Posts filed under ‘Legislation’
While a mention of the United States Congress is often met with an exacerbated sigh, we IBDers and caregivers have a reason to thank our Congressmen and women this new year. The week prior to Christmas, Congress gave us a gift by passing the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 spending bill. The bill included $32 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which funds important medical research on a wide array of illnesses, including inflammatory bowel diseases. This is funding increase of $2 billion from the previous year represents a significant commitment by Congress to finding cures.
In the bill, Congress also supported the Inflammatory Bowel Diseases Epidemiology Study in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While this sounds all great on paper, I wasn’t sure what exactly this meant for patients like me. To answer my questions, I spoke with Sarah Buchanan, Director of Advocacy at the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, for more information. Here’s what I learned:
Happy New Year’s Eve everyone!
This past year has been an exciting one for Dan and I, both online and offline. In the past year, Caring for Crohn’s & UC expanded incredibly- while I wrote far fewer posts than last year, the blog received over 19,000 views and gained This year, Caring for Crohn’s & UC exploded beyond my wildest dreams, having over 19,000 views by over 10,000 visitors, and gained 45 WordPress followers, 9 Tumblr followers, 131 Facebook fans and 213 Twitter followers. (Disclaimer: I am a huge analytics nerd, so please forgive me for being so excited over these numbers :-)) Thank you all SO much for your continued readership and support- while I haven’t kept up with posting as frequently as I want to, I am so happy that the content I wrote over the past two years has reached so many of you. It’s all in the name of raising awareness and educating others about inflammatory bowel diseases.
Enough about the numbers- here are some of my 2013 highlights.
Last year, Massachusetts became the 13th state to enact the Restroom Access Act, joining the ranks of Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin and Washington. As I wrote previously, the Restroom Access Act requires retail establishments to allow people with certain medical conditions (including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis) access to their employee only restrooms if a public one isn’t available.
Several other states are starting to look at enacting the Restroom Access Act, including New York. It’s about time!
The New York bill was introduced by Assemblywoman Amy Paulin and referred to the Assembly Health Committee. Unfortunately, it hasn’t made any movement in that committee since it was referred there in February.
Sequestration is the buzz word lately.
With the $85 billion in spending cuts set to hit the government, and subsequently all Americans, March 1, it’s time to learn how this will really impact health care.
The unfortunate thing is that there are very few real details out there about the sequester, and as we all know, the devil is in the details. All that is available is estimates as to how it will impact federal agencies and the states as a whole. But there’s no doubt that health care in the country will suffer if our leaders don’t figure things out by Friday.
When Dan had his blockage in 2011, I was just starting a new job. I was four months in and hadn’t been there long enough to be able to take much time off. I was lucky that my employer allowed me to alter my schedule for two weeks to work from home and take time off to take care of Dan, but not all caregivers are as lucky as I am.
For those who don’t have flexible options for time off to take care of a loved one, there’s the Family Medical Leave Act.
Today, Massachusetts became the 13th state to sign the Restroom Access Act into law. Big victory for IBD-ers.
“This bill will provide peace of mind to people suffering from IBD, who will be able to shop without fear of a publicly embarrassing situation,” said Rep. Louis Kafka (D-Stoughton).Kafka sponsored the bill in the House and led an eight-year effort to get it enacted. He introduced the legislation at the request of a constituent, Canton attorney Jonathan Rutley, who drafted the measure for his 17-year-old daughter and ulcerative colitis patient, Catherine (Catie).
For those who are not familiar with it, the Restroom Access Act (also known as Ally’s Law) requires retail establishments that do not have a public restroom to allow people with IBD, IBS, other chronic conditions, and pregnant women access to employee restrooms. As you all know, this is very important for IBD-ers. The last thing you need is to be out somewhere that has no public restroom and be denied access and have an accident.