Category Archive : Local Affiliates

Complaints Filed: 178 Hospitals Fail to Provide Federally Mandated Price Transperency

Many hospitals are not doing the bare minimum to meet the needs of patients, address the inequities in healthcare, and even follow federal government rules for their operations! 

ACORN International in partnership with Labor Neighbor Research & Training Center, and Local 100 United Labor Unions in recent weeks has filed complaints against 178 hospitals in Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas for failing to provide patients with price transparency, per the CMS’ latest guidelines/policy.

These hospitals either have no pricing information available or have it displayed in such a way that it is inaccessible to patients seeking the information. The regulation requires that the information be machine-readable, so it can be compared, but many hospitals have made comparison impossible, contrary to the regulation.  

As of the beginning of this year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)  has a policy requiring price transparency in effect Jan. 1, 2021

  • “Starting January 1, 2021, each hospital operating in the United States will be required to provide clear, accessible pricing information online about the items and services they provide in two ways: As a comprehensive machine-readable file with all items and services. In a display of shoppable services in a consumer-friendly format.” (source)
  • Part of CMS’ actions to “address the health equity gap, ensure consumers have the information they need to make fully informed decisions regarding their health care, improve emergency care access in rural communities, and use lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic to inform patient care and quality measurements.” 

Not only is there a crisis in medical costs, as longer-term research is proving, but patients and the general public cannot even access information about their procedures, price shop, or even find out exactly how much it will cost in advance, this means patients cannot “make fully informed and value-conscious decisions” 

CMS has threatened to begin finding hospitals for their impunity in not following the regulation and posting their prices transparently.  Our survey of hospitals in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas indicates that many of them will soon be facing significant penalties for consumer abuse in not filing.

https://laborneighbor.org/

⚠️ NEW QUALITY OF LIFE SURVEY ⚠️: Examines NOLA Citizens Attitudes On Major Issues

SUPPORT IS STRONG FOR $15 WAGE & ENFORCEMENT, BRINGING ENERGY IN LINE, AND IMPROVING GARBAGE COLLECTION AND POLICE PROTECTION

Survey Report and Data available on request and will be shared on Zoom conference
Zoom Press Conference: Tuesday, October 5, 2021 1:00 PM

for the Zoom link email communications@acorninternational.org

A post-Ida quality of life poll released today provides a fresh snapshot on a variety of issues including Entergy, garbage, crime, the city’s recovery, the $15 minimum wage, and Mayor Cantrell’s re-election prospects. The poll was funded by ACORN International, Local 100 United Labor Unions, and A Community Voice, an ACORN affiliate.  ACORN is headquartered in New Orleans and has 250,000 members in fifteen countries.  United Labor Unions Local 100 represents public and private sector workers in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas, including cleaning workers, healthcare workers, and sanitation workers (hoppers) in the city of New Orleans. 

 A Community Voice, ACV is also a locally-based non-profit community organization that fights for social and economic justice for low to moderate-income families. Conducted September 29 and 30, 2021 by an out-of-state pollster who regularly works in Louisiana, the poll surveyed 815 Orleans Parish registered voters via live calls and interactive voice response (IVR). The margin of error is plus or minus 3.4%.

By far the most popular response indicated support for both a $15 minimum wage for city workers and all contractors, as well as active enforcement by the Mayor and City Council of the city minimum wage for workers and contractors.  This question received the highest-level support in the survey with 69.6% of respondents supporting the initiative, 13.9% opposing it, and 16.5% undecided. Support was highest among Blacks (78.6%) and Democrats (76.1%). Of voters who consider themselves Support from “Other” voters, i.e. those who consider themselves multiracial, Latino or Asian, etc., was stronger than support from White voters. Support was also greatest (85.4%) in the Mid-City neighborhood followed by Bywater/Upper 9, and then New Orleans East. 

There has been much public discussion surrounding Mayor Latoya Cantrell’s decision not to call for a mandatory evacuation. Even though a formal evacuation order was not in place, 64.1% or respondents indicated they did evacuate including 71.5% of Blacks, 53.0% of Whites, and 48.7% of Other. The largest group which evacuated were Blacks over the age of 65. New Orleans East residents accounted for 78.1% of evacuees followed by 66.1% of Mid-City residents, 63.3% of Bywater/Upper 9 residents, and 62.5% of Lakeview residents. Almost every citizen has been disappointed by the trash and debris that piled up on New Orleans streets after Hurricane Ida. In addition, one of the city’s contracted waste disposal companies was unable to properly service its route before the storm. The survey tested citizen satisfaction with pre-Ida garbage service. Respondents were almost equally divided on their satisfaction with the previous service. While 44.1% voiced satisfaction, 43.3% voiced dissatisfaction and 12.5% were undecided.  White (57%) and Other (45.7%) were more pleased than Blacks (36.8%). Support was also highest among Republicans (51.1%), White males (59.1%), and residents of the French Quarter/CBD/Warehouse District (73.3%).

Dissatisfaction was most adamant in the Lower 9th Ward where more than 75% voiced displeasure. Entergy has been under ongoing significant scrutiny for transmission and distribution failures as well as for slow restoration of service after Hurricane Ida. Overall, only 36.7% of respondents indicated satisfaction with Entergy’s performance while 47.4% voiced disappointment and 16.0% were undecided.  Satisfaction was highest among Republicans (44.4%), Other Males (50.0%) as well as Lakeview residents (53.8%). Support for Entergy’s performance is lowest in the Lower 9th Ward (14.3%).

Many residents have viewed Mayor Cantrell favorably for her COVID-19 response efforts. Almost a majority of citizens appear to support her post-Ida work as well – 46.9% of voters think she has done a good job versus 29.8% who are dissatisfied and 23.3% who are undecided. Her support is strongest among Blacks (58.8%), Democrats (52.7%), and Black males (53.8%) as well as residents of New Orleans East (56.8%). Cantrell’s support for her post-Ida response efforts is weakest in Lakeview and the French Quarter/CBD/Warehouse District.   The survey asked whether citizens feel safer now than they did before Mayor Cantrell took office. Only 19.1% feel safer now, 45.4% do not feel safer and 35.4% are undecided. Those who feel not as safe include Whites (61.7%), Republicans (70.1%), and White females (62.0%).

Despite the extra police protection available in the 8th District, 71.4% of residents in the French Quarter/CBD/Warehouse District articulated they did not feel as safe since Cantrell took office. Mayor Cantrell and other municipal officeholders are all up for reelection in November 2021.  Fourteen candidates, including Cantrell, are competing in the race for mayor. Based on her performance during the last four years, survey participants were asked if they would prefer to vote for her or another candidate.  Fewer than half the respondents (44.75%) were fully committed to voting for Cantrell. Thirty-three percent (33.3%) said they would prefer another candidate and the remainder (22.2%) were undecided. Cantrell’s support for reelection is strongest among Blacks (58.1%), Black females (58.3%), and Democrats (52.5%). She is also most popular in Mid-City (54.2%), closely followed by New Orleans East and Bywater/Upper Nine. 

 “A Community Voice (ACV) is committed to serving the citizens of New Orleans including the working poor, the elderly, women, children, and families. This survey has provided valuable information that will help us better support our members and constituents,” said Debra Campbell, an ACV leader. Wade Rathke, Chief Organizer of ACORN and Local 100 United Labor Unions, said “We represent workers contracted to the city of New Orleans to clean their buildings, garbage workers who pick up the trash in difficult conditions, and health care workers entrusted with life and death for their charges.  The pandemic and Hurricane Ida has established how essential these workers are.  

This survey indicates that the public supports them and wants them not only to receive a fair wage but to see the full force of the City enforcing fair wages and working conditions for these workers.  We hope the Mayor and Council take the public’s opinions to heart and convert their views into action.“We’ll also be closely watching the choices they make while governing to ensure that all the citizens are well served. We are starting by reviewing the candidates currently running in our municipal elections and the public contracts already in place,” said community organizer Pat Bryant.  Byrant is involved in the newly formed grassroots coalition “Hold ‘Em Accountable New Orleans.

New Orleans voters or organizations interested in more information about the poll and their neighborhood should contact ACORN, ACV, or Local 100 at 2221 St. Claude Avenue.  Those interested in work with Hold ‘Em Accountable NOLA should reach out via Facebook.

For additional information:

Wade Rathke 504-628-8050 chieforganizer@unitedlaborunions.org

Pat Bryant 504 905-4137 pat46bryant@yahoo.com

Local 100: OSHA Actions

In September, United Labor Unions Local 100 leaders and members in Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas launched a campaign to pressure employers to create and enact health safety plans in accordance with OSHA regulations. Many of our union members shared that they had no personal protective equipment provided by their employer and no guidelines around workplace safety – even while working with patients or students and unable to socially distance on the job.

On Thursday, September 10, workers went to management offices in-person to demand copies of their worker safety plans, after email requests for these plans the week before mostly went un-answered. Most sites were unresponsive or did not have the plans. The week after, union leaders went to the OSHA offices in person to submit formal complaints about the lack of plans. We continue to follow up on the complaints and pressure workplaces to put plans and resources in places to protect their workers during this pandemic.


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