Monday, June 30, 2014

BLOG TIME AGAIN



It is only a week into summer but the August doldrums have made an early appearance.

Perhaps it was the weather perfect weekend with another one just ahead. Or, it could be that there is no Council meeting until next Monday. Anyhow, the incentives to write are just not there.

I am not a great “Futball” fan. Soccer is just a bunch of disorganized people running and chasing a ball that more than half the time someone kicks it to a member of the other team.

Like pro basketball it seems that the best time to watch the game is the last 5 scheduled minutes. At least that was the case Sunday.

Borowitz in his report wrote “The E.U. spokesman, Alf-Jergen Holmboe, said the replacement of American football with soccer was the third in a three-step plan to transform the U.S. into a European country.
“The first two steps were electing a socialist President and instituting national health care,” he said. “Once soccer replaces football, our work will be done.”
In our part of the country with a large 1st/2nd Generation Europeans and an equally large Hispanic population soccer has been their national sport and the interest can become pathological.

Once more health care is making the news. The ACA rules have been changed again so that those who obtained their coverage through the state “Exchanges” will be abler to automatically renew their policies. In most areas there will be a high single digit to a mid-level double digit increase in premiums; in some cases there will be less expensive same level insurance available from a different carrier. It will be possible to switch carriers where there is a choice; but the “paper work” will have to be done again.

Both the Times and the WSJ this weekend carried stories of the treatment problems in the military hospitals which are similar to the VA’s. It seems that it in government run facilities the supervision and therefore correction of quality care deficiencies has been lackadaisical. Incidents are given of tragic results including deaths or permanent disability as the result of care errors.

“A new study from the National Institute for Health Care Reform (NIHCR) suggests that the easy buck helps explain the current wave of practice acquisitions by hospitals. Researchers found that hospital outpatient departments may charge 2 or 3 times more for common diagnostic imaging, colonoscopies, and lab tests than if those services were rendered in community settings such as a physician's office or a free-standing imaging or ambulatory surgery center.

Colonoscopies, for example, cost on average $1383 on an outpatient basis versus $625 charged by community-based providers. In Indianapolis, Indiana, knee MRIs that cost on average $563 in community settings ballooned to $1540 in outpatient departments, reported study authors James Reschovsky, PhD, a senior fellow at Mathematica Policy Research, and Chapin White, PhD, a researcher at RAND.”

 There have also been several articles about excessive reimbursements for PT as well as for a rare noninvasive office cardiology procedure mostly by “providers” in groups with multiple offices some of which are "owned“by non-medical individuals. These are being as they should be for fraud.

It seems that there is nothing new in the world; if you can game the system do so.

Friday, June 27, 2014

NOSTALGIA

Bernice’s return to blogging is welcomed.
 Her June 18th one announcing a temporary suspension did put me into a reflective mode.
This will be the #3216 posting since I first began writing this blog in 2008.
Eight years after a second heath career retirement; in my late 80s I decided that I might try doing something that I always wished I could have done; become a columnist. After all I had never been reticent to express my opinions and this new media seemed to be a perfect vehicle.
On April 12, 2008; at 9:56am I posted my first statement one of purpose:
This Blog will periodically and with no set time interval reflect a senile octogenarian's views on politics, life, Plainfield, NJ, perhaps religion, or any inane subject from A to Z. Since I am having trouble finding cognizant peers, these will be comments that I would like to share. Perhaps, someone may find time to reply pro or con, or even act upon.
Later that day was this follow up:
Hospitals and Politics.
This is the initial get it off my chest comment. `

Today's Courier News confirms that JFK plans to start closing some Muhlenberg Hospital's services as soon as Father's Day. No certificate for closure has been issued as of this date. Nor have the mandated public hearings been held. JFK's action confirms this observers opinion that this is a political "fait accompli" and the entire process is a farce.
`
The Commissioner of Health and the state Democratic Party pay only lip service to the questions of health care for the under-privileged. Institutions that render such services when public funding is less than 50% of costs.

New Jersey to my knowledge (there are) no public funded hospitals to render essential local health care. A plan for State or local Communities to assume the operational responsibilities for inner city hospitals such as Muhlenberg must be formulated as an alternate before closing can be permitted. The downside of course is that not only will this mean a raise in taxes (unacceptable) unless funds are diverted from other non-essential pet projects, but will be an opportunity for a politician's gold mine.

Perhaps if local and county political leaders of both parties were truly interested in public welfare the present impending catastrophe would not be possible. Past actions or the lack of any discernible positive efforts by our representatives in State government would reinforce that impression. Would it not be nice if the electorate would remember this in coming elections?

And 3 days later:
PLAINFIELD NOSTALGIA
In the twenties Plainfield possessed three movie theaters, and one other theater that was home to a stock company. Some of its actors became prominent in Hollywood.

In the later part of the decade, the Plainfield Theater was remodeled into a baroque edifice, imitating an Egyptian temple complete with swastikas decorating pseudo columns inside the auditorium and renamed the Paramount Theater. The entrance was change from Park Ave to Second Street. Many years later, it was featured in an American Heritage article (I think Oct. 1961) as a prime example of that type architecture.

Temple Sholom in the 50s was the largest Reformed congregation in New Jersey west of Newark and north of Trenton. Because it was undergoing construction of a new large sanctuary and school, it rented this theater for the High Holy days Services. Needless to say, the swastikas and gargoyles were covered. The congregation was large enough to fill the theater.

The Strand and Oxford theaters plus the Paramount were part of the Read chain. The other independently owned movie theater, the Liberty, was the first to have “refrigeration”, an air conditioning system, and the first to show sound movies. The Jazz Singer played there. The first sound movies used a sound system called” Vita Phone”, which used records which were not always synchronized to the film.

The movies were inexpensive, 10 cents a show. Besides the feature, they always included a newsreel and a short feature, typically an Our Gang or a Laurel and Hardy comedy, or a cartoon. On the weekends the Oxford and the Liberty programs included a serial. The most popular were the Westerns with Hop A long Casidy, or Tom Mix, etc..Other popular serials included Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon or Lassie. In order to attract customers there often were double features and during the depression, these movie houses were the free source for every day china and glasses promotions. The "depression glassware" from these theater promotions have become valuable antiques.

The Oxford frequently featured vaudeville acts as part of its presentations.

COUNCIL AGENDA MEETING
Monday night's meeting was short lasting about 90 minutes. The most interesting portion was the last, the Public comments section. The final speaker was Assemblyman (not Citizen) Green who spoke for about 5 minutes regarding Muhlenberg Hospital's demise.speaker was Assemblyman (not Citizen) Green who spoke for about 5 minutes regarding Muhlenberg Hospital's demise. to infer that he was aware of the closing a year ago and his talks with Solaris were fruitless. Plainfield must accept the fact that this action is irrevocable. If someone can clarify his remarks for me I would appreciate it.

Comment: The issuing of a Certificate of Need for closure is an administrative action not subject to legislative approval. However, I wonder why the legislative body could not pass a law with specific guidelines to be met before a SNH can be closed. Criteria that would prohibit such action should also be delineated. It seems weird that the party that expounds universal health care cannot find the means to protect what is operational.