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Posts from the ‘Diana Mason’ Category

Healthstyles Today: “Observation Status”–Policy Gone Wrong?

wbaiAcross the country, people on Medicare who become ill are being admitted to hospitals on what is called “observation status” or “admit to observation” to provide regular assessments to ensure that the patient’s condition doesn’t deteriorate and require a higher level of care. Medicare pays less for observation status since it’s assumed that the patient needs less care. It makes sense, but in reality it’s creating huge problems for some of the patients, their families and the hospitals. The issue has become a national concern and New York State has responded with legislation aimed to provide some protection for Medicare patients who are admitted to the state’s hospitals.

Today on Healthstyles on WBAI 9.5 FM (, producer and host Diana Mason, RN, PhD, talks about this issue with Toby Edelman, Senior Policy Attorney in the Washington, DC, office of the Center for Medicare Advocacy. You can listen to the interview here:

The program will open  with HealthCetera, Healthstyles’ highlights of health news that today includes information about Ebola; followed by a discussion with new Healthstyles producer, Kenya Beard, RN, EdD, ANP, about the recent report on health disparities by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. You can listen to this interview here:

Today’s program opens with HealthCetera, Healthstyles’ highlights of health news.

So tune in today at 1:00 to WBAI, 99.5 FM.

Healthstyles is sponsored by the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College, City University of New York.

Healthstyles Today: Medicare and a New Online Mental Health Service

wbaiToday on Healthstyles on WBAI, 99.5 FM ( at 1:00, producer and moderator Diana Mason, RN, hosts a program that opens with HealthCetera, a health news updated, followed by a discussion of Medicare by c0-producer Liz Seegert with Stacey Sanders, Federal Policy Director of the Medicare Rights Center, a national non-profit organization that helps older adults and people with disabilities to get health coverage through counseling, advocacy, educational programs and public policy initiatives.

The program then airs an interview that Mason did with Jen Hyatt, founder and CEO of Big White Wall, an online service that helps individuals get support, take control and feel better, by creating an anonymous and safe space to share and access personalized pathways to recovery via a supportive online community and proactive self-management services, facilitated by experienced guides. Big White Wall was named a High Impact Innovation by the UK National Health Service and as the best eHealth solution developed by an SME (Small and Medium Sized Enterprise) across the European Union.

You can listen to the program by clicking here:

Healthstyles if sponsored by the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College, City University of New York.

Waste Not, Water Not

Yesterdays New York Times reported on the link between poor sanitation and malnutrition in children in India. Noting that prior studies of child malnutrition fail to even mention sanitation, the article points out that about half of the population of India does not have or use toilet or latrines, with some people (mostly men, according to the article) preferring to defecate outdoors. As a result, children are exposed to disease agents transmitted in fecal matter. No matter how much the children eat, they are unable to gain weight and draw upon the food’s nutrition. One million children die before age 5, and 65 million of those who do survive have permanently stunted growth and brain development.

The link between malnutrition and sanitation is based upon a study published by the Research Institute of Compassionate Economics (I like that title a lot), or RICE, “a nonprofit research organization, dedicated to understanding the lives of poor people, especially young children, in India, and to promoting their well-being.”  Calling for a “Latrine Use Revolution“, RICE argues that simply building more toilets or latrines is not the answer. The government of India needs to mount a media campaign to educate its population on the importance of confining human waste to special areas to avoid the spread of disease.

We assume that people should have the right to live healthy lives through a basic level of sanitation, so it’s easy to be critical of India. But how do we respond to the right to live healthy lives in our own country?

Recently, the right of people living in the U.S. to access water (note that I’m not even saying “clean water”) has come into question. Some weeks ago, Detroit began to cut off water to residents who owe $150 or more in water bills, for a total of over $90 million in back payments.  People are creative, particularly when it comes to survival; and so some of those with no water were able to do an “illegal” hook up to be able to drink and wash. Yesterday, the city announced that it had fined 79 residents a total of over $21,000 in fees for such hook ups. The city charges $250 to restart water to a home the first time–a fee that increases with each delinquent payment and shut off. Such fees seem to ignore that people can’t pay their bills because they are poor.

Last year, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, chairman of the board and former CEO of Nestle, said in a YouTube video that water is not a public right and should be privatized. In the video, he goes on to say, “We’ve never had it so good, we’ve never had so much money, we’ve never been so healthy. we’ve never lived as long as we do today. We have everything we want and still we go around as if we were in mourning for something.”  Perhaps he should visit Detroit and talk with the people who have no water because they are too poor to pay their water bills. Or he could visit India and speak to the mothers of the children who are dying from a lack of sanitation. Life is so good for “us”.

Diana J. Mason, PhD, RN, FAAN, Rudin Professor of Nursing

Healthstyles Today

wbaiThis week’s Healthstyles program on WBAI (99.5 FM) features Health News about a New York City Department of Health Advisory on preventing heat-related injuries and deaths; booking online appointments for some hospital Emergency Rooms; and an outbreak of Ebola virus in West African countries that is setting a record as the largest and deadliest. Host Diana Mason then talks with Healthstyles producer and host Barbara Glickstein about the Supreme Court decision on Hobby Lobby and its ruling that eliminates buffer zones around clinics that provide abortion services. Finally, nurse and four-time cancer survivor Helene Neville talks about the third leg of her world-record run around the perimeter of the continental United States. To listen to the program, click here:

Healthstyles is sponsored by the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College, City University of New York.

Healthstyles Today

wbaiHealthstyles is back on daytime radio on WBAI on Thursdays from 1:00 to 2:00. Tomorrow’s program is hosted by Diana Mason and opens with Health News, a segment of the program that highlights some of the policy and research developments in health and health care. This is followed by an interview with Esther Madudu, a midwife in Eastern Uganda who has dedicated her life to improving outcomes for pregnant women and their children by ensuring access to midwifery services and birthing supports. An ambassador for Amref Health Africa, Madudu shares her story of commitment to saving the lives of women and children, along with a discussion of Amref’s work to promote health in Africa. You can listen to this interview by clicking here:

The program ends with a discussion of the VA crisis and an initiative called “Have You Ever Served?” that aims to increase the likelihood that clinicians outside of the VA health system will recognize health problems that can arise from exposures and injuries that occurred when patients served in the military.

You can listen to the program on WBAI, 99.5 FM or  online at or click here to listen to the entire program from June 19, 2014.

Healthstyles is sponsored by the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College.


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