Category Archive : Updates from the Field

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/

Nigerian Success

Thirty families have now joined ACORN Nigeria to launch a new affiliate in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.  The first step in order to grow the membership is formally registering ACORN Nigeria, and we are on our way. This organizing was triggered by ACORN President Marva Burnett working with a local organizer, Etida Anthony Edem.

ACORN Canada: ‘Rally for Herongate’ challenges local property development

Timbercreek (also called Hazelview), a well-known property developer in Ottawa, has applied for an Official Plan Amendment (OPA) with the city’s government, proposing to redevelop the Herongate area for the next 20 years.

That’s right: two-zero. As in, two decades of one company having free reign over an area’s development.

ACORN Ottawa sprang into action by submitting a list of tenant’s demands to city officials, which must include the following, among other demands, if the OPA is to be granted:

  • 25-35% affordable housing with an emphasis on DEEP affordability 
  • Affordable childcare space 
  • Local job hiring pre and post construction
  • Affordable retail space for small businesses
  • Continued maintenance of units and proactive inspections by the City 
  • Quarterly reports on progress presented to tenants and community organizations in the neighborhood

Local ACORN members followed this list of demands with a Rally for Herongate to push for affordable housing, no demovictions, and no displacement of the local community. Check out highlights from their action below:

ACORN India: Dharavi Rocks releases new music video, “Vaada Karo”

ACORN India affiliate Dharavi Rocks, located in Mumbai, has recently released a new song with singer Suneeta Rao and musician Dhruv Ghanekar.

The new song was inspired by a study which linked climate change to a rising risk of pandemics, particularly in vulnerable communities. The song is an appeal to take care of our planet as well as each other, and calls for mindfulness about public safety during the COVID-19 crisis.

ACORN India, COVID relief in India, COVID crisis in India
The ongoing COVID crisis in India has affected some of the country’s most vulnerable communities, who are also affected by climate change.

As singer and lyricist Suneeta Rao states, “Climate Change is a problem that threaten us all…no matter what country or belief system we belong to. It is time we looked after one another and ourselves… It’s time we realized what is most important…and what it means to be Human.”

Rao has also stated that all surplus funds from the new song will be directed to ACORN India.

Dharavi Rocks is an educational music and dance project initiated by ACORN Foundation, which focuses on the welfare of slum children and waste collectors by introducing them to creative outlets like music and dance in order to pass on and encourage valuable life skills.

Watch the new video featuring the Dharavi Rocks band below:


If you’re interested in supporting Dharavi Rocks and ACORN India, click the button or check out the information provided on the flyer below.

ACORN India, COVID relief in India, COVID crisis in India

ACORN India: Vaccines and PPE distribution as COVID Relief efforts continue

ACORN India organizers prepare to distribute rations to communities affected by COVID-19

From providing resources like reliable taxi services to quarantine isolation centers, to handing out food rations and speaking out against police malpractice, ACORN India has been hard at work as organizers mobilized quickly as the COVID crisis worsened within the country.

Dharmendra Kumar, of the ACORN India affiliate Hawkers’ Joint Action Committee, reported that they have received more than 250 calls in the last two weeks from community members, and are providing relief services that include distributing food kits, registering people for the COVID vaccine, helping with applications for credit assistance from the government, and offering counseling to patients with COVID.

Food kits provide valuable resources such as kitchen staples and PPE masks

Farther south in Bengaluru, organizers have reported that they’ve distributed 200 food kits — approximately 14,000 meals — as well as additional food and hygiene kits in Hebbal and Yelahanka areas. ACORN members also received services such as credit application assistance, and some informal workers also received their official ACORN ID cards. ID cards have been an especially difficult aspect of COVID for informal workers and migrant laborers, who previously needed them in order to receive food rations from the government before the governments of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Haryana loosened restrictions. These governments also recently announced that they would open a community kitchen and begin advertisements for places that would assist stranded migrant laborers.


Although the government of India has begun to provide a modicum of COVID relief, ACORN India still needs your help!

Check out the link below to donate, or get involved through the information on the flyer.

ACORN India, COVID relief in India, COVID crisis in India

ACORN India: Food donations to vendors continues

ACORN India, COVID relief in India, COVID crisis in India

As India grapples with the latest surge in COVID-19 cases, ACORN India members and affiliates have stepped in to provide resources to local communities in need.

In Bengaluru, organizers helped distribute food kits to approximately 100 vendors, many of whom are out of work due to the pandemic. These kits include kitchen staples and dry rations, as well as PPE equipment.

A standard dry-ration kit with PPE products, meant to last for 1 week for a family of 5

Although informal workers make up nearly 93% of India’s working population, they are still a relatively unprotected and vulnerable group. Dharmendra Kumar, member of the Hawkers’ Joint Action Committee in Delhi, was quoted in the press recently speaking of the lack of adequate medical supplies:

As far as street vendors are concerned, with most of them being migrants, there are not many people here whom they can approach for assistance – especially in today’s time when even the well-off groups are finding themselves helpless.

ACORN India, COVID relief in India, COVID crisis in India

ACORN India needs your help. If you are interested in donating to our organizers, click the link below:

ACORN Scotland, Living Rent,

ACORN Scotland: Elections, Evictions, and May Day Celebrations

Living Rent, ACORN International’s branch in Scotland, has been hard at work recently defending members against landlords, protesting forced evictions, and speaking out against injustices in their local communities.

Here’s what they’ve been up to lately:



EVICTIONS

Living Rent continues their ongoing campaign against evictions, with members being featured in the media in their fight against unfair or forced evictions.


Living Rent: Croftamie member Marjorie was threatened with eviction for not “having a durable connection to the area”, also known as: xenophobia

Evictions have been widespread in Scotland, including areas such as North Lanarkshire, Govanhill, Edinburgh, and Pollokshields. Tenants have been threatened and intimidated by landlords, and have also been subjected to inhospitable living conditions, including intense mold.

Living Rent’s response has been to file for an extension on the eviction ban, and group support to protect individual members.


ELECTIONS

Scotland recently held elections for the next Government, and Living Rent worked to raise awareness among voters to boost their familiarity on candidate and party policies on relevant issues to each Living Rent branch, such as the developing housing crisis, arrears, rising rents, and climate change.


Check out the link to find out more, get involved, and take action with Living Rent.

ACORN India: Speaking out against police misconduct during COVID lockdown

As the newest wave of COVID continues to affect communities throughout India, ACORN India members are speaking out against police misconduct, which is disproportionally affecting vulnerable communities.

ACORN India was recently featured in one of the country’s most popular newspapers. Dharmendra Kumar, of the ACORN India affiliate and nonprofit Janhapal, spoke about the circumstances of the most recent wave in India, and how it affects the most vulnerable communities.

“Our ground experience shows police target the poor, marginalized and those who cannot speak up…

As micro-containment zones are being set up and markets shut, the police are in charge on the streets. On the pretext of pandemic policing they victimize hawkers, pedestrians and the poor,”

– Telegraph India

Local police have been scrutinized for using arbitrary and heavy-handed tactics against marginalized communities under the guise of COVID violations. In one study, cases against pedestrians increased from 50 per cent in the first lockdown to 89 per cent during the third lockdown.


As the COVID crisis in India continues, ACORN India and affiliates are stepping in to help marginalized and vulnerable communities. Donate to ACORN India here, or check out the information below.

ACORN India, COVID relief in India, COVID crisis in India

ACORN India Delhi: Organizers ramp up support for communities amid COVID wave

Janpahal, RIST, ACORN India, COVID crisis in India

As India remains gripped in the latest coronavirus upsurge, members of ACORN India have stepped in around the country to provide food supplies, resources, and quarantine support.

In Delhi, contract workers were recently granted two months of food rations after a push from nonprofit groups like ACORN India to provide resources for informal workers and those left behind by the government during the pandemic.

Despite these measures, communities affected by COVID are still in need. As Hawkers Joint Action Committee and ACORN ally Dharmendra Kumar points out:

“Later generations of migrants do not have documentation in Delhi or the place of origin. Government schemes generally favour property owners, and without their cooperation you can’t get a ration card. Most people eligible for rations are tenants.”

Telegraph India

ACORN India, in affiliation with Rural India Supporting Trust (RIST) and the nonprofit Janpahal, has stepped in to provide additional support.

RIST, Janpahal, ACORN India, COVID crisis in India
ACORN India has been providing additional food rations to families in need during the COVID crisis

ACORN India has also been coordinating efforts and community outreach through a COVID Handbook, which details the testing centers, local hospital information, and traceable contacts for cab drivers who can be called on to transport members of the community to COVID testing sites. This handbook also shares information on a tip hotline for reporting scams related to COVID, such as fake medicine, ambulance pricing scams, and cases of oxygen hoarding.

Despite their efforts, ACORN India cannot fight COVID alone. If you’re interested in helping out our organizers, check out the link below:

ACORN Canada: Big Win on Predatory Loan Campaign

One of ACORN Canada’s long-standing and hard-fought campaigns against predatory lending got a huge boost recently upon the release of the 2021 Budget.

The government has agreed to a consultation on the lowering of the federal interest rate, which has the potential to lower the NSF fee attached to predatory lending.

To find out more about what this means for ACORN Canada — as well as read their full response to the release of the 2021 Budget — check out their posting here.


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