Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Romney is not a shoo in at this point but is building substantial delegate support. However if he does not go to the convention with a clear majority of bound delegates the possibility is that there will be nominated someone not in the race at this time. Even Christie is a strong draft candidate.
My family will be leaving this am after four nights/three days (sounds like a vacation adv) delightful visit. I will have time to blog again.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
We will watch with interest to see if the extreme right will dominate the party in these two states. he results may well determine if we will once again have a brokered convention instead of the stage show we have witness the last few presidential elections.
There has been some reader responses to the recent blogs in Plaintalker II and this one regarding the vague Solaris Plans regarding the MRMC property. all worth reading.
I am reprinting a response I wrote to a question that I received about what plan there could be to reopen a hospital
Maria, If this was a community of truly committed citizens , I would suggest that a Health Care Authority or Commission would be organized to investigate the establishment of a non-profit municipal supported hospital based in the newer portions of the Muhlenberg plant.
Funds would have to be raised by solicitation of area industry, merchants and and a annual levy (tax/) on all residents.Renters would have the annual fee monthly prorated in their rent.The landlord would be responsible for transmitting to the authority.
That would be the only way possible to even attract a hospital management entity which would be needed.
It could be possible in an ideal world, and would take an honest effort, but this is of course an impossibility in this community of self-interested groups and political parasites.
I have been reminded that the Mayor has appointed representatives to a state mandate Plainfield Health Consortium. This is not the type body to undergo any such enterprise. In fact by its nature it does not represent the city. The so called Community Physician member is a Scotch Plains based practitioner who operates a walk in multiple health center and is contracted by the city to supply needed medical services. He certainly can not be people oriented.
We need an independent group formed with Council and I hope the Mayor's blessing and support to initiate what may be a long term project. If by chance I could provide some worthwhile opinion I would be wiling to serve on a consultative basis.
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Our best wishes to Dan for a rapid recovery and a resumption of his community service blogs. We never realize the value of an asset until it is missing.
If you were to ask me if I believe that there will be in the near future a functioning health care center including an inpatient facility on the MRMC site my answer would be an emphatic NO.
Why? Politics for one thing. JFK was able to dump Muhlenberg and absorb its paying clientele because MRMC's Governors had given them the property control years ago. They had a legal lever to use with the Corzine and Democratic administration in Trenton to close the hospital. The public never had a chance.
Rahway's hospital which was at one time in worse shape and an inferior facility survived by working out an agreement with Robert Wood Johnson. If one reviews the enabling factors used as an excuse to close Muhlenberg and compare with Rahways physical location vis-a-vis other area hospitals it is obvious that every stated fact was more applicable to Rahway than Plainfield yet it was Plainfield that got the shaft.
Hospital executives talked about "their competition"; Muhlenberg and JFK were direct competitors and never should have been united in an agreement especially one that made JFK the senior institution. And it should have been obvious that JFK/Solaris wold never permit even a limited inpatient facility to fill the a MRMC site.
That is water long under the dam. There are many factors why we can not expect any reestablishment of a inpatient facility in the MRMC site:
The first is that our local powers have never aggressively pursued any viable options; certainly none of the public who had any expertize were ever involved. No attempt was made to look into non-profit possibilities and/or a commercial operation.
The second is that even if they had with the passage of time there would have been no core here to build on. The quality physician resources had switch alliance to other institutions, therefore a complete new medical staff would have to be assembled.
Plainfield's reputation as a gang-ridden dangerous community to which inhabitants from surrounding communities tend to avoid would -present a negative impression to a commercial group who would fear that the beds would not be occupied by paying (insurance covered) patients.
Without local specialists available a paid staff would be needed. High quality specialist in all parameters expect appropriate to their specialty compensation. This is a materialistic world This coupled with the above would in effect eliminate a non-profit even if such a group could raise the funding.
Economics is the main reason that we will not be able to attract the only possible replacement hospital
For those that say I am being a bigot; just compare our downtown business district which was once the greatest in Central Jersey, with that of Westfield.
Until we get a hold on the overall conditions in Plainfield and develop a society that as a whole will make an effort to upgrade living conditions here which include the educational system; this city is doomed to its inadequate health care facilities.
The sad fact is that from the many vicious anonymous comments we receive; we bloggers as a group have the impression that there is a substantial body of residents that are happy with the status quo. Such individuals not only would resist any change but castigate and even threaten those who would suggest such ideas much less work to accomplish a better city.
Irregardless, I can not conceive how the Planning Board or the Zoning Board in good conscience can approve of the requested zoning changes. To approve would forever kill any possibility of someone reviving a hospital. It would also solidify Solaris' theft of Plainfield's physical and fiscal assets repesented by the property and the trust funds.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Although I was not present at Thursday’s CAG meeting I the City Hall Library it seems evident that the final nail is being driven in the JFK(Solaris) plan to consummate the pilfering of Plainfield’s health assets represented by the MRMC and he Muhlenberg Foundation’s monetary assets.
Disregarding the prospects of the so called residential/business development subdivision I on the property which had been foreseen from the onset; the promises made by JFK/Solaris is once again as good as their word to carry out all the conditions in the original Certificate to close the hospital.
Read carefully; to establish a new“ Satellite Emergency Room capable of handling all basic emergencies, but its most appropriate use is the treatment of non-life threatening conditions;
In essence this is no more than another “Medimerge” walk-in” open hours not stated facility with the ability to treat minor medical problems only.
JFK-(what happened to the Solaris entity?) uses as a consultant the Urban Health Institute of NJ (UHI) of Roseland NJ. One hires a consultant to back up a controversial position and UHI comes through with flying color; (sic) “The environment in the former MRMC service area cannot support development of a new hospital and it is not credible that either not-for-profit or for-profit parties would see an acceptable balance or return in a reasonable time. We conclude there is no viable future for a new hospital in Plainfield.” and “Pascack and MRMC cases are not comparable and that it is unlikely that a legitimate for-profit hospital company would invest in the service area, although the 17-acre HRMC site might be of interest as a real estate development option
The entire report is contained in JFK’s “Moving Muhlenberg---“ statement click HERE with a real estate developer consultant OTTEAU Valuation Group, Inc who visualizes the hospital property containing rental apartment units and the parking lot on the corner of Park and Randolph as a strip mall.
This was just a presentation to smooth the way for a presentation in the near future to the Planning Board for rezoning. Perhaps this would explain Assemblyman Green’s interest and presence at the meeting
We will never know if any honest attempt was made to interest either a for profit group or a possible non-profit organization to initiate even limited “hospital services” in the structure before it was left as a shell to deteriorate.
I seriously doubt that any political pressure was ever be forced upon JFK to even maintain a trauma capable ER at the site, much less to establish an in patient facility.
More on this subject tomorrow.
Addendum: Once again I must apologize for the font change which I don't seem able to correct or change.
Another thought: Consultants in the business world are most often used not to give an honest independent opinion but to reinforce what has been already decided.
Friday, February 24, 2012
We will watch with interest Super Tuesday's delegate selections. There is still a possibility that the GOP will have a "Brokered Convention" and their Nominee will be none of the above four. At this point though I am still looking for a Romney;Christie ticket to oppose and run far behind Obama.
Despite all the depressing events locally, nationally and in the world; there are some bright spots that can give pleasure.
One in this photo taken at sunrise by my son from his hotel room overlooking the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. As with all blog photos, clicking on it will enlarge the picture.
Some may not consider this a "Bright Spot" but having looked up the actuarial tables as of today my life expectancy is 10.2 years. Thus if I make 2022 I will then have a life expectancy of 5.5 years or midway through 2027. At that point the odds are for another 3.9 years or 2031. at which point I am good for 2.9 years and after that about a biannual increase.
Don't worry, somewhere along this long trail I shall most likely loose interest in writing a blog. The computers of that decade will be too small for my klutzy fingers.
Since the insurance companies for health and/or life are like casinos in business to make money, they want the odds to be on their side. The premiums are largely based on these tables and no life insurance companuy has gone broke from policy losses.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
One problem that will be troubling if and when the PMUA is abolished or defaults on its obligations is the status of the PMUA's Bond issues.
I believe that the Ordinance and or Inter-local agreement creating the PMUA has the City as guarantor of any PMUA Bond issue. That in itself is of wonder; how could the Council of that time given the PMUA a blank check?
Obviously the City will have to assume the debt. However, if the PMUA ceases to exist will the bonds be due immediately or remain open until due date or being called? How will the new debt be factored into the city's budget if there is a cap on increase tax impact? Two more serious questions that need answers before an radical action is taken'
Also can a change for a stricter Council oversight of the PMUA , its Commissioners, and its finances be enacted?
Councilor Williams response follows: Hi, Doc,
I would like to respond to Mr. Kruse regarding the joint meeting that took place last month between the council and the PMUA commissioners. I actually did bring up the question of the settlement, which Mr. Sanders questioned, since he said he did not see the topic on the agenda--I maintained that anything having to do with ratepayers came in under the agenda, i.e., the proposed settlement. Mr. Toliver and Mr. Sanders inadequately answered my questions--it was clear to me that they had barely a clue about what they were saying--their respective comments were contradictory and quite evasive. I was not on the council when Mr. Toliver was appointed, and I voted against Mr. Sanders and Mr. Dunn--neither candidate impressed me as wanting to reform the PMUA. Now, in apparently going outside the arbitration process (certainly unethically and possibly illegally), my first impressions have been confirmed. I will be blogging about this topic before the end of the week, my schedule permitting. In the meantime, I encourage residents (in addition to signing the petition) to call the office of the governor, and to write a letter as well--that is what I think needs to be done, at this point. As much as I can do from my seat as a councilor (including asking the governor's office to review and intervene with my own correspondence), I am committed to doing.
The Councilor is 100% correct in that she brought up the subject of the settlement which most of us agree was egregious. I hope she will keep us informed through her own blog as to the status of her request to the Governor's office.
From reading the minutes of the PMUA executive session, one can come to a conclusion that Commissioner Dunn's question about D &O Insurance protection indicated that he was considering an action that could be if not illegal the source of a suit.
The question is entitlement since the two beneficiaries were not terminated by the Commissioners so "cause" can not be a question. Instead they voluntarily submitted their resignation which would negate any termination for cause agreement. If the Commissioners retroactively agreed to terminate them, or if the Commissioners who voted out of the goodness of their heart to allocate the funds disregarding circumstances; then there is grounds for suit.
If under either circumstances there is a question of even if they are eligible for a D&O defense which may be questionable, who will pay he costs. Can any cost to the PMUA and therefore the City be recouped from the individuals if it is found that they violated their fiduciary responsibility?
Any opinion from legal authorities or Philadelphia lawyers will be welcomed.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
With few exceptions I have posted at least one "blog" daily. But fresh subjects have become a rarity and it is most frustrating beating a tired old horse. That is the main reason there is often a delay in posting.
Aside to "Nasty"; Most of my sports viewing is limited to college basketball and football when my alma mater (BA40,MD43) is involved as well as some of March Madness. I also watch the Mets at times since I saw the original team play at the Polo Grounds. I was also a boyhood Brooklyn Dodger fan which of course even then made me anti-Yankees.
Over the past two decades there have been two Plainfield scholar-athletes who have attended my University with honor. T hat there have not been more represents a failure of our School System and its BOE. You all should be joining Maria in her crusade to improve our youth.
Having gotten this off my chest, I shall try to be constructive tomorrow, an important day.
As a filler for a future late posting today enjoy this JAMA cover; "Woman with Three Girls" by Jozsef Rippi-Ronai . The explanation of the painting is below. Both can be enlarged by clicking on them
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Politics ought to be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage. Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890 - 1969), Address recorded for the Republican Lincoln Day dinners, January 28, 1964
In 1995 during Mayor Fury’s administration the PMUA was created because there was indiscriminate dumping of garbage in the city supposedly by outsiders, or residents who did not wish to pay a private contractor.
The promoters for the new Authority were the Director of Public Works, Watson and his Assistant Director Ervin. They and Perry who was also a city employee became the executive staff of the new agency at of course an increased compensation.
The story of their management abuse need not be retold,
Fury had to have the support of the Chair of the local Democrat party but lost it before the next election and thus was a one term Mayor. It is unlikely that he initiated the formation of the OMUA without the tacit approval of the Party Chair.
All the Commissioners appointments were made by the mayor but since almost all had held political; office in the city or had been active in the local party one must entertain the thought that despite denials of intervention in municipal affairs the Chairman had a strong input into the appointees.
The hype to organize the PMUA was that it would be in the best interests of the people. The actuality as history has demonstrated is that it was another cash cow to reward political favors.
This was the same time period when the sale of the Plainfield Area Sewer system for 8.5 million was a gift and the monies received disappeared in “operational” not capital funds.
Harry Truman noted that the “buck” had to stop at the head of the organization; in his case the Federal Government. In the PMUA travesty the perpetual local party boss must be held responsible.
Addendum: When one reads the PMUA Executive Committee minutes it is apparent that both Watson and Ervin said that they wished to leave because of community harassment. The million dollar parachute if they were terminated by the Commissioners without cause. If so they are entitled to no more than what they received.
If any Commissioners voted to pay the additional funds they are guilty of misconduct in office and I doubt if they would be eligible for paid by PMUA insurers defense from suit. Perhaps the sum can ve recovered from those that voted for it.
Monday, February 20, 2012
To day is President's Day an acknowledgement that all great people are born in February. As a Pisces I should know.
In my distant past both Lincoln's and Washington's birthdays were at least school holidays and supposedly national holidays but not federal. Since the South ignored Lincoln's and the politicians wanted a three day weekend the two birthdays were combined to be celebrated on a Monday. Now Banks and Postal workers and most government offices to the lowest political level cam take a day off with pay.
Be it as it may, according to the local? paper Lincoln's birthday was marked in Plainfield with several drug dealer busts.
Once again today Bernice's blog exposes the obvious. Oz's politics at all levels including BOE is a soap opera where the term ethics has been dropped from the vocabulary.
Mahatma Gandhi observed: "There are seven sins in the world: Wealth without work, Pleasure without conscience, Knowledge without character, Commerce without There are seven sins in the world: Wealth without work, Pleasure without conscience, Knowledge without character, Commerce without morality, Science without humanity, Worship without sacrifice and politics without principle".
Addendum 10:53 am; Maria's blog today has more info about the PMUA.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Why do you think it will never happen (PMUA)?
Dear Anonymous, It is difficult to make a generalized response to query if the question is submitted to a posting that refers to an entirely different subject. Also few. will read a question and reply to an old blog.
I am not sure what the it that you refer to means. Ifit is a complete reorganization of the PMUA the answer is simply one word "POLITICS". I may devote a blog this 3 day weekend to the PMUA or just spend the time for myself.
Today ,this was in my email: Rajesh Attri has left a new comment on your post "HEALTH CARE #1": "Nice post!!"
That is very pleasing but it was in June 2009 that I wrote a series of 5 postings about the changes in Health Care. Going back the easy way by clicking the link I felt the need from a consumers point of view flavored by 50+ years of intimate association with patient care to update a review of today's model.
Much of the changes are the results of the public developing a concept that health care is a commodity which can be obtained as if it were an automobile or dinner in a restaurant. That concept has been encouraged by the politicians and the social reformers.
An essential element is now almost completely absent. That is the personal relationship; the human touch and what was known as bedside manner.
This change is the direct result of the insurance carriers and the government treating it as merchandise. Every aspect has a set value in dollars and time. New Federal Laws insist that every physician's office and facility use electronic records. This is being enforced by penalizing those that do not comply with fines and reduced reimbursement.
To complicate matters; prescriptions must no longer be written but transmitted to the pharmacy electronically. The MD is punished if he/she fails to do so.
Additionally, every office must have a Photo ID of each patient, and included is a drivers license data. All records of residence, insurance etc must be updated per visit. I If any of this is missing the practice is subject to financial penalties, Big Brother is watching; shades of Orwell. I suppose after 90 years I have become a terrorist or a defrauder.
The electronic records idea for sharing information is fine in theory. However, if each different practitioner adds to it much will be of no value an ignored by the next doctor or "Health Care Provider" to see the person.
The Records themselves contain a great deal; of "cook book" information. Such data is worth only the integrity of the entering provider. Some will just check the box.
A further trouble with EDR (electronic data records) is in the fact that there are several vendors of hardware and software programs. Since the software is proprietary; some systems may not speak to others.
Additionally all records will be cloud stored. No matter what the "experts" tell us no server is safe from hackers or potential failure with loss of all data. Even a back up system is not 100% infallible. And don't forget that those who have Medicare in supplying their insurance coverage are including their Social Security number.
The electronic record systems are expensive and software licenses must be renewed annually. The cost is so great that an individual physician practice will have difficulty affording unless it is one of the exotic specialties.
These regulations and rules have caused a major change in both outpatient care and inpatient hospital care. As noted group practice is now the norm. The emphasis is businesslike and on productivity. Much of the patient's visit is conducted by assistants; nurse practitioners, physicians assistant, technicians, social workers. The doctor is now a manager who sees the patient at the end of the visit when all data has been complied. He may or may nor amplify obtaining information but will spend his few minutes with the parent based on what others have collected. The human touch is gone.
I grant that not all practice areas are as bad as above; but with fees dictated and with increased costs of running an office and practice more will fall into the above mode.
In emergency occurring out of office hours the custom now is to refer one to the Emergency Room. Your physician may then be contacted but your initial care will be in the ER doc's hands. When or if your physician or his substitute is notified depends on the ER.
The ER visit itself can be an adventure. If there is a question that may need observation the patient may not be admitted into the hospital itself but held in what is known as a n observation unit which is considered to be outpatient and merits a greater reimbursement from insurance or government carriers.
Increasingly, doctors who have outside practices no longer spend the time seeing patients in the hospital but relegate their care to a hospital employed physician. In some places or services this is required.
Briefly. health care has become a business and must be treated as one.
Saturday, February 18, 2012
I always voted at my party's call, and I never thought of thinking for myself at all.
Unfortunately the seems to be a matter of fact in OZ. This reflects in the annual June Primary and November General elections. It was also applicable to the not to be lamented May School Board Elections
Regarding those BOE elections, today's Courier reported that 78% of the State's School Districts have chosen to hod that election in November. The statements from our BOE members at the Council meeting and John Campbell were false and self serving.
Although it is true that Party Politics may impact on the Board elections, it will be harder for a small cohesive power group to control the Board in the future.
Dan Damon is hospitalized so his Plainfield Today Blog and Clips comments will be missed for a while. We wish him a speedy recovery. Oh those Golden Age years.
This abbreviated blog resulted from the fact that I did not compose my posting as customary last evening. Once written I can schedule it to be posted at any time. usually just before 7AM. If I have not done so it will be later in the day usually before noon. To use the words of very Vendor , Merchant, or Provider; "I am sorry for any inconvenience to you" . That makes it right.
PS I was working on a blog on health care and also PMUA. They will be posted soon, but don't hold your breath.
Politics: the art of appearing candid and completely open while concealing as much as possible. FRANK HERBERT, Chapterhouse: Dune
Friday, February 17, 2012
As part of Black History Month the movie Red Tails tells the remarkable story of the Tuskegee Airmen. See Renata's blog today. Very few presently alive, although they complain of discrimination, have the slightest concept of racial circumstances that still existed in this country long after the great depression.
The “Airmen” were not the only although the most glamorous segregated African-American combat unit ‘
Long forgotten by history is one of the greatest combat units I thankfully saw in action when attached to my battalion in the Bulge. That was a crazy bunch of tankers who were a life saving blessing to a combat unit in the army that had no armor or heavy artillery of its own. That was the 761 Independent Tank Battalion. I have lifted its story from Wikipedia.
The 761st Tank Battalion was an independent tank battalion of the United States Army during World War II. The 761st was made up primarily of African-American soldiers, who by federal law were not permitted to serve alongside white troops; the Army did not officially desegregate until after World War II. They were known as the “Black Panthers” after their unit's distinctive insignia; their motto was “Come out fighting”.
Most of the black tankers had to train in bases located in deep Southern states such as Kentucky, Louisiana, and Texas. In the days before the civil rights advances made in the 1960s, black people were still treated harshly in the south and often considered an inferior race. The men of the 761st trained for almost two years, conscious of the fact that white units were being sent overseas after as little as two or three months.
There were many acts of racism against all the black battalions, including deaths of black soldiers from nearby Camp Polk and Camp Livingston who would visit Alexandria, Louisiana on weekend leave. A notable event was in March 1943, when several members of the unit were severely beaten, and another one found dead on the train tracks in Alexandria. After word spread, several members of the 761st commandeered six tanks and a half-track in an attempt to end the intimidation by the town's citizens. Lieutenant Colonel Bates however persuaded them to cease their retaliation, and he would attempt to straighten the situation out.
The most famous member of the 761st was First Lieutenant Jack Robinson. During the 761st's training, a white bus driver told Robinson to move to the back of the bus, and Robinson refused. Although his battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Paul L. Bates, refused to consider the court-martial charges put forward by the arresting Military Policemen, the base commander transferred Robinson to the 758th Tank Battalion, whose commander was willing to sign the insubordination court-martial consent. Robinson would eventually be acquitted of all charges, though he never saw combat. He became famous a few years later when he was instrumental in the desegregation of professional baseball.
General Ben Lear, Commander of the U.S. Second Army rated the unit "superior" after a special review and deemed the unit "combat ready". After a brief deployment to England, the 761st landed in France via Omaha Beach on 10 October 1944. The unit arrived (with six white officers, thirty black officers, and 676 black enlisted men) and was assigned to General George Patton's US Third Army at his request, attached to the 26th Infantry Division.
During the Battle of the Bulge, German soldiers who had raided American warehouses were reported to have disguised themselves as Americans guarding the checkpoints in order to ambush American soldiers. Patton solved this problem by ordering black soldiers, including the 761st, to guard the checkpoints, and gave the order to shoot any white soldiers at the checkpoints who acted suspiciously.
The battalion first saw combat on 7 November 1944, fighting through towns such as Moyenvic, Vic-sur-Seille and Morville, often at the leading edge of the advance. The unit endured 183 days of continuous operational employment.
In November 1944 the unit had suffered 156 casualties; 24 men killed, 88 wounded, and 44 non-battle. The unit also lost 14 tanks and another 20 damaged in combat. In December, the battalion was rushed to the aid of the 101st Airborne Division at Bastogne.
After the Battle of the Bulge, the unit opened the way for the U.S. 4th Armored Division into Germany during an action that breached the Siegfried Line. In the final days of the war in Europe, the 761st was one of the first American units to reach the Steyr in Austria, at the Enns River, where they met with Ukrainians of the Soviet Army.
The 761st was deactivated 1 June 1946 in Germany.