American Prospect on Brexit

This is a great article from The American Prospect about Brexit.  I read it and thought about healthcare elites and the VHA.

brexit_Who’s to Blame for Brexit? The Elites

David Dayen

June 24, 2016

Britain’s vote to leave the European Union was driven by right-wing populism, but the real blame must be laid at the feet of elite technocrats who have bungled the European project.

Over the past decade, elites broke the world, and were unrepentant about their failure. They created the conditions for the worst economic crisis in nearly a century, and made sure that their elite friends at the top would scoop up the post-crisis gains, stranding the vast majority of people. They decided their project of globalization and liberalization mattered more than democracy. Brexit is among the first tangible responses.

Yes, the victorious campaign to leave the European Union won on the basis of xenophobia and the demonization of immigrants. For anyone of a cosmopolitan bent it’s a terrible outcome. And those with long enough memories to remember the last time European nations broke apart instead of coming together will be pained by the outcome.

Practically all … Continue reading

Amazing Story About Innovation in a VA ICU

BN-ON037_howely_J_20160616104927This is amazing story about the Veterans Health Administration appeared in the Wall Street Journal. It’s entirely dependent on the fact that the VHA is one of the only healthcare systems in the country which has spent the money to purchase the kind of lift equipment that keeps nursing personnel and patients safe. And clearly, as evoked here, having the right equipment encourages innovations in real caring.

A Swimming Pool in the ICU
By E. Wesley Ely
Updated June 17, 2016 9:59 a.m. ET

“A swimming pool in the ICU? You must be nuts.” The nurse’s voice was almost lost amid the whooshing ventilator and infusion pumps.

Five days earlier, we had admitted Bennie, a Vietnam veteran, to the intensive care unit of our VA hospital in Nashville, Tenn. Frail and wrinkled, he had a look of utter confusion and a furrowed brow that would pluck the heartstrings of even the most calloused physician. Decades spent in Southern tobacco fields left him looking old enough to remember Hoover’s presidency. Double pneumonia and too much sedation made him delirious.

As his attending physician, I was thankful for his family. His … Continue reading

Bad News on Patient Safety from Ontario

Doris Grinspun head of the RNAO just sent me this article about the firing of a Chief Nurse who spoke out to protect patients.  Any Canadian nurse reading this should immediately join the protest.

The only good news here is that nurses are protesting this.

An Ontario nursing group contends Vanessa Burkoski was fired to silence her about changes affecting patient safety

By Jonathan Sher, The London Free Press

Vanessa Burkoski, past president of the RNAO (Postmedia Network)

Vanessa Burkoski, past president of the RNAO (Postmedia Network)


The boss of London’s largest hospital has sacked his chief nurse to stop her from speaking out against changes that put patients across Ontario in harm’s way, the head of a powerful nursing association claims.

Murray Glendining, chief executive of London Health Sciences Centre, tried to buy the silence of his chief nursing officer, Vanessa Burkoski, offering her cash if she would resign quietly, but she refused and was fired, Doris Grinspun, chief executive of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO), said Friday.

“It’s the most disgraceful thing I’ve … Continue reading

Vermont’s Voice For Nurses–and All of Us!


1461701110            On this site in the past, I’ve tried to highlight the work of nurses who have taken their patient advocacy into the arena of public policy making and electoral politics.

Mari Cordes, a nurse of twenty-eight years, the last sixteen at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington, has done both. After tireless campaigning for single payer health care in the Green Mountain State and for safer nurse-patient staffing ratios in her own hospital, Mari has become a candidate for the state legislature.

Before taking this plunge into local politics, Mari served as president of a 2,000-member nurses union, affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers. In that capacity, she both represented her co-workers in contract negotiations and day-to-day grievance handling and served as a constant presence in Montpelier, the Vermont state capitol. There, she helped draft bills and organize community support for paid sick leave, an end to health insurance plan discrimination against transgendered patients, and better regulatory oversight when local hospitals are sold to for-profit operators.

In recognition of her leadership role in Vermont health care, the current Democratic Governor, Peter Shumlin, named … Continue reading

New Blog Post on McCain VHA Bill — Bad News

mccainindexI just posted this on the American Prospect blog on McCain’s attempt to flimflam veterans by privatizing the VHA.


Tapped: The Prospect Group Blog

McCain Pulls a Bait-and-Switch on Vets

Almost as soon as Senator John McCain had finished working with Senator Bernie Sanders to craft the veterans’ health-care bill now known as the Choice Act in 2014, the Arizona Republican set out to renege on his promise that Choice would be temporary, and began floating plans to make it permanent.

Part of the Choice Act was the establishment of the Commission on Care, whose deliberations the Prospect has covered extensively. This week that Commission is meeting to hammer out its final report, which will include recommendations about what the VHA should look like in 20 years. Instead of waiting to see what the Commission mandated by his own bill recommends, McCain has once again jumped the gun. He is lobbying hard for a bill that would not only make the Choice program permanent, but would eliminate any restrictions on veterans’ access to private-sector health care.

McCain’s gift to … Continue reading