Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A 360 Global Positioning Post

It's been one hell of past three weeks for COP 24/7!  Talk about fast and furious, with multiple dashes of updates, breaking news and mash ups across the board. It seems that every body's got something to say, comment on or at least want to know what we're thinking. And you know how we love to share just what we are thinking with you, you and yes dear reader- you too!! It's not all said and done, because we're still ready to bring you more of what you should be looking for and then some...!!!

Spinning the Medicaid Big Wheel

Just a few days ago this forum dolled out a few news capsules concerning that all consuming program known as Medicaid. It's that troubled behemoth that continues to lurch and jerk across the landscape to varying degrees often leaving a wide berth of either satisfaction or dismay. What's even more distressing to the situation is the fact that now, Director Gene Gessow has decided to move on and make his way to another post in Massachusetts which will allow him to be more close to his family. Hired in 2009, Gessow has been a stalwart in state government holding a Director's post in the Arkansas Department of Human Services and subsequently Medicaid Chief. Gessow oversaw the development of a proposal Arkansas has made to switch from a fee-for-service model that Medicaid uses according to DHS spokeswoman Amy Webb. said the state will continue working on that proposal, despite Gessow’s departure. Gov. Beebe called Gessow a "visionary" while citing that his departure will not slow efforts to change the way government health programs pay for services which is slated for a July 2012 launch. Even though the impact of Gessow's leaving may be minimum, what troubles COP 24/7 is the Karo syrup approach that the State takes in finding permanent replacements for positions. Often positions remain vacant for long periods of time as "nation wide" searches take place. Marilyn Strickland, the chief operating officer of the division, will serve as its interim director until DHS Director John Selig chooses a permanent replacement for Gessow, said DHS's Webb.
“Marilyn has been there for more than 30 years. She knows that division really well, and she’s also really familiar with the payment initiative and the work we’ve done there,” Webb said. That may be so and of course that's all good, but will there be someone in place as the Affordable Care Act comes calling in 2014 and the tremendous amount of learning curves that will be needed to transform the system as thousands will use medicaid as a access point for health care. Advocates and activist are already beginning to assess what formulas will be used to maximize as well as leverage the usefulness of the legislation. It would behove the state to make sure that theirs a "Chief" in the house to be prepared to led the charge when it's time to deal with the situation at hand. Surely some one will take this $100,000 plus gig without blinking an eye. From our vantage point, it's going to be a doozy and getting ready now is better than waiting until then. Just Sayin.....

The Name Game Continues

Many of you learned from COP 24/7 about the recent acquisition of Off Center/Pulse and 610 Lounge to the management team owners of TRAXS formerly known as "Sidetracks." That deal is set to close come this November, with plans to close Pulse for a undetermined length of time as it is prepared to transformed into what we've learned as a new version of Miss Kitty's which at one time was a mainstay in the Backstreet concept. While you scratch your head or adjust your mouth, details about this transition are still in "transition." If you recall, the Backstreet version of Miss Kitty's was a  "sort of country meets gay kitsch" theme that many of us have forgotten and not sure if those nowadays are ready to embrace. Now, I will say that in other cities country theme outfits are common place, but they have wide appeal such as a Big D's Round Up, OKC's The Finishline or Saloon this or that. I've been to several across the country including Charlies in Denver, Colorado. It was off the chain with buckets of beer and plenty of boots and boys and that was just a week night. I know that there's been some "talk-talk" among patrons who wanted more of their Texas flavor to be injected into this city with lots of promises in tow. All of this even as TRAXS offers a "country night" each third Friday with low attendance or actual inter- city participation. Let's not forget that not even the local country association totally leveraged this opportunity nor has their appeared to be such a ground swell of support otherwise. Just for the record this town has had other country outlets such as Lil's Pub, Scandals, Chaps and Silver Dollar that have all gone to the great gay bar heap in the sky.  If I'm reading my "tea leafs" correct, most likely their has been "big talk" about bringing big names, Texas Ten Gallon Hats and turning the 7th street corridor into "Cedar Springs ala Little Rock." Alright, I'm all about change, upgrade and certainly bold new ideas, but I'm always wary of those who feel that they know what Little Rock needs with offers of "big promises" that are suppose to translate into big profits. Bring on Miss Kitty's 2011, it's be good to see what that old gal been's up to since we last saw her. If my sacred ruins are correct, I foresee a New Year Eve's opening. Stay tuned.... 

Application Available for 2012 Barbara Jordan Health Policy Scholars Program

Craig Palosky
(202) 347-5270

Tiffany Ford Fields
(202) 347-5270

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation is accepting applications for the 2012 Barbara Jordan Health Policy Scholars Program. This summer program provides college students with an opportunity to work on policy issues in a congressional office and to learn about other organizations and agencies involved in health policy.

The Barbara Jordan Health Policy Scholars Program is open to individuals with a strong interest in eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities. Eligible candidates must be U.S. citizens who will be either a senior at or a recent graduate of an accredited 4-year college or university in the fall of 2012. Individuals with a graduate degree and those individuals currently enrolled in a graduate degree program are not eligible to participate. The application deadline is 5 p.m. ET on Friday, December 16, 2011. Application materials and more information are available online at
Selected Scholars will work in congressional offices in Washington, D.C. for 10 weeks and participate in weekly seminars and site visits designed to increase their understanding of the intersection between policy and the legislative process. Scholars will also have an opportunity to improve their writing and presentation skills. Housing is provided through Howard University, the Foundation’s partner in operating the program.
The Kaiser Family Foundation established the Barbara Jordan Health Policy Scholars Program to honor the legacy of Barbara Jordan – the first African American elected to Congress from Texas and a well-respected former member of the Foundation’s board of trustees. Barbara Jordan had a distinguished career exemplified by her tireless advocacy on behalf of vulnerable populations. She brought this passion to her work, inspiring other to become involved in addressing challenging health policy issues. In September 2011, Ms. Jordan was also honored with a Black Heritage series postage stamp in her honor. She is the 34th selected for the series and the first African American Congresswoman chosen to appear. Recently I was dumbfounded as I stood at the post office to hear some at the counter inquire as to who Jordan was and why was she on a stamp. I love the questions, "was she somebody?"  It saddened  me that my own people have such a lack of knowledge of their history which is to be celebrated. Its down right shameful to say the least. Especially since Ms. Jordan not only reached the pinnacles of power but navigated the system without enduring respite because she was a Lesbian.

For more information, please visit the program's website or contact Cara James, program director at the Kaiser Family Foundation at (202) 347-5270 or Jomo Kassaye, program manager at Howard University at (202) 238-2385.

1 comment:

Craig Wenzl said...

Thanks for the update on the bar changes. I wondered what was going on--with the new "TRAXS" name bouncing around--but I didn't know about any of the rest of this. I guess there will be some interesting changes by the time I get to Little Rock again. Thanks again... -Craig in San Francisco