Environment (CLEE) Report, in the proposed General Obligation (GO) Bond schedule.

Email letters should be received before the start of the meeting – preferably by close of business on Monday, Dec 5. Suggested subject line: File 221208: Support resolution to include Climate Action funding in Capital Planning. Email to the Clerk of the Board, bos@sfgov.org.

OWL ALERT October 28: IMPROVED MEDICARE FOR ALL

SITUATION: California’s Healthcare for All Commission is charged with determining how to fix our broken healthcare system through a unified financing system that would save money AND provide better benefits and access to providers. This is for our whole health care system in California- not just Medicare.

SITUATION: A coalition of labor and community groups working towards the creation of a guaranteed health care system in California, along with UCSF, created a calculator so that individuals can see how much they could save if we moved toward such a system.  This calculator was expanded specifically for Medicare.

ACTION: Check out the calculator to see how much YOU would save: https://healthyca.org/medicare-for-all-savings-calculator/

ACTION:  Check out the recording of the recent CARA meeting with some of the creators of the calculator: https://californiaalliance.org/

ACTION:  Share this information with others!  

OWLSF ALERT October 23: HALT “FLOW” ADMISSIONS TO LAGUNA HONDA

SITUATION: The circumstances that thrust Laguna Honda Hospital into the throes of potential closure by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are largely due to the implementation of the “flow project” process of admitting patients. Implemented in 2004, this process greatly altered the demographic of LHH patients by:

  • transferring the responsibility of admissions from LHH Admissions Committee to the Department of Public Health, and
  • including patients who prior to FLOW would have been denied admission based on a variety of behavioral health issues, including drug abuse and violence

ACTION: Contact local, state and federal legislators and tell them to halt the FLOW admissions program (all contact info below).

ACTION: Attend the Board of Supervisors’ hearing on LHH’s future on Tuesday, November 1st at 3 p.m., either in person at city Hall, or online. Click HERE for details about attending online.

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

Contact info:

Click HERE to contact your San Francisco City Supervisor

Click HERE to find and contact your California State Assembly Member and Senator

Email Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health & Human Services: xavier.becerra@hhs.gov, or write or call:

200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201
Toll Free Call Center: 1-877-696-6775

Click HERE to contact Governor Gavin Newsom