(Formerly "I Already Gave My Right Arm To Be Ambidextrous!")

Now Read My HIPS!

I Already Gave My Right Arm To Be Ambidextrous...Now Read My HIPS!

Hi, I have avascular necrosis in my shoulders, hips, and knees, psoriatic arthritis, sjogren's, fibromyalgia, and hypermobility. I found out that I have autoimmune arthritis in my cervical spine and a bulging disk in my lumbar spine. Four years ago my spine orthopaedic surgeon told me I had a small amount of autoimmune arthritis in my SI joint. The question still remains: Is the spinal involvement due to Psoriatic Spondylitis, which is a rare more severe form of Psoriatic Arthritis or is it a new diagnosis of Ankylosing Spondylitis? Whatever the diagnosis, the treatment will remain the same. I had my left hip replaced in 2003 & my right shoulder replaced in March of 2010. I literally gave my right arm to be ambidextrous! LOL! Now I had my right hip replaced on May 10th, 2012. I began belly dancing. Yes you read this correctly! I began belly dancing in 2010, so now it is time to "read my hips." Pain is still another part of my life. It is just a question of when, where and how much, but I would like to use this blog to write about my experience as a woman with several joint diseases and conditions who had both hips and a shoulder replaced and now spends her free time belly dancing and performing! Join me in my journey!

At times, I take 16 to 20 pills a day. I go every 4 weeks to the infusion center at the hospital to get a 2 hour IV for my autoimmune arthritis diseases. Just when one thing seems to be doing better, something else goes downhill! My attitude, however, is always going uphill! I am 38 years old, have been married 13 years, and my husband and I adopted our first child in Dec. 2010! I have a lot on my plate right now, but I take it one moment at a time. I believe that God will never give me more than I can handle. However, I do need to learn to ask for help sometimes instead of always doing it by myself!

Remember the Time...

Remember the Time...

Walk Team

Walk Team

2012

2012

2012

2012

Belly Dance

Belly Dance
Before the Performance 5/6/12

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Now Read My HIPS!


Listen to internet radio with Dana Morningstar on Blog Talk Radio
Dana Morningstar

Dana Morningstar





When is it ok to talk about what your chronic illness is with others and when is it ok to keep it to yourself? When a stranger asks you what is wrong, should you tell them? When family or friends ask you about your illnesses, should you tell them? Is everyone the same? Should everyone tell the same amount of info to the same people?
Tags:
questions
chronic illness
chronic pain
autoimmune arthritis
avascular necrosis
Broadcast in Health

Friday, April 12, 2013

HAWMC Day 3 – Wordless Wednesday

HAWMC Day 3 – Wordless Wednesday

 

How about instead of a picture, I show you 3 videos of me that symbolize my conditions/diseases and my experiences as an advocate, an activist, a volunteer, a blogger and a belly dancer with joint replacements?



Thursday, April 11, 2013

HAWMC Day 2 – Introductions

HAWMC Day 2 – Introductions






For day 2 of Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge, I am going to talk about what it is like to have a joint disease. There are 5 things you should know about my condition(s). 

First, I have Psoriatic Arthritis with spinal involvement in my cervical spine, lumbar spine and SI joints. I have not been diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis, but have been told by an orthopaedic spine surgeon that I most likely have a rare more severe form of Psoriatic Arthritis called Psoriatic Spondylitis. PsA is a chronic, inflammatory disease of the skin, scalp, nails and joint. The the psoriatic skin cell forms lesions. Second, 30% of people with psoriasis also develop inflammatory arthritis, which is PsA. The psoriasis precedes the arthritis in most of the people with PsA. The joints at the ends of the fingers are most commonly involved, but other joints can be involved too like the wrists, knees and ankles. Other symptoms that usually accompany it are in the fingernails and toes, and range from small pits in the nails to near total destruction of the nails, resembling nail fungus. Third, about 20% will end up with spinal involvement called Psoriatic Spondylitis. That inflammation in the spine can lead to complete fusion (Ankylosing Spondylitis) or only involve certain areas of the spine. When spinal involvement occurs, there is a greater chance of testing positive for HLA-B27, which is a genetic marker. Fourth, there is currently no known cure. There are treatments and medication only. Although the exact cause is unknown, heredity is thought to play a strong role. Up to 40% have a close relative with it. In identical twins, if one has it, the other has a 75% chance of also having it. Disease course and prognosis varies from person to person. The severity of the rash does not determine the severity of the arthritis. Also, the skin condition does not always occur at the same time as the arthritis symptoms.

Fifth, a number of medications can be used to help treat the symptoms of PsA: NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) to reduce the inflammation, joint pain and stiffness. DMARDs (disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs) are sometimes prescribed in more severe cases. All four of the TNF-a inhibitor medications approved by the FDA for ankylosing spondylitis are also approved for treating psoriatic arthritis. A dermatologist may also prescribe various medications to help treat the skin condition caused by the disease. Exercise is necessary. It helps keep the muscles strong to protect the joint. Not using a sore joint will cause the muscles to become weak and result in more pain. Other management tools include physical therapy, heat for stiffness, ice for swelling, physical therapy and surgery for those with severe joint damage. (Spondylitis Association of America http://www.spondylitis.org/)

Here are five more things you should know. First, I also have Avascular Necrosis (AVN). I was diagnosed in my hips, knees and shoulders. Also known as Osteonecrosis (ON), it affects about 20, new patients each year in the U.S. It mostly affects patients between 20 and 50 years old, with the average being in the late 30's. [Children from 2 to early teenage years get a form of ON called Legg-Calve-Perthes disease (Perthes for short) named after the three doctors who first described it. Treatment for Perthes is completely different than for adult ON.] It does not affect life expectancy so several hundred thousand patients are living with this disease in the U.S. To understand ON, you need to know that bone is a living tissue with cells and a blood supply. The word "osteonecrosis" means "death of bone", which occurs from the loss of the blood supply to the bone. Most people tend to use the term Avascular Necrosis, and AVN has become very popular in use because it's shorter to say and write. The risk of getting AVN is very small if the person is completely healthy, most likely less than one in 100,000. Most people who end up getting AVN likely have an underlying health condition. People that are over the age of 50 probably develop AVN from a fracture of the hip or very rarely from a disease of the major blood vessels of the lower leg. There are post-traumatic or non-traumatic forms of AVN. 

Second, post-traumatic AVN is a common cause of AVN that includes displaced fractures or dislocations. Minor trauma or even most major injury does not often result in AVN. Certain fractures where blood vessels to part of the bone have been damaged may result in AVN. Non-traumatic AVN happens when there is no history of trauma. There are a number of risk factors. They do not know how these risk factors lead to the development of the disease, but they have different ideas. The ideas, however, have not yet been proven. There are some people who seem completely healthy with no detectable risk factors, and they consider the category "idiopathic" or "of unknown cause". Probably the most common cause of post-traumatic AVN of the hip and of other joints is a displaced fracture or a dislocation. The risk factors for AVN can be separated into definite and probably. The most common risk factor is a history of high dose steroid treatment for a medical condition such as RA or Lupus. Low dose steroid treatment is not thought to cause AVN. The next most common associated condition is a history of high alcohol use. The more alcohol you consume, the higher your risk of AVN.



CAUSES OF OSTEONECROSIS
DEFINITE
PROBABLE
  • Major Trauma Fractures
  • Corticosteroids, High Dosages
  • Blood Clotting Disorders
  • Dislocations
  • Alcohol
  • Pancreatitis
  • Caisson Disease
    (Deep Sea Divers)
  • Lipid Disturbances
  • Kidney Disease
  • Sickle Cell Disease
  • Connective Tissue Disease
  • Liver Disease
  • Postirradiation
     
  • Lupus
  • Chemotherapy

  • Smoking
  • Arterial Disease


  • Gaucher's Disease



There is no known prevention. It is, however, believed to be true that if we eliminate or treat the risk factors, we can reduce the risk for getting AVN.

Third, 90% of people with AVN have it of the hip, however,  it can also attack the knees, shoulders and ankles in that order. Nearly 3% will have multiple joints (3 or more) involved. We classify the joints the same, the disease progression is similar, passing from x-ray negative to x-ray positive without collapse to early collapse to extensive joint destruction. The knee can be divided into the medial compartment which is the inside of the knee between the femur and the tibia or shinbone, the lateral compartment which is the outside knee, and the patellofemoral compartment (kneecap). The most common involvement is the thigh bone portion of the knee. It is also not uncommon for the tibia or shinbone to also be involved. It is unusual for the patella (kneecap) to be involved. The natural progression of AVN in the knee is less certain than the hip. AVN of the shoulder has an even less certain natural history and natural progression than the knee. The area that is involved is the humeral head (shoulder) which is the area of the head which is in contact with the socket when the elbow is held at 40 degrees of flexion and 20 degrees away from the body. The ankle bone (talus) is not involved with AVN very often. It represents a real problem for both the physician and the patient.

Fourth, many patients with AVN have had it for a long time before they have any symptoms. The first symptoms are usually felt during an activity and are pain or aching in the joint that is affected. They usually begin slowly and may be sporadic at first. The pain may begin suddenly. With disease progression, the pain increases and is associated with stiffness and loss of motion of the joint that is involved. If the joint is in the leg, limping is common. The hip is the most common joint affected, and the AVN of the hip pain is usually felt in the groin. Stage I of the disease, x-rays appear normal, and an MRI is used to make the diagnosis. When it is seen on x-ray, it is not actually the dead bone that can be seen but the healing response of the living bone to the area of necrosis. The more advanced stages of AVN begin when the dead bone starts to fail mechanically through a process of microfractures of the bone. At some point, this results in damage to the other side of the joint, which requires major joint reconstruction. When more of the joint is damaged in the more advanced stages of AVN, it is less likely that you can preserve the natural joint. Joint replacements today are very successful even in the younger patients with AVN. The physician does prefer to preserve the normal joint when possible, but many do not see the doctor until the AVN is in the advanced stage of the disease.


These x-rays of the hip show the different stages of the disease. At first (stage I), there are no detectable changes on x-ray (fig A). In stage II, there are some changes but the surface is still intact (fig B). As the disease progresses, the surface begins to collapse (fig C) until, finally, the integrity of the joint is destroyed (fig D).

The ball of the hip is called the femoral head and is the most frequent bone involved. It is rare for the entire weight-bearing surface of the femoral head to be involved, but if more than half of the surface is involved, treatments to preserve the ball have a much lower chance of success.

MRI's of Femoral Heads
diagnosed with Osteonecrosis
Small
Lesion
Large
Lesion
To diagnose AVN, the first, most important thing a physician can do is a thorough physical exam and take your medical history. When there is a suspicion of AVN, your doctor will obtain one or more tests:
  • X-ray
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Bone Scan
  • Computed Tomography (CT)
  • Biopsy
Fifth, crutches, canes or a walker help in alleviating pain with AVN. They can also protect the joint between the time of diagnosis and scheduling elective surgery. Limiting weight bearing may play a role in limiting progression while associated medical conditions are managed. Protected weight bearing alone is never an adequate treatment for AVN. It will not result in a cure of the condition no matter how long it is maintained. There are times when a patient has an associated medical condition that may result in being unable to have surgery. Protected weight bearing may be recommended for pain management. There aren't any drugs made for the prevention or treatment of AVN. To treat the disease, we have to understand how the disease develops first. Although there has been considerable effort by researchers, they cannot figure out what causes AVN when it is not the result of a fracture or dislocation. Even though the risk factors have been identified, it is not known if there would be an effect on the disease by eliminating or treating the risks. They are trying several different types of drugs:
  • Lipid Lowering Medications
  • Anticoagulants
  • Hypertensive Medications
  • Bisphosphonates
You do not need to be in a drug study to receive medication treatment for AVN. The meds listed are not experimental and can be prescribed by your doctor. It depends on your doctor's experience and your individual circumstance whether or not your doctor will prescribe one of these meds for you. All of these treatments are still being evaluated more thoroughly before the medical community is ready to accept them as standards in AVN treatment. There are surgical options for treatment. Core decompression is a surgical procedure that takes a plug of bone out of the involved area. It is applicable for mild to moderate degree of involvement which has not progressed to collapse. It involves making a hole in the bone so you must have 6 weeks of protected weight bearing to avoid fracture through the hole. Pain relief has been excellent for many, but it has not been as effective at delaying the progression of the disease in long term. Core decompression usually results in immediate relief of symptoms. However, because the natural progression of AVN of the knee is less predictable, it is uncertain that the core decompression alters the natural history. People with AVN and knee pain who were treated with core decompression have continued to have pain relief for up to 20 years. There is some controversy about this procedure with a few studies that have been showing poor results. When part of the bone dies, it does not heal spontaneously. One way to approach this problem is to surgically remove the dead bone and fill the empty space with bone graft that is either taken from the patient or from a bone bank. The success depends upon the quantity of bone that has died. When you have a regular bone graft, you are using dead bone serving as a scaffold for the body to build new bone around it. The body also has to grow a new blood supply. In vascularized bone grafting, a bone with its own blood vessels is taken from the patient and hoked up to the blood vessels near the hip. The dead bone is removed from the ball and replaced with the grafted bone that carries its own blood supply. The positive to this is that the body does not have to rebuild any new blood supply and the bone graft keeps its own physical and mechanical properties. This works best prior to the collapse of the joint, but it sometimes is used in early or limited collapse of the joint. Healing while filling in the defect will take place, and during that time, crutches or a walker has to be used. The negative to this procedure is that a large piece of bone has to be removed from the lower leg. Some develop pain at the site from where the bone graft was taken. The surgery takes several hours with an experienced team in these techniques. The patient must be on crutches for several months. If both hips have AVN, one may have to be delayed of its treatment for a period during which time the ball may collapse. The location of the AVN is usually in an area of the bone that bears weight. in some cases, the bone can be cut just below the are of involvement and rotated so that a different part of the bone not affected by AVN can become the new weight-bearing area. This cutting of the bone is called osteotomy. It is not very common but may apply to special cases with small lesions. At first only the ball is involved and not the socket of the hip joint. Femoral Head Resurfacing (FHR) is the implanting of a metal hemisphere over the femoral head that matches the size of the original femoral head. It is comparable to the capping of a tooth when the root is still good rather than pulling the tooth and putting in a false tooth. After years, the metal head will gradually wear out the socket and need to be converted into a total hip replacement. It is used more to buy time for younger patients whose extent of disease or degree of progression is such that one of the procedures to preserve cannot be performed. It is still a relatively new procedure that is still being evaluated. A Femoral Head Replacement is basically half of a total hip replacement. Every comment about the Femoral Head Resurfacing also applies to the Femoral Head Replacement. It is a little more extensive because it puts a stem inside the femoral bone. It is more difficult to convert into a total hip replacement. There is no evidence that this is more successful than the Femoral Head Resurfacing either. There is also metal-on-metal resurfacing. There is limited experienceAVN has progressed to a stage where it involves the socket as well, the only options are a hip fusion to make it completely stiff or a total hip replacement (THR). A THR is one of the most successful surgical procedures ever with success rates above 95%! The problem is that with AVN, and the age of the patient, it is not uncommon for the patient to live another 40 to 50 years after a THR. With current technology, it is not likely the THR will last that long. Many doctors try other procedures first to put of  a THR. Of course if the disease is extensive or advanced, a THR may be the only option that makes sense. Work is being done to make more durable THRs to in theory last a lifetime for the younger patients. When AVN progresses to collapse, the only treatment is total knee replacement. Partial knee replacement is not recommended because non-replaced areas of bone can progress. Unless the lesion is very large or the collapse is extensive, most people will benefit from core decompression. Although shoulder replacement is done, the success rate is not as great as the hip and knee. The results may not be as long-lasting. The conservative procedure is justified if it can grant the patient relief of symptoms and delay the need for a shoulder replacement. Core decompression has had good results even in patients with early collapse which is not the case with early collapse of the hip. Ankle replacements have not been very successful in the past. Ankle fusion has been performed with extensive bone grafting. When the ankle bone is diseased with AVN, ankle fusion is not very successful because the bone is dead. There is limited success with core decompression which has been recommended as a trial and only because nothing else works very well. An exterior ankle brace may be necessary. (National Osteonecrosis Foundation http://www.osteonecrosis.org)





 
 

  

 
  

 




Here are five of my blog posts that I think are helpful to anyone with any joint disease or any chronic pain disease or newly diagnosed.


I Am A Superhero! 
http://gavertarm2bambidextrous.blogspot.com/2011/04/i-am-superhero.html 
Friendships
http://gavertarm2bambidextrous.blogspot.com/2011/10/friendships.html  
When Regret Gets The Best of Me...Regret Enters The Dark Hole With Me!
http://gavertarm2bambidextrous.blogspot.com/2011/07/when-regret-gets-best-of-meregret.html 
Patients for a Moment Wordless Wednesday 
http://gavertarm2bambidextrous.blogspot.com/2011/08/patients-for-moment-wordless-wednesday.html 
A tsp of Sugar, A tsp of Spice, A Dash of Everything Nice, And Several Heaping Cupfuls of Pain from Chronic Illnesses...That's What Dana Is Made of!!!
http://gavertarm2bambidextrous.blogspot.com/2010/08/tsp-of-sugar-tsp-of-spice-dash-of.html
  
Here are four guest writers that I posted on my blog that I feel are helpful to anyone with any joint disease, chronic pain disease, and especially any autoimmune arthritis disease (more specifically JA) and the newly diagnosed.

My First Guest Blogger!
http://gavertarm2bambidextrous.blogspot.com/2011/06/my-first-guest-blogger.html 
What Do YOU Think of When You Hear The Word " ARTHRITIS"?--Ask Parker
http://gavertarm2bambidextrous.blogspot.com/2012/07/what-do-you-think-of-when-you-hear-word.html
Alexa: My Story 
http://gavertarm2bambidextrous.blogspot.com/2012/07/alexa-my-story.html
My Journey with JRA
http://gavertarm2bambidextrous.blogspot.com/2012/07/my-journey-with-jra.html

 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

HAWMC Day 1 – Getting Started


Welcome to our Third Annual Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge!


My "Now Read My HIPS!" blog was my second blog in a series of three. It was originally named "I Already Gave My Right Arm To Be Ambidextrous!" I began writing about my spiritual journey in my first blog because when I became really sick, I became more spiritual and was searching for myself and my own path in this world. Then I began to write more about my experiences as a woman with chronic pain and awaiting my shoulder replacement surgery in my second blog. And in my third blog "Chronically Mommy", I became a mommy first and a woman with chronic pain and joint disease second. 

I began this blog in particular because I was nervous about my upcoming shoulder replacement surgery which was to take place on March 29, 2010. I thought it would be a fantastic journey to share with anyone who wanted to read and join me. I was surprised to find out that there were so many people who were interested in following me. From there, my Blog Talk Radio Show was born with the same name. People began to recognize the picture of my face with my blog name "I Already Gave My Right Arm To Be Ambidextrous!" The name came from a friend whose wife had a neurological condition that caused her to become paralyzed in her right arm. She wore a T-shirt that said, "I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous." I thought that was hilarious, and I am a firm believer that we need to use humor when we are dealing with chronic conditions. What came to mind for me was that I began using my opposite hand, my left hand, when I was just a young child due to complex hemiplegic migraines. I would lose all the ability to use the right side of my body whenever I would have a migraine. That forced me to become equally talented with my left hand with handwriting, eating, putting on make-up and anything else that required the use of my hands. I was already ambidextrous. Therefore, "I Already Gave My Right Arm To Be Ambidextrous!"

I became pretty well known online, but then decided to make a change. I changed my focus because I didn't really have much to write about anymore once my new shoulder was all healed. I changed my focus to my next journey, waiting for my new right hip. I was to get my right hip replaced May 10, 2012. I had people follow me on that journey through pain and finally triumph! I then changed the title of the blog to "Now Read My HIPS!" I had a wonderfully quick recovery and continued to blog about other heroes with Juvenile Arthritis and chronic pain, as well as different health policies and health laws. I have lost some of my followers, but gained some with my other blog "Chronically Mommy." I don't blog to be popular, but there is that part of me that wants to have as many followers as possible because the more followers, the more people who will read and understand the struggles and the triumphs, the scars and the courage, and the battle of the warrior!

So again, I have changed the focus of  "Now Read My HIPS!" I had to overcome a lot to get to where I am now. I have avascular necrosis in my shoulders, hips, and knees, psoriatic arthritis, sjogren's, fibromyalgia, and hypermobility. I found out that I have autoimmune arthritis in my cervical spine and a bulging disk in my lumbar spine. Four years ago my spine orthopaedic surgeon told me I had a small amount of autoimmune arthritis in my SI joint. The question still remains: Is the spinal involvement due to Psoriatic Spondylitis, which is a rare more severe form of Psoriatic Arthritis or is it a new diagnosis of Ankylosing Spondylitis? Whatever the diagnosis, the treatment will remain the same. I had my left hip replaced in 2003 & my right shoulder replaced in March of 2010. I literally gave my right arm to be ambidextrous! LOL! Now I had my right hip replaced on May 10th, 2012. I began belly dancing. Yes you read this correctly! I began belly dancing in 2010, so now it is time to "read my hips." Pain is still another part of my life. It is just a question of when, where and how much, but I would like to use this blog to write about my experience as a woman with several joint diseases and conditions who had both hips and a shoulder replaced and now spends her free time belly dancing and performing! Join me in my journey!

At times, I take 16 to 20 pills a day. I go every 4 weeks to the infusion center at the hospital to get a 2 hour IV for my autoimmune arthritis diseases. Just when one thing seems to be doing better, something else goes downhill! My attitude, however, is always going uphill! I am 38 years old, have been married 13 years, and my husband and I adopted our first child in Dec. 2010! I have a lot on my plate right now, but I take it one moment at a time. I believe that God will never give me more than I can handle. However, I do need to learn to ask for help sometimes instead of always doing it by myself!


Every year I have wanted to get involved in HAWMC, but something has always gotten in the way--a shoulder replacement, a new baby or just the time it takes to be a mommy for a child in general, and a hip replacement. So I am a newbie to HAWMC! I have met so many people online since I began "Now Read My HIPS!" (formerly "I Already Gave My Right Arm To Be Ambidextrous!") and have learned many tricks of the trade--how to juggle it all!

I have always had a diary and a journal. Blogging has become just another way to journal for me. I like it better though because people can respond and make comments. When you write in your own journal, you have no criticism. If I ask a question, I get answers--sometimes many, many answers. If I learn something new and want to pass it on, I can blog about it, and I have then educated and spread awareness. And nowadays, I can press one button and the blog post link goes to multiple sites at once, like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter so the information is even more widespread than when I first began!

I write about health topics because it is something that I know, that I experience and that I have the ability to share with others. I am an advocate. I am an activist. I want to share with the world what I know about having chronic pain, disability, chronic illness, autoimmune arthritis, and other conditions. Even if someone reads my blog that doesn't have exactly the same diseases or conditions, I feel that I am able to reach anyone who shares a chronic illness, chronic pain or disabling condition. That is really the most important thing to me, to reach as many people as I possibly can to help them to be, feel and live as well as possible! 


video

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Call to Action if you take a Specialty biologic medication!

A Call to Action if you take a Specialty biologic medication!
ARxC is seeking patient stories from individuals in Georgia who are taking Specialty Tier medications, either injectable or infused biologics, and having difficulty paying the monthly cost, as set by their health plan. They also want to hear from patients about how this growing trend of increasing patient cost will affect their quality of life. If you, or someone you know, takes an injectable or IV drug to control your disease please contact Dorothy at dlg@wisdomofwellnessproject.com or call 404-633-5843. They need your stories to share with legislators and press/media to help us get legislation to ensure your access to these drugs and make them affordable. For more details go to ARxC's Specialty Tier website, review the ARxC and Arthritis Foundation Specialty Tier Story Appeal.
I have copied and pasted all the information from their website (http://advocatesforresponsiblecare.org/Specialty_Tiers.html) to make it easiest for you to attain all the information as quickly as possible and to submit your story. Please take the time to submit your story. This is a Call to Action! It is very important! Please read and write your story. Thank you very much for your time!
Take a stand to ensure full access to specialty drugs
In recent years, health care insurers have developed Specialty Tiers, otherwise known as Tier IV, V, and VI, a new classification of specialty drugs that requires health insurance beneficiaries to pay 20 - 35% of the cost of the drug. This approach is markedly different from traditional drug tiers with transparent and fixed co-payments, ranging from a Tier I generic at $10, to a Tier II preferred brand at $30, and a Tier III brand name drug at $50.   Most commonly health insurance companies use this new classification for infused or injected drugs prescribed and administered to patients with acute and chronic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis (MS), AIDS/HIV, psoriasis, Crohn’s disease, immune disorders, hepatitis, anemia, and certain types of cancer.  

On September 13, 2011 a group of 17 voluntary health agencies attended a briefing hosted and facilitated by ARxC and Georgia Bio to learn how Specialty Tiers was impacting Georgia
Committed to ensure full access to quality care for their members, all 17 voluntary health agencies formed the Specialty Tiers Coalition to inform legislators of the dangers of Specialty Tiers cost-shifting and to take steps to address the issue. 
The Specialty Tiers Coalition has written a letter to Georgia's Pharmacy Caucus asking for their support to stop this cost-shifting and discriminatory practice that make these life-saving, life-enhancing medications cost-prohibitive for patients.

Call to Action for all Georgians was launched by Coalition members this year to gather stories from patients taking Specialty Tier medications and having difficulty paying the monthly cost of their drugs, as set by their health plan. The Coalition is also eager to hear from patients and their families how this growing trend is affecting their quality of life.


The Specialty Tiers Coalition is also collaborating with patient advocacy groups across the country to support the passing of the Patient Access to Critical Therapies Act (PACTA)legislation sponsored by Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) that serves to address the restrictions Specialty Tiers impose on access to quality care for the acute and chronically ill, and H.R. 361, proposed legislation sponsored by Rep. Hank Johnson to stop Specialty Tier cost-shifting for Medicare beneficiaries.

The Coalition will continue its efforts to ask for legislation that will allow all Georgians to have full access to their medications without imposing drug tiers based on expense or disease categories.

Please see the Specialty Tier Coalition publications below for more information on the Coalition's activities.
_________________________________________________
Respond to this CALL TO ACTION. Stop the increase in cost of specialty tier drugs.
1. Know the facts. Read the Specialty Tiers Coalition of Georgia's fact sheet "Specialty Tiers: What do they mean for Georgia?" to know the facts about specialty tiers and how they restrict access to medication for patients with chronic diseases.

2. Share your story. Tell the Georgia community 
how the increase in the cost of your medication due to Specialty Tiers classification has impacted you or your loved ones. Share your story on the Specialty Tiers Story Submission webpage or email your story directly to ARxC at
dlg@wisdomofwellnessproject.com.
 If you have any questions or concerns please contact ARxC directly.
Unsure what to say in your story? Read Heidi's Story for an example of how specialty tiers could affect Heidi's ability to manage her Rheumatoid Arthritis.
3. Call on your representatives. Contact your members of congress and ask them to support the Patient Access to Critical Therapies Act (PACTA). Please fill out and mail or email a copy of the Promoting Affordable Access to Care Petition or go directly to the ACR Legislative Action Center to take action on this critical issue today.  

4. Support our efforts. Help to mobilize the Georgia-wide effort by donating to ARxC. Go to
 our donation page to make your tax-deductible contribution today.

________________________________________________

The Specialty Tiers Coalition of Georgia appreciates the American College of Rheumatology’s efforts in securing legislative responsibility to this vital issue. The Coalition also acknowledges the National Arthritis Foundation’s commitment to seeking a solution to this excessive cost-shifting barrier to affordable access to biologics and infused medications for arthritis and all patients suffering from chronic diseases.
_________________________________________________

ARxC and the Specialty Tier Coalition supports Representative Hank Johnson and his Medicare legislation on specialty tiers

Ask your federal representative to vote in favor of Representative Johnson's legislation to end the rise in cost of medications for the chronically ill.   

More information available at:

________________________________________________

Specialty Tier Coalition and ARxC Publications:
Additional resources:







CALL TO ACTION: Share your story of how an increase in the cost of co-payments for specialty tier drugs would impact you and your access to the specialty tier drugs that you rely on. Go to  Specialty Tiers Story Submission to submit your story.

 

We are the Advocates for Responsible Care
The Advocates for Responsible Care empower individuals to achieve their maximum wellness with a strong voice as health care advocates, effectively reducing cultural incompetency and health care delivery disparity. 

                        

We are a 501(c)3 advocacy organization that offers services to inform the public, especially the patients, of all health care advocacy issues. We advocate on behalf of ensuring full access to medical care for all Georgians.
_________________________________________________

Specialty Tier Call to Action

The Advocates for Responsible Care and Arthritis Foundation, SE Region have initiated a Call to Action for all Georgians. We are seeking patient stories from individuals who are taking Specialty Tier medications, and having difficulty paying the monthly cost, as set by their health plan.  We also want to hear from patients about how this growing trend of increasing patient cost will affect their quality of life. For more details go to ARxC's Specialty Tier website, review the ARxC and Arthritis Foundation Specialty Tier Story Appeal or go directly to Specialty Tier Story Submission to share your story.

_________________________________________________
ARxC Advocacy Priorities 

Advancing Health Care Reform in Georgia
In 2014 every American will be required to have health insurance as a commitment to the health and well-being of their community. ARxC is leading efforts to ensure the new health insurance options made available to Georgians meet the benefit and service needs of the people. In support of the Affordable Care Act, ARxC is working with Georgians to develop a best practice health insurance model. Read more


Specialty Tiers 

ARxC is leading an initiative in partnership with Georgia Bio, the Arthritis Foundation, and 15 other health care organizations to stop high co-payments/co-insurance for Specialty Tier medications in Georgia. Read more

Dialysis Crisis or (en español) Diálisis Crisis
ARxC organized in August 2009 when Grady Hospital closed the only dialysis center providing care to uninsured End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) patients in Georgia. Over the years, ARxC has fought through the court system and led negotiations with Grady Hospital and dialysis companies to ensure the immigrant patients in Atlanta continue to receive the dialysis treatments they need to survive. Read more/Leer más.

S.T.A.R.S.
ARxC provides a women's division that serves as a dynamic community of advocates that brings awareness and takes action on all wellness issues. Read more
_________________________________________________

Stay Engaged


To remain updated on ARxC developments visit our facebook group page Advocates for Responsible Care or subscribe to receive the ARxC newsletter and advocacy updates through the Contact Us page.

_________________________________________________

ARxC Newsletter Updates:



ARxC Press Releases:

 

Board of Directors



Dorothy
Leone-Glasser, Executive Director 
Hon. Lindsay Jones, Ex Officio, Legal Consultant
lrjones@emory.edu 

Haley Stolp, Program Development Director
haley.stolp@gmail.com

Ira Katz, Corporate Networking and Events
ipkatz@yahoo.com

The Advocates for Responsible Care empowers individuals to achieve their maximum wellness with a strong voice as health care advocates effectively reducing cultural incompetency and health care delivery disparity.
www.advocatesforresponsiblecare.org
www.dialysiscrisis.webs.com

1434 Brook Valley Lane NE
Atlanta
,GA 30324
                                                                           
TEL: 404-633-5843
FAX: 404-321-5952


Who we are
     

 The  Advocates for Responsible Care is a non-profit organization that functions as an alliance of health care professionals, patient advocates, and human rights specialists dedicated to the cause of reducing cultural incompetency and health care delivery disparity.

Board of Directors


Dorothy Leone-Glasser, RN, HCC
President 
dlg@wisdomofwellnessproject.com  
Dorothy Leone-Glasser, RPN, HHC, has lived with systemic lupus for over thirty-five years.  As a result, she has overcome two forms of cancer, disabling arthritis, kidney failure, a coma, heart attack, and two strokes.  During this time she graduated from a wheelchair to crutches to ultimately walking with her own two feet.  Between the ages of 20 and 37, Dorothy received three death sentences imposed by her doctors.  Today she is not only alive, but she is living well and paving the way to the future of wellness as President and CEO of the Advocates for Responsible Care (ARxC), a non-profit wellness and advocacy organization.
As Dorothy drove her wheelchair, she also drove her career.  Dorothy’s philosophy, “Illness lives in the mind, plays out in the body, and comes to a place of peace in the spirit of wellness” was the compelling energy behind her success.            

She earned degrees in counseling, nursing, and theology to master the art of the mind, body, and spirit connection.  Although this holistic approach to healthcare is popular today, for many years Dorothy has been a leader in its implementation through her private practice in counseling and public speaking.  Empowering others with her personal philosophy and raising a strong voice of advocacy, Dorothy has taught countless others how to “live wise and live well.” 

As she simultaneously conquered her personal challenges and enlightened individuals with chronic illness, Dorothy also designed and delivered the life-style engineering technology tools that her patients need to apply her lessons. One of these is a comprehensive integrated wellness and stress management program so aptly called, “The Coping Program®.”  This program won Dorothy the Outstanding Patient-Community Service Program Award by the National Arthritis Foundation in 1990.  In 1993, the Arthritis Foundation presented her with the Dorothy Day Humanitarian Award for pioneering this program.  Finally, in 1998, when the Arthritis Foundation was celebrating its 50th year Anniversary, it awarded her the honor of being one of only 50 selected Heroes Living with Arthritis and appointed her one of three ambassadors representing all of the heroes nationwide.
Dorothy is a hero among us.  Not only for what she has endured and overcome, but also for what she has consistently and generously given to others over the years.  She is a twenty-nine year member of the Board of Directors at the Arthritis Foundation. She currently serves as the Advocacy and Disparities populations Chair on the Leadership Council for the SE Region of AF. Dorothy provides advocacy consulting to numerous organizations, societies and patient groups. She facilitates an ongoing patient group ARxC STARS that empowers its members to promote wellness and prevention practices along with being active healthcare advocates. She has published countless materials educating patients about harmonizing the mind, body and spirit.  Dorothy is frequently seen and heard on TV, radio, and print media. She promotes using nutraceuticals as part of a complete wellness plan.

After completing her degrees from City University in New York, Dorothy completed a three-year internship in Chronic Illness and Family Counseling from Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in New York.  She is also ordained and certified with a ministry degree in Comparative Religions, in the order of St. Francis.  Dorothy resides in Atlanta, Georgia where she founded the Wisdom of Wellness Project, LLC. She is now founder and the CEO of the Advocates for Responsible Care (ARxC) a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization.


On July 22, 2005, Dorothy was asked to speak to a crowd of 4,200 citizens, legislators, and community and civic leaders, at the Atlanta Civic Center, in Atlanta, GA, with President George W. Bush.  They discussed the new Medicare Modernization Act and Dorothy’s experiences and insights educating people on the new Medicare benefits and enrollment for Part D prescription drug coverage.

Once a full time wellness counselor, Dorothy is now a motivational speaker, author, media personality, and resilient healthcare advocate. She regularly holds seminars on Manifesting Wellness, The Wisdom of Stress Reduction, and Advocacy: Mission Possible, Strengthening Support and Advocacy Groups and The Wisdom of Internal and Environmental Health. She testifies before congressional committees and local government Boards on health care advocacy issues and has been recognized by the National Association of Professional Women.
Along with her ARxC Program Director, Dorothy is currently writing an Advocacy and Medical Insurance Wellness Guide. Components of ARxC’s Georgia Wellness Initiative will be part of the prevention and wellness incentives in a new best practice template for health  insurance; ARxC Medical Insurance Collective for Georgia. ARxC is conducting a Health Plan Survey on line to assess what Georgians need and want from their health insurance plan.



The Advocates for Responsible Care have always been actively involved in advocating for full access to medications and medical care with an emphasis on reducing health disparities.  In 2011, ARxC, with Georgia Bio, took the lead to organize the Specialty Tiers Coalition of Georgia consisting of 18 health organizations, who will assist in implementing legislation that will end the dangerous cost-shifting practice of patients paying prohibitive out of pocket amounts for their life-saving prescription drugs.

As the representative of the patients of the Grady Dialysis Crisis, ARxC directs negotiations of their long term treatments and working toward a permanent solution to their care.  In December 2010, Dorothy received the Mundo Hispanico Award, Amigo de los Hispanos, for her work in advocating for dialysis patients who were in jeopardy of dying without dialysis treatment.

ARxC continues to lead the call to action for Specialty Tiers Legislation and a best practice template for a Health Insurance collective for Georgia.

Philosophy: Illness lives in the mind, plays out in the body and comes to a place of peace in your spirit where wellness survives.




Mission: To empower individuals to achieve their maximum wellness with a strong voice as health care advocates effectively reducing cultural incompetency and health care delivery disparity.           


Click here for Dorothy's full biography.




Hon. Lindsay Jones
Ex Officio, Legal Consultant


Judge Lindsay R.M. Jones earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota in 1988 and a JD from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1991. He currently serves as the associate director for the Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution at Emory School of Law and oversees the program administration for the Kessler-Edison Program for Trial Techniques.  In addition Prof. Jones teaches a fall and spring semester public interest workshop entitled "Access to Justice." Prior to coming to Emory in the fall of 2006, Jones was engaged in a private law practice focusing on civil rights and was at the University of Minnesota Law School, where he was a senior fellow with the Institute on Race & Poverty and taught in the areas of ethics and access to justice as an adjunct professor of law. 
Jones previously served as an assistant attorney general for the State of Minnesota, in which capacity he served as a member of a civil rights advisory committee to the Minnesota Attorney General. He also served as the former deputy director and director of advocacy for the Legal Aid Society of North Carolina. As a trial and appellate litigator in private practice, he has appeared before federal and state courts in several states, including the Eighth, Ninth and Eleventh U.S. Appellate Circuits. 
In addition to serving as the Center's associate director and as an adjunct professor of law, Judge Jones serves as a Municipal Court Judge for the City of Decatur, Georgia, and as an Associate Magistrate Judge for DeKalb County, Georgia.




Haley Stolp, MPH
Program Development Director 
Haley earned her Masters in Public Health in Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, with a certificate in Socio-Contextual Determinants of Health, from Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. Dedicated to the mission of achieving health equity, Haley has served as an ARxC patient advocate since ARxC was established in 2009. She has served as a volunteer Board Member since 2010.
In August 2010, Haley was recognized as one of three Emerging Health Leaders at the National Summit of Clinicians for Healthcare Justice for her commitment to health justice and her contribution in advancing ARxC's effort to extend dialysis treatment for undocumented Atlanta residents (see Grady Dialysis Crisis). Upon her graduation from Rollins School of Public Health in 2011, Haley was the recipient of the James W. Alley Award for  "Outstanding Service to Disadvantaged Populations" as a result of her commitment to help marginalized and under-served communities.
Haley’s dedication to advocate on behalf of all people with inadequate access to quality health care has been the cornerstone of her career path. In 2006, Haley travelled abroad to Ghana where she volunteered as a health educator with the UNHCR to reduce transmission of malaria. Following the completion of her B.S. in Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, Haley worked as a Staff Research Associate in Dr. Susan Fisher's lab at the University of California, San Francisco before moving to Atlanta, Georgia and becoming engaged in the Grady Dialysis Crisis. Throughout her schooling at Rollins School of Public Health, Haley served as an integral administrator and consultant for all ARxC public health advocacy initiatives.

Haley is currently working as a public health research fellow to improve access and utilization of preventive services for populations disproportionately burdened by HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, and Viral Hepatitis.

Grounded in her mission to dissolve health disparities and promote health equity, Haley's career interests are focused on working with Native organizations to address the epidemic of alcoholism and adolescent suicide that disproportionately plagues tribal communities.

  


Ira Paul Katz

Director of Corporate Networking, Events
ipkatz@yahoo.com

After attending the University of Baltimore, where he was elected student senator, Ira joined VISTA upon graduation.
Working with, and sponsored by the American Postal Workers Union, Ira developed a plan and coordinated the renovation of several senior citizens homes in Atlanta. Using volunteers from schools, religious organizations, prison inmates and others, he coordinated a grass roots effort with Project MOVE to accomplish necessary home repairs. These repairs saved the owners from being displaced due to code violations. After VISTA, Ira attended Columbia Southern School of Law. In addition, Ira obtained a Real Estate license.

For several years, Ira has enjoyed staying active in current issues and events and  has worked on a professional level with several state agencies, utilities and businesses. Working closing with the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Ira was instrumental in relocating several manufacturing companies to the Atlanta metro area. He has also worked with other major companies and corporations in other states to assist in their relocation and industry centered needs. He is well known for offering a comprehensive, enthusiastic and committed service to all his clients.


Ira has an extensive associate’s base in Atlanta, and its surrounding areas, of buyers, investors, venders, fellow brokers and associates, business and community contacts. He has worked well with DeKalb County officials for re-zoning, allowing for high quality renovated homes for moderate income citizens. Also being an investor, he understands the dynamics of working with small and large business groups. He has the talent and experience to resolve matters before problems emerge. He remains loyal to the client’s satisfaction and outcomes of any transaction and negotiation.

For Ira, working for and with ARxC is personal. His father died of End Stage Renal Failure after receiving dialysis treatment for many years. Ira brings his passion and ability to work with different groups to the foray of the Advocates for Responsible Care. He has opened his home and heart to the patients and families of the Dialysis Crisis; always ready to help. Once again, he has been influential in by bringing knowledgeable and interested members to the table to assist ARxC’s new development of a best practice model for healthcare insurance. As a Board Member of ARxC, his shared excitement and enthusiasm of a realistic vision for this organization is welcomed.


ARxC Projects 
Health Reform in Georgia - To advance health reform in Georgia, ARxC is developing a best-practice model of health insurance for Georgia residents. We are currently leading a community needs assessment to identify what Georgia residents want included in their health insurance plans and the role that they are willing to play as stakeholders in their health insurance plans. This data will help to inform the development of the model.

Specialty Tiers - As part of the Specialty Tiers Coalition, ARxC is advocating to end the cost-shifting of specialty tiers drugs to the patient.

Dialysis Crisis
 - Since it's establishment in 2009, ARxC has been continuously fighting to find ongoing dialysis treatments for Grady Hospital's uninsured and undocumented patients .

Diálisis Crisis
 (En español) - Desde su creación en 2009, ARxC no ha dejado de luchar para encontrar los tratamientos de diálisis para pacientes no asegurados y indocumentados originarios de Grady Hospital y con enfermedad renal en etapa terminal.


S.T.A.R.S. - ARxC provides a women's division that serves as a dynamic community of advocates that brings awareness and takes action on all wellness issues.

Advocacy Action









_________________________________________________

CALL TO ACTION: EXPAND MEDICAID IN GEORGIA

July 16, 2012

The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (PPACA) state level components will benefit all Georgians. One is a Medicaid expansion that will benefit over 600,000 Georgia residents, and the other is a free-market insurance exchange for competitively-priced private insurance plans. Governor Deal and his administration oppose this act when they need to demonstrate health care leadership by implementing these beneficial reforms. The citizens of Georgia cannot be at a disadvantage for their wellness and care.

Make it clear to the entire country that Georgia cares about the wellness of its residents and sign on to tell the Governor to fully implement the state-level components of the PPACA now.

ARxC has already added our name, Please add yours.
_________________________________________________

CALL TO ACTION ON SPECIALTY TIERS

March 16, 2012
Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) is currently seeking congressional co-sponsorship for the Patient Access to Critical Therapies Act (PACTA), legislation to address the restrictions Specialty Tiers impose on access to quality care for acute and chronically ill patients (for more information see the March 16, 2012 Advocacy Update from the Specialty Tiers Coalition of Georgia
).
 

ARxC and The Specialty Tiers Coalition of Georgia ask you to contact your members of congress and ask them to support this important legislation. Please go to http://www.rheumatology.org/advocacy/actioncenter.asp to take action on this critical issue.

_________________________________________________

Empowering the Patient Seminar


Host a seminar on patient empowerment led by ARxC President, Dorothy Leone-Glasser. 
  • Learn about the role of patients in the changing health care environment 
  • Learn what you and your community can do to ensure and protect full access to health care items and services
  • Learn how you can get involved in the Specialty Tier Coalition's effort to end specialty tier discrimination 

For more information about the "Empowering the Patient" seminar please contact  ARxC President, Dorothy Leone-Glasser, RN, HCC, or Ayana Charleston, the Southeast Region Arthritis Foundation Program Services Director at  404-237-4454.
_________________________________________________

CALL TO ACTION to stop the increase in cost of s
pecialty tier drugs.

1.
 Know the facts. Read the Specialty Tiers Coalition of Georgia's fact sheet "Specialty Tiers: What do they mean to Georgia?" to know the facts about specialty tiers and how they restrict access to medication for patients with chronic diseases.
2. Share your story. Tell the Georgia community how the increase in the cost of medication due to the specialty tier classification has impacted you or your loved ones. Share your story on the Specialty Tiers Story Submission webpage or email your story directly to ARxC at
dlg@wisdomofwellnessproject.com.
 If you have any questions or concerns please contact ARxC at 404-633-5843.
For an example of how specialty tiers may affect Heidi's ability to manage her Rheumatoid Arthritis read Heidi's Story.
3. Call on your representatives. Contact your members of congress and ask them to support this important legislation. Please go to http://www.rheumatology.org/advocacy/actioncenter.asp to take action on this critical issue.

4. Support our efforts. Help to mobilize the Georgia-wide effort by donating to ARxC. Go to
 our donation page to make your tax-deductible contribution today.
 
_________________________________________________

Individually we make a difference, together we make change

Listen to an interview with Dorothy Leone-Glasser on the Real Talk blogtalkradio.com show with Joyce and Jennifer by joyceandjennifer. The theme of the show is patient advocacy and Dorothy discuses the role that ARxC has taken to "empower individuals to achieve their maximum wellness."                                                                                                


_________________________________________________

By Seth Ginsberg
lohud.com

Engage in the discussion on how to hold Congress accountable to the health care needs of Americans.
_________________________________________________

Release of the Atlanta Regional Health Care Guide: Resources for the Uninsured

On August 9, 2011 ARxC attended a presentation of the ‘Pfizer Helpful Answers Guide for Georgia’ at City Hall with Mayor Kassim Reed, his staff, Dr. David Satcher (16th Surgeon General) from Morehouse College, The Black Nurses Association, The Hispanic Nurses Association, Pfizer Government Affairs Director and other community leaders. The new Atlanta Regional Health Care Guide is a comprehensive listing of all health care resources for the uninsured and under-insured in Georgia. You can access the guide online in English and Spanish We also have hard copies of the guide available. Please contact us if you'd like a printed copy.
_________________________________________________

Support legislation to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB)

The potential consequences from the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) are numerous. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) should have the IPAB eliminated from its plan because of the potential consequences it would have on senior citizens’ healthcare program - Medicare.
IPAB will be making decisions about payment policy in Medicare that will determine whether millions of seniors have access to the care they need. The panel could therefore potentially reduce payments to providers and access to innovative therapies, thus limiting patient access. Seniors are already finding it difficult to find doctors that will take Medicare patients due to previous cuts made to physician’s payments. This situation will be exacerbated with any proposed cuts. 
The following letters to Congressman Scott and Congressman Johnson outline ARxC's stance on this issue:
_________________________________________________

Update on the Specialty Tiers Crisis

A recent blog posted in Health Affairs highlights the results of the Avalere study which proved to identify the need to abandon the specialty tiers practice and establish sensible cost-sharing for Medicare Cancer patients. 

_________________________________________________

MYTH by Dr. Henry Kahn, Physicians for a National Health Program, Georgia

The doctors of this country will never go along with so much government involvement in health care. They’ll all quit, and our health care will be worse off than before.

Read Dr. Kahn's full article by clicking here. To learn more about the Physicians for a National Health Program go to www.pnhp.org.

_________________________________________________

Seniors face Medicare cost barrier for cancer meds

An Associated Press article, released June 13, exposes the injustice of making cancer meds exclusionary by increasing the cost of co-pays for multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and hepatitis C and anti-cancer drugs.

Read the entire article by clicking here.

_________________________________________________
Update on Piedmont Hall Closing - Grady Backs Down
ARxC was informed that, despite evidence that Grady was taking the initial steps to close the clinic, Grady decided not to close Piedmont Hall. It remains unknown what Grady's intentions are for Piedmont Hall, but at this time it has been made clear that the clinic will not be closed. Nonetheless, ARxC will continue to monitor the Grady Health System closely to ensure that they continue to provide quality health care services to the indigent patients of Georgia.
_________________________________________________
Co-sponsor the DREAM Act by clicking here.
The DREAM Act seeks to give immigrant students with good moral character who have lived in the U.S. for at least five years -- and came here before turning sixteen -- the chance to earn legal status after earning a high school degree and completing two years of college or military service in good standing.To learn more about the bill and how you can get involved in promoting the legislation please go to www.dreamact.info or sign the petition directly by Co-sponsoring the DREAM Act.
 _______________________________________________

Join ARxC in the fight to preserve safety net primary care clinics in Atlanta

ARxC continues to take a stand against the closing of primary care clinics in Atlanta, Georgia.

Safety net primary care clinics include community health centers, school-based health centers, rural health clinics, local health departments, and other primary clinics that provide critically needed primary care services (i.e. vaccinations, screenings, and wellness check ups) to low-income and medically under-served residents.

Ensure that the clinics in your community stay open. Tell your government officials and community leaders why these clinics must remain viable sources of care in your community.

To learn more about ARxC's efforts to preserve the safety net primary care clinics in Atlanta go to Advocacy Events.
_______________________________________________


What do you want from your health insurance?

Tell ARxC what the best health insurance plan looks like to you.

Go to
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NQ88GSM and taking the ARxC Health Plan Survey©.

The purpose of the survey is to find out what residents of Georgia want included in their health insurance so that the people of Georgia have a voice in the development of the state-based health insurance plans that will become available in 2014.

The survey responses will be compiled in a report which will be made available to Georgia's elected officials so that they may make informed decisions on what health insurance options will be made available to Georgia citizens.

ARxC will also advocate in favor of a consumer-centered health insurance plan that meets the needs of Georgia citizens and promotes health and wellbeing as a means to address the health disparity due to class, race, and ethnicity in Georgia.

You must be at least 18 years of age and a legal resident of Georgia to take the survey.

It is your choice to participate. There are no risks or immediate benefits to taking the survey.

Further details about the survey can be found online at 
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NQ88GSM.

Please help us develop the best practice model of health insurance for Georgians by taking our survey today at 
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NQ88GSM.

Thank you.
_______________________________________________

CALL TO ACTION!

ARxC Press Release to Grady Health System
(Please click this link to read ARxC's press release on the Grady Health System (GHS) closing of two primary care clinics.)

Help us hold Grady Hospital to their mission of providing health care to Georgia residents.

Grady plans to close the South DeKalb and Otis W. Smith Health Centers without addressing the concerns of the community and community leaders. We stand with our County Commissioners to insist that Grady Health System uphold their mission to serve the indigent patients of Georgia and stop plans to close the clinics.
_______________________________________________

Grady to Close Clinics Without Addressing the Concerns of the Community

Two articles were recently published by the AJC that highlight Grady's decision to close two primary care clinics in the Atlanta area:

- March 7, 2011 - Hospital authority: Grady should justify clinic closures
- March 3, 2011 - Grady to close clinics, increase prescription drug copays (Gallery: Grady cuts discussed at emergency meeting)
_______________________________________________

"Healthy Wealthy and Wise" by Jerry "Pops" Barnes RN, BSN

Click the link above to read an article by Jerry "Pops" Barnes that provides health education to help you make healthy lifestyle changes and become better informed about your health care decisions.

Jerry “Pops” Barnes writes a weekly health column for the Columbus Times. Mr. Barnes also serves as Councilman for District # 1 in Columbus, Georgia. Mr. Barnes has served as a health educator and devoted patient advocate.
_______________________________________________

The Honorable John Lewis at the National Civil Rights Access to Justice at Emory School of Law


_______________________________________________

GHLF Press Release

ARxC has championed preserving the doctor-patient relationship by alerting consumers to illegal drug switching by health insurance providers or other parties. This drug switching of brand-name drugs is done without the prescribing doctor's permission. The switch occurs by the insurance provider in order to save money; leaving the doctor uninformed and threatening the safety of patient care. Please read the Press Release Advocacy Alert by our partners, The Global Healthy Living Foundation and visit them at www.failfirsthurts.org. Please pass this alert onto your family, friends and physicians.

Please click the link above or
click here to read the Global Health Living Foundation Press Release.
_______________________________________________

Please donate to help Patricia's fight to stay alive!

ARxC is currently collecting funds to sustain dialysis treatment for Patricia, a former Grady dialysis patient. Patricia needs our financial support to pay for her vital treatments. If she does not receive her Dialysis treatments she will die in two (2) to three (3) weeks. Click here to read Patricia's story.

Help us to keep Patricia alive and to renew our faith in the care of each other by going to our 
Donate webpage and making a contribution today.
_______________________________________________

Medicare's Free Screenings Let Older Adults Get a Jump on Diabetes

Did you know that a significant number of Georgia’s older adults are at risk for diabetes?  Among the Medicare population ages 65 or older living in Georgia, it is estimated that more than 150,000 have undiagnosed diabetes and more than 450,000 have pre-diabetes, most of whom are undiagnosed.  If left undiagnosed and untreated, diabetes can lead to higher chances of additional serious health conditions including heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure or amputations.

In Atlanta, former Atlanta Hawks forward and Basketball Hall-of-Fame Dominique Wilkins and the Medicare Diabetes Screening Project (MDSP) are teaming up with city officials, senior centers, churches and other community-based organizations on “Get a Jump on Diabetes,” a campaign to promote use of Medicare’s free diabetes screenings and the importance of prevention. 
ARxC is a local partner of Medicare Diabetes Screening Project.  To learn more about Medicare’s free screening benefit ask your doctor or health care provider and visit www.screenfordiabetes.org.
_______________________________________________

Health Insurance Plan Selection

Many Georgia workers and their families are getting ready to consider their health insurance options for next year. It’s the annual open enrollment period, during which important decisions about health care will be made that will affect millions of Georgians.

Unfortunately, sometimes these decisions often are made quickly and with little examination of the health plan’s details. A recent survey conducted for MetLife found that three out of four workers will spend no more time than they did last year on a health plan selection; only 13 percent will spend more time.

Take the time to review your health plan. The open enrollment periods provide the time, the resources and the accessibility workers need to choose wisely.
What should you look for when selecting a health insurance plan? Please click the link below to review ARxC's advice on how to select a health insurance plan.

ARxC 2010 Annual Open Enrollment Alert 
__________________________________________

Check Your Medications

As a patient advocacy organization, ARxC receives  many calls and e-mail asking questions about prescription drugs, substituting medications and problems with prescription compliance by the Insurance Provider and Pharmacists.

The attached documents are tools for you to utilize
to ensure that you receive exactly the medication specified by your physician

Check Your Medications __________________________________________

Patient Rights

ARxC feels it is critical that all people in the United States become familiar with the American Patient Bill of Rights. Please review the following document to ensure your rights as a patient are upheld.

Patient Bill of Rights

Advocacy Events and Partners


_________________________________________________

ARxC's New Partner in Patient Advocacy: The International Medical Clinic

The International Medical Clinic (IMC)
 is a unique, patient-centered multi-specialty community medical clinic in the Atlanta area providing patient access for everyone. IMC is a one-of-a-kind affordable medical center, speaking 14 languages and featuring 11 medical specialties. The IMC medical staff spotlights outstanding customer service and patient-satisfied outcomes.  Realizing the need for patient access to medical care I Atlanta and its surrounding communities, IMC treats all patients from lower income, middle income to upper middle income households who are uninsured, under- insured or those who have an exceptionally high insurance deductible. Our patients are American, Hispanic, Caribbean, Brazilian, Korean, Russian, African, as well as from many other places. 

The mission of IMC is to provide affordable access to medical care while improving the health of its community.

For more information please watch this short interview of the IMC , Medical Director, Dr. Mel Colon.

International Medical Clinic
5979 Buford Highway
Doraville, Georgia 30340

_________________________________________________

2012 Latino Health Summit

ARxC was proud to attend the 2012 Latino Health Summit. The event served as an opportunity for ARxC to engage with other community leaders to address the health and wellness needs of the Latino/Hispanic populations in the US. 

As a participant at the event, ARxC exchanged ideas with health care advocates, academic scholars, government officials, and other experts in Latino health. Health topics addressed at the event included cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes,
maternal and child health, and behavioral health.  

Dr. Karen Andes, Assistant Professor of Global Health at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health, presented on the  2012 Georgia Latino Health Report, a comprehensive report that synthesizes data on the health status and outcomes of Georgia Hispanics, at the event. The report highlights alarming disparities in health and access to health care endured by Hispanic populations in Georgia.

For more details about the event see the 2012 Latino Health Summit Program.


_________________________________________________

2012 Arthritis Walk

Thank you to all who came out to support the ARxC Wisdom Walkers and Heidi, this year's Arthritis Foundation adult honoree and our own STAR advocate, at the 2012 Arthritis Walk.

We collected over 350 petitions at the event in support of the Patient Access to Treatment Act (PATA) and a number of people volunteered to share with us how specialty tiers has or may impact them or their loved ones. This fight to protect patient's full access to their medications is more important than ever given that more adults and children are being diagnosed with one of the 100 forms of arthritis everyday. You can show your support for PATA by filling out and sending us the Promoting Affordable Access to Care Petition or by reaching out to your representatives directly through the ACR Legislative Action Center.

Thank you to all who helped us reach our fundraising goal for the Walk. For all of those that would still like to make a donation to the Arthritis Foundation, there's still time. Go to our ARxC Wisdom Walkers webpage to make a donation today.

Thank you to all who made the Arthritis Walk a success. We all had a great time visiting with folks, collecting petitions, and getting physically active to help prevent, control, and find a cure for Arthritis.

_________________________________________________
Global Humanitarian Summit

ARxC attended the 2012 Global Humanitarian Summit in April 2012 to stay informed on advocacy efforts that are being led in Georgia, in the United States, and throughout the world.

To read about the speakers and exhibitors at the event go to the Global Humanitarian Summit website.  
_________________________________________________


Empowering the Patient Seminar


Thank you to those that attended the "Empowering the Patient" seminar on March 10, 2012. We were pleased to see from the event evaluation that you all found the event to provide valuable information and tools to help you play a more active role in ensuring your own health and well-being. Please go to our photo gallery to see images from the event.

ARxC plans to hold more events like this one in the future. If you or your organization would like to host an event please contact ARxC directly.
For more information about the "Empowering the Patient" seminar please contact  ARxC President, Dorothy Leone-Glasser, RN, HCC, or Ayana Charleston, the Southeast Region Arthritis Foundation Program Services Director at  404-237-4454.
_________________________________________________
ARxC Co-Sponsors the Baby Expo

ARxC co-sponsored the Baby Expo with El Nuevo Georgia on November 12, 2011, at the Atlanta Eagles Sports Center on Buford Hwy in Atlanta. The multicultural event was focused on providing new and expecting mothers with information 

and resources to promote the health and wellness of mothers and their babies. 

Thank you to all who came out for the event. We enjoyed visiting with you and providing you with information on clinics to access in the Atlanta area. We hope you received valuable information and enjoyed the event activities. 

_________________________________________________


ARxC Appeals to the Fulton Board of Commissioners to Keep the Grady Health System Accountable      
While ARxC continues to work towards finding a solution for the Grady dialysis patients, we continue to hold Grady Hospital accountable for serving the indigent residents of Fulton and Dekalb counties (see Letter of Support to Commissioner Emma Darnell).

ARxC will continue to work towards keeping the Grady Health System accountable and if they cannot be, to take action and insist to the Fulton and DeKalb Boards that their funding to operate these clinics  cease. For the welfare of the patients who use these clinics and to reduce the financial burden on taxpayers, we support the clinic funding that GHS would receive to instead  go to establishing a National Health Clinic for Georgia or a Community Health Center or partner with an existing Community Health Center to take over operations of the Otis Smith and South DeKalb clinics.

For further details please read the statement that Dorothy Leone-Glasser presented to the Fulton County Board of Commissioners on April 25, 2011 by clicking this link: April 25, 2011 Statement to the Fulton County Board of Commissioners.

You can also read an article published by the Atlanta Progressive News by clicking this link: Grady Plans to Close Community Clinics, Fulton Opposes Closures.
_______________________________________________

ARxC Protests the Closing of the Grady Health
System Primary Care Clinics

As advocates for all patients of Georgia, ARxC works to hold Grady Hospital accountable to their mission statement of providing medical care to the public. Please read the April 3, 2011 Press Release to become better informed about ARxC’s approach to ensure that all patients have access to the care they need.

Commissioner Emma Darnell of Fulton County, a long time partner with ARxC, has spearheaded the effort to hold the Grady Health System accountable to their targeted population. In aCommissioner Darnell's Letter to ARxC, Commissioner Darnell strongly supports ARxC’s demonstrations and efforts to protest the rights of the poor and underserved. To learn more about Commissioner Darnell’s record in upholding access to health care for Georgia’s indigent please go to her webpage.

Advocates for Responsible Care
1434 Brook Valley Lane NE
Atlanta, GA 30324

phone: 404-633-5843
fax: 404-321-5952


Please Donate
ARxC relies entirely upon private donations for the continuation of our services. Your donations will go far to help ARxC's fight to ensure all people have access to health care.

Thank you for your generosity.

There are three ways to make your tax-deductible donation to ARxC.

1) Send your check or money order directly to ARxC at

ARxC
1434 Brook Valley Lane
Atlanta, GA 30324

2) Donate online with a credit card by clicking the "donate" button on their website.


3) Directly deposit your donation to the Rosa Lira Memorial Fund at any Wells Fargo bank. 


Thank you for your generosity.
____________________________________________________________

 

 




 
Watch live streaming video from arthritisfoundation at livestream.com