health

DC 37 Members and Community Activists Demand More Support for Public Hospitals

June 14, 2017 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS At a series of NYC Health+Hospitals annual meetings in May and June, hundreds of union members and residents sent a powerful message: Do more to save public hospitals! Activists reminded NYC H+H of its mission: to provide quality health care regardless of a patient’s ability to pay. As NYC H+H struggles to retain safe staffing levels, Leapfroggroup.com surveys show New York City’s public hospitals consistently provide better care than private hospitals. Employees said they work harder and longer with much less support, fewer supplies and dwindling staff due to attrition. “Working in constant crisis mode only leads to burnout,” said Nate Franco, a Local 768 member who spoke at Harlem Hospital’s packed forum on June 7. Dedicated NYC Health + Hospitals employees have staved off life-threatening outbreaks of Zika, Ebola, West Nile and Legionnaires disease, and [More...]

“Even Living in Less Than Ideal Circumstances, You Can Have a Healthy and Happy Baby”

June 11, 2017 // 0 Comments

Sandra Steiner, Nurse Home Visitor, Local 436 As a Nurse Home Visitor, there’s never a typical day on the job. I could be visiting a client at a homeless shelter, a foster home or Riker’s Island. People might think Riker’s is dangerous, but I actually feel safer there because they have lots of security. The clients we work with are first-time mothers. We begin providing supportive services when they are seven months pregnant until the baby is 2-years-old. I have a caseload of 15 clients that I visit twice a month. My clients live all over the city. We get referrals mostly from the Dept. of Homeless Services, the Prevention Assistance Temporary Housing program. There’s no typical client They can be as young as 12 and as old as 41. Sometimes they’re having twins or triplets. We make sure they follow up with their pre-natal appointments with their doctors. If they live in a [More...]

Unions, City Meet Target for Savings; Health Care Coverage Still Premium-Free

June 7, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Mission accomplished. The Municipal Labor Committee on May 18 approved the last of a series of coverage changes that will enable the city to save $3.4 billion in employee health care costs. The city and MLC — which represents city unions on health care matters — agreed to the four-year plan in 2015. The saving plan enabled DC 37 to maintain the premium-free health care coverage that members and retirees enjoy through Blue Cross Blue Shield/GHI-CBP and HIP/HMO. “There were doubts in some circles that the union and city could achieve this, but we succeeded,” DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido said. “The plan preserves our premium-free coverage at least through fiscal year 2018.” Here are the changes: ● The co-pay for members enrolled in HIP/HMO who use Urgent Care centers will increase to $50 on July 1. Currently, the co-pay at the centers ranges [More...]

Community Activists and DC 37 Push for Universal School Lunch

May 17, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO “I think we’re missing an opportunity to use available federal funding to make school lunches free,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said when he was on the campaign trail in 2013. As mayor, he’s made universal pre-kindergarten available and is pushing for free day care for 3-year-olds. But he has not yet delivered on a campaign pledge to provide universal free lunch. To remind him of his campaign promise, members of DC 37, the United Federation of Teachers, the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, as well as public school parents, students and other community residents took to the steps of City Hall on Monday. They urged him to include $20 million in the city’s budget for free school lunches for all New York City public school students. Board of Education Employees Local 372 president Shaun D. Francois I recalled helping needy kids when he worked in [More...]

Fighting Big Pharma

May 10, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Administrators of the union’s welfare plan are mounting a new legal offensive to keep the rising costs of generic drugs in check. If successful, the court cases would help “correct widespread corrupt practices in the pharmaceutical industry,” said Audrey Browne, associate administrator and counsel of the DC 37 Health & Security Plan, which oversees the union’s drug benefit for over three hundred thousand members, retirees and their dependents. The first lawsuit, scheduled to be heard in Philadelphia federal court, accuses generic drug manufacturers of conspiring to increase the price of a popular generic drug called propranolol, which is used to treat hypertension and prevent heart attacks. The suit seeks a rollback in prices and damages. Two other price rigging cases have also been filed in federal courts in New York and New Jersey against the generic [More...]

“You have to help and you have to heal. You have to give kind words to help people through the day.”

May 7, 2017 // 0 Comments

Clerical Associate 3 Olivia Crum-Owens, Local 1549 Photo: Clarence Elie-Rivera I wanted to be like Nurse Hardy on the TV show General Hospital, so I enrolled in SEEK, a jobs program, at Hunter-Bellevue to become a Licensed Practical Nurse. I did well, but nursing was not like TV. I became an Office Aide at Harlem Hospital in 1972. From my very first day, I knew my rights because I took time to read the contract. Back then union dues were 50 cents a week. The Local 1549 president and someone from Wells Fargo Bank would come to our worksite every two weeks to collect union dues. Today we pay more than the $3 a month we did back then, but I still believe union dues are worth every penny. I transferred to Elmhurst Hospital in 1978; this way I didn’t have to take three trains just to get to work. A coworker once thought she could block me from using a certain bathroom. She told me it was [More...]

Union Outlines Priorities at Annual Meeting with City Council Members

May 2, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO Dozens of City Council members were at DC 37 headquarters last week to meet with leaders and activists about the union’s budget and legislative priorities. DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido put the future of public hospitals atop that list. “Our public hospitals are a critical safety net not just for uninsured New Yorkers, but for everyone,” Garrido said at the union’s annual City Council breakfast. Garrido also reiterated union support for universal free lunch for public school students, capital improvements for public libraries, the Department of Parks and Recreation, public housing and other priorities. City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito paid homage to the hard work of DC 37 members and pledged to stand with us during the upcoming budget negotiations with Mayor de Blasio. “We take your concerns and priorities to heart,” she [More...]

A Health Plan Implodes

April 7, 2017 // 0 Comments

By HENRY GARRIDO It was nice to see the Republican health-care plan implode in late March. Here are just some of the ways the GOP plan would have affected New York and the country: ●New York state would have been hit with a $3.7 billion hole in its health-care budget. ● Deep Medicaid cuts to New York City would have devastated NYC Health+Hospitals. Some 200,000 residents who rely on the public health care system would have lost their health care. The loss of federal funds would have stuck NYC H+H with millions of dollars in annual deficits. ● Some 10 million people nationwide benefited from the Medicare expansion under the ACA. They would have lost their coverage. The Medicare expansion was funded by taxes on the wealthy. The elimination of those taxes would have given the power elite a windfall of $350 billion over 10 years. All told, under the GOP plan the wealthy would have [More...]

Vote “Yes” to Protect Your Drug Benefit

February 17, 2017 // 0 Comments

  By GREGORY N. HEIRES Mail ballots went out today  to more than 90,000 members for a vote on a contract extension to protect the union’s popular prescription drug plan, which has been rocked in recent years by the pharmaceutical industry’s pursuit of excessive profits. The contract extension, which the union and city agreed to in January, will enable the DC 37 Health & Security Plan to continue to provide stable benefits to members and retirees. During the past eight years, the pharmaceutical industry has raised prescription drug prices by 105 percent. Today, prescription drugs consume 76 percent of the costs of the welfare fund, which also covers the dental benefit and other benefits managed by the plan. The DC 37 Health & Security Plan faces a $55 million deficit. The contract extension is one of a number of critical steps the union is taking to protect the drug [More...]

Fight Big Pharma’s Price Gouging

January 6, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES The January copay increases of the DC 37 Health & Security Plan’s prescription drug benefit show how we all are victims of the voracious pharmaceutical industry. For years, the plan struggled to maintain the old copays. But with the skyrocketing cost of drugs, the plan’s trustees finally felt they had no choice but to approve the copay hikes. As DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido has pointed out, drug costs will likely continue to rise until the government steps in to control the prices of the unregulated pharmaceutical industry. “The pharmaceutical industry’s track record of corporate greed is reprehensible,” said Willie Chang, administrator of the plan. “We need to do whatever we can as consumers and individual activists to slow down price increases.” Although consumers have little or no control over prices in the absence of a nationwide [More...]