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Progress Notes features doctors and medical students across the country on the frontlines of our health care system. Our views and experiences are diverse, but we share common goals and values. We speak up to move toward a future where everyone can have access to affordable, high-quality health care. Please share our posts, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!


Doctors march on Washington

By Kyle Ragins, MD, MBA
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On Saturday, January 21, Doctors for America is partnering with national groups around the country to attend the Women’s March in Washington, DC to stand up for our patients’ care as Republicans in Congress threaten to repeal the Affordable Care Act and put the health coverage of 30 million Americans at risk.

We invite you to join a group of physicians, medical students, and health care professionals as a “white coat” contingent in the march

If you plan on coming, please RSVP using this link, so that we can text/email you with any last second changes in plans.

 

Doctors March on Washington

January 21, 2017 at 9:30 a.m. ET

Meeting Point: 
Patriot’s Plaza

355 E St SW, Washington, DC 20472

(In between the CDC Building and Casey’s Coffee)

RSVP to join us

 

Please feel free to invite friends, colleagues and allies to join our group, whether they are DFA-affiliated or not. The more the merrier! We suggest health care professionals and medical students wear their white coats.

For those, who aren’t able to attend the Women’s March in DC, there are sister marches occurring around the country that we encourage you to attend to stand up for progressive ideals across this country.

Whether attending the Women’s March in DC or or in your hometown, we suggest health care professionals and medical students wear your white coats to present a clear voice from the medical community for media in supporting our patients. You can amplify the impact of your participation by taking pictures of your white coat group and using the following social media tags:

Facebook: @DoctorsForAmerica 

Twitter: @DrsForAmerica 

#ProtectOurCare

#WhyIMarch

 

We look forward to seeing you out there and taking a stand for health care.

 

Sincerely,

 

Isabel Chen, MD, MPH

Family Medicine Resident

isabel.chen23@gmail.com

 

Kyle Ragins, MD, MBA

Emergency Medicine Resident

kyleragins@gmail.com


P.S. Here’s the ACLU’S Know Your Rights Guide to those who participating in any protests. There is DC specific information.

 

As Dr. King said, “We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.”

 

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On the Hill

By Kyle Ragins, MD MBA
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I am writing to you from Capitol Hill where I am standing with a group of medical students and future health care providers from around the country rallying to #ProtectOurPatients. We want Congress to understand that future healthcare providers stand united in our belief that repealing the ACA and leaving 30 million without health insurance coverage is not acceptable and will do clear harm to our patients. We aredelivering a petition signed by more than 4,000 future health care providers representing more than 140 medical schools in all 50 states. We are rallying outside the Capitol and meeting with key Senators from both the Republican and Democratic Party, because for us, maintaining access to high quality, affordable health care for all Americans is not a partisan issue. We value patients over politics and we need your help to let Congress know that you stand with us today.

Stand with us by calling your Senators and Representative today.

The newly sworn in Senate and House are already taking the first steps toward repealing major parts of the ACA that have added more than 20 million people to the ranks of the insured. Right now, fewer than 10% of people in America are uninsured - the lowest rate ever.

Republican Senators and Representatives want to vote this month to take away this coverage with only a vague promise to replace it with “something better.” That's not acceptable for our patients.

The public outcry about this is growing louder every day, and it's starting to work. Four Republican Senators have publicly said that they are concerned about repealing the ACA without putting forward a replacement plan. We need three Republican Senators to commit to vote no on a rushed repeal.

Add to the momentum: call today!

Whether your Senators and Representative want to improve the ACA or repeal it, your outreach to their offices will be valuable.  Tell them what repeal would mean to you personally. A simple phone call from a physician makes a huge difference! If you want to go the extra mile, ask to meet with them or their staff this month.  Ask to set up a meeting in their local district office (or in DC if you're willing to travel) and invite other physician advocates to come with your representing our united voice. If they are on your side, you can be a valuable resource for them as a physician in the trenches they can draw on for support. If they're not on your side, this is our opportunity to show them we value patients over politics and they should too.

Our goal is to make sure every Senator and House member hears from us. Are you in?

Kyle Ragins is a member of the Doctors for America Board of Directors and serves as an emergency medicine resident physician at UCLA.


 

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Today We Take Action

By Dr. Alice Chen
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Doctors for America is on the front lines of fighting to protect millions of people and their right to health care. Many of us have moments of disbelief that instead of moving forward to build on and expand existing coverage, we are actually talking about repealing major coverage provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

What gives me strength to be hopeful and defiant are my patients and this movement. That is why Doctors for America is doubling down by joining forces with major national organizations to launch the Protect Our Care Coalition and the Alliance for Healthcare Security. We are standing side by side with other doctors, nurses, hospitals, patients, young people, moms, policy experts, and more to raise our voices and make sure America knows that the majority of the nation stands with us.

Our first grassroots action starts today with our Provider Day of Action in partnership with doctors, nurses, and other health care providers. Thank you to the hundreds of people who are joining our Thunderclap at 3:30 pm Eastern.

Now we are calling on everyone to join colleagues across the country in sharing the stories of your patients by taking a photo and submitting it to our Tumblr page, which we can all use to share stories with the nation, Congress, and the President-Elect. Share your story using this template.

Powerful stories are already coming in from across the country. Here are a few highlights of doctors speaking out:

“Without Medicaid, my patients would not have access to preventative medicine preventing complications of diabetes.”  

– Dr. John Borzok, University Hospital, NJ

“Without coverage, 50-year old patient must choose between paying medical bills and providing food and shelter for family.”

– Dr. Afua Kunadu, NY

“Without access to preventative screening, would not have diagnosed COLON CANCER in time for 52 year old woman.” 

– Dr. Sabrina Taldone, FL

 

The time is short to make your voice heard on behalf of patients. Please join us!

In solidarity,

Alice Chen, MD
Executive Director

 

P.S. Don’t forget the upcoming deadline for marketplace coverage starting January 1, 2017 is December 15, 2016. Make certain to spread the word to encourage your patients to get covered for 2017! 

 

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Our Stories Must Be Heard


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Our stories and the stories of our patients will be heard.

The new Congress will be sworn in on January 3. They are making plans to repeal major components of the Affordable Care Act - including individual subsidies, Medicaid expansion, employer and individual mandates, and more. They could have it on the new President's desk to sign on Inauguration Day - just 39 days from now.

According to a study released this week by the Urban Institute (1), this would cause a collapse of the individual insurance market, and the number of uninsured people would rise by 28.9 million, which is a larger number of uninsured than before the ACA.

We wanted to work on more affordable and better quality coverage. But now millions of our patients are scared that they will lose the coverage they have. Our patients need to know that we will keep fighting for them.

That's why we are calling on everyone in the Doctors for America movement to stand up and tell the human impact of these political conversations in whatever way you can - through newspapers, radio, TV, blogs, social media, and in your community. 

We are teaming up with medical and public health organizations from across the country this Monday, December 12th, on a Digital Day of Actionwith two fast ways you can speak up:

1. Join our social media Thunderclap by signing up before 3pm ET on Monday. In case you're not familiar, a Thunderclap allows a single message to be mass-shared, flash mob-style, so it rises above the noise of social networks.

2. The Thunderclap will link to a Tumblr page where you can share your patients' stories. From there, you can share the story with your Senators and member of Congress. You can find the sign to print and share your story here.

Let's use our collective power and make the voices of doctors and medical students heard before it's too late.

-- DFA HQ

P.S. Even as we work to keep America covered in the long run, it's important for everyone to know that the insurance marketplaces is open for 2017 coverage!  People need to sign up by December 15th for coverage starting January 1. Most people will qualify for a subsidy to lower their costs. No matter what happens in Congress, we expect coverage to be there for the year. They can& shop, sign up, or find an in person assister at healthcare.gov.

 

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What DFA means to me

By Shalini Pammal
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On this Giving Tuesday, I thought I would share what DFA means to me and what it means for patients across the country.

In October 2012, I recall standing in a little booth at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Cambridge, Massachusetts, educating passersby about the Affordable Care Act as part of our One Million Campaign-- a campaign to educate 1 million Americans about the facts of health reform. We passed out fact sheets, answered questions and convened in cities across the nation to push for health reform. Since then, our journey has taken us on a 12-day bus journey across four states, and to the steps of the Supreme Court. We have written countless op-eds, shared our voices on TV and in radio shows. 
 
 
 
Reflecting on these moments in our history inspires me. Over the past eight years, doctors, medical students, nurses and health advocates have dedicated countless hours and tremendous energy to building a movement. This movement is one fueled by hope-- hope that we can reimagine our national future, hope that we can push the bounds of our reality and determination to empower physicians, nurses and health advocates to be at the helm of the change needed to build a more inclusive, empathetic healthcare system. And in moments that test our faith, we have always remained steadfast in our purpose, our vision and our collective commitment to make a positive impact for patients across the nation. This is why DFA means so much to me.
 
Recently, my uncle passed away after a medical error during a routine procedure caused fatal internal hemorrhaging. Inappropriate care thereafter resulted in complete organ failure, and ultimately, his untimely passing. That moment not only emboldened my resolve to fight for quality healthcare, but also my belief that the dedicated, fiercely passionate individuals who comprise this organization are the ones that will lead that fight. We all know the road ahead will be a difficult one for patients, the profession and healthcare system at large. I am proud to be part of a community that has made a difference in the past, and that I know will continue to make a difference as we traverse the challenges we will  face moving forward. 
 
 
My uncle would have been turning 53 this past month. I just donated $53.00 to Doctors for America in his honor. I hope that you will also join me in investing whatever you can in this organization, so that together, we can continue building on the work we started eight years ago-- to preserve opportunity for individuals to reach their greatest potential through accessible, quality healthcare. 
 
Our community is one that has always depended on grassroots funding to support our rallies and marches, our community education efforts and our campaigns. There are proposed changes coming to the Affordable Care Act that would threaten patients across the nation. If you are with me in channeling our tremendous organizing potential to make a difference in the lives of patients across the nation, please start with a donation, spread the word, and then let's get to work.
 
In solidarity,

Shalini Pammal

 

 

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Our work starts right now


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We have had our time to grieve and now we must act. 

President-elect Donald Trump and the new Congress have threatened to repeal the Affordable Care Act on day one. And, day one is just around the corner in January. That means we need to make our voices heard right now with Senators who will be crucial in this fight.

We need to send a clear message that doctors, medical students and those who care about the health of the nation won’t go backward to a time when Americans struggled to get the care they needed.

Use this tool to call your Senator now.

Tell them to protect the gains we have made under the Affordable Care Act and protect the health coverage of millions of Americans. 

Stand up for your patients and make your voice heard.

Our patients need us now more than ever. I hope you will join us.

 

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We are thankful for you


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Over the last eight years, we have given so much of ourselves to improve the health of our nation. Together, we have celebrated many victories and wept over defeats. During this time of great uncertainty for our country and our patients, let us spend this Thanksgiving with our loved ones resting and rejuvenating ourselves. There will be tremendous work ahead, but whatever the future holds we will surmount it together. 

On behalf of the entire leadership team, thank you to the Doctors for America community. Your love for your patients and our shared value of health care and justice for all sustains us throughout the year. I know that together we will work to protect and expand our vision of a healthier America.

Thanks for all you do,

Scott Poppen, MD MPA - Vice Chair

 

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Moving Forward

By Dr. Alice Chen
.
Eight years ago, doctors and medical students came together in unprecedented numbers to put our shoulders to the wheel and pass a health reform law that would ensure that millions more Americans could get health care. We marched, we petitioned, we stood with President Obama and with our patients. 
 
Because of our efforts, we saved lives. We safeguarded dreams. We made a declaration that every person deserves their dignity and respect - and that the oath we swear to provide care for people can be carried out in reality. 
 
Since then, we have exercised our white coat voices for victims of gun violence, for women to choose contraception or an abortion, for affordable drugs, for an end to racial disparities in health, for a society that makes it possible for every person to lead a healthy life and reach for their dreams. In the process, we have learned to use our power.  
 
Today, as we face an uncertain future for the nation, and as we take stock of the results of the election - results that throw into doubt the future of the ACA and of all the issues we care about - we may feel tired at times, but we have one another to lean on. Our individual and collective voices are even more important than ever before.  
 
One thing for us all to remember is that our nation is defined every day by what each of us chooses to do and be, how each of us chooses to treat one another, whether each of us stands tall not just for ourselves but for others - especially those who have not yet found their own voice. And today our brothers and sisters and patients need us more than ever.
 
As physicians and physicians-to-be and our supporters, we know that every life has value regardless of ideology or politics. We have the power to help heal our nation. And we must rise up to make that our responsibility.  
 
Let us choose love and kindness. Let us choose compassion and generosity. Let us choose to stand - especially in the face of fear and uncertainty. Let us choose to believe in extraordinary people whose collective energy is needed more now than ever before.  
 
Let us reach out to those with whom we disagree and do our part to bring together a divided nation.  
 
Let us each pledge to do all the good we can in all the places we can, for all the people we can, for as long as we can. 
 
And, today, let us rest and spend time with our loved ones so we can resolve ourselves for the work ahead.
In solidarity, 
 
Mona Vishin Mangat, MD - Board Chair
Alice Chen, MD - Executive Director

 

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Open enrollment is here


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Today marks the start of the Open Enrollment period for the health insurance marketplace. While millions of Americans have gained coverage since the first enrollment period, there are still many patients who remain unaware or confused about their coverage options and the financial assistancethat could help them lower their monthly costs. In fact, it is easier than ever to navigate plans and enroll in coverage this year.

To help ensure you have the latest information on enrollment in the marketplaces so you can educate your patients and community, we have included a flyer below to post in your offices and clinics. There are also provider resources, including a pocket card and fact sheet, highlighted on our website.
 
The Obama administration ends in January. Let's help finish this ACA enrollment period strong and ensure the success of the law for future generations. Contact us at info@drsforamerica.org if you are looking to get involved in an event in your area.
 

 

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Stay informed

By Dr. Mona Mangat
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Seven years ago, we came together to transform our healthcare system and ensure everyone had access to quality, affordable healthcare. We came from across the country -- from red states and blue states -- because we believe healthcare is a basic human right.
 
Because of the work of doctors and medical students, today, twenty million people have health insurance. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the uninsured rate in this country is the lowest on record. While we still have much work to do, we have made tremendous progress toward improving the health of the nation.
 
It is vitally important that we educate ourselves on healthcare issues so we can make informed decisions.
  
As we look toward a new administration and a rapidly approaching Open Enrollment period starting November 1, 2016, it is incredibly important to stay informed on where we are with health care reform. Myths often become facts and so we urge each of you to educate yourself and have tough conversations with your neighbors, relatives and patients. Knowledge is power!
 

Together, we will keep spreading the facts as we seek to build upon the successes of the ACA and improve the health of our patients and communities.

Yours in service,


Mona Mangat, MD
Board of Directors -  Chair, DFA

 

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