by Sue Hacker Nelson   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/reclaiming-the-gospel-of-peace">Ellis Presents at Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace</a></h1>

This week Episcopalians are together in Oklahoma City to renew their commitment to the Gospel call to make peace in a world of violence. Through deep conversation, prayer, and skill-building the event will empower our Church to address violence and reclaim our role in society as workers for nonviolence and peace.

Episcopal Health Ministries' own Matt Ellis will be part of panel presenting live at 2:30 Central (3:30 Eastern) TODAY!

Watch live!

by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/affordable-care-act-follow-up">Affordable Care Act Follow Up!</a></h1>

Wow! After a rocky start, I'm amazed that the Affordable Care Act was still able to reach its first year goal for enrollment! I want to personally thank you for your help in spreading the word and pass along the thanks of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (below). 

We now ask you to please contact us at nehm@episcopalhealthministries.org to let us know about your outreach and education experiences; what worked well, what can be improved, etc. We will then collect your information and share it with our partners at HHS. This feedback will help tremendously as HHS strives to make improvements and an even better 2015 open enrollment.

So please, send us your successes, failures, and feedback. We need to hear from your work on the ACA, whether it was education or enrollment-based. Thank you for all your work on this critical issue!

-Matthew Ellis, Episcopal Health Ministries

From the team at CMS Office of Communications:

Together, we have helped over 7 million people get enrolled in coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace! We could not have done this without each of you.  Take a moment and reflect what your work means for your fellow neighbors, friends, and community members who now have the peace of mind and safety of being insured. For over the past six months up until the end of open enrollment on March 31, 2014, you have worked hard to make sure that individuals and families in your communities are informed about how they stand to benefit from the Affordable Care Act and the Marketplace. A tremendous thank you for stepping up to this commitment.

We know the work continues with ensuring that your networks and constituents are well-informed about how to access their health care benefits and to prepare the countless others who can still benefit from coverage through the Marketplace during the 2015 open enrollment period.

Profoundly – thank you.   I look forward to working with you in the coming months and into the next open enrollment.


Susie Butler
Acting Director, Partner Relations Group
CMS Office of Communications

by Sue Hacker Nelson   |   comments

Each week, we highlight stories from our newsfeed on Prismatic. No account is required to see what we think is worth reading, so visit our profile often! We update it daily so there is usually something new to check out. Here is a sample of what we liked this week:

Most U.S. Women Wouldn't Know A Stroke If They Saw Or Felt One from NPR
When it comes to treating a stroke victim, every minute counts. Each moment that passes without treatment increases the likelihood of permanent damage or death. So the first steps to getting help are being able to spot a stroke in yourself or others and knowing how to respond.

How To Become The Person You Were Meant To Be from MindBodyGreen
You want to be successful. You know you were put on this earth to contribute to the world in a big way. So you slave away for long hours, sacrifice time with your family and friends, and put all of your energy into helping others. One day, when you’re successful, it will pay off. One day, you can slow down and relax. One day, you’ll make the contribution you were meant to make.

Parents Who Explain Dangers To Their Children Have A Better Chance At Keeping Them Safe from Medical Daily
Many everyday objects that we take for granted pose a potential danger of injury or even death for young children. However, it’s impossible for a parent to supervise their children 24/7, and kids often turn a deaf ear to their parents' long-winded orders of what not to do.

This is your brain on knitting from CNN.com Health
Her physician diagnosed her with post-traumatic stress disorder and extreme anxiety. Her husband gave her knitting needles. Huerta was skeptical at first. Knitting seemed silly -- and difficult for hands she could never seem to keep still. But as she learned to knit and purl, hours melted away.

Let us know which articles you liked (or didn't) in the comments!


by Matthew Ellis   |   comments

James Rebhorn, a popular actor, died this week. He did his friends and family a significant favor by writing his own obituary. It's a wonderful reflection on his own life and reminds us of the importance of end of life planning.

Why should you write your own obituary?

  1. It relieves a significant burden from your family and friends at a difficult time. The days immediately following the death of a loved one is not the ideal time to practice creative writing. 

  2. What do you want to say about your life? How do you want to say it? If you took pride in a sharp, biting wit while alive you might resent a general obituary devoid of personality. Likewise, you might be more concerned with expressing the values you learned in life, rather than recounting times and places. Say what you want to say.

  3. Take the time to construct words to be shared with others, as opposed to leaving last words for those moments when you may not even be able to communicate.

  4. You never know how or when it will happen, so be prepared. Bradley Messamore, our beloved verger at St. Paul's in Indianapolis, died suddenly this week of an unknown heart condition. He was 41.

  5. Communicate clearly that which is important to you. I am reminded of Citizen Kane and the scramble to learn the meaning of 'Rosebud.' 

Your obituary is an opportunity for you to reflect on your life, to express your values, and to pass on earned wisdom. If it is important to communicate these formally to loved ones, why not write your own obituary? 

Additional Resources:

by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/hobby-lobby-3">Hobby Lobby Case: Does the government have a compelling interest to mandate this contraception coverage?</a></h1>

As a member of the Faith and Reproductive Justice Leadership Institute for 2014, I have pledged to raise the voice of our faith community on issues of reproductive justice. In our first Hobby Lobby post, we asked a few questions based on the summary at Supreme Court blog. In this post, we continue to look at these questions and their potential impact from a layperson's perspective.

Does the government have a compelling interest to mandate this contraception coverage? 

The Episcopal Church supports contraception use in aid of family planning. From Resolution 1994-D009:

Resolved, That the Episcopal Church, in order to improve the quality of life for all, commend to the several dioceses and agencies of the Episcopal Church as well as to the relative structures of the Anglican Communion programs and projects to provide information to all men and women on the full range of affordable, acceptable, safe, and non-coercive contraceptive and reproductive health care services, utilizing educational programs which start with parents and their children;

I think it's important to understand just why contraception coverage specifically, but women's reproductive health care more generally, is such an essential part of the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. The Guttmacher Institute has a fact sheet and video that provide background information:

Fact Sheet on Contraceptive Use
-Guttmacher Institute, August 2013