Former physician for John Muir Well being says hospitals put cash forward of affected person security, cites baby’s loss of life

A former John Muir Health doctor alleges in a lawsuit that the nonprofit group, which operates hospitals in Walnut Creek and Concord, put money ahead of patient safety and ignored her warnings about surgical hazards that have resulted in illness and death.

Hospital officials dismissed the claims made by Dr. Alicia Kalamas in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Contra Costa County Superior Court.

Kalamas, who worked at John Muir Health for eight years, said she has repeatedly raised red flags at executives about improper surgical practices, only to be ignored because she was viewed as a woman with “sharp elbows” or because officials feared that Changes that would signal past practices were dangerous.

In one example, she said she warned officials not to authorize complicated surgery on a child and told them other regional hospitals were better prepared to perform the surgery. But because the hospital group’s executives wanted to build a children’s brand, they ignored her concerns, she claims in the lawsuit. Surgeons from John Muir Health performed the surgery and the child died.

In their response to that claim, John Muir Health officials said Kalamas was not directly involved in the case and could not assess the “significant risks” of continuing or not having the surgery.

Kalamas, 50, of Piedmont, sued the nonprofit and its two top executives, Cal Knight, CEO of John Muir Health, and Taejoon Ahn, president and CEO of John Muir Medical Group, alleging the group violated its contract and forced her out of her position after labeling her a troublemaker.

“People at the top of the organization have lost their way,” Kalamas told The Chronicle. “They care more about the bottom line than patient safety.”

John Muir Medical Center on Wednesday, January 12, 2022 in Walnut Creek, California.

Santiago Mejia / The Chronicle

dr Russell Rodriguez, chief medical officer at John Muir Health, said that any feedback from employees is appreciated and that before executives decided not to renew Kalamas’ contract, they decided to restructure the program she administered to include “the better meet today’s patient needs”.

“The fact that the clinical consensus can differ from an individual physician’s views does not mean that he or she has been ignored,” Rodriguez said in a statement to The Chronicle. “Despite efforts to offer coaching and other support, Dr. Kalama’s reality and something she found difficult to understand and accept.”

He said that senior executives make patient safety their number one priority, noting that all the money John Muir Health makes is reinvested in the healthcare system.

Kalamas specializes in anesthesiology with a focus on perioperative medicine, which ensures that the many factors that influence surgical success – before, during and after an operation – are properly managed. In 2013, Kalamas was recruited from UCSF to join John Muir Health as medical director of the perioperative medicine program.

She quickly sought to fix the hospitals’ readmission rate for the highest-volume surgeries, which the lawsuit said was higher than the region’s 6.9% rate.

Her research found a simple problem, she says. When prescribing opiates as pain relievers after surgery, particularly for knee and hip replacements, there was no protocol to educate and provide medication to prevent constipation, resulting in patients returning to the hospital for a variety of issues.

“Millions of dollars were paid to JMH for failing to provide their patients with a 50-cent over-the-counter stool softener, a glass of water, and some basic advice,” Kalamas alleges in her lawsuit.

After her changes were implemented, the hospital saw a 27% decrease in readmissions for joint replacements, reducing costs for medical providers and taxpayers, she says.

Kalamas dealt with postoperative wound infections. Patients who have developed such infections are 60% more likely to be admitted to the ICU and five times more likely to be readmitted research. Yearly such problems costs the US health care system $3.5 to $10 billion.

In the past, John Muir Health has earned revenue from such complications and billed patients for the additional treatment, the lawsuit says. However, the federal government began to force the hospital to pay millions of dollars Punish, says Kalamas, eventually forcing it to improve. Still, Kalamas says executives and others ignored numerous emails she sent warning them that the lack of pre- and post-surgery blood glucose monitors was harming and killing patients.

The lawsuit cites an example of a diabetic who required a second operation after an infection. His heart wasn’t strong enough and he suffered a massive heart attack at home in front of his wife on the first day and later died, according to the lawsuit. Another young patient with kidney failure and diabetes did not have her blood sugar controlled and died shortly after receiving anesthesia; Her blood sugar was high when she coded, Kalamas says.

Rodriguez, John Muir’s chief medical officer, said eliminating postoperative wound infection is a “critical focus” and that restructuring the perioperative program will further reduce infections.

“Peroperative services needed to be made available to a larger proportion of the operated population, and care needed to be extended beyond the clinical setting,” he said.

Kalamas said her whistleblowing and criticism as a woman was bothersome or, as one manager told her, developed a reputation for “sharp elbows”.

“I’ve been in other institutions … and I’ve never felt dismissed,” Kalamas told The Chronicle. “I felt like at John Muir Health I was warning of very serious health and safety concerns and no one was paying attention.”

When she found out about the young child’s planned surgery, it fell outside of her area of ​​responsibility at the hospital, but she felt compelled to speak out, she says. Due to medical privacy laws, neither Kalamas nor her attorney, Dan Horowitz, could provide details about the child and the procedure.

“The case should have been referred to a qualified medical center, which Dr. Kalamas strongly encouraged her,” the lawsuit reads. “In particular, Dr. Kalamas told medical leadership that she had extensive experience with similar cases at UCSF and that JMH was massively underprepared.”

She said she told John Muir Health executives if they did the surgery it would be a “clean kill.”

After the child died, Kalamas requested a review of the case by the Medical Executive Committee, which could result in disciplinary action for those involved, disclosure to parents, and other safeguards. In a 2021 email shared with The Chronicle, Kalamas was informed that the case never went to the committee.

She recalled her earlier concerns about the surgery in an email, explaining how liver transplant and anesthesia experts agreed with her reservations.

“I was angry that JMH misrepresented the capabilities of their clinicians and the institutions’ ability to provide parents (redacted) with safe care given that UCSF, Stanford and Oakland Childrens’ are all much better equipped to to handle cases of this complexity,” she wrote. She added that she was told that John Muir health officials wanted their new pediatric center and needed to avoid disruption.

Horowitz said the child’s parents are still unaware of Kalamas’ concerns to this day.

In response to the pediatric death, Rodriguez said some cases had “extremely advanced life-threatening conditions for which any intervention is a high risk and not having an intervention is also a high risk.” He said all options were discussed with the family before the operation and since Kalamas is not part of the treatment team she would not know all the details.

He said a post-case review was conducted through the peer review process, but Kalamas would not be aware of any assessment as it is confidential.

As of May 31, 2021, Kalamas said her contract was allowed to expire. Since then she has not returned to a hospital.

Matthias Gafni is a contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle. E-mail: matthias.gafni@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @mgafni

With US Assist Cash, Colleges Put Larger Concentrate on Psychological Well being

In Kansas City, Kansas, educators open an after-school mental health clinic staffed with school counselors and social workers. Schools in Paterson, New Jersey have set up socio-emotional learning teams to identify students dealing with crisis. Chicago sets up “mentoring teams” with a mission to help students in difficulty on its 500+ campuses.

With a stroke of luck in federal coronavirus relief funds, schools in the United States are using parts to quickly expand their capacity to deal with students’ mental health issues.

While school districts have plenty of leeway in using the aid funds, the urgency of the problem has been made clear by absenteeism, behavioral issues and quieter signs of distress as many students hit for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic this fall.

In some school systems, the money has fueled longstanding trauma-coping work. Others have made new efforts to screen, counsel, and treat students. All in all, investment has put public schools at the center of efforts for the general welfare of students more than ever.

“In the last recession, with the last big chunk of recovery money, that conversation didn’t take place,” said Amanda Fitzgerald, assistant director of the American School Counselor Association. “Now the tone is very much geared towards the well-being of the students across the country.”

Last month, three major pediatric groups said the state of children’s mental health should be considered a national emergency. The US Department of Education has pointed out aid distribution to rethink how schools provide psychological support. Mental wellbeing, said Education Minister Miguel Cardona, must be the foundation for recovery from the pandemic.

Pandemic aid to schools is $ 190 billion, more than four times the amount the Department of Education typically spends annually on K-12 schools. Investments in mental health have gone into employee training, wellness screenings and curricula for social-emotional learning.

Questions remain, however, as to how schools will find ways to reap the benefits beyond the one-time cash injection, address privacy concerns, and track the effectiveness of their efforts. The implementation worries Katie Dockweiler, a Nevada school psychologist who sits on the state education committee.

“Not all programs are created equal,” she said. “It really depends on how it is implemented, school by school. And there is a lot of variability.”

She said the districts should develop ways to track the impact on students: “Otherwise we’ll just throw our money away.”

At the top of the list for many districts is the recruitment of new mental health specialists. When the National Association of School Psychologists surveyed members this fall, more than half of those polled said their districts intend to add social workers, psychologists or counselors, according to policy director Kelly Vaillancourt Strobach.

With $ 9.5 million in federal aid and outside grants, the Paterson Schools added five behavioral analysts, two substance abuse coordinators, and the teams to identify students in crisis situations.

In Paterson, one of the lowest-income parts of New Jersey, many of the 25,000 college students faced food insecurity prior to the pandemic and struggled after family members lost their jobs, Superintendent Eileen Shafer said.

“Before we tried to teach anything new, we wanted to make sure we were able to navigate where our children are based on what they’ve been through,” she said.

A student works on a puzzle while visiting a French middle school sensory room in Topeka, Kansas on Wednesday, November 3, 2021. The rooms are designed to relieve student stress when they return to classrooms amid the ongoing pandemic.

In rural Ellicottville, New York, where school psychologist Joe Prior sees more anxiety and a “marked increase” in panic attacks, the district plans to hire a life-saving agent to connect students with psychological help. But the position remains vacant as only a few have expressed interest.

“I have more students who just look into my eyes and say, ‘I’m completely overwhelmed and don’t know how to deal with it,'” said Erich Ploetz, headmaster of Ellicottville High School.

It’s not the only district where hiring ambitions have exceeded the number of skilled workers available. Some districts have turned to outside providers to fill mental health positions while others are training existing staff.

The Kansas City, Kansas school system is using a portion of the $ 918,000 mental health grant to pay for social workers and counselors who are already on the job at the new afternoon clinic. The district has also added staff and mental health exams.

Angela Dunn, who leads mental health and suicide prevention initiatives for the 22,000 student district, said the mental health team has responded to 27 student deaths and 16 employee deaths since the pandemic began, double the number over that period typical. She said a handful of employees died from COVID-19, but many of the others were murders, suicides and overdoses.

A student shares her feelings while visiting a sensory room at Williams Elementary School on November 3, 2021 in Topeka, Kansas.

Schools’ investments in student mental health services have raised some privacy concerns, particularly where schools are now monitoring student computers for distress signals or performing mental health tests on all students. But the notion that it’s not where schools can get involved at all has been forgotten.

“We just realized that students like to go to school to seek help,” said Dunn.

Chicago, the country’s third largest school district, unveiled a “cure plan” for high school students using $ 24 million of its $ 2.6 billion in stimulus funds.

Over the course of three years, the district will expand “mentoring teams” – construction personnel who serve as the first point of contact for students in difficulty – to each campus. 200 schools are to be reached by spring.

The headmistress Angélica Altamirano used some of these funds to open a room that is furnished with comfortable furniture and a used air hockey table. The campus center has already offered mourning groups for deceased students or friends and helped teachers deal with burnout.

In Topeka, Kansas, $ 100,000 was allocated for soothing items and sensory room personnel, including one at the Quincy Elementary. When students are so frustrated that they lay their heads on their desks, wander into the hallway, or cry, teachers can send them to the Roadrunner Room. There they can climb into a tent and snuggle under a weighted blanket, put together a puzzle, play with sand or build with Legos.

The Dean of Studies Andrea Keck observed how the room became a point of contact for a student in order to reduce frustrations.

“She can log it, have her hair pinned up, whatever she needs, and then she can be successful for the rest of the day,” says Keck, who oversees the room.

In Detroit, the district is spending $ 34 million on mental health initiatives, including screening high school students, expanding help from outside mental health providers, and providing additional support for parents.

Last Wednesday, that meant an hour-long meditation session for parents in a local coffee shop. One participant feared that her own stress was affecting her son’s ability to learn.

“As a community, we’ve all been through something,” said Sharlonda Buckman, an assistant superintendent who attended the meeting. “Part of recovery has to be deliberate work in spaces like this so we can be there for our children.”

With U.S. help cash, faculties put larger deal with psychological well being

CHICAGO – Educators are opening an after-school mental health clinic in Kansas City, Kansas, staffed with school counselors and social workers. Schools in Paterson, New Jersey have set up socio-emotional learning teams to identify students dealing with crisis. Chicago sets up “mentoring teams” with a mission to help students in difficulty on its 500+ campuses.

With a stroke of luck in federal coronavirus relief funds, schools in the United States are using parts to quickly expand their capacity to deal with students’ mental health issues.

While school districts have plenty of leeway in using the aid funds, the urgency of the problem has been made clear by absenteeism, behavioral issues and quieter signs of distress as many students hit for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic this fall.

In some school systems, the money has fueled longstanding trauma-coping work. Others have made new efforts to screen, counsel, and treat students. All in all, investment has put public schools at the center of efforts for the general welfare of students more than ever.

“In the last recession, with the last big chunk of recovery money, that conversation didn’t take place,” said Amanda Fitzgerald, assistant director of the American School Counselor Association. “Now the tone is very much geared towards the well-being of the students across the country.”

Last month, three major pediatric groups said the state of children’s mental health should be considered a national emergency. The US Department of Education has pointed out aid distribution to rethink how schools provide psychological support. Mental wellbeing, said Education Minister Miguel Cardona, must be the foundation for recovery from the pandemic.

Pandemic aid to schools is $ 190 billion, more than four times the amount the Department of Education typically spends annually on K-12 schools. Investments in mental health have gone into employee training, wellness screenings and curricula for social-emotional learning.

Questions remain, however, as to how schools will find ways to reap the benefits beyond the one-time cash injection, address privacy concerns, and track the effectiveness of their efforts. The implementation worries Katie Dockweiler, a Nevada school psychologist who sits on the state education committee.

“Not all programs are created equal,” she said. “It really depends on how it’s done, school by school. And there is a great deal of variability. “

She said the districts should develop ways to track the impact on students: “Otherwise we’ll just throw our money away.”

At the top of the list for many districts is the recruitment of new mental health specialists. When the National Association of School Psychologists surveyed members this fall, more than half of those polled said their districts intend to add social workers, psychologists or counselors, according to policy director Kelly Vaillancourt Strobach.

With $ 9.5 million in federal aid and outside grants, the Paterson Schools added five behavioral analysts, two substance abuse coordinators, and the teams to identify students in crisis situations.

In Paterson, one of the lowest-income parts of New Jersey, many of the 25,000 college students faced food insecurity prior to the pandemic and struggled after family members lost their jobs, Superintendent Eileen Shafer said.

“Before we tried to teach anything new, we wanted to make sure we could handle where our kids are based on what they’ve been through,” she said.

In rural Ellicottville, New York, where school psychologist Joe Prior sees more anxiety and a “marked increase” in panic attacks, the district plans to hire a life-saving agent to connect students with psychological help. But the position remains vacant as only a few have expressed interest.

“I have more students who just look into my eyes and say, ‘I’m completely overwhelmed and don’t know how to deal with it,'” said Erich Ploetz, Headmaster of Ellicottville High School.

It’s not the only district where hiring ambitions have exceeded the number of skilled workers available. Some districts have turned to outside providers to fill mental health positions while others are training existing staff.

The Kansas City, Kansas school system is using a portion of the $ 918,000 mental health grant to pay for social workers and counselors who are already on the job at the new afternoon clinic. The district has also added staff and mental health exams.

Angela Dunn, who leads mental health and suicide prevention initiatives for the 22,000 student district, said the mental health team has responded to 27 student deaths and 16 employee deaths since the pandemic began, double the number over that period typical. She said a handful of employees died from COVID-19, but many of the others were murders, suicides and overdoses.

Schools’ investments in student mental health services have raised some privacy concerns, particularly where schools are now monitoring student computers for distress signals or performing mental health tests on all students. But the notion that it’s not where schools can get involved at all has been forgotten.

“We just realized that students are comfortable seeking help in a school,” said Dunn.

Chicago, the third largest school district in the country, unveiled a “cure plan” for high school students using $ 24 million of its $ 2.6 billion in stimulus funds.

Over the course of three years, the district will expand “mentoring teams” – construction personnel who serve as the first response to students in difficulty – to each campus. 200 schools are to be reached by spring.

The headmistress Angélica Altamirano used some of these funds to open a room that is furnished with comfortable furniture and a used air hockey table. The campus center has already offered mourning groups for deceased students or friends and helped teachers deal with burnout.

In Topeka, Kansas, $ 100,000 was allocated for soothing items and sensory room personnel, including one at the Quincy Elementary. When students are so frustrated that they lay their heads on their desks, wander into the hallway, or cry, teachers can send them to the Roadrunner Room. There they can climb into a tent and snuggle under a weighted blanket, put together a puzzle, play with sand or build with Legos.

The Dean of Studies Andrea Keck observed how the room became a point of contact for a student in order to reduce frustrations.

“She can log it, have her hair pinned up, whatever she needs, and then she can be successful for the rest of the day,” says Keck, who oversees the room.

In Detroit, the district is spending $ 34 million on mental health initiatives, including screening high school students, expanding help from outside mental health providers, and providing additional support for parents.

Last Wednesday, that meant an hour-long meditation session for parents in a local coffee shop. One participant feared that her own stress was affecting her son’s ability to learn.

“As a community, we’ve all been through something,” said Sharlonda Buckman, an assistant superintendent who attended the meeting. “Part of recovery has to be deliberate work in spaces like this so we can be there for our children.”

With US support cash, colleges put greater concentrate on psychological well being

CHICAGO (AP) – Educators are opening an after-school mental health clinic in Kansas City, Kansas, staffed with school counselors and social workers. Schools in Paterson, New Jersey have set up socio-emotional learning teams to identify students dealing with crisis. Chicago sets up “mentoring teams” with a mission to help students in difficulty on its 500+ campuses.

With a stroke of luck in federal coronavirus relief funds, schools in the United States are using parts to quickly expand their capacity to deal with students’ mental health issues.

While the school districts have a lot of leeway in how to spend the aid, the urgency of the problem was evident Absenteeism, behavior problems, and quieter signs of stress So many students returned to school buildings for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic this fall.

In some school systems, the money has fueled longstanding trauma-coping work. Others have made new efforts to screen, counsel, and treat students. All in all, investment has put public schools at the center of efforts for the general welfare of students more than ever.

“In the last recession, with the last big chunk of recovery money, that conversation didn’t take place,” said Amanda Fitzgerald, assistant director of the American School Counselor Association. “Now the tone is very much geared towards the well-being of the students across the country.”

Last month, three major pediatric groups said the state of children’s mental health should be considered a national emergency. The US Department of Education has pointed out aid distribution to rethink how schools provide psychological support. Mental wellbeing, said Education Minister Miguel Cardona, must be the foundation for recovery from the pandemic.

Pandemic aid to schools is $ 190 billion, more than four times the amount the Department of Education typically spends annually on K-12 schools. Investments in mental health have gone into employee training, wellness screenings and curricula for social-emotional learning.

Questions remain, however, as to how schools will find ways to reap the benefits beyond the one-time cash injection, address privacy concerns, and track the effectiveness of their efforts. The implementation worries Katie Dockweiler, a Nevada school psychologist who sits on the state education committee.

“Not all programs are created equal,” she said. “It really depends on how it’s done, school by school. And there is a great deal of variability. “

She said the districts should develop ways to track the impact on students: “Otherwise we’ll just throw our money away.”

At the top of the list for many districts is the recruitment of new mental health specialists. When the National Association of School Psychologists surveyed members this fall, more than half of those polled said their districts intend to add social workers, psychologists or counselors, according to policy director Kelly Vaillancourt Strobach.

With $ 9.5 million in federal aid and outside grants, the Paterson Schools added five behavioral analysts, two substance abuse coordinators, and the teams to identify students in crisis situations.

In Paterson, one of the lowest-income parts of New Jersey, many of the 25,000 college students faced food insecurity prior to the pandemic and struggled after family members lost their jobs, Superintendent Eileen Shafer said.

“Before we tried to teach anything new, we wanted to make sure we could handle where our kids are based on what they’ve been through,” she said.

In rural Ellicottville, New York, where school psychologist Joe Prior sees more anxiety and a “marked increase” in panic attacks, the district plans to hire a life-saving agent to connect students with psychological help. But the position remains vacant as only a few have expressed interest.

“I have more students who just look into my eyes and say, ‘I’m completely overwhelmed and don’t know how to deal with it,'” said Erich Ploetz, Headmaster of Ellicottville High School.

It’s not the only district where hiring ambitions have exceeded the number of skilled workers available. Some districts have turned to outside providers to fill mental health positions while others are training existing staff.

The Kansas City, Kansas school system is using a portion of the $ 918,000 mental health grant to pay for social workers and counselors who are already on the job at the new afternoon clinic. The district has also added staff and mental health exams.

Angela Dunn, who leads mental health and suicide prevention initiatives for the 22,000 student district, said the mental health team has responded to 27 student deaths and 16 employee deaths since the pandemic began, double the number over that period typical. She said a handful of employees died from COVID-19, but many of the others were murders, suicides and overdoses.

Schools’ investments in student mental health services have raised some privacy concerns, particularly where schools are now monitoring student computers for distress signals or performing mental health tests on all students. But the notion that it’s not where schools can get involved at all has been forgotten.

“We just realized that students are comfortable seeking help in a school,” said Dunn.

Chicago, the third largest school district in the country, unveiled a “cure plan” for high school students using $ 24 million of its $ 2.6 billion in stimulus funds.

Over the course of three years, the district will expand “mentoring teams” – construction personnel who serve as the first response to students in difficulty – to each campus. 200 schools are to be reached by spring.

The headmistress Angélica Altamirano used some of these funds to open a room that is furnished with comfortable furniture and a used air hockey table. The campus center has already offered mourning groups for deceased students or friends and helped teachers deal with burnout.

In Topeka, Kansas, $ 100,000 was allocated for soothing items and sensory room personnel, including one at the Quincy Elementary. When students are so frustrated that they lay their heads on their desks, wander into the hallway, or cry, teachers can send them to the Roadrunner Room. There they can climb into a tent and snuggle under a weighted blanket, put together a puzzle, play with sand or build with Legos.

The Dean of Studies Andrea Keck observed how the room became a point of contact for a student in order to reduce frustrations.

“She can log it, have her hair pinned up, whatever she needs, and then she can be successful for the rest of the day,” says Keck, who oversees the room.

In Detroit, the district is spending $ 34 million on mental health initiatives, including screening high school students, expanding help from outside mental health providers, and providing additional support for parents.

Last Wednesday, that meant an hour-long meditation session for parents in a local coffee shop. One participant feared that her own stress was affecting her son’s ability to learn.

“As a community, we’ve all been through something,” said Sharlonda Buckman, an assistant superintendent who attended the meeting. “Part of recovery has to be deliberate work in spaces like this so we can be there for our children.”

___

Thompson reported from Ellicottville, New York and Hollingsworth from Mission, Kansas. Chalkbeat writers Catherine Carrera in Newark, New Jersey, Cassie Walker Burke in Chicago and Lori Higgins in Detroit, and Associated Press writer Collin Binkley in Boston contributed to this report.

Southwest drops plan to place unvaccinated employees on unpaid go away

Travelers wait to check-in at the Southwest Airlines ticket booth at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on October 11, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Kevin Dietsch | Getty Images

Southwest Airlines has abandoned a plan to put unvaccinated employees who have filed an application but have not received a religious or medical exemption on unpaid leave beyond a state deadline in December.

Southwest Airlines and American Airlines belong to the transport companies that are federal contractors and are subject to the Biden administrative obligation, against which their employees must be vaccinated Covid-19 until December 8th, unless exempted for medical or religious reasons. The rules for state contractors are stricter than this expected for large companies, which enables regular Covid tests as an alternative to a vaccination.

Executives of both airlines have been trying in the past few days to reassure employees about job security under the mandate and asking them to apply for exemptions if they cannot be vaccinated for medical or sincere religious beliefs. Airlines are expected to ask more questions about the mandate when the quarterly results are released on Thursday morning. Pilot unions tried to block the mandates or looked for alternatives such as regular tests.

Southwest’s Senior Vice President of Operations and Hospitality, Steve Goldberg, and Vice President and Chief People Officer Julie Weber, wrote to employees on Friday that if employees’ requests for an exception are not approved by December 8th, they will continue to work in accordance with the mask and spacing guidelines until the request has been verified.

The company gives employees until November 24 to complete their vaccinations or apply for an exemption. It will continue to pay them while the company reviews their requests, saying that it will allow the rejected individuals to continue working “while we coordinate with them on whether the requirements (vaccine or valid accommodation) are met”.

“This is a change from what was previously communicated. Initially, we communicated that these employees were taking unpaid leave and that is no longer the case,” they wrote on the CNBC-verified note.

Southwest confirmed the policy change, which comes just weeks before the deadline.

United Airlines implemented its own vaccine mandate in August, a month before the government rules were announced. United had told employees that if they were given exemptions, they would take unpaid leave. More than 96% of the employees are vaccinated. Some employees sued the company for unpaid leave, and a federal judge in Fort Worth, Texas has temporarily prevented the airline from proceeding with its plan.

American CEO Doug Parker met with union leaders Thursday to discuss vaccination exemptions.

American Airlines management “indicated that, contrary to United’s approach, they are looking for accommodations that allow employees to keep working,” said the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, the union that directs American flight attendants Airlines represents, in a notice to members Monday. “You have not given any information about what such accommodations might look like at that time.”

Hundreds of Southwest employees, customers and other protesters demonstrated against the vaccination mandate outside Southwest Airlines’ headquarters in Dallas on Monday, the Dallas Morning News reported.

An airline spokeswoman said the airline was aware of the demonstration.

“Southwest recognizes various positions regarding the Covid-19 vaccine and we always support and will continue to support the right of our employees to speak up by having open lines of communication to share problems and concerns” , she said.

Southwest’s Goldberg and Weber advised employees that if their application for exemption is denied, employees can reapply if the employee “has new information or circumstances that the company should consider”.

Southwest is demanding that new hires be vaccinated, as is American Airlines for new staff for mainline operations, spokesmen said.

Delta Airlines is also a federal contractor who is subject to state requirements but does not yet require vaccinations for staff. Last week the carrier reported that about 90% of the approximately 80,000 employees are vaccinated. In August, Delta announced that unvaccinated workers would start Pay $ 200 more a month for company health insurance in November.

Contact 2: Illinois Supreme Court docket ruling might put a refund in owners’ pockets

JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri – Some Missouri senators want the Department of Social Services to block abortion providers from Medicaid funding for unethical behavior.

Following a special summer session to renew the Federal Reimbursement Allowance (FRA), the tax paid by health care providers that fund Missouri’s Medicaid program, Senate Chairs formed a committee to address concerns about the Medicaid funding going to abortion providers to dispel, such as Planned Parenthood.

The Senate Interim Committee on Medicaid Accountability and Taxpayer Protection met for the third time on Thursday since July. The focus of the hearing was on discussing a committee report making changes to the state’s Medicaid system. Senator Bill White, R-Joplin, chairs the committee and has read the six-page report.

“The state has the authority to establish qualification standards for Medicaid providers in Medicaid programs and to take action against providers who do not meet these standards,” White said.

One of the proposals would enable joint investigations against Medicaid providers under the Department of Social Services (DSS) and the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). This regulatory proposal would have to be approved by the members of the committee and then sent to the department.

“The committee urges the DSS and DHSS to work together on amending and expanding the existing rules to include the DSS’s compliance with all state laws,” said White.

These violations of state law include failure to comply with patient consent, failure to keep medical records, failure to cooperate with DHSS during an examination, failure to ensure adequate facilities and sterilized equipment, and failure to provide the women named with necessary printed matter Materials to make available to an extra-state abortion facility. “

White and other members asked the DSS and DHSS to draft emergency rules and put them into effect as soon as possible. As part of this change, DSS might consider revoking or denying a license based on DHSS reports.

Senator Lauren Arthur, D-Kansas City, is concerned the language may affect more healthcare providers than intended.

“If this is a back door attempt to invalidate Planned Parenthood, I am concerned about the impact it would have on access to health care,” said Arthur. “There doesn’t seem to be a solution for those who would feel this loophole.”

Senator Jill Schupp, D-Creve Couer, told the committee she feared the investigation could create a gap in health care for Missourians.

“I am concerned about what we are pushing forward and trying to move forward quickly, in a process that may withhold the necessary health care from our recipients,” said Schupp.

“I’m not sure how this will benefit the state or the beneficiary. I think this is intended to allow DSS more control without having to conduct its own investigation.”

A proposed legislative change in the report allows the state to deny or revoke Medicaid funding to MO HealthNet providers, such as abortion facilities, which in Missouri are just planned parenting, for unethical behavior.

“That Missouri has an interest in protecting unborn children during pregnancy and in ensuring respect for all human life from conception to natural death,” said White.

This change in the law would require the approval of the General Assembly when members return in January. Arthur said she couldn’t support the language because she feared it could hurt Medicaid funding across the state.

“Until there is assurance that we are complying, I believe we are taking a risk that I am not comfortable with,” said Arthur.

Planned Parenthood is already banned from using Medicaid funds for abortions. Another important part of the proposal means Missouri could force the closure of the Central West End site in St. Louis if an abortion facility like Planned Parenthood in another state fails to comply.

White said members are expected to sign the report in the coming days, with the report being sent to departments early next week.

The committee will meet again on October 4 to hear from MO Healthnet on transparency issues.

New Jersey ought to put its infrastructure cash into the sewer | Mulshine

It is seldom that Jeff Tittel and I agree on an environmental issue. But here we agree:

“Windmills off the coast don’t keep floods out of people’s cellars,” Tittel told me the other day.

Watery cellars are a subject he is very familiar with. Tittel lives in Lambertville, one of the many cities in New Jersey that have been flooded when Hurricane Ida dropped about 10 inches of rain on the region.

Tittel himself had the foresight to buy a house on relatively high ground, but his neighbors closer to the Delaware River got a good bath.

The issue of wind turbines came up because so many of our politicians used the storm as an example to argue that we need to switch to less fossil fuel generation.

But that’s an argument for another day. For now, it’s about what we’re going to do about the flooding that inundates New Jersey every time a bad storm hits.

I recently wrote about Cranford this Union County town full of lovely Victorian houses that Flooded by Irene in 2011 and then Ida almost exactly 10 years later.

In the case of Cranford, the blame is not on the people who built houses on the Rahway River during the Revolutionary War. The guilt rests with those who paved the land upstream, thereby channeling the rainwater into the city.

The only solution to this is a word that is buzzing around a lot in Washington these days: infrastructure. In the case of the Rahway River, a plan is needed to drain the reservoir upstream from storms, local officials say.

But that costs money. And there is a lot of money to be had in the laws before Congress now. The Biden Administration American establishment plan, which is part of a $ 3.5 trillion spending plan that includes social services such as daycare. Republicans support a $ 1.2 trillion bill that sticks to traditional infrastructure.

Child care is a goal worth striving for. But first things first. And New Jersey is full of things that should be done first. Many of them are in Lambertville

Like Cranford, Lambertville was first settled before the Revolutionary War.

“Washington’s army marched through here and crossed at Lambertville,” Tittel told me. “My point is that there were houses on Ferry and Swan Streets even before the Revolutionary War.”

Much has developed in the hills above the city and the sidewalk will not take in water, he said.

“The soil in the forest will soak up four inches of rainfall during a storm,” he said. “You cut this forest and for every morning you get a million gallons of drainage.”

But Delaware floods are only a small part of the New Jersey problem. A much bigger problem is in the older towns of North Jersey.

Steve Lonegan, the arch-conservative ex-mayor from the Bergen district who ran for national offices several times, told me about the flooding in Hackensack, where he runs a restaurant in Ida, the basement of which was flooded.

“Me and Tittel are on the same page in that regard,” said Lonegan. “This should be the number one infrastructure problem.”

Virtually all older cities have Mixed channel systems that transport both sewage and rainwater. They work well when it’s not raining. But when it rains heavily, the effect is similar to what happens when knowing what hits the fan.

“I have a video of the sewage lifting those big iron manhole covers,” Lonegan said.

But Hackensack has a lot under construction, he said.

“I don’t even know how to add these buildings to this system,” he said. “The sewer system is 100 years old.”

It was worse in Hoboken, said Tittel.

“You get sewage on the streets,” he said. “They even have a pump to send it into the river.”

That’s not the kind of topic politicians like to talk about and our governor doesn’t talk about it. said Tittel.

“He’s talking about windmills and reducing greenhouse gases,” said Tittel. “But we have a serious flood problem. Climate change is part of it, but poor land use patterns and overdevelopment are causing it. “

Whatever the cause, it won’t stop by itself. Ida was particularly bad, but the remnants of Hurricane Henri a week earlier caused severe flooding in Hoboken and other cities in North Jersey as well.

That will happen as long as hurricanes work their way up the coast.

Forever, in other words.

So we’d better start planning.

Investing in vegan … learn how to put your cash the place your mouth is | Cash

W.Whether it’s your local pub finally adding an option to its menu for the first time, or a plant-based version of your favorite dessert landing on supermarket shelves, the availability of vegan food has skyrocketed in recent years.

The number of vegans in the UK quadrupled between 2014 and 2019, with 600,000 people falling into this category according to data from the Vegan Society. Veganuary, the campaign in which people go vegan in January, hit a record 585,000 registrations this year, compared to just 3,300 in 2014.

The trend is hard cash: the global market for vegetable meat alone is expected to grow from 3.6 billion US dollars in 2020 to 4.2 billion US dollars in 2021, according to the market research group Markets and Markets. However, for individuals looking to put their money where their mouth is, the options are not always obvious.

Applying vegan principles to investments can take a lot of research

That’s unfortunate because Claire Smith, the executive director of Beyond Investing, a vegan investment platform and creator of the US Vegan Climate Index, says they are generally socially and environmentally conscious and are likely to be interested in what happens to their money. “When you look at labels and verify that the food you are eating is definitely not from an animal, you probably worry about where your money is going,” she says.

Applying vegan principles – like avoiding companies that test animals or exploit animals – to investments can require a lot of research and will limit the number of companies you can invest in. Lee Coates, an ethical money and environmental, social, and corporate governance consultant who spent years searching for the best funds for vegans, says they “don’t have much choice”.

The UK does not have a dedicated fund to easily put your money into and information on where to invest is difficult to come by.

“The best approach is to look for ethical fund solutions that hide exposure to a variety of topics such as animal testing,” said David Henry, an investment manager at Quilter Cheviot. “It pays to speak to a financial advisor who has access to fund screening tools to ensure that your investment decisions are in line with your goals and ethics.”

You can use an investment platform like Fidelity, AJ Bell, or Hargreaves Lansdown to buy these funds. However, you must review the individual holdings within the fund to ensure that they comply with your principles.

Coates says: “For example, you could buy a pure wind farm fund and think that this is not only eco, but also vegan, but you would have to see if there are branches that allow grazing on the slope, which could then mean that it is rented to a local farmer to make a profit. “

Tech funds seem like a safer option, but he says you “need to review their procurement policies and test on animals.” He adds that property can be good because it is “generally ethically neutral”.

Coates recommends the Janus Henderson Global Sustainable Equity Fund, which invests in companies that contribute to positive ecological or social change and are “financially very successful and meet vegan criteria”. He also suggests the Aegon Ethical Equity Fund and the Aegon Ethical Corporate Bond, which adhere to vegan principles – for example no factory farming, no retail sale of meat and dairy products.

Alternatively, you can also invest directly on the stock exchange and opt for animal testing-free companies or purely vegan companies. Many of them are listed on stock exchanges outside the UK – such as Beyond Meat, the maker of Beyond Burger, Else Nutrition, an Israeli manufacturer of plant-based baby food, or the American plant-based food manufacturer Tattooed Chef.

Haz Feliks of Aylesbury has “invested primarily in technology companies and avoided all companies involved in or related to animal husbandry”. Photo: Haz Felix

Haz Feliks, 40, a technology-enabled learning manager who lives in Aylesbury, invests in individual company stocks through his life Isa, pension and personal trading account. “Much like my daily grocery shopping and grocery shopping, it is important to me that I make ethical decisions about my investments and savings,” he says. “As a tech enthusiast, I’ve invested primarily in tech companies, avoiding all companies involved in or related to animal husbandry.” He invested in Tesla early on and is currently investing in Beyond Meat and other companies that “meet the criteria plant-based or technology-based fulfillment “.

Lauren O’Donnell, 28, has been a vegan for four years and is the founder of the specialist breakfast delivery business Oatsu, invests between £ 25 and £ 50 a month in ethical funds and also holds shares in Beyond Meat and Oatly. “I try to focus on companies that have focused on a plant-based solution,” says O’Donnell. “Right now there is a lot of choice in food and to some extent clothing, but investing could provide more resources to enable investors who want to make more sustainable and ethical choices.”

Another option is to invest in vegan companies through crowdsourcing equity platforms like Seedrs and Crowdcube. According to Seedrs, 42 companies with a plant-based focus have used its platform so far this year, 400% more than last year. One of them is vegan cook-to-customer delivery service Allplants, which grossed £ 4.5 million. Crowdcube reports that more than 4,000 retail investors have donated nearly £ 6 million to vegan companies on its platform this year.

Stephanie Peritore, 46, founder and CEO of Mindful Bites, invests in vegan companies through her Isa and crowdfunding.

“It gives me access to deal flows with some phenomenal companies like Pip & Nut. I’ve invested in about 25 companies and invest about £ 20,000 each time. “

Many cruelty-free or purely vegan companies are listed on stock exchanges outside the UK, such as Beyond Meat, the maker of the Beyond Burger. Photo: Steve Helber / AP

Most people’s biggest investment is their pension, and you may find that your company pension is anything but vegan. “If you were automatically enrolled in a company pension plan, you will likely be invested in the standard fund option,” says Henry. “It’s worth seeing if the pension fund instead offers an ethical or sustainable fund option that you can invest in. While these funds are unlikely to invest solely for vegan reasons, they can exclude certain companies. For example, Nest’s Ethics Fund will avoid investing in companies that test cosmetics on animals and only invest in companies that adhere to animal welfare guidelines. “

Coates points to a groundbreaking 2020 judgment that saw ethical veganism as a philosophical belief and opened the door for people to a right to vegan-friendly pensions. “A good employer would understand if you wanted a vegan pension,” says Coates. “Talk to your boss. Group together with other vegan employees. ”He recommends the Aegon Ethical Equity Fund as a pension plan – whether in a company pension plan or as a self-employed person. Otherwise – for the self-employed – it may be best to open a self-created private pension so that you can choose the means yourself.

Four Causes to Put Extra Cash Down on Your House

When you take out a mortgage, you usually bring some cash for a down payment. The amount you need to put down varies depending on the lender. Some lenders charge 20% on completion, but many accept 5% or 10%. And there are certain mortgages, like that FHA loansthat need even less money to close.

However, it may be in your best interest to invest more money on your home, not less. Here are four reasons for that.

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1. You have a lower monthly payment

The more money you initially invest on your home, the less you will have to spend in the form of a monthly mortgage payment. This, in turn, could make it easier to budget these payments. Additionally, if you plan to add expenses to your budget in the future (e.g., having children), a lower mortgage payment will give you more financial flexibility as your circumstances change.

2. You pay less interest over the life of your loan

Mortgage lenders Make money by calculating interest on the amount you borrow to finance your home. The less you borrow, the less money you spend on interest. For example, let’s say you buy a home worth $ 400,000 and give up 20%, or $ 80,000. If you take out a 3% 30 year mortgage, you will be spending $ 165,688 on interest during your repayment period. But if you invest $ 100,000 instead of $ 80,000, you are spending $ 155,333.

3. You build equity in your home faster

Home equity refers to the portion of your home that you directly own and is calculated by subtracting your mortgage balance from the market value of your home. The more equity you accumulate, the more options you have about home borrowing Home loan or line of credit (HELOC).

4. You avoid an expensive fee

If you take out a conventional loan and don’t pay a 20% down payment on your home, you will have to pay private mortgage insurance, or PMI. PMI protects your lender in the event you default on your loan payments and it can easily cost up to 1% of your loan amount per year. That said, if you have a $ 300,000 mortgage, you could end up paying $ 3,000 a year or an extra $ 250 a month to own your home.

To be clear, you don’t want to tie up too much money in your home, especially if Mortgage rates are competitive as they are today. In other words, if you buy a $ 400,000 home, even if you can, you might not want to drop 50%. But it’s generally worth cutting 20% ​​if you can to avoid PMI. And investing a little more can save you interest and have more financial flexibility later in life.

Group circulating petition to place Wheeler cash on fall poll

A group of Aspen residents are collecting signatures this week to bring a citizens’ initiative to the fall vote calling for voters to approve real estate tax reuse so that half goes to the Wheeler Opera House and the other to art uses.

The poll question, which would have to be approved by 60% of Aspen voters, would also aim to lift the existing $ 100,000 limit on Wheeler’s property tax revenue spent on cultural, arts and music organizations in the valley.

According to city clerk Nicole Henning, the city’s home rule charter requires the group to collect 925 signatures from registered voters in Aspen by Friday in order to meet the September 3 deadline for the November 2 elections.

The group’s representatives – Raifie Bass, Kurt Hall, and Ken Ramberg – said they were up to the task.

They also said Monday that they have been working with members of Aspen City Council and city manager Sara Ott for the past few weeks to draft the wording of a possible voting issue, but they got caught in a stalemate from receiving no assistance from officials.

“We tried to do this in partnership with the city council and we really tried to work behind the scenes,” Hall said.

Henning accepted her petition Monday after rejecting a previous one calling on voters to lift the $ 100,000 cap and approve a $ 10 million grant to them Aspen School District upgrade and renovate the Aspen District Theater with 550 seats and the Blackbox with 150 seats.

The language of the petition was not a legislative matter, concluded Henning, and stated in a letter to Bass and Hall that the granting of funds was an administrative act by a government agency.

A similar effort was done by a group of parents three years ago to convert part of the Wheeler RETT for the district theater, but it fell by the wayside due to the lack of city support and timing for an issue in the November 2018 vote.

“We’ve been around for a long time,” Bass said on Monday, adding that three proposals for the latest effort have been tabled and rejected by officials. “We are accused of rushing this, but we’ve been at it for a while.”

The current balance of the Wheeler RETT Fund is $ 39.3 million and grows with the ongoing real estate boom in Aspen.

“We fear that money will be accumulated and not used for the community,” said Ramberg.

The RETT, a 0.5% tax on all property transfers in the city, was first adopted by voters in 1979 and was specifically pledged to provide financial support to the Wheeler Opera House, plus an annual amount of $ 100,000 in arts grants.

City officials increased the arts grants by $ 300,000 annually a few years ago, which comes from revenue from Wheeler’s operations.

In 2016, voters extended the RETT until 2039.

Tax revenue averages between $ 2 million and $ 4 million per year, although that number was higher in 2020 and will likely be in 2021 as urban exodus continues here.

The group wants Aspen voters to unlock future revenue while keeping the tax intact.

“Keep the existing fund as it is, nobody wants to jeopardize the Wheeler or the ability to collect the RETT,” said Bass.

Hall and Ramberg pointed out that it was still up to the city to provide 50% of the future RETT funds as part of their revised funding process for art and cultural organizations.

“We would be at eye level and open it up to all the arts in the valley,” said Ramberg.

The group would apply for an allocation so that the district theater could be remodeled for world-class performances and brought up to date with changing rooms, separate entrance, and other upgrades.

“You already have the asset, use it,” said Bass. “It is the greatest and best use than having the money there.”

Ramberg said this is the most environmentally friendly way to provide entertainment space for the community.

“It is in local traffic, belongs to the community and has parking spaces,” said Ramberg. “It’s such an obvious win for the church and a win for the council.”

The additional money released could fund dozens of local nonprofit and cultural nonprofits and organizations in need, Hall said recent breakup of the 25-year-old Aspen Santa Fe Ballet.

Aspen City Council has been debating for months about how much money should be diverted and where it should go.

Identified Areas of need This council has focused on childcare, health and social services, rainwater, and the non-profit arts community.

Council members have said in recent sessions that they would prefer to ask voters a question about Wheeler’s RETT reallocation in the fall of 2022.

The group that released the petition this week said it was time to free up money for a ramshackle district theater and organizations in need of more money.

“I’m incredibly grateful for people who work in the public sector, but this is about putting that money into better and better use while protecting the wheeler,” said Hall. “Our community has needs, let’s use them.”

csackariason@aspentimes.com