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THE SEARCHLIGHT MESSENGER
THE SEARCHLIGHT MESSENGER
|Posted on October 9, 2016 at 1:35 PM||comments (27)|
Frustrated with the suppressing effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the continued sky rocketing costs of health care, this Fall, Colorado will vote on Amendment 69, a petition induced amendment to the Constitution of the State of Colorado.
If passed, this single payer health insurance program will go into effect over an 18 month period. It's goal? To eliminate insurance premiums (about $8,000 to $12,000 per family annually), "un-affordable deductibles" (as much as $7,000 per family), and any out of pocket expenses like co-pays.
Understand, the only way to move away from the Affordable Care Act is for states to make a better and more affordable but fiscally solvent plan on their own. So again, Colorado spearheads a change in the law of the land, thumbing their noses at the Federal Government's inadequacies, and taking on the task themselves to protect Colorado's citizens.
It will start with a thirty-eight billion dollar budget through a state income tax increase of ten percent, and provide universal health coverage, choking off the profit seeking behaviors of national private insurers, and will save Colorado six billion dollars a year.
If passed, the first year of the plan will be directed by a 15 member interim Board of Trustees chosen by state legislative leadership and the Governor. This will be followed by an election of professionals and community members to the Board of Trustees to over-see and manage all "ColoradoCare" operations, with elections held annually thereafter. Amendment 69 outlines the length of the terms of the elected trustees, term limits, and procedures for filling vacancies. ColoradoCare Trustees are not subject to recall elections, but may be removed by a majority vote of the board.
Essentially, the State of Colorado will be carved into seven districts, with each district electing three board members each (total of 21). in the last year, It has been well known in professional medical and academic circles that VENTURE XVII supports this amendment. The B.E.A.M. Foundation will be funding the campaigns of two of it's members to run for ColoradoCare Board of Trustees positions. Yes, VENTURE XVII is actively involved, as three of the B.E.A.M. Foundation's positions are to alleviate poverty, create economic empowerment, and promote accessible healthcare to all. In addition, the B.E.A.M. Foundation supports Senator Bernie Sander's initiatives to make healthcare "a right of our citizens".
Unfortunately, the United States is the only first world economy where you can still be bankrupted by a medical condition. This is considered unconscionable by many, and Colorado feels compelled to act instead of talk (which has been going on now for over thirty years). Did you know that over sixty percent of bankruptcies are induced by medical expenses? Did you know that over forty percent of foreclosures are induced by medical problems?
The insurance companies keep getting richer, and our premiums and out of pocket costs keep going up and are crushing our citizens. When I see a patient for 15 minutes, I spend an hour on paperwork and coding or the insurance company will not compensate me for the visit, even if it's only for a Medicaid copay. Enough is enough! Colorado is fed up. Colorado not only has the resources, but the means to carry this through, and maintain it indefinitely.
Isn't it interesting that all of the media advertising opposing the amendment is backed by Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Health Care, Kaiser Permanente, The Travelers, other small cap insurance entities and those invested in the insurance industry. Why, you ask? Because if this passes, they will no longer write insurance in Colorado, and will lose market share of almost nine million insured lives. Do the math.
Gaining health insurance is an important step in ensuring access to healthcare. Without insurance coverage, many patients would not be able to pay for the medical services they receive. But so far, no policy attempted in the United States, not even the Affordable Care Act, has been able to bring coverage to everyone or reign in costs. ColoradoCare attempts to solve that situation.
ColoradoCare would automatically cover everyone whose primary residence is in Colorado. The system would include people who currently can’t afford insurance, don’t want it, or don’t qualify for existing programs because they are immigrants who lack documentation.
Supporters say universal, publicly financed coverage would save money and time that is currently spent on insurance bureaucracy and paperwork, and allow patients to see any provider who agrees to contract with ColoradoCare.
Opponents (the insurance companies) argue the opposite, saying the proposed system would limit Coloradans’ choices about their health plans, restrain market competition and leave too many important details to be decided in the future. Typical corporate rhetoric.
The issue here is typical of all politics. There will be a tax increase. Everybody gets itchy when we talk about tax increases. But this initiative has a silver lining of beneficence: State of the Art Healthcare, but at no cost to the citizens of Colorado.
Here's an example of its impact on a family of four paying $1000 in state income tax per year. Now their income tax is $1100, but they didn't have to pay $12,000 in premiums in addition to if a family member was hospitalized, the $7,000 deductible they would most likely have to borrow.
Keep your eyes on Colorado. If this works well over the next three years, you will see other states take notice and use our system as a template for their own.
I understand when you read this, you can see that it is slanted to the "Yes Vote". But it's also about doing the right thing. We have the resources (remember all that money we're making from Weed?), We have some of the best medical and business minds in the nation right here. We can make a difference.
For an independent analysis, please go to: http://colorado69.org/
Keep reading, and Stay healthy.
|Posted on May 6, 2016 at 1:06 PM||comments (14)|
The staff of VENTURE XVII, based in Calgary, is currently volunteering with evacuation of Northern Alberta, Canada. This is getting out of control. In 2012 We were fighting the Waldo Canyon and Lake George Fires in Colorado. A year later, We were fighting the Black Forest Fire North of Colorado Springs.
The infamous Hayman Fire, rolled on us fourteen years ago, virtually killing some of the most beautiful and pristine wilderness on the backside of The Rampart Range of Colorado. Yeah, 140,000 acres of it. Then the Montana Fires of 2007. Half a million acres wiped out in two months!
But this thing. He's a killer! in just 3 days, he's already consumed over 350 square miles. Been really hard to reign him in. Fires are always our worst fear up here in the Rockies. Whether in the Yukon up North or the San Juans in the South, it's all Alpine Forest with interlacing meadows and tributaries of grasslands.
When I worked with my friends, The Chippewa Cree in Montana, they would tell me that the elders would always point out that the fires were "A Cleansing", and to respect them. They consider fires a natural part of the wilderness and as natural as the Sun rising every morning. I can't help but agree with this, but times have changed, and as Man moves deeper into our forests, more of us depend on our forests and grasslands for our survival.
The teachings of our Native American Fathers should be respected at every turn, but we are no longer nomadic people, and can't just pick up and move when a cleansing comes calling. Whole cities, transportation infrastructure, farmland, livestock, and our sources of water and food can go up in smoke overnight, turning our world upside down.
This one's going to rock our world for a while. The best professional fire fighters in the world are on it! "Film at eleven"!
|Posted on March 22, 2016 at 2:54 PM||comments (18)|
|Posted on February 12, 2016 at 10:38 PM||comments (17)|
Yeah, those orange guys from the Rocky Mountains.
The Denver Broncos are, you guessed it.... Cam Newton's Kryptonite!
During Denver's roller coaster ride of a football season (and a fun one it was) four things remained consistent with the Super-champion Broncos: John, The Duke, Elway’s leadership, Kube’s Steadfast posture as an executive coach, Wade’s artistry as a defensive coordinator ( Yeah! He’s an Artist!) And finally, the deep talent and speed of Denver’s Defense.
Remember, this season Denver shut down an up-until-then, undefeated and playoff seasoned and very mobile Aaron Rodgers (his worst game ever), and then, shut down Tom Brady...... Twice!
Why would anyone think Cam Newton could fare any better? I'm scratching my head on that so-called expert prediction.
Cam Newton has no serious playoff experience. And when faced with Superdefense, Superman, turned into, well, mush. They scared the crap out of him, then ate him for supper!
From the coaches to the players, John Elway put together the best defense the Denver Broncos have ever paraded onto a football field. Yeah, even better than the Gradishar and Louie Wright Crush Boys! Next season, they're adding an offense. Just to make things interesting.
I've been watching this team with a microscope since I was a little kid in 1965. Seen everything from Tripuka, Tensi, and the M&M Connection, to Elway, Jake the Snake, and The Sheriff.
I can remember when Hank Stram would bring the Chiefs (Lenny Dawson, Ed Podolak, Willy Lanier, and Jim Lynch) into Denver, and just beat the crap out of the Broncos, they were so bad sometimes. It seemed like they came to Denver just to rack up their stats.
I was there at the Birth of the Raider rivalry in 1965 under Tom Flores heaved bombs, then got to watch the eventual reckoning the Raiders would suffer in 1977.
Oh, and who could forget the always inebriated “No Respect, Howard Cosell’s” stupid foot in the mouth comments, that whole season! What a dick! Oh, yeah, “That’s Right, Jackson”!
Yes! You hear me say that all the time! But the quote is actually from Don Meredith. He couldn’t stand him either. If you weren’t watching Monday Night Football in the Seventies, You have no idea what I’m talkin about. Too bad for you.
I have had the pleasure of watching all 10 Denver AFC Championship games. Yeah, ten! Here’s one!
One of my friends, Tim, had a neighbor and friend lose it, then run across the street to his house so he could sit in his “Lucky Chair”. There were only 5 minutes left in the AFC Championship game (played in the Cleveland “Dog Pound”) with Cleveland leading by a touchdown. Tim and all of us just waved at him, said “ Okay, buddy”, then turned around to continue watching the game and biting what was left of our fingernails. Then.... Boom!
We were witness to one of the greatest playoff comeback games in NFL history. “The Drive” and it’s legendary clutch third downs, exploded all over us! It was Epic, in your Face, Hostile Crowd throwing Dog Biscuits and Batteries, Mud with Blood streaked and splashed all over everybody, Duel To The Death Football! And it was The Browns fans who named it “The Drive”!
Every time I watch that 98 yard drive, I just smile. Quietly remembering..... “Lucky Chair! Lucky Chair!”
Then there’s “This One's For John”, which may have been the best Super Bowl ever! And I’ve seen damn near all of them. Another game won in the fourth quarter. Favre vs Elway! Davis vs that Green Bay Wall! They broke the NFC hold on the Championship. Yeah, the NFC had won every Super Bowl for thirteen straight years. Then the Broncos road into town. Dominated the Packers, who were picked to win by 12 points. Won the Championship! Are you kidding me?
And now this! The Coolest, most Dramatic, and even Historic Broncos season I've ever seen unfurl! And boy did it unfurl! Not only that, but SUPER BOWL 50!.... I’ve seen it all, man! You just Know there’s going to be a movie!
Since that November day at Bears Stadium in Denver when the Broncos and Raiders became arch-enemies in front of this little kid, I’ve been a card carrying Broncos Fan, even though I had to endure Lou Saban “in my formidable years”. Ha ha! .... You laugh!
Just ask Floyd “The Franchise” Little!
I met Little at a Howells Department Store quite by accident when I was in Junior High. I was there shopping for jeans, and I bumped into him. He was looking at suits. All I could do was talk about how great He was, and although Saban had drafted him (The only good thing that came from him), I thought Saban was a poor field tactician, and didn’t use Floyd right. Little was cool! He was reassuring. But little did he know... I knew better. So did every other fan out there.
Throughout my junior high and high school years, Floyd was all we had.
Thank God for John Ralston! Everything changed after him. He was the architect who designed, drafted, then built The Orange Crush defensive unit. By the way, why isn’t he on the Ring of Fame?
My how the Broncs have changed. From those really bad teams in the sixties to the “State of the Art” in professional football. The Broncos have won more games than any other team in the NFL since 1977, when they first made the playoffs with the Orange Crush. Bet you didn’t know that.
The year of the Super Defense and Giant Killers, Ladies and Gentlemen I give you, The Denver Broncos.
That’s Right, Jackson! I’m a fan!
Now that was fun!
|Posted on January 31, 2016 at 12:14 AM||comments (16)|
|Posted on September 12, 2015 at 7:24 PM||comments (11)|
|Posted on January 24, 2015 at 6:33 PM||comments (10)|
Two recent studies in the Journal of the American Medical Association are sparking fresh controversy over the effectiveness of, and need for, the maintenance of certification (MOC) requirements mandated by the American Board of Internal Medcine (ABIM.)
The studies in JAMA’s December 10 issue both look at MOC’s impact on the costs and quality of patient care, although in different ways. The first study, led by ABIM’s Bradley Gray, Ph.D., compared costs and outcomes for two groups of Medicare beneficiaries during the years 1999-2005: one group treated by internists who received board certification in 1991, and were thus required to recertify in 2001, and a second group treated by internists who certified in 1989, and were thus grandfathered out of ABIM’s recertification requirements.
The study used a quality measure the annual incidence of ambulatory care-sensitive hospitalizations (ACSH) per 1000 beneficiaries. (The authors define ACSH as “hospitalizations triggered by conditions thought to be potentially preventable through better access to and quality of outpatient care.”)
The study found no statistically significant association in ACSH growth between the MOC-required and MOC-grandfathered physicians, but did find a 2% slower growth in the cost of care provided by the physicians who had to recertify compared with the grandfathered cohort.
The second study, led by John Hayes, MD, of the Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, compared performance data of 71 MOC-required and 34 MOC-grandfathered physicians at four VA medical centers, including Zablocki, for 12 months starting in October, 2012. The ten performance measurements ranged from colorectal screening to blood pressure control to post-myocardial infarction use of aspirin. It found “there were no significant differences between those with time-limited ABIM certification and those with time-unlimited ABIM certification om 10 primary care performance measures.”
While the study results might appear to provide ammunition to MOC opponents, an accompanying editorial by Thomas Lee, MD, MSc, chief medical officer for Press Ganey and a practicing internist, notes that “another assessment might be that the effect of MOC is unknown at best and that changes to its structure must be undertaken with caution and sensitivity to their effect on physicians’ professional lives.”
Lee points out that ACSH, the outcome measure used in the Gray-led study, “was designed to assess access to primary care in populations, not the quality of care delivered by individual physicians” and applied only to about 80 patients in each participating physician’s panel. Moreover, “the 2% reduction in spending is as large or larger than the savings recorded by Medicare accountable care organizations in their first two years, so further study to determine if this finding is real and reproducible is critical.”
(Gray and his co-authors note in their study that even small per-patient savings, when extrapolated over Medicare’s nearly 50 million beneficiaries, would far exceed the costs of administering the MOC program.)
The most significant finding of the Hayes study, Lee says, is that all the performance measurements were significantly better than those of the general population, regardless of whether the patient received care from a MOC-required or MOC-grandfathered physicians, and thus “provide a reminder that healthcare today has become team-based.”
In mid-December JAMA convened a webcast to discuss the studies’ findings and answer questions. Judging by tweets accompanying the events, MOC’s critics remain unconvinced of the value of ongoing recertification.
|Posted on January 12, 2015 at 9:40 AM||comments (8)|