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.

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.

DAC Accepting Applications

DAC is seeking résumés from qualified individuals that are interested in working with us. We are now actively hiring for our Redding Center for the Older Individuals who are Blind Program (OIB).

The purpose of the OIB program is to

  • Provide independent living services to older individuals who are blind;
  • Conduct activities that will improve or expand services for these individuals; and
  • Improve public understanding of these individuals’ challenges.

An “older individual who is blind” is an individual age 55 or older whose significant visual impairment makes competitive employment extremely difficult to attain but for whom independent living goals are feasible. Through these services and activities, the program seeks to improve independent living options for older individuals who are blind and increase their independence and self-sufficiency.

DAC Employment Application

Independent Living – Senior Specialist OIB North

Phillips Networks with Service Workers

Assistive Technology specialist with DAC, Dwight Phillips, recently teamed with the Western Service Workers Association of Redding to distribute clothing and toys to children in families experiencing material hardship.

Phillips used the The Disability Action Center’s box transport truck to move the special items from Chico to Redding. He also regularly transports large durable medical equipment such as hospital beds, motorized chairs, and hoyer lifts to facilitate bringing equipment for consumer pick-up between our center locations.

“It’s good to know there’s organizations still out there helping the less fortunate in our society,” Phillips stated.

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Disability Action Center’s Dwight Phillips, center, worked with Western Service Workers staff to give clothing and toys to the needy of the North State region.

Thanks Giving

DAC_logo_iconTo all those who make a difference in the lives of others; thank you.  To all those who donate their time and energy into Disability Action Center; thank you.  To all those who bring in supplies and equipment to recycle that is given back out to others in our communities; thank you.