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Health Care

Health Workers And People Unite In The Struggle For Primary Care

Madrid, Spain - Family physicians and primary level pediatricians in the region of Madrid are preparing to go on strike on Monday, November 21. The health workers are fighting against problems that have burdened primary care services for a long time, including overload of work. “All the time we are being told that primary care is the base of the health system. But the base is falling down, and no one seems to care”, says Elena Polentinos Castro, primary health care physician and member of the Society for Family and Community Medicine (semFYC). The industrial action will take place only a week after hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Madrid demanding a better health system. Earlier, in October, more than 50,000 did the same.

UK’s NHS Workers Gear Up For Massive Action Demanding Fair Wages

Health workers’ unions in the UK are gearing up for massive protests, including strike action, to assert the demand for decent wages and more recruitment and resources for the National Health Service (NHS). The UNISON union is currently balloting its members in England, Wales and Northern Island to determine if industrial action should be taken. Meanwhile, on November 9, the nurses’ union of Royal College of Nursing (RCN) announced plans to initiate strike action before Christmas at many big hospitals and several other NHS care facilities. The RCN union decided to go on strike after the Tory government refused to meet their demand for a pay rise between 4.5% to 5% to meet the soaring inflation, which currently stands at 10.1%. Junior doctors affiliated to the British Medical Association (BMA) are also gearing up for a strike ballot in January to protest overwork and underpayment.

Bronx Physician Residents Announce Supermajority Of Votes To Unionize

The Bronx, New York - Montefiore medical residents in the Bronx announced that they reached 70 percent of votes among the 1,200 residents and fellows to unionize with the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR). Montefiore is one of the largest employers in the Bronx and among the 50-largest employers in New York State. Montefiore residents have been organizing a union for the past year, announcing it publicly on November 1. There has been an increase in unionization among thousands of residents, who work as many as 80 hours weekly. Dr. Noa Nessim, a third-year Family Medicine resident and union organizer, denounced healthcare worker shortages in the Bronx and in the nation more broadly.

How The World Bank Weakens Health Systems

Natalie Rhodes, PhD candidate at University of Leeds, and People’s Health Movement, along with Remco van de Pas, researcher at the Centre for Planetary Health Policy, and People’s Health Movement discuss in detail about the implications of the newly established World Bank fund for Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response and the Bank’s other policies pertaining to public health.

Florida Is Poised To Ban Gender-Affirming Care For Minors

On Saturday October 29, the Florida Board of Medicine voted to begin drafting rules that will ban all gender affirming care for anyone under 18. They did this based on a “medical report” written by a dentist, after refusing to let activists and experts opposed to the ban speak at the hearing while trans youth led a die-in outside. This is the latest advance of the far-right’s deadly and radical anti-trans agenda. The Florida Board of Medicine sets and regulates medical practices and medical professionals in the state of Florida. This rule would essentially ban medical professionals from providing gender affirming care unless they want to risk losing their licenses. This vote follows the DeSantis administration issuing a non-binding order to the Florida Department of Health to stop not just medical transition but also social transition for trans children.

How Effective Is The Government’s Campaign Against Hospital Mergers?

In recent months, federal antitrust regulators have notched some notable achievements, blocking four hospital mergers. Those actions follow the announcement of a major change in antitrust philosophy, embodied by President Joe Biden’s executive order last year aimed at promoting competition. That order criticized hospital consolidation for the ways in which it has left “many areas, particularly rural communities, with inadequate or more expensive healthcare options.” Suddenly, antitrust regulators seem to have swagger. News articles have described the Federal Trade Commission, whose job is to stop anti-competitive behavior, as being “unleashed” under its aggressive new chief, Lina Khan. Republicans have responded with complaints of “radical” policies.

After Platinum Health Took Control, All Hospital Workers Were Fired

The news, under Noble Health letterhead, arrived at 5:05 p.m. on a Friday, with the subject line: “Urgent Notice.” Audrain Community Hospital, Paul Huemann’s workplace of 32 years, was letting workers go. Word travels fast in a small town. Huemann’s wife, Kym, first heard the bad news in the car when a friend who’d gotten the letter, too, texted. “Your termination was not foreseeable,” said the letter, dated Sept. 8 and signed Platinum Health Systems, adding that the firing was permanent “with no recourse” and that the “medical facility will be shuttered.” “I don’t know what my next steps are,” said 52-year-old Huemann, who supervised the laboratory at the Audrain hospital. The future for the Huemanns, hundreds of other workers, and thousands of patients in two small Missouri towns began to unravel long before that afternoon.

Phoenix Mental Health: A Therapist Worker Cooperative

Max is joined by Jeff and Eric, 2 of 7 worker-owners of a therapist worker cooperative in Minneapolis, Minnesota called Phoenix Mental Health. In their collective, everyone keeps 100% of the money they earn from seeing clients, and everyone pitches in money to pay for rent, bills, credentialing, billing, and accounting. They use consensus decision making in meetings, and people know them to be a "non-hierarchical, social justice" minded therapy practice. Members tend to lean "left" but don't necessarily identify with left-wing labels such as anarchist, socialist, Marxist (etc), although some do. How is Phoenix different from the ordinary capitalist mental health business enterprise? What motivates them to operate how they do?

Listening Through The Social Stethoscope

Antwerp, Belgium - Workers from Medics for the People’s (MPLP/GVHV) health center in the district of Deurne in Antwerp are currently providing care from an alternative location, while their original building is being expanded. The idea behind the reconstruction is to create a space where patients can access care but also meet health workers and participate in planning joint actions for the improvement of health conditions in Belgium. Social determinants of health are one of the core concepts around which Medics for the People’s work is organized. Physicians, nurses, and other workers employed by MPLP take an active role in organizing at the community level, speaking in favor of strengthening public infrastructure and protecting workers’ rights.

Nurses At LGBTQ-Affirming Healthcare Provider Are Planning To Strike

Unionized nurses at Howard Brown Health, a Chicago network of LGBTQ-affirming healthcare clinics, are set to go on strike Monday, Oct. 3 after what workers say are months of stalled contract bargaining negotiations.  The union is comprised of 30 nurses across 10 clinics, who are bargaining for their second contract, the first of which expired in August. The nurses’ union, the Illinois Nurses Association, says that since June they have been negotiating with management on a weekly basis and have reached tentative agreements on more than 30 items, including staffing levels and a commitment to vaccinate workers against monkeypox. But, the union alleges, these conversations — now daily — have failed to progress to securing workers’ chief demands: Increased pay competitive with other nurses in the city, and retention bonuses. 

New Rail Deal May Still Be Doomed Over Scheduling Issues

Does this seem like a good way to attract loyal, dedicated, satisfied workers? Come work for the railroad. It’s a great job, decent pay. Hours may be a bit long. You’ll spend weeks at a time away from home in cheap motels and miss important family events, kids sports games, birthdays, recitals and vacations, weddings and funerals. You can get called up at any time, so don’t even try to make plans. Stay healthy because you’ll be punished or even fired for an unexpected medical event. Also, great pension…if you live that long. Aaron Hiles, a locomotive engineer, for BNSF didn’t live that long. Aaron Hiles, a locomotive engineer, told his wife he “felt different,” though he couldn’t say exactly how. He made an appointment to see a doctor, his family said. But then his employer, BNSF, one of the largest freight rail carriers in the nation, unexpectedly called him into work.

US Court Rules QR Codes In Lieu Of GMO Labeling Are Unlawful

A U.S. District Court has held that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s decision to allow genetically engineered (GMO) foods to only be labeled with a “QR” code was unlawful and that USDA must instead add additional disclosure options to those foods under USDA’s National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard. The Court sent back to the agency the QR code portions of the 2018 Trump administration rules for GMO labeling that went into effect on January 1, 2022, which hindered consumer access with burdensome electronic or digital disclosures. “This is a victory for all Americans,” said Meredith Stevenson, Center for Food Safety (CFS) staff attorney and counsel in the case. “Today’s decision marks a key step toward ending the food industry’s deceptive and discriminatory GMO food labeling practices, which have kept consumers in the dark by concealing what’s in their products.”

As Public Hospitals Crumble, French Health Workers Demand Action

On September 22, Thursday, health workers and those working in associated sectors in France organized mobilizations and protests as part of a national day of action in different cities across the country. The protesters demanded increased salaries, more staff, improved and safe working conditions, job security, and sufficient funds and other resources for hospitals. The call for the mobilization was given by several groups in health sector, including the Association des Médecins Urgentistes de France (AMUF), CGT Santé Action Sociale, the CFE CGC Santé-Social, Printemps de la psychiatrie and Collectif Inter-Urgences. Mobilizations took place in the cities of Paris, Marseille, Nancy, Tours, Poitiers, Angers, Lille, and Nantes, among others. The French Communist Party (PCF) and La France Insoumise (LFI) extended support and solidarity to the protesting workers.

Pirate Care, A Syllabus

Alarmed that certain types of caring for people has been criminalized, a large group of Europeans assembled a course syllabus in 2019 on what they call “Pirate Care.” As the convenors of the project explained, “We live in a world where captains get arrested for saving people’s lives on the sea; where a person downloading scientific articles faces 35 years in jail; where people risk charges for bringing contraceptives to those who otherwise couldn’t get them. Folks are getting in trouble for giving food to the poor, medicine to the sick, water to the thirsty, shelter to the homeless. And yet our heroines care and disobey. They are pirates.” Hence the idea of “pirate care” – and the need to offer humanitarian or lifesaving care even if the state chooses to criminalize it. 

Despite What Biden Says, The Pandemic Isn’t Over

On Sunday night, Joe Biden declared in an interview on CBS’s 60 Minutes that the Covid-19 “pandemic is over.” Not so coincidentally, this statement comes right after existing federal pandemic response funding has run out, and after attempts at approving more money were routinely removed from spending bills in order to designate more money for Ukraine. If the pandemic is “over,” the government can be excused for failing to provide additional support. But while official cases, hospitalization, and death counts are all much lower now compared to the peak of the Omicron wave in January, and while vaccines continue to mitigate the severity of illness, the Covid-19 virus is still wreaking havoc in the United States. The pandemic continues to still not be over.
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