The recent exit of Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kan.) from the Senate was filled with tearful tributes and bipartisan plaudits from his congressional colleagues, most expressing sadness at his departure. But the National Council of Senior Citizens had sharper words for the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.
As the Senate chambers rang with accolades for Dole, the council celebrated his departure by throwing its own party in a House office building. It featured a 50-person senior-citizen chorus singing "Hit the Road, Dole" to the tune of "Hit the Road, Jack," and reminisced on what the council called the senator's longtime opposition to Medicare.
Specifically, the group cited his vote against Medicare's implementation in 1965 and his support last year for balanced-budget legislation that would have squeezed $270 billion in savings from Medicare.
The council is no stranger to making a scene on Capitol Hill. Readers will remember it as the same group that disrupted House hearings on Medicare reform legislation last year (Oct. 2, 1995, p. 108) after asking Capitol Police what it would take to get arrested.
Common ground.A unique partnership between a Chicago hospital and an AIDS organization is enabling people with the AIDS virus to get traditional and alternative healthcare from one source.
The agreement between St. Joseph Health Centers and Hospital and AIDS Alternative Health Project, which operates three clinics in Chicago, calls for St. Joseph physicians to hold regular office hours at AAHP. The clinics offer 20 complementary treatments, including massage therapy, psychological counseling, acupuncture and nutritional advice.
In turn, AAHP's 600 clients, who schedule 20,000 free and low-cost visits annually, have access to "traditional forms of healthcare in a nontraditional setting." St. Joseph is a part of Catholic Health Partners, formed through last year's merger of St. Joseph and Columbus-Cabrini Health System. "We've experienced that complementary healthcare, combined with the efforts of a primary-care physician, addresses many of the physical and psychological aspects of (the AIDS virus)," said Thomas Klein, M.D., co-medical director of the St. Joseph HIV/AIDS Program.
Close call.The Republican fiscal 1997 balanced-budget plan approved by Congress earlier this month almost didn't pass.
As the time limit on the vote neared, 21 Republicans, primarily freshmen upset that the plan would increase the federal deficit in 1997 and 1998 before bringing it down in 1999-2002, had voted "no"-enough to sink the plan.
Then the arm-twisting began. Four Republicans, Wayne Allard (Colo.), Wes Cooley (Ore.), Barbara Cubin (Wyo.) and Jack Metcalf (Wash.), switched their votes to "yes," allowing the measure to pass the House by the narrow margin of 216-211.
The next day, Democrats, who believe all four Republicans are vulnerable in the next election, began to hammer the four vote-switchers on the floor of the House, even mentioning them by name, a relatively rare occurrence.
Back to school.Most hospital executives earned their degrees in hospital administration when fee-for-service medicine and inpatient services ruled.
Now, faced with integrated delivery systems and managing physician group practices, long-term-care facilities and home health agencies, many may feel out of touch with the new reality.
Those worried about being out of touch should contact the American Association of Physician Hospital Organizations/Integrated Delivery Systems, Glen Allen, Va. The group can arrange for executives to receive a fellowship in the American College of Integrated Delivery Systems.
Beginning this fall, the college will offer a three-semester fellowship program that can be completed in about 80 hours. Executives will take such courses as "Team-based Delivery in Managed-Care Markets," "Successful Application of Information Technology in Managed Care" and "Managing Costs and System Management of Resources."
Call Randall W. Killian, the college's director, at 804-527-1905 for more information.
Read all about it.The market for regional medical newspapers apparently is blossoming. Last month, Brentwood, Tenn.-based Medical News expanded into Texas by distributing 15,000 copies of the Dallas-Fort Worth Medical News.
Area providers and physicians will receive the monthly tabloid for free; for others, the cost is $52 a year. In addition, 4,800 business leaders also receive the publication free because "they're in charge of healthcare coverage for millions of people," said Medical News' founder Chuck Brown.
Brown started the company eight years ago with a medical publication in Nashville, Tenn. That was followed by one in Jackson, Miss., and another in Raleigh, N.C. The Raleigh publication was subsequently sold.
Founding sisters.A poignant historical documentary on religious women in Roman Catholic healthcare may have been behind the record-setting attendance at the 81st Annual Catholic Health Assembly earlier this month.
Some 1,400 people, including many whose legacy is told in the film, were shown the hourlong "A Call to Care." The film, which documents the lives of "the women who built Catholic healthcare in America," was a highlight of the Catholic Health Association's annual gathering.
Suzy Farren, editor of the newspaper Catholic Health World, took a yearlong leave of absence to write a 236-page companion book on the nuns featured in the documentary. Some $400,000 in grants from the Conrad Hilton Foundation, the Connelly Foundation, the Raskob Foundation for Catholic Activities, AT&T and Lucent Technologies made the projects possible.
The book and film cover almost three centuries of work in healthcare by religious sisters in America. The foreword of the book tells of the first sisters to come to America: 12 French Usurlines, whose 51/2-month journey to New Orleans in 1727 led to nursing care for black and Indian women and girls and, later, one of the first Catholic hospitals in America.
The documentary may be in the running for a national viewing. Noted historian David McCullough told CHA board members and executives their documentary might be a good fit for one of the two history shows he hosts on the Arts and Entertainment network.