Free Care If…

When I first heard about a Vermont bill that became law on July 1, 2024 I thought the state had entered into a new era of health care affordability. The news report outlined some of the circumstances under which people could receive free hospital care. When I read the bill it turned out there is mostly nothing new, but it’s worth talking about it because some people need to know about hospital policies regarding free care.

Because all of Vermont’s hospitals are non-profit they have some degree of requirement to provide free care to needy individuals. That used to apply to hospitals that took money under the Hill-Burton Act but I think those days have passed and free care is still part of a hospital’s budget.


Brattleboro and VT COVID-19 Regional Dashboard Summary – July 2024

Here’s the July 2024 dashboard summary. We continue semi-regular COVID-19 dashboard numbers from the Vermont Department of Health, and MA and NH counties that surround Brattleboro, as long as they continue providing them. Scroll down the new comments for the latest.

VT, NH and MA do weekly updates, near the end of the week, so we update on Fridays usually. All three have changed their dashboards since the start, so it is now tough to easily compare how things have changed. Variant updates are every two weeks.


Brattleboro Area Hospice: New Online Support Group for People Living with Serious Illness Starting in July 2024

Are you going through treatment? Feeling overwhelmed or scared? Talking with others may help.

The Serious Illness Program support groups provide a safe space for people to share personal experiences, feelings, coping strategies, and allow for shared learning. 

Free, facilitated, peer support group for people who live in Windham County and neighboring NH towns who are experiencing a life-altering illness with a focus on cancer, heart and organ diseases. 


Healthcare Community Meetings

Healthcare access and affordability affects every single Vermonter—regardless of your insurance. Join local community leaders, hospital leaders, legislators, state officials, and your neighbors at your local Healthcare Community Meeting to discuss the options your community has for supporting the future of healthcare in Vermont.


Brattleboro and VT COVID-19 Regional Dashboard Summary – June 2024

Here’s the June 2024 dashboard summary. We continue semi-regular COVID-19 dashboard numbers from the Vermont Department of Health, and MA and NH counties that surround Brattleboro, as long as they continue providing them. Scroll down the new comments for the latest.

VT, NH and MA do weekly updates, near the end of the week, so we update on Fridays usually. All three have changed their dashboards since the start, so it is now tough to easily compare how things have changed. Variant updates are every two weeks.


The Cannabis Story

I still have trouble believing that I will not be arrested if I carry marijuana in my pocket or in my car. I came of age at a time when the drug was considered to be on par with heroin and other deadly substances. Some people were even making reference to the 1936 movie Reefer Madness when they tried to show how bad they thought marijuana was.

If you smoked it in your college dorm room you had to make sure you put a towel at the bottom of the door so no one would know what was happening inside. You risked expulsion from school and possible arrest.

No one could have predicted that this psychoactive substance that really is in a class all it’s own, would someday become legal for recreational use in 24 states and in D.C. Society has changed a lot and the federal government is moving to reclassify cannabis so it is not in the same class as heroin. Federal legalization is still not on the radar.


Brattleboro and VT COVID-19 Regional Dashboard Summary – May 2024

Here’s the April 2024 dashboard summary. We continue semi-regular COVID-19 dashboard numbers from the Vermont Department of Health, and MA and NH counties that surround Brattleboro, as long as they continue providing them. Scroll down the new comments for the latest.

VT, NH and MA do weekly updates, near the end of the week, so we update on Fridays usually. All three have changed their dashboards since the start, so it is now tough to easily compare how things have changed. Variant updates are every two weeks.


No Pain, No Gain

Weight loss is one of the more difficult issues that people have to deal with. You would be hard pressed not to find a few people who have struggled with their weight many times during their life. Until now there has been no simple solution to weight loss and, in my opinion, that is a good thing.

I was considered a “fat” child growing up and I took a lot of bullying and name calling during my public school years. My teachers even called me by a derogatory nickname from junior high and all through high school and I had to live with it until I went to college and heard people address me by my real name.

One of the reasons I was not accepted for the military during the height of the Viet Nam War was because I was overweight. I lost 50 pounds when I was 20 and travelling, but I have always struggled to keep my weight below what I consider an acceptable level.


Brattleboro and VT COVID-19 Regional Dashboard Summary – April 2024

Here’s the April 2024 dashboard summary. We continue semi-regular COVID-19 dashboard numbers from the Vermont Department of Health, and MA and NH counties that surround Brattleboro, as long as they continue providing them. Scroll down the new comments for the latest.

VT, NH and MA do weekly updates, near the end of the week, so we update on Fridays usually. All three have changed their dashboards since the start, so it is now tough to easily compare how things have changed. Variant updates are every two weeks.


Brattleboro and VT COVID-19 Regional Dashboard Summary – March 2024

Here’s the March 2024 dashboard summary. We continue semi-regular COVID-19 dashboard numbers from the Vermont Department of Health, and MA and NH counties that surround Brattleboro, as long as they continue providing them. Scroll down the new comments for the latest.

VT, NH and MA do weekly updates, near the end of the week, so we update on Fridays usually. All three have changed their dashboards since the start, so it is now tough to easily compare how things have changed. Variant updates are every two weeks.


Pro Life Means Women Suffer and Die

For 50 years our country gave women the right to control their bodies when it came to the decision to terminate a pregnancy. The Supreme Court took that away in June of 2022. The result of their ruling is that states now have the ability to ban abortions and at least 24 states have done so with a variety of time restrictions.

Many voters will still have this issue in mind in November and it is important for all of us to find out where candidates stand on this issue. Some states, like Vermont, quickly passed legislation to give a woman the right to choose and that means that women at least can try to go to states without abortion bans when they need the procedure.


Workers’ Center Hosts Health Justice Jam

Have you been cut off of Medicaid?
Are you at risk of losing it?
Is your healthcare unaffordable?
Are you dealing with medical debt?
Are you unable to access the care you need?

Join local members of the Vermont Workers’ Center at a Health Justice Jam from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Feb. 21 in the Centre Congregational Church parlor. There will be opportunities for people to share their experiences with the healthcare system and to participate in a discussion about how we can work for a system in which everyone is able to enjoy the human right to healthcare. We’ll have information about current legislation that proposes to expand access to Medicaid and Medicare Savings Programs.


The Perils of For-Profit Health Care

Luckily, Vermont is mostly protected from the inhumane harm that can be done when for-profit health care entities decide to leave a community because they can’t make enough money. Sadly, there is another story playing out in Massachusetts in a way that may do a lot of harm to a lot of people.

Steward Health Care operates nine hospitals in Massachusetts. Many of them are hospitals that have served their local community for a long time. If they close because of current financial troubles, it would create hardship for thousands of people and leave them scrambling to find health care providers as well as having to drive long distances to get to emergency rooms and doctors’ offices.

This country has embraced the notion that health care should be just another commodity from which profit should be extracted. After all, it would be unamerican for a business not to be able to extract profit while trying to manipulate market forces to its advantage. That is the American way.


Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz

We often hear advice, ward off dementia by staying mentally active. Learn a language, pick up a new instrument, take up a puzzle routine. Having recently lost a family member to that disease, and now being much more aware of its prevalence, (seemingly more and more-so) I’ve come to question that prescription. Not that mental engagement isn’t worthwhile for many other reasons, but as deterrent to the mysterious disintegration of the mind in these diseases I have my doubts.

Off the top of my head, a quick look at some well known people who were brilliant in life and succumbed to dementia. Saul Bellow- Nobel winning novelist (and part-time Brattleboro resident), Terry Jones- Monty Python director/writer/actor, Gene Wilder- writer of books, Young Frankenstein, and actor in many classic films, Ronald Reagan, Joanne Woodward, Bruce Willis, Rosa Parks, Robin Williams…the list goes on.


Brattleboro and VT COVID-19 Regional Dashboard Summary – February 2024

Here’s the February 2024 dashboard summary. We continue semi-regular COVID-19 dashboard numbers from the Vermont Department of Health, and MA and NH counties that surround Brattleboro, as long as they continue providing them. Scroll down the new comments for the latest.

VT, NH and MA do weekly updates, near the end of the week, so we update on Fridays usually. All three have changed their dashboards since the start, so it is now tough to easily compare how things have changed. Variant updates are every two weeks.


Medicaid & Health Resource Drop-in Hours

Have you been cut off of Medicaid, or are you concerned that you may become ineligible? Are you on Medicare and unable to afford a supplement? Are you concerned about going into medical debt?

The Vermont Workers’ Center is hosting drop-in informational hours on Feb. 6 from 3:00-5:30 PM in the Brooks Memorial Library Community Meeting Room, 224 Main St, Brattleboro. All are welcome to stop in to get updated about Medicaid, Medicare Savings Programs, and other health care resources. You can find out about your rights in this process and review any communications you have received about Medicaid or other health insurance.


Brattleboro Covid Vaccination Clinic at Senior Center

The Brattleboro Recreation and Parks Senior Center would like to announce that they will be partnering with the VT Department of Health to offer a free Covid Vaccination clinic on Tuesday, January 16th from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Brattleboro Senior  Center.  Appointments can be made by calling Sarah at 802-257-7570.  Walk-ins are also welcome. 


Brattleboro and VT COVID-19 Regional Dashboard Summary – January 2024

Here’s the January 2024 dashboard summary. We continue semi-regular COVID-19 dashboard numbers from the Vermont Department of Health, and MA and NH counties that surround Brattleboro, as long as they continue providing them. Scroll down the new comments for the latest.

VT, NH and MA do weekly updates, near the end of the week, so we update on Fridays usually. All three have changed their dashboards since the start, so it is now tough to easily compare how things have changed. Variant updates are every two weeks.


Are You Prepared?

According to a report recently released by the Windham Aging group 14,015 people or 31% of the Windham County area is over the age of 60 and that number is projected to increase while the numbers for lower age groups is projected to decrease. The numbers are similar for the state as well as the rest of the country. The bottom line is that the average age of our population is growing and there will be a lot of older people in the years to come.

Our society currently doesn’t have the capacity to deal with the elderly population that we have. There are not enough home care providers and nursing homes and it is almost impossible for someone to stay at home as they age and become infirm unless they have an unlimited amount of financial resources.

We have never had a national discussion about how our government should support the aging population. Most other developed countries around the world provide more support for the elderly but the United States has left matters to be solved by chance. If you have enough money you may be able to age gracefully, but most of us do not have those kind of resources. It is rare for people to make concrete plans for life after 60.


Brattleboro and VT COVID-19 Regional Dashboard Summary – December 2023

Here’s the December 2023 dashboard summary. We continue semi-regular COVID-19 dashboard numbers from the Vermont Department of Health, and MA and NH counties that surround Brattleboro, as long as they continue providing them. Scroll down the new comments for the latest.

VT, NH and MA seem to be doing weekly updates, near the end of the week. All three have changed their dashboards since the start, so it is now tough to easily compare how things have changed. Variant updates are every two weeks.