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Note to HALO Monthly recipientsWhether or not you are able to make a donation to HALO, you will continue to receive the newsletter. However, there are expenses involved in producing a quality newsletter. Therefore, we suggest an annual donation of $25.00 for HALO membership, which includes our newsletter. Of course, donations in any amount to support the work of HALO will be gratefully accepted. All donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Please send checks only to: HALO, P.O. Box 324, Chisago City, MN 55013. Credit card donations may be securely made on the DONATE page of our website, https://www.halorganization.com/donate/
Welcome to this edition of the HALO Monthly. This e-newsletter provides opportunities for HALO to share information about current healthcare issues, events, contributions from members, answers to prayer, and other relevant information. Please share your ideas and suggestions with us.
 

HALO MISSION STATEMENT

The mission of the Healthcare Advocacy and Leadership Organization is to promote, protect, and advocate for the rights of the medically vulnerable through direct patient and family interactions; through community education and awareness programs; and through promotion and development of concrete *"life-affirming healthcare"* alternatives for those facing the grave consequences of healthcare rationing and unethical practices, especially those at risk of euthanasia and assisted suicide.

*"Life-affirming healthcare" is defined as medical care in which the paramount principle is the sanctity of life, which means that the life and safety of each person come first and each person receives medical care across their lifespan based on their need for care and never with an intention to hasten death, regardless of their abilities or perceived "quality of life."



From the Executive Director's Desk




Many of us live in areas where winter is harsh and we eagerly look forward to enjoying the resurrection of a vibrant spring, witnessing new life. It is a time to spend hours preparing the soil and planting in order to reap the fruits of our labors in the coming months.
We encourage you also to prepare for the future by cultivating your knowledge about the challenges you or your loved ones may one day face in healthcare settings and learning how to advocate for patients in difficult situations. Please visit our website, www.halorganization.com. There you will find essential information and resources to help yourself and others grow in knowledge and prepare for unexpected medical situations. We are continually adding new materials, so we encourage you to visit the website often.
Our past newsletters are available on our website and are well worth reading more than once. For instance, last month, the HALO Monthly newsletter included a father’s account of his tragic experience – “My Son’s Story Must be Told: Young Man, Healthy Organs—Ideal Organ Donor” – a warning about the undue pressure to donate organs that is often brought to bear on reluctant families. We encourage you to read this personal story and others in the Case in Point series.
We also publish fact sheets written by HALO’s president and newsletter editor, Julie Grimstad, with the assistance of various experts in their fields of medicine. These are available as pdf documents which can be printed for your personal use. Our newest fact sheet, “Are Organ Donors Truly Dead Before Their Organs are Taken?”, is intended to help you decide whether to be an organ donor. Years ago, I had checked the box on my driver’s license to be an organ donor. After researching this topic, I now carry the “I Refuse to be an Organ Donor” wallet card. If you decide that you don’t want to be an organ donor and have ever signed an organ donor card or have “organ donor” on your driver’s license, it would be wise to request that your name be removed from your state’s organ donor registry. You can obtain the “I Refuse to be an Organ Donor” card by emailing feedback@halorganization.com. When you make your request, be certain to include your mailing address.
Julie recently wrote a timely article, “Is There Moral Certainty that ‘Brain Dead’ Organ Donors Are Dead?” It was published by Renew America and reprinted in LifeSite News, April 29, 2019, under the title “Re-examining ‘brain death’: Doctors may be harvesting organs before donors are dead.” There is a link to this article on the HALO website under Resources/Organ Donors.
Finally, the Life-Affirming Medical Proxy (LAMP) document can be downloaded free, and is especially important in case of an emergency surgery or a serious accident if you or a loved one does not already have a life-protective power of attorney for healthcare. On the main page of the HALO website, simply click on your state or province in the red box and information about the form you need will pop up. Ideally, you should have a life-protective directive in place now. Don’t wait for an emergency when it may be difficult or impossible to appoint a trusted proxy to make medical decisions for you when you are unable to do so.
Remember, it is good to understand treatment options and to evaluate these choices before you face a medical situation in which you or others may need this information. Please take advantage of HALO’s free, accessible materials.
Bloom where you are planted.” You can become a partner with HALO by protecting and defending the lives of those you care about—family, friends and others in your community. Educate yourself and then share what you have learned with everyone you know.
Please write to me, Mary Merritt, at feedback@halorganization.com. Tell me what you are doing as a HALO partner and I will share your emails in future newsletters to inspire others. Thank you!


CHECK YOUR DRIVER’S LICENSE




CHECK YOUR DRIVER’S LICENSE: You May be an Unintentional Donor

The following is a response to Julie Grimstad’s article on “brain death” which Matt Abbott published in his Renew America column, April 23, 2019. See http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/abbott/190423
A few years back, I went to renew my driver's license and did not check the square to indicate "Donor." I started to slide my new license into my wallet, and almost didn't notice the word “donor” under my right thumb in the lower right corner. (Like most people, I'm right-handed and it's natural to hold it there.) I went back in immediately and asked if I'd done something wrong on my application; I had not. The DMV clerk tried twice before she did what she called a "manual override" to issue my card without the word "donor" on it.  She used the time it took to lecture me, though, about my “social responsibility” to help others with my parts, since I will "be dead, anyway." I told her I'm not opposed to donation—my mother received a kidney from a donor—but I don't want to be seen merely as the sum of my parts. 
As I left the DMV, I wondered if there were other unintentional "donors" walking around, like I would have been had I not noticed the error. I had to wonder also if the system is set to default to "donor" or if, once you check the box, it stays checked.
Tonchi
Note: Tonchi emailed HALO to request an “I Refuse to be an Organ Donor” card, which we promptly sent to her.



Sign and carry with you an I REFUSE TO BE AN ORGAN DONOR wallet card. To request a wallet card, email feedback@halorganization.com.

THIS MONTH'S FEATURE




Editor’s note HALO’S mission includes “promotion and development of concrete life-affirming healthcare alternatives.” This month, we are featuring two unique ways to deliver quality healthcare that is life-affirming and cost-effective for both patients and doctors. Pamela Wible, MD, shares how changing the way she practiced medicine saved her life. And Twila Brace, RN, PHN, explains the Wedge of Health Freedom, an escape route for patients from outsider control over their medical care, and her organization’s plan to establish hospitals that “could include faith-based hospitals free from conscience-violating mandates and the high costs of managed care restrictions and government regulations.” Enjoy!

ESCAPING CORPORATE MEDICINE
HOW MY PATIENTS PREVENTED MY SUICIDE AND STARTED A MEDICAL REVOLUTION

By Pamela Wible, MD
April 1, 2019


















Today is the anniversary of my suicide survival story—a happy ending to six weeks of unrelenting thoughts of dying when forced to see patients every ten minutes in big-box assembly-line clinics. My lifelong dream of being a trusted, loving family doc doing house calls was gone. I saw no way out.
Until I told my patients I was suicidal.
I begged for their help. I asked them to create an ideal clinic, even write my job description. I promised to do whatever they wanted. My life sucked. I had nothing to lose. I figured we could all escape corporate medicine together. They were game.
Soon more than 100 patients delivered written testimony. I was SO excited to read it all. We adopted 90% of their amazing ideas and just one month later (with no outside funding) we opened the first ideal clinic—designed entirely by patients. Today is our 14-year anniversary of the most beautiful gift a community could ever give me—the ability to be a real doctor.
Now I do house calls. I absolutely adore my patients. And I’ve never turned anyone away for lack of money.
How we did it
My patients have not only helped me, they’ve inspired hundreds of doctors to replicate our community clinic around the world. Check out the 2-minute TV clip at Dr. Wible’s Ideal Clinic on Vimeo.
Here is the transcript of the video.
Pamela Wible says her parents—both physicians—advised her not to follow in their footsteps. She ignored them. But being a doctor was not what she expected. “I remember one day seeing 45 patients.” After six jobs in ten years, all of them in her words “assembly-line medicine,” she ended up in bed seriously depressed. She had an idea—a vision of how she could save other doctors and her career. She decided to host a series of town hall meetings to let patients design her practice. Wible listened and took more than 100 pages of testimony.
Now there’s no receptionist at Dr. Wible’s office, no billing department, not even a nurse.
What do you want when you’re sick? You don’t want to park in a three-story parking garage, and you don’t want to sit in a cafeteria-style waiting room, and you don’t want to talk through bullet-proof glass when you’re sick. And you don’t want to be asked for your credit card and your insurance card and all the things that people are hassled to do when they are not feeling well.
Her overhead expenses have gone from close to 80% to 10% and that means she can afford to spend as much as an hour per visit—making her a better doctor and bringing the joy back into her job.
Wible performs minor surgery in her office and gives patients balloons and other gifts for coming in. And she sometimes barters with her patients for medical care.
“So your practice is so unique that you are exchanging this meal for surgery?”
“This meal and other meals,” Dr. Wible explains.
Wible’s ideas are starting to gain traction.
“I recently opened a clinic called Happy Doc Family Medicine. I wanted to show you around,” says Laura Knudsen, MD.
Dr. Wible is saying she can spend an hour with a patient. How many practices can do that?
She says that is what makes her happy and that’s what makes the patient happy. She says this actually can work. She’s making more money now than she was before and she is doing less work. She saves money by not having any staff. She does her billing using an online system. She says her start-up costs [for her first full year] were only about $3000 to buy the furniture and the equipment. (Actually, I only spent $627 to launch on day one!)
The original article introduces some of the coolest doctors who have just launched ideal clinics. See http://www.idealmedicalcare.org/how-my-patients-prevented-my-suicide/.
Reprinted with Dr. Wible’s permission.




THE WEDGE OF HEALTH FREEDOM
Finding an Affordable Doctor Who Works Only for You

By Twila Brase, RN, PHN, president and co-founder, Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom and author of the award-winning book, “Big Brother in the Exam Room: The Dangerous Truth About Electronic Health Records.”
April 29, 2019

Americans should not settle for socialized medicine. “Medicare for All” may be on the lips of leftists everywhere, but freedom is what made America great. Freedom is what will keep America great.
The way to maintain freedom for patients and doctors is already here. You may not realize it, but clinics and surgery centers offering affordable, confidential, patient-centered care, free from outsider controls, are sprinkled around the nation. And I’m pleased to say, more are on their way.
These direct-pay clinics accept only cash, check or charge. If you’re insured or covered by a government program, getting reimbursed fully or partially is between you and your medical insurance company.
To encourage this model of care, and to build an escape route from the dangers of socialized medicine for patients and doctors, we established The Wedge of Health Freedom, America’s free-trade zone for medical care.
The Wedge, launched in the summer of 2016, is an online directory of direct-pay practices. There are primary care practices, specialists, even a few doctors that come directly to your home. There is no cost for patients or doctors to join The Wedge. It’s part of our non-profit mission and our plan to protect patients and preserve the affordable, ethical practice of medicine (JOINtheWEDGE.com).
The Wedge brings patients and doctors together in an ethical, trusted relationship at an affordable price. Care is patient-friendly, pocketbook-friendly and privacy-friendly. It’s the way medical care always was before government and prepaid health plans intruded, and it’s the way medical care should always be.
The doctor’s office should be a safe place for patients, a trusted and confidential space. But in too many doctors’ offices today, managed care restrictions, government surveillance systems and federal reporting requirements have led to tight-lipped patients and hands-tied doctors.
This must change.
Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom (CCHF), a non-profit national health freedom organization, launched The Wedge of Health Freedom for two reasons. First, there are doctors and practices operating today that serve their patients free from outsider controls, but most Americans don’t know these affordable, confidential practices exist. Therefore, we wanted to identify these practices and make them visible.
Second, we wanted to establish a nationwide grassroots initiative that would draw the public’s attention to this zone of freedom and free markets, offer these practices as an attractive choice for patients everywhere, encourage doctors to escape into The Wedge, defend the right of “Wedge practices” to operate freely without government interference, and expand The Wedge into an ever-larger slice of the American health care pie—until it’s no longer a wedge, but the entire circle.
The Wedge of Health Freedom has eight simple but important operating principles:
  • Transparent, affordable pricing
  • Freedom to choose
  • True patient privacy
  • No government reporting
  • No outside interference
  • Cash-based pricing
  • Protected patient-doctor relationship
  • All patients welcome
The cost savings can be huge for patients and doctors. Because Wedge practices do not sign health plan contracts or participate in government programs—but they open their doors to all patients, including those in Medicare, Medicaid and managed care—they are exempt from more than 132,000 pages of Medicare regulations, more than 20,000 pages of Obamacare regulations, the onerous electronic health record (EHR) mandate and all the attorneys, billers, coders, data reporters, technical staff and administrative managers associated with these and other regulatory burdens. They can charge less because their overhead is less.
Direct-pay examples abound.
In Minnesota, Orono Family Medicine, which calls itself a Direct Primary Care Practice (DPC), sees established patients for $75 per visit. Minor surgeries cost $100 - $400. PATMOS (“pay at the moment of service”) EmergiClinic has thousands of patients in Tennessee, including Medicaid recipients. Surgeon Dr. Kevin Petersen, who runs NoInsuranceSurgery.com in Las Vegas, Nevada offers $5,000 hernia repairs and uses an outside financing company for those who wish to establish payment plans. He notes on his website: “A health insurance company in no way helps a surgeon provide surgery and for that matter helps no physician take care of their patients.” The renowned Surgery Center of Oklahoma puts its cash-only prices online, which are so low that patients come from around the nation, and Canada, for care.
Nearly 400 practices in 44 states and Canada have already joined The Wedge. (JOINtheWEDGE.com) As the number of Wedge practices grows, and more patients seek them, we hope doctors will realize that it’s possible to escape into freedom and restore the joy they’ve lost in today’s bureaucratic system.
Importantly, the Wedge is focused solely on the delivery of medical care, in a direct-pay model. Coverage is entirely separate. The Wedge puts patients and doctors in a direct relationship, with transparent, affordable prices for medical care and no delays or denials. Government and insurers can no longer interfere in private medical decisions.
We envision future establishment of “Wedge hospitals.” These could include faith-based hospitals free from conscience-violating mandates and the high costs of managed care restrictions and government regulations. When this happens, it will be interesting to see how low hospital costs can go once they are free to simply do the work of a hospital and nothing else.
The Wedge of Health Freedom is a nationwide grassroots initiative to restore the heart of health care in America, regardless of what happens in Congress: whether Obamacare is or isn’t repealed, whether America implements socialized medicine, and no matter what happens to Medicare. The Wedge is an alternative, affordable, confidential patient-centered system outside of government regulations and managed care controls.
Invite your doctors to join The Wedge. It may take them two or three years to actually break free from government and insurers, but now is the time to plant the seeds of freedom in their minds.

A LABOR OF LOVE




A LABOR OF LOVE

By Kris Ann Zdroik
Stevens Point, Wisconsin


Kris and her father on her wedding day.

My Dad, Ronald J. Bodden, was born in 1937. He served four years in the U.S. Coast Guard, obtained a degree in accounting, married and raised five children with my mom, and was grandpa and great-grandpa to many. In 1998, Dad retired from Associated Bank as Vice President of Corporate Accounting. After retiring, he was a daily communicant and avid pro-Life advocate. A wise, honest, gentle, and devoted man, faith and family came first for Ron. Anyone who encountered him soon felt his loving kindness and sincerity. Thankfully Dad was able to spend about 10 years traveling with his wife, family and friends before the onset of his health challenges. He was known to plan trips around the daily Mass and adoration schedules of the various churches, cathedrals, and basilicas.
About five years before Ron's death, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, Lewy Body Dementia, and ultimately Progressive Supranuclear Palsy—which took his life.
After a few years of daily visits to dispense medications, help with finances and household tasks, run errands and accompany Dad and Mom to doctor appointments, my husband Jeff and I and our nine children moved in to take care of my parents. We are a home school family, so we had many hands to help tend to Dad's growing needs. The good Lord blessed us with six strong sons, then two daughters and another son. The older boys were able to lift, transfer and help transport their grandpa to church and doctor appointments. Our youngest three did their part by shaving, grooming, feeding and reading to Grandpa.
My degree was in Health Promotion/Wellness. Never did I imagine that I would be doing extensive wound care of multiple pressure ulcers. I spent many nights praying with Dad throughout nighttime cares. I felt very close to St. Mother Teresa and the crucified Christ as I witnessed such sacred surrender. I knew Dad was offering up his crosses for others in need.
As Dad's disease progressed, we needed more help caring for Dad. We had friends who came to our aid in the form of nurses, certified nursing assistants, and caregivers. Many friends came bearing meals and helped with cleaning. Overall, it was a labor of love. Dad peacefully accepting and carrying his crosses, while we, by God's grace, were able to care for Dad until his dying breath.
In the last week of Dad's life my family, along with my siblings and their children, kept a vigil in Mom and Dad's bedroom. We figured his time on earth was short, so we all took turns saying our goodbyes. Many friends and extended family also came to honor Dad in his dying days. Multiple priests had given Dad Anointing of the Sick during his long period of declining health and finally the Last Rites. God worked many miracles through Dad's suffering and sweet surrendering.
My father passed from this earth into the hands of his merciful God and Savior on July 6, 2017.
After Dad’s body arrived at the funeral home, I received a call. The contorted position of Dad's legs baffled the funeral directors. They told me that in 30 years in that profession they had never seen someone as crippled as my Dad was on his dying day.  
I'll end with a quote from my Dad. A few months after our family moved in to care for him, he said to me: "Whatever position I may be in, that the Lord wants for me, so be it." – Ronald J. Bodden, March 2014.





MEET HALO’S PARTNERS


The Healthcare Advocacy and Leadership Organization’s partners hail from many parts of the United States and Canada. We thought you might like to know who we are. Thus, each month, a HALO partner will introduce himself or herself or, in this case, themselves.
Mike and Mary Schaefer, Members of HALO’s Advisory Board
By Mike Schaefer with Mary Schaefer



Mike and Mary Schaefer with HALO’s president, Julie Grimstad (center)

Mary came from a Catholic family of seven siblings and was raised in Woodland, California. I came from a Catholic family of six kids raised in Bismarck, North Dakota. Both of our families were always pro-life. Married in 1964, we had six children (one son and five daughters) with a spread of 16 years. Mary is a registered nurse and I was a civil engineer by profession. We live in the Sacramento, California area.
In 1972 and 1973, I was on assignment in Washington, DC. While in the Senate cafeteria on January 22, 1973, I noticed a table of eight or so women, all crying. I asked them what was wrong. They introduced me to ABORTION and the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade decision. A few days later, Mary informed me that her mother, Clara, was very upset with this decision and was doing something about it. Clara helped start the HOTLINE for newly pregnant women looking for information in the Sacramento area.
Sacramento Life Center
After our return to Sacramento, Mary received training and joined the HOTLINE team. She served several years advising pregnant women about their options, other than abortion, to help them make life-affirming decisions. The Sacramento Life Center was started in the early 1970s, and Mary and I joined their Speakers Bureau in 1974. We talked to groups (e.g., church committees, Knights of Columbus Councils, and school PTAs) to inform them of the Supreme Court’s decision and the resources the Life Center offered. It was obvious to us that there was a lot of misunderstanding about abortion and what was allowed under the new “law.”
In 1982, when Mary was pregnant with our sixth child, she called Kaiser Permanente to make an appointment with an obstetrician. The receptionist asked, “Is this a keeper?” Mary responded, “Pardon me, this is a baby!” The receptionist explained that they had to ask because they didn’t want to waste the doctor’s time if a woman wanted to abort. She then informed Mary that, due to her age (41), she would have to take genetic testing and counselling. Mary said “NO!” to the testing and counselling because she had no intention of aborting our baby. She was required to sign a refusal statement, which she did
Arrested
In 1988, Mary and I took part in prayer and protest with Operation Rescue (mainly made up of Evangelical church groups) at an abortion chamber in Chico, 100 miles from Sacramento. I took pictures of the activities while 199 were arrested for blocking the clinic’s entrances. Mary was arrested, booked and mugshot. She had never been arrested before. The policeman was courteous. He asked if the zip ties were too tight on her wrists. (She could slip out of them and scratch her nose, which immediately started to itch, and then slip her hand back into the ties.)
The local paper read, “199 arrested at the abortion clinic.” A letter to the editor later said, “On Saturday I went with a friend to garage sales. If I had only known that Operation Rescue came to town, the paper would have reported, ‘200 people arrested’!”
There wasn’t enough room in the county jail, so all of them were released, but had to return to Chico several times for court hearings.
Our pro bono lawyer was not allowed to use words like “baby,” “fetus,” or “little human” in court hearings. However, someone was able to get a specimen of a miscarried baby, gestational age four months, from a retired physician. The dead baby was presented to the judge with the explanation, “This is what we are blocking the entrances to save.” At seeing this, the judge was about to collapse and had to be taken away. All of us were praying for him, but the bailiff told us we couldn’t pray on government property, so he sent us outside.
Although Mary’s and several others’ charges were dropped due to technicalities, many of those arrested were fined.
Helping Women and Babies, and Other Pro-life Activities
In 1989, I was asked to become the local Knights of Columbus Council’s Respect Life Director. This required an article on a pro-life issue each month for the KC newsletter, which made it possible to share pro-life information with the members and their families and friends. I continued as Respect Life Director until 2017.
Another opportunity to improve communication on pro-life issues occurred in 1990 when Mary and I joined a half dozen people who started Catholics For Life of Northern California. One of our objectives was to assist our bishop, Francis Quinn, in pro-life outreach. He asked us to help set up a maternity home for women in crisis pregnancies. A group home with seven bedrooms was found and our group provided the loving care and correction necessary to transform it into a cozy home for pregnant ladies and new mothers and their babies. We named it “The Bishop Gallegos Maternity Home.” After hiring a house mother-home director, we opened our door to receive the first six ladies in need of help. The home has been operating since 1992, has been expanded to 12 bedrooms, and has many pages of decisions by women to have their babies. Incorporated and independent of the diocese, the home has served more than 800 women. Mary coordinated the raffle and silent auction at the Home’s major fundraising dinner each year for 15 years.
In 2003, Mary and I wanted to devote a month (October) to some pro-life activity. We ended up in Minneapolis-St Paul with Human Life Alliance (HLA). This is when we met Jo Tolck (vice president of HALO), who was then HLA’s executive director, and her wonderful hard-working staff, whom we admired very much. We became advisors to HLA. During our stay, we lived in our RV. God was generous as it didn’t start to snow until the day we left St. Paul on October 29th. Subsequently, we were able to help the staff when they traveled to California by providing them with lodging, transportation, and contacts in the Sacramento Diocesan Office as well as in this area of northern California. It was very interesting.
Caregivers for Our Elderly Loved Ones
Mary and I were on the team that took care of Mary’s parents, Joe and Clara, for the last six years of their lives. Mary’s three brothers, two sisters, and we each took 24 hours weekly to help them.
Joe had Parkinson’s disease and survived a quadruple bypass. He had been on hospice four times and said we took such good care of him that we weren’t letting him go. One hospice nurse suggested that we drug him and let him die when he had a bladder infection – “It’s an easy death.” Mary said, “It’s not a kidney he needs. Get him antibiotics!” He lived another two years and was a companion to his wife and a dad to all of us. He died in 2002 at age 94.
Mary’s mom had a weak heart but lived another five years with family help, until she broke her hip. The doctor didn’t think she could withstand surgery. She died a few days later in 2007 at 92.
God called and they were ready; no one was rushing them. Thank you, God.
In 2004, I was with my sister Ree, age 70, who had lung cancer and was on hospice. She was not in a coma. The hospice nurse said, “No food or water.” I did put ice on her lips. which were dry and cracked. The hospital staff backed away when hospice entered the picture. Ree seemed to be uncomfortable and in pain. She stopped her struggled breathing at 8:00 am the next morning and died. I felt guilty that I couldn’t do something to make her more comfortable. Did the hospice let me down by not checking on her at least once in the 24 hours before she died? I could have used a HALO advocate at that time. This experience was an eye-opener for me about end-of-life issues.
Our children are all still alive and starting to talk to Mary and me about our desires in the years we have left. As a potential teaching moment, we have written them a letter “from the grave” and we have selected a daughter who will speak for us if we become incapacitated. When this life is over for us, we hope our efforts to uphold the dignity of each person’s life will be satisfactory to the Lord of Life.

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