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*Not all events are hosted by DAC. Some are hosted by other agencies and their supportive programs*

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Center was a vital resource during north state power shutoff

Whether it was a lithium battery powering crucial medical devices for up to three days, hotel stays or $50 daily food vouchers, Disability Action Center was a vital resource for north state residents affected by the PG&E power shutoffs.

The center used a $60,000 grant from PG&E to provide an array of services that were required the last week of October as the giant utility company shut off power to consumers for fire prevention reasons.

Up to 15 batteries were distributed to DAC consumers in Redding and Chico.

Hotel stays, which included daily food vouchers, totaled 30 guests.

“It was a very successful program,” said center program manager Wendy Longwell.

More power shutoffs are planned by PG&E to counter the threat from statewide wildfires and DAC will be prepared with even more batteries that have been provided by the utility, Longwell said.

Some outstanding batteries still need to be returned to either the Redding or Chico DAC offices.

If you are having difficulty returning a battery that was loaned to you by DAC, call 242-8550 or 893-8527 to arrange a pickup.

DAC gets grant to power devices in next shutoff

CHICO –The nonprofit Independent Living Center for the North State region, Disability Action Center of Chico-Redding, has been awarded a Public Safety Power Shutoff grant from PG&E to aid residents who will be impacted by ongoing utilities disruptions.

Through the $60,000 grant, DAC now has the resources, including several portable lithium battery packs, to help consumers who have a medical condition, medical equipment or refrigerated medication that would be at risk without power. The packs can power a refrigerator for up to three days to keep vital medicine like insulin at proper temperatures. They can also be a power source for other medical devices like cpaps, oxygen, feeding pumps, ventilators, power chairs and dialysis machines, to name just a few.

The pilot program also provides funding for hotel rooms, gift cards for food and transportation.

A current PG&E bill and proof of medical condition/equipment needs are required to get help from DAC, conditions that are required under the grant.

All equipment will be distributed on a free loan basis and must be returned to DAC.

Local anchorman Mike Mangas of Ch. 7 interviewed program manager Wendy Longwell recently at the DAC Redding office regarding the grant.

Consumers are asked to call DAC at 530-893-8527 or 242-8550 for assistance when the next power shutoff is scheduled. The Chico office for DAC is located at 1161 East Ave. The Redding office is at 2876 Park Marina Drive

The lithium battery packs can last all weekend to power low energy medical equipment like ventilators, Cpaps, dialysis machines and IV pumps (Dan Murphy photos).
DAC program manager Wendy Longwell, right, talks with Ch. 7’s Mike Mangas about the center’s new grant for battery packs and lodging assistance in response to the power shutoffs.

Cody Hull Lauded For Dedicated Service

Longtime volunteer Cody Hull was honored as Disability Action Center’s Outstanding Volunteer Award winner during a recent staff meeting in Chico.

Executive Director Evan Levang spoke of Hull’s enthusiastic efforts on behalf of DAC while presenting a special plaque to the award winner.

The plaque reads: “Thank you for your dedication.”

Among his numerous contributions to DAC, Mr. Hull compiles a housing list of available properties for Butte County residents and beyond. He also regularly works the center’s reception area, answering phones and greeting the public.

DAC program manager Wendy Longwell praised Hull’s willingness to be a team player. “Cody is always there when we ask him to go above and beyond,” Longwell said.

Chico Mayor Randall Stone attended the meeting and helped recognize Hull.

DAC OIB Senior Specialist Teresa Rios lauded Hull for his pleasant demeanor and versatility. “Cody is always willing to help with any and every project he is asked to help with,” she said. “When he gets to the office he always makes his way back to my office to say ‘good morning’ or ‘hello’. It is such a pleasure to have him in our office.”

Hospital Stays – Know Your Rights

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CARA executive director Jodi Reid addresses a workshop for retirees at the Redding Library on April 12 regarding patient rights during hospital stays.

Are you facing an upcoming hospital stay? Premature discharge is a huge problem, and a bit of advanced planning can make a world of difference when it is time for you to return home.

The California Association of Retired Americans (CARA) had much to say in their recent special workshop. The big overall? Record this telephone number:

Livanta – California Medicare Appeals Helpline: 1-877-588-1123

You can receive assistance to appeal a discharge from a hospital, skilled nursing facility, home health agency or comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation facility. You can also file complaints regarding the quality of Medicare-covered services.

Livanta is your national advocate if you feel you are being discharged prematurely from a hospital. Making the call will start your file and stop your discharge until it is cleared up by the hospital staff and a Livanta representative.

PLAN AHEAD

I. Hospital stays for surgeries etc.
Get detailed info ASAP and as much as possible from a health care provider before you are admitted, and about what is involved post-visit. Most people still don’t do this for themselves or loved ones and it leads to problems like living conditions in recovery and with accessibility/mobility. Hospitals aren’t good at communicating this to patients, or don’t have enough staff to do it properly.
  • Have a family member/friend record any conversations about your care pre- and post-visit with a smartphone device etc.
II. Discharge
Hospitals are notoriously understaffed on weekends. They are required to have a discharge planner coordinate a safe discharge for you either through a social worker, nurse, or the hospital discharge planner. The problem is most hospitals discharge patients too quickly and try to do it on Fridays to reduce bed counts. You may end up back in the hospital because of this. Hospitals can be fined up to $10,000 if a patient re-enters the hospital within 30 days of an unsafe discharge.
This behavior is so pervasive that Medicare now contracts with a third party (Livanta) to make sure you have a safe discharge. Medicare pays for you to appeal your discharge. This is a secret hospitals don’t want you to know about.
Should you end up at a skilled nursing facility for recovery, Medicare pays in full for the first 100 days. Medicare also pays for hospice services.
III. Make sure you are fully “admitted” into the hospital- not held for “observation”
Observation is a way hospitals attempt to get around not having to pay the possible $10,000 fine should an unsafe discharge be identified. Placed under observation rather than full admission could lead to a huge bill you are not covered for and probably cannot afford.
Medicare does not pay while you are under observation because those services are considered outpatient care.  Do not sign or authorize anything until you see an admission slip. You are not admitted into the hospital until you sign this piece of paper.
Be an assertive patient. Know your rights.