The presidential challenge coin is now Trumpified and MDC says, it looks tacky.
The commander in chief took a hands-on role in the redesign of the challenge coin, a medallion that presidents hand out as mementos, according to reports.
The new presidential hardware screams Trump. The coin is shiny and gold — a change from the drab, brass-colored look of coins issued by his predecessors, like the one from former President Barack Obama.
The US motto, “E pluribus unum,” has been replaced by Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
In addition, the coins are no longer round. Instead, they have a “Donald J. Trump” banner on the bottom edge.
Angelia Fowler was surprised to learn that the debt-collection agency she says is ruining her life is owned by the hospital company that saved it.
Fowler had been sick for months in November 2015 when her son finally took her to the emergency room with what turned out to be pneumonia. She spent much of the next month in a coma in intensive care at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida.
The bill arrived in January. After discounts, the hospital wanted her to pay $80,770. Other bills from specialists boosted the sum she owed above six figures, enough to buy a condo in West Palm Beach. It was a sum she couldn’t pay.
Millions of patients like Fowler are on the receiving end of the health-care industry’s collections machine. The amount of past-due medical debt in the U.S. is about $75 billion, spread among 43 million people, according to estimates from economists at MIT, Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. About half of all collections lines on credit reports are related to medical debt, a 2014 report (PDF) from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau showed.
Fowler, who is uninsured and doesn’t qualify for Medicaid in Florida, lives off unemployment and help from her son, a chef. The bill from St. Mary’s went to a collections agency called Central Financial Control, which reported it to credit bureaus. Though Fowler attained a Master of Business Administration degree online this fall, she said three employers have declined to hire her because of the medical debt, a practice that’s legal in Florida and 38 other states.
“When you’re handed this type of debt because of health reasons, it is like a set of debt handcuffs,” said Fowler, who is now 60. “It throws your life off trajectory.”
Though Fowler didn’t realize it, St. Mary’s Medical Center and Central Financial Control are both owned by Tenet Healthcare Corp., the for-profit hospital operator. As Tenet and other hospital companies struggle to make money providing medical care, they are turning to the profitable and growing business of collecting debt.
Most hospitals have finance departments or outside companies that try to ensure they get paid by insurers and patients. But Tenet has gone a step further than most, turning its operation into a separate business line called Conifer and contracting its services to other medical providers.
Conifer serves the 77 hospitals Tenet operates. It also works for more than 700 others, including hospitals run by the nonprofit Catholic Health Initiatives, which owns a minority stake in the business. The collections agency that contacted Fowler, Central Financial Control, is the operating name of a Conifer subsidiary called Syndicated Office Systems LLC.
Conifer is one of the few bright spots at Tenet. The Dallas-based company is selling off hospitals to manage its $15 billion debt load. Even as Tenet has unloaded hospitals, it keeps them on as clients of Conifer, according to the company’s earnings presentation (PDF) last month. Acting Chief Executive Officer Ronald Rittenmeyer, during Tenet’s earnings call Nov. 7, said he plans to cut jobs at Conifer, which employed 15,570 people at the end of 2016.
While Conifer accounts for just 5 percent of Tenet’s revenue, it has an outsize influence on the company’s bottom line. Measured by earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, Conifer’s margins have been roughly twice as large as those in Tenet’s hospital business. The parent company doesn’t directly report how much Conifer contributes to its net income.
Tenet and Conifer declined to make executives available for an interview. In an emailed statement, Ryan Lieber, a spokesman for St. Mary’s, said that Conifer “helps our patients understand and navigate the financial aspects” of their care, including applying for charity care and other financial help. The business has helped more than 25,000 St. Mary’s patients in the past two years, he said.
Fowler’s account “was never classified as a charity care case,” Lieber said. After Bloomberg asked about her situation, the hospital said it will reach out to her “to close out her account and resolve credit reporting issues.”
Other medical providers are in the collections business. HCA, the nation’s largest for-profit hospital chain, has a subsidiary called Parallon that boasts on its website about collecting $41 billion annually. MedNax Inc., a company that provides staffing to hospitals for such services as anesthesiology and neonatal intensive care, purchased a billing and collections company in 2015.
Medical providers got more sophisticated about billing and collections during the 1990s. That’s when insurers, under pressure to contain costs, became more restrictive about what medical services they would pay for. More recently, insurance policies have put more costs on patients. The average deductible for employer-sponsored coverage more than doubled in the past decade, to $1,505 for an individual. That means hospitals are increasingly chasing payments from individuals as well as insurers.
The business of making sure doctors and hospitals get paid—known in industry jargon as revenue-cycle management—is by one estimate a $24 billion market. Along with billing and collections, it includes verifying patients’ insurance, checking whether they’re eligible for government assistance and making sure the services that doctors provide are properly documented and billed.
Collecting payment has become more important as hospitals’ traditional revenue streams come under pressure. Looming cuts to Medicare reimbursements may make as many as 60 percent of U.S. hospitals unprofitable, compared with about 25 percent currently, according to a 2016 Congressional Budget Office analysis.
“The stakes are higher, the dollars are bigger and therefore, they simply can’t afford to not be good at this,” said Jim Lazarus, managing director at Advisory Board Co., a hospital consulting company.
Tenet’s practices have drawn backlash from patients and regulators for years. In June 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ordered (PDF) Conifer to pay $5 million in relief to consumers. The regulator said it failed to send consumers proper documentation and didn’t adequately respond when debts were disputed.
The bureau has recorded 889 consumer complaints about Tenet since 2013, including 358 so far in 2017. Many don’t mention the hospital company directly but refer instead to Central Financial Control or Syndicated Office Systems. Among complaints about medical debt, only two collections agencies were cited more frequently than Tenet. None of Tenet’s for-profit hospital competitors have a similar record of complaints, although some of those companies outsource the work.
When Fowler was unable to meet her obligation, she appealed online to an organization called RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit that buys debt on the secondary market and forgives it. It was founded by two former collections industry executives. The nonprofit identifies people who can’t pay their medical debts and then tries to raise money to buy the delinquent accounts for pennies on the dollar, forgiving the debt. The charity said it hasn’t yet taken up her account.
Fowler said the hospital never discussed charity care with her and that her attempts to set up a payment plan after she was discharged went nowhere.
“They said nothing to me. I just got this giant bill in the mail,” she said. “I’m very grateful that you saved my life. But does our health care have to decimate us financially? It’s destroying me.”
MDC says, COPS ALWAYS GET A FREE PASS TO KILL !!! They threw away the tasers and decided to go with assault rifles on american citizens. The court doesn’t allow the video or the picture of the officers gun that MDC discovered. What kind of cop, places “YOUR FUCKED” on their gun ? When , ya feel your above the law !!
Police body cam footage shows the moment a Mesa, AZ police officer gunned down an unarmed man in a hotel hallway — a shooting where the jury found the officer not guilty of 2nd degree murder.
The 2016 shooting happened in a hotel where police were responding to a report of someone pointing a gun out a window. Philip Brailsford was one of the responding officers, and in this video you see and hear the cops barking out commands to a man, Daniel Shaver, and woman the moment they walk out of their room.
MDC adds, ALL COPS are LOSERS , 20 year pension play, LOESERS !!!! You hide behind a badge, act like both parties are criminals, COPS have turned into a NAZI CLAN .
Significance. The Maccabees successfully rebelled against Antiochus IV Epiphanes. According to the Talmud, a late text, the Temple was purified and the wicks of the menorah miraculously burned for eight days, even though there was only enough sacred oil for one day’s lighting. Celebrations. Lighting candles each night.
Hanukkah begins at sundown on , December 12, and ends with nightfall on Wednesday, December 20. The candles are lit for eight consecutive nights starting on December 12 and continuing through December 19.
MDC blesses the people of Alabama because they are so blatantly stupid. Roy Moore should be in prison , but he will be re-elected because the USA has become a sheep led closed eye society.
While the divide between cat and dog owners isn’t as bad in real life as in theory, here’s a bit of news that’s bound to get the former a little rattled.
New research from Uppsala University in Sweden – the results of which were published in Nature – has shown that dog owners live longer and are also at a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Data taken from more than 3 million individuals aged between 40 and 80 was used to investigate whether dog owners had higher or lower mortality rates than non-dog owners.
Remarkably, owners with no other love in their life apart from their canine companion showed a marked advantage. Those with dogs clocked a 33 percent reduction in risk of death and an 11 percent reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease when compared to single non-dog owners.
In a press release accompanying the results, Mwenya Mubanga, the study’s lead author wrote: “A very interesting finding in our study was that dog ownership was especially prominent as a protective factor in persons living alone, which is a group reported previously to be at higher risk of cardiovascular disease and death than those living in a multi-person household.
“Perhaps a dog may stand in as an important family member in the single households.”
The study also suggested that larger dogs are more beneficial to their owner’s health than smaller breeds. Which makes sense, because they’re much better than smaller dogs.
According to the data, owners of larger dogs that were originally bred for hunting purposes, were more protected from disease. The study doesn’t indicate what aspect of dog ownership improves human health, but scientists are speculating it’s got something to do with walking them.
So basically, having a dog makes you less lazy. According to Tove Fal, another study author, anyway.
“We know that dog owners, in general, have a higher level of physical activity,” she said, “which could be one explanation for the observed results. Other explanations include an increased well-being and social contacts or effects of the dog on the bacterial microbiome in the owner.”
Not only that, but they’re just fun to have around.
“The color of the sky right now, bright and sunny, lowers heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and releases dopamine in the brain,” says Kelley Hopkins-Alvarez, a licensed professional counselor, and board-certified coach.
A study published in the Journal of Management Decision supports colors and psychology being directly correlated, as well. “Managers can use colors to increase or decrease appetite, enhance mood, calm down customers, and, reduce the perception of waiting time, among others,” note the study findings.