YES on A this November…for the health of our kids!

I’ve been spending a great deal of my spare time (!!!) supporting the YES on A campaign, and hope you’ll join me making sure we protect children’s health in Santa Clara County.
But don’t take my word for it – here’s the most recent in a long string of VIP and media endorsements…from the local paper in “my town”, The Los Gatos Weekly:
Editorial: Measure A gets universal support for Healthy Kids
It’s safe to say that none among looks forward to any additional tax burden, no matter how small it might be. But it’s also pretty safe to say that few among us want to see children in our community going without health care.
That’s why Measure A on the Nov. 2 ballot is getting such universal support. The proposed $29 per year parcel tax will generate $13-14 million per year for 10 years to fund the “Healthy Kids” program in Santa Clara County.
According to supporters, “Measure A will fully fund the Healthy Kids program and ensure that all eligible county children have access to health insurance, including preventative health care services and early detection and treatment for such terrible illnesses as asthma or diabetes.”
Whether we like it or not, county taxpayers are going to pay to provide health care for the more than 15,000 uninsured children in Santa Clara County, whether through emergency room services or through this plan for preventative care.
Families should not have to wait until their children are sick, thereby requiring emergency room services to deal with their illnesses. The “Healthy Kids” program would provide for immunizations and regular check-ups to keep children healthy and in school, and to help to prevent childhood obesity.
It’s more cost effective to keep children healthy than to deal with their health issues after the fact, and certainly better for the children and their families. It’s for that reason that Measure A has garnered the support of the League of Women Voters, The Health Trust, the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the San Jose Mercury News and many more organizations.
Area hospitals are certainly in favor of the measure. El Camino Hospital, Kaiser and Valley Medical Center, along with the Santa Clara Family Health Foundation, are all supporting Measure A.
Two important points brought out by supporters of the measure are that “children enrolled in Healthy Kids reported a 50 percent decline in missed school days due to illness” and, “Once enrolled in Healthy Kids, children with a usual source of care almost doubled and children with unmet medical need dropped by more than half.” Simply put, children in the program were healthier.
The County Board of Supervisors has placed Measure A on the November ballot, and it’s a coalition of health, business, community and labor leaders who are joining together in universal support of the plan. The program, first launched in 2001 as the Children’s Health Care Initiative, needs this funding to continue.
Voters need to consider what supporters of the county parcel tax emphasize: “Without Measure A, thousands of children in Santa Clara County will lose health coverage.”
It seems like $29 per year is a small price to pay to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Kids’ health is key to their education…

…but don’t take MY word for it!

Hey, let’s be honest…you very likely already know that without access to a doctor and basic health care, children will suffer in the classroom. We’ve got data to prove it.

We also have yesterday’s letter to the editor of the San Jose Mercury News, penned by my pal and brilliant CEO of the Silicon Valley Education Foundation. Here’s what he wrote:

Measure A would help kids’ learning
source: Mercury News

As president and CEO of the Silicon Valley Education Foundation, I am proud to support Santa Clara County’s Measure A — Children’s Health Protection Act — on Nov. 2. After several years working on education initiatives that promote student achievement, college and career goals and in general providing children and families a better life, I feel it is important to continue supporting quality of life needs for these families.

Families who have benefitted from the current program that provides medical, dental and vision care call it a lifesaver. It has kept children healthy and in school, with the goal of academic success and some day college and a bright future.

Children enrolled in Healthy Kids report a 50 percent decline in school absence because of illness, which is great news for all students. Children’s Health Initiative school outreach has helped raise $6 million to $7 million for local school districts annually. Thus Measure A is not only a necessary act to improve the quality of health for our future Silicon Valley professionals, but it is also a program that will help further other organizations’ missions, including the Silicon Valley Education Foundation.

Muhammed Chaudhry

President and CEO Silicon Valley Education Foundation

A Little Sunshine in VMC Rehab

The Rehabilitation Center at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Recognized nationally as a center for excellence, the VMC Rehab Center treats patients with severe head, spinal cord and stroke related injuries, regardless of ability to pay. Since its founding, over 15,000 patients have been served.

Each one of those patients represents an amazing story of struggle and hope. Here is one, as told by Connie Pugh, Nurse Manager, SCVMC Rehab (2Center)

“A Little Sunshine in VMC Rehab”

For the last six months, a group of nurses from 2Rehab (a Rehab unit within VMC) have been brainstorming ways to improve the patient experience. In May, 2010 one of the new programs launched was the Sunshine Club.

The Sunshine Club was developed to provide a bright and energizing breakfast experience for the 2Rehab patients to help them start their day in a positive way. The Club involves setting up the Rehab Day Room with small tables covered with brightly colored tablecloths, fresh flowers, uplifting music and serving the patients coffee, tea and juice before breakfast. Breakfast then arrives and the staff is there to assist the group of patients with their meal. Conversation is encouraged between patients, families and staff.

On the first day of the Sunshine Club, the staff had the Day Room bright, shiny and ready to go. The problem was the patients didn’t want to get up. They had previously been eating their morning meal in their rooms alone. With a little encouragement, the patients got up and joined the group in the Day Room.

One patient, “Mr V,” just did not want to attend on that first day. I went in to speak to Mr. V and said to him “Mr. V, people just are not made to eat alone in a dark room – we would really like to have you join us in the Day Room.

Mr. V replied back “but I like my dark room and I want to eat alone.” I said to Mr. V, “We want to add some hope and brightness to your morning here in rehab,” and Mr. V replied “but I don’t want hope and brightness, I want to be in the dark.”

At that point I explained to Mr. V that the Sunshine Club was new and we would really like to have him come the first day and then if he did not like it we would not ask him again. He reluctantly agreed to come, although he muttered complaints on the way in to the day room and throughout breakfast.

Later in the day, Mr. V wheeled himself to my office and said he wanted to “fess up about something.” He said the Sunshine Club was a real nice thing we did for patients, including serving coffee, the music and the flowers. Why he really objected to go, he said, was because he had been a youth counselor at one time and seeing young head injury patients in rehab made him very sad.

I then asked Mr. V, “You were a youth counselor?” He replied yes. I said, “Then Mr. V, I really need you to help me with the Sunshine Club. I need you to bring brightness and hope to our young patients – in fact, you can be Mr. Sunshine and come help me each day.”

Mr. V replied to me, “Well if you really need me to help I guess I could do that.”
Bright and early the next morning, and every morning after until discharge, Mr. V helped with the Sunshine Club. He had a special way of getting patients to talk and laugh and have a good time, particularly the young patients.

On Mr. V’s day of discharge, I didn’t see him come into the Sunshine Club at the usual time. A little later he wheeled himself in and said “Everyone, I have an announcement to make: I’m going home today.” The group of patients all clapped for him. He then said, “You all know me as Mr. Sunshine, well today I’m leaving and want to pass the torch to someone else. I’ve chosen ‘Mr. E’ to be the next Mr. Sunshine.”

Mr. E looked up and said “I don’t know, man, what do I have to do?” Mr. V said “Well you have to show up early to help Carlo and Connie get the Day Room Ready and help serve coffee and you have to bring sunshine to all the patients.” Mr. E said he would think about it.

The next morning when I arrived at 0630, Mr. E was already up and in the Day Room. He said with a smile “What do I need to do to help?”

Our new Mr. Sunshine had arrived.

A Special Delivery

The Rehabilitation Center at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Recognized nationally as a “Center of Excellence”, the VMC Rehab Center treats patients with severe head, spinal cord and stroke related injuries, regardless of ability to pay. Since its founding, over 15,000 patients have been served.

Each one of those patients represents an amazing story of struggle and hope. This video features just one. Kinsley Thomas Wong came to VMC with a severe spinal cord injury in July. His wife Jaime was over 8 months pregnant with their son, Taizen.

VMC Burn Center at the Ready

As the tragedy in San Bruno unfolded last night, staff from the award-winning VMC Burn Unit went on high alert.

“Just about everyone not scheduled to work called me to say they could come in,” said Jill Sproul, R.N., Nurse Manager for the VMC Burn Center. “Everyone was ready.”

Fortunately for the victims, hospitals closer to the fire in San Mateo County were able to handle the patient load, at least for now.

Residents of Santa Clara County, however, should take comfort at the level of readiness maintained by the VMC burn team. As one of 2 Burn Trauma Centers in California north of Los Angeles, VMC provides burn victims with the highest level of care, with a specially trained team of doctors and nurses uniquely experienced to treat burn related emergencies.

Burn Trauma Centers are increasingly rare in the United States. Highly trained staff are hard to find, and operational costs can be prohibitive. But the need for this care is still acute, evidenced by the fire in San Bruno last night.

VMC staff remains at the ready, and have reached out to impacted hospitals in San Mateo County offering support. It is highly likely that, in the coming weeks, burn patients from that region will be diverted to VMC, as those hospitals cope with the aftermath of the San Bruno disaster.

Just as always, VMC will be ready.

Measure A: A MOST important vote…

Ten years ago, Santa Clara County became the first county in the nation to provide health coverage for all children.

Today, that coverage is about to end…but we can save it by voting YES on Measure A this November.

From today’s Mercury News comes a very logical editorial, which in part says this:

There’s a reason Measure A has no major campaign opposition and is supported by Silicon Valley industry. Business leaders and health experts alike understand that the current method of providing medical care for indigent and uninsured children costs them, as taxpayers, dearly. A hidden tax comes due when poor families have no choice but to take sick kids to hospital emergency rooms. That’s by far the most expensive care, and taxpayers end up paying the bill.

To learn more about this all-important issue, which truly does affect us all, visit http://www.avoteforkids.infoand please, PLEASE share this with others…we have to get the word out now about Measure A!