In landmark vote Costa Rica Social Security System guarantees samesex couples same

first_imgRelated posts:Same-sex couples in Costa Rica now have equal access to public health insurance, care HIV and AIDS patients in Costa Rica struggle to find work amid discrimination Costa Rica grants first gay common-law marriage in Central America Hundreds of gay couples sign up for expanded health insurance coverage in Costa Rica The Costa Rican Social Security System’s board of directors on Thursday evening unanimously approved reforms that would grant same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples in public health care matters, including visitation rights, insurance coverage and the ability to make medical decisions, among other benefits.The Caja board had discussed the reforms ­– promoted by Costa Rica’s LGBT community – in recent weeks. Caja officials now will have three months to implement the measures.Giovanny Delgado, a Caja employee and member of the Diversity Movement, said that for the first time in Costa Rica, same-sex couples officially are recognized with the same rights as heterosexual couples.“It is an enormously important step. It is historical in Costa Rica,” Delgado said.Discrimination and access to benefitsThe reform proposals were initiated by Caja board member José Luis Loría, and will change Article 10 of the Caja’s health regulations, which defines a patient’s partner as a person – man or woman – who lives in a free, stable union “under the same roof with another person of the opposite sex.”The proposal would change that language to: “under the same roof with another person of the opposite sex or the same sex.” Geovanny Delgado, a caja employee and member of the Diversity Movement, speaks at a vigil in front of the Costa Rican Supreme Court last week. Lindsay Fendt/The Tico TimesThe new measures will require the Caja to treat same-sex couples the same as other Costa Rican worker in terms of benefits and rights.“[Same-sex couples] are included in the salary pool of the economically active population, and as such, they pay into the [Caja] the same as everyone else,” Loría said. “So from the point of view of payments and premiums, they are paying for these pensions and for health insurance. There is no excuse to discriminate against them.”Marco Castillo, president of Costa Rica’s Diversity Movement, said the LGBT community faces difficulties because same-sex partners had not previously been given the same legal standing by the Caja as other family members.“We have seen cases where people’s own family members have beat them up and kicked them out of their homes. And after that, the [Caja] issues hospital visitation access to the same family members and not to the patients’ partners,” Castillo said. “We’ve seen cases where patients have died in the hospital 15 days after becoming ill and they were unable to be accompanied by their partners.”Castillo also said that gay and lesbian partners should be able to decide which medical treatments doctors provide their partners, and they should be allowed to make decisions in terminal illness cases.New regulationsLast Friday, members of Costa Rica’s LGBT community held a vigil in front of the Supreme Court in downtown San José. At the event, Luis Zamora Salas said the Caja reforms would provide him and others the right to make decisions about their lives.“The right to insurance empowers a person and allows that person to provide insurance to his or her partner. That strengthens a relationship, and gives more security to gay couples,” he said. Gay rights supporters spread candles and flowers on the sidewalk in front of the Costa Rican Supreme Court during a vigil Lindsay Fendt/The Tico TimesHowever, Zamora believes medical insurance should be regulated so that only long-term couples have access to the benefits.“There should be a mechanism that regulates these situations so that people don’t abuse the system, which would jeopardize the gains made by the gay community,” he said.Delgado said he has witnessed several human rights violations in public hospitals in Costa Rica.“Day after day people die alone, without protection of their rights, without the right to be visited by their partners in difficult moments,” he said.Delgado said he has seen patients’ family members deny these rights to partners and prohibit them from entering hospitals.Some family members “take advantage of the situation and prevent partners from entering the hospital to put their loved ones’ affairs in order, with the intention of taking over homes, cars and other assets. We’ve seen all types of abuse, and we’ve denounced it,” Delgado said.Little informationAn estimated 108,000 people are among Costa Rica’s LGBT community, according to a Caja study commissioned by lawmakers studying a same-sex rights bill. Of those, 54,000 live with their partners and 27,000 would acquire rights under a same-sex cohabitation bill being studied in the Legislative Assembly.But how are these numbers calculated? According to a report sent to the Assembly in July 2013, Costa Rica’s LGBT community was measured based on a Web page with 32 studies conducted in 12 countries, as well as Costa Rica’s 2011 census, and statistics from the Center for Research and Promotion of Human Rights in Central America, or CIPAC.However, the Caja has no information regarding the number of insured people who live with a partner of the same sex.According to the 2011 census, 1,114 gay and lesbian couples live together in a free union or through marriage in another country. 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Calistoga California – Reported by Elite Traveler

first_imgCalistoga, California – Reported by Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazineIn its ongoing commitment to wellness, Auberge Resorts’ award-winning Calistoga Ranch Resort and Residences is launching “Body Bee Well” in partnership with Heather M. Peña M.D., a Harvard-trained physician with more than 25 years of experience in the field. “Body Bee Well” is a two-day experience designed to help guests optimize longevity and quality of life by combining the best of medical, nutritional and exercise sciences in a peaceful and inspiring setting. After completing the program, guests are empowered to lead healthier lives by implementing a customized “Body Bee Well” lifestyle plan.“Calistoga Ranch is designed to stimulate and soothe, relax and rejuvenate, and transport and transform,” said Coni Thornburg, General Manager of Calistoga Ranch. “There is no other place in Wine Country that is quite like Calistoga Ranch, rich with inspirational and invigorating experiences that tap into the region’s rituals and tastes. The ‘Body Bee Well’ initiative is a natural extension of the philosophy behind the Auberge experience.”Auberge’s philosophy of wellness is one of multi-sensory experiences that enable guests to nurture body, mind and spirit. Wellness at Calistoga Ranch includes an open-air fitness center, hiking trails, and thermal spring-fed pools at the famed Bathhouse Spa. Daily activities such as Ai Chi, guided woodland hikes, explorations into Haiku, journaling and photography round out the extensive activities program. In addition, the exclusive Lakehouse restaurant showcases Napa Valley’s organic purveyors, rustic flavors and texture, and healthful benefits.The newest extension, “Body Bee Well” integrates the best of modern science and technology; Dr. Peña’s expertise in powerful, personalized, proactive, prevention tools; and the natural, healing environment of the Upper Napa Valley. A consultation series, “Body Bee Well” begins with a focus on Cardiovascular Health.The three-night/two-day experience includes a questionnaire to be completed and returned by mail one week before arrival. Check-in for the program is 4 p.m. the day prior with lab tests to begin early the next morning:Day One • Morning Fast for Lab Test Blood Draw at Calistoga Ranch; Cardiovascular Risk Assessment Labs including lipids, VAP test, fasting sugar, fasting insulin, hs-CRP, homocysteine, Lp(a), TSH and Vitamin D • An hour and 15-minute assessment at Dr. Peña’s office in St. Helena to include Treadmill Stress Test to assess heart health, blood pressure, fitness level and heart rhythm; a Personalized Training Heart Rate and Exercise Recommendations will be made based on the results of the treadmill test; a “biospace” Body Composition assessment will show an individual’s weight, percent body fat, percent muscle, percent water and body mass index; respiratory function will assess Lung Health and Oxygenation in the bloodDay Two • Morning Guided Hike or Yoga • Presentation and Q&A with Dr. Peña to review the lab and test results and what they mean, “The Heart Disease and Wrinkle Connection” • Private Consultation with Dr. Peña to create an individual “Live Well” blueprint utilizing “Live Well Reward Scale” to establish goals and track progress • Take-Home Summary to be provided to each participant • Lunch and Learn with Calistoga Ranch’s Executive Chef Christian Ojeda and Dr. PeñaAfterward, spend the afternoon at The Bathhouse Spa to relax, rejuvenate and restore by a soak and steam followed by a choice of a Couples Honey Foot Treatment, a Writing/Journaling for Health & Wellness session to find your voice and transcend into your soul journey, or a Biodynamic Cranial Touch session to deeply relax your central nervous system.Price per couple is $3,795 in addition to the cost of lodging, and the experience can be booked Sunday through Thursday. As a result of participating in the “Body Bee Well” experience, guests will leave with the tools needed to live better, longer lives – a take-home summary to include test results, exercise prescription, nutrition guidelines, a “Live Well” blueprint and the Reward Scale and Goals.“The good life starts with good health, and it’s not only a matter of avoiding illness but also of optimizing your quality of life for the long term,” said Dr. Heather Peña M.D., who has a private practice in neighboring St. Helena. “’Body Bee Well’ is a transformative experience inspired by Blue Zones – pockets around the world where people live measurably better and longer. By bringing these lifestyle characteristics to Calistoga Ranch through the ‘Body Bee Well’ program I hope to promote the creation of optimal, vibrant good health among guests.”www.aubergeresorts.comlast_img read more