Editorial: Yes on Amendment 2 – Medical Marijuana

While watching the Today Show this morning I saw this video against Amendment 2, the medical marijuana amendment – you may have to turn up your volume:

The video shows “Dr. Madelyn Butler, M.D.,” speaking in a strong voice to scare voters about medical marijuana. She’s lying. She says the Amendment will allow people to get marijuana without a prescription. That detail is true, sort of. But then she that’s not like “FDA-approved medication.” But plenty of medicines are available over the counter without a prescription. Thousands of drugs like Aspirin, Tylenol, Motrin, and Theraflu can be purchased by anyone without seeing a doctor or pharmacist.
In fact it will be harder to get marijuana under Amendment 2 than these over-the-counter drugs because marijuana users will have to get approval from a licensed physician before being able to buy any from licensed stores.
The reference to FDA approval is also nonsense. Marijuana is still illegal under federal law even though it is legal to buy cannabis online canada for recreational use. So the FDA can’t approve it for medical use.
Let’s be clear about Dr. Madelyn Butler. She does not practice in a specialty where marijuana might be used as therapy. She’s an Obstetrician and Gynecologist.
According to Wikipedia:

Cannabis has been used to reduce nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy and people with AIDS, and to treat pain and muscle spasticity.

For more see Top 10 Medical Uses for Marijuana. These are not generally areas that are handled by Ob/Gyns.
Dr. Butler is heavily involved in the political scene and this ad is funded by Drug Free Florida, a group sponsored by the GOP establishment. It’s likely that the purpose of the ad is not about the issue itself, but rather a political trick to affect voter turnout – discouraging pro-marijuana voters from showing up at the polls and thus reducing the number of people likely to vote for Charlie Crist. Dr. Butler supported Rick Scott in 2010 as well.
Regarding our own prejudices, West Boca News opposes drug prohibition and would legalize marijuana not only for medical use but also for recreational users. We do not use marijuana and do not recommend recreational use to anyone. But plenty of people do use it, and marijuana is less harmful than alcohol. It’s not even close, according to the British medical journal Lancet:
As for my financial bias, I have made hundreds of thousands of dollars representing people accused of drug crimes. Most of these have been marijuana cases, from as little as one gram to a guy who was caught with 200 pounds of it. Drug arrests also make wonderful news stories for West Boca News. I will lose a lot of money if marijuana is made legal.
Vote “No” if you want to protect the income stream for lawyers like me and many others. Vote “Yes” if you want to end a failed prohibition that causes crime, takes billions from taxpayers and accomplishes nothing.

Get Your Annual Mammogram

breastcenterspaeventThe Breast Center at West Boca Medical Center is offering complimentary chair massages with mammograms on Wednesday evenings.
The Christine E. Lynn Women’s Health & Wellness Institute is introducing Make Your Next Mammo a Day at the Beach. You can have a mammogram in a Sensory Suite by GE Healthcare which surrounds a woman with an interactive mammography experience designed to stimulate three senses: sight, smell and hearing. Call 561-955-4437 to schedule an appointment.
The Center for Breast Care at Boca Raton Regional Hospital also offers Mobile mammography in the comfort of their spacious van. Experienced, certified mammography technologists guide women through the experience and two board certified radiologists interpret the films within 48 hours. Call 561-955-5000 to schedule a visit.
Low cost and free mammograms are also available in Palm Beach County. Call The South Florida Affiliate of Susan G. Komen at 561-514-3020 or the American Cancer Society at 800-227-2345 for more information.

West Boca Medical Lectures in October

sawickiThe Breast Feeding Support Group meets October 6th and 20th at noon. Lactation consultant Amme-Marie Sawicki, MS, RN, IBCLC leads the group at the Education Center located in West Boca Medical Center, 21644 State Road 7, Boca Raton.
robertnortonOuch, My Aching Back! will be presented by Robert Norton, M.D. on October 6th at noon at the Education Center. Dr. Norton is an orthopedic spine surgeon affliated with West Boca Medical Center, Boca Regional Hospital and North Broward Medical Center.
Cutting Edge Technology for Total Hip Replacement Utilizing Robotic Technology is the Dinner with the Doctor lecture for October. Dr. David Padden, an orthopedic surgeon, will be the presenter. The dinner will be at Homewood Coconut Creek at 4175 W. Sample Road in Coconut Creek. To attend, please RSVP at 877-311-3281.
solguerreromdDr. Sol Guerrero, an endocrinologist, will discuss Past, Present and Future of Diabetes on October 17th at noon at the Education Center. Dr. Guerrero has been practicing since 2005 and did her Residency and Fellowship at the Medical College of Georgia.
Dr. Marc Golden will lecture on New Advances in Minimally Invasive Knee Replacements on October 20th at noon at the Medical Building located at 9950 Central Park Blvd, Suite 240 in Boca Raton. Dr. Golden practices medicine with Golden Orthopaedic in Boca Raton.
Breast Cancer Screening: No Longer a One Size Fits All will be lead by Dr. Cheryl Moss-Mellman on October 29th at noon at the Education Center. Dr. Moss-Mellman is a doctor of internal medicine specializing in breast health.
To register for lectures, please call 866-904-9262. Light refreshments are served at all lectures. Complimentary valet is available.

Man Up! at Lynn Cancer Institute

manupThe Eugene M. & Christine E. Lynn Cancer Institute is hosting an interactive men’s health symposium on September 20th from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Registration and brunch is 10 to 10:30 a.m. The keynote speaker will be FAU’s Head Basketball Coach Michael Curry. Following the brunch, there will be lectures on wellness, nutrition and exercise. There will also be health screenings and local vendors. To register, call 561-955-3276. Lynn Cancer Institute is located at 701 NW 13th Street in Boca Raton.

Senior Health Fair in West Boca

seniorhealthfairThere will be a Senior Health Fair on September 19th at Fire Station 53 located at 19950 Lyons Road in Boca Raton. The Fair will take place from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. This event is free and open to all seniors and will include flu shots, free coffee and refreshments and health and nutrition information. It is sponsored by the Palm Beach County Fire Rescue, the Board of County Commissioners and the Health Care District of Palm Beach County.

Humana Dumping Boca Regional Hospital?

Update: Responses from Boca Regional and Humana, at bottom.
Thanks to a reader tip we’ve heard that health insurer Humana may be removing Boca Raton Regional Hospital from its network of providers, effective October 1st. Humana now tells us (see bottom) that the change was initiated by Boca Regional. That was not clearly conveyed in their letter, and the “he hit me first” argument is not terribly important.
Here’s the letter from Humana that our reader sent to us (click on image to see larger version):
We’ve seen this before with Humana. When we initially looked at the “Obamacare” plans, Humana had the cheapest options we saw and the provider networks were very limited. We mentioned this to the reader who said this was not an Obamacare or HMO plan, but rather a PPO.
Humana was also featured in an article last year for “shaving networks.”
Earlier this year we covered a similar situation involving Cigna and West Boca Medical Center. That was resolved before the coverage was dropped.
According to the letter Humana customers will still have West Boca Medical Center and Delray Medical Center in the network along with several others. The letter does not mention Broward Health facilities such as Northwest Medical Center in Margate.
Boca Regional Hospital responded quickly with the following statement from Thomas Chakurda, their VP of Marketing:

Boca Raton Regional Hospital is presently negotiating in good faith with Humana on our contract, which expires October 1st, 2014. We are hopeful that these discussions will result in a mutually acceptable agreement and one that affords us rates that are comparable to other providers in the region. In situations like this, it is a normal occurrence for both a provider and a payor to alert their respective constituencies of the possibility that a contract may not be renewed.

Humana also responded via an e-mail from Mitch Lubitz, media relations:

Boca Raton Regional Hospital has informed Humana that it is terminating the existing Medicare and commercial network agreement with Humana effective October 1st. This contract termination was initiated by Boca Regional, not Humana. We remain ready to negotiate an agreement with Boca Regional at terms that are beneficial to both parties. In the meantime we have informed our affected health plan members of the pending network change and provided then with information about alternative hospitals and providers in Palm Beach County, ahead of the Medicare annual election period which begins October 15. Hope that is helpful to you and West Boca News readers. Thank you.

We should note that our reader specifically told us she is not in a Medicare plan.

Boynton Police Alert

BBPD would like to reassure the community that their safety is paramount and that at this point there is no reason to believe it is unsafe to go to area hospitals.

Thanks to a reader for bringing this to our attention. The Boynton Beach Police created a Situational Awareness Bulletin, which appeared in at least one area hospital regarding an individual perceived as a potential threat. We called the detective to verify the bulletin is real. Stephanie Slater, their Public Information Officer, called us to follow up and to reassure the community that they do not need to be afraid to go to hospitals.
According to the bulletin, a Mr. Thomas Francis Carney III posted 11 videos on YouTube that “almost mirror those of Roger Elliot in Santa Barbara,” referring to the Isla Vista incident.
The videos, now apparently blocked on YouTube, included discussions of walking around Bethesda hospital with a gun and/or explosives; shooting people and/or “blowing it up”; hatred of women; a Holy War against feminism; and so on.
Police contact with the subject was apparently limited by his father, an attorney. The elder Carney is a successful business attorney who was also mayor of Delray Beach until losing in a 2013 election.
The bulletin focuses primarily on south Boynton and north Delray hospitals, but this alert may be relevant to West Boca residents.
We see no prior criminal history for the younger Mr. Carney, other than a few minor traffic cases. His father had a somewhat notorious case for “leaving the scene” in 2007 that was dropped by prosecutors. That may have had an impact on his 2013 election (Sun-Sentinel).
Attorney and former Mayor Thomas Carney
Attorney and former Mayor Thomas Carney

The Doctor is In

stethoscopebLecture Series at West Boca Medical Center: August
The Breast-Feeding Support Group meets twice this month on August 4th and August 25th at noon. Anne-Marie Sawicki, MS, RN, IBCLC leads this group at the Education Center, 21644 State Rd 7, Boca Raton. On August 4th, giveaways and refreshments will be provided to celebrate World Breast-Feeding Awareness Week.
jackiefrostChat with a Pharmacist on August 15th at noon. Jackie Frost, PharmD, BCPS will lead a discussion at the Education Center.
reubenhochEnjoy Dinner with the Doctor on August 20th at 5 p.m. at Whitehall, 7300 Del Prado Circle South, Boca Raton. Dr. Reuben Hoch, a pain management specialist, will speak on Does it Have to Hurt? Current Approaches to the Treatment of Pain. Please RSVP at 877-311-3281.
SleepCenterLogosREV_WYour Sleep May be Killing You, August 5th at noon. Chris Apergis, Director of Cardiopulmonary & Sleep Diagnostic Center and Allan Gross, Dental Sleep Physician will lead this presentation at the Education Center.

Sandalfoot Publix Blood Drive

OneBlood will be holding a blood drive at the Sandalfoot Publix on Sunday, July 6th, from 2-7 pm. Based on past experience, it will probably be in a bloodmobile in the parking lot.
Donors will receive TWO FREE MOVIE TICKETS, a wellness checkup including blood pressure, temperature, iron count and cholesterol screening.

Donated blood can give patients in need more time with loved ones. Blood can be used to treat cancer patients, trauma victims, organ transplant recipients, premature babies, sickle cell disease patients and more. In fact, about every two seconds a patient in the US needs a blood transfusion. 38% of the U.S. population is eligible to donate, however only 5% do on a yearly basis.
I personally have donated blood through OneBlood several times, including at the blood drives like this one. The staff are friendly and professional. I’ve always felt they treat me well.

Salute to America!

natlparkinsonfoundationJoin the local chapter of the National Parkinson Foundation for Salute to America! on July 2nd at 11 a.m. Salute to America!, a sing-a-long, will be presented by the voice enhancement group at the Community Center located at 21301 Powerline Road, Boca Raton.
Animated_4th_of_July_Parade_Marching_BandThe local chapter provides support, education and services to Parkinson patients. They offer voice enhancement, yoga and tai chi to patients and their care partners at the Center. In addition, they provide a chair-based and pool-based exercise program twice a week at the Boca YMCA called Surf n Turf. Membership is $25 a year and services are free to all members and caregivers.
The office and Community Center is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Volunteers are always needed to help with administration and event activities. For more information, call 561-482-3106.