Communications from SPW

March 15, 2017

ACA Congressional Outreach

Congressman Peter Roskam with a map of his district
Rep. Peter Roskam, Illinois’ member of Ways & Means

Right now, Congress is weighing the merits of the “American Health Care Act” – the ACA repeal-and-replace bill. The Congressional Budget Office estimates 24 million would lose coverage. These are regular, middle-class people who would be left behind: older adults, people with disabilities, people with complex health needs. People like you and your neighbors. Read our statement

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March 1, 2017

Understanding Moral Injury

Cartoon explaining moral injurySometimes, the most difficult injury from which to recover is living with one’s memories.

A moral injury is defined as an injury to a person’s moral conscience based upon the act of perceived moral transgression which creates deep emotional pain. The catalyst is often acts of omission or commission, and the resulting trauma impacts one’s psyche due to personal cultural and spiritual values placed on those acts. In the most basic terms, the veteran feels crippling guilt. Continue reading “Understanding Moral Injury”

January 30, 2017

Our One-pagers on ACA and Medicaid

Young woman with babyAs you know, the Affordable Care Act is critically threatened. And these threats extend beyond the confines of the ACA to include attacks on Medicaid the overall federal-state healthcare system. Anticipated changes will dramatically affect people’s lives and shift the entire health care landscape.

That’s why we are creating this series of one-pagers, to show in clear and simple ways how the protections of the ACA affect everyday people’s lives in substantial ways.

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November 12, 2016

Giving Voice to SCI Patients in Their Own Research

Person using a wheelchairEvery time Joe needs routine health care unrelated to his spinal cord injury (SCI), he ends up providing the doctors with a laundry list of things they should be asking him, but don’t. Even though he is in his 30s, Joe doesn’t have a primary care physician. He can’t find one with an accessible office for routine exams; he gets his routine care from the specialist who he’s been seeing for his SCI. He’s starting to give up on trying to find a primary care physician because every time he educates them about how his injury affects his health, he gets a new doctor and has to start all over again. He feels it’s a waste of time and demoralizing, so he’s just stopped looking for a primary care physician.

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November 9, 2016

What Remains the Same

Trump and Clinton at podiums during the campaignNew leadership in the White House and in Congress always means different ideas and viewpoints for how we conduct the country’s business. But an election doesn’t change the needs that regular people have. We know from experience that the challenges people face today are the very same challenges we faced yesterday, and won’t change because of an election.

A new administration means changes, and we are ready to work with policymakers to mitigate the impact of change on our constituency. We will be using all of the tools at our disposal to make sure that people with complex health needs and disabilities have a voice – whatever systems of care we put in place.

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October 11, 2016

How Do You Advocate?

Scrabble board with ADVOCATE spelled outOne of the reasons I love the work I do at HDA is that I know that, by training others to be the best clinicians/advocates/medical professionals they can be, I will be helping to impact the lives of so many more people than if I were treating clients myself. When those who attend our workshops feel more empowered to work with a population they may not have engaged with before, I consider this a great success. Continue reading “How Do You Advocate?”

September 29, 2016

Learning Alternative Therapies for Trauma

OTabletop gardening therapy in progressn September 16, we partnered with the Institute for Therapy through the Arts to host an Experiential Learning Conference in Evanston, Illinois. The conference presented a daylong set of hands-on workshops to help participants understand why art and alternative therapies are so effective for people who experienced trauma.

There were about 50 attendees including ITA staff. They included social workers, counselors, and alternative therapy counselors. All have either worked with a client or currently work with clients experiencing some form of trauma.

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August 30, 2016

The Real Cost of Governor Rauner’s Vetoes

Bruce V. Rauner, governor-elect of Illinois, waves to the audience during his introduction at his inauguration ceremony in Springfield, Ill., Jan. 12, 2015. As Illinois' governor, Rauner will serve as the commander in chief for the Soldiers and Airmen of the Illinois National Guard while they are not under federal activation. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Lealan Buehrer/Released) Courtesy of WikipediaLast Friday afternoon, Governor Rauner took his hatchet to two important pieces of legislation that would have insured vital social supports for some of Illinois’ most vulnerable citizens. He vetoed HB 5931, which would have guaranteed a $15/hour wage to those who care for people with developmental disabilities, and SB 730, which would have expanded child care for low-income families.

To be fair, the Governor did acknowledge the importance of these services and the sacrifices of those who provide them. But, in the end, he justified the vetoes by saying the State is broke and the bills didn’t provide a funding mechanism. In other words, no child care without a bake sale to pay for it.

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August 18, 2016

The Task Is Simple, Yet Powerful, Even Life-Saving

Man taking his medsHe couldn’t handle groups, because people would come that didn’t see what he saw and he felt some of it was a sham. It triggered a lot for him. He was a Ranger, an elite fighting group. I don’t know if he could ever admit what happened to him. We discussed in his counseling that men have trouble with harassment and unwanted sexual advances. I’ve had more than one military guy, and it’s always hard for them to talk about it. They can maybe talk about someone else, but to actually admit it is difficult. Learning how to connect with this Ranger, without him thinking I was also a sham, helped. I finally got him to take his meds. If I didn’t make that connection, understand his misplaced guilt and sense of betrayal, I think he’d still be stockpiling his meds to this day and isolating himself. Continue reading “The Task Is Simple, Yet Powerful, Even Life-Saving”

July 21, 2016

Not All War Wounds Are Visible

Soldier with head bowed against his weapon - not all war wounds are visibleMST survivors face many barriers to accessing mental and physical healthcare. The invisible nature of trauma itself creates a barrier. One round-table participant this month summarized the challenge well: “Working with survivors is not as clear as we’d like it to be, with any survivor of trauma for that matter.”

The literature certainly supports that sentiment; 95% of trauma cases go unrecognized by clinicians Continue reading “Not All War Wounds Are Visible”