LOCAL BRIEFS: Brite hosts therapy discussion, RCD unveils new website

Brite hosts therapy discussion

FORT WORTH — Brite Divinity School will host an evening conversation addressing practices of therapy for the LGBT community on Monday, Feb. 27.

Marshall.Joretta

Joretta Marshall

Speakers will discuss “reparative therapy” as well as “factors that contribute to a helpful experience of affirming therapy for LGBTQI persons.”

Speakers include Dr. David Jenkins from Brite’s School of Social Work who will share some of his research on what makes for good and helpful therapeutic work. Brite’s newly appointed dean, Joretta Marshall, and Cody Sanders will also serve on the panel.

The discussion, which is free and open to the public, runs from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Brite Divinity School, Bass Conference Center, 2925 Princeton St., Fort Worth.

RCD unveils new website

Resource Center Dallas has redesigned its website to provide easier access to its assortment of services and events.

One of the new features on the website is “Share Your Story,” and RCD wants to hear from people in the community. Drawings will be held April 15, Aug. 15 and Dec. 15 to win tickets to GayBingo. To enter, go to www.rcdallas.org/about-the-center/share-your-story.

“How has Resource Center Dallas changed your life? Perhaps our education and advocacy made things better in your workplace. Maybe volunteering with one of our programs reinforced your reasons for giving back to the community. Did our services help improve or restore your health? Or, maybe the Center’s staff and volunteers went above and beyond to assist you.”

Lone Star Ride kick-off party

Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS hosts its first fundraiser of the season on Wednesday, Feb. 29.

Simpson.Danny

Danny Simpson

LSR will receive 10 percent of alcohol sales. Complimentary food will be served. Get a wristband at the door.

The happy hour is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Sangria, 4524 Cole Ave., Dallas. To attend, email LRS co-chair Danny Simpson at danny@77nmotion.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 24, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

The growing problem of workplace bullying

Phyllis Guest
Taking Notes

Bullying isn’t just confined to teens; adults in the workplace are targeted, too

I recently met a remarkable woman who has a lot to say about a kind of adult bullying that hits straights as well as LGBTS, that hurts men as well as women, that harms older and less connected workers the most, and that is so pervasive it’s called “The Silent Epidemic.”

Esque Walker, who lives in Corsicana and drove up to Dallas recently to give a Saturday morning presentation on workplace bullying, has an undergraduate degree in health information management, a masters in healthcare/health information management and a doctorate in public policy and administration.

She also has a score of certifications and areas of expertise.

She has been working diligently for the passage of the Texas Healthy Workplace Bill, authored by Dr. David Yamada of the Workplace Bullying Institute. It’s hard going, as you can imagine.

So far, Dr. Walker has been unable to even get a meeting with Gov. Rick Perry. Perhaps he is too busy campaigning. More likely, if his many aides have put her name and credentials before him, he has retreated into his good-hairyness.

Remember: He scraped through Texas A&M with Ds; she has a Ph.D.

But the governor is not the only impediment to getting this bill in place. So far, Dr. Walker and her associates have spoken with a great many Texas state senators and representatives. Not one has agreed to sponsor the bill.

Dr. Walker was herself the target of workplace bullying some years ago. But instead of simply taking the abuse — as most women and many men have done over the years — she aligned herself with others who understood the issues involved.

So, what are the issues?

To begin, Dr. Walker asserts that adult bullying is based on the bully’s need for power and control. It’s closely linked with competitiveness; the bully may resent the target’s appearance, education, personality or any number of facets of the other person’s being. He or she definitely does not want the target to advance.

So how do you know you are targeted, assuming the bully does not actually taunt or threaten you, as happens so often to children and teens?

You start with power disparity; the bully may have a higher status, longer tenure or perhaps corporate protectors to give him or her a sense of strength.

Then you look at four other criteria: repetition, duration, intensity and escalation.

Workplace bullying, says Dr. Walker, usually plays out in a predictable way. First, the bully criticizes you or gets someone above you in the pecking order to do so. Next, the bully involves others, usually four to six people who may see you as a threat or just want to curry favor with the boss.

Then, no matter what you do, it is not enough or not good enough, and coworkers are not allowed to “help” you. Eventually you are fired — after being told, “You are not a team player.”
Here’s how it looks by the numbers:

• 62 percent of bullies are men (who may bully other men, straight women or, of course, LGBTs).

• 58 percent of targets are women.

• 18 percent of adult suicides in the European Union are attributed to workplace bullying.

• An estimated 1 million Texans are bullied at work every year.

As the economy has worsened, pushing out older workers has become the norm; counselors report the escalation, although putting a number to the pain is virtually impossible.
So what to do if you are the target?

First, document everything, with specifics of person, time, place and comment or event. Second, do not go to your organization’s human resources person or department; HR works for the company and could care less about you.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or your union representative — if applicable — can help; the latter may be especially important in education and medicine, where power disparities and bullying are common.

The Workplace Bullying Institute (WorkPlaceBullying.org) publishes a newsletter and other materials that can offer insight plus specifics. The Dallas Public Library has books by Gary Namie and Ruth Namie, Ph.D.’s known for their groundbreaking research and writing on workplace “jerks, weasels and snakes.”

And of course Out & Equal has done and continues doing great work on behalf of our community.

Final thoughts: The worst that can happen is that Texas will continue to allow vast amounts of cruelty in offices, factories, fields and stores. The best that could happen is that our next Legislature will pass the Healthy Workplace Bill, recognizing the problem, mandating anti-bullying education, and allowing victims to sue.

Meanwhile, if a workplace bully is making you frightened and depressed, find a counselor in whom you can confide. And don’t wait ’til tomorrow. Do it today.

Phyllis Guest is a longtime activist on political and LGBT issues and is a member of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 18, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Oak Cliff HIV doc takes over Bellos’ practice

Experienced HIV doc says denial of insurance claims forcing him to leave his Oak Lawn practice

DAVID TAFFET  |  taffet@dallasvoice.com

Bellos.Nick
Bellos.Nick

As of Dec. 15, patients of Dr. Nick Bellos will have a new primary care physician. Dr. Stockton Roberts will head the practice.

Over the last several years, Bellos, said, Blue Cross has denied or failed to pay more than half a million dollars to his practice. He said the insurance company said claims were incorrectly coded, or that they hadn’t received the claims. But the doctor said even after the coding was corrected and claims were resubmitted, Blue Cross still didn’t pay.

Unless they come to an agreement over the next few weeks, Texas Health Resources, which operates Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth and 14 other DFW area hospitals, will stop taking Blue Cross on Jan. 1, presumably for similar reasons.

In July, Bellos sold his practice to Medical Edge, a physician group in Dallas with more than 450 doctors. They take care of the business operations and pay doctors based on the profitability of the practice.

But, “It became obvious it wasn’t going to work out financially,” Bellos said.

He resigned effective Dec. 15.

Roberts has practiced in Oak Cliff for five years when he took over the practice of Dr. David Brand upon his retirement. Medical Edge also employs him.

Roberts will combine Bellos’ practice of more than 3,000 patients with his own of about 2,000 patients. Four members of Bellos’ staff will remain at the Lemmon Avenue office.

Roberts said he plans to spend most of his time in the Oak Lawn office but will continue in Oak Cliff on Fridays. He said his lease in Oak Cliff will be up at the end of January and he will decide then whether to renew it.

Roberts said Medical Edge asked him to take over Bellos’ practice because he is the only other physician in that company with an HIV practice.

“I want to make sure those with HIV are taken care of,” he said. “Nick [Bellos] will be a resource for me.”

Roberts said he hopes to add another doctor to the practice soon and is looking into ways to increase profit. He’s hoping his Oak Cliff patients will follow him to the new office.

He called his Oak Cliff practice quite diverse.

“If you don’t fit anywhere else, you fit here,” he said.

Roberts said that description fits him well, too. He was married and has three children but came out about five years ago and now has a partner. They live in Arlington. He maintains an apartment in Fort Worth near his children and practices in Dallas.

Bellos is not quite sure what his plans are. He’s considering legal action against Blue Cross.

“I want to thank all the patients who have allowed me to be part of their journey for the past 30 years,” he said. “But it’s time to open a new chapter and continue to be of help to the HIV community in another capacity.”

Because of a non-compete clause in his contract with Medical Edge, he cannot practice with patients for a year. However, he’s hoping to expand the clinical trials and research he conducts at a new location. Those on his research staff will remain with him.

As one of the most experienced HIV infectious disease physicians — having treated patients with the disease since the beginning of the epidemic — Bellos is frequently invited to speak around the world. In January, he will be speaking in Australia.

Bellos’ timing of his announcement was related to some changes in law.

On Jan. 1, several new provisions of health care reform kick in. The lifetime cap for benefits will be eliminated. Denial of insurance because of pre-existing conditions will be removed for anyone under 19 years old. That will extend to everyone in two years.

Beginning in 2011, minors can continue to be covered on their parents’ policies until age 26. Wellness screenings must be included free of charge. Deductibles are increasing and co-pays no longer count toward those deductibles.

While the goal is covering more people, insurance companies are rapidly raising rates to cover these added expenses.

Along with increased coverage, however, will come decreased payments to physicians.

Medicare payments to doctors will decrease by 25 percent, unless addressed by the end of the year. Insurance companies follow Medicare reimbursements closely.

“The ability to run an office and pay a staff is going to be difficult,” Bellos said.

Roberts believes he can turn the larger, combined practice into something profitable. He plans to add at least one more physician and keep electronic medical records. He said he’s meeting with infectious disease doctors to forge new relationships to benefit his patients.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 10, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

AIDS Arm’s Red Ribbon Society hosting discussion on impact of health care reform law

The Red Ribbon Society of AIDS Arms will host a dinner and “lively panel discussion to address the facts and impact of Health Care Reform on you, your family and your business,” Red Ribbon members have announced.

The event begins at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 15, in the Magnolia Room at Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen, 3520 Oak Lawn Ave. Seating is limited and those attending must R.S.V.P. to Kris Martin by the end of the day on Friday, Sept. 10. The invitation I got here at the office did not include information on the cost to attend. But I bet you can find that out by e-mailing Kris at kmartin@aidsarms.org or calling her at 214-521-5191, ext. 373.

The panel discussion will feature Arnold Doyle, senior director of professional affairs at Tibotec Therapeutics; attorney Michael Regier, senior vice president of legal and corporate affairs at VHA Inc.; attorney Scott Chase, certified in health law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization; and Dr. David M. Lee with Uptown Physicians Group and Baylor University Medical Center.

The Red Ribbon Society was created in 2005 for individuals who contribute $1,000 or more on an annual basis toward the programs, research and clinical care at AIDS Arms. For more about membership, go here.

—  admin