It’s no secret that medical malpractice suits are big money for attorneys, and an equally big risk for doctors and hospitals, but what about medical mistakes that are rooted in simple human error? What about those mistakes that could be used to teach doctors better medicine? Do those really require the same intensity of legal pursuit? [Read more…]
Senator Tom D. Harkin (D-Iowa) issued a press release yesterday morning, about the status of disabled employees in the American workplace.
Because we feel this issue is important, we are running the full text of the release:
WASHINGTON, April 12 — The office of Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, issued the following news release:
This morning, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) gave the keynote address at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Corporate Disability Employment Summit. A longtime champion for people with disabilities, Harkin sponsored the Americans with Disabilities Act, and as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, he recently held a hearing to identify barriers to employment for people with intellectual disabilities and strategies that have successfully improved employment opportunities. Today, he sounded the alarm on a disturbing trend: more than two thirds of Americans with disabilities are without a job, and adults with disabilities are leaving the labor force during this recession at more than 10 times the rate of adults without disabilities. Harkin called on the CEOs and business owners in the audience to join him in his goal of increasing the number of disabled Americans in the workforce from 4.9 million today to 6 million in 2015.
“As we enter into the third decade of implementation of the ADA, my central priority is improving employment opportunities and outcomes for people with disabilities. The ADA and the special education laws have combined to produce the best-educated population of people with disabilities in U.S. history. And yet, while the majority of them would like to be working, the shocking fact is that more than two thirds of Americans with disabilities are without a job. In fact, now that the Bureau of Labor Statistics is reporting regularly on the employment situation for people with disabilities, we have strong evidence that it has gotten disproportionately worse for workers with disabilities in the last two years. According to BLS data, between March of 2009 and March of this year, the size of the disability workforce shrunk by 395,000 workers to about 4.9 million workers,” Harkin said in his remarks.
“When this drop is compared with broader labor force trends, you can see that more than one in three American adults who have left the labor force in the last two years have been people with disabilities. That means that, during this recession, adults with disabilities have been leaving the labor force at a rate more than 10 times the rate of adults without disabilities. This disturbing trend line has not received much attention from policymakers or the public. We need to recognize that it has a huge budgetary and social cost. For example, it has been accompanied by increases in applications for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, which have grown from an average of 200,000 new applications per month at the beginning of 2008 to an average of close to 250,000 per month by the end of 2010.
“If we work together, I believe we can set a realistic goal of increasing the number of adults with disabilities participating in the labor force from 4.9 million, today, to 6 million by 2015. Expanding the disability workforce by more than one million workers in four years is achievable if we get serious about making it happen.I want your ideas and I am asking for your collaboration so that our policies are producing real results on the ground–real results that become jobs for people with disabilities and a strong, talented and loyal workforce for businesses. If there are federal policies that are getting in the way of your efforts, I want to hear about those too so we can do something about them. Making a real impact on disability employment numbers is one of my top priorities and will remain so as long as I am in the Senate.”
Okay, look, we all know that health insurance is less expensive for people who need it the least – those of us who are healthy and fit – but does that mean we need to avoid all the fun of holiday eating just to make sure our premiums don’t increase? Not at all. As with anything, moderation is key. If you are counting calories though, here are the typical calorie counts of some Thanksgiving favorites, courtesy of The Coverage Corner blog.
White and Dark Turkey Meat: 3.5 ounces of white meat has 1.66 grams of fat and about 161 calories, while same amount of dark meat has just slightly more fat and calories.
Bread Stuffing: One ounce of bread stuffing has 1 gram of fat, 109 calories, and 21.6 total grams of carbohydrates.
Cranberry Sauce (canned, sweetened): One serving (277 grams) of canned cranberry sauce has 0 grams of fat, 418 calories, and 108 total grams of carbohydrates.
Cranberry Sauce (homemade): One serving (209 grams) of homemade cranberry sauce has 9.8 grams of fat, 434 calories, and 90.1 grams of carbohydrates.
Mashed Potatoes: One cup of homemade mashed potatoes with whole milk and butter has 8.9 grams of fat, 237 calories, and 35.2 total carbohydrates.
Homemade Green Bean Casserole: One serving of homemade green bean casserole has 6 grams of fat, 95 calories, and 11 total grams of carbohydrates.
Pumpkin Pie: An average slice of pumpkin pie has 18.99 grams of fat, 372.6 calories, 45.61 total grams of carbohydrates.
Oh, and, speaking of the whole white meat vs. dark meat debate, let your taste buds be your guide. While white meat has slightly less fat and calories, dark meat is higher in iron, zinc, and vitamin B.
Environmental and health officials in Louisiana are requesting that federal safety officials take steps to protect the health of those who are helping with the clean-up of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Alan Levine, Health and Hospitals Secretary, and Peggy Hatch, Environmental Quality Secretary, say that daily reports of illness and injuries have them concerned that clean-up workers aren’t getting proper protection. They are worried enough that they’ve asked OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) to investigate.
“Reports of injuries and illness among workers hired by British Petroleum and its subcontractors are steadily increasing,” said the letter signed by Health and Hospitals Secretary Alan Levine and Environmental Quality Secretary Peggy Hatch. They continued, “We also are receiving daily reports of other injuries and illnesses that have us concerned that proper protections are not being taken and protocols followed,” but did not provide further details.
BP may bring 3,000 more clean-up workers to their state, the secretaries say, and they want to ensure that every one of them receives the necessary training, supplies, and protective equipment.
In Louisiana hospitals, doctors have reported that some of the workers are seeking treatment for respiratory issues, headaches and nausea. (An unspoken concern is the massive amount of paperwork for health insurance claims.)
The letter to OSHA also said that the Department of Health and Hospitals has begun “an aggressive surveillance and monitoring system to catalog worker-related illnesses and exposure complaints.” It asked for a list of worker complaints made to OSHA and the federal agency’s findings.
Last Friday, June 4th, Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an order to let out-of-state paramedics help with emergency care for oil cleanup workers.
With all the talk of health insurance reform, including much reference to pre-existing conditions, and rules on when coverage may be canceled by an insurer, it’s natural to wonder exactly who is “in charge” of all that information. The answer? The MIB, that stands for Medical Insurance Board, and they’re a membership organization owned by life insurance companies in the United States and Canada.
Their purpose is to maintain a database which allows their member companies to exchange “confidential information of underwriting significance” whenever someone applies disability income, health insurance, life insurance, long term care, or critical illness insurance. This information is submitted to the MIB whenever an insurance application is completed, transmitted in a coded, encrypted format which ensures that confidential information remains so.
What does your MIB file include? If you’ve ever looked at the invoice for a doctor visit, before or after insurance, you’ve probably noticed that there’s a code number attached to every procedure and every complaint. That coded information, which identifies everything from medical conditions to tests to some non-medical items of data like hazardous hobbies or a dangerous job, is reported by MIB members (your doctor or hospital) to the MIB, itemized under fairly general categories. Don’t worry, the MIB doesn’t have the details; they only get a coded “resume” provided by the member.
When you apply for insurance coverage, underwriters at your insurer compare the information on your application to the coded information your file. No decisions – such as declining to offer coverage, or charging you a higher premium – can be made entirely on the basis of these coded reports, but they are used as an alert system.
If you wish to find out if you have an MIB file, and what information it contains, the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, as amended by the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, allows you make an annual request for free disclosure of your report. Only you can make the request, and you’ll be required to answer some identifying information before it’s released.