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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Swine Flu or Stomach Virus In US Schools?

I found a very interesting article in my daily readings about the H1N1 Swine Flu today and wanted to share it with you all here, so you can have the most recent information at your fingertips.

From: Recombinomics - August 26, 2009

Link: Misinformation Linked to Explosion of Swine Flu in US Schools

Excerpt:
A high number of students at Sylacauga city schools are reporting being sick, but it appears to be a stomach virus doing most of the damage right now instead of the H1N1 strain of influenza that has worried health officials around the world.

Lisa McGrady, the school system's registered nurse, said students are fighting off strep throat, the flu and a stomach virus which are all making the rounds right now.

McGrady said her main complaint has been the stomach virus with students complaining of headaches and being nauseated but without any signs of fever.

The above comments describe a rapidly spreading pandemic H1N1 outbreak in Alabama (see map), but similar statements have been made by others regarding other swine flu outbreaks. 10-20% of the schools population is ill, and only a portion of the illnesses is attributed to swine flu. However, swine flu causes sore throats, has a gastrointestinal component, and over 50% of infections have no fever. Consequently, the above comments suggest there is little swine flu, even though step throat and upset stomachs generally do not affect 10-20% of the student population in August.

In addition to the above outbreak, there are similar outbreaks throughout Alabama, as well as other states in the south (see map) where the school season started several weeks ago. These other outbreaks include students that are influenza A positive and have flu-like symptoms. However, even in those outbreaks officials are stating that swine flu hasn't been confirmed, even though there is little seasonal flu in August, and over 99% of influenza A positive infections are swine H1N1.

Thus, although it is clear that swine flu is spreading rapidly, the general public is confused by false statements by officials, testing limited to influenza A determinations, or the lack of any testing.

However, at this time of the year, it is clear that swine flu is accounting for the vast majority of absenteeism, and the infections include college as well as younger students. The older students are told to remain in their rooms and avoid health care centers because those facilities are being overwhelmed, and therefore cannot treat the more serious cases.

Because of the lack of testing, it remains unclear how many students are infected with Tamiflu resistant H1N1. Many schools are now recommending prophylactic Relenza, suggesting that Tamiflu resistance is more widespread than reported. Indeed the resistance may be contributing to the rapid spread and may be causing more significant problems in cases at risk patients.

The confusion caused by media broadcasts of misinformation should be addressed now, when diagnosis of swine flu can be accurately made in the absence of lab confirmation, and students lacking fever can be isolated.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fall Garden Planning

Have you planned your fall garden yet? Even if your summer garden is still going strong, it's time to get your fall garden plans set. And if you missed out on summer gardening this year - you still have time to get in some plants for fall!

You can search the archives of this blog to see some examples of tire gardening and some great vegetable gardening tips that will allow you to get a fall garden going quickly.

Remember, to plan your fall planting schedule, you need to know the plant hardiness zone that you are in. Here in West TN - we are pretty much in zone 7. I can look this up here on an interactive map: Interactive USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map and it will tell me what zone I'm in. Then I visit Victory Seed to find when we usually get our first frost in the fall and when we plan for our frost-free date in the spring. So here in West TN, our typical first frost in the fall is around October 27th; last frost in the spring is around April 8th.

Here are the plants that do well as fall crops and information on when they need to go into the ground:

Broccoli: can start as seeds indoors or outdoors 16 weeks before frost; transplants go outdoors 10 weeks before frost; harvest 4 weeks after first frost. You could stagger your planting at 16 and 14 weeks to increase your harvest time. Time to maturity is about 16 weeks.

Cabbage: can start as seeds indoors or outdoors 16 weeks before frost; transplant go outdoors 10 weeks before frost; harvest 4 weeks after first frost. You could stagger your planting at 18 and 16 weeks to increase your harvest time. Time to maturity is about 16 weeks.

Cauliflower: can start as seeds indoors or outdoors 14 weeks before frost; transplant go outdoors 8 weeks before frost; harvest 2 weeks after first frost. You could stagger your planting at 16 and 14 weeks to increase your harvest time. Time to maturity is about 14 weeks.

Carrots: plant as seeds directly outdoors about 11 weeks before first frost; harvest 2 weeks before to 2 weeks after first frost. You could stagger your planting planting at 16, 14 and 12 weeks to increase your harvest. Time to maturity is about 10 weeks.

Peas: plant as seeds directly outdoors about 10 weeks before first frost; harvest at first frost to 4 weeks after. You could stagger your planting at 12 and 10 weeks to increase your harvest time. Time to maturity is about 10 weeks.

Beets: plant as seeds directly outdoors about 8 weeks before first frost; harvest at frost to 2 weeks after. You could stagger your planting at 10 and 8 weeks to increase your harvest time. Time to maturity is about 8 weeks.

Lettuce: plant as seeds directly outdoors about 8 weeks before first frost; harvest at frost to 4 weeks after. You could stagger your planting each week to increase your harvest time. Time to maturity is about7 weeks.

Spinach: plant as seeds directly outdoors about 8 weeks before first frost; harvest at frost to 4 weeks after. You could stagger your planting each week to increase your harvest time. Time to maturity is about 7 weeks.

Radishes: plant as seeds directly outdoors about 4 weeks before first frost; harvest at frost to 2 weeks after. You could stagger your planting at 8 and 6 weeks to increase your harvest time. Time to maturity is about 4 weeks.

So, for example, if I want to plant peas in my area and I know my first fall frost could be around October 27th, I can back out 10 weeks and know that I need to have seeds in the ground by August 25th. I'm really too late for broccoli and cabbage, but I'm going to plant it anyway in an area that I can cover to keep warm for a couple of extra weeks if I need to.

I'll post pictures next week as we spend time clearing out some of our summer veggies that are finished producing and start planting our fall seeds. Also, I'll give you an update on the progress our little hog-a-tiller has made clearing two new gardening beds for us!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Will "Normal" Return??

According to Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker, with support from many others, the answer is NO.

He had an excellent post on Sunday to explain his reasoning. It includes a one hour and thirty minute video by William Black, the former liquidation director who was in charge of investigating the S&L disaster.

Here's an excerpt - then get on over there sometime when you can pay attention for about as long as a bad movie - you'll be glad you did and will walk away with a much better understanding of why we're in the economic mess we are in today:

Sunday Lesson: Why "Normal" Will Never Return - The Market Ticker

Be warned - this is a long presentation, lasting more than an hour and a half. It is worth every minute of your time and is in fact essential to understanding both what happened and more importantly why the economy cannot recover on a durable basis.

Note that one single bank, IndyMac, lost more money than all of the S&Ls combined.

Folks, the key "take away" here is what is called "control fraud." In order for trust to be restored - that is, in order for markets to function normally, this fraud must be eradicated from the system so that normal levels of business trust can be restored.

It hasn't been.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

How Many This Prepared?

Found this an interesting read this evening over at Survivalblog.com. Seems that this family has taken their perimeter and other security seriously - how many of us are this well prepared?

Link: Viability of a Well-Stocked Suburban Retreat?

Excerpt:
I live in the Kansas City Area in a beautiful suburb which is one of the nicest cities in the country. till doing okay in the depression too. My work is secure and I do well and I own my own twp-story with basement frame home and have been making it a retreat for the past five years. I have no debt and am 60 days ahead with my mortgage and insurance and utilities. Am I absolutely crazy to try to stay here when things go bad?

First, let me tell you what I have done. I have a new roof ,which is fireproof. I have two large fire extinguishers in each room and more in the basement and garage and attic and I have a 2-inch fire hose with Honda generator to pull water from my 2,000 gallon swimming pool/fountain as well as from my 2,000 gallon [combined capacity] plastic tanks under the deck. Yes, they will freeze in the winter so I may add a new tank in the basement. I have 100 50-pound bags of sand which can also put out fires [and double as ballistic protection].

I have a strong 7' wood cedar privacy fence around my back and side yards and I have landscaped them such that it is difficult to see into my yard from any point but still need to add a few more tall bushes to screen my home. I brought in 80 [cubic] yards of great topsoil for the backyard to level it and to add garden areas so I can grow lots of food. I have a gutter system hooked up to the water storage and I have 3 months of water stored now in the basement and when the time comes new 55 gallon water barrels with hand pumps will be in each of my 4 bath rooms and kitchen. There is a pond and active stream 200' from my home and 5 of my neighbors next door and up hill from me have large swimming pools that I can siphon water from. I can produce clean water for 25 for 20 years with my water filters. So I have five ways to get water when the tap stops running.

I can feed my family for more than five years and then grow food too. I have all the stuff you buy in the stores weekly. I can grow food inside or outside and in a greenhouse too that is next to the house which can be heated with the natural warmth of the earth /basement and wood-burning stove, and sunshine. . . . .
More . . . . .

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Swine Flu Must Read

This is a very interesting article that brings up excellent points that we all need to be thinking about and fleshing out regarding mandatory vaccinations.

Take a read and decide for yourself.

WHO 'recommend' global mandatory vaccination, Canada prepares

Excerpt:

Why are health ministers in places like British Columbia, Australia and Greece telling the public that ’swine flu’ is just ordinary H1N1 type A seasonal flu, while at the same time they are preparing to vaccinate their entire populations against H5N1 avian flu using untested vaccines that contain live avian flu?

Why are pandemic plans being laid to combat a more serious second wave of ’swine flu’ when it is already clear that such an outbreak is not happening in the southern hemisphere, where the flu season is already under way? Both Australia and Argentina report a normal flu season with no mutation of the ’swine flu’ virus.

If the world is really so concerned about a ’swine flu pandemic’ this fall, why has the World Health Organization stopped counting cases?

These are just some of the many questions being asked in the growing controversy over the safety of ‘pandemic flu’ vaccinations that health officials everywhere are planning for the entire global population.

The World Health Organization has issued a binding ‘recommendation’ to all member countries requiring them to institute mandatory vaccination programs.

and
The global pandemic vaccination program will begin somewhere around the end of September and last about two months. Many countries are in the process of acquiring from Baxter, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline and other pharmaceutical companies enough doses of vaccine to vaccinate their entire population twice. They remain quiet about mandatory vaccination, simply saying they will make vaccination ‘available’ to all on a priority basis. But Greece and Switzerland have already announced that their programs will be mandatory and enforced by the military. There are unconfirmed reports that Norway and Israel have done the same. The United States is preparing for military ‘assisted’ mandatory vaccination but has not explicitly declared its intentions to the public.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Prepping For The Little Ones

Taking a break tonight from all the eyestrain and carpal tunnel from wading through the Health Care bill - I want to speak for a moment about ways to prep for the little ones in the family.

You definitely want to consider activities that will keep those 5 and under little ones busy, because there are times that you'll want to have their attention occupied productively and safely.

We home-school and last year I had a very active 3 year old that I needed to keep busy with her own "school" work while I worked with my older children. In about an hour one afternoon, my oldest and I put together about 2 dozen activity bags that my 3 year old will use during her "school" time when we start our lessons.

I used various sized baggies that have the zipper-pulls on the top so my daughter would be able to open and close the bags by herself.

Each bag has an activity that should keep her occupied for at least 30 minutes. Some are educational; all should be fun for her to do. Here's what we came up with so far in individual activity bags:

~ pipe cleaners and large pasta noodles - she can string the noodles onto the pipe cleaners and bend into shapes.
~ paper with large, straight black lines that she can practice cutting along
~ paper and a variety of stickers - she can sticker to her heart's delight
~ a cheap, round pizza tray and magnetic numbers & letters she can manipulate on the tray
~ paper with shapes drawn on them - she can put stickers inside the shapes
~ sandpaper and crayons for textured coloring
~ self-stick foam shapes and construction paper
~ a bag of nuts and bolts that will work her fine motor skills
~ a magnifying glass and misc. items to look at
~ a magnet and misc. items to pick up with it
~ craft pom poms and small containers for her to organize by color
~ a small spool of yarn
~ a ruler and colored pencils
~ stackable containers
~ various sizes and colors of buttons to glue on construction paper
~ yarn and pasta noodles to thread on the yarn
~ a sand shovel and bucket for scooping dry rice or beans or the like
~ play-doh and small cookie cutters
~ paper for practicing cutting skills
~ water paints, paper and cotton swabs for painting activities

These are just some of the ones we managed to get put together that day. I have more on my list that I'll put together for this year to give her a new variety.

I'm keeping all the baggies in a banker's box with her name on it. She gets to pick out her "school" bag to work on while I'm doing school work with others. Also, when I'm spending one-on-one time with one of her siblings, the other will work on an activity bag with her that requires some assistance - perhaps one with glue or painting involved.

The website I found that has a ton of examples for preschool activity bags is Paula's Archives if you want to see the great ideas listed there - many of which I used when putting our activity bags together.

I've also heard of mom's having activity bag "parties" - Say you invite 20 moms. Each mom puts together 20 bags and brings them with her - then each mom gets one of each bag that was put together. Each mom then ends up leaving the party with 20 different activity bags - sounds like an idea to me!

Also, if you have a little one who'll just make great work of taking everything out of the "school" box and promptly emptying it all out - then just put in a few baggies each week for them to choose from. This way they won't get too overwhelmed or make too big of a mess.

These activity bags would also make very inexpensive gifts and you could put together a few to keep in your various 72-hour kits, car emergency kits, etc. to have on hand to keep your little ones occupied as the need might arise. We've pulled these out during power outages, on rainy days, for a variety of reasons besides "school" work. We even carry these with us on errands that might take some time - like dental appointments.

If you have any good ideas for these types of bags, please share them with us! Most of all, don't forget to prep for your little ones!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Survival Homestead - Realistic Plans

Found this excellent article linked over on Survivalist Forum and wanted to share with you all - just click the title below:

A Realistic Plan and Timeline for your Survival Homestead

Excerpt:
My guess is that almost all city people underestimate what goes into establishing a homestead. And, most importantly, how long it will take – if you start the process today, you should be ready some time in 2016-2017 -- if you work like a dog and are lucky.
If you want to share your experiences getting your survival homestead started, please do!

Health Care Pages 325 - 400

Ready to get started again? Not sure how much time I'll have tonight, but I should be able to get through a few pages. Here's the link to the Health Care Bill if you need it.

Okay, last time we were talking about the bill mentions physicians must let their patients know if they have any ownership or interest in any hospitals they refer to and if they don't they are subject to various and sundry civil fines not to exceed $10,000 per day and that hospitals cannot expand unless they apply to the Secretary.

Onward:

Page 328 - yet another study to be conducted regarding the "geographic adjustment factors under medicare".
(c) EVALUATION.—Such study shall, within the context of the United States health care marketplace, evaluate and consider the following:
(1) The effect of the adjustment factors on the level and distribution of the health care workforce and resources, including—
(A) recruitment and retention that takes into account workforce mobility between urban and rural areas;
(B) ability of hospitals and other facilities to maintain an adequate and skilled workforce; and
(C) patient access to providers and needed medical technologies.
(2) The effect of the adjustment factors on population health and quality of care.
(3) The effect of the adjustment factors on the ability of providers to furnish efficient, high value care.
Yes, this study is also funded, but this time they just say that they'll be funded whatever it takes to do the study.

Some time if I can stand it I need to go back through the whole bill and just write down how much money is going toward "studies" and "pilot programs" and "reports".

Page 331 starts the section that discusses Medicare Reforms.

SEC. 1161. PHASE-IN OF PAYMENT BASED ON FEE-FOR SERVICE COSTS.
SEC. 1162. QUALITY BONUS PAYMENTS.
SEC. 1163. EXTENSION OF SECRETARIAL CODING INTENSITY ADJUSTMENT AUTHORITY.
SEC. 1164. SIMPLIFICATION OF ANNUAL BENEFICIARY ELECTION PERIODS
Now, I don't know much of anything about the current Medicare program - but if my health care depended on it, I would be certain to read these sections of the Health Care bill, because it deals with tons of adjustments, amendments to the Social Security Act, establishment of benchmarks for payments, cost-sharing, beneficiary information, medical loss ratios, auditing authority, authority to reject bids, etc.

Page 353 - Regarding Special Needs and Medicare - the Social Security Act is amended as follows:
‘‘(C) The plan does not enroll an individual on or after January 1, 2011, other than during an annual, coordinated open enrollment period or when at the time of the diagnosis of the disease or condition that qualifies the individual as an individual described in subsection (b)(6)(B)(iii).’’.
Now previously, the bill discussed an ongoing open enrollment for Medicare, but apparently there is going to be some restriction for special needs based on the statement above and this section on page 354:
SEC. 1177. EXTENSION OF AUTHORITY OF SPECIAL NEEDS PLANS TO RESTRICT ENROLLMENT.
Page 356 starts talking about improvements to Medicare, again, not knowing much about Medicare some of these seem like they might be okay - but I'm not sure of the cost involved:
‘‘(B) INCREASE IN INITIAL COVERAGE LIMIT.—For a year beginning with 2011
‘‘(C) DECREASE IN ANNUAL OUT-OF-POCKET THRESHOLD
page 358: (b) REQUIRING DRUG MANUFACTURERS TO PROVIDE DRUG REBATES FOR FULL-BENEFIT DUAL ELIGIBLES.—

‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—In this part, the term ‘covered part D drug’ does not include any drug or biologic that is manufactured by a manufacturer that has not entered into and have in effect a rebate agreement described in paragraph (2).
‘‘(2) REBATE AGREEMENT.—A rebate agreement under this subsection shall require the manufacturer to provide to the Secretary a rebate for each rebate period (as defined in paragraph (6)(B)) ending after December 31, 2010, in the amount
specified in paragraph (3) for any covered part D drug of the manufacturer dispensed after December 31, 2010, to any full-benefit dual eligible individual (as defined in paragraph (6)(A)) for which payment was made by a PDP sponsor under part D or a MA organization under part C for such period. Such rebate shall be paid by the manufacturer to the Secretary not later than 30 days after the date of receipt of the information described in section 1860D–12(b)(7), including as such section is applied under section 1857(f)(3).
So, this appears to mean that the government expects a rebate on medications they are providing to certain Medicare patients and the drug will not be allowed to be a covered drug by Medicare if a rebate is not offered to the govt. by the manufacturer - that's how it reads to me.

Wonder how this will play out with the formularies versus drugs that are just dropped from the plan????

Page 364 onward then discusses the requirements for these drug providers to give reports to the Secretary of incredibly extensive information with once again, a civil penalty of not more than $10,000 day for not reporting and not more than $100,000 for reporting false info:
‘‘(i) information (by National Drug Code number) on the total number of units of each dosage, form, and strength of each drug of such manufacturer dispensed to full-benefit dual eligible Medicare drug plan enrollees under any prescription drug
plan operated by the PDP sponsor during the rebate period;
‘‘(ii) information on the price discounts, price concessions, and rebates for such drugs for such form, strength, and period;
‘‘(iii) information on the extent to which such price discounts, price concessions, and rebates apply equally to full benefit dual eligible Medicare drug plan enrollees and PDP enrollees who are notfull-benefit dual eligible Medicare drug plan enrollees; and
‘‘(iv) any additional information that the Secretary determines is necessary to
enable the Secretary to calculate the average Medicare drug program full-benefit
dual eligible rebate amount (as defined in paragraph (3)(C) of such section), and to
determine the amount of the rebate required under this section, for such form,
strength, and period.
Page 368 starts the same wording, except now it applies to discounted drugs, instead of rebated drugs.

Page 380 starts the discussion about a Telehealth Advisory Committee:
to make recommendations to the Secretary on policies of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services regarding telehealth services as established under section 1834(m), including the appropriate addition or deletion of services (and HCPCS codes) to those specified in paragraphs (4)(F)(i) and (4)(F)(ii) of such section and for authorized payment under paragraph (1) of such section.
Apparently this has something to do with Rural Medicare health services - the committee will have 9 members who will meet twice a year with the Secretary.

Page 386 starts the following section:
Medicare Beneficiary Improvements: Subtitle A—Improving and Simplifying Financial Assistance for Low Income Medicare Beneficiaries
(D) by inserting after subclause (II) the following new subclauses:
‘‘(III) for 2012, $17,000 (or $34,000 in the case of the combined value of the individual’s assets or resources and the assets or resources of the individual’s spouse)
What is so irritating about trying to read much of this bill is that they are constantly referring to other acts / codes and talking about "striking such and such paragraph and replacing it with..." or "changing the last sentence to read..." and if you don't have the other document, you have no idea what they are referring to.

Page 390 - eliminating barriers to enrollment for the low income subsidy program:
‘‘(iii) CERTIFICATION OF INCOME AND RESOURCES.—For purposes of applying
this section—
‘‘(I) an individual shall be permitted to apply on the basis of self-certification of income and resources; and
‘‘(II) matters attested to in the application shall be subject to appropriate methods of verification without the need of the individual to provide additional documentation, except in extraordinary situations as determined by the Commissioner.’’.
Not sure about this one good or bad or if it is new to this program - for the regular health care plan - applicants could have to show tax returns, etc in order for them to determine which level of care plan you qualify for (if I'm reading this right), but not for this section.

page 398 brings us: SEC. 1205. INTELLIGENT ASSIGNMENT IN ENROLLMENT
(a) IN GENERAL.—Section 1860D–1(b)(1)(C) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395w–101(b)(1)(C)) is amended by adding after ‘‘PDP region’’ the following: ‘‘or
through use of an intelligent assignment process that is designed to maximize the access of such individual to necessary prescription drugs while minimizing costs to such individual and to the program under this part to the greatest extent possible. In the case the Secretary enrolls such individuals through use of an intelligent assignment process, such process shall take into account the extent to which prescription drugs necessary for the individual are covered in the case of a PDP sponsor of a prescription drug plan that uses a formulary, the use of prior authorization or other restrictions on access to coverage of such prescription drugs by such a sponsor, and the overall quality of a prescription drug plan as measured by quality ratings established by the Secretary.’’
Which concludes our review for this evening. Picking up on page 400 starting tomorrow, where the topic will be:

Subtitle B—Reducing Health Disparities
SEC. 1221. ENSURING EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION IN MEDICARE.

Marsha Blackburn Town Hall Meetings Aug 15th

Just received this email list of town hall meetings being held by Rep. Marsha Blackburn this Saturday, August 15th:

Friends,

I will be hosting additional town hall meetings this Saturday across the 7th District. I have listed them below and hope to see you at one.

My best,

Marsha

Hickman County
8:45 am - 9:30 am CDT
The Country Kitchen
9628 Highway 46, Bon Aqua, TN 37025

Perry County
10:30 am - 11:15 am CDT
The Commodore Hotel
114 East Main Street, Linden, TN 37096

Decatur County
11:45 am - 12:30 pm CDT
Parsons Municipal Building
535 Tennessee Ave South, Parsons, TN 38363

Wayne County
1:45 pm - 2:30 pm CDT
Emerald's Restaurant
122 Public Square, Waynesboro, TN 38485

Hardin County
3:00 pm - 3:45 pm CDT
Uptown Restaurant
390 Main St, Savannah, TN 38372
If you attend a Tennessee Town Hall Meeting, please share your experience with us!

More Healthcare Review Tonight

I'll be back later tonight with more of my readings on the Health Care bill, starting where we left off on page 325.

I've been busy as a bee today canning pear butter, hot peppers, doing some work for hubby - but things will settle down when little ones are sound asleep and we'll trudge forward!

Until then - keep prepping!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Rep Marsha Blackburn Town Hall Meeting - Nashville - Aug 14

Here are the details - if you make it, be sure to let us know how it goes!

Friends,

I will be hosting a town hall meeting on health care in Nashville this Friday. My special guest for the town hall will be nationally recognized health care expert Dennis Smith, former director of the federal Center for Medicaid and State Operations at the Department of Health and Human Services. All of the pertinent information is below.

I hope to see you there,

Marsha

WHAT: Health Care Town Hall Meeting

WHO: Congressman Marsha Blackburn and Health Care Expert Dennis Smith

WHERE: Embassy Suites Franklin, 820 Crescent Center Drive

WHEN: Friday, August 14th 10:00 – 11:00 AM

Continuing Our Healthcare Review - Pg 300-325

Page 299 starts with a section that talks about
SEC. 1152. POST ACUTE CARE SERVICES PAYMENT REFORM PLAN AND BUNDLING PILOT PROGRAM.

IN GENERAL.—The Secretary of Health and Human Services (in this section referred to as the ‘‘Secretary’’) shall develop a detailed plan to reform payment for post acute care (PAC) services under the Medicare program under title XVIII of the Social Security Act (in this section referred to as the ‘‘Medicare program)’’.

POST ACUTE SERVICES.—For purposes of this section, the term ‘‘post acute services’’ means services for which payment may be made under the Medicare program that are furnished by skilled nursing facilities, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, long term care hospitals, hospital based outpatient rehabilitation facilities and home health agencies to an individual after discharge of such individual from
a hospital, and such other services determined appropriate by the Secretary.
(b) DETAILS.—The plan described in subsection (a)(1) shall include consideration of the following issues:
(1) The nature of payments under a post acute care bundle, including the type of provider or entity to whom payment should be made, the scope of activities and services included in the bundle, whether payment for physicians’ services should be included in the bundle, and the period covered by the bundle.
Seems to me like this gives them the leeway to not only decide what dollar amount will be paid for PAC care, but to determine what services can be included.

Page 304 - And since this is yet another pilot program, they are going to fund it:
there are appropriated to the Secretary for the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services Program Management Account $15,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2010 through 2012. Amounts appropriated under this paragraph for a fiscal year shall be available until expended.
How much money are we spending on actual health care versus paying government or other employees to do studies and pilot programs and regulatory work?????? In just the past 2 sections of the bill we're looking at $40 million on 2 studies/pilot programs.

Page 309 talks about rebasing home health prospective payment amounts:
‘‘(IV) Subject to clause (iii)(I), for 2011, such amount (or amounts) shall be adjusted by a uniform percentage determined to be appropriate by the Secretary based on analysis of factors such as changes in the average number and types of visits in an episode, the change in intensity of visits in an episode, growth in cost per episode, and other factors that the Secretary considers to be relevant.
Now, does this read to you like the Secretary is going to have to be intimately involved in knowing about the types of visits, how those visits change, etc. for every home health provider???? How in the world do they think they can track stuff like this???

Page 311 incorporates productivity improvements for home health care payments.

Page 313 requires detailed disclosure regarding home health care providers to the "Secretary":
‘‘(f) REPORTING AND DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS.—
‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—Each entity providing covered items or services for which payment may be made under this title shall provide the Secretary with the information concerning the entity’s ownership, investment, and compensation arrangements, including—
‘‘(A) the covered items and services provided by the entity, and
‘‘(B) the names and unique physician identification numbers of all physicians with an
ownership or investment interest (as described in subsection (a)(2)(A)), or with a compensation arrangement (as described in subsection (a)(2)(B)), in the entity, or whose immediate relatives have such an ownership or investment interest or who have such a compensation relationship with the entity.
Page 314-315 extends this disclosure requirement to physicians who have ownership interest in hospitals:
‘‘(A) submit to the Secretary an initial report, and periodic updates at a frequency determined by the Secretary, containing a detailed description of the identity of each physician owner and physician investor and any other owners or investors of the hospital;
‘‘(B) require that any referring physician owner or investor discloses to the individual
being referred, by a time that permits the individual to make a meaningful decision regarding the receipt of services, as determined by the Secretary, the ownership or investment interest, as applicable, of such referring physician in the hospital; and
‘‘(C) disclose the fact that the hospital is partially or wholly owned by one or more physicians or has one or more physician investors—
‘‘(i) on any public website for the hospital; and
‘‘(ii) in any public advertising for the hospital.
You got that, right - read carefully section "B" - the physician who tells you that you need to have surgery is now required to disclose to you if he is an owner or investor in the hospital where you'll be admitted. He is supposed to tell you the ownership and investment interest he has in the hospital, and he is supposed to do this with enough time for you to consider it all before you are admitted.

And on page 316 - it says that any person who fails to disclose to the Secretary - or to anyone as noted above in section "B" - can have a civil penalty of $10,000 per day:
‘‘(A) REPORTING.—Any person who is required, but fails, to meet a reporting requirement of paragraphs (1) and (2)(A) of subsection (f) is subject to a civil money penalty of not more than $10,000 for each day for which reporting is required to have been made.
‘‘(B) DISCLOSURE.—Any physician who is required, but fails, to meet a disclosure requirement of subsection (f)(2)(B) or a hospital that is required, but fails, to meet a disclosure requirement of subsection (f)(2)(C) is subject to a civil money penalty of not more than $10,000 for each case in which disclosure is required to have been made.
So, do you think this will have a positive impact on physicians desiring to establish hospitals / outpatient care clinics, etc in your community?

Page 317 clearly states that hospitals are prohibited from expanding:
‘‘(C) PROHIBITION ON EXPANSION OF FACILITY CAPACITY.—Except as provided in paragraph (2), the number of operating rooms, procedure rooms, or beds of the hospital at any time on or after the date of the enactment of this subsection are no greater than the number of operating rooms, procedure rooms, or beds, respectively, as of such date.
Here's the paragraph (2) they are talking about above - way over on page 321:
‘‘(i) ESTABLISHMENT.—The Secretary shall establish and implement a process
under which a hospital may apply for an exception from the requirement under
paragraph (1)(C).
So in other words, your hospital cannot make plans to expand without approval from the Secretary. Currently, this is done on a local basis in most areas, based on beds already in the area and the need the community has for additional services.

Now it will be up to the government to decide if your community can expand - although they do mention that they will allow community input. Well gee, if the community input is received as well as the community input they've been getting on this Healthcare Bill - do we really expect to have any say at all????

Page 323 - get this one:
‘‘(D) INCREASE LIMITED TO FACILITIES ON THE MAIN CAMPUS OF THE HOSPITAL.—
Any increase in the number of operating rooms, procedure rooms, or beds of a hospital pursuant to this paragraph may only occur in facilities on the main campus of the hospital.
So let's get this straight. The local hospital who wants to expand beds and wants to do so by opening another branch because they are land-locked in their current location would not be able to do so based on this rule??????

The next several pages go on to set limits and parameters that must be met for hospitals to expand, followed by this:
‘‘(H) LIMITATION ON REVIEW.—There shall be no administrative or judicial review under section 1869, section 1878, or otherwise of the exception process under this paragraph, including the establishment of such process, and any determination made under such process.
Am I reading this correctly? Your local hospital doesn't like the way their review went - they want to challenge some legal aspect of it - but this paragraph right here tells them they have no right to do so????

Gotta put a stop here for now and go make some pear butter with the last 50 pounds of pears I picked from my tree this week. Mull these things over in your head and I'll be back later this evening with more.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Back To Our Healthcare Bill Review

Wanted to backtrack just a moment before I move on from my review last night.

On page 19 of the healthcare bill it states:
A qualified health benefits plan may not impose any pre-existing condition exclusion (as defined in section 2701(b)(1)(A) of the Public Health Service Act) or otherwise impose any limit or condition on the coverage under the plan with respect to an individual or dependent based on any health status-related factors
Definition of Insurance from Wikipedia:
Insurance, in law and economics, is a form of risk management primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent loss. Insurance is defined as the equitable transfer of the risk of a loss, from one entity to another, in exchange for a premium, and can be thought of as a guaranteed and known small loss to prevent a large, possibly devastating loss. An insurer is a company selling the insurance; an insured or policyholder is the person or entity buying the insurance. The insurance rate is a factor used to determine the amount to be charged for a certain amount of insurance coverage, called the premium. Risk management, the practice of appraising and controlling risk, has evolved as a discrete field of study and practice.
So, when we allow everyone in with their pre-existing conditions and agree to automatically pay for things that are "known", technically it is no longer insurance.

Okay, now onward from page 200. You can join in for your reading pleasure if you like - Here's the link: Health Care Bill.

Page 241: The act provides for the designation of "service categories" There are 3 -
(i) services in the category designated Evaluation and Management in the Health Care Common Procedure Coding System
(ii) preventive services
(B) All other services not described in subparagraph (A)
Then catch this one:
Service categories established under this paragraph shall apply without regard to the specialty of the physician furnishing the service.
Does this mean they can determine what the provider will receive for reimbursement regardless of their area of specialty???

Page 253 - The Secretary appears to be able to put a value on the provider's time based on the following:
‘‘(i) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall establish a process to validate relative value units under the fee schedule under subsection (b).
‘‘(ii) COMPONENTS AND ELEMENTS OF WORK.—The process described in clause (i) may include validation of work elements (such as time, mental effort and professional judgment, technical skill and physical effort, and stress due to risk) involved with furnishing a service and may include validation of the pre, post, and
intra-service components of work.
Page 258: It appears that our professional service providers are going to be required to do additional paperwork regarding "quality measures" with perhaps some sort of incentive payment? It really isn't clear:
‘‘(H) FEEDBACK.—The Secretary shall provide timely feedback to eligible professionals on the performance of the eligible professional with respect to satisfactorily submitting data on quality measures under this subsection.’’.

‘‘(A) The development of measures, the reporting of which would both demonstrate—
‘‘(i) meaningful use of an electronic health record for purposes of subsection
(o); and
‘‘(ii) clinical quality of care furnished to an individual.
Page 260 - of course, California gets it's own special treatment:
‘‘(6) TRANSITION TO USE OF MSAS AS FEE
21 SCHEDULE AREAS IN CALIFORNIA.—
‘‘(ii) TRANSITION.—For services furnished on or after January 1, 2011, and before January 1, 2016, in the State of California, after calculating the work, practice expense, and malpractice geographic indices described in clauses (i), (ii), and (iii) of paragraph (1)(A) that would otherwise apply through application of this paragraph, the Secretary shall increase any such index to the county-based fee schedule area value on December 31, 2009, if such index would otherwise be less than
15 the value on January 1, 2010.
Page 267 - It appears to me that the government can decide the costs allowed and whether or not some of these options are allowed for items such as power-driven wheelchairs, brachytherapy, home infusion therapy - they are requiring a report to Congress on home infusion therapy:

Not later than 12 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission shall submit to Congress a report on the following:
(1) The scope of coverage for home infusion therapy in the fee-for-service Medicare program under title XVIII of the Social Security Act, Medicare Advantage under part C of such title, the veteran’s health care program under chapter 17 of title 38, United States Code, and among private payers, including an analysis of the scope of services provided by home infusion therapy providers to their patients in such programs.
(2) The benefits and costs of providing such coverage under the Medicare program, including a calculation of the potential savings achieved through avoided or shortened hospital and nursing home stays as a result of Medicare coverage of home infusion therapy.
(3) An assessment of sources of data on the costs of home infusion therapy that might be used to construct payment mechanisms in the Medicare program.
Page 270
SEC. 1144. REQUIRE AMBULATORY SURGICAL CENTERS (ASCS) TO SUBMIT COST DATA AND OTHER DATA.
Page 272 appears to allow the Secretary to determine if Cancer Treatment Hospitals are allowed or funded and at what rate:
‘‘(A) STUDY.—The Secretary shall conduct a study to determine if, under the system under this subsection, costs incurred by hospitals described in section 1886(d)(1)(B)(v) with respect to ambulatory payment classification groups exceed those costs incurred by other hospitals furnishing services under this subsection (as determined appropriate by the Secretary).
‘‘(B) AUTHORIZATION OF ADJUSTMENT.— Insofar as the Secretary determines under subparagraph (A) that costs incurred by hospitals described in section 1886(d)(1)(B)(v) exceed those costs incurred by other hospitals furnishing services under this subsection, the Secretary shall provide for an appropriate adjustment under paragraph (2)(E) to reflect those higher costs effective for services furnished on
or after January 1, 2011.’’.
Page 288 and a few pages before - best I can tell, they are going to withhold some portion of payments to hospitals who have "readmissions" for the same or similar illness, based on definitions set by the Secretary:
‘‘(E) READMISSION.—The term ‘readmission’ means, in the case of an individual who is discharged from an applicable hospital, the admission of the individual to the same or another applicable hospital within a time period specified by the Secretary from the date of such discharge. Insofar as the discharge relates to an applicable condition for which there is an endorsed measure described in subparagraph
(A)(ii)(I), such time period (such as 30 days) shall be consistent with the time period specified for such measure.
Another part of 288-289:
‘‘(7) MONITORING INAPPROPRIATE CHANGES IN ADMISSIONS PRACTICES.—The Secretary shall monitor the activities of applicable hospitals to determine if such hospitals have taken steps to avoid patients at risk in order to reduce the likelihood of increasing re-admissions for applicable conditions. If the Secretary determines that such a hospital has taken such a step, after notice to the hospital and opportunity for the hospital to undertake action to alleviate such steps, the Secretary may impose an appropriate sanction.
Can someone please explain to me how all these "studies" and all this "monitor" of activities by the government is going to be paid for? Who is going to do all this work? How much are they going to be paid? How many more levels of bureaucracy is this all going to create??? Are hospitals and providers going to be able to concentrate on treating patients, or are they going to be too busy worried about big-brother breathing down their neck?

Page 297 - they are going to conduct yet another study to see how they can apply the same "readmissions" definitions to physicians directly:
(d) PHYSICIANS.—(1) STUDY.—The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall conduct a study to determine how the readmissions policy described in the previous subsections could be applied to physicians.
Here's how:
(A) creating a new code (or codes) and payment amount (or amounts) under the fee schedule in section 1848 of the Social Security Act (in a budget neutral manner) for services furnished by an appropriate physician who sees an individual within the first week after discharge from a hospital or critical access hospital;
(B) developing measures of rates of readmission for individuals treated by physicians;
(C) applying a payment reduction for physicians who treat the patient during the initial admission that results in a readmission; and
(D) methods for attributing payments or payment reductions to the appropriate physician or physicians.
Now think about this - have you ever been treated in a teaching hospital? Yes, you have a primary physician who is "responsible" for your care, but how many different physicians come in and out and check on you, change things about your care, make notes on your chart, etc? How willing would you be to take on the role of the "primary" physician in this case, knowing that you could be financially penalized by something you didn't even do? At least, that's how it appears to me reading this. I cannot imagine how they'll be able to track this.

Page 298 - Am I reading this right??? They are going to allot $25 million dollars to conduct this oversight and these studies from this section about re-admissions we looked at above????
(e) FUNDING.—For purposes of carrying out the provisions of this section, in addition to funds otherwise available, out of any funds in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, there are appropriated to the Secretary of Health and Human Services for the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services Program Management Account
$25,000,000 for each fiscal year beginning with 2010.
This is all I can do tonight folks. Stick with me and we'll see what else is there. If you are reading this yourself, feel free to comment on anything that's made an impression on you.

Bob Corker In Covington, TN

Link:

WMC-TV 5 online

Excerpt:
Corker picked Covington to launch the first of 29 town hall meetings in different counties throughout Tennessee, and it didn't take long for the audience to hear Corker's stand on the President's proposed health care reform bill.

"My guess is the house bill will likely go in the trash can, okay? It's just not practical, and doesn't stand the test," Corker said.

Corker said he believes the proposed health care bill is too expensive, and has too much government control. Both points seemed to earn the senator a lot of support from the crowd of onlookers in Covington.

"Everything that the President has done so far is driving up costs," Corker said. "You know, when he began this debate, it was about driving down costs."

Monday, August 10, 2009

Let's Go Through It Together - Healthcare Bill

Let's go through this together, shall we? I'm not an attorney, I'm not a paralegal, I'm not a professor - I'm just a college-educated, former professional business owner, now stay-at-home, home-schooling mom who believes it is important that we know what our Representatives are trying to pass as the law of the land.

So let's get started:
GENERAL DEFINITIONS.
(a) PURPOSE.—
(1) IN GENERAL.—The purpose of this division is to provide affordable, quality health care for all Americans and reduce the growth in health care spending.
Well - right there on page 4 we have an interesting statement - reduce the growth in health care spending. When have you ever known the government to reduce costs in anything?

Here we are on page 9 - definition of a Dependent:
The term ‘‘dependent’’ has the meaning given such term by the Commissioner
and includes a spouse.
Okay - that's clear as mud.

Another on page 9:
EMPLOYMENT-BASED HEALTH PLAN.—The term ‘‘employment-based health plan’’— (A) means a group health plan (as defined in section 733(a)(1) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974
Anyone have a copy of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 lying around?

Page 10:
HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE; HEALTH
INSURANCE ISSUER.—The terms ‘‘health insurance coverage’’ and ‘‘health insurance issuer’’ have the meanings given such terms in section 2791 of the Public Health Service Act.
Seems we also need a copy of the Public Health Service Act. Same thing the lady on SurvivalistBoards was stating - there are tons of references to other Acts in this document. Do you think our Representatives have handy access to all these Acts to make the cross-references?

Page 22:

They are going to do a study and within 18 months of the start of this healthcare plan:
Such report shall include any recommendations the Commissioner deems appropriate to ensure that the law does not provide incentives
for small and mid-size employers to self-insure
This is done by examining "(C) The financial solvency and capital reserve levels of employers that self-insure by employer size." - how are they going to do this, audit every company? And this saves us money how?

Whomever this "Commissioner" is - he/she is going to have some incredible power.

Pages 30 - 33:
The Health Benefits Advisory Committee shall recommend to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (in this subtitle referred to as the ‘‘Secretary’’) benefit standards (as defined in paragraph (4)), and periodic updates to such standards.

and

BENEFIT STANDARDS DEFINED.—In this subtitle, the term ‘‘benefit standards’’ means standards respecting—(A) the essential benefits package described in section 122, including categories of covered treatments, items and services within benefit classes.
So a governmental Advisory Committee will decide what benefits (in other words, medical treatments) will be provided to members of this plan???

Another governmental agency is created - page 41:
IN GENERAL.—There is hereby established, as an independent agency in the executive branch of the Government, a Health Choices Administration (in this division referred to as the ‘‘Administration’’).
Another cost saving measure? No - more government, again. And the Commissioner is appointed by the President.

Page 42:

The Commissioner establishes the benefit standards.

Page 43:

The Commissioner can collect data (doesn't say what data) for the purposes of carrying out his/her duties.

Page 58:
‘‘(D) enable the real-time (or near real time) determination of an individual’s financial
responsibility at the point of service and, to the extent possible, prior to service, including whether the individual is eligible for a specific service with a specific physician at a specific facility, which may include utilization of a machine-readable health plan beneficiary identification card;
Gee, this sounds a lot to me like they'll be able to have a real-time look into your bank account to see your financial status and will have finally gotten the national ID card they've been after.

Page 107:

Now we have the appointment by the President of a "Special Inspector General"

Page 136 appears to be sliding scale determination of premium payments:
(2) PREMIUM PERCENTAGE LIMITS BASED ON TABLE.—The Commissioner shall establish premium percentage limits so that for individuals whose family income is within an income tier specified in the table in subsection (d) such percentage limits shall increase, on a sliding scale in a linear manner, from the initial premium percentage to the final premium percentage specified in such table for such income
tier.
Page 140 appears to require an income tax form as proof of income on the application:
(B) ALTERNATIVE PROCEDURES.—The Commissioner shall establish procedures for the verification of income for purposes of this subtitle if no income tax return is available for the most recent completed tax year.
Page 149 addresses the expected contributions of employers in lieu of coverage - it is 8% of their wages:
A contribution is made in accordance with this section with respect to an employee if such contribution is equal to an amount equal to 8 percent of the average wages paid by the employer during the period of enrollment (determined by taking into account all employees of the employer and in such manner as the Commissioner provides, including rules providing for the appropriate aggregation of related employers).
This is scaled down for smaller businesses on page 150.

Page 167: Individuals without "acceptable" health care coverage will pay a 2.5% tax:
‘‘SEC. 59B. TAX ON INDIVIDUALS WITHOUT ACCEPTABLE HEALTH CARE COVERAGE.
‘‘(a) TAX IMPOSED.—In the case of any individual who does not meet the requirements of subsection (d) at any time during the taxable year, there is hereby imposed a tax equal to 2.5 percent of the excess of—
‘‘(1) the taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income for the taxable year, over
‘‘(2) the amount of gross income specified in section 6012(a)(1) with respect to the taxpayer.
Page 174:
‘‘(6) NOT TREATED AS TAX IMPOSED BY THIS CHAPTER FOR CERTAIN PURPOSES.—The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax
imposed by this chapter for purposes of determining the amount of any credit under this chapter or for purposes of section 55.
What???

Page 190:
‘‘(2) CREDIT NOT ALLOWED WITH RESPECT TO CERTAIN HIGHLY COMPENSATED EMPLOYEES.—No credit shall be allowed under subsection (a) with respect to qualified employee health coverage expenses paid or incurred with respect to any employee for any taxable year if the aggregate compensation paid
by the employer to such employee during such taxable year exceeds $80,000.
What? So now if you make $80,000 a year you are a highly compensated employee?

Page 195: Officers and employees of the Health Choices Administration have a right to review your income tax records:
shall disclose to officers and employees of the Health Choices Administration or such State-based health insurance exchange, as the case may be, return information of any taxpayer whose income is relevant in determining any affordability credit described in subtitle C of title II of the America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009. Such return information shall be limited to—
‘‘(i) taxpayer identity information with respect to such taxpayer,
‘‘(ii) the filing status of such taxpayer,
‘‘(iii) the modified adjusted gross income of such taxpayer (as defined in section 59B(e)(5)),
‘‘(iv) the number of dependents of the taxpayer,
‘‘(v) such other information as is prescribed by the Secretary by regulation as might indicate whether the taxpayer is eligible for such affordability credits (and the
amount thereof), and
‘‘(vi) the taxable year with respect to which the preceding information relates
Pages 197-198 discuss the surcharges on high income individuals - somewhere between 1 and 5.4 percent of modified adjusted gross income for those at $350,000 and up.

Ugh. That's all I can do for now. More another day if I can stand it.

Cross References Needed So Far in Healthcare Bill

So I started going through the Healthcare bill tonight and got through page 200. It has been a daunting task - and I'll share my findings soon.

Here are the other Acts, Codes, Regulations, etc. that were referenced that one really needs for some of the items discussed on the first 200 pages so far:
  • Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974
  • United States Code, Chapter 57, Title 5
  • United States Code, Chapter 89, Title 5
  • Community Services Block Grant Act
  • Public Service Health Act
  • Title XIX of the Social Security Act
  • American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
  • Section 9802 of the IRS Code of 1986
  • Federal Advisory Committee Act
  • Code of Federal Regulations
  • Intergovernmental Personnel Act of 1970
  • Consumer Product Safety Act
  • Federal Acquisitions Regulation
  • Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2009
Quite a list, huh? Do you think that even if any of our Representatives bother to read this Health Care Bill they are going to rush right out and cross reference all of these acts / regulations? Yeah, right.

Do You Know What's In the Healthcare Bill?

Have you read it? Because you know that our Senators and Representatives haven't. They farm it out in sections to staffers to read and interpret and give them a quick review.

Why is it there is such a rush to pass through a 1018 page bill that no one has read? Because once it is a done deal, do you realize how difficult, if not impossible, it will be to take any of it away?

Would you sign a mortgage for a new house without reading it? Would you sign any other legal document without reading it?

Then why on earth do we allow for our elected representatives to pass laws that we must abide by when they not only didn't write them, but couldn't even bother to read them? And you realize that if they pass this health care bill, they don't even have to live with it themselves? They are exempt. Does this not make you stark-raving mad?

Doesn't it make you furious to hear the media and lawmakers say that those of us who are attending town hall meetings are part of a conspiracy - that we're part of an organized program to cause disruption when all we are there to do is let our feelings be known?

What ever happened to our elected representatives making laws based on the will of the people? If the will of the people across this country is saying NO to government-run health care, don't we think they should be listening to us instead of trying to come up with talking points to make us come on board with them? Instead of trying to cram it down our throats?

Do you know that Pelosi sent "talking points" home with her democratic peers because they were clueless about this bill?

Have any of you readers out there tried to read this 1000+ page document? Well, there is a member on SurvivalistBoards forum that is trying to get through the entire document and share her findings. So far she's read the first 100 pages and has posted information for us to know as she has gone along.

Here's a link to the first 100 pages she's read: Pages 1-100 of the Healthcare Bill.

She's going to post each 100 pages in a separate forum thread to make it easier to read. I encourage you to check this out. I strongly encourage you to try to read the entire document yourself, but at the very least follow along with us on the SurvivalistBoards forum.

Here's a link to the entire PDF file of the 1018 page Healthcare Bill.

Here's a link to the Liberty Counsel PDF file Overview of the Healthcare Bill.

If there is a town-hall meeting in your area - by all means try to go - get out there and hear what your elected officials are presenting on this health care bill. Find out if they've read it. Find out what they really know about it. Demand that they represent you - the people.

We cannot afford to stand by and be ignorant on this one folks.

Bob Corker in West TN on Tuesday, Aug 11th

Senator Bob Corker will speak at two town-hall events in West Tennessee on Tuesday, August 11th:

Covington, TN: 9:00 a.m. at the Chamber Center

Oakland, TN: 5:00 p.m. at the Holy Spirit Lutheran Church's fellowship hall, 14615 State Route 194 - just south of Highway 64.

Shout out if you plan to attend and feel free to come back and let us know how it went!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

TN Appleseed Instructional Shoot in Sept

Here's the info from an email I received this weekend. My husband attended this session last year and had a great time. As a reminder: Military, Women and those under 21 can attend for FREE.

Quote:
You are invited to the following event:
Puryear, TN Appleseed - Sept 5-7, 2009

Date:
Saturday, September 05, 2009 at 8:30 AM
- to -
Monday, September 07, 2009 at 4:00 PM (CT)

Location:
Henry County Gun Club
1995 Goldston Spring Rd
Puryear, TN

More Information about Appleseed and what they do: CLICK HERE:

Registration for this event - CLICK HERE

Lady Preppers Show Download

Thanks for everyone who listened in on our very first Lady Preppers forum on the James Stevens' Family Preparedness Guide on Blog Talk Radio!

If you missed the chance to listen in on yesterday's live show, you can still download the show by going to this link: James Stevens' Family Preparedness Guide - Lady Preppers.

While we had one hour on the air live, we continued to talk and discuss for another hour, so it is actually a 2 hour show!

We had a great time and are looking forward to becoming a regular part of his talk show in the near future - with specific topics that we'll be addressing each time.

So, if you are new to prepping and have lots of burning questions - start writing them down and if you want you can even feel free to email them to me.

The one thing I really love about being part of the American Preppers Group is how well we all share information. If you are just getting started with your prepping activities, the information shared throughout our state networks can easily take you from 0 to 100 in much less time than you could possibly research and learn everything all by yourself.

So, come along for the ride, check the Family Preparedness Guide radio schedule often and get your questions ready!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Lady Preppers on Family Preparedness Guide Radio Show!

Last Saturday American Prepper, WVSanta, Matt and Bob were interviewed on James Stevens' Family Preparedness Guide radio show on Blog Talk Radio. They did a great job explaining the ins and outs of prepping and why we do it. It was a great show guys!!! If you missed the show, you can still download it here.

This Saturday (08 August 2009) James is having the ladies on his show to discuss the Prepper Networks and prepping from a female point of view! It is going to make for a very interesting discussion!

Please tune in at 2:00pm/EST and listen to Phelan (Kansas Preppers Network), Ernie (Indiana Preppers Network), Kymber (Canadian Preppers Network) and me! You can listen to the show live and call in with your questions (347-326-9604), or you can download the show later using this link.

Please be there to support us! And remember - we love questions so bring them along!!!

Hope to hear you on the radio!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

TN Congressman Sells-Out on Healthcare

Received in my email today from Gun Owners of America - TN Residents need to pay attention and act:


Contact Senators Alexander and Corker

-- Tell them you don't want them to follow Rep. Gordon's cowardly example

Gun Owners of America E-Mail Alert
8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102, Springfield, VA 22151
Phone: 703-321-8585 / FAX: 703-321-8408
http://www.gunowners.org


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Things were going so well! Perhaps too well.

It looked like the government-run health/anti-gun database created by the stimulus bill would not be extended to the most private medical records of every man, woman, and child in America!

It seemed like the health care bill was on life support.

But who should come riding to the rescue of socialized medicine, rationing, and a federal takeover of health care decisions but ... Tennessee's Bart Gordon.

On Friday, Rep. Gordon voted for a do-nothing "compromise" which allowed the massive health abomination to pass out of Energy and Commerce Committee and go to the House floor after the August recess.

Now that Gordon has sold out, it is imperative that we keep Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker from following Gordon's cowardly example. Tennessee's congressional delegation may be pivotal in determining whether:

* Your most private medical records are placed in a health/anti-gun database operated by the federal government;

* Most Americans lose their current insurance coverage due to HHS-drafted standards that their current insurance fails to comply with [sections 123 and 124 of the House Obama care bill; section 143 of the Kennedy-Dodd bill in the Senate].

Even if the "compromise" that Gordon voted for were a wonderful bill -- which it isn't -- it will just move the process along so that a conference committee controlled by Nancy Pelosi will throw out all of the "compromises" and reinsert whatever she wants.

Once the process reaches that point -- and we realize that the final product is OUR WORST NIGHTMARE -- it will be viewed as having unstoppable momentum and our tools for fighting it will be gone.

The current health care proposals would destroy gun owner privacy safeguards. These bills would put the Obama administration in charge of determining what kind of insurance virtually every American is required to have -- and likewise, what information Americans are required to provide to that database.

Gun owners already know the dangers of a computerized health care database run by anti-gun bureaucrats. Just consider what is occurring right now to our veterans.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has its own nationalized healthcare system with centralized records. Since 1999, over 150,000 veterans, mostly combat veterans, have lost their Second Amendment rights. The reason? A diagnosis by a doctor that the person deals with issues like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. These veterans committed no crime, were not tried in a court of law, served their country honorably, yet lost their gun rights for life because they told a doctor that they sometimes had nightmares about what they saw in combat.

If our veterans can lose their gun rights based on the diagnoses of a psychiatrist, we're all in trouble if Obama-care comes to the rest of the country. And to our knowledge, none of the compromise talks on Capitol Hill right now would remove gun owners from Obama's crosshairs.

By the way, Gordon's "compromise" contains a phony assurance that the bill's vastly understated trillion-dollar price tag would be reduced by an unspecified and illusory hundred billion.

Some cynics had predicted that so-called moderate Democrats like Gordon were "Pelosi puppets," who would wiggle around a little at the end of their strings, before dutifully dancing to Pelosi's tune. And they were right about Bart Gordon.

The question is: Will Senators Alexander and Corker do the same thing? They could well be the deciding votes in the Senate.

ACTION:

Contact Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker. Ask them to stand firm against gun control ... and against socialized medicine, including the Finance Committee's bill -- and not to sell out to cowardly compromises in order to please the liberal elite.

NOTE: You can "copy and paste" the pre-written letters into the appropriate webforms that are provided to you below.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

(1) Senator Lamar Alexander


Webform: http://alexander.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.Home
Phone: 202-224-4944, or call the Capitol switchboard toll-free at 1-877-762-8762

(2) Senator Bob Corker

Webform: http://corker.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=ContactInformation.ContactMe
Phone: 202-224-3344, or call the Capitol switchboard toll-free at 1-877-762-8762

----- Pre-written letter -----

Dear Senator:

You may be the pivotal vote in determining whether:

* My most private medical records are placed in a health/anti-gun database operated by the federal government;

* Most Americans lose their current insurance coverage due to HHS-drafted standards that their current insurance fails to comply with [sections 123 and 124 of the House Obamacare bill; section 143 of the Kennedy-Dodd bill].

So it is particularly alarming that Tennessee Congressman Bart Gordon voted for a face-saving do-nothing "compromise" which allowed the massive health abomination to pass out of Energy and Commerce Committee and go to the House floor after the August recess.

I urge you to stand firm against government-controlled medicine, and to not follow Gordon's cowardly betrayal of his Tennessee constituents.

Sincerely,

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Preppers Ham Radio Schedule for This Week

Here's the schedule for the American Preppers Radio Net for the week of August 3 - 9, 2009:

Tuesday, August 4th: 40M band / 7.196 mHz / 9:00 EST

Thursday, August 6th: 20M band / 14.320 mHz / 9:00 EST

Sunday, August 9th: 160M band / 1.860 mHz / 9:00 EST

Everyone is welcome to check in and say hello!

You can get more information at their website: American Preppers Radio Net. Check their website often for great information about HAM Radio, how to get started and some coming new Q and A posts!

Monday, August 3, 2009

CDC Changes Tracking - Again

This is almost too incredible for words. The CDC has yet again announced that it is changing the way it tracks the H1N1 Swine Flu virus in the U.S.

Excerpt from CDC Website:
CDC discontinued reporting of individual confirmed and probable cases of novel H1N1 infection on July 24, 2009. CDC will report the total number of hospitalizations and deaths weekly, and continue to use its traditional surveillance systems to track the progress of the novel H1N1 flu outbreak.
In the past, they had reported confirmed cases and deaths by state in a spreadsheet format.

Excerpt from CDC Website regarding reporting changes:
In addition, because of the extensive spread of novel H1N1 flu within the United States, it has become extremely resource-intensive for states to count individual cases.
I'm not sure why this should be too difficult to continue for the Center that is tasked with keeping up with these types of issues. This is incredible.

They currently are reporting a nation-wide 5,514 hospitalizations and 353 deaths. So now to keep up with the increase in illness and deaths, you'll have to check the website every Friday and do the math yourself to see how many new illnesses and deaths there were from the previous week.

So, in the middle of a brand new pandemic, lets not have our governmental agency tasked with keeping our health safety at the forefront even bother to let us know on a state level what is going on.

They have a link to all the states (found here) where you can go and get an estimate of the activity in your state. The link will take you to the Department of Health website for each individual state. But not all states are created equally. Some states are doing a fabulous job of breaking down information for their residents, others leave a lot to be desired.

A click on the CDC link for TN now takes you to the State of TN flu website. It is not readily apparent anywhere on the first page of the TN Link what the numbers are for H1N1 in our state.

There used to be a box at the very top of this page with the total number of confirmed cases to date. This box is no longer there. I had to click and click on links that I thought might give me numbers; then I found a link that led me through 5 additional links to finally find a map that had an estimate of the number of confirmed cases in my state. Ridiculous. Here's the link for TN - not found anywhere on the TN state website, but linked through to the federal pandemic website, to their state information, to a map. Well, finally - it says there are 283 confirmed cases in TN. Is the average person going to take this much effort to get this information? No. They are going to assume that it must not be worth much concern if the numbers aren't readily listed.

I for one would like to know a little more specifically, on a state and local level, how this new pandemic is progressing. Especially with school about to start, sporting events getting underway, the seasonal flu season approaching - and instead of providing us with more detailed information to make good decisions for our family, we are getting generalities.

If you go to the Mississippi state link, for example, they have a nice little map on their first page showing the number of cases by county. Now that is much more useful information to have in my opinion. They even have a statistics link that provides the numbers by county. This is good reporting of the information that their residents need to have available.

Most state sites also have a disclaimer:
Individual case reporting is resource-intensive, and because people with respiratory illnesses now are not always tested for flu, case counts represent a significant underestimate of the true number of novel H1N1 flu cases.
So even for those sites with excellent reporting, we are told that the numbers are significantly underestimated. Hmm. How much is significantly???

Another excerpt from the CDC website:
What monitoring system will CDC use to replace counting confirmed and probable novel H1N1 flu cases?
Instead of reporting confirmed and probable novel H1N1 flu cases, CDC has transitioned to using its traditional flu surveillance systems to track the progress of both the novel H1N1 flu pandemic and seasonal influenza. These systems work to determine when and where flu activity is occurring, track flu-related illness, determine what flu viruses are circulating, detect changes in flu viruses and measure the impact of flu on hospitalizations and deaths in the U.S
Does this mean that they are going to track H1N1 in with regular seasonal flu instead of separating it out? Who knows?

The Texas state website says something very similar:
Texas is returning to using its standard seasonal flu surveillance network to track and report flu activity.
It is apparent that the work will now be shifted to our shoulders to keep up with what is going on across the nation and the world so we can be prepared should a more severe version of this pandemic show up at our door this fall.

Other interesting quotes from the CDC's 24 July 2009 transcript:
We are continuing to see transmission here in The United States in places like summer camps, some military academies and similar settings where people from different parts of the country come together. You know, I think this is very unusual to have this much transmission of influenza during the season, and I think it's a testament to how susceptible people are to this virus. We as a country or as a population have protection. So in these special circumstances, like camps or close quarters in the military academies, we're seeing the virus spread. This week we have posted the latest numbers for case counts, but I want to mention this will be the last where you will see that kind of reporting. Our website shows, as of today, 43,771 laboratory identified cases of the new H1N1 virus. And 302 deaths that have been reported to us here from The United States. But as we've been saying, that's really just the tip of the iceberg, so we're no longer going to expect the states will continue this individual reporting and we're going to transition to other ways of describing the illness and the pattern.

Another:
But I want to turn to the southern hemisphere where a lot is going on. You probably heard about this in the media. Based on the information that's been shared with us and the laboratory findings and our people on the ground, we think that the circumstances are quite similar in different places and that this virus is capable of causing a range of illness. Severe life-threatening disease that requires intensive care unit and mechanical ventilation and also milder illness that gets better on its own. And this is really important for people to know this virus is out there, it's circulating, it causes a range of illness and we in The United States have to get ready for the fall.

Regarding illness in some children:
Yesterday we provided a little update about the clinical patterns that we were seeing with the H1N1 virus. There was a report about four children who had severe neurologic complications. Fortunately, most of these children have done well. But it's just a reminder that seizure, encephalitis and other neurologic complications can occur in influenza. This is reported in the literature -- quite a bit for seasonal influenza -- and now it's also occurring with this new H1N1 virus. We don't know whether neurologic problems will be more common with this virus, but we want clinicians to be on the lookout for that and to think about testing and treating for influenza in such circumstances.
All this to say - stay informed, do your homework, know what is going on in your state, know what the pandemic plans are for your state, know what you'll do if a family member becomes ill, know what you'll do to care for children who need to stay home from school, know how you'll handle the possibility of weeks off from work due to family illness, know that you have food, water, and medications on hand to care for your family for an extended period of time - in short, think it through and be prepared.

Best case this will pass us by like nothing more than seasonal flu. But I for one don't want to be caught unprepared.

Another good article:

Are We Prepared for Flu Outbreak?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Prepper Ham Radio Tonight!

From the American Preppers Radio Net Website for Sunday, August 2, 2009:

Tune in tonight on 160 meters as The American Preppers Radio Net takes to the air again at 9 PM EST.

"The Top Band" of Ham Radio, 160 meters is rarified territory for some hams, but for those who work it, it's the band of choice. Come check-in with Dave K7DLB as he cranks up the Net tonight on or around 1.860 MHz.
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