OWL Alert October 13: WE’RE TAKING THE FIGHT TO MEDICARE ADVANTAGE

Please try to attend this important Medicare webinar and also forward this to friends across the country.


Dear Medicare supporter,

As we move into Medicare’s Open Enrollment period, PNHP is ramping up its campaign against corporate profiteering. The need is clear: Our recently released report shows that the so-called “Medicare Advantage” program is overpaid by a stunning amount—up to $140 billion per year. That’s money that should be going to patient care instead of profits for executives and shareholders. We have to put an end to this, and we need your help to do it.

Please join us on Monday, Oct. 16 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern (1 pm Western) for an important webinar kicking off our campaign against corporate profiteering in Medicare Advantage.

REGISTER HERE

We’ll be going over our new report, sharing powerful stories from patients and physicians, and providing lots of ways for you to join the fight. We’ll also be joined by several allies in this movement, and will hear a special message from Medicare for All lead sponsor, Rep. Pramila Jayapal!

 

Millions of Medicare champions are taking action to stand up for seniors and people with disabilities. Help build the kind of grassroots movement we need to confront the power of big insurance…and win!

This next phase of the campaign kicks off next Monday, Oct. 16 with the OPEN SEASON webinar.

Please join us. 

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

OWL Alert Oct 3: Understanding Long Term Care and Who Pays For It

At our last OWL membership meeting on September 23 we had a good discussion of long-term care and Medicare with some questions still left unanswered. Here is an opportunity to hear more about this important topic from one of our partner groups—the Community Living Campaign—as part of their Zoom presentations each week.

Understanding Long Term Care and Who Pays For It
As if the fear and treatment related to this issue is not enough, the financial concern is an added burden. Join Sarah Hooper, j.d. UC School of Law as she discusses the options currently available to help.

Takes place, Friday, October 6, Noon to 1 pm.

HOW TO JOIN THE EVENT :

To join by phone, dial 669-900-6833 or 646-558-8656.
Enter Meeting ID: 298 110 801# and then the password: 671492

To join by video from a PC, Mac, Linux, IOS or Android device, 
Click this link: https://ucsf.zoom.us/j/298110801

Password is: 671492

For more information, see: https://sfcommunityliving.org/event/senior-connections-2023/2023-10-06/

OWL ALERT September 28: CALL WRONGFUL DEATHS BY THEIR RIGHT NAMES

SITUATION:  The term “excited delirium” has been used extensively when reporting on wrongful deaths in custody, frequently justifying the use of violence by law enforcement, and disproportionally applied to black people. In fact, neither the American Medical Association nor the American Psychiatric Association recognizes this term as a legitimate diagnosis.
 
California Senate bill AB 360, would prohibit “excited delirium,” as defined, from being recognized as a valid medical diagnosis or cause of death in this state.

AB 360 has been passed by the California Legislature and will become a law if Governor Newsom signs it.
 
ACTION: Write to Governor Newsom urging him to sign AB 360 to get rid of this racist term.   
 
Go to gov.ca.gov/contact
On the right column “by email,” select “an active bill.”
Select AB360
Purpose is to “leave a comment.”
Hit “next”
Choose “pro”
 
Paste the following for message subject and message:
 
Message Subject: AB360
 
What to Say:
 
Dear Governor Newsom,
 
I am writing to urge you to sign AB360 – Excited Delirium – to make California the leader in ending the fraudulent use of the term as medical science, which it is not.

It is rare that such an important issue can be passed by the legislature with almost universal bipartisan support. In the Senate, there was only one no vote, and in the assembly, 77 ayes and 3 NVRs. Please make California the first state to ban the use “Excited Delirium” and other similar fraudulent terms in death determinations. By signing AB360, you are promoting transparency, accountability and responsibility.
 
Sincerely,
 
Hit “next”
Add contact information (name and email), and submit.
 
 ALSO: Share this message with friends, family and colleagues in California. 

OWL ALERT September 21: INVEST IN TRANSIT ACCESSIBILITY

“A developed city isn’t one where even the poor drive cars but where even the rich take public transportation.” Enrique Peñalosa

SITUATION: Underinvestment in transit too often leaves seniors and people with disabilities out in the cold. For the environment and for equity, we need to invest in transit that’s accessible for all. 

ACTION: Attend a rally IN PERSON at Market & 5th Street in front of the broken elevator on Wednesday, September 27, from 10 am to 11 am.

If you can’t attend the rally write to Mayor Breed, the supervisors, and members of the State Senate and Assembly urging them to be there. (Contact Info below)
 
What to Say:  I am a senior voter and a member of OWL, Older Women’s League.  Several organizations for seniors and people with disabilities–OWL, Senior & Disability Action,  California Alliance for Retired Americans– have joined other organizations to endorse the upcoming rally “Invest in Transit Accessibility” on September 27 from 10 to 11 at the Hallidie Plaza.  Please show that you care by attending–and perhaps speaking at– this rally. 

Click HERE for London Breed contact info.
Click HERE for SF Board of Supervisors contact info.
Click HERE for California State Assembly contact info.
Click HERE for California State Senate contact info.

OWL ALERT September 6: SPEED CAMERAS SAVE LIVES

SITUATION: About 30 people die and more than 500 are severely injured while traveling on San Francisco streets every year. Seniors are particularly vulnerable, and speeding is a major cause. Speed limits need to be enforced, and speed cameras would be a huge help.

California State Senate bill AB 645 creates a new speed camera program in pilot cities including Los Angeles and San Francisco. AB 645 is out of the Senate Appropriations Committee and heading for the full Senate for a vote on September 14.

ACTION:  Write to state senators, urging them to vote YES on AB 645. Thank Senator Wiener for advocating for the bill.

What to SAYWe need to enforce our speeding limits to save lives and prevent injuries. AB 645 has safeguards for privacy. Please support and vote for AB 645, the Speed Camera Pilot.

SAVE THE DATE: Wednesday, September 27th 10:00-11:00 am at Hallidie Plaza (5th and Market, by the cable car turnaround)–a Transit Accessibility Event endorsed by OWL.

Click HERE for State Senator Scott Weiner’s contact info.

Click HERE to identify and locate California State Senate and Assembly Representatives.

OWL ALERT August 28: Laguna Honda Hospital Still Needs Our Help

Situation: Laguna Honda Hospital (LHH) has been recertified for Medi-Cal (Medicaid) as of August 16th, however, this important resource for older people and the disabled is not out of the woods yet! Several questions remain to be answered:

  • Will residents who were inappropriately transferred out of LHH be allowed to return?
  • Will 120 beds still be cut as demanded by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)?
  • Will the “flow project,” prioritizing hard to place patients from SF General Hospital over traditional nursing home patients, continue?

Action: Please call or email your SF Supervisors or SF Public Health Commission.

What to say:

  • Residents previously discharged from LHH must be readmitted.
  • There must be no loss of beds at the nearly new LHH.
  • Stop the “flow project” that allows unsafe and inappropriate admissions to LHH.
  • City, State and Federal agencies must provide sufficient mental health and substance abuse treatment and residential beds to give people the care they need.
  • Elders and people with disabilities must have enough services and housing to enable them to thrive in their communities.

Please share this message with friends, family and colleagues in and near San Francisco.

Contact info:

San Francisco Health Commission
(415) 554-2666
healthcommission.dph@sfdph.org

Click HERE to find contact info for your member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

OWL Alert August 11: Strengthen Financial Abuse Protection for California Seniors

SITUATION: The FBI’s 2022 Elder Fraud Report found that victims over the age of 60 suffered $3.1 billion in losses last year–losses from which victims sometimes never recover. In many cases, much of the loss could have been mitigated or prevented by intervention from banks. California State Senate Bill 278 (SB278) will clarify existing law to hold banks and financial institutions liable for detecting predatory practices.

SB278 has passed in the California State Senate and now heads to the Assembly.

ACTION: Passing SB278 is an important step to make sure banks do more to protect all seniors in California. Contact your State Assemblymembers, and urge them to vote yes on this crucial legislation.

Click HERE to identify and locate your California State legislators.

OWL ALERT JULY 25: MAKE DEMOCRACY WORK BY SUPPORTING REDISTRICTING REFORM IN SAN FRANCISCO

SITUATION: Every ten (10) years the San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ election map is redrawn. At the conclusion of the redistricting process in 2022, a report sponsored by, among others, the ACLU of Northern California was issued, indicating that there was a lack of true independence in the process. The report included practical reforms to improve local redistricting and create fair maps

Since 2022, the SF Elections Commission and its FIERCE Committee have been working hard to formulate recommendations for improving the City’s important redistricting process before the next election map is drawn. It is important to act NOW while redistricting is fresh in the minds of people from the 2021-2022 cycle, and—in case a ballot measure is needed for implementation of the reforms— it can be added to the 2024 ballot. 

ACTION: Support the work of the San Francisco Elections Commission and FIERCE Committee by emailing them or attending a meeting. Thank them for working hard to reform the San Francisco redistricting process NOW, and urge them to immediately complete the process.

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

Elections Commission: 
elections.commission@sfgov.org

If you prefer, you can give public comments at a meeting instead.

Information regarding Election Commission meetings can be found HERE. More information about the FIERCE Committee can be found HERE. And for an informative and detailed article on why redistricting reform is needed NOW, visit the San Francisco League of Women Voters HERE.

OWL ALERT July 15: RAISE YOUR VOICE AGAIN FOR THE FRAIL ELDERLY AT LAGUNA HONDA

SITUATION: The situation at Laguna Honda Hospital remains dire. Recertification of Laguna Honda Hospital has not been completed. Over 500 frail, elderly and disabled people could be forcibly moved and scattered—with some possibly moved out of state—and cut off from any friends, family or familiar surroundings. 
 

Imagine yourself or a loved one
in that helpless and lonely predicament.

 

San Francisco could lose scores of skilled nursing beds, adding to the already frightening shortage of such caring places. Any one of us might need such a place because of injury, illness or age. We cannot lose any more.

ACTION Yes we’ve done this before, but let’s do it again and keep up the pressure to prevent older and disabled people from the disruption of being transferred out of a facility that has served them in the past.

Contact those below and say “Laguna Honda Hospital must be saved with all beds intact:

 

  • No closure.
  • No bed cuts.
  • No forced relocation of patients.
  • No funding loss. 
OWLs: Even if you have done this before, please do it again. Make them hear us! Hoot and holler!

And share this message with friends, family and colleagues!Contact info:

Click HERE for phone and email contact of individual San Francisco Supervisors,
or write to them at:

1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
City Hall, Room 244
San Francisco, CA 94102-4689

Xavier Becerra (Secy. of federal Health and Human Services Dept.)
200 Independence Avenue, S.W
Washington, D.C. 20201
Email: xavier.becerra@hhs.gov
Phone: 1(877) 696-6775

Chiquita Brooks-LaSure (US Dept. of Health and Human Services)
200 Independence Avenue, S.W
Washington, D.C. 20201
Email: LaSure@cms.hhs.gov
Phone: (202) 690-6329

OWL ALERT July 7: URGENT ACTION NEEDED TO REPLACE OR REPAIR THE ELEVATOR AT POWELL STREET BART

SITUATION: OWL-SF is informed that the elevator at BART Powell Street Station/Hallidie Plaza has been broken for a protracted period and needs immediate replacement or repair.

The broken elevator has a negative impact on the lives of people with disabilities, seniors who are unable to use the escalator, and people with baby strollers. How are they going to access BART Plaza and Powell and Market Streets? 
 

ACTION: OWL-SF is also informed that the City and County of San Francisco is responsible for maintenance of the elevator. Therefore,  it is vital that we contact the Director of Public Works and San Francisco 311 and report and ask Public Works to immediately replace or repair the elevator. 
 
Also please pass this message along to friends, family and colleagues in San Francisco.
 

Call the Director of Department of Public Works at (628) 271-3160.

Call 311 (or use app) to report and ask for repair or replacement of the elevator at Powell Street Bart/Hallidie Plaza.

For additional information please contact Senior and Disability Action:
Shaya@sdaction.org and Joni@sdaction.org

OWL ALERT JUNE 25: URGENT ACTION NEEDED TO FUND CLIMATE ACTION IN SF

SITUATION: San Francisco Mayor Breed’s recently announced budget included about $1 million dollars for Department of the Environment staff to implement the Climate Action Plan—but it did not include funding for the Climate Equity Hub. The Climate Emergency Coalition is lobbying hard for funds to start up the Hub, which would lay the foundation for the program that will begin to implement needed climate action, including community groups, social justice, jobs, unions, workers, and more.
 
The next step is the add-back process, in which the supervisors propose changes to the budget, reallocating some funds for programs they see as priorities
 
ACTION: It is vital that we contact our SF Supevisors who sit on the Budget Committee (listed below) and urge them to allocate funds for the Climate Equity Hub. All of us can contact Supervisors Peskin and Chan, the others being appropriate if they are the Supervisor for your district. Please identify yourself as an OWL Constituent and insist that they allocate funds for the Climate Equity Hub.
 
Also please pass this message along to friends, family and colleagues in San Francisco.

President Aaron Peskin: 415-554-7450
Connie Chan (chair):  415-554-7410
Rafael Mandelman:  415-554-6968
Hillary Ronen:  415-554-5144
Shamann Walton:  415-554-7670
Ahsha Safai:  415-554-6975

If you’d like to do more, you are invited to attend the following action by the Climate Emergency Coalition: Join the advocates running around City Hall visiting all the Supervisors’ offices to make absolutely sure they’re hearing us loud & clear! 10:30am Monday, just left of the Polk Street City Hall steps.

OWL ALERT June 18: SAVE LIVES–CURTAIL SPEEDING ON OUR CITY STREETS

Speed is the Number One cause of severe and fatal crashes in California.

Children and the elderly are at particular risk.

SITUATION: AB 645 would allow 6 cities, including San Francisco, to have a pilot program of speed cameras in known high accident areas. It has strong equity and privacy features built in.

ACTION: Call the state senators listed below and urge them to “pass this life saving bill – AB 645 – out of their Committee and on to the State Senate floor so the full Senate can vote on it. We need a flood of phone calls.

Senator Lena Gonzalez: (916) 651- 4033
Senator Tom Umberg: ( 916) 651 – 4934

Locate your California State Senator HERE .

OWL ALERT JUNE 10: RAISE YOUR VOICE AGAIN FOR THE VOICELESS FRAIL ELDERLY

SITUATION: Circumstances at Laguna Honda Hospital continue to be dire and cruel. Very cruel. Over 500 frail elderly and disabled people could be forcibly moved and scattered probably out of state and cut off from any friends, family or familiar surroundings. 

Imagine yourself or a loved one in that helpless and lonely predicament.

San Francisco  could lose 769 skilled nursing beds adding to the already frightening shortage of such caring places. Any one of us might need such a place because of injury, illness or age. We cannot lose any more.

ACTION: Contact those below and say “Laguna Honda Hospital must be saved with all beds intact:

  • No closure.
  • No bed cuts.
  • No forced relocation of patients.
  • No funding loss.

OWLs: Even if you have done this before, do it again.
Make them hear us! Hoot and holler!

And share this message with friends, family and colleagues!

Contact info:

Click HERE for phone and email contact of individual San Francisco Supervisors, or write to them at:
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
City Hall, Room 244
San Francisco, CA 94102-4689

Xavier Becerra (Secy. of federal Health and Human Services Dept.)
200 Independence Avenue, S.W
Washington, D.C. 20201
Email: xavier.becerra@hhs.gov
Phone: 1(877) 696-6775

Chiquita Brooks-LaSure (US Dept. of Health and Human Services)
200 Independence Avenue, S.W
Washington, D.C. 20201
Email: LaSure@cms.hhs.gov
Phone: (202) 690-6329

 

 

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.