INdiana Systemic Thinking

January 29, 2008

Mental Health: Fourth Most Expensive Condition to Treat

Wow, I was really surprised when I read this today.  It’s a study estimating the top 10 most expensive health conditions.  It has the usual…heart conditions and cancer are numbers 1 and 3, respectively, but “Mental disorders, including depression”  came in at number 4 with an estimated cost of 56 billion.  I found that hard to believe because Therapists, Psychologists, and Psychiatrists don’t make anything near what a cardiologist or oncologist does.  Then I saw this:

The money paid for visits to doctor’s offices, clinics and emergency departments, hospital stays, home health care and prescription medicines [were included].

Okay, I get it now.  Most of the money in Mental Health care goes to hospitals, emergency departments and prescription medications.  This is due to the public perception they can handle any situation, or take a pill,  and do not seek help early.  When people figure out this strategy is usually ineffective, they usually end up in an emergency room or hospital, where the costs are astronomical.  This “solution” is vastly more expensive than outpatient therapy.  As an aside, most therapists, this one included, do not consider ER and hospital admissions treatment, but crisis management.  With those factors included, the numbers make sense.  If costs for “mental disorders including depression” are ever reduced, a correlating change in perception among the public would also have to occur.  In that regard, Mental Health is no different from any of the other conditions cited, where prevention and early detection is paramount to decreasing costs.

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January 22, 2008

Sen. David Ford Diagnosed with Cancer

In an update to my latest posting, WTHR is now reporting Sen. David Ford was diagnosed with cancer today.  From the story:

Fort Wayne – State Sen. David Ford of Hartford City is “critically ill with cancer”, his office confirmed Tuesday afternoon.A prepared release from his Statehouse office says the 58-year-old Ford and his wife Joyce received the prognosis from oncology specialists in Fort Wayne where the senator has been hospitalized for the past week.

Please continue to keep him and his family in your thoughts.

December 15, 2007

U.S. Rep Carson Loses Battle

All the major news outlets are reporting this morning U.S. Congresswoman Julia Carson has lost her battle with cancer.  She apparently died at some point early this morning.  She was 69.

From the Indianapolis Star:

Carson’s death comes just weeks after she announced she was dying of lung cancer and would not seek re-election to a seventh term in 2008.

Two days later, she said she would not seek re-election, saying her time away from Congress would be “a time to weep and a time to laugh,” and she added, “a time to heal.”

But Carson never healed and never returned to Congress.

“Who knows the future, who knows god’s will,” she said in the statement announcing her decision not to run again. “I want very much to return to Washington and continue representing the good people of Indianapolis with my vote. I can only request your prayers that I might gain the strength to continue my service.”

Carson was first elected to Congress in 1996.

Previously, she served in the Indiana House of Representatives for two terms before being elected to the Indiana Senate, where she served until 1990. Carson then filled the post of Center Township trustee until she was elected in 1996.

A steadfast Democrat, Carson opposed President Bush’s request for authority to wage war in 2002. In 1999, she won enactment of a measure that awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to civil rights figure Rosa Parks.

In 1991 and 1974, she was named by The Star as Woman of the Year.

Carson’s death comes after she took a medical leave from Congress in September after complaining of leg pain and fatigue.

In her last public interview broadcast on Nov. 5 on the WTCL-AM program, “Afternoons with Amos,” Carson expressed frustration over her health problems. “I’m breathing and I feel fine,” she said. Her voice did sound shaky, though, and she had coughing spells during the interview.

“I’ve got bronchitis real bad now and I hope to get over it,” she said, “but you don’t ever know.”

Her health had been an issue almost from the day she was first elected to Congress.

In January of 1997, she took her oath of office at Methodist Hospital where she was recovering from a double-bypass surgery.

The surgery kept her at home during the early days of the 105th Congress and she missed 41 of the 640 floor votes that year.

After winning her sixth term last year, she proclaimed, “People thought I was too sick to run. I’m not too sick for anything.”

IST was covering this from the beginning.  Please use the search function on the right to see the background posts on this.

November 28, 2007

Carson in “hospice care and can barely speak”

Channel 6 News in Indianapolis has this update on 7th district Congresswoman Julia Carson.

“The Rev. Jonathan Baily Sr., of Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church, spoke with Carson Sunday morning and said she is under hospice care and can barely speak. According to Baily, those close to Carson knew she had cancer.

“I was there when the doctor told her she was on hospice, whether she wanted to go to the hospital or stay home,” Baily said. At the same doctor’s visit, Carson asked how long she had to live, 6News’ Cheryl Jackson reported. “He said, ‘It’s not our thing to tell you how long, just make you comfortable,'” Baily said.  Baily met Carson when he began preaching at an Indianapolis church in 1967.”

In a related story, the same media outlet is running an unscientific poll of it’s website readers.  The one question poll asks, “In light of her grim prognosis, do you think Rep. Julia Carson should resign her seat?”  Of the 1432 who responded (as of this post), 87% felt she should resign.  Should Representative Carson die while in office, or resign her seat, she would be replaced by Special Election called by Governor Mitch Daniels.

Related posts: here, here, and here.

November 27, 2007

Carson Decides Not to Run: Important to Country

According to a storyin the Indianapolis Star, U.S. Representative Julia Carson has decided not to run again in 2008.  She announced on Sunday she has terminal lung cancer.  Yesterday, the Blogmeister expressed some anger and dismay at those who are lining up for the seat.  However, since Rep. Carson has officially decided not to run again, it seems more appropriate to discuss the implications of her decision.  Thankfully, those who would like the seat are keeping tight lipped about their plans.  However, the Seventh District is important and deserves some discussion.

From the Indianapolis Star:

“Democrats won control of both the House and Senate in the 2006 elections. There are now 233 Democrats and 200 Republicans in the House, with two vacancies left by the deaths of Republicans Paul Gillmor of Ohio and Jo Ann Davis of Virginia.

Open seats are generally hotly contested by both parties, but it remains to be seen how much effort Republicans would put into trying to claim Carson’s district.

Far more Republicans than Democrats are retiring from the U.S. House — 17 Republicans, with seven others possible, compared with only four Democrats and two Democratic maybes, including Carson.

David Wasserman, who analyzes House races for the Cook Political Report, said it’s hard to know how this race will shape up until it is certain that Carson will be able to finish her term.

‘To get a good political perspective, you’d be better off talking to a doctor than a political analyst,’ he said.

In general, he said, few people vote in a special election, which would be called by Gov. Mitch Daniels if Carson retires before the end of her term.

A low-turnout election would give an opportunity to Republicans in this strongly Democratic district, Wasserman said. He noted that a Republican came close to defeating a Democrat in a recent special election for a Massachusetts seat the Democrat should have won easily.

‘In a low-turnout election, Republicans have more of an opportunity to court their base,’ Wasserman said.

However, he’s not expecting Carson to resign her seat.

‘My sense is Julia Carson will not retire from Congress until she’s incapacitated,’ he said. ‘She has made it clear she has intended to stay in the past, even with ill health.’

Brian Vargus, a political science professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, said the district is heavily Democratic. In 2000, Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore carried it; so did John Kerry in 2004. And both, Vargus said, got even higher vote totals than Carson.

Vargus said the race could be intense, with many people interested in running — but most of the action will take place out of the public view.

He expects each party to try to coalesce around a candidate, avoiding a bruising public fight or primary election contest.

‘This is not going to be done out in the open,’ Vargus said. ‘Even if there’s a special election, most of the jockeying for position will be done behind closed doors.’

Hmmmm, sounds like this race will be interesting.

November 26, 2007

Lining Up For Carson’s Seat

This is why politics gets a bad rap.  As reported yesterday, Indianapolis U.S. Representative Julia Carson announced she is ill with cancer.  While she did not indicate what she would do in regard to her House seat, the Indianapolis Star has this story today.

“Although no one has wanted to offend Carson, 69, or the public by pushing openly, candidates are seeing the best chance since 1996, when Carson was first elected to Congress, for someone else to represent the 7th District. At least half a dozen potential candidates have been laying groundwork.

Her grandson, newly elected City-County Councilman Andre Carson, has won a key endorsement but has not said he would run. He did not return messages left at his home Sunday.”

Ya think, hey Indy Star here is a news flash, his grandmother just announced she has cancer!  He did the right thing by not talking to you. 

Continuing with the story: 

“Marion County Treasurer Michael Rodman has said he would run for the seat in 2008, and others thought to be interested include state Reps. Carolene Mays and Greg Porter, longtime political operative Robin Winston, and former state Health Commissioner Woody Myers.

Brian Vargus, a political science professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, said others who have been mentioned include City-County Council Vice President Joanne Sanders, state Rep. David Orentlicher and outgoing Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson.

Republicans, too, have been mobilizing. State Rep. Jon Elrod, R-Indianapolis, announced his intention Nov. 15 to challenge Carson.”

The Blogmeister understands you have to act fast sometimes in political situations.  The Blogmeister even understands other candidates organizing their campaigns in the event Rep. Carson were to resign.  However, it seems running a story like this 24 hours after Rep. Carson’s announcement was in, to say the least, bad taste on the part of the Indy Star.

November 25, 2007

Sad Note: US Rep. Carson Announces Cancer

This morning, US Rep. Julia Carson announced she has terminal lung cancer.  Long plagued with a variety of medical issues, she has taken some flak in Indianapolis for her attendance, or lack thereof, in the House.  This seems to explain what was going on.  Whatever side of the aisle your on, you never want to see this happen to anyone.   The full story is here.  For those outside of Indianapolis, here is a short bio from the story:

“…Carson is known as an advocate for the poor and those who can’t speak for themselves.

She was first elected to Congress in 1996. Previously, she served in the Indiana House of Representatives for two terms before being elected to the Indiana Senate, where she served until 1990. She then served as Center Township trustee, a post she held until she was elected to Congress in 1996.

A steadfast Democrat, Carson opposed President Bush’s request for authority to wage war in 2002 and, in 1999, won enactment of a measure awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to civil rights figure Rosa Parks.”

There was no word on what this may mean as far as her House position.

The blogmeister wishes Rep. Carson well in her treatment.

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