Category Archives: NEWS

Medical Debt , Your new Handcuffs

credit-report-killer-1-5-americans-unpaid-medical-debtAngelia 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.”

Blood on Trumps Hands

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MDC states, Welcome to the Kiss of Death !!
I looked at the spelling of Jerusalem, SALEM means PEACEFUL !
Jerusalem, a Middle Eastern city west of the Dead Sea, has been a place of pilgrimage and worship for Jews, Christians and Muslims since the biblical era. Its Old City has significant religious sites around the Temple Mount compound, including the Western Wall (sacred to Judaism), the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (a Christian pilgrimage site) and the Dome of the Rock (a 7th-century Islamic shrine with a gold dome).
Founded: 3000 BC
  • Saudi Arabia, an ally of the US, called the new policy “a flagrant provocation to Muslims”
  • Hamas leader Ismail Haniya said recognition crossed “all red lines”
  • China warned against escalating tensions in the Middle East
  • Jordan’s King Abdullah said the decision would “undermine efforts to resume the peace process”
  • Egypt’s President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi urged Mr Trump “not to complicate the situation in the region”
  • Turkey called for a summit of Muslim countries in December to discuss the developments
  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said “Muslims must stand united against this major plot”

John F. Kennedy

 

 

 

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MDC honors JFK today !!

A year of events marking the 100th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s birth is drawing to a close exactly 54 years after his assassination.

National park rangers will lay a wreath outside Kennedy’s childhood home in Brookline, Massachusetts, and a 21-gun salute by an honor guard will follow.

Wednesday’s solemn commemorations fall on the anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.

The observances are being held at what is now known as the John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site administered by the National Park Service.

The nation’s 35th president was born in the leafy Boston suburb on May 29, 1917.

MDC shares a little inside of who JFK was:

*He was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for heroism during World War II.

*John F. Kennedy is the youngest ever elected President of the United States

* He established the Peace Corps in 1961

* JFK averted nuclear war through his negotiations with Soviet leader Khrushchev (MDC says, he had Russia dismantle their weapons.) 

* He was responsible for the Equal Pay Act of 1963

 

 

Source: Artwork by #CharmaineOlivia

 

PORT AUTHORITY GETS GOVERNMENT IMMUNITY, WTFU$K

My DailyComplaint has its adrenaline flowing today!!!
We just wanted to reverse the clock on you to 1993.  This was the first attack on the World Trade Center in New York City.  A truck bomb was the plan to bring the World Trade Center down back than.
The state’s top court in Albany, New York yesterday found the Port Authority is entitled to government immunity from negligence claims for failing to deter the 1993 bombing that killed 6 and injured 1000.  WHAT THE FU*K !!
The Port Authority owns the World Trade Center site by the way.
Judge Theodore Jones Jr. wrote, “Any failure to secure the garage against terrorist attack predominantly derives from a failed allocation of police resources.”
Take that — NYPD FINEST !!!
So, does this open some eyes to the conspiracy of 9-11 ?  The Port Authority receives government immunity!!!  WOW, our prayers are with those families that fought these issues in court for so many years. It feels wonderful to have the government step on you too after the loss.
Source = RIP World Trade Center, NY

Meet Ray Dalio

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MDC shares the best line, “I remember my mistakes better than I remember my successes’

Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio sat down with Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget to discuss his book “Principles: Life and Work.” Here Dalio explains the importance of learning from his mistakes.

“Principles: Life and Work” is the first of two planned books, and includes a short autobiography along with an expanded version of the “Principles” that all Bridgewater employees read when joining the company. Following is a transcript of the video.

Henry Blodget: And one of the other principles that you stress is this idea that you should teach your team to fish rather than giving them fish, but you gotta give ’em room to make mistakes. This is something that Jeff Bezos and many other incredibly innovate entrepreneurs have stressed again and again. We have to get over the fear of mistakes. This seems to be a key part.

Dalio: Well, you learn from mistakes and learn from pain. Like I say, you can scratch the car, but you can’t total the car. Okay. Mistakes is one of the best sources of learning, right. Successes mean you do the same thing over again, and okay, that’s fine, but mistakes that are painful stick. When I look back on my career, I think that the mistakes were the best thing that happened to me.

I remember my mistakes better than I remember my successes. Somehow there must be more of the successes to get me where I am, but I remember all the mistakes, and I remember the lessons. So that’s what I mean by pain plus reflection equals progress. So yeah, it’s okay for you to make mistakes. It’s not okay for you to not learn from those mistakes. That’s a principle in there, right. And so you have a culture that operates this way.

If you don’t have a culture that operates this way, it’s not gonna be self-reinforcing. And so the reason I’m talking about these types of principles rather than my economic and investment principles, which’ll come out in the next book is because these are the most fundamental principles, which are the basis of success. And they’re not just in investment, investment firms principles. It’s not just a hedge funds principles. It’s like life principles and how we’re gonna deal effectively with each other.

Color Can Enhance Your Mood

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* Colors symbolize certain emotions culturally
* Colors can reflect our personality and impact our mood
* Make use of color psychology in your own home

Why not use the power of color to add your own personality to your home and improve your mood

6 Home Decor Colors to Enhance Your Mood

Red

Red’s wavelength can trigger the adrenal glands to secrete adrenaline, which may explain why the color is commonly associated with passion, romance and vitality. Scarlet reds can have a stimulating effect on the senses and the appetite, making it a nice addition to dining areas. Red is also great addition to bedrooms, powder rooms, or as an accent color to liven up a neutral space.

Blue

Blue is one of the most well-liked colors, associated with tranquility, balance and security. Many office spaces often use blue in interior design because it’s thought to encourage greater productivity. It’s also one of the least appetizing of colors, which is why some diet plans suggest eating off of blue plates to aid portion control. Pale blues are great in the bedroom to promote relaxation and restful sleep.

Purple

Associated with wisdom, royalty, and intellect, purple is linked with increased creativity and contemplation. It possesses the strongest electromagnetic wavelength, so it’s often used in optical illusions. Historically, purple was once the most expensive color to make, perhaps explaining why it’s commonly associated with luxury, wealth, royalty and the like. Deeper shades of purple like wine and eggplant will add a rich texture to your space, while lilac and lavender will add a whimsical touch.

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Orange

A popular hue of the popular Mid Century Modern style, orange conjures feelings of heightened awareness, energy and excitement. It’s a great color choice for areas where social engagement takes place, as it’s linked with promoting conversation. Gyms also embrace orange as a motivational tool, because the warm tone helps spike alertness and is thought to increase energy levels.

Green

Green is considered to be one of the most relaxing colors to the eye because of its connection to nature and the environment. Like blue, it’s a low-wavelength color, so it may promote relaxation, calmness and safety. In fact, the U.S. Intelligence Department used green to signify a low threat level for terrorist attacks. Culturally, green is associated with money and financial security, which adds to its calming effect to the senses. Because green is a mix of yellow and blue, however, it’s associated with balance and stability. Hence, while it can be soothing, it can also promote greater concentration and focus.

Pink

In the past, pink was associated with femininity and childhood, but thanks to the millennial pink trend, this calming color has proved that it’s all grown up. Kendall Jenner reportedly painted her bathroom pink, citing it’s appetite-suppressing effects, but research has pointed to its possible ability to reduce aggressive behavior. Some prisons and correctional facilities have even painted the cells baker-miller pink to harness the color’s relaxing effect. If you’re intimidated by a vibrant bubble gum hue, try a more refined dusty rose or an on-trend blush.

 

Operation Mega

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MDC says, the sick Trump administration is more concerned about Image and Statistics.

President Donald Trump’s Department of Homeland Security had planned nationwide raids to target 8,400 undocumented immigrants later this month, according to three law enforcement officials and an internal document that described the plan as “the largest operation of its kind in the history of ICE,” an acronym for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

But after NBC News reported the plans late Thursday, the agency issued a statement saying it had cancelled nationwide enforcement actions due to Hurricane Irma and the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey.

“While we generally do not comment on future potential law enforcement actions, operational plans are subject to change based on a variety of factors,” ICE spokesman Sarah Rodriguez said in a statement. “Due to the current weather situation in Florida and other potentially impacted areas, along with the ongoing recovery in Texas, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had already reviewed all upcoming operations and has adjusted accordingly. There is currently no coordinated nationwide operation planned at this time. The priority in the affected areas should remain focused on life-saving and life-sustaining activities.”

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Prior to the initial NBC News report, another spokeswoman for ICE, Jennifer Elzea, had said the agency was “not able to speculate about potential future targeted enforcement actions.”

The raids were scheduled over five days beginning Sept. 17, and were called “Operation Mega,” according to the document, a memo circulated agency-wide in August.

It is not unusual for ICE operations to target immigrants by the hundreds or even low thousands. The higher-than-usual target number may have been partially driven by an effort to reach a deportation goal by the end of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, one of the officials said.