Welcome. We are students in Communications 218, a journalism class at Lehman College. Our classroom is in Room 122. This course is part of the Summer Arts Festival of College Now, a program designed to help high school students earn college credits. Every day, we report and write articles about our program, the school and the neighborhood.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

ROOM 122 Responds to a Visit from Gloria Altieri, subject of a July 26th article by David Gonzales in the New York Times.Read Gonzales’ article.

Clearer Outlook

By Rachel Sanchez

Often, after reading an article in a newspaper or magazine, we’re
left with several questions and doubts. I know I have wondered why a
writer wrote this instead of that, or why the writer even bothered to
include certain facts and details at all.

After reading David Gonzales’ article in the New York Times about
healthcare in the Bronx, there were many questions and comments floating around amongst us. Luckily, Gloria Altieri, featured in the article, came to speak to us and answer anything we asked her. I felt that Ms. Altieri’s visit was very helpful and made certain parts of the article much clearer.

Many of us believed that it was a little weird for Mr. Gonzales to
focus so much on Ms. Altieri when it was supposed to be about healthcare
services. It should have instead discussed more about her injured
employee, Yvonne Pagan. To my surprise, Ms. Altieri felt the same. “I was a little taken aback by the article. I had wished it would focus more on Yvonne,” Ms. Altieri said.

Ms. Altieri also thought it was strange for Mr. Gonzales to drop in
the comment about other workers referring to Ms. Pagan as “bullethead.”
This was also another line that raised a little red flag for me. It gave
a light-hearted tone to a very serious issue and I was relieved to know
that Ms. Altieri felt the same.

But the article has motivated Ms. Altieri to keep on working for Bronx
patients’ rights. She will get help from the Bronx District Attorney to
further push this case into the spotlight. Ms. Altieri knows it’s a
complicated issue but she knows that anything is possible if you work hard
to achieve it.

Although Ms. Altieri has faced a few challenges in the Bronx, she
refuses to leave. She lovingly describes the Bronx as a place where you can find “people who take care of each other and support each other. It’s
so special. Why would you want to leave that?”

________________________________________________________


New York City Healthcare

By: Kristen Wallace

On June 28, 2005, Gloria Altieri came to speak to my College Now class to speak about poor healthcare in the Bronx. Due to distressing incidents that her friends and co-workers experienced, she believed that healthcare in the Bronx is inferior to healthcare received in other boroughs, especially in Manhattan. Having never personally experienced unsatisfying healthcare of any kind in the city I wondered if healthcare in the Bronx was really that appalling or if poor healthcare was a citywide problem. To answer my question I interviewed my mother, a registered nurse who works in Manhattan, about New York City healthcare.

Q: Do you believe New York City healthcare is inadequate?
A: As it is nationwide, poor people, people without health insurance, and the elderly living on social security, are at a disadvantage in New York City.

Q: So you believe that inadequate healthcare is not only a problem in New York City, but throughout the United States as well?
A: Yes. For a developed country, America’s healthcare sucks. There are health indicators that determine how well a country’s healthcare is doing. Compared to other developed countries, America is rated the lowest in most of them.

Q: What are some of those indicators in which America is rated the lowest?
A: They include infant mortality rates, the amount of patients that go to the Emergency Room for non-emergency illnesses, and life expectancy. This makes no sense, since America spends the most money on healthcare. What I want to know is where this money goes.

Q: Do you believe that healthcare in the Bronx is more inadequate than healthcare received in Manhattan?
A: Yes, especially in the South Bronx where the poorest people and the wide majority of the underprivileged live.

Q: Why?
A: It’s a vicious cycle in this area. A lot of people have little or no insurance so you find them going to the Emergency Room for non-emergency care because that’s the only way they can get healthcare.

Q: What do you believe might be the cause of poor healthcare in the Bronx?
A: One thing that causes all of this is the nursing shortage [in New York City]. Sometimes there’s an assembly line thing going on where you can’t meet the patient at a humanistic level. There you have a decrease in quality of care. Also, although you have this threat of pain and suffering lawsuits, [hospitals] don’t see these poor people [that live in the Bronx] as a threat. Another problem is that in the Emergency Room people are being asked in a subtle way if they have health insurance and in a way this affects their healthcare. [If they do not have health insurance] hospital staff won’t give them proper care because they don’t want to get fired.

Q: So do you think that national free healthcare would solve this problem?
A: Yes, but American politicians don’t want to take the risk in providing national healthcare by pushing out all these big name insurance companies.

Q: So what would be another solution?
A: Hospitals are [currently] getting grants for their employees to have mandatory in-services on cultural competence and “customer service.” These are geared towards improving the quality of healthcare in order to eliminate healthcare disparity.

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