Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Sports Lottery; About those family planning providers; Hospital layoffs in Baton Rouge and; People’s Agenda Conference this Saturday

The Sports Lottery

A new survey from NPR, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health on sports in America found that more than one-quarter of parents of high school athletes hope their kids will go on to play professional sports. Though as the Washington Post’s Christopher Ingraham explains, those hopes differ by family circumstance:


But as the poll numbers show, lower-income and less-educated parents are especially likely to harbor dreams of their children making the big leagues. Forty four percent of parents with less than a high school education say they hope their student-athlete will make the majors. Among college-educated parents, only 9 percent say the same. For families at the lower end of the socio-economic ladder, it’s easy to see the allure. A pro sports gig can seem like the perfect ticket out — not just for the kid, but for the entire family. Everyone knows the rags-to-riches stories of a LeBron James or a Michael Oher. Of course, for every LeBron we never hear about the other 2,450 basketball-obsessed high school kids who never make the majors.

Indeed, the chances of becoming a pro athlete are quite slim, writes Matt Bonesteel. For starters, the vast majority of high school athletes don’t play in college, much less the pros. Consider football: of nearly 1.1 million high school players, only 6.5 percent (about 71,000) will play in college. And only 1.6 percent of those players (about 1,100) will be drafted by an NFL team. Of course, “hope” isn’t the same as “expect.” And extracurricular activities like sports bring a host of benefits for kids. But considering the odds, clearly parents should hope for good grades above all.


About those family planning providers

When Gov. Bobby Jindal scrapped Planned Parenthood’s Louisiana Medicaid contract, it came with the assurance that thousands of other health providers were waiting in the wings to accept new patients so that patients wouldn’t lose access to family planning services, STI tests and cancer screenings. It turns out those estimates were a bit overblown, and the real number is more like 29. Mother Jones magazine has the details:

The task seems straightforward: Make a list of health care providers that would fill the void if Louisiana succeeded in defunding Planned Parenthood. But the state, which is fighting a court battle to strip the group of hundreds of thousands of dollars in Medicaid funds, is struggling to figure out who would provide poor women with family planning care if not Planned Parenthood. Nowhere is this struggle more apparent than in a recent declaration by Louisiana’s attorneys that there are 2,000 family planning providers ready to accommodate new patients. A federal judge, reviewing the list in an early September court hearing, found hundreds of entries for specialists such as ophthalmologists; nursing homes caregivers; dentists; ear, nose, and throat doctors; and even cosmetic surgeons

His harsh questioning sent the state back to the drawing board. On Tuesday, the state’s attorneys acknowledged that the dentists and other specialists didn’t belong on the list. They filed a pared-down version that lists just 29 health care providers…And even among those providers, their ability to pick up Planned Parenthood’s slack is questionable. In Baton Rouge, the site of one of two Louisiana Planned Parenthood clinics, the state lists five alternate providers. But only three of those offer contraception, according to the state’s filing, and two of those have wait times ranging from two to seven weeks. One of the Baton Rouge clinics the state suggested is not accepting any new patients for STI, breast cancer, or cervical cancer screenings.


Hospital layoffs in Baton Rouge

First the Baton Rouge General Medical Center closed its mid-city emergency room. Now comes word that 50 to 60 employees are being laid off in the near future as the hospital “adjusts.”  Ted Griggs of the Advocate reports:


Baton Rouge General will eliminate the jobs of 50 to 60 administrative and support workers over the next three months as the hospital adjusts to the closure of its Mid City emergency room and changing patient volumes. Those changes altered the hospital’s organizational needs, President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Slyter said in a prepared statement…Baton Rouge General closed the Mid City emergency room at the end of March and consolidated emergency services at the Bluebonnet campus. Slyter said then that the hospital was working with consultants to come up with a new business plan for the Mid City campus.

All of this begs a troubling question for residents in the heart of the capital city: how long will their hospital keep its doors open at all? It’s worth remembering that the ER’s closure was driven in large part by the state’s refusal to expand Medicaid, which would have let federal dollars follow patients instead of sending them to favored hospitals that secured sweetheart deals from the administration.


People’s Agenda Conference this Saturday

The Power Coalition, a network of local and statewide community-based organizations in Louisiana that includes LBP, is convening its first People’s Agenda Conference tomorrow at Dillard University in New Orleans. The all-day conference will bring together residents from south Louisiana to discuss pressing issues affecting their communities. Power Coalition members are looking to develop opportunities for residents to participate in and have a real voice in the critical policy decisions that matter to them. “We are really looking to build community voice and power,” said LaTanja Silvester from SEIU LA 21. “Whether it’s civic engagement, racial justice, worker rights, or policy advocacy, our communities are ready to take the lead in Louisiana.” You can find details here or on the event’s Facebook page.


Number of the Day

$52 million – Amount of state dollars Louisiana could have saved this budget year by taking advantage of Medicaid expansion (Source: Legislative Fiscal Office)