COVERED CALIFORNIA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR PETER V. LEE APPLAUDS RULING BY U.S. SUPREME COURT

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President of CoveredCA Peter V. Lee
President of CoveredCA Peter V. Lee

COVERED CALIFORNIA

1601 EXPOSITION BOULEVARD, SACRAMENTO, CA 95815

WWW.COVEREDCA.COM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Line: (916) 206-7777

June 25, 2015

COVERED CALIFORNIA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR PETER V. LEE APPLAUDS RULING BY U.S. SUPREME COURT SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee hailed today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that allows all eligible people who purchase health insurance through the federal exchange to receive subsidies to help them pay for their coverage. “The Supreme Court made the common sense ruling for a law that makes sense for millions of Americans,” Lee said. “This is a great day for millions of Americans who can afford health insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act. With subsidies in place across the nation, those who now have health insurance — as well as those who still need it — can be confident that the options available to them will be within their reach.”

Although Covered California enrollees were not at risk of losing their subsidies as a result of the Supreme Court decision, a ruling invalidating subsidies offered through the federal health exchange could have resulted in changes to the federal law, which could have affected California. “Covered California enrollees and anyone in our state who still needs health insurance should breathe easy knowing the Affordable Care Act is truly the law of the land and is here to stay,” Lee said. “This historic law is changing our health care system for the better, giving people access to the best doctors and hospitals in our state.” Since opening its doors in January 2014, Covered California has helped provide health insurance to more than 1.8 million people. Covered California estimates that in 2014 it provided more than $5,200 in subsidies per household per year, or about $436 per month. The total amount of subsidies, or Advanced Premium Tax Credits, was $3.2 billion paid to health insurance companies in 2014 on behalf of Covered California enrollees. Consumers themselves paid $1.1 billion toward those policies in 2014, meaning that for every dollar a subsidized Covered California consumer spent on premiums, the federal government paid another $3.

“Today the Supreme Court made the right decision,” Lee said. “With the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans join those with employer-based coverage in getting health insurance in part because of federal tax subsidies. The subsidies have helped millions of Americans, including individuals I have met whose lives were saved as a result of the care they received.” With the support of federal subsidies, the majority of consumers enrolled with Covered California pay less than $150 per month for their premium, with many tens of thousands of consumers paying less than $10 per month for coverage.

Open enrollment for coverage starting Jan. 1, 2016, is scheduled to begin Nov. 1, 2015. Special enrollment for health coverage if an individual has a change in life circumstances, such as moving, having a baby or turning 26, continues year-round. Medi-Cal enrollment also continues year-round.

About Covered California

Covered California is the state’s marketplace for the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Covered California, in partnership with the California Department of Health Care Services, was charged with creating a new health insurance marketplace in which individuals and small businesses can get access to affordable health insurance plans. Covered California helps individuals determine whether they are eligible for premium assistance that is available on a sliding-scale basis to reduce insurance costs or whether they are eligible for low-cost or no-cost Medi-Cal. Consumers can then compare health insurance plans and choose the plan that works best for their health needs and budget. Small businesses can purchase competitively priced health insurance plans and offer their employees the ability to choose from an array of plans and may qualify for federal tax credits. Covered California is an independent part of the state government whose job is to make the new market work for California’s consumers. It is overseen by a five-member board appointed by the Governor and the Legislature. For more information about Covered California, please visit http://www.CoveredCA.com. ###

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Spring Abundance, 3rd Annual San Diego Veg Festival on April 26, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

San Diego Veg Festival Team

marketing@sandiegovegfestival.com

619-512-2202

3rd Annual San Diego Veg Festival comes to Point Loma to Celebrate a Spring Abundance

San Diego, California — The 3rd Annual San Diego Veg Festival takes place on Sunday, April 26th, 2015 from 10 AM to 5 PM held at the McMillin Company Event Center in NTC Point Loma Liberty Station. Appropriately themed as Celebrating a “Spring Abundance”, key figures (both local and from across the U.S.) from the veg-friendly, plant-based community will be featured to speak and demo at the event. Guest host Emily Valdez of Channel 10News will be in attendance. Speakers include Dr. Shawn Miller, D.C. (retired practitioner to wellness icons like David Wolfe, Patricia Bragg) and Dr. Saman Soheily, N.D. of Spark Health. Other featured speakers include Matt Ball of Vegfund, Sid Garza-Hillman of The Stanford Inn by the Sea Eco-Resort, Laura Chiraya Fox of Raw Pure Living Expo, Prana Gogia of Siddha Ayurveda, Chef Sarah Alam of San Diego Vibrant Eats, Jon Bockman of Animal Charity Evaluators, Rachelle Rodriguez of Arbonne International, and Yovana Mendoza of Rawvana. There are active body workshops such as “Body Self Awareness” from Patricia Maldonado from Centro Cultural de la Raza Balboa Park and “Stop, Drop and Yoga” from Lindsey May, Executive Director and Co-Creator & Dave Kemp, Music Director and Co-Creator of Plant Powered Kids.

Topics that will be covered include the newly released Dietary Guidelines, natural and plant-based beauty practices, raw vegan living, holistic health panel on plant-based eating, sustainable practices for raising vegan kids, ecological impacts of one’s diet, and the controversial legislation to ban Foie Gras sells from California Restaurants. There is live juicing demo contest and a film screening on the Foie Gras ban. In the days prior to the main event, San Diegans can enjoy free recipes, Meatless Mondays, 21-day Veg Challenge, and special events from other plant-based lifestyle supporters all over the county by following San Diego Veg Festival’s social media accounts. The San Diego Veg Festival aims to build a healthy community of conscious San Diegans in America’s Finest City through food education, active living, environmental sustainability, animal rights and holistic health practices.

A special VIP Meet and Greet Preview Celebration will take place on Thursday, April 23rd, 2015 at the

Raw Vegan restaurant (run by former NFL-player Jacob Bell) called Sol Cal Café located at 910 J Street

in downtown, East Village. All the food samples and products passed out at the San Diego Veg Festival are veg-friendly. Tickets are $5 online, $10 at the door and children under the age of 12 are free. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. For more information, and to purchase tickets, please visit http://www.sandiegovegfest.com and to like the Facebook page go to facebook.com/SanDiegoVegFestival.

About San Diego Veg Festival

San Diego Veg Festival’s goal is to build a healthy and sustainable movement of conscious San Diegans.

We support a community and lifestyle of being compassionate, plant-based and earth-friendly. Whether

you are a first time or long time vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, flexitarian, locavorian, or curious foodie,

the festival is for everyone. Learn more at www.sandiegovegfest.com.

The Largest Mental Health Workers’ Strike during the week of January 12, 2015

For immediate release

December 31, 2014
Contact: Justin DeFreitas: (510) 701-1415jdefreitas@nuhw.org
KAISER PERMANENTE CLINICIANS TO LAUNCH NATION’S LARGEST EVER MENTAL HEALTH WORKERS’ STRIKE JAN. 12 – LOS ANGELES, CA
2,600 Kaiser California mental health clinicians notify state and federal authorities today that they will hold a week-long statewide strike over the HMO’s failure to provide timely, adequate care to patients. Local contacts and information on 35 strike locations and 65 picket lines below.
Additional documents for review:
Why are Kaiser mental health clinicians on strike?
Kaiser does not staff its psychiatry departments with enough mental health clinicians — psychologists, therapists, social workers, and psychiatric nurses — to meet the needs of its patients. Due to this staff shortage, our schedules are booked solid. Patients are forced to wait weeks, even months for treatment. For patients suffering from depression, anxiety, and other debilitating mental conditions, these delays can be insurmountable obstacles.
As mental health clinicians, we have an ethical obligation to advocate for our patients, whose conditions often make it difficult for them to advocate for themselves. For four years we have done all we can to persuade Kaiser officials to correct these ethical and legal violations, to no avail. That’s why Kaiser’s 2,600 California mental health clinicians and more than 700 other Kaiser employees — optical workers and healthcare professionals — are on strike, here in our community and throughout the state. Kaiser is letting our patients down every day, refusing to provide the timely, appropriate care they pay for with their monthly premiums and that Kaiser is required by law to provide.
In 2013, California’s Department of Managed Health Care fined Kaiser
$4 million for systemically understaffing its psychiatry department and falsifying records to conceal long appointment wait times. Yet Kaiser’s systemic violations of state law continue. After an initial diagnostic appointment, our patients frequently must endure waits of 4 to 12 weeks for treatment, making effective, ongoing therapy nearly impossible.
And the situation is getting worse. This year, under the Affordable Care Act, Kaiser’s California enrollment has increased by a quarter million members. Staffing levels, already too low, are not keeping pace with enrollment.
Meanwhile, “nonprofit” Kaiser is enjoying record profits. Kaiser hasmade more than $14 billion since 2009, and this year’s profitsare up 40 percent over last year’s record.
Last month, we presented Kaiser with a commonsense solution:clinician–management committees in each facility that can work together to determine adequate staffing levels and outsourcing needs, with help from a neutral, outside expert if the two sides cannot agree. It’s a simple and effective solution already in place in other health care systems. Once again, Kaiser failed to act.
With soaring profits and a $30 billion cash reserve, Kaiser can afford to invest in its mental health services by recruiting new clinicians, retaining experienced staff, and staffing its clinics in compliance with state law and in accordance with its ethical obligations as
a healthcare provider.
How can you help?
l Join us on the picket line.
l Call or write to
your local and state representatives and educate them on this important issue.
l Call or write to the Kaiser executives listed below and tell them you support our efforts.
Tell them Kaiser should be investing its record profits in its mental health services to ensure that its patients receive the timely, quality care they need and deserve.
KAISER EXECUTIVES
Bernard Tyson
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
Dr. Robert Pearl
CEO, Permanente Medical Group (510) 987-3141Robert.pearl@kp.org
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
Dr. Edward Ellison
Director, Southern California Permanente Medical Group (626) 405-5000 edward.m.ellison @kp.org
35 strike locations and 65 pickets at Kaiser Permanente Facilities  
…National Union of Healthcare Workers.. NUHW 
Please join us on the picket lines next week as mental health workers
strike for better patient care and a decent worker contract.  

Los Angeles area strike locations: 

Media contact Elizabeth White
(310) 391-4785elizbwhite@msn.com

Monday Jan 12
West Los Angeles Medical Center
6041 Cadillac Ave., West L.A., 90034

Tuesday Jan 13
South Bay Medical Center
25825 Vermont Ave., Harbor City, 90710

Wednesday Jan 14
Downey Medical Center
9333 Imperial Highway, Downey, 90242

Thursday Jan 15
Woodland Hills Medical Center
5601 De Soto Ave., Woodland Hills, 91367

Friday Jan 16
Baldwin Park Medical Center

1011 Baldwin Park Blvd., Baldwin Park, 91706 
EMERYVILLE — Kaiser Permanente’s 2,600 California mental health clinicians — psychologists, therapists, and social workers represented by the National Union of Healthcare Workers — will launch a statewide strike on Monday, January 12, to protest Kaiser’s chronic failure to provide its members with timely, quality mental health care. Kaiser staff will be on 65 picket lines at more than 35 locations throughout the state during the scheduled week-long strike. Notice of the strike was filed today.
More than 700 other Kaiser workers will join the picket lines, including Northern California optical workers and Southern California medical social workers, speech pathologists, audiologists, health educators, and registered dietitians, all of whom also report problems with inadequate staffing.
Despite huge profits — “nonprofit” Kaiser has made more $14 billion since 2009, and this year’s profits of more than $3 billion are up 40 percent over last year’s record— Kaiser Permanente does not staff its psychiatry departments with enough clinicians to treat the ever-growing number of patients seeking mental health care. Kaiser’s systemic understaffing forces patients to endure lengthy waits
for treatment — weeks and even months — in violation of California law and industry standards.

Last year Kaiser was fined $4 million for imposing lengthy and illegal appointment delays on mental health patients. Since then, Kaiser has failed to correct the violations. Compounding the crisis, during the first nine months of 2014, Kaiser added 422,000 new members nationwide, many as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
 
“For patients suffering from depression, anxiety, and other debilitating mental conditions, these delays can be insurmountable obstacles, sometimes leading to tragic outcomes,” said Clement Papazian, a clinical social worker at Kaiser in Oakland and president of NUHW’s Northern California chapter of mental health clinicians. “We don’t want to see patients being ignored. Kaiser’s actions are doing real harm. Even suicides have been linked to Kaiser’s delays and denial of care.”
For more than four years Kaiser has refused to acknowledge the problems caused by its lengthy appointment delays, much less fix them. Having exhausted every other means, Kaiser’s mental health clinicians are adhering to their ethical responsibility to advocate for their patients by conducting a strike aimed at forcing Kaiser to uphold its contractual and ethical obligations to its patients.
Journalists covering this issue are encouraged to review NUHW’s ten-page summary, which provides a history of the crisis, its impact on patients, and evidence of ongoing violations. Here are a few key items:
In 2013, California’s Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) fined Kaiser $4 million for systemically understaffing its psychiatry department, falsifying patients’ appointment records to conceal long wait times, and providing patients with misleading information regarding the care available to them — a situation nearly identical to the scandal that engulfed the Veterans Affairs Administration last year.
Rather than staff their clinics appropriately, Kaiser merely shifted resources, directing clinicians to see more first-time patients at the expense of returning patients. Healthcare workers at Kaiser facilities report that patients frequently endure waits of between four and twelve weeks for a return appointment, making effective, ongoing treatment nearly impossible.
The situation is getting worse. This year, under the Affordable Care Act, Kaiser’s California enrollment has increased by a quarter million members. Staffing levels, already too low, are not keeping pace with enrollment of new patients. Withholding services while increasing membership is an effective way
to score record profits but it has led to woefully inadequate care, as well as four class-action lawsuits filed by patients and families who say Kaiser’s violations contributed to tragic outcomes, including suicides.
In September, Kaiser implicitly acknowledged the problems by agreeing to pay the DMHC’s $4 million fine. Also, Kaiser revealed plans to outsource Northern California mental health services to Value Options. Kaiser’s mental health clinicians believe outsourcing is necessary as a temporary, stop- gap measure while Kaiser hires enough staff to meet its patients’ needs. However, Kaiser has ignored Value Options’ dubious track record. In July 2009, New Mexico discontinued its use of Value Options because of the company’s denial of services to patients.
In June 2014, California’s Department of Managed Health Care fined Value Options for “repeated deficiencies.” And in July 2014, New York’s attorney general assessed $1.2 million in penalties to Value Options and up to $31 million in restitution to patients for denial of access to mental health care.
In contract bargaining in December, Kaiser’s mental health clinicians presented Kaiser with a commonsense solution: clinician–management committees in each facility that can work together to determine adequate staffing levels and outsourcing needs, with help from a neutral, outside expert
if the two sides cannot agree. It’s a simple and effective solution already in place in other health care systems. But once again, Kaiser failed to act, triggering this statewide strike.
“With soaring profits and a $30 billion reserve, Kaiser needs to step up and lead the way in finally making mental health care a priority in this country,” said NUHW President Sal Rosselli. “The law requires it and Kaiser’s ethical obligations as a health care provider demand it.”

Refining the common experience: YogaNation On Tour

Yoga has become apart of the growing movement for stepping away from technology, exploring the mind and westernizing an ancient health practice sourced in India. Without much effort one can find a yoga studio nearby offering everything from meditation, beginner, advanced as well as workshops depending on a client’s busy schedule. At a broader level there are also yoga festivals (Wanderlust, Lightning in a Bottle – sound familiar?) and conferences, which are highly popular among seasoned yogis or those adventurous with extreme balancing postures. Those who attend these large events are bound to be rushed from one workshop to the next, juggling bags of free coco water, flyers, oil samples, clothes and their yoga mat in time to find a tiny seat for the teacher. For those events, you find yourself squeezed alongside hundreds of other yoginis, all of whom have slotted their times around their teachers.

Now comes a different kind of yoga summit that takes away all the hurry and stress out of experiencing yoga in the most easing and non-abrasive form. YogaNation on Tour is a new model to the yoga world that will suit students of all levels who wish to receive teaching come straight to them. See what this innovative tour has to offer below , as Convo Labs partners with PTC Productions to spread the new model to yoginis across America.

YOGA NATION debuts inaugural national tour of weekend yoga intensive in Austin, Texas

3-day experience led by noted instructors, aid local non-profit Community Yoga Austin

New York, NY- YogaNation On Tour will kick off its first season in Austin, Texas metro area on January 31-February 2, 2014 at the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort & Spa near Cedar Creek. The conference begins its domestic tour across America and offers 9 classes, guided meditation, workshops/demos, faculty Q&A, Friday Night Kirtan and Saturday night dance party hosted by Derek Beres of EarthRise SoundSystem. Saturday night’s party will hosts guests from the local community involved in art and wellness including tarot card readers and massage therapists. Unlike other large yoga events or festivals, participants receive the various styles of instruction in one room without the need to rush to other areas to experience all instructors. Lodging is also available for a discount for those who wish to enjoy the other amenities of the location.

 

The featured Austin Instructors include Dana Flynn, Faith Hunter, Sadie Nardini, Derek Beres and local guests Chrispy Bhagat Singh, Mateo J. Daniel, Tyler McCoy and Joshua Param Sevak & The Austin Bhakti Tribe.  The traveling experience also gives attendees a sample of the region’s well-respected yoga studios including Bfree Yoga Austin, Hyde Park Yoga Co., Four Elements Yoga & Fitness and YogaBlackLagoon.com and the YogaRecipe.com. Leading up to the event, celebrated yoga studios will be contributing a portion of donation classes towards the selected charity, Community Yoga. Also, all attendees will have an opportunity to give back with onsite raffles during the weekend event. For more information about the instructors and to see the full weekend schedule, visit the YogaNation website.

REGISTER

Registration is now open at YogaNationOnTour.com. Attendees can email Registration@yoganationontour.com for questions or call 212.582.3474 with questions

.

WHEN

Friday, January 31, 4pm Check-In, 6pm Session followed by Kirtan

Saturday, February 1, 8:00am – 5:30pm & 7:30 p.m. Dance Party!

Sunday, February 2, 8:00am – 5:30 pm Closing

 

LOCATION

Hyatt Lost Pines, 575 Hyatt Lost Pines Road, Lost Pines, TX 78612

Tel: (512) 308-1234. Participants receive a hotel discount when mentioning YogaNation.

More about YogaNation On Tour:

YogaNation was born of our constant desire to find more time for yoga in our own busy lives…to stop and just breathe and reawaken our inspiration, both on and off the mat. YogaNation creates a unique setting with rotating instructors while you stay grounded in one room. Not only will you expand your practice, the weekend will also give you time to relax, renew, and connect with YogaNation Family! When you practice in one city, you’re already connected to hundreds of other yogis and yoginis in many other tour cities – become a part of the YogaNation at large!

Community Yoga’s mission is to expand the practice of yoga to lower socioeconomic and at-risk populations who may not otherwise have access to classes, and to facilitate training and volunteer opportunities to serve these populations for yoga instructors and members of the yoga community. We believe the benefits of yoga will change the current paradigm of society regarding poverty and rehabilitation, exponentially benefiting our community. Since its founding, in 2010 Community Yoga has introduced the practice of yoga to kids of all ages, seniors, prisoners, vets, folks in recovery, folks in shelters, and folks just wanting to find a bit more inner peace in their lives. During 2012, Community Yoga provided more than 450 classes to folks in our community. Learn more at http://www.community-yoga.org.

Health & Sustainability: The San Diego Veg Festival sprouts seeds of consciousness

It is my pleasure to begin a new relationship with one incredible individual, and I’m sure many more to come: Linda Le is the Executive Director of the volunteer-run collective for the San Diego Veg Festival. As a media sponsor, I am proud to be a voice for this wonderful movement in San Diego and share the excitement in public relations and local media. Convo Labs provides quality information to the community that is healthy, grounded in social etiquette, and pays forward the benefit of living a better life with positive-based marketing. We are thrilled to be one of many incredible companies who share similar goals of well-rounded wellness and sustainability in this journey. More news and updates will soon follow. Press release is below.

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2nd Annual San Diego Veg Festival expands, celebrates the city’s growing movement of healthy food and conscious living

San Diego, Ca, — The 2nd Annual San Diego Veg Festival (SDVF) expands to a more accessible location, with the main event on Saturday November 9, 2013 from 10 AM to 5 PM held in North Park. There is a Veg Stage located at the hydroponics garden called Art Produce Garden (3139 University Avenue) and a Greensteading Stage at Casa de Luz (2920 University Avenue). There is a street festival component alongside Herman Avenue between University Avenue and North Park Way. The SDVF celebrates Veg awareness month in November with free recipes, Meatless Mondays, 30 day Veg Challenge, Fine Wine Wednesday giveaways and special events from supporters all over the county. In addition to the two stages of speakers a holistic exercises station, a sustainable succulents station, and more. The San Diego Veg Festival aims to build a healthy community of conscious San Diegans in America’s Finest City through food education, active living, environmental sustainability, animal rights and holistic health practices. Each of the 2 stages will feature over a dozen speakers who provide the latest insights and practical tips for living a well-rounded lifestyle.

NEW ADDITION: Tasty Bite specializing in Indian cuisine sponsors Live Cooking Competition to encourage consumer creativity on Saturday, November 9th 1:15-2:30 PM at Casa De Luz

logo_TastyBite

Tasty Bite, a large scale domestic producer of fresh and readily edible pan-Asian foods distributed in large grocery chains like Henry’s, Whole Foods and Bristol Farms, sponsors an a fun new component of this year’s San Diego Veg Festival. Tasty Bite has many items all Veg-friends can make themselves, which require no cooking, have no preservatives, and require no refrigeration make it the nationally-distributed company the perfect partner for a live cooking competition. In a collective endeavor of celebrating all things Veg, the event will be one of many ways to educate San Diegans about various creative ways to conjure recipes that are fast and fun to make. The company also maintains high standards of manufacturing quality and sustainability as a well-rounded, conscious food company supporting the 2nd annual San Diego Veg Festival.

All attendees and ticket holders may compete in teams, and all ages can participate in the epicurean challenge. Prizes include gift certificates to on Saturday, November 9th at Casa De Luz from 1:15 to 2:30 PM, festival go-ers will get some new ideas on quick meals that are healthy and easy to create.

All the food samples and products passed out at the San Diego Veg Festival are veg-friendly. Tickets are $5 and children under the age of 10 are free. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. For more information, and to purchase tickets, please visit www.sandiegovegfestival.com and to like the Facebook page go to facebook.com/SanDiegoVegFestival.

Tasty-Bite-cook-off

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About San Diego Veg Festival 

San Diego Veg Festival’s goal is to build a healthy and sustainable movement of conscious San Diegans. We support a compassionate, plant-based, animal-friendly lifestyle. Whether you are a first time or long time vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, flexitarian, locavorian, or curious foodie, the festival is for everyone! It features 2 stages of speakers, live food demonstrations, tons of food samples, documentary screenings, a book store, recipe contest, children’s corner, a holistic exercise activities, an official post-festival brunch, and Greensteading component.