10 months agoLille inform Chelsea, PSG they’re ready to sell Thiago Mendes

first_imgLille inform Chelsea, PSG they’re ready to sell Thiago Mendesby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveLille have informed Chelsea they’re prepared to sell Thiago Mendes next month.Last summer, Chelsea asked Lille to keep them informed of the Brazilian’s situation with the view to bringing him to England.RMC says Lille have told suitors they’re prepared to sell Thiago Mendes in January.Chelsea are in contact, along with Wolfsburg and Schalke 04.PSG are also interested in the midfielder, who they see as a replacement for contract rebel Adrien Rabiot. TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Nutrien to sell Israel Chemical stake for expected US700 million

first_imgSASKATOON – Fertilizer giant Nutrien Ltd. (TSX:NTR) says it plans to sell all of its holdings in Israel Chemicals Ltd. in a secondary share offering for an expected US$700 million.The sale comes as one of the requirements set out by global regulators for Potash Corp. and Agrium Inc. to merge to become Nutrien.Nutrien also needs to sell its shareholdings in Arab Potash Co. and Chile-based SQM within 18 months, and had to sell off some U.S. operations and convert its holdings in China-based Sinofert Holdings Ltd. to a passive investment before it closed the merger.The company secured U.S. approval for the deal in late December to clear the way for the company to start trading on Jan. 2 as Nutrien, since approvals from Canada, India, China, Brazil and Russia were already in place.The combined company, which has fertilizer mining operations in Canada and the U.S. as well as more than 1,500 farm retail centres globally, proposed the merger as a way to expand its combined reach and achieve $500 million a year in cost savings.Nutrien, now with about a $43-billion market capitalization, is headquartered in Saskatoon with corporate offices in Calgary.last_img read more

Tommy Lakes fire grows to over 19500 hectares forces evacuation of 78

first_imgA map of the Tommy Lakes Fire perimeter. Photo by BC Wildfire ServiceMacAuley explained crews did notice some increased fire activity yesterday that was caused by the high winds meaning that the fire is likely larger than currently reported, though officials won’t have an updated number until after surveys are conducted later today. She said that air tankers were able to complete part of their mission in limiting the fire’s growth along the southeast flank, but had to be grounded as a precautionary measure after just a few hours because of heavy smoke. A Conair Aerial Firefighting Avro RJ85 air tanker at the North Peace Airport. Photo by Chris NewtonAn area restriction remains in effect for the area surrounding the fire. The area restriction has been put in place to address public-safety concerns arising from the wildfire’s rate of spread and to avoid interference with fire control. The restriction will remain in place until noon on July 31st, or until the order is rescinded.Under this order and Section 11(2) of the Wildfire Act, a person must not remain in or enter the Tommy Lakes wildfire restricted area without prior written authorization of an official, designated for the purposes of the Wildfire Act, unless the person enters the area under the following circumstances only: FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The BC Wildfire Service says that the Tommy Lakes Fire continues to burn north of Fort St. John and has now grown to over 19,000 hectares, forcing 78 area residents from their homes.Fire Information Officer Rosalie MacAuley said that after conducting an aerial survey yesterday, the Wildfire Service now estimates the size of the conflagration at 19,540 hectares, and the fire is zero percent contained. She said that the personnel battling the blaze had their ranks bolstered since Monday, bringing the total of firefighters at the scene to 133, with two additional helicopters and pieces of heavy equipment. The total of both helicopters and heavy machinery pieces is now nine each.“On the east side of the Beatton Road, crews are working to build and reinforce guard along the fire perimeter to prevent the fire from crossing the Beatton road,” said an update on the Wildfire Service website. “Crews are also working on a fireline south on the Tommy Lakes Road. Additional crews are continuing with blackline and mop-up operations along the South Nig connector. Sprinklers are installed on the bridge at the 56km mark on the Tommy Lakes Road.” travelling to or from his or her principal residence that is not under an evacuation order;using a highway as defined in the Transportation Act;travelling to or from an industrial activity or business location;travelling through or entering the area as a person acting in an official capacity; orthrough or entering the area for an approved purpose of supporting wildfire suppression activities. A map of the evacuation order near the Tommy Lakes Fire. Photo by BC Wildfire Service. A map of the evacuation order near the Tommy Lakes Fire. Photo by BC Wildfire Service. An evacuation order has also been issued by the Peace River Regional District due to the immediate danger posed by the fire. The PRRD’s Deputy CAO Shawn Dahlen said that in total, 78 evacuees have registered at the Emergency Evacuation Centre at the North Peace Arena.last_img read more

Slogans black flags welcome Ravi Shankar at Patna airport

first_imgNew Delhi: Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who arrived in Patna on Tuesday for the first time after being declared BJP’s Lok Sabha candidate from Patna Sahib, was shown black flags by supporters of another BJP leader in Patna. Prasad, a resident of the Bihar capital whose late father was a state minister and leader of the Jansangh, was shown black flags by the supporters of RK Sinha, a Rajya Sabha member, who was hopeful of a ticket for the seat which is currently held by dissident MP Shatrughan Sinha. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The sloganeering and protest by Sinha’s supporters led to a clash with BJP workers who had gathered at the airport to welcome the Lok Sabha poll debutant. Reports said that the clash erupted as Prasad landed at airport and Sinha’s supporters started raising slogans against him. Slogans of “Ravi Shankar Prasad- Go back, go back” welcomed the Union Minister as he exited the airport in Bihar capital. The protester, holding black flags also chanted “RK Sinha-Zindabad, zindabad (RK Sinha-Long live, long live). “Ye hawa hawai neta hain inke pass karyakarta nahi hain. Ek galat aadmi ko ticket diya gaya hai jo kabhi janata ke beech nahi raha. (He – Ravi Shankar Prasad – is a leader without any base. He doesn’t have workers. The ticket has been given to a wrong person who has never lived among people),” a protester said. The Union minister drove away while telling the posse of mediapersons who stood waiting at the airport, “I thank my party for considering me for this great responsibility. I will be giving my best shot. The BJPs commitment to nationalism and good governance will help Narendra Modi return to power.”last_img read more

Egypt TVsuspends controversial satirists show

first_imgCAIRO – Controversial Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef’s host television channel suspended his programme on Friday, a week after he returned from a four-month break and fired barbs at the country’s military.Youssef, known as “Egypt’s Jon Stewart” after modelling his Al-Bernameg (The Programme) on the US comedian’s popular satirical news programme, had already run afoul of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, who was ousted by themilitary in July.On Friday, the CBC channel that airs Youssef’s show pulled the plug. “The channel has decided to suspend Al-Bernameg. The CBC board confirmed that today’s episode indicated that the producers and presenter insisted on violating the editorial policy of the channel,” the network said in a statement read out by a presenter.It did not elaborate on how the editorial policy had been violated, but said the show would remain suspended “until the technical and commercial problems are solved.”In last week’s episode — the first since Morsi’s ouster — Youssef did not spare the military, provoking fury from some spectators.He mocked the media coverage of the overthrow, particularly exaggerated claims about the number of demonstrators who took to the streets on June 30 — to call for the Islamist government’s resignation.The ex-heart surgeon even mocked the country’s new military-installed interim government, in which Adly Mansour is president but army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is widely seen as calling the shots.Sisi is leading the popularity charts in Egypt since the ouster of Morsi, with the general’s posters displayed across the country.last_img read more

An Arsenal legend helped me chose to join Man Utd reveals

first_imgFred has thanked former Arsenal midfielder and agent Gilberto Silva for his role in helping him decide to join Manchester UnitedThe Brazil international turned down offers from Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and some clubs in China to sign for the Red Devils this summer.Fred was officially confirmed as a United player on a five-year deal in June after the club agreed to pay Shakhtar Donetsk £47m.And the 25-year-old has thanked his agent, Gilberto, for helping pave the way to Old Trafford.Gilberto played for Arsenal for five years and was a key member of the famous “Invincibles” squad that went the entire 2003/04 season unbeaten.Harry Maguire, Manchester UnitedSolskjaer praises Harry Maguire after Man United’s 1-0 win Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer singled out Harry Maguire for praise after helping Manchester United keep a clean sheet in their 1-0 win over Leicester City.“Gilberto was a top midfielder who played for Arsenal,” Fred told the club website.“But he has a lot of respect for Manchester United, who are obviously a big club here in England.“He praised the club a lot and, after he was granted the opportunity to speak to Jose Mourinho and other senior figures at United, we made the decision together for me to come here. We decided it would be a good move for me.“Gilberto is a top guy and his advice means a lot to me. He played in the same position as I do and he won the Premier League, so I look to him for inspiration, I listen to what he has to say and I take on board what he tells me.”Fred will now be hoping to make his third start for United in Monday’s Premier League game against Tottenham.last_img read more

Tuberculosis Case Confirmed At University Of Houston

first_imgNational Institutes of HealthThis image shows the bacteria that cause tuberculosis.The University of Houston reported on Tuesday an individual on the campus is being treated for tuberculosis by Houston health officials. At this time, nobody else on campus has developed symptoms of TB, the university said. The person is being treated away from the campus and is no longer a health risk to others, according to a statement on the UH website. Dr. Vanessa Tilney, Executive Director and Chief Physician at UH’s Student Health Center, said the university is working closely with the Houston Health Department to identify any student, faculty or staff member who should be tested for TB infection.The Houston Health Department will determine who needs testing based on the type of exposure a student or employee has had to the sick individual. The city will send letters to specific people who need to be tested.Tuberculosis is a disease that spreads through the air by a person with active tuberculosis. The bacteria that cause TB are generally only transmitted to people who have prolonged close contact with someone with infectious tuberculosis.Casual contact is generally not sufficient for transmission of the TB bacteria.You can visit this website for a list of UH Health resources and answers to frequently asked questions about this case.  For more information about TB, you can visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or Texas Department of State Health Services. Sharelast_img read more

HDMI could soon be replaced by new cable technology

first_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. The new technology has been developed over the last six months by four technology companies: Sony Pictures Entertainment, Samsung, LG, and Valens Semiconductor, which together form the HDBaseT Alliance. The group hopes the new technology and products conforming to it will begin to be shipped later this year and predict its use will become widespread during next year and beyond. The HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) cable was introduced in 2003 and has been gaining popularity, especially with the rise of Blu-ray and the adoption of high definition television, so much so that almost all televisions now ship with HDMI technology. HDMI has advantages over other types of audio/video cables but also has disadvantages such as switching delays and cable length limitations, both of which are addressed by HDBaseT. HDMI only carries uncompressed audio and video signals. Wireless technologies such as WiGig, WHDI and Wireless HD offer alternative options, but they cannot transfer power to devices as HDBaseT can.HDBaseT is a network-based standard called “5PlayTM” that enables a single cable to carry high definition video, audio, up to 100 watts of power, 100BaseT Ethernet, and control signals simultaneously. The cables, which are inexpensive Cat5e/6 type rather than expensive HDMI, can be up to 100 meters in length. The HDMI ports are replaced by standard RJ-45 connectors. The HDBaseT specification supports the latest HD video, 3D, and high resolution 2K x 4K (4096 by 2160). (PhysOrg.com) — A new audio/video cable techology is being developed that might spell the end of HDMI cables, which are currently used to connect a wide range of audio and video devices. The new technology is known as HDBaseT and carries audio and video signals and power on standard Cat 5e/6 Ethernet cables. Explore further Chairman of the Alliance, Ariel Sobelman, said the new technology is “poised to become the unrivaled next-generation home networking transport to meet the ever-changing trends in the digital media market.”• PhysOrg.com iPhone / iPad Apps• PhysOrg.com Audio Podcasts / iTunes• Join PhysOrg.com on Facebook!• Follow PhysOrg.com on Twitter! Citation: HDMI could soon be replaced by new cable technology (2010, July 5) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2010-07-hdmi-cable-technology.htmlcenter_img Technology Comparison Table © 2010 PhysOrg.com More information: www.hdbaset.org/ HDMI 1.4: New video cables will connect TVs to the Internetlast_img read more

Mole rat dental structure similar to a shark

first_img(PhysOrg.com) — Sharks are capable of continually growing new teeth. As the teeth age, they fall out and new ones move forward similar to that of a tooth conveyor belt. Humans, and most mammals, on the other hand are only given two sets of teeth and must make them last. However, researchers have found there are exceptions to this rule and a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that the silvery mole rat is one of the exceptions. It was first noted by Stuart Landry back in 1957 that these moles had more molars than the average rodent, but it was never investigated further. That is until Helder Gomes Rodrigues from the University of Lyon began this current study.For this study, Rodrigues looked at the skeletal remains of some 55 mole rats and discovered that the molars at the back of these rodent’s jaws seem to move forward. As they move forward, they erupt upward and are worn down through normal wear and tear. By the time a molar reaches the front molar row, they have been completely eroded and seem to be absorbed back into the jawbone.The only other mammals with this similar ability to make more teeth are three different manatee species and a pygmy-rock wallaby. However, the mole rat seems to be the only one that has the set-up where the teeth move forward and upward. The other mammals have molars that sprout up, move to the front and fall out, similar to human baby teeth.While it is believed that the manatee and wallaby have evolved to replace teeth due to the hard elements in their diet, the mole rat feeds on soft tubers and plants. Rodrigues believes that an explanation for this evolution to replacing molars in the mole rat may have something to do with digging rather than eating. While they primarily dig with their front incisors, they grind things with their molars and swallow abrasive dust. However this is still just a theory and the real reason behind this evolution of multiple molars still remains a mystery. Citation: Mole rat dental structure similar to a shark (2011, October 11) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-10-mole-rat-dental-similar-shark.html © 2011 PhysOrg.com Explore further More information: Continuous dental replacement in a hyper-chisel tooth digging rodent, PNAS, Published online before print October 10, 2011, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1109615108AbstractContrary to their reptilian ancestors, which had numerous dental generations, mammals are known to usually develop only two generations of teeth. However, a few mammal species have acquired the ability to continuously replace their dentition by the constant addition of supernumerary teeth moving secondarily toward the front of the jaw. The resulting treadmill-like replacement is thus horizontal, and differs completely from the vertical dental succession of other mammals and their extinct relatives. Despite the developmental implications and prospects regarding the origin of supernumerary teeth, this striking innovation remains poorly documented. Here we report another case of continuous dental replacement in an African rodent, Heliophobius argenteocinereus, which combines this dental system with the progressive eruption of high-crowned teeth. The escalator-like mechanism of Heliophobius constitutes an original adaptation to hyper-chisel tooth digging involving high dental wear. Comparisons between Heliophobius and the few mammals that convergently acquired continuous dental replacement reveal that shared inherited traits, including dental mesial drift, delayed eruption, and supernumerary molars, comprise essential prerequisites to setting up this dental mechanism. Interestingly, these dental traits are present to a lesser extent in humans but are absent in mouse, the usual biological model. Consequently, Heliophobius represents a suitable model to investigate the molecular processes leading to the development of supernumerary teeth in mammals, and the accurate description of these processes could be a significant advance for further applications in humans, such as the regeneration of dental tissues. X-ray synchrotron microtomographic 3D rendering of the upper dentition of a young specimen of Heliophobius. Image: PNAS, doi:10.1073/pnas.1109615108 Mice teeth explain the troubles with human wisdom teeth This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Taking literature to new heights

first_imgA pen is mighter than the sword, and the legacy has carried on for centuries now. Many literary works by eminent writers have been instrumental in bringing a revolution at many instances.Taking the same idea ahead, Kusumanjali Foundation has instituted an annual award titled ‘Kusumanjali Sahitya Samman’. Established by Kusum Ansal, it runs with the objective of promoting literary works of budding writers of Hindi and other regional languages. The first Samman was conferred last year to  Dr Karan Singh, President, ICCR and also felicitated the literary contributions of writers in Hindi and Tamil. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’This year, the annual award has invited nominations to honour the literary works in Hindi and Urdu. The selection board and the advisory committee of the Kusumanjali Foundation comprises eminent authors and scholars. The award will recognise and encourage the outstanding literary works in Hindi and Urdu during the years 2008 to 2012. The Samman comprises a cash prize of Rs 2,50,000 along with a citation and the award statuette.In addition to this, the Kusumanjali Foundation has introduced from this year a fellowship scheme for creative writers in Hindi for a maximum period of four months. The amount of this fellowship is Rs 20,000 per month. Details related to application are available on www.kusumanjaliorg. The last date for all entries is 31 March.last_img read more

Back to roots

first_imgSitting against a large work-in-progress canvas in his East Delhi studio, he jovially says, ‘ I started out as a young and angry man almost 50 years ago but now I am a happy artist.’  That contentment is writ large on the 78-year-old world renowned painter-sculptor’s work. A. Ramachandran started out with portraying urban angst through his paintings before he shifted his glance towards the intricate Kerala mural arts and simple and joyous Rajasthani tribe- Bhils. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Millennium Post speaks to the Padam Bhushan-winning artist ahead of his first ever mini-retrospective in his native state, Kerala. The grand spectacle that starts from 11 August in Kochi will showcase 100 of his celebrated works.You have been bestowed with great honours such as the Padma Bhushan for your artistic excellence. As an artist what was the most fulfilling moment for you over the last 50 years?I am happy when I paint. No other honour can be equated to this feeling; the happiness I get is a spiritual experience in itself. When I put a blank canvas in front of me, I am struck with a terrifying state of mind; my first stroke creates ripples on the surface that make me rhythmically carry forward the painting. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixYou studied Malayalam literature before being initiated into art. How did this interest develop. As a serious medium of expression I understood art only when I went to study at Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan. There I saw the great masters at work and realized it’s a life search. Rabindranath Tagore once told my teacher, Ramkinkar Baij that whatever you see in life, catch it by the throat and don’t leave it till you get it. Once you get it, never look back. I carry forward these teachings as I capture the throbbing elements of life in my work and block them out of my vision once the work is complete.Your work seems to carry a continuity with an element, a creature peeking out from a corner. Who is it?That creature represents me. It is what I call Ramdev- a form that Bhils in Rajasthan worship. When I am gone and people look at my work, if they say something bad, you will see tears running down my face. When they say something good, you may trace a smile.last_img read more

Origin DApp A decentralized marketplace on Ethereum mainnet aims to disrupt gig

first_imgThe Origin DApp is a decentralized marketplace on the blockchain mainnet. It launched last week and is in the beta stage. Purpose of the Origin DApp Large organizations like Airbnb or Uber often charge 20-30% as commission for providing a service. One of the goals of Origin mainnet is to host such services that are peer-to-peer. This will eliminate the middleman and the cost of services will go down. Think of it like Craigslist, but Ethereum based and decentralized on a blockchain network. Your account would be your Ethereum wallet. To transact on the Origin DApp, a crypto wallet needs to be attached to your browser. For doing this, the Metamask extension is a good option which available for both Chrome and Firefox. Also, communication is done via Origin Messaging directly between the seller and the buyer. Features of Origin DApp Some of the important features of this DApp are: Smart contract for the marketplace The marketplace contract implements transactions in multiple steps, dispute management, and optional affiliate commissions. It uses ETH and/or any ERC-20 tokens as currency. The Origin token OGN is an ERC-20 token integrated with the marketplace smart contracts. The token is meant to incentivize behaviors that will bootstrap the network and also protect against negative behaviors. The Origin token is meant to reward behaviors that will help the network flourish and safeguard against bad actions. Search You can use the search bar at the top to query listing data by keyword, category, and price. The listings are loaded directly from the blockchain. Resolving conflicts In case of a conflict between a seller and buyer, there is a workflow for dispute resolution. As of now, Origin is the only arbitrator on the platform, but more decentralized solutions are expected in the future. Future work Currently, listings like rentals, ticketing, and e-commerce are not supported. There is no mobile app, advanced search, and no JS SDK for third-party developers to build DApps on the platform. Future plans include enabling third-party developer partners to build on Origin, improving user experience, launching a mobile app/wallet, support for more types of listings, and hardening the infrastructure for greater security and scalability. Since Origin is in the beta stage, currently there are no push or email notifications available. There is a team to resolve any disputes. There needs to be enough abstraction to hide away the complexities of using a service on a blockchain to see mainstream adoption. It can take years for that to happen, for a regular cabbie or hotel owner to understand and use a ‘decentralized marketplace’. For more details, visit the Origin post on Medium and the beta website. To get started, here’s a demo video. Read next Vitalik Buterin says Ethereum 2.0 research has stabilized and might launch next year Ethereum Constantinople hard fork to move Ethereum from PoW (proof-of-work) to PoS (proof-of-stake) model Vitalik Buterin’s new consensus algorithm to make Ethereum 99% fault tolerantlast_img read more

2012 Golden i Award Nominations Open

first_imgSource = Visitor Centre Association of WA The Visitor Centre Association of Western Australia (VCAWA) is pleased to announce that nominations are now open for the 2012 West Australian Newspapers Golden i Award – Visitor Centre Manager of the Year.This annual award recognizes a nominee’s outstanding contribution to the many aspects of visitor servicing and how that contribution has been of benefit to the development of tourism in their area.The recipient will be presented with a cash prize of $1,000 kindly sponsored by West Australian Newspapers, a framed certificate and a Golden i Award trophy for their keeping, as well as receiving a free full registration to attend the 2013 Visitor Servicing State conference.Mr Ian Jones from West Australian Regional Newspapers said “We are now in our 6th year of this fantastic award and we are so proud here at West Australian Newspapers to be recognising, supporting and acknowledging the hard work that Visitor Centre Managers do for our Tourism industry in WA”.Previous winners have included –– 2007 – Glenys Russell from the Kojonup Visitor Centre– 2008 – Felicity Anderson from the Bunbury Visitor Centre– 2009 – Scott Fleming from the Swan Valley Visitor Centre– 2010 – Narelle Brook from the Kununurra Visitor Centre– 2011 – Justine Nagorski from the Denmark Visitor CentreMr Scott Fleming from the 2012 Judging Panel said “As the winner of this award in 2009, I understand how valuable the Golden i Award is for recognising not only the individuals but the whole of the Visitor Servicing sector in our State.Visitor Centre Managers work tirelessly to ensure that the visitor experience is of a high quality, so it’s wonderful that we can take time to reward and recognise their individual efforts”. On behalf of the judging panel, we are looking forward to finding that manager who constantly strives for excellence and adds value to Visitor Servicing”.Nominations open on Wednesday 11th July and close on Wednesday 1st August. A written submission is then required to be submitted and the closing date is Friday the 17th of August 2012. Once the written submissions have been received the judging panel will commence a desktop assessment and announce the finalists for the awards. The finalists will then participate in a 30 minute telephone interview with the judging panel and the winning entrant of the 2012 West Australian Newspaper Golden i Award will be announced at the Gala Dinner, which is part of the Annual Visitor Servicing Conference being held in Mandurah on Thursday the 20th of September 2012.The Visitor Centre Association of WA is a not-for-profit peak industry body, representing more than 102 Visitor Centres and sub-representation of approximately 4,500 tourism businesses throughout Western Australia.last_img read more

One Month Ago

first_imgOne Month Ago Silver34.6928.9240.25 The #1 Reason Inflation Will WinJeff Clark: I was struck at our summit by how many speakers have come to the same basic conclusions we have – that there’s really no way out of the US debt hole. That has a lot of implications, but first, in your view, how bad is it?Terry Coxon: It isn’t so bad that you should think of it as the end of the world, but there is a lot of trouble stored up, and I think “no way out” describes the situation accurately. Most of our economic trouble has been built up by government actions to solve past problems, and what they’ve done is to buy time and provide painkillers, but in doing so they’ve made the problems even worse.Jeff: Why, specifically, is there no way out?Terry: Let’s start with the Federal Reserve and the money supply. In response to the collapse of the housing bubble and most financial markets in 2008-2009, the Federal Reserve began printing like crazy. The monetary base more than doubled, and the M1 money supply at this point has risen a little over 60%. The reason we haven’t seen rapid price inflation is that people are still squirreling away dollars because they’re still very worried about the prospects for the economy. But that’ not the end of the story. The Federal Reserve will keep printing – as everyone knows by now, Mr. Bernanke has pledged allegiance to the printing press and assured the markets that the printing isn’t over and won’t be over until the economy revives.Sooner or later, the Federal Reserve will have created so much cash that many people – maybe most people – will be glutted with dollars, and buying anything will look good compared to holding on to more dollars. At that point, the urge to buy – whether it’s capital goods or consumer goods or commodities – will revive the economy, and the recession will come to an end. That will reduce the level of caution people feel to something near normal. The result will be that all of the excess money that has been created since 2008 will come pouring out. For a little while it will look like happy days are here again – the economy will seem to be booming. But then the excess cash will set off hair-curling price inflation. And that’s just the monetary side of the problem.Now look at the budget side of the federal government. They have been operating on the old Keynesian formula of deficit spending to revive a stagnant economy. What Lord Keynes perhaps never considered was that even if that prescription worked – and there is precious little evidence that it does work – there is a limiting factor over the long run. That limiting factor is the ability of the government to service debt that gets larger and larger. The US balance sheet is already at the gateway to the danger zone. When accumulated debt exceeds annual gross domestic product (think of it as annual income for the whole country), that’s where governments start to get into trouble in the capital markets.Now the budget situation – or the debt-financing situation for the US Treasury – has been made exceptionally easy by the exceptionally low interest rates that have been engineered by the exceptionally rapid growth in the money supply. When the economy starts to revive, interest rates will go up, and then the cost to the US Treasury of rolling over its now $16 trillion in debt will become a noticeable element in the overall budget. That pushes the government closer to a debt spiral, where the rise in interest rates makes it more expensive to service debt, which means the debt accumulates even faster. At that point, doubts about the ability of the government to service the debt over the long run forces another kick up in the government’s borrowing costs. It becomes a nasty and vicious feedback cycle that is similar to what is going on now in Greece and Spain. This is a predicament the US government is just whistling about. They’ve closed their eyes to the risk.So between the built up inflationary pressure that will come roaring out when the economy revives and the constantly growing US government debt, there is no solution to the economy’s problems that is politically acceptable.Jeff: Some economists think we’ll eventually grow our way out of this. We’re still the superpower of the world and still generate a lot of GDP, so can’t growth eventually pay back all this debt?Terry: In principle, such a thing is possible, but it would require political measures that are impossible. They would have to throw out most regulation of the economy, sell off an empire of unneeded real estate, stop using soldiers, ships, and planes as pieces in a “big boys’ really big chess set,” and starting saying “no” to the many people – both rich and poor – who now live off the government.Jeff: Why aren’t more economists expressing concern or even outrage over the predicament we’re in? It seems so obvious.Terry: If you studied economics when you went to school, the economics department probably was within a short walk of the science building, where they studied physics and chemistry. That leaves people with the false impression that economics is a hard science like physics or chemistry, where there are clear, proven principles anyone can test and everyone can agree on. In fact, economics today is about where medicine was in the 17th century, when people were debating whether the blood circulates through the body or just sits there. That was the level of knowledge by the best minds of the day, and it is the level of understanding by economists today. So you shouldn’t be surprised that most economists are sure that most other economists are wrong.Jeff: So what happens – high inflation? There are some strong deflationary signals in the economy right now.Terry: Even if there are episodes of deflation, they will just inspire even faster money printing. In the contest between inflation and deflation, inflation always gets another turn until it wins.Jeff: Good point. Is inflation imminent? The CPI is still pretty low.Terry: Well, it’s never going to be imminent in the sense that today it’s not happening and next week it is happening. It’s more like a river rising. And when you see the economy start to revive, the rate of price inflation will start rising noticeably in a year or year and a half.Jeff: This has obvious investment implications.Terry: Yes. You and your family should think about how to protect yourselves, and the formula sorts out to something very simple. One, you need some gold in your financial life, and two, you don’t need any bonds in your financial life.Jeff: Yes. Anything else?Terry: Well, those are the most obvious – gold yes, bonds no. You should also keep a good holding of cash in your investment portfolio, because there probably will be one or more replays of what we saw in 2008 and 2009. And when that happens, you will be glad you have cash because you can take advantage of the bargains.Conventional stocks are a bit of a quandary. On the one hand, the equity market welcomed the restarting of the printing press. On the other hand, the equity markets, as they go up, are diverging from economic reality. So I suggest thinking of a portfolio of conventional stocks as a machine that sits in your office and churns out ten-dollar bills, but eventually is going to blow up. If you want to take the risk that you’ll know when to get out, well, at the end of the day, if you’re right and you get out in time, you will be glad that you invested in conventional stocks. If you are thinking about a portfolio that you can just put away and forget about, then conventional stocks should not be part of it.Jeff: Bernanke said the $40 billion of bond-buying every month is open ended, implying it could last awhile. Any sense for how long it goes on before the economy revives?Terry: Open-ended is an extraordinary thing to announce. The fact isn’t surprising, but I am surprised they would ‘fess up to it.The picture I have is someone sitting next to a pile of damp firewood, lighting matches and just throwing them on. Eventually those matches are going to dry out the firewood, and then you will get a big blaze; and that’s what the Federal Reserve is doing to the economy right now. The difficulty is that if you’re in charge of printing all the new dollars, you won’t know that you’ve printed enough until you’ve printed way too much.Jeff: That implies gold and silver prices have a long way to go yet.Terry: Yes, I certainly believe so.Jeff: What kind of price levels do you expect?Terry: The only reasonable thing that I can say is, a lot higher. The reason that it doesn’t do much good to put a number on it is that we don’t know how long rapid rates of inflation will run.Jeff: What about gold stocks? If you’re lukewarm on the stock market, can gold stocks still do well?Terry: The basic answer is, if you want to own stocks right now, don’t own red stocks, don’t own blue stocks, own gold stocks.Jeff: Silver is considered a monetary metal, too, but is there a scenario under which gold does well but silver does poorly?Terry: Yes: runaway inflation and a very sick economy that is not consuming a lot of silver. That could leave silver behind, but it would have to be a very ugly economic situation.Jeff: But wouldn’t the Fed just print more money and make silver as attractive as gold?Terry: Not necessarily. The demand for gold is financial demand, period. Silver is a different story altogether. It is partly financial demand and partly industrial consumption.Jeff: What odds do you give for something like that happening?Terry: I don’t expect that to happen. If it happens at all, it’s years away.Jeff: So the bottom line to all this is, make sure you own enough gold.Terry: That’s exactly right.Gold and Silver HEADLINESMining Investment to Grow Ever More Complex and Costly, Industry Leaders Fear (Mineweb)Baker & McKenzie surveyed more than 300 senior mining industry leaders across six mining jurisdictions – Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Indonesia, and South Africa. The key themes in the study were the complexity of the legal and regulatory environment, political stability, resource nationalism, access to infrastructure, and skilled labor. A common thought expressed by the majority of the respondents across these jurisdictions is that “investing in mining is becoming more difficult and less certain,” and they believe that mining sector investment will continue to be more complicated.This research confirms what other mining industry surveys report. Resource nationalism, named the #1 threat for mining, is expected by the majority of respondents (78%) to increase over the next 20 years. That’s why it is so important to understand investor friendliness of any given jurisdiction. And navigating the political landscapes is exactly what we do in International Speculator and BIG GOLD.Silver ETF Holdings Nearing Record Levels (Silver Institute)The Silver Institute reports that silver ETF holdings have totaled more than 608 million ounces with a value of US$20.5 billion through September 15. Investors have added more than 32 million ounces to their silver ETF accounts so far this year. Investor demand was one of the most important factors cited in silver’s recent price rise.“Investors and analysts are bullish on expectations that additional central banks will do more to attempt to stimulate economies in order to increase consumption and spur employment, leading to even greater investor attention on the 4,000 year allure of silver as a safe haven and a store of value,” said Michael DiRienzo, Executive Director of the Silver Institute.We agree that investor interest for silver will drive the price higher. TSX (Toronto Stock Exchange)12,383.6012,116.9211,955.01 Gold1,784.501,639.501,793.00 Copper3.773.463.75 Oil91.8796.6885.92 Silver Stocks (SIL)25.2620.5626.29center_img TSX Venture1,345.721,239.321,703.78 One Year Ago Rock & Stock StatsLast Dear Reader,Economist Terry Coxon and BIG GOLD Editor Jeff Clark had some interesting discussions during the recent Casey Research Summit on Navigating the Politicized Economy. They noticed a near-consensus among the speakers that there’s no way out for the over-indebted US government – or the Eurozone for that matter – which has consequences for all participants in the global economy. Below, you can read why Terry (and others) are convinced there’s no way out, why he’s convinced the problem will end in inflation, and what the investment implications are for gold and silver.How do we profit from that? Even as you receive today’s Daily Dispatch, Jeff and I will be flying down to Mexico to look at a silver mine one of our companies recently acquired. Due diligence: pick right and sit tight. That’s how we do it – and you can too.If you want to learn more about the Casey Research process or pick our brains in some other way, please consider joining Doug Casey, our Chief Energy Investment Strategist Marin Katusa, and myself next month in New Orleans. We’ll all be speaking at the New Orleans 2012 Investment Conference, which will be held October 24-27. You won’t want to miss Doug’s debate against James Carville and Charles Krauthammer – it’s sure to be a memorable event. The markets are getting really interesting, so you’ll be sure to learn a lot.Sincerely,Louis JamesSenior Metals Investment StrategistCasey Research Gold Producers (GDX)54.8146.3864.28 Gold Junior Stocks (GDXJ)25.4621.4635.10last_img read more

But its infuriating to use The system is compris

first_img But it’s infuriating to use. The system is comprised of not one, but two 7-inch screens. One’s a touchscreen, while the other isn’t. One is hidden from the sun under a hood; the other is invisible in the glare of sunlight. There are still a few physical controls, too… but only for some of the least often used things, like adjusting the auto-climate control, not for common things like changing the radio station. These problems haven’t gone unnoticed by the automotive and technology press, which regularly deride the companies for falling so woefully short in the design department, letting gimmicks substitute for building it right. But that’s because these companies have taken on a herculean task, trying to build complex operating systems and third-party apps… a job that is best tackled by thousands of engineers as it is with Windows at Microsoft, iOS at Apple, and Linux’s hordes of volunteers and foundations. With quite a bit of time logged behind the wheel of a Tesla, which boasts an amazingly easy to use, single giant touchscreen, it’s shocking to use the competition’s systems. They’re hastily assembled messes of whiz-bang features that don’t really work. In the age of the iPhone, that’s just not acceptable. And it’s an experience so bad that it’s beginning to hurt people’s perceptions of the traditional automotive companies, driving customers elsewhere or at least to opt for fewer features. But I don’t make this point just to rant. It’s to demonstrate two things: First, we’re nowhere near the end of the technological ramp. Even some of our most expensive and advanced technologies are absolutely awful. Anyone who’s tried to use one of those brand-new state health exchanges—actually, pretty much any product Oracle makes (and the company made quite a few of those health exchanges, I might add)—or Nissan’s new telematics system can attest to that. Add in all the other frustrating and inefficient aspects of our lives, and it’s abundantly clear there are still a great deal more technological advances to be made, letting alone the giant markets like health care and education that have only been grazed by tech so far. Second, the success or failure of a technology has increasingly less to do with what it’s capable of. More and more often, it’s about how realistically accessible its benefits are. As buyers get used to the more elegantly designed and intuitive generation of smartphones and tablets, they expect the same simplicity in other areas. I’m not saying that some minimalist mantra is taking over the corporate world or our home lives. We’re not going to start sitting down to dinner on tatami mats, using only one pair of shoes, and eschewing the big comfy chairs in the conference room. Rather, buyers are becoming savvier in understanding that a system’s design and the ease of use of its features are just as important a consideration in buying technology as its capabilities. Better design can mean more productivity gains, or lower costs, or both. (For end users, it can also mean they don’t go off on rants about their awful new cars and just get that much closer to never buying a traditional vehicle again…) And the companies that are embracing better design for their products seem to be winning the war for customers. The iPhone’s staying power amidst a cadre of competitors with lots of whiz-bang new features is an obvious example. So is Salesforce.com, which competes with big and expensive systems from Oracle and SAP by offering a “no software” pledge and easy-to-use website. The result: meteoric increases in revenue as Salesforce’s customers opt for less over more. Or take a service like Dropbox. Despite an onslaught of fierce competition from giants like Google and Microsoft, the “little folder-sharing company that could” has been growing like a weed—official numbers are few and far between for the still-private company, but most surveys show it with penetration rates 2 to 10 times that of its larger rivals. Success in technology involves more complexities than investing in the commodities with which we may be more familiar. If you dig a hunk of iron out of the ground, chances are your iron is a lot like everyone else’s. Sure, there will be minor variations in the quality or the cost of extraction, but at the end of the day, it’s just a hunk of metal. The same goes for a retail company selling brand-name products, like a car dealer selling the same Jetta as the next guy. The market sets the price, quality is irrelevant (it’s the same thing), and you spend your life trying to differentiate on service alone. Once upon a time, Amazon’s pair of shoes was no different than Foot Locker’s. That led to “showrooming,” where a customer walked into Best Buy, picked out a TV or stereo, then bought it on his or her smartphone from Amazon for 12% less. Even though it pioneered the practice, Amazon saw the threat of showrooming to its own business, as more and more brands started to control channel prices. Amazon can bully the poorly run book publishers into letting it set the price, but not Microsoft on the Xbox. Amazon’s advantage was lost when it couldn’t be cheaper, and so the company shifted gears and started making products of its own. From Amazon Basics cables that cost a fraction of those ripoffs at Walmart, to the Kindle readers and tablets, to original movies and series made just for its Prime subscribers, Amazon has moved beyond its status as just a middle-man retailer and also become a maker and marketer of products… products it hopes are superior enough to win and retain customers better than my Nissan radio will. That new focus has helped Amazon grow from $5 billion behemoth into a $20 billion a quarter juggernaut over the past five years: Sounds great on paper… and done well, it’s the kind of thing that gets you talking about and recommending a car to others. Problem is, it never works. The system was designed with good intent but is both horribly buggy and poorly designed. Neither my wife’s nor my phone can reliably connect. When they do, the simple act of making a phone call almost never works—the other day, an attempt to call out froze the whole system and I had to “reboot” the car at a stop light just to get my radio back. Remember those old jokes about what if Microsoft made cars? Seems life is starting to imitate art. Worse still, to make those more advanced apps work at all, we must install a middle-man application called Nissan Connect. It runs in the background on our phones and is supposed to make connections to the car better. But it doesn’t. My phone recognizes the car maybe 1 out of 10 times. My wife’s sees it half the time, but it won’t ever let her connect regardless of recognition, because she apparently doesn’t have a paid subscription—to a service that cannot be signed up for anywhere we can find and for which I would never imagine anyone would pay. Instead of honing the experience and making it work, the engineers seem to have spent their time adding in hidden features for future monetization. Worse still, the navigation system lags, missing turn indicators, and crashing along with everything else. Thus, the “infotainment” system—or “telematics” as the car industry likes to call it internally—is beyond useless: it’s borderline dangerous. Now, these features were all of a few hundred dollars of the total cost for my Rogue, included with a bunch of other options. It’s just simple software, so it makes sense it would be pretty cheap. Here’s what’s amazing: the company charges $7,000 extra to get the same options on an Infinity SUV (and about $5,000 on the Pathfinder, which is really just a bigger Rogue). I know because despite my frustration with the infotainment portion of the system, we absolutely love the cameras and sensors. For those alone we started looking at Nissan’s luxurious sister line to replace our other car. That exorbitant add-on pricing sent us across the street to the Acura dealership, where we picked up an MDX. It’s a great truck that hauls all our people and stuff in luxury and style. And it, too, sports an awful electronics system. Unlike the Nissan, I’m able to connect without a problem every time. Pandora works flawlessly, with full control over the app without the need for any special manufacturer application. Nothing ever crashes. It’s Honda reliable, as it should be. It even looks pretty cool. Earlier this week, David Galland emailed you a link to a speech I gave in San Antonio. In it, I covered three of my favorite stock picks for today and why I like those companies. The central theme behind all of it was—no surprise to longtime readers—growth. No matter how good a technology is, no matter how revolutionary, no matter how complex… if you cannot find buyers, then it matters little to me as an investor. However, those companies with a formula to steadily increase revenues quarter after quarter can surmount almost any market and overcome all sorts of hurdles. Figuring out which technologies will sell well is one of the most overlooked aspects of finding great investments. But how do you know which will sell and which won’t? The answer to that question begs another. Have you ever noticed how much awful technology exists in the world? I do. Maybe I’m just too close to the subject, but I make it a point to personally check out every new technology I can manage to try safely, and to get a demo of or data on whatever I cannot use myself. So maybe that’s why I see it all the time. Take automotive technology, for instance. I’m not talking engines and shocks and struts right now. This isn’t another lecture on Tesla’s game-changing innovations. I’m talking about the electronics in every other car on the road. This year I’ve bought two new cars. Both suck. For those not familiar with that technical term, I mean to say that their usefulness, and thus marketability, is impeded by substandard design. The first, a Nissan Rogue, is a wonderful car in many ways. We love the 360-degree cameras, lane-drift warnings, blind-spot detectors, and other safety features that have saved us from bumps and bruises many a time already. (Driving in Puerto Rico, where we spend most of our time, is hazardous to your health and paint job.) But it also has a navigation system and “apps.” The radio has morphed into a hub for accessing Google, Pandora, and other services.center_img The company’s digital media sales, largely fueled by the Kindle product line, have now grown to be as big as the entire company’s revenues at the beginning of this shift. Product design and differentiation is not the be all and end all for achieving the kind of success needed by a technology company that pays back for shareholders. There’s still a whole host of other factors that must properly align—the classic mix of people, promotion, and the other “Ps” of success that Doug Casey has espoused for years in natural resources investing, as well as a few that are unique to the technology markets, such as Intellectual Property. But when evaluating the prospects for success or failure of a new technology, it all begins with understanding the product and its target market: Who will buy it? How many of them are there? How much will they pay? How does it stack up to the competition? And so on… That’s the first and most important difference between finding great technology vs. finding a company that makes for a great investment: the quality and usefulness of its products. However, it’s the least appreciated or understood… which is why we’ve written an all-new guide on how to evaluate speculative investments in the technology sector. Modeled on Doug Casey’s classic 8 Ps formula, it’s a step-by-step manual to the process we use when starting our own due diligence on a potential investment. We’re making it available completely free, no strings attached. Click here and give it a read for yourself. At a minimum, it will help you understand how we’ve racked up market-beating returns year after year in Casey Extraordinary Technology. And if we’ve done our job with it, then it will help guide you through exploring the sector on your own, let you avoid some bad investments, and hopefully allow you to find your own personal Amazon, Salesforce, Netflix, or Google, and garner some 1,000%-plus gains to show for it.last_img read more

A few months ago I wrote a check for 12000 but

first_imgA few months ago, I wrote a check for $12,000 but couldn’t figure out exactly why.The payment was to secure a place for my mother at Sligo Creek Center, in Takoma Park, Md. It’s a nursing home and rehab center owned by Genesis Healthcare.My mother was about to be discharged from Holy Cross Hospital, in nearby Silver Spring, after a fall. Medicare wouldn’t pay for her rehabilitation care.So before the Sligo Creek Center would let her through the door, I had to prepay for a month — $12,000 — or nearly $400 a night.Now, my mother had paid into Medicare her entire working life, and since she retired, the Social Security Administration has automatically deducted $130 for her basic Medicare premium from her $1,650 monthly check. On top of that, she pays about $300 a month for a prescription drug plan and supplemental “Medigap” insurance.But because of dueling rules and laws that have been well-known to Medicare officials and members of Congress for years, none of that covered my elderly mother when she needed care.This is a story of how money, outdated laws and federal budget rules can interfere with patient care and leave elderly patients vulnerable.The fallI found my mother lying on the floor of her apartment one evening in early January. I had stopped by because she didn’t return my calls. It was Wednesday, and she had fallen sometime in the previous 24 hours.She was awake, but confused. Her lips were chapped, her skin was too pink, and her thick white curls were a mess on her head. I needed help getting her up and into bed. When my husband and I couldn’t do it, we called the local fire department.There were no obvious injuries and she was speaking coherently, so I spent the night with her and tried to care for her the next day, thinking she just needed rest and food. But it soon became clear she needed medical help.She couldn’t walk, couldn’t even move her left leg. Her confusion was getting worse. Her doctor recommended I take her to the emergency room at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring.An ER doctor there examined her, saw that she couldn’t move her leg, couldn’t really even hold her body upright and had trouble with her memory. He said he would admit her to the hospital’s observation unit to figure out what was going on. He mentioned she might need rehab care to get up and walking again.The word observation triggered an alarm deep in my brain. I had read that patients on observation status sometimes weren’t eligible for rehab care, and I told the doctor that I was concerned.He said he and the hospital “do all they can to be sure their patients’ care is covered.” I was reassured.My mother spent four nights at Holy Cross. She was on IV antibiotics for an infection. She got nine X-rays, two MRIs, scans of her carotid arteries and lungs, and a CT scan. Hospital staffers drew blood no less than six times because they were concerned she might have had a mild heart attack or stroke that had caused her to fall.Administrative mazeOn the day they decided to release her, a social worker named Jay called to say the doctors were recommending she go to an inpatient rehab center — and then he said Medicare wouldn’t pay for it.My mother was caught in an administrative wonderland where she slept at a hospital for four nights, but the paperwork said she was an inpatient only one of those nights. Medicare’s rules, dating back to the 1960s, require people to spend three nights in a hospital before the federal program will pay for inpatient rehabilitative care.It would cost upward of $12,000 a month, Jay told me.I sped to the hospital in a rage. I demanded to know why they were releasing her when she still couldn’t walk. Further, I wanted to know, why were they calling her an “outpatient” when she was sleeping in their bed, under their blankets, wearing their hospital gown and being cared for by their staff.Here were some of the things a parade of social workers and nurses told me that day.The doctor couldn’t admit her as an inpatient because she didn’t have a qualifying diagnosis.Her status was changed from observation to inpatient on the third day because Medicare requires that.They could not change her status to inpatient for the entire stay because they didn’t want to be audited.She couldn’t go to acute rehabilitation, which Medicare pays for, because there was no evidence she had had a stroke or heart attack.They didn’t say much about her medical care. It was all about the rules.For the record, my mother has no money. She lives on Social Security. She has no car, no house, no savings. My siblings and I help pay her bills.And now they were saying she had to leave the hospital. But she obviously couldn’t go home.Holy Cross kept her one more night — at no charge — while we figured out where she could go. They said she could apply for Medicaid, and a social worker handed me a 17-page application. I picked a handful of rehab centers from a list, after a quick search of reviews on my iPhone. One was full, one rejected her because she was listed as “Medicaid pending,” and finally, Genesis Healthcare said they would take her — on the condition that I come by with a $12,000 check that day.So I did.Rules, rules, rulesSo now I was out $12,000 — borrowed from a home equity line of credit — and I wanted to know why.And here’s what I learned.Medicare, in its zillions of pages of guidelines and regulations, has two competing rules. The first says patients must spend three nights as a hospital inpatient to qualify for inpatient rehabilitation or skilled nursing care once they’re discharged. The second encourages hospitals to keep patients on observation status or risk being audited.The reason? Medicare pays more for short inpatient stays than short outpatient stays. But once a patient has been at the hospital for a number of days, that calculus flips, and outpatients end up costing more. So in its effort to control costs, Medicare forces hospitals to justify their decisions about inpatient and outpatient status.”It was always kind of assumed that when you go to the hospital, people know what hospital care is,” says Judy Stein, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Medicare Advocacy. “Hospital admission is when you’re admitted to the hospital.”Her group is leading a class-action lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services, seeking to give patients the right to appeal their status as observation patients.Stein says the use of observation status has grown dramatically in the past decade, in part because Medicare has become far more aggressive in going after hospitals the agency said were inappropriately — and expensively — admitting patients who didn’t need hospital care.A study in the journal Health Affairs found that the number of Medicare patients who spent three or more days in a hospital under observation rose 88 percent from 2007 to 2009. That increase came just after Congress authorized Medicare to use contractors to audit hospitals for overcharges. But the trend in observation care has continued.A report by the HHS inspector general found that in fiscal year 2014, more than 633,000 Medicare beneficiaries spent three or more days in the hospital but were considered outpatients, an increase of 8 percent over the previous year. A separate report found that in 2012, about 24,000 patients went to skilled nursing homes or rehab centers and had to pay their own way.New UnitHoly Cross built a dedicated observation unit around 2011, according to Yancy Phillips, the hospital’s chief quality officer, who spoke to me at length about the use of observation status.That was where my mother spent those four nights. She had her own room, with glass doors that were covered by a curtain. The nurses station was right outside her door. It looks like a cross between a traditional patient floor and the emergency room. Doctors came around at least once a day.Phillips says that Holy Cross has no financial motive to classify patients like my mother one way or another because Maryland law requires the same payment for the same services. It’s the only state with such rules.But the hospital still has to follow Medicare’s rules when it comes to inpatient and observation care.”There’s really no financial advantage to us except if we get the status wrong,” he said. “Medicare has come back to us and said, ‘No, no, no, this should not have been an inpatient.’ “When that happens, Medicare pays nothing at all.To avoid losing money, Holy Cross, like many other hospitals, uses “decision support” software — in this case a package called InterQual, sold by McKesson — that guides doctors or case managers in making the call on whether a person should be admitted or kept on “observation.”The programs are designed to ensure that hospitals don’t get dinged by Medicare for overcharging or providing inappropriate services.Phillips says doctors use their own judgment about whether a patient should be admitted. But he also acknowledges that InterQual is embedded in the electronic health record software used at Holy Cross. It was likely this program that concluded that my mother didn’t meet Medicare’s criteria for inpatient care.The thing about all this is that this problem is well-known to everybody involved.But lawmakers and Medicare haven’t taken action to fix it.A bipartisan group of lawmakers, led by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., have proposed bills multiple times that would simply require Medicare to count all the time patients spend in a hospital toward its requirements for nursing care.The House version attracted 162 co-sponsors from both parties, but neither bill has gotten a hearing on Capitol Hill or been close to a vote.Jonathan Blum, the former Medicare director at CMS, suggests another fix: Get rid of the three-night requirement altogether.”It’s really an artifact,” he said. “It was put in place as a budgetary control and it was designed when the average length of a hospital stay was seven, eight or nine days.”Everyone I talked with agrees that the root of the problem is money. There has been no formal analysis from the Congressional Budget Office, but most people believe that eliminating the three-night requirement would end up costing the government more money.”These are insurance rules. They’re policies. They can be changed,” says Phillips of Holy Cross Hospital. “But it would have enormous financial implications for the country. And we may have an appetite for tax cuts, but I don’t see that we have an appetite for something that would increase Medicare costs.”It’s not clear that it would cost more, however. Two pilot programs from the late 1970s showed mixed results from eliminating the three-night rule, with Medicare costs rising in Massachusetts, but falling in Oregon, according to an article in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.That article concluded, however, that the rule may be preventing patients from getting appropriate care.And that would have been the case with my mother, who couldn’t have written a $12,000 check to secure a rehab bed for herself.Two weeks into her therapy at the Sligo Center, my mother fell again. This time, she broke her hip and needed hip replacement surgery. Because she didn’t stay the whole month getting rehab care, I got a refund of about $6,000.Under Medicare’s rules, that surgery meant she was automatically eligible for post-surgical rehab care. So after she was released from the hospital, she went to a new center — no deposit required. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more

North Carolinas attorney general is joining a law

first_imgNorth Carolina’s attorney general is joining a lawsuit against a health data company that allegedly lost private patient data to hackers.Attorney General Josh Stein announced this week he’s joining 11 other states in suing Indiana-based Medical Informatics Engineering for violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, also known as HIPAA.According to Stein, in May 2015, hackers infiltrated an app called WebChart that’s run by MIE. They then stole the private information of nearly 4 million people, including tens of thousands of North Carolinians.The information potentially included everything from names, to Social Security numbers, to disabilities and medical conditions.Stein says the state is joining the suit in an effort to push companies to do a better job of protecting private information.This is the first time that multiple attorneys general have come together to pursue a HIPAA-related data breach case.last_img read more

LinkedIn to Unveil Tools to Connect CoWorkers

first_img January 14, 2015 Entrepreneur Staff 2 min read Communication Strategies LinkedIn to Unveil Tools to Connect Co-Workers Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Updated Jan. 15 at 1 p.m. ET with comments from LinkedIn spokespersonLinkedIn doesn’t just want to help you find a job — now it wants to help you connect and share with your coworkers and managers once you land there. As Facebook enters into the corporate space with the rollout of Facebook at Work, LinkedIn is working on several new features for businesses.The first product will begin its pilot program in a few weeks’ time – when an employee searches for a fellow colleague, he or she will be directed to a dedicated profile page that is only visible internally. The page will have the information that is available on their public profile, as well as pertinent employee information and current projects.Related: 8 Types of Photos You Should Never Use on Your LinkedIn Profile  A LinkedIn spokesperson told Entrepreneur that these pages are designed to create a more comprehensive employee directory. This feature will also let colleagues who aren’t connected on the site send a free introductory InMail message to one another. LinkedIn is also readying a feature to better help companies recruit via content marketing. The function will allow employees to join internal interest groups to receive and share company content – and for the group members to then share that content with their networks. There will be an analytics component as well, with employer admins being able to track what content is being engaged with the most – a move that makes sense given the push for original content on the site, especially by LinkedIn Influencers. Related: How to Find the Most Fascinating People on LinkedIn Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.center_img Nina Zipkin Next Article Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. –shares Add to Queue Enroll Now for $5last_img read more

The Expensive Benefit Plan Penalties Youll Want to Avoid

first_img –shares The Expensive Benefit Plan Penalties You’ll Want to Avoid Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Next Article Add to Queue 4 min read Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. August 15, 2016 Founder and CEO of Namelycenter_img Image credit: Rob Daly | Getty Images Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Employee Benefits 2016 has been a whirlwind year for employer legislation and compliance, and things aren’t slowing down. In July, the Department of Labor (DOL) finalized a list of increased penalty amounts for violations related to employee benefits and pay — some of which haven’t been updated since 1997.With so many updated penalties, regulatory agencies including the DOL and IRS are bound to pay closer attention to compliance, and employers need to be ready. Here’s a look at some regulations with the biggest increased penalties and how to ensure compliance:Form 5500 FilingMost employers who offer a 401(k) plan are required to file Form 5500 every year, and the penalty for missing it is steep. The current penalty from the DOL can run up to $1,100 per day, and it’s set to almost double — $2,063 per day with no maximum.How to avoid: Employers who offer 401(k) plans should mark their calendars to remind them when the return is due. The return must be filed by the last day of the seventh month after the plan year ends. So for calendar-year plans, the due date is July 31.Determine who is responsible to file the return — don’t just assume that someone will do it. Talk with HR and decide exactly who will file the return and when.If the form does get missed, file it late anyway. After all, better late than never, and the IRS does offer penalty relief for late filers under certain conditions.Group Health Plan NoticesBefore the start of each plan year, employers must provide their employees with a summary of benefits and coverage. In addition, those who provide coverage in states with premium assistance through Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Programs (CHIP) must inform employees of (CHIP) coverage opportunities, as well. The penalty for failing to provide a summary of benefits will increase from $1,000 to $1,087 per failure, while penalties for CHIP notices will be $110 per day, up from $100.How to avoid: Even if employers aren’t located in a state that provides Medicaid or CHIP, they have to notify all employees who live in such states. For organizations with employees spanning multiple states or with employees who work out of state, staying compliant can get tricky.First, employers need to determine whether they will supply CHIP notices to all employees to cover their bases, or whether they will take the time to determine which employees live in states that require the notices.Either way, coupling CHIP notices and summary of benefits together can make compliance easier. Package the information together and send them to employees at the same time. That way, employers are much less likely to forget an important piece of information.Related: How Small-Business Owners Can Win the Health Insurance GameAutomatic Enrollment InformationEmployers who offer retirement plans with automatic contribution arrangements, most commonly 401(k) plans, are required to inform employees of their rights and obligations under the plan. If they don’t provide the required notices, they face a penalty of $1,632 per day, up from $1,000.How to avoid: The type of notices required will depend on the kind of plan the employer offers. So to stay compliant, review the plan type and what is needed in the notice. Overall, notices need to be comprehensive, accurate and understandable by the average employee.Related: What the Self-Employed Need to Know About ObamacareBlackout PeriodsUsually, 401(k) plans allow employees to adjust their investment options, but blackout periods prevent employees from doing so. Blackouts happen when employers change plan service providers. They can last days, weeks or months and block participants from making any changes to their plans.Although there is no legal limit to a blackout period, employers must let employees know when a significant one is coming, or face penalty amounts up to $131 per day, up from $100.Related: 7 Types of Insurance You Need to Protect Your BusinessHow to avoid: If a blackout period will last more than three days, employers must provide a written notice to all plan participants and beneficiaries at least 30 days before the blackout begins. Staying compliant is all about preparation.Plan provider changes well in advance and let employees know as soon as possible. If notices are sent out early, they’re less likely to get lost in the shuffle of a provider switch. Guest Writer Matt Straz Register Now »last_img read more

For Highly Reputable Senders 91 Percent of Emails Reach Their Intended Audience—Compared

first_imgNew Research From Return Path Shows Sender Reputation and Email Deliverability Are Tightly LinkedEmail data solutions provider Return Path released its 2019 Sender Score Benchmark. Using comprehensive data from Sender Score and Return Path’s Reputation Network, this annual report provides expert analysis and insights on how reputation impacts inbox placement for commercial email senders.“Sender reputation offers unique insight into the source of each email, making it a key factor in those filtering decisions.”Based on analysis of more than 4 trillion email messages, The 2019 Sender Score Benchmark reveals that highly reputable email marketers are far more likely to reach their intended audience than peers with lower reputation scores. For example, senders scoring 91-100 (the best possible reputation score) had 91 percent of their messages delivered. This figure drops to 71 percent for senders scoring 81-90, and 44 percent for senders scoring 71-80.“Email remains the marketer’s go-to channel. But if email doesn’t reach the inbox, brands lose the opportunity to connect with customers and ultimately make a sale—so every message counts,” said Tom Sather, senior director of research at Return Path. “Since the initial Sender Score Benchmark Report in 2012, our research has consistently shown a clear link between reputation and deliverability. That’s why monitoring your reputation and maintaining it at the highest level possible is critical to email marketing success.”Marketing Technology News: PepsiCo Foodservice Unveils New Digital Lab to Help Restaurants Thrive In The Evolving Digital MarketplaceSpam complaints are one important factor used by mailbox providers in determining which messages are unwanted and should be filtered to the junk folder. Not surprisingly, there is also a strong correlation between spam complaints and sender reputation. While year-over-year spam complaints were higher across the board, senders scoring 91-100 had an average complaint rate of just 0.9 percent. For senders scoring 81-90, this metric jumped to 4.7 percent—more than five times higher than the best senders.“Mailbox providers face competition just like any other business, so they are constantly improving their filtering algorithms to create a better inbox experience for their users,” continued Sather. “Sender reputation offers unique insight into the source of each email, making it a key factor in those filtering decisions.”Marketing Technology News: Motionloft named a 2019 Gartner “Cool Vendor” in Location Services and ApplicationsThe overall quality of email has increased dramatically since Return Path’s first Sender Score Benchmark Report. In 2012, that report found that 60 percent of all email was sent by the least reputable senders—those with a Sender Score of 10 or less—while the best senders accounted for just six percent of total volume. Today, 42 percent of email comes from top senders, while email from the least reputable senders is down to just 16 percent. This shift can be attributed to the evolution of filtering technology and an increased focus on sender reputation at the mailbox provider level, all of which has made it more difficult—and far less profitable—for spammers to deliver their messages.Marketing Technology News: Verasity Announces Integration with YouTube For Highly Reputable Senders, 91 Percent of Emails Reach Their Intended Audience—Compared to 70 Percent or Less for All Other Senders PRNewswireMay 23, 2019, 5:09 pmMay 23, 2019 Email Data SolutionsMarketing TechnologyNewsReputation Networkreturn pathSender ScoreSender Score Benchmark Previous ArticleMediafly Unveils New Sales Enablement Platform Experience for the Future of Evolved SellingNext ArticleSurvey: 96% of Enterprises Encounter Training Data Quality and Labeling Challenges in Machine Learning Projectslast_img read more