Southcoast Health Celebrates National Nurses Week

Tuesday May 6th kicks of National Nurses Week!

Nurses Week is a time to officially recognize and thank our nurses for all that they do. Here at Southcoast Health we are fortunate to have a strong team of dedicated and compassionate nurses serving our community each day.

Over the past year our nurses have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to exceptional care and helped guide us through the pandemic, stepping up to the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19.

To our nurses, thank you for your extraordinary clinical skills and dedication to comprehensive care that saves lives and brings comfort to our patients. We are honored to celebrate you this week and are grateful for your care and commitment this week and always.

Please join us in recognizing our nurses this week and visit www.southcoast.org/nursesweek2021/ for more information. Southcoast Health nurses are More than medicine.




Southcoast Expands COVID 19 Vaccination Efforts with Walk up Options

Health system increases opportunities across the community at clinics and with mobile units

FALL RIVER, NEW BEDFORD, and WAREHAM, Mass. – Starting Friday, April 30, Southcoast Health will offer walk-up options for individuals seeking vaccination against COVID-19, the not-for-profit community health system announced this week.

No appointment will be necessary at the following clinics, with walk-ups welcome:
• May 2, 7:45am-Noon, Johnson & Johnson, Liberal Club (20 Star St., Fall River)
• May 2, 7:45am-Noon, Johnson & Johnson, Vanity Fair (375 Faunce Corner Rd, Dartmouth)
• May 5, 9am-4pm, Johnson & Johnson, Commonwealth Soap & Toiletries (537 Quequechan St., Fall River; Southcoast Wellness Van)
• May 6, 9am-4pm, Johnson & Johnson, Calvary Temple Assembly of God (4321 N. Main St., Fall River; Southcoast Wellness Van)

More walk-up options will be announced on a rolling basis, and additional clinics offering easy, self-scheduled appointments are available at https://www.southcoast.org/covid-19-vaccination/ Next week, Southcoast plans to open a clinic at the Wareham Multi Service Center, officials said. Vaccination options at this location will also be listed at Southcoast.org.

“Getting your shot is more convenient and more important than ever,” said Tonya Johnson, RN, Vice President of Operations for Southcoast Hospitals Group. “All available vaccines are safe and effective. They’re our best chance at conquering COVID-19 once and for all. When we protect ourselves, we’re protecting our family, friends, and co-workers. Together, we’re protecting the South Coast community. We are grateful for all who have stepped up to help in this effort.”

About Southcoast Health
Southcoast Health a not-for-profit, charitable organization and the largest provider of primary and specialty care in the region, serving communities in Rhode Island and across Southeastern Massachusetts. Southcoast Health is a Newsweek’s World’s Best Hospital in 2019, 2020, and 2021. Out of the 2,743 considered hospitals in the United States, only 250 earned this recognition. In 2020 and 2021, St. Luke’s is a Newsweek and Leapfrog’s Best Maternity Hospitals. In 2019 and 2020, the Southcoast Health system also received seven awards, including Best Hospitals and Best Place to Work, in Southcoast Media Group’s Best of the Best Awards voted on by residents and readers.




Bask, Inc. Opening for Adult-Use Retail Sales in Fairhaven on Saturday

Bask, Inc. (Bask) a vertically integrated, veteran and women-led cannabis operator will open for adult-use retail sales on Saturday, February 20, 2021 in Fairhaven, MA.

Bask will be providing adults, 21 years and older, with safe access to cannabis products and cannabis education services. Bask’s adult-use menu will go live at 9:00am on the Company’s Website and doors will open at 10am. Customers will be required to pre-order through Bask’s website or by phone (774) 305-4749 for the first few weeks of opening.

There will be a police detail at the intersection of Alden Road and Pequod Road and parking lot attendants will be available to direct customers with an order confirmation to the designated adult-use parking lots. Medical patients have dedicated parking spaces adjacent to the medical entrance on the east side of the building.

“We’re excited to open our doors for adult-use operations on Saturday. We have been cultivating cannabis, manufacturing infused products, and dispensing to the medical market for over 3 years. We are excited to provide that experience and our amazing products to the recreational market,” Stated Chapman Dickerson, CEO of Bask, Inc.

Bask cultivates over 15 unique strains of cannabis and has an exclusive line of infused products, including Harpoon Extracts, Howl’s Tincture and the recently launched 1906 “Drops.” All these products are only locally available at Bask’s Fairhaven store. The combination of experienced staff, exclusive products and ample on-site parking is expected to draw in cannabis consumers from throughout the region.

“As the first medical dispensary to open on the South Coast we’ve learned so much while serving the medical cannabis community for the last three years. Now, as we expand to adult-use operations, we will be providing adults, 21 years and older, with safe access to cannabis and our cannabis education services,” explained JoAnne Leppanen, Bask’s Director of Patient Education and Board Member.

“Our patients have provided a lot of great feedback about what they’ve experienced at other co-located dispensaries. We have taken that feedback into consideration with our opening plans and have divided our facility so that medical patients have their own parking, entrances, and dispensary counter separate from our adult-use operations. For three years, we’ve been dedicated to providing our patients with a certain level of service and we will continue to do so as we expand our operation,” says Dickerson.

Bask reminds customers to not trespass on the U.S. Postal Service property which is adjacent to Bask’s parking lot.

Full details about Bask’s opening can be found at the company’s website at www.cometobask.com You can browse all their recreational products by CLICKING HERE

About Bask
The founders of Bask are experienced medical cannabis cultivators, educators, and advocates.  The team came together over a shared vision to create an environment where patients could learn and have safe access to quality products.  Bask opened its doors to medical patients in February of 2018 as the first cannabis dispensary on the South Coast of Massachusetts. In February of 2020, the company moved its cultivation and processing operation to a state-of-the-art greenhouse facility in Freetown, MA in partnership with AmeriCann, Inc.




Warren, Markey, Keating Joint Statement on Attorney General Maura Healey’s Investigation Into Bristol County Jail

United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA), along with Representative William Keating (D-MA-09) released a joint statement on Attorney General Maura Healey’s investigation into the violent events of May 1, 2020 at the C. Carlos Carreiro Immigration Detention Center, Unit B, Bristol County Sheriff’s office.

“The thorough investigation by the Office of Attorney General Healey compiled significant evidence that the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office violated the civil rights of immigrants detained at the facility. We agree with the report’s recommendation that the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office should not be engaged in immigrant detention,” said the lawmakers in a joint statement. “Every person – regardless of their immigration status and regardless of where they are living – deserves to feel safe, to have access to due process under the law, to be treated with dignity, and to have their rights protected. We led our colleagues in calling on the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General and the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties to conduct a federal investigation of these events. We look forward to the findings of that additional investigation, which we expect to help determine accountability for this disturbing incident and to offer further recommendations about how such events can be avoided in the future.”

In May, shortly after the violent altercation, Senators Warren and Markey, along with Representatives Keating and Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-MA-04), wrote to Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson to express alarm about the incident, to request that Sheriff Hodgson preserve video of the events to facilitate an investigation, and to allow persons detained at the facility to speak with their attorneys immediately. The four lawmakers also led the entire Massachusetts Congressional Delegation, as well as several members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus-Chairman Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) and Representatives Jesús G. “Chuy” García (D-Ill.), Juan Vargas (D-Calif.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), and Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.)-in requesting the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General and Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties investigate the violent incident.

On April 2, 2020, the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation wrote privately to the sheriffs overseeing each of the Massachusetts facilities, including Bristol County, that detain people on behalf of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The letter urged officials to implement alternatives to detention as much as possible, requested information about COVID-19 testing and their steps to comply with federal guidelines on management of COVID-19, and encouraged them to work to limit facility-to-facility transfers in order to protect the health and safety of detained people, facility personnel, and the general public during the pandemic.




PACE announces Open Enrollment for Health Insurance

HEALTH INSURANCE IS AVAILABLE FOR THOSE WHO NEED LOW COST COVERAGE

New Bedford, MA (November 2, 2020) – PACE announces Open Enrollment for those who need health insurance. The open enrollment period is from November 1, 2020 – January 23, 2021.

PACE’s Health Access will have Health Connector Navigators available to assist anyone who would like to apply for health insurance through the Health Connector or with MassHealth.

During Open Enrollment, anyone without health insurance can enroll into coverage for 2021. This includes people who may have lost their job and work-based health insurance in 2020 and have been without coverage. Additionally, people who may have enrolled in COBRA coverage after losing a job this year can apply for coverage and find out if they qualify for subsidized coverage through the Health Connector, which through the ConnectorCare program provides plans with reduced premiums and co-pays, and no deductibles – and will likely be far more affordable than COBRA plans.

Ginny DeSilva, PACE Health Access Director explains, “Our Navigators are hard at work assisting any person who needs health insurance remotely. They can be reached by phone or email, as our office is currently closed due to the COVID Pandemic. We can be reached at 508-999-9920 gdesilva@paceinfo.org.”

In addition, the Senior Health Specialist can assist anyone over 65 with their applications for Medicare Part A, Part B, and Part D; Medigap Insurance, Medicare HMOs, retiree insurance plans, prescription drug programs, Medicaid and Medicare. Seniors should call 508-999-9920 or email freda@paceinfo.org.

Please contact PACE today! Additional PACE Navigators:
brooke@paceinfo.org, Linda@paceinfo.org or monicadesousa@paceinfo.org

PACE – People Acting in Community Endeavors, Inc.

PACE, Inc. delivers innovative and effective services to members of the Greater New Bedford Community in their pursuit of brighter futures.

PACE programs include: Child Care Works, YouthBuild – New Bedford, The Family Center, Head Start, Housing Opportunity Center, Fuel Assistance, Lead Program, Clemente Course,Tax Preparation, Health Access and Food Bank.




Six Coffee with a New Bedford Cop events set for October 20th

Join members of the New Bedford Police Dept. for a cup of coffee and a chat on October 20 as part of the “Coffee with a Cop” movement taking place in October across the country.

“A cup of coffee is a common bond,” says Chief Joseph Cordeiro. “Now more than ever we want to connect with members of our community to listen to what matters most to them and continue developing our relationship with the community.” The events are part of our community policing philosophy, he added.

The following schedule indicates when and where Officers will be available. “There will be no speeches or specific topics,” said Cordeiro. “We just want to take a few minutes for informal conversations. Please stop by if you’re in the neighborhood or passing by.” Social distancing will be practiced throughout the event.

Please contact Melissa Batchilder at (508) 991-6300 Ext. 79428 for further information.




Women’s March in New Bedford scheduled for October 17

Several local organizations, including the Women’s Fund of Southeastern MA and the YWCA Southeastern MA, would like to invite the SouthCoast community to the #EnduringChange Women’s March, a nonpartisan event, on Saturday, October 17 at Buttonwood Park in New Bedford.

Marches in the name of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg have been organized in cities throughout the country on that day. The name for the New Bedford march was chosen based on a quote by Ginsburg, “Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.”

With a global pandemic and a divisive political climate, hope has been frail. #EnduringChange serves as a beacon of hope and courage, reminding all that women have been at the forefront of the fight for equality for centuries and have never given in or given up. Participants are urged to use their collective voice and strength to help ensure enduring change. 

“Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an independent woman who learned and grew along the way to become the icon we celebrate today,” stated Joanne Murray, the executive director of the Women’s Fund. “On October 17th, marchers can choose to stand for her by committing to the values she embodied and continue her fight for enduring, systemic change.”

All are invited to attend the march and everyone will also have the opportunity to register to vote on-site.

In addition, this event will feature a keynote speaker, former New Bedford Ward 5 City Councilor Jane Gonsalves who is the first woman of Portuguese descent to become a New Bedford City Council President. Today, Gonsalves serves as board president for the YWCA of Southeastern Massachusetts. Whenever she is able, she shares the wisdom she gathered throughout her political career with young girls and women, encouraging them to become more involved in their communities.

“With a fast-approaching election and the social movements currently taking place nationally, the divisions in our country and community have become more pronounced,” said Gail Fortes, executive director of the YWCA. “This nonpartisan event won’t seek to highlight these differences, but rather invites everyone to come together to remember Ruth Bader Ginsberg respectfully and to continue her work in seeking justice and equality for all.” 

Fortes added, “As Ginsburg herself so aptly stated, ‘Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.’”

Registration is not required, but those who choose to register here will receive regular updates about the march. Those marching should gather at the Buttonwood Park Warming House (Senior Center) at 1 Oneida Street at 2 p.m. Everyone is encouraged to wear black or white and all will be required to wear masks, social distance, and respect others. A rain date has been scheduled for Sunday, October 18 at 2 p.m. at the same location.

Please email ec.southcoast@gmail.com with any questions.




Massachusetts residents to sue Governor baker over flu vaccine mandate

FLU YOU BAKER, a grassroots movement of more than 11,000 Massachusetts residents led by Mr. Vincent Delaney, will be filing a class-action lawsuit against Governor Baker and the State of Massachusetts, citing the unconstitutionality of the state’s August 19, 2020 influenza vaccination mandate.

The group is partnering with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the Children’s Health Defense. The law firms of Thomas O. Mason, Patrick Leduc, and Luke Lirot have been retained to represent the thousands of FLU YOU BAKER plaintiffs.

The mandate requires all children and young adults between 6 months and 30 years old who attend Massachusetts child care programs, pre-schools, K-12, colleges or universities to receive an annual influenza vaccine by December 31, 2020 in order to enter school in January 2021.

Mr. Delaney and FLU YOU BAKER parents oppose the mandate and government overreach, stating that the choice to vaccinate resides with the parents and their family physicians. The state’s decision to deny education on the basis of an annual vaccine requirement violates the rights of citizens granted by the Constitution.

“Massachusetts has one of the highest rates of immunization in the country, with nearly 81% of all residents choosing to receive the annual flu vaccine,” said Mr. Delaney. “There is absolutely no reason for this government overreach.”

Massachusetts is the first such state to require the flu vaccine in order to attend any public or private institution of learning, including remote/off-campus study.

FLU YOU BAKER is organizing a peaceful rally in opposition of the flu vaccine mandate on October 5, 2020 at 1 p.m. in front of the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse, located on Fan Pier on the Boston waterfront. Representatives from Children’s Health Defense will be attending the rally.

More information, including a GoFundMe page to support the class-action lawsuit, can be found at www.fluyoubaker.com.

About Mr. Vincent Delaney

Mr. Delaney is no stranger to standing up to government overreach and protecting constitutional rights. Mr. Delaney filed his own lawsuit against Governor Baker in June 2020 concerning the unconstitutionality of the restrictions imposed by the Baker Administration during the Covid-19 shutdown. A decision on this lawsuit is expected in Federal Court on October 5, 2020.

About FLU YOU BAKER

FLU YOU BAKER is a grassroots movement engaged in collective action, comprised of parents, grandparents, and concerned citizens who oppose Governor Baker’s flu vaccine mandate. The group has no political affiliation and is not anti-vaccine, but rather anti-mandate and pro-medical freedom.

About Children’s Health Defense

Children’s Health Defense is a non-profit advocacy organization devoted to the health of people and our planet. Founded and led by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., its mission is to end childhood health epidemics by working aggressively to eliminate harmful exposures, hold those responsible accountable, and establish safeguards for future generations.




New Bedford Coalition to Save Our Schools to host forum with leading experts to discuss police in schools

A community forum to discuss systemic racism, police in schools, and reimagining school safety, will be held via Zoom at 4 p.m. EDT Thursday.

The forum is organized by the New Bedford Coalition to Save Our Schools (NBCSOS). NBCSOS is a vibrant, diverse, grassroots community-based organization of over 150 members. NBCSOS is primarily made up of New Bedford families, students, and educators who are committed to protecting public education and strengthening our schools and community. The mission is to create caring schools that work to support the physical, social, and emotional development of all students so that they become creative, compassionate participants who are capable and willing to transform society in the direction of equity.

NBCSOS supports the Black Lives Matter movement (BLM) and is hosting the forum to educate the public on education justice issues, particularly the criminalization and dehumanization of Black youth in schools. While support for BLM is increasing in America and locally, too many are unfamiliar with the demands of the movement and actions needed to make change and move society in a direction of equity. Through discussions with the community, it is clear that too many White allies of the movement do not understand the issue of police in schools. This forum is for supporters of the movement who want to learn more about the demand to remove police from schools and reallocate funds to restorative services. This forum will address questions regarding school safety, the role of police in the community, and how communities set budgets to reflect their priorities.

The forum will be a conversation between these leading experts and scholar-activists. Dr. Erica R. Meiners is professor of education and women’s and gender studies at Northeastern Illinois University. She is the author of several books including Right to Be Hostile: Schools, Prisons, and the Making of Public Enemies and coauthor of Flaunt It! Queers Organizing for Public Education and Justice; Dr. David Stovall is professor of African-American studies and criminology, law and justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is the author of several books including Born Out of Struggle, Critical Race Theory, School Creation, and the Politics of Interruption and the editor of From Education to Incarceration: Dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline; and Dr. Aaron Kupchik is professor of sociology and criminal justice at the University of Delaware. His research focuses on juvenile justice with interests in punishment and policing of youth in schools, courts, and correctional facilities, as well as inequality among juveniles. He is the author of Homeroom Security: School Discipline in an Age of Fear and The Real School Safety Problem: The Long Term Consequences of Harsh School Punishment.

NBCSOS has been active in the fight for equity and justice in New Bedford for several years. In addition to successfully resisting privatization of our schools, NBCSOS has been instrumental in numerous wins for the New Bedford Public Schools. The Coalition’s work has included: securing additional funding, overhauling the food-service department, and increasing community voice in decisions that affect the community. To support BLM, NBCSOS is also continuing community action dialogues in our schools, facilitating book clubs around social justice and education justice issues, and actively working to ensure that our schools adopt curriculum that is anti-racist and culturally responsive while recruiting/retaining educators of color.

The REIMAGINING SCHOOL SAFETY event is Thursday, June 25 at 4 p.m. EDT. It is free and open to the public. For more information and to register for the event, please visit www.nbcsos.org.




Task Force Gives Governor Baker D’s and F’s For Protecting Marginalized Groups During Reopening

The following was released by the Massachusetts Public Health Association:

Today, Governor Baker received all D’s and F’s on a report card rating his reopening policies based on how they prioritize the health of Black and Latinx residents, low wage workers, and others that have been most impacted by COVID-19.

The Task Force on Coronavirus & Equity, a coalition of 94 public health, community, and labor organizations that began meeting in mid-March, released today’s report card to monitor progress on four key criteria that they announced on June 4th.

The report card comes as Massachusetts enters Step 2 of Phase II of reopening, bringing far greater numbers of workers and consumers into contact at indoor dining, offices, and services that require close personal contact. The latest move in Massachusetts comes as at 23 state are experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases.

“We are eager for a safe reopening for the sake of workers, small businesses, and our overall economy, but Governor Baker’s reopening policies to date have shown a disregard for the health of Black and Latinx residents, low-wage workers, and others who have been hardest hit by COVID-19,” said Carlene Pavlos, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Public Health Association, which coordinates the Task Force. “It’s not too late to change this. We call on the Governor to immediately implement commonsense policies that value the lives of the communities that have borne the brunt of the pandemic.”

“The fact that the positive case rate for Black and Latinx residents of Massachusetts is three times higher than that of white residents is further evidence that COVID-19 is an environmental justice issue and should be treated as such by Governor Baker and the Department of Public Health. Black residents and other communities of color are doubly impacted by the public health and economic impacts of the pandemic. As the state continues to reopen, Black residents and communities of color will continue to suffer at disproportionate rates unless the Governor implements policies that protect their lives and livelihoods,” said Sofia Owen, Staff Attorney at Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE).

“Workplace exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19 has already sickened and even killed hundreds of frontline workers in our state. It is clearly a key way that the virus is being spread to families and communities. Workers are not expendable commodities in the rush to reopen our economy. They must be protected and yet the state has invested very little in ensuring that critical health and safety standards are enforced,” said Jodi Sugerman-Brozan, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH). “First OSHA failed to protect workers, then the state passed the buck to local boards of health without any resources, training or even input in the standards or process, once again leaving workers to fend for themselves in seeking the protections they deserve.”

Last Friday afternoon, an advisory group to DPH issued a series of recommendations addressing health equity in our pandemic response. “Last week – more than 3 months into the state of emergency – we saw several helpful recommendations on health equity from an advisory group of respected leaders convened by DPH,” said Pavlos, “but we were surprised and disappointed that, while making those recommendations public, the Governor made no commitment to implement any of these important measures. The time for talk is over; action is desperately needed now. We sincerely hope that in the coming weeks we are able to issue a more favorable report card based on the Governor’s actions.”

The Governor received the following grades from the Task Force:

Infections Dropping for All Groups: D
While overall state infections, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to fall, it is impossible to know whether overall statewide data mask inequities and it will be impossible to understand who is being most impacted in the case of a future surge. While state data on race and ethnicity has improved – clearly showing a disproportionate impact on Black and Latinx residents – nearly 35% of cases are still missing data on race and ethnicity. The state is not tracking any data on low wage workers, people with disabilities, people who don’t speak English, and others who have likely been hard hit by the pandemic. Governor Baker has not prioritized the collection of data that would allow inequities to be clearly understood. The Governor signed a bill to improve state data collection and reporting 15 days ago, and we are awaiting information on when and how it will be implemented.

Enforceable Protections for Workers + Support for Small Businesses: F
The Baker Administration has issued requirements for workplaces across a variety of sectors that have reopened. However, the Governor has done nothing to address the extremely limited capacity that currently exists to ensure safety standards are being met. The entities with enforcement authority – local boards of health and the Department of Labor Standards – do not have anywhere near the staff or resources to respond to or enforce workplace safety protections on the scale necessary. Further, current guidelines do not allow for timely enforcement action in the case that employers are putting workers and the public at risk. Instead of enforceable protections, employers are only required to provide a self-attestation that they are compliant with safety standards, ignoring core tenants of occupational health practice and denying a role for workers in safety assessments.

Accelerate & Expand Testing: D
The Governor is falling dramatically short of meeting his own goal to perform 45,000 tests/day by the end of July. In May and June, Massachusetts averaged less than 10,000 tests/day. Testing is not widely available for high risk people who do not have symptoms (including essential workers, people living in congregate facilities, and residents of the communities most impacted) despite this being a stated goal of the Administration. A new state testing website does not recommend testing for high risk, asymptomatic people. While pop up sites recently offered testing aimed at people who had attended protests, these sites were open for just two days before closing. A plan has been developed that would expand testing to meet these goals, but has not been implemented.

Seat at the Table: F
The Governor has not consulted with or engaged the groups most impacted by reopening decisions and has ignored calls to name a Recovery Advisory Board to advise him on decisions about future phases of reopening (and, if needed, reclosing), including guidance for standards and enforcement. Essential workers, Black and Latinx communities, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+ people, and older adults will be most affected by these decisions but have no seat at the table. Likewise, municipal public health leaders who are responsible for education, communications, and enforcement at the local level, have not been consulted on important decisions. While useful, the DPH health equity advisory committee was not convened for this purpose.

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