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Saturday, September 12, 2009

What Were You Doing on September 11th 2001?

My daughter-in-law Cheryl Grabowski L'Heureux posted this living September 11th memory on facebook. I've cut and pasted the story into this blog because her experience is a compelling and living reminder of the horror Americans witnessed on September 11, 2001 when thousands of innocent people were murdered by an act of terrorism.

On 9/11/2001 I was on a train on my way into NYC. I was going to the WTC to meet up with a few employees...Nichole Gonzales was one of them. We were going to look at the site where my company was building a new store in the mall (not sure if ya'll know, but there was a really nice mall in the bottom of WTC.

That morning, I lingered in bed, not really wanting to get up. I was now running late and needed to leave. Roger dropped me off at the train station and kissed me goodbye. The train ride into NYC is always quite, business men and women going to work.

At 8:48 am my cell phone rang. My store manager of my South Street Seaport store, who lives in Battery Park, called and screamed "a plane just hit the WTC!" I repeated back to her, "a plane hit the WTC?". Sounding alarmed others looked up over at me and started asking "what happened?" I said "a plane just hit WTC".

I hung up with her and immeditaly called Roger. He had not heard about it yet and he turned on the radio. While we were talking he screamed "another plane just hit the other tower". I yelled out on the train "another plane just hit the other tower".

At this point, every single person is on their cell phone with family, work, friends, trying to find out what was going on. Roger said "get off the train at the next stop and I'll come get you". I got off the train and waited for Roger. I called my Mom, crying, and getting her anwering machine. I told her I was OK and did not make it into NYC that day. I called my Father,Grandmother, and friends as well.

Roger picked me up and as we were driving on the NJ Turnpike we saw a huge plume of smoke. We looked at eachother, horrifed, and said OMG, the towers just fell. I was numb at this point. I could not believe what was happening. It felt so surreal, it was unimaginable that this was happening here, in the USA.

At home, I could not take my eyes off of the tv set. I needed to know why this happened.

Fate has a funny way of showing herself...if I would have gone to work earlier, I would have wanted to meet with the mall marketing manager before the mall became busy. This means I would have been on a higher floor, not sure which, and would have experienced the tragic nightmare firsthand.

For all of those who lost someone on 9/11, I pray for you and for them. For those who have loved ones fighting for our country, I pray for them and their families.

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Friday, September 04, 2009

Congressman Mike Michaud Health Care Forum in Bangor Maine

In the absence of Town Hall screamers, the health care forum hosted by Maine's Second District Congressman Mike Michaud was a thoughtful presentation from multiple health care providers about the current issue of health care reform.

Thank you Congressman Michaud for hosting this civilized and informative forum in Bangor. Too bad there weren't any big network news anchors attending to cover the issues. Following is the report of the forum by the Maine Medical Association and a copy of my own testimony on behalf of mental health parity:


Report From the Maine Medical Association Newsletter:
Congressman Michaud Hosts Forum on Health Care Reform


Congressman Mike Michaud (D-2nd District) held a forum on the national health care reform debate from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday, August 28, 2009 at the Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor. For more than 3 1/2 hours Congressman Michaud and members of his staff listened to members of Maine's health care provider community express their views about the national health care reform debate generally and H.R. 3200, the one bill voted out of committee in the House so far, specifically. Most speakers seemed supportive of health care reform in concept, but many expressed concern that Congress not act hastily and mentioned concerns specific to a particular provider type. Physicians were well represented in the list of 25 or so witnesses and the following testified:

Gary Palman, D.O., Maine Society of Anesthesiologists
Stephanie Lash, M.D., MMA
Jon Fanburg, M.D., Maine Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics
Julie Balaban, M.D., Maine Association of Psychiatric Physicians/Maine Association of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Joel Kase, D.O., Maine Osteopathic Association
Larry Piazza, M.D., Maine Society of Eye Physicians & Surgeons
Larry Mutty, M.D., M.P.H.
Charles Pattavina, M.D., St. Joseph Hospital
Congressman Michaud and his Health Legislative Assistant, Jill Brimmer, also heard testimony from representatives of hospitals, community health centers, nursing homes, pharmacists, nurses, psychologists, physical therapists, dental hygienists, ambulance companies, community mental health centers, chiropractors, and hospice providers.

Physicians who wish to communicate with Congressman Michaud's office about the national health care reform debate may reach out to Jill Brimmer at jill.brimmer@mail.house.gov


Testimony of Maine Association of Mental Health Services
Memorandum: Friday August 28, 2009

From: Juliana L’Heureux, BS, RN, MHSA
To: Congressman Mike Michaud

Ref: Testimony on Health Care Reform – Public Hearing in Bangor

Good morning. My name is Juliana L’Heureux. I am a registered nurse and the Executive Director of the Maine Association of Mental Health in Services (MAMHS) in Augusta.

MAMHS represents 27 Community Behavioral Health Centers throughout Maine.

Thank you for including mental health care to participate in this forum. Mental health providers truly appreciate your remarkable support for quality mental health care, especially for Veterans.

I also want to acknowledge the eloquent remarks from the psychiatrists who spoke before me, about the need to improve access to mental health care.

Our MAMHS members understand the complexities involved in health care reform. We are here to be a clear voice for mental health parity to be included in whatever public policy is ultimately passed. As you know, health care policy specialists worked hard for many years to achieve mental health insurance parity. Therefore, I speak for all health care providers and the clients and families we care for when we speak in support of providing mental health parity in health care reform, especially, providing for covering the cost of providing quality care. Moreover, I support the testimony from Eastern Maine Medical Center about the importance of providers being able to negotiate rates with payers. Negotiating rates is, likewise, important for community behavioral health care providers, as well.

We also seek your support for funding Community Behavioral Health Care to obtain electronic medical records.

Mental health care predisposes many physical health issues, which we know is the concept put forth in integrated care and medical home models. Certainly, we support all models of care where people are cared for out of institutions and as close to home as possible, whenever possible.

Therefore, please continue to be our advocate for protecting mental health parity in any health care reform regardless of where care is provided, including the appropriate use of tele health services.

Thank you again for your generous allocation of time to host this forum.

Juliana L'Heureux BS, RN, MHSA, Executive Director
Maine Association of Mental Health Services
45 Memorial Circle Suite 103 Augusta, Maine 04330
Telephone - (207) 621-4111 Fax - (207) 621-4999

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