Showing posts from November, 2009

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: November 30, 2009


Reproductive Rights National Day of Action - December 2

Are you outraged over the Stupak-Pitts Amendment? Do you want to help fight this attack on women's reproductive rights?

Please join the Raising Women’s Voices of Southeastern PA Coalition as we travel to Washington, DC for the reproductive justice community’s National Day of Action on December 2nd. Help raise a collective voice to lobby Congress for health care reform that ensures access to the full-range of reproductive services for all women, which includes access to abortion services!

Busses will depart from Love Park (16th and JFK Streets) in Center City, Philadelphia at 6:00 am and return between roughly between 8:00 pm and 9:00 pm.

The bus is FREE. You will receive breakfast on the bus in the morning and snacks on the ride back to Philly. There will be a restroom on the bus.

Click here to register. Please do so by 3:00 today.

If you plan to travel down to DC separately, let Rebecca Foley know that are attending so y…

Let’s Talk Turkey….and Health Care Reform

Not sure how you will survive Thanksgiving? Whether gathering with family or friends, it isn’t always an easy time (especially for the turkey). Once politics enters the conversation, it can turn into a minefield. Luckily, Families USA has a helpful survival guide for dealing with your favorite relatives, including talking to your:

Grandma on Medicare
Aunt with a pre-existing condition
Cousin, new to the job market
Sister who owns a small business

NWLC is also offering a short Thanksgiving Survival Guide that doubles as an e-card – a great way to wish friends and family a Happy Turkey Day while reminding them of the need for healthcare.

If your family is lucky enough to be in good health and securely employed (with access to healthcare) you all have a great deal to be thankful for this holiday season. Around the dinner table, please remember that health care reform can help so many others who are less fortunate.

Image: / CC BY-ND 2.0

Combining Pumpkin Pie and Healthcare Reform Into a Tasty Treat

Looking for a good pumpkin pie recipe?

Interested in healthcare reform?

NWLC can meet your needs in their new ecard, which can turn your pie into a pie chart - or just a chance to think about how healthcare affects women in a new way.

Enjoy, and share with your friends!

Help Spread Joy to a Low-income Family This Holiday Season!

Each year PathWays PA provides residential and social services to over 6,000 low-income women, children and families in the Greater Philadelphia region. While these services provide opportunities for our clients to move along the path to self-sufficiency, the holiday season can still be a very trying time. With this in mind and the holidays just around the corner, PathWays PA is gearing up for our annual Adopt-a-Family giving program.

Adopt-a-Family is designed to help needy families by matching them with donors, both individual and corporate, who are eager to provide gifts and other living essentials to their adopted family. Matches are based on a client family’s size and the age of their children. After being paired up with a client family, a wish list is sent to the donors with the receiving family's genders, ages, clothing sizes and their holiday wishes. The donor family is free to purchase any or all of the items on the clients' list, or substitute items that they feel t…

New Guidelines for Breast Cancer Screenings and Their Potential Effects on African Americans

Last week the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force announced new guidelines for breast cancer screenings that are a drastic change from prior guidelines. The new guidelines suggest that only women 50-74 should get regular mammograms occurring every two years. They also recommend that doctors do not urge women to do monthly self-exams.

There are numerous reasons behind the changed guidelines. According to findings from the Task Force, there is no statistically significant evidence that screening women ages 40-49 reduces breast cancer mortality. There is also an issue of false-positive results, which may lead to unnecessary tests, procedures and stress on the patient.

Since the release of the new recommendations, organizations and individuals have been divided over their implications. Some breast cancer survivors, along with their friends and family, feel like these guidelines will hurt women. Others believe that if the test does not help, it should not be performed.

Secretary of H…

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: November 23, 2009


Reproductive Rights National Day of Action - December 2

Are you outraged over the Stupak-Pitts Amendment? Do you want to help fight this attack on women's reproductive rights?

Please join the reproductive justice community in Washington DC on December 2nd as we raise a collective voice to lobby Congress for health care reform that ensures access to the full-range of reproductive services for all women, which includes access to abortion services!

Book your seat on the bus to D.C. here.

If you are unable to attend, but would like to help someone else afford the opportunity to attend, please click here to give via our online donation form. Please write in "Send Someone to Day of Action" in the In Honor Of field.

For more information about this event and the Raising Women's Voices of Southeastern PA Coalition, please contact Rebecca Foley.

Take Action on Earned Sick Time

48 percent of workers in the United States have no access to earned sick time, which means that…

Taking Action on Earned Sick Time

48 percent of workers in the United States have no access to earned sick time, which means that if they are sick (or if their family members are sick) they must choose between working sick or losing their pay (or their jobs). If you are one of the 48 percent who have no earned sick time - or one of the 52 percent who do - please take our survey and tell us more!

There are bills at the federal, state, and local level to support earned sick time for everyone - here is what you can do:

Support the Federal Healthy Families Act! Under The Healthy Families Act, workers would have the opportunity to earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 7 days of sick time per year. This time could be used to care for workers or their families, or could be used as "safe days" in cases of domestic violence. Tell your legislators that we need paid sick days now!
Support the paid sick days campaign in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia! Become our friend! Show your support for ear…

Recognizing the Needs of Elders in the Health Care Bill

When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was released by the Senate on Wednesday night, interested parties quickly began to go through the bill and make comparisons to the House version (PathWays PA's comparison is up on our blog). While it didn't draw much attention, one piece of the bill that remained from the House version is the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act.

In the United States today, 10 million Americans need long-term care services and supports, yet the cost of this care can double or even triple the expenses elders face in their retirement years. Under CLASS, older adults and the disabled would be better able to access care in their homes through the creation of national long-term care insurance by providing a minimum benefit of $50 per day to purchase non-medical long-term care services and supports. As the Elder Economic Security Standard for Pennsylvania shows, home and community-based long-term care services cost betwee…

Senate Unveils Health Care Bill

Earlier this week Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid unveiled the Senate’s health care reform bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This is an $848 billion health-care overhaul package that extends coverage to 31 million Americans and reforms insurance practices. The Congressional Budget Office has determined that the Senate bill would cut federal deficits by $130 billion over the next decade, which is the largest cost saving so far from a health care proposal (the House bill would cost $1.05 trillion to extend coverage to about 36 million Americans and reduce deficits by about $109 billion by 2019). The effective date of the Senate bill was pushed back a year from 2013 to 2014, as compared to the House bill.

It is expected that the procedural vote required to start the debate on the bill will occur on Friday or Saturday of this week.

Below is a side-by-side comparison of provisions in the House and Senate health care bills:

House Bill Senate Bill Exchange/Subsidies: The…

Change in Location for Delaware County H1N1 Vaccine This Weekend

The Delaware County location for the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s H1N1 Vaccine Clinic has been moved to:

Penn State Brandywine Campus
Commons/Athletic Building
25 Yearsley Mill Road (Off Rte 352, also known as, Middletown Road)
Media, Pa 19063
(Use Campus Drive entrance)

The scheduled times remain the same; however, if you are interested, make sure that you make an appointment ahead of time at under the area of the website that lists “What’s Hot”. Those without Internet access can call 1-877-PA HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to make an appointment.

The vaccine is free and will be given to those at highest risk.

Of the World's 15 Most Competitive Countries, 14 Provide Paid Sick Leave - Can You Guess the Country That Doesn't?

If you guessed the United States, you're right!

In the newly released study, Raising the Global Floor: Dismantling the Myth That We Can't Afford Good Working Conditions for Everyone, authors Jody Heymann and Alison Earle explore the working conditions faced by men and women in countries around the world, and compare those conditions to economic competitiveness. The result?
Of the world’s 15 most competitive countries, 14 provide paid sick leave, 14 provide paid annual leave, 13 guarantee a weekly day of rest, 13 provide paid leave for new mothers and 12 for new fathers.

Similarly, the majority of the 13 countries with consistently low unemployment rates provide paid annual leave (12), a weekly day of rest (12), paid leave for new mothers (12), paid sick leave (11), and paid leave for new fathers (9)....
As the research shows, both economic competition and low unemployment survive in countries that provide a minimum standard of paid leave for illness and for new parents.

On the sam…

Which are the Poorest Counties in America and PA (Based on the Federal Poverty Level)?

Despite the many flaws in the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), a new article and interactive map from the New York Times showing poverty in the United States by county is worth a look. According to the article, Ziebach County, South Dakota, holds the dubious honor of being the poorest county in the country, with 54.4 percent of residents living below the FPL.

Here in Pennsylvania, the county with the highest level of poverty is Forest County (in northwest PA) with 24.2 percent of residents living below the FPL, followed by Philadelphia with 23.8 percent and Fayette County with 20.8 percent.

While Forest County has the highest number of residents living below the poverty level, the most children living below the FPL are in Fayette County, where 33.9 percent of residents under age 18 live in poverty.

As always when looking at the FPL, it is important to remember that here are also families who are being overlooked that are in need. In general, the FPL underestimates the number of those e…

Sign on to Ask Congress to Extend ARRA State Fiscal Relief

As long as the budget season was this year in Pennsylvania, and as painful as many of the budget cuts were, the results for Pennsylvanians could have been much worse. The 2009-2010 state budget contained $2.6 billion from the federal stimulus bill, which helped prevent drastic cuts in healthcare and education spending for the state.

While the state had access to federal stimulus dollars this year, the funding is due to run out in December 2010. Meanwhile, state revenues continue to fall, and the need for state services continues to rise along - along with the unemployment rate and the number of children relying on CHIP and Medicaid for health insurance.

PA Partnerships for Children and PCCY are coordinating a sign-on letter to the Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation asking them to continue providing federal support during these difficult economic times. Please sign on by 12 PM on November 20, and pass it on to your colleagues at other organizations.

Where’s My Tax Refund?

Attention tax payers! Do you think you may be missing an IRS income tax refund from a previous tax return? If so, then you may need to update your address information. The IRS currently has 107,831 refund checks to distribute which have been returned due to mailing address errors. Refund checks average $1,148 per check, totaling more than $123.5 million owed to tax payers nationwide.

Taxpayers who may be missing a refund can use the “Where’s My Refund?” tool on the IRS website to track their refund. By using this tool, the taxpayer may update their address information if necessary, and learn how to resolve outstanding issues with refund delivery. This may also be done by calling 1-800-829-1954, which connects callers with a telephone version of “Where’s My Refund?”

Taxpayers should be aware that the average refund may potentially be even higher this year as a result of several new or modified tax credits that filers may be eligible for. As always, taxpayers are strongly encourag…

Kids Get Sick Too

Children from 5 to 17 years old on average miss more than three days of school per year for health reasons. Younger children not only need supervision, but also may need someone to administer medicine and take them to medical appointments. Yet more than 2 million working people in Pennsylvania do not have a single paid sick day to use to care for a sick child. Many parents without sick days have no choice but to send sick children to school or child care, putting the health of other children, teachers and child-care providers are put at risk.

When parents are able to stay home and care for their children when sick, it not only keeps other children and individuals from becoming sick, but also shortens the child’s recovery time when cared for by their parents. The presence of parents has been found to shorten a child’s hospital stay by 31 percent, therefore also reducing health care costs.

Without access to paid time off, parents don’t have the option of staying home or taking their child…

Department of Health Conducting Statewide H1N1 Vaccine Clinics

(h/t Pennsylvania Build Initiative/ Build ECE News)

Between November 20 and November 22, the Pennsylvania Department of Health will offer free H1N1 vaccines. They ask that only members of the following recommended targeted groups attend:
Individuals between the ages of six months and 24 years; Household contacts and caregivers for children younger than six months; Pregnant women; Healthcare providers and emergency medical services personnel; and Individuals under 65 years of age with underlying health conditions, including asthma, diabetes, suppressed immune systems, heart disease, kidney disease, and neurocognitive and neuromuscular disorders. Appointments must be scheduled in advance, and consent forms must be completed - preferably before the appointment. Information about vaccine risks, allergies, and adverse effects are also available on the website.

Individuals without internet access can call 1-877-PA HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Lines are limit…

More Than 1 in 10 Households in PA Are "Food Insecure"

As families continue to deal with the impact of the recession, a new report from the Department of Agriculture showed that in 2008, 49 million Americans were "food insecure" in the United States, the highest number since tracking began 14 years ago. 13 million more people joined the ranks of the food insecure in the previous year. In Pennsylvania, 4.9 million households were food insecure on average between 2006 and 2008, or about 11.2 percent of all households. These numbers represent an increase of 1.3 percentage points from the average between 2003-2005 (and is statistically significant with 90 confidence, for those of you who care about that information).

Many startling numbers come from this report, including some that are below. But of those numbers, one is critical for those who are food insecure: 30.5 percent of food insecure households earned below 130 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (which is the income eligibility level for food stamps (SNAP)) but did not r…

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: November 16, 2009


Help Stop Restrictions on Women’s Reproductive Rights in Health Care Reform

Last weekend the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Affordable Health Care for America Act, which was a huge step forward for health care reform. However, this Act includes an amendment that puts devastating new restrictions on women's access to abortion, limiting a woman's ability to choose, especially those who are low-income. The purpose of health care reform is to expand access to health care for all, not to shrink it.

The Stupak/Pitts Amendment takes away a woman’s ability to purchase coverage for abortion care with their own money in the health insurance exchanges and public plan that the House legislation created. Health care reform should include the full-range of reproductive health services for all women, which includes access to abortion services.

The House bill does include some positive provisions, such as making health insurance more affordable, prohibiting insurers from charg…

Health Care Reform Needs to Include Full Reproductive Rights

Reform is necessary in order to make health care more affordable, particularly for women, who are often charged higher premiums than men. Holding other factors constant, a 22-year-old woman can be charged one and a half times the premium rate of a 22-year-old man.

The health care debate should focus on how we can support women's health and well-being by expanding access to health care and eliminating the double standard that treats a woman differently than a man when it comes to coverage. No woman should be worse off as a result of health care reform.

Unfortunately, the Stupak amendment in the House Bill threatens to do just that. This amendment reaches much further than the Hyde Amendment (which has prohibited public funding of abortion in most instances since 1977) by banning abortion in the new public option. Even enrollees in the public plan who pay premiums with their own money would be blocked from getting abortion care as part of their benefits package.

This amendment ba…

Healthcare Reform: Let Legislators Know How You Feel About Their Vote

Over the weekend, the House passed a version of healthcare reform that will soon be moving to the Senate. According to Community Catalyst, this vote marks the first time in 100 years of "episodic" work on health care reform that a bill has emerged from one chamber of the legislature. Below is some information on how legislators voted in Pennsylvania, courtesy of PHAN:
Below is the roll call on the legislation (HR 3962) for Pennsylvania's U.S. House members:Yes Votes:Rep. Robert Brady, PA-1 [D]
Rep. Chaka Fattah, PA-2 [D]
Rep. Kathleen Dahlkemper, PA-3 [D]
Rep. Joe Sestak, PA-7 [D]
Rep. Patrick Murphy, PA-8 [D]
Rep. Christopher Carney, PA-10 [D]
Rep. Paul Kanjorski, PA-11 [D]
Rep. John Murtha, PA-12 [D]
Rep. Allyson Schwartz, PA-13 [D]
Rep. Michael Doyle, PA-14 [D]No Votes:Rep. Jason Altmire, PA-4 [D]
Rep. Glenn Thompson, PA-5 [R]
Rep. Jim Gerlach, PA-6 [R]
Rep. William Shuster, PA-9 [R]
Rep. Charles Dent, PA-15 [R]
Rep. Joseph Pitts, PA-16 [R]
Rep. Tim Holden, PA-17 [D]
Rep. Tim Murphy…

Gender Gap Not Just For Workers

On Tuesday, The Pennsylvania Policy Blog published a great recap of the latest news in Pennsylvania around the gender gap (and there has been a lot lately). The gender gap in question refers to the difference in what women earn on average compared to men, and is an issue we have explored at various times on this blog.

The impact of the gender gap does not end when women stop working, however. Since income during your career affects income in retirement, the gender gap follows women beyond their years in the workforce. In Pennsylvania, for instance, the typical single male over 65 in retirement has $3,011 more per year then he needs if he is renting, according to the Pennsylvania Elder Economic Security Initiative. However, the typical single female in the same situation has $5,065 less than what she needs in order to live in her home with dignity. These numbers translate into a $8,076 gap in income between typical Pennsylvania men and women in retirement.

There are many reasons for…

PathWays PA Job Postings - 11/11/09

Accounts Payable/Accounts Receivable Clerk

Busy Delco non-profit seeks FT A/P, A/R clerk. Experience required. Friendly, flexible atmosphere. Fax resumes to: 610-328-2807, attention: JR/LD

Truancy Case Manager

Maturity and ability to handle pressure, flexibility, detail-oriented, good organizational skills, and familiarity working with at risk families. Provide own transportation and hold flexible hours. Bachelor Degree in Social Work or related field and Valid Driver’s license required. Fax resume to MT/LD 610-328-2807.

Part-Time Financial Educator

Part-Time Innovative program that promotes economic well-being in low-income families seeks a BS/BA level Financial Educator. You must be comfortable with people, computers and TANF system and have the ability to discuss basic financial planning and budgeting. Must be able to work some evenings and Saturday mornings. Independent transportation required; bilingual a plus. 4 year degree required - no exceptions - prefer BSW, background in…

More on H1N1

Freakonomics had a good post yesterday showing the prevalence of H1N1 based on Washington, DC flu data:

It’s instantly apparent that this year is unprecedented in recent history. Long before the typical spike season we are already seeing more cases than we’ve ever seen — and presumably the worst is yet to come.

As the post goes on to note, some of the increased reports may come from "media hype" about swine flu - you can go to the post and judge the chart for yourself.

What are your thoughts on the relationship between H1N1, our health, and earned sick time? Let us know in the comments.

Senate Hearing on H1N1 and Paid Sick Days

Yesterday, Senator Chris Dodd and others gathered to hold a hearing on H1N1 and paid sick days. You can view the entire hearing on the committee website (FYI, the video starts as soon as you open the link), and read the submitted testimony there as well. During the hearing, Senator Dodd proposed introducing legislation that would ensure people with the flu had paid sick days.

MomsRising member Desiree Rosado was one of the speakers at the hearing. As MomsRising reports:

“We are trying to pay down debts and make our family financially stable, but it’s a hard road,” Rosado told the Subcommittee in her testimony. “And it’s made a lot harder because whenever we get sick or our children get sick, we have to decide whether to stay home without pay, or to disregard doctor’s orders and risk getting sicker and infecting other by going to work or school.”
Do you have a story to tell about paid sick days? Please post it in the comments!

Also, if you are on Facebook, you can become a fan of our c…