Posted tagged ‘Healthcare’

President Obama to Sign Abortion Limits Order

March 24, 2010

President Obama plans to sign an executive order today that will ensure that existing limits on the federal funding of abortion remain in place under the new health care overhaul law.

From CNN:

Unlike the signing of the health care bill into law Tuesday, which was conducted under the glare of media cameras, the event Wednesday will be closed to the news media.

It will be attended by Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan and 12 of his anti-abortion Democratic House colleagues, without whose help the landmark overhaul bill would not have passed, political observers say.

The White House said the executive order reaffirms longstanding restrictions on the federal funding of abortion in the new law.

Study Finds Large Drop in Heart Attacks After Bans on Smoking

September 22, 2009

The ban on smoking in public places has been of great public health debate in recent times. Now, two studies suggest that communities that pass laws to curb secondhand smoke a resulting in a major drop in heart attacks.

From CNN:

Overall, American, Canadian, and European cities that have implemented smoking bans had an average of 17 percent fewer heart attacks in the first year, compared with communities who had not taken such measures.

Then, each year after implementing smoking bans (at least for the first three years, the longest period studied), smoke-free communities have an average 26 percent decline in heart attacks, compared with those areas that still allow smokers to light up in public places.

The findings, published independently by two research teams using similar data, are in the medical journals Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association and Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The new studies should grab the attention of cities as well as states — such as Tennessee and Virginia — that still permit smoking in (at least certain sections of) bars, casinos, restaurants, and other public places.

Overall, 32 states and many cities in the United States have passed some type of law prohibiting smoking in public spots. (You can check out the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation to find out if your local community has a ban.) In addition, England, France, Ireland, Italy, Norway, and Scotland have passed such bans.

In 2005, there were 1.26 million heart attacks in the U.S., and about 445,687 of those people died, according to the American Heart Association. The new research suggests that a nationwide ban on smoking in public and workplaces could prevent 100,000 to 225,000 heart attacks each year in the U.S., says one study author, Dr. David Meyers,of the University of Kansas School of Medicine.

Alzheimer’s Cases Could Double Every 20 Years

September 21, 2009

According to a new report, the number of people with dementia globally is estimated to nearly double every 20 years.

From CNN:

Much of the growth will be fueled by longer life spans and population growth, especially in developing nations.

“Over the next 20 years, the numbers of people with dementia are anticipated to increase by 40 percent in Europe, 63 percent in North America, 77 percent in the southern Latin America … and 89 percent in the developed Asia Pacific countries,” the report said.

“In comparison, the percentage increase is expected to be 117 percent in East Asia, 107 percent in South Asia, 134-146 percent in the rest of Latin America, and 125 percent in North Africa and the Middle East.”

By 2010, an estimated 35.6 million people around the world will be living with dementia. The number is expected to hit 65.7 million in 2030 and 115.4 million in 2050.

One in seven Americans age 71 and older, or about 3.4 million, have dementia, according to the National Institutes of Health. In this age group, 2.4 million people have Alzheimer’s disease, NIH research has shown. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Joe Wilson’s War

September 10, 2009

What a night it was last night! President Barack Obama’s address to Congress became more than just a speech about a piece of legislation. During the speech, the President was interrupted by a two word outburst by South Carolina Republican Joe Wilson. Because of this, the focus today has been taken off of health care, and has been put on Wilson.

But what exactly becomes of Joe Wilson’s “You Lie”? Who does it help? Who does it hurt? Should we even care?

From USA Today:

Congress is divided and its members are angry. The president and the Democrats had let the plan be defined by its most controversial parts, some of which were distorted or mischaracterized by opponents. Conservative Democrats and moderate Republicans remain opposed to Obama’s insistence that there be a government-run health insurance option. Liberals are watching how much he’ll fight for the public option and whether Obama will hold firm in his promise to “call out” anyone who distorts his ideas going forward.

From the Associated Press:

Rep. Joe Wilson is known as a mild-mannered congressman fond of making short speeches. His shortest got the most attention. “You lie!” Wilson blurted out during President Barack Obama’s health care address to a joint session Wednesday night, an outburst that made some supporters shudder even as others believed it could give Wilson a political boost in his conservative hometown.

“He’s the only one who has guts in that whole place. He’ll get re-elected in a landslide,” said John Roper, an insurance agent, as he sat among patrons at a diner near Columbia.

Still, Southern sensibilities reign in the district Wilson has represented for the past eight years. Added Roper, “He probably shouldn’t have said it in that context.”

Wilson apologized to the White House soon after the speech and again Thursday, but did not back away from the issue that prompted his outburst. “People who have come to our country and violated laws, we should not be providing full health care services,” he said.

His heckle came after Obama said extending health care to all Americans who seek it would not mean insuring illegal immigrants.

Burgerville Affordable Health Care Program Featured on FOX & Friends

September 8, 2009

Be sure to check out footage of client Burgerville from FOX & Friends this morning which features President and CEO Jeff Harvey discussing the chain’s affordable health care program for hourly employees.

Under Burgerville’s health care plan, employees who have been with the company for at least six months, and work 20 hours a week, are eligible for health insurance which costs the employee $15 per month. The cost for an employee and children is $30, employee and spouse is $60 and a full family plan is just $90. This coverage comes with no deductible.

Burgerville pays more than 90 percent of the premium for employees and their dependents. The most recent survey by the company found that nearly all of Burgerville’s 579 eligible hourly employees are enrolled.

The Pacific Northwest chain has been able to offer their affordable health care plan for nearly 4 years, and as a result, has experienced reduced turnover, increased long-term retention and increased operational productivity.

Burgerville saw turnover drop from 128% in 2005 to 54% in 2006 (the first year of the program).

Initiatives such as this industry leading health care program, an expanded leadership development training program for employees, the company wide use of wind power, recycling of used trans fat free cooking oil into biodiesel, as well as an expanded recycling and composting program, are all based around Burgerville’s belief that it is good business to adopt practices that are good for their guests, employees, the local community and the environment.

WSJ: Burgerville’s Health-Care Recipe

August 31, 2009

A great article in today’s Wall Street Journal, written by Sarah Needleman, featuring client Burgerville and their affordable employee health care program.

If you don’t believe that a fast food, quick serve or fast casual restaurant chain can provide their employees with affordable health care, you will be pleasantly surprised!

From the Wall Street Journal:

Four years ago, executives of Burgerville, a regional restaurant chain, agreed to pay at least 90% of health-care premiums for hourly employees who work at least 20 hours a week. Today, the executives say the unusual move has saved money by cutting turnover, boosting sales and improving productivity.

Burgerville’s experience is notable for the food-service industry, where turnover is high and fewer than half of chains offer health insurance for part-time hourly employees, according to People Report, a research firm. The chains that do offer benefits pay on average 49% of the cost for employees working at least 30 hours a week, People Report says.

Burgerville’s initiative “not only improves quality of service but it saves money by not having to replace staff as frequently,” said Darren Tristano, executive vice president at Technomic Inc., a Chicago consulting and research firm for the food industry.

Burgerville, a 39-restaurant chain based in Vancouver, Wash., and owned by closely held Holland Inc., has long followed a distinctive path. It offers hormone-free meat, uses wind energy to power its stores and prints nutritional information on its receipts.

Under Burgerville’s plan, individual hourly workers can enroll in a health-maintenance organization for $15 a month, with no deductible. A worker and spouse pay $30 monthly; family plans cost $90. Salaried employees, whose plans didn’t change significantly, pay $84 a month for individual and $240 monthly for family coverage, and have an annual deductible of $500.

Executives say the plan paid for itself, and more. Turnover in 2006 plunged to 54%, from 128% in 2005. That’s a big deal when it costs an average of $1,700 to replace and train a restaurant worker, according to People Report.

Burgerville Once Again Redefines Fast Food

May 27, 2009

If you’ve been dying to try the new, seasonal, gourmet menu offerings at client Burgerville, be sure to check out a sample of this mouth-watering review by Jake Ten Pas of the Columbian on the latest May offerings: the Grilled Asparagus and Tomato Melt and Golden Fried Asparagus Spears. The full review can be found on the Columbian Web site by clicking the link below.

Over the last four decades, Burgerville has become nationally honored for its innovative approach to quick service and fresh, local, sustainable offerings, winning numerous awards for its healthcare, wind power and recycling/composting programs. But what has always set Burgerville apart from the competition has been its commitment to local purchasing and its high quality, seasonal menu items such as their real ice cream milkshakes made with local berries from Liepold Farms and of course their Walla Walla Sweet Onion Rings.

Starting in February of this year, Burgerville added two gourmet, seasonal food offerings to its menu each month that feature a high quality, local ingredient sourced from local partners who share the chain’s commitment to sustainable business practices. With these new, gourmet menu items, Burgerville is not only catering to their current guests ever-changing tastes, they are answering the demand of their younger consumers who want the convenience and cost savings of quick service with the quality and uniqueness of a more high-end gourmet establishment.

If you’re in the Portland/Vancouver area, be sure to stop by!

From the Columbian:

Burgerville has long existed in its own niche among fast-food burger chains by featuring seasonal ingredients grown in the Pacific Northwest. It espoused the ideals of the locavore before that term was in wide use, with seasonal specials such as Walla Walla Sweet Onion Rings and Yukon Gold Fries. As of February, however, Burgerville upped the ante in its bid to appeal to folks looking for a fresh, ever-changing culinary approach. Each month of the year, it will unveil a featured gourmet menu item using a local ingredient that is in season. In March it was rosemary, in April spinach and this month asparagus is in the spotlight. So, the question becomes, is Burgerville high-quality fast food, fine dining at a reasonable price, or something else altogether?

To get a sense of the variety offered when the menu changes monthly, I went to Burgerville in April to sample the spinach offerings, which were built around spinach grown in the Corvallis-Albany, Ore., area. The first was a spinach salad with Rogue Creamery Blue Cheese, grilled chicken, walnuts and dried cranberries from Dallas, Ore. The spinach was a vivid, pine green, which combined visually with the creamy white and blue cheese and the magenta cranberries to create a roughage rainbow. The chicken was moist, though I wouldn’t have minded a couple more pieces. It was served with a red wine vinaigrette that locked down the trifecta of sweet, creamy and slightly bitter flavors that is essential to a good spinach salad, with the nuts providing the textural counterpoint. Their second spinach offering was a breakfast pastry stuffed with sausage, egg and, of course, spinach. The pastry itself was both flaky and chewy, and there was no shortage of egg and sausage, making it filling. If anything, I could have used a bit more spinach, and cheese might have helped to bind the ingredients together.

To display this month’s ingredient, Burgerville unveiled a Grilled Asparagus and Tomato Melt and Golden Fried Asparagus Spears, both made with locally grown produce. The fries, in lesser hands, could have been a disaster. I worried that the delicate flavor of the vegetable would get lost behind batter and oil, but my concern turned out to be totally unfounded. Instead, a light batter clung tenuously to the crisp stalks, allowing the flavor of the main ingredient to shine. Not only that, but there was hardly a hint of grease on the fries, which were served with a delicious garlic aioli. Aioli is like mayonnaise, and the condiment was so simple and tasty that, were it not for the company’s emphasis on locally procured ingredients, they could consider opening up shop in France. Not to denigrate their bar-setting special sauce, but the aioli should be on the menu year-round.

The asparagus melt was similarly delicious, even though it lacked somewhat in presentation.  Again, the asparagus was a rich green and was paired with ripe, thinly sliced tomatoes and a gooey mass of mozzarella and provolone cheese. The bread was golden and buttery, if a bit greasier than the fries, and cradled the subtly Italian flavors admirably.