Parkland, V.A. receive HRC’s highest score, Methodist the lowest on HEI

Parkland

Parkland Hospital

The Human Rights Campaign has released its annual Healthcare Equality Index, and Dallas hospitals fared far better than they have in the past.

Parkland Health & Hospital System received HRC’s top rating for the fourth year in a row. Rated separately, all of its facilities throughout the county — like Amelia Court and other clinics — fared well.

The four categories rated are patient non-discrimination, visitation, employment non-discrimination and training. The rating for each were “yes,” “no” or “not applicable.”

The Dallas V.A. hospital also received HRC’s top rating.

UT Southwestern, Medical City, Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake and Green Oaks Hospital received positive ratings in every category except training.

Who ranked worst across the board? Methodist Hospital received the lowest rating, with a “no” in every category.

Baylor has non-discrimination in patient visitation, but may still fire you if you’re LGBT or not give you equal patient care. One of the few cases filed and won under the Dallas non-discrimination was against Baylor.

Presbyterian doesn’t have a patient non-discrimination policy, but does have visitation and employment policies in place.

“We are extremely proud to be recognized by the HRC Foundation. Parkland is committed to providing a safe, respectful and caring environment for everyone,” said Ildemaro Gonzalez, Parkland’s vice president and chief inclusion and diversity officer.

In Fort Worth, no hospital received top rating.

Cook Children’s Medical Center and Plaza Medical Center of Fort Worth have policies in place without training.

Baylor All Saints Medical Center at Fort Worth has a policy allowing visitation.

John Peter Smith, Tarrant County’s counterpart to Parkland, allows visitation, but doesn’t have non-discrimination policies for patients or employees.

Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth allows patient discrimination but has a nondiscrimination policy for its employees and visitors.

In Arlington, Medical Center of Arlington has all categories covered except training.

Baylor Medical Center at Irving lacks the same protections as the other hospitals in the Baylor system.

Las Colinas Medical Center in Irving and Medical Center of Plano only lack training.

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano has no patient protections in place.

Across Texas, 13 hospitals or hospital systems received the highest rating. None in Oklahoma received that score.

—  David Taffet

Parkland carjacking suspect not related to Oak Lawn attacks

Major Max GeronDeon Fridia, one of two 18-year-olds arrested on Saturday night for a carjacking at a garage in an apartment complex across the street from Parkland Hospital, couldn’t be responsible for the recent string of attacks on gay men in Oak Lawn, because he was in jail at the time.

Arrest records show Fridia was held on charges of theft of less than $50, possession of marijuana, evading arrest and failure to give proper ID. He pleaded guilty to the charges.

Fridia’s mother, Kimberly Lowe, told Fox 4, “He couldn’t possibly have done all of the crimes because he was incarcerated for like 45 days and he just got out like 3 weeks ago.”

On Sunday, Dec. 13, police held a press conference at Dallas Police headquarters, and announced the arrest of two men in the assault, robbery and carjacking of a woman around midnight at a parking garage. Police spokesman Major Max Geron said police would investigate whether the two arrested men were connected to the Oak Lawn attacks. None of the victims of the attacks have been contacted to help make an identification.

The second man in the attack is Donedwin Maxie. Maxie also has an arrest record, but previous charges against him were no-billed or dismissed.

After taking the car from the woman in the parking garage early Sunday morning, Maxie and Fridia tried to use one of the woman’s credit cards in Oak Cliff, but then returned to Oak Lawn. Police caught them at the Exxon/7-11 on the corner of Oak Lawn and Maple avenues and credit the increased police presence in the area as a result of the series of violent attacks for the quick arrest.

 

—  David Taffet

Parkland names garden after Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson

EBJ Garden

Portion of gardens at new Parkland Hospital named after Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson as seen from a patient room taken earlier this year (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

EBJ

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson and David Krause

The new garden surrounding the Parkland Women and Infants Specialty Health (WISH) Center was named for Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson at a ceremony held last weekend.

“Congresswoman Johnson has helped to make Dallas what it is today,” said Debbie Dudley Branson, a local Dallas attorney and chair of the Parkland Board of Managers. “The Parkland community is grateful to you for your lifetime commitment to public health. Your name will forever be associated with one of the finest public hospitals in the country.”

Parkland Foundation President and CEO David Krause said, “Congresswoman Johnson has been a steadfast advocate for Parkland, and I am delighted that the promenade is being named for her.”

Healthcare has always been a priority to Johnson. She is trained as a nurse and began her career working at the V.A. Hospital in Dallas. As a state senator, she crafted the first HIV legislation in Texas.

“I am both proud and humbled to be recognized by the naming of such a beautiful space that will be used to provide a place of serenity to the women and children who will be the work they do here, and this is an extraordinary honor,” Johnson said.

The largest hospital in Dallas County, Parkland had more than one million patient visits last year. The new Parkland Hospital is scheduled to open Aug. 20 in Dallas’ medical district. It will be an 865-bed facility.

—  David Taffet

Longtime Parkland CEO Ron Anderson dies of cancer

RJAnderson

Ron J. Anderson, M.D.

Ron J. Anderson, M.D., president and CEO of Parkland Health and Hospital System for 29 years, died Thursday, Sept. 11 of cancer. He was 68 years old. As of Friday morning, services were pending.

Anderson took over as head of Parkland in 1982, when he was 35 years old and when the AIDS epidemic was in its early days. Anderson was head of the county hospital when, in the late 80s, the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance  (then called Dallas Gay Alliance) and Ron Woodruff of Dallas Buyers Club fame, filed — and won — the lawsuit that forced Parkland to treat people with HIV.

Anderson was named president and CEO after serving two years as medical director of the hospital’s emergency room and outpatient clinic and head of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center’s Division of Internal Medicine. He retired from Parkland in 2011, after spending his last years with the hospital leading the bond campaign that brought in public financing for the new $1.3 billion facility due to open next year.

In the mid-1980s, Anderson grabbed national attention when he spoke out against the practice — called patient dumping — of transferring medically unstable patients from private hospitals to public hospitals based on the patient’s ability or inability to pay, leading to passage of state laws regarding indigent care in Texas and later federal legislation banning patient dumping.

According to a press release from Parkland announcing his death, Anderson was known as an advocate of universal health care and for leading development of Parkland’s Community Oriented Primary Care health centers. He came to national attention again in the mid-1990s as a spokesperson in the movement for better confidentiality regarding the patient/physician relationship.

Anderson once said, in a speech to a UT Southwestern graduating class, “It is not enough just to try ‘to do good’ and try ‘to avoid evil,’ although these are the ethical keystones of the physician/patient relationship. We cannot be paternalistic toward patients and must accept their cultural, religious, ethnic and social differences. We must respect our patients’ autonomy and desire for wholeness, which should stimulate us to address the social justice issues affecting our patients’ lives.”

—  Tammye Nash

For the 4th time in 2 months, a pedestrian was struck last week on the Cedar Springs strip

A 72-year-old pedestrian was struck in the crosswalk on Cedar Springs Road at Knight Street at about 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 22. He was taken to Parkland Hospital and released on Christmas Day.

Lyle Bainbridge said he was crossing the street in the crosswalk and vehicles had stopped in both directions, when a motorist sped around the stopped vehicles and hit him.

He said he was thrown and his head landed in the gutter just inches from the car that hit him.

The driver of that vehicle stopped and told Bainbridge that he was delivering pizzas and was on his cell phone talking to the owner of his store. Bainbridge said the man was apologetic and in tears when he got out of his car.

Bainbridge has a broken collar bone. Doctors detected heart defibrillation problems that may have been a result of the accident. He said he had not been diagnosed previously with heart problems.

Bainbridge, who is from California, is in Dallas for the holidays house-sitting for a friend.

This is the fourth time a pedestrian has been hit on Cedar Springs Road in two months and the third time near this same location.

On Nov. 25, Edward Lee King, 61, was struck by a driver and killed crossing Cedar Springs Knight Street. Wayne Priest, 55, was killed by a hit-and-run driver near Cedar Springs and Reagan Street on Nov. 3.

A 10-year-old girl was hit on Dec. 10 near Knight Street. Her injuries were not life-threatening.

After the earlier accidents, Councilwoman Angela Hunt asked city staff to looks at ways to make the area safer for pedestrians.

Bainbridge said he wanted to call awareness to his accident to push the city to take action. He said that there should be stop signs at the intersection if not traffic lights.

“It takes something drastic happening before they’ll do something,” he said.

When he learned about the previous accidents at the intersection, he said he wondered how many more people will be hit before the city makes safety in this area a priority.

It was unclear whether the driver who hit Bainbridge received a citation. Sr. Cpl. Melinda Gutierrez, a spokeswoman for the Dallas Police Department, said an accident report was not yet available.

—  David Taffet

Best Bets • 11.04.11

Friday 11.04

TonyMoran

Tony Moran

Coma tones
Our favorite San Antonio lesbi-centric rock trio is back. Girl in a Coma are on the road supporting their fourth album, Exits and All the Rest. Fusing rock,

punk and Tejano, GIAC has stayed true to its brand while still showing growth each
time out. As always, watch out for
singer Nina Diaz’s vocal
onslaught. It’s glorious.

DEETS: Prophet
Bar, 2548 Elm
St. 8 p.m. $15.
ProphetBar.com.

…………………….

Friday 11.04

And the beat goes on
We all know Tony Moran is one heck of a DJ, but he proves it in heaps as he headlines the music for the Troy Sands Remembrance Dance Party, in honor of the late DJ who made quite the impact on both the local and national dance music scenes. Donations are suggested to benefit Sands’ favorite charity, the Parkland Foundation.

DEETS: Dallas Eagle.
5740 Maple Ave.
10 p.m. $10.
DallasEagle.com

…………………….

Thursday 11.10

Deck the halls with some ‘Tuna’
The people of Tuna, Texas suffer through yard-decorating contests and a theater production gone awry in A Tuna Christmas. Is it bad to laugh through it all to forget our own holiday trauma?

DEETS:  Casa Manana,
3101 West Lancaster Ave.
Fort Worth.
Through Nov. 20. $50–$70.
CasaManana.org.

—  Kevin Thomas

Texas: A not-so-great state

As Perry eyes the presidency and Dewhurst makes a bid for the Senate, let’s look at the story the numbers really tell

Phyllis Guest | Taking NoteGuest.Phyllis.2

It seems that while David Dewhurst is running for the U.S. Senate, Rick Perry — otherwise known as Gov. Goodhair — is planning to run for president. I wonder what numbers they will use to show how well they have run Texas.

Could they cite $16 million? That’s the sum Perry distributed from our state’s Emerging Technology Fund to his campaign contributors.

Or maybe it is $4.1 billion. That’s the best estimate of the fees and taxes our state collects for dedicated purposes — but diverts to other uses.

Then again, it could be $28 billion. That’s the last published number for the state’s budget deficit, although Perry denied any deficit during his last campaign.

But let’s not get bogged down with dollar amounts. Let’s consider some of the state’s other numbers.

There’s the fact that Texas ranks worst in at least three key measures:

We are the most illiterate, with more than 10 percent of our state’s population unable to read a word. LIFT — Literacy Instruction for Texas — recently reported that half of Dallas residents cannot read a newspaper.

We also have the lowest percentage of persons covered by health insurance and the highest number of teenage repeat pregnancies.

Not to mention that 12,000 children have spent at least three years in the state welfare system, waiting for a foster parent. That’s the number reported in the Texas-loving Dallas Morning News.

Meanwhile, the Legislature has agreed to put several amendments to the Texas Constitution before the voters. HJR 63, HJR 109 plus SJR 4, SJR 16, and SJR 50 all appear to either authorize the shifting of discretionary funds or the issuance of bonds to cover expenses.

Duh. As if we did not know that bonds represent debt, and that we will be paying interest on those bonds long after Dewhurst and Perry leave office.

Further, this spring, the Lege decided that all voters — except, I believe, the elderly — must show proof of citizenship to obtain a state ID or to get or renew a driver’s license. As they did not provide any funds for the issuance of those ID cards or for updating computer systems to accommodate the new requirement, it seems those IDs will be far from free.

Also far from free is Perry’s travel. The Lege decided that the governor does not have to report what he and his entourage spend on travel, which is convenient for him because we taxpayers foot the bill for his security — even when he is making obviously political trips. Or taking along his wife and his golf clubs.

And surely neither Rick Perry nor David Dewhurst will mention the fact that a big portion of our state’s money comes from the federal government. One report I saw stated that our state received $17 billion in stimulus money, although the gov and his lieutenant berated the Democratic president for providing the stimulus.

And the gov turned down $6 billion in education funds, then accepted the funds but did not use them to educate Texans.

The whole thing — Dewhurst’s campaign and Perry’s possible campaign, the 2012-2013 budget, the recent biannual session of the Texas Legislature — seems like something Mark Twain might have written at his tongue-in-cheek best.

We have huge problems in public school education, higher education, health care, air pollution and water resources, to mention just a few of our more notable failures.

Yet our elected officials are defunding public education and thus punishing children, parents, and teachers. They are limiting women’s health care so drastically that our own Parkland Hospital will be unable to provide appropriate care to 30,000 women.

They are seeking a Medicaid “pilot program” that will pave the way for privatized medical services, which will erode health care for all but the wealthiest among us. They are fighting tooth and nail to keep the EPA from dealing with our polluted environment. They are doing absolutely nothing to ensure that Texas continues to have plenty of safe drinking water.

They are most certainly not creating good jobs.

So David Dewhurst and his wife Tricia prayed together and apparently learned that he should run for Kay Bailey Hutchison’s Senate seat. Now Rick Perry is planning a huge prayer rally Saturday, Aug. 6, at Houston’s Reliant Stadium.

God help us.

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

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 9, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Federal funding cuts affect Resource Center Dallas’ Insurance Assistance Program

Cece Cox

Because of decreased funding from the federal government, Resource Center Dallas is making cuts to its Insurance Assistance Program effective Aug. 1.

The program helps people with HIV who have lost their jobs but still have insurance to maintain that coverage and covers co-pays for HIV medications.

As of Aug. 1, assistance with co-pays will be discontinued. In its letter to affected clients, the organization sent information to help them maintain their medical regimen.

Eligibility for insurance premium coverage will also tighten. Clients will have to verify information quarterly. Gross rather than adjusted gross income will be used to qualify for the program.

Money was cut in the current fiscal year but how these cuts are affecting individual programs is just becoming apparent. In the current budget cutting climate, more cuts could come for the next fiscal year.

“Anybody providing social services is getting hit,” said Cece Cox, executive director and CEO of Resource Center Dallas. “The people who need help most will get hurt the most.”

—  David Taffet

Hospital visitation rules take effect

Parkland Hospital

An executive order saying hospitals that receive federal funding must allow same-sex visitation went into effect on Tuesday.

Federal funding includes Medicare and Medicaid payments.

President Barack Obama issued the order last year after hearing about a case in which a woman wasn’t allowed to see her partner before she died.

“We applaud the Obama administration’s steps to address the discrimination affecting LGBT patients and their families,” Lambda Legal Executive Director Kevin Cathcart said in a statement. “Now, in hospitals across the nation, LGBT people and their families will have more protections so they can be by their loved one’s side when they are sick and need them most.”

The city of Dallas has an ordinance prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in housing, employment and public accommodations. Partners in Dallas should have access based on public accommodations, and no complaints against a Dallas hospital has been filed since the ordinance went into effect.

Hospitals in other cities that prevented partners from visiting loved ones used the excuse that only immediate family members could visit.

I contacted several area hospitals for comment and heard back from Parkland.

“Parkland will continue to offer an open visitation policy to all patients and their family members. Research has shown that patient care is greatly enhanced by the more time a family spends with the patient,” said Miriam Sibley, Parkland’s senior vice president and chief nursing officer.

I thought this was interesting wording. While that same wording has been used elsewhere to exclude people, at Parkland it’s meant to express acceptance of same-sex partners as family that is — and has been — welcome.

The full Lambda Legal press release is after the jump.

—  David Taffet

Why is John Wiley Price trying to get rid of gay Parkland hospital board member Chris Luna?

Chris Luna

We’ve been trying to get in touch with openly gay former Dallas City Councilman Chris Luna, who’s reportedly being targeted by Commissioner John Wiley Price for ouster from Parkland hospital’s Board of Managers.

According to The Dallas Morning News, Price called an executive session this past Tuesday to discuss with other commissioners his proposal to oust Luna, who was appointed by openly gay County Judge Jim Foster late last year. Price has not said publicly why he wants Luna off the board:

Luna, a former Dallas City Council member, said Monday that he didn’t understand Price’s action.

“No one on the Commissioners Court has expressed any concern or dissatisfaction to me,” Luna said.

County Judge Jim Foster, who appointed Luna late last year, said Price didn’t talk to him before making a last-minute addition to the agenda of the regularly scheduled commissioners meeting.

“He has not shown me the common courtesy of picking up the phone and calling,” Foster said.

The DMN later reported that commissioners had met in executive session and opted to delay their decision about removing Luna from the board for a week, until next Tuesday.

When Luna was appointed to the board, he told Dallas Voice he was looking forward to the assignment and hoped to revive a proposal for Parkland to offer domestic partner benefits.

In response to our messages, Luna sent us an e-mail late Wednesday saying only that he would be at a professional conference Wednesday and Thursday.

We spoke Thursday morning with openly gay Dallas County District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons, a friend of Luna’s. Fitzsimmons noted that because Tuesday’s discussion was in a closed executive session, he doesn’t know what commissioners talked about.

“All I know is there had been some accusations made which are currently being investigated,” Fitzsimmons said. “It’s a mystery.”

—  John Wright