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:

Joint Nominating Committee for the Presiding Bishop issues survey via Episcopal News Service
The Episcopal Church Joint Nominating Committee for the Presiding Bishop (JNCPB) has issued a survey and is inviting responses from all Episcopalians.

30th Anniversary of Jubilee Ministry via The Episcopal Church
Well, Labor Day is behind us, and school has started in most places, and the usual reports are starting to roll in about “what I did on my summer vacation.”

How Expansion Will Change The Look Of Medicaid via NPR
This detailed infographic shares the current and proposed makeup of Medicaid with the implementation of Medicaid Expansion and the opening of the Healthcare Marketplaces.

Affordable Care Act needed to help stomp out HIV in the South: Paul Kawata via the New Orleans Times-Picayune
Paul Kawata is executive director of the National Minority AIDS Council in New Orleans this week for the United States Conference on AIDS.  He posits that with the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, minority individuals with AIDS will be better able to manage the disease and participate in a recommended treatment regimine.  

You May Not Want To Look: Blobfish Named 'Ugliest Animal' via NPR
Seriously, you might not want to look - you've been warned.

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


by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/how-nehm-is-participating-in-affordable-care-act-implementation">How NEHM is Participating in Affordable Care Act Implementation</a></h1>

In part one of this ongoing series about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), we looked at why NEHM and the Episcopal Church are participating and assisting with ACA implementation. In this entry, we look at how NEHM is working for health care reform. 

We have now created a single page for all of our ACA Resources!

Health Care Reform is not a new issue for us.

NEHM has been involved in the development of the Affordable Care Act from the beginning [of this cycle of reform]. We were a founding member of Faithful Reform in Health Care and actively participated in events leading to 'A Faith-Inspired Vision of Health Care'. That vision embraces a system of health care that is: 

  • Inclusive
  • Accessible
  • Affordable
  • Accountable

In addition to participating in this interfaith process, NEHM has been active in advocating for the church to embrace these principles. I gave the keynote address at a day in the Diocese of Maryland devoted to exploring the issues pertaining to healthcare reform. I wrote a Lenten reflection for the Episcopal Public Policy Network last year, highlighting examples of where our current system is broken. NEHM has continued to testify at resolution hearings about health care at recent General Conventions. Our blog routinely highlights issues pertaining to health care reform. Our last two conferences have featured well-received workshops on the ACA. 

As the open enrollment date of October 1 draws near, this is how we are helping you prepare:

  1. Cutting Through the Noise: I think one of the most important roles we can play is to keep on top of the details and pass along only what you need to know. There is so much information out there (not all of it accurate) that it can be overwhelming. We certainly feel that way. That's why we don't give you every resource we come across, even if they are all good. Our goal is to give you the tools that provide the information you need in a simple, easy-to-use format. If we find something better, we'll update the list. If it is not better, we won't make you investigate it yourself. 

  2. ResourcesOut of the literally thousands of resources out there screaming for your attention about health care, we currently direct you to only ten. Over half of those are official government websites. If you are looking for a Federally Qualified Health Center, you can plug your zipcode right into the widget and find one near you immediately. Each of these resources provide clear information about the ACA or the Marketplace. These are the sites we repeatedly dive into deeply, so we can know their offerings and pass them along to you. 

  3. Webinars: Check out our Events calendar and you will find a listing of webinars and educational opportunities several times a week between now and October 1. NEHM has hosted our own webinar led by Jill Pavka, executive director of St. Peter's Free Clinic and NEHM conference presenter. We have also partnered with the Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships for a joint webinar offering.

  4. Special Publications: We are preparing a special ACA 'Health Hint' (sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of our website!) specifically aimed at ACA education. We have also dedicated a special page on our website to ACA information. It is our hope that this will help you as your congregation prepares for the exchanges opening October 1. 

  5. New Information: We are going to continue giving you the information you need to help those in your community obtain health insurance. Documents like the Consumer Assistance Roles Fact Sheet can be invaluable as you direct people to further help.  

There are many different ways to approach the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. We are hopeful this information and our method of presentation is helpful to you. More to come soon!

Matthew Ellis is the CEO of National Episcopal Health Ministries. 

by Matthew Ellis   |   comments

So grateful to those who have the courage to share their stories...



by Matthew Ellis   |   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:

Welcoming New Episcopalians via EpiscoYouth
Here are a few books from Leader Resources that might be useful in helping individuals and families understand and feel at home in the Episcopal Church.

How to Avoid the Most Common Awkward Conversation Mistakes via Lifehacker
On the surface, conversation seems easy enough. You talk, they talk back, right? But then you find yourself in one of those awkward situations where you're just staring at someone you barely know and you have to figure out how to keep the conversation interesting. Here are the most common mistakes we all make, and how to avoid them.

With Health Exchanges Opening Soon, Consumers Start To Focus via NPR
As I read through the emails, what's striking is the complexity of some of the health insurance problems people are trying to sort out. Getting answers will be no simple task. The navigators, certified application counselors, brokers and others whose job it is to help people figure out the new insurance landscape are going to have their work cut out for them.

It's Okay To Change: Mental Health Stigma, Mental Health Care and Suicide Prevention Among Military Personnel and Veterans via Huffington Post
Suicide is the fatal outcome of psychological injury. I should stress, however, that not all psychological injuries sustained by military personnel and veterans occur during deployments. For many of the service members and veterans I've worked with, the psychological injuries occurred during childhood at the hands of an abusive or demeaning parent; for others it was sustained within the context of a recent breakup or a financial crisis.

Fun Ways to Break up TV Time via Let's Move!
If you’re going to watch TV or play computer games, break it up! Pause the game. Make commercial breaks Let’s Move! breaks. Here are some active and fun ideas.

Prayer Shawls: How They Help You While Helping Others via Lion Brand Yarn
When you make a prayer shawl you are intentionally infusing each stitch with hope, warmth, love, compassion and care. You emanate the hope that the person will be healed from pain.

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


by Matthew Ellis and Jayce Hafner   |   comments

Over the past few months, you have probably seen an increase in Affordable Care Act (ACA)-related information from both the media and NEHM. We thought it would be a good idea to take a step back and outline why this time is so important, what it means for you, and what you can expect in the coming months.

I hear a lot about the ACA but I am lost. Catch me up!

This is a great video from the Kaiser Family Foundation that explains how the ACA will work:

Ok, I know my situation. Why do I need to know more?

Many people that we come into contact with in our ministries are in vulnerable and uninsured or underinsured populations. In the United States, people must have adequate health insurance before they can fully access the health care system. Working within this structure to provide as many as possible access to health care is critical. Which leads us to...

The Mission of NEHM and the Episcopal Church

Increasing access to health care is critical for promoting health and healing in our communities. The implementation of the ACA is the primary mechanism that will provide access to health care for those in the United States. 

NEHM's mission is to promote health ministry in Episcopal congregations, assisting them to reclaim the Gospel imperative of health and wholeness.

The mission of The Episcopal Church is expressed in the Five Marks of Mission:

  • To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
  • To teach, baptize and nurture new believers
  • To respond to human need by loving service
  • To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation
  • To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth

It is consistent with our mission statements to help as many people as possible be able to access the health care system when needed. We should strive to be sure those who need help getting insured know how to get that assistance.

How can I help? 

  1. Engage in personal education: You have already started by watching the video above and reading this blog post. You can find more resources about the ACA here
  2. Create public awareness: Talk to your friends and neighbors. If your church has an outreach ministry, share education materials with clients and volunteers.
  3. Present or publicize forums and webinars with knowledgeable presenters. One way to do this is to invite a local expert on ACA to speak at a rector's forum or adult education hour at your parish.
  4. Assist vulnerable populations with access to or the marketplace and help them with registration. If you have an outreach ministry, make sure that you have materials about ACA implementation available for your clients. 
  5. Know about subsidies and how to qualify. There are programs to make healthcare affordable; be sure to learn more about them!

What if I do not like the ACA?

The Episcopal Church has asserted that all people should have access to medically necessary health care and called on our leaders to “devise a system of universal access for the people of our country.” This isn’t about partisan politics. This is about getting the uninsured enrolled – let’s focus on that.

What if I love the ACA?

We live in a democracy where we won’t always agree with our neighbors, and we all have the right to express our opinions. Right now, though,  it’s time to focus on action - on getting the uninsured enrolled. Don’t be distracted by arguments with those that might disagree - just keep moving forward with this important work.

I am interested in learning a lot more. Where should I start?

Matthew Ellis is the CEO of National Episcopal Health Ministries. Jayce Hafner is the Domestic Policy Analyst for The Episcopal Church's Office of Government Relations


Coming soon: How NEHM is participating in ACA implementation.