Local officials are waiting to consider a series of recommendations to preserve training activities at Fort Bragg, N.C., as the post’s latest joint land use study nears completion. On Thursday the study’s sponsor, the Regional Land Use Advisory Commission, heard draft recommendations, including disclosing military impacts to property during real estate transactions, supporting regional efforts to ensure the adequate supply and quality of drinking water sources, and discouraging incompatible growth in critical areas. The recommendations fall into four categories — regional coordination, compatible growth, environmental and actions Fort Bragg can pursue on its own, reported the Fayetteville Observer. A final version of the study and its recommendations are expected to be available later this year.Photo by John Snyder Dan Cohen AUTHOR
Other Labor Day sales you should check out Best Buy: In addition to some pretty solid MacBook deals that have been running for about a week already, Best Buy is offering up to 40% off major appliances like washers, dryers and stoves. There are also gift cards available with the purchase of select appliances. See it at Best BuyDell: Through Aug. 28, Dell is offering an extra 12% off various laptops, desktops and electronics. And check back starting Aug. 29 for a big batch of Labor Day doorbusters. See it at DellGlassesUSA: Aug. 29 – Sept. 3 only, you can save 65% on all frames with promo code labor65. See it at GlassesUSALenovo: The tech company is offering a large assortment of deals and doorbusters through Labor Day, with the promise of up to 56% off certain items — including, at this writing, the IdeaPad 730S laptop for $700 (save $300).See it at LenovoLensabl: Want to keep the frames you already love and paid for? Lensabl lets you mail them in for new lenses, based on your prescription. From now through Sept. 2 only, you can save 20% on the blue light-blocking lens option with promo code BLOCKBLUE. See it at LensablSears: Between now and Sept. 7, you can save up to 40% on appliances (plus an additional 10% if you shop online), up to 60% on mattresses, up to 50% on Craftsman products and more. The store is also offering some fairly hefty cashback bonuses. See it at SearsNote: This post was published previously and is continuously updated with new information.CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page, and find more great buys on the CNET Deals page. Tablets $999 Turo: Save $30 on any car rental Use promo code 19LABOR10 to get an unusually good deal on JBL’s interesting hybrid product — not quite headphones, and not quite a traditional speaker, but something you wear like neckphones to listen to music on the go. Chris Monroe/CNET Rylo 5.8K 360 Video Camera: $250 (save $250) The problem with most entry-level laptops: They come with mechanical hard drives. That makes for a mighty slow Windows experience. This Lenovo model features a 128GB solid-state drive, so it should be pretty quick to boot and load software, even with its basic processor. Plus, it has a DVD-burner! That’s not something you see in many modern laptops, especially at this price. $90 at Daily Steals via Google Express $60 at Best Buy I thought this might be a mistake, but, no, the weirdly named HP Laptop 15t Value is indeed quite the value at this price. Specs include an Intel Core i7 processor, 12GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive and a 15.6-inch display. However, I strongly recommend paying an extra $50 to upgrade that display to FHD (1,920×1,080), because you’re not likely to be happy with the native 1,366×768 resolution. 1 An Echo Dot makes a fine match for any Fire edition TV, because you can use the latter to say things like, “Alexa, turn on the TV.” Right now, the 24-inch Insignia Fire TV Edition starts at just $100, while the 32-inch Toshiba Fire TV Editions is on sale for $130. Just add any Fire TV Edition to your cart, then add a third-gen Echo Dot, and presto: The latter is free. The Cheapskate Spotify and most other streaming services rely on compressed audio, which robs the listener of full fidelity. Enter Tidal, the only “major” service that delivers lossless audio — meaning at least on par with CD quality, if not better. Want to see (er, hear) the difference for yourself? Grab this excellent extended trial while you can. It’s just $6 for three months, and it’s good for up to six listeners. Share your voice $59 at eBay See at Amazon Comments Read the Rylo camera preview Sarah Tew/CNET DJI Osmo Action camera: $261 (save $89) Sarah Tew/CNET DJI’s answer to GoPro’s action cameras is rugged little model that’s shockproof, dustproof and waterproof down to 11 meters. It normally runs $350, but this deal drops it to $261 when you apply promo code 19LABOR10 at checkout. Preview • iPhone XS is the new $1,000 iPhone X Sarah Tew/CNET See it Sarah Tew/CNET Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. Samsung,I’m shocked — shocked! — to learn that stores are turning Labor Day into an excuse to sell stuff. Wait — no, I’m not. As much as I respect the original intent of the holiday (which became official back in 1894), to most of us, it’s just a bonus day off — one that’s blissfully tacked onto a weekend. So, yeah, stores; go ahead, run your sales. I’m listening. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Labor Day doesn’t bring out bargains to compete with the likes of Black Friday (which will be here before you know it), but there are definitely some sales worth your time.For example:We’ve rounded up the best Labor Day mattress deals.We’ve also gathered the best Labor Day laptop deals at Best Buy.The 2019 Vizio P Series Quantum is back under $999.Be sure to check out Amazon’s roughly three dozen Labor Day deals on TVs and audio. Google Express is having a big sale as well, one that includes deals on game consoles, AirPods, iPhones, laptops and more.Below I’ve rounded up a handful of individual items I consider to be the cream of the crop, followed by a handy reference guide to other Labor Day sales. Keep in mind, of course, that products may sell out at any time, even if the sale itself is still running. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. Samsung Galaxy View Review • Samsung Galaxy View review: Biggest Samsung tablet ever, smallest TV in your house See It $299 at Amazon Read Google Home Hub review Lenovo 130-15AST 15.6-inch laptop: $210 (save $90) Preview • Samsung goes big on tablets with the 18-inch Galaxy View; starts at $599 from November 6 (hands-on) $210 at Best Buy There aren’t a lot of Android tablets left on the market, so the Galaxy View 2 stands out for more than its size. SamMobile Just when you were wondering when Samsung would deliver its replacement for the ginormous Galaxy View tablet, along come apparent renders of its smaller successor, the Galaxy View 2.Obtained by SamMobile, the photos show a circular cutout rather than a handle, and a folding design rather than a kickstand. (Though Samsung may not want to hear the word “fold” for a while, thanks to the big issues with its new wonderphone, the Galaxy Fold.) The Galaxy View 2 looks to have 17.5-inch screen, making it smaller than its 18.4-inch predecessorAccording to the site, the tablet attained Bluetooth and Wi-Fi certification late last year and appeared in the Geekbench database in January equipped with Samsung’s Exynos 7885 CPU and 3GB of memory, Leaked renders usually come out as a product gets close to launch, so we may see this soon.Samsung didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment. Amazon Formerly known as the Google Home Hub, Google’s Nest Hub packs a wealth of Google Assistant goodness into a 7-inch screen. At $59, this is within a buck of the best price we’ve seen. It lists for $129 and sells elsewhere in the $89-to-$99 range.This is one item of many available as part of eBay’s Labor Day Sale (which, at this writing, doesn’t specifically mention Labor Day, but that’s how it was pitched to us). Tags Best Buy $520 at HP Boost Mobile $155 at Google Express Turo is kind of like Uber meets Airbnb: You borrow someone’s car, but you do all the driving. I’ve used it many times and found it a great alternative to traditional car-rental services — in part because you get to choose exactly the vehicle you want (not just, say, “midsize”) and in part because you can often do pickup and dropoff right outside baggage claim.Between now and Sept. 1, the first 300 people to check out can get $30 off any Turo rental with promo code LDW30. Tidal 3-month family subscription: $5.99 (save $54) See at Turo What’s cooler: A snapshot of a firework exploding in front of you, or full 360-degree video of all the fireworks and all the reactions to seeing them? Oooh, ahhh, indeed. At $250, the compact Rylo dual-lens camera is selling for its lowest price yet. And for an extra $50, you can get the bundle that includes the waterproof housing.This deal runs through Sept. 3; it usually costs $500. Read Lenovo Smart Clock review 7 JBL Soundgear wearable speaker: $90 (save $160) Turo Comment $999 Lenovo Smart Clock: $59.99 (save $20) Angela Lang/CNET Tags Google Nest Hub: $59 (save $70) Free Echo Dot with an Insignia or Toshiba TV (save $50) $999 See It TVs Speakers Mobile Accessories Cameras Laptops Automobiles Smart Speakers & Displays Mentioned Above Apple iPhone XS (64GB, space gray) $6 at Tidal HP Laptop 15t Value: $520 (save $780) Rylo See It CNET may get a commission from retail offers. $999 Though not technically a Labor Day sale, it’s happening during Labor Day sale season — and it’s too good not to share. Nationwide Distributors, via Google Express, has just about the best AirPods deal we’ve seen (when you apply promo code ZBEDWZ at checkout). This is for the second-gen AirPods with the wireless charging case. Can’t imagine these will last long at this price, so if you’re interested, act fast. Review • iPhone XS review, updated: A few luxury upgrades over the XR $261 at Daily Steals via Google Express Recently updated to include digital-photo-frame capabilities, the Lenovo Smart Clock brings Google Assistant goodness to your nightstand. It’s a little smaller than the Amazon Echo Show 5, but also a full $30 less (and tied with Prime Day pricing) during this Best Buy Labor Day sale. Share your voice Read the AirPods review Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case: $155 (save $45) Read DJI Osmo Action preview Sprint Apple iPhone XS
Wikimedia Commons The Houston City Council unanimously approved Wednesday placing an item on the November 6 ballot that will present Houstonians with a choice to support or reject pay parity between police officers and firefighters.The ballot initiative would give firefighters a single-year pay raise of 25 percent, at a cost of $98 million a year.“And if by chance police, which are at the table right now asking for a pay raise, if they get one dime, that $98 million goes up,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. The mayor, who opposes the pay parity amendment, said the city could not afford such an increase without gutting its workforce and city services. He said he will hold town hall meetings on the item in all the City Council districts before the election in order to make his point.District E Council Member Dave Martin echoed Turner’s message. He spoke directly to city employees other than firefighters. “A 25 percent salary increase has a dramatic effect on your pension, which we’ve worked the last two years to get under control,” Martin said.In a recent interview with Houston Matters, Turner argued that the pay parity the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association (HPFFA) demands isn’t logical because the functionalities of the Police and Fire Departments are not the same.HPFFA President Patrick M. ‘Marty’ Lancton said in statement they are “grateful that the City Council members were led by their conscience and their ministerial duty, and not by political arm-twisting.” Share X Listen To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: 00:00 /00:54
In the TV segment, which Trump retweeted late Monday night, Lou Dobbs reiterated unproven claims that Google was censoring political advertisement and showing biased search results. Dobbs was then joined by Breitbart News editor-at-large Peter Schweizer, who claimed that Google was “gonna go all in” on election interference in 2020.Trump went on to tweet Tuesday morning that he had recently been visited by Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who had tried to assure him that the company wasn’t looking to influence the 2020 election. “It all sounded good until I watched Kevin Cernekee,” Trump tweeted, adding that the alleged interference was “very illegal.”A Google spokesperson responded Tuesday to the allegations with the following statement: “The statements made by this disgruntled former employee are absolutely false. We go to great lengths to build our products and enforce our policies in ways that don’t take political leanings into account. Distorting results for political purposes would harm our business and go against our mission of providing helpful content to all of our users.” Sacha B. Cohen’s Disgust at President Trump Fueled ‘Who is America’ Popular on Variety Trump Attorney Seeks Retraction of Lawrence O’Donnell’s Russian Loan Report In other posts, he mused whether the extreme-right Traditionalist Workers Party was run by “actual neo-Nazis,” and suggested that a racist skinhead group should rebrand themselves as “The Helpful Neighborhood Bald Guys.” Related Trump’s tweets were apparently prompted by a segment that aired Monday night on “Lou Dobbs Tonight.” In it, Dobbs interviewed former Google employee Kevin Cernekee, who alleged that Google executives were looking to “control the flow of information to the public, and make sure that Trump loses in 2020.”Cernekee rose to prominence after he was featured in a Wall Street Journal profile last week, in which he alleged that Google fired him for his conservative views. The company has denied this, and said that Cernekee was fired for downloading large amounts confidential information with the help of personal devices.Since the publication of the Journal story, a report in the Daily Caller has shown that Cernekee wasn’t merely sharing conservative views while at Google. Instead, Cernekee was using Google’s internal message boards to raise money in defense of white nationalist Richard Spencer. President Trump took to Twitter Tuesday morning to attack Google, and allege without evidence that the search giant was looking to influence the 2020 election. “We are watching Google very closely,” he tweeted. ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15
The birefringent dielectric metasurfaces were designed using silicon nanofins on top of a glass substrate. To achieve the desired phase shifts, 2-D parameter optimization was conducted using a rigorous coupled wave analysis (RCWA) method. The RCWA semi-analytical method is typically applied in computational electromagnetics to solve scattering from periodic dielectric structures. The length L and width W of the nanofin were in the range of 80 to 280 nm, height at 600 nm and period size P at 400 nm. The values were carefully selected to ensure the phase of the output light eliminated any undesired orders of diffraction. For the simulation, the nanofin was placed on a glass substrate and subjected to a fixed wavelength of incident light at 800 nm. Simulation results indicated the amplitude of transmission for most nanofins with diverse cross-sections were beyond 90 percent efficiency. The scientists determined orientation angles of the nanofins using equations derived in the study to experimentally demonstrate multichannel polarization multiplexing. Holography is a powerful tool that can reconstruct wavefronts of light and combine the fundamental wave properties of amplitude, phase, polarization, wave vector and frequency. Smart multiplexing techniques (multiple signal integration) together with metasurface designs are currently in high demand to explore the capacity to engineer information storage systems and enhance optical encryption security using such metasurface holograms. The scientists first derived a multiplexing algorithm to support the dynamic vectorial holographic display and encryption process. By using the correct polarization keys, the receiver could obtain the exact information delivered. By increasing the complexity of such images, even higher flexibility was obtained alongside detailed analysis of the reconstructed vectorial image properties. Since the device containing metasurfaces is compact in size, in practice, it can be easily transported with encoded information. , Nature Communications To pattern the design of interest, Zhao et al. engineered several dielectric silicon metasurfaces on top of a glass substrate using plasma etching, followed by electron beam lithography. The metasurfaces were composed of 1000 x 1000 nanofins, i.e. nanostructures with the ability to augment heat transfer via surface area enhancement and liquid-solid-interactions. The researchers studied two schemes of multiple polarization channels; with or without rotation using the birefringent dielectric metasurfaces—to realize the holograms. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. a) Schematic illustration of an amorphous silicon nanofin positioned on a glass substrate. The metasurface will be composed of a periodic arrangement of such unit-cells. b–e) Simulation results for the amplitude and phase of the transmission coefficients txx and tyy shown for a 2D parameter optimization by using a rigorous coupled wave analysis method. The length and width of the nanofin are both swept in the range of 80–280 nm at an incident wavelength of 800 nm. Credit: Light: Science & Applications, doi: 10.1038/s41377-018-0091-0. Experimental setup and scanning electron microscopy images of the fabricated metasurface samples. a) The experimental setup for the observation of the holographic images. The two linear polarizers (LP1, LP2) and two quarter-wave plates (QWP1, QWP2) are used to set the precise polarization combination for the incident/transmitted light. The lens images the back focal plane of the microscope objective lens (×40/0.6) to a CCD camera. b–e) Scanning electron microscopy images of two typical fabricated silicon metasurface samples shown with a top and side view. The metasurface holograms are composed of 1000 × 1000 nanofins with different cross-sections and orientation angles. Credit: Light: Science & Applications, doi: 10.1038/s41377-018-0091-0. The two-channel polarization and angle-multiplexed hologram represents a cartoon tiger, cartoon snowman, teapot and teacup. Credit: Light: Science & Applications, doi: 10.1038/s41377-018-0091-0. , Nature Nanotechnology Multichannel polarization-multiplexed holograms (“Dice”). Credit: Light: Science & Applications, doi: 10.1038/s41377-018-0091-0. More information: Ruizhe Zhao et al. Multichannel vectorial holographic display and encryption, Light: Science & Applications (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41377-018-0091-0 Guoxing Zheng et al. Metasurface holograms reaching 80% efficiency, Nature Nanotechnology (2015). DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2015.2 Lingling Huang et al. Three-dimensional optical holography using a plasmonic metasurface, Nature Communications (2013). DOI: 10.1038/ncomms3808 Journal information: Light: Science & Applications Holography based on metasurfaces is a promising candidate for applications in optical displays/storage with enormous information bearing capacity alongside a large field of view compared to traditional methods. To practically realize metasurface holograms, holographic profiles should be encoded on ultrathin nanostructures that possess strong light-matter interactions (plasmonic interactions) in an ultrashort distance. Metasurfaces can control light and acoustic waves in a manner not seen in nature to provide a flexible and compact platform and realize a variety of vectorial holograms, with high dimensional information that surpass the limits of liquid crystals or optical photoresists. Among the existing techniques employed to achieve highly desired optical properties, polarization multiplexing (multiple signal integration) is an attractive method. The strong cross-talk associated with such platforms can, however, be prevented with birefringent metasurfaces (two-dimensional surfaces with two different refractive indices) composed of a single meta-atom per unit-cell for optimized polarization multiplexing.Nevertheless, the full capacity of all polarization channels remains to be explored for improved information storage capacity within metasurface holograms and in holographic optical devices. In a recent study, Ruizhe Zhao and co-workers demonstrated a new method to realize multichannel vectorial holography for dynamic display and high-security applications. In the study, birefringent metasurfaces were explored to control polarization channels and process very different information through rotation. The reconstructed vectorial images could be switched from one form to another with negligible cross-talk by selecting a combination of input/output polarization states. The results are now published in Light: Science & Applications. The scientists were able to design and construct more complex multiplexing functionalities with 12 channels using the same principles of design thereafter. The vectorial images were viewed as holographic reconstructions with the input/output polarization combinations developed as proposed. The technique could also be used to encrypt different images at the same spatial location. In encryption, such superposition can convey a different meaning on reconstruction. As an example, the scientists chose the image of a die with six representative surfaces, and by using different combinations of input/output polarization states, encoded up to six images for viewing.The multiplexing algorithm derived in the study aided the dynamic vectorial holographic display and the encryption of images encoded on birefringent dielectric metasurfaces. By using the correct polarization keys, a receiver could obtain the exact information delivered. Higher flexibility could be obtained by increasing the complexity of the image and changing the medium of encryption to titanium dioxide (TiO2) or silicon nitride (SiN). The correct polarization combination secured the information for enhanced complexity during decryption.The multichannel hologram maintained a relatively large working bandwidth since the reconstructed images could be observed away from the designed wavelength of 800 nm. The study established a design and engineering technique that combined birefringent properties of simple nanofins used as the building blocks, with extra-design freedom of rotation matrix and smart multiplexing algorithms. The results enabled high-dimensional multichannel polarization multiplexed holograms, with up to 12 polarization channels. In this way, efficient light-based encryption and integrated multichannel holographic display techniques can pave the way for advanced communication in high security applications. Principle of the metasurface holography design and statistical results of the number of each nanofin (different cross-sections and orientation angles) contained in the designed metasurface holograms. Schematic illustrations of polarization multiplexed holograms based on dielectric metasurfaces. The red and blue arrows indicate the polarization of the incident light and the transmission axis of the polarizer placed behind the metasurface sample. The red, blue, and green color of the reconstructed images (the words “holography”, “meta”, and “surface”) represent components of the output light, respectively. a) Two channel polarization and an angle multiplexed hologram based on metasurfaces composed of nanofins with different cross-sections but fixed orientation angles, which can be used to reconstruct two sets of off-axis images. b) Multichannel polarization multiplexed hologram based on metasurfaces composed of nanofins with different cross-sections and orientation angles, which can be used to reconstruct three independent images and all combinations of these images (12 channels in total). c) Two-channel polarization- and angle-multiplexed hologram (enables appearance of “cartoon tiger”, “cartoon snowman”, “teapot”, “cup”), b) Multichannel polarization-multiplexed hologram (appearance of the word “holography”, “meta”, “surface”) c) Multichannel polarization-multiplexed hologram (appearance of “dice”) d Multichannel polarization-multiplexed hologram (appearance of a “cartoon person”). Credit: Light: Science & Applications, doi: 10.1038/s41377-018-0091-0. © 2018 Science X Network For optical characterization of the metasurface holograms, Zhao et al. used an experimental setup. The magnifying ratio and numerical aperture of the objective lens were carefully chosen to collect all the diffraction light from the sample and reconstruct holographic images in the Fourier plane. The scientists used a second objective/lens to capture the Fourier plane on a CCD camera. They also separately observed two scanning electron microscopy images of the samples with or without rotation to characterize the engineered surface.As a proof-of-principle, using the metasurfaces, Zhao et al. constructed holographic images of a cartoon tiger and a snowman that appeared with high fidelity and high resolution when illuminated by x-polarized light. When the incident light was switched to y-polarization, the reconstructed images changed to a teapot and a teacup. In this experiment, only two polarization channels were available in the setup, with both pairs of the holographic images reconstructed and made to disappear simultaneously by rotating the polarizer behind the sample. The experimental results were in agreement with the simulation to confirm the study’s fundamental design principle. The net diffraction efficiency of the hologram was defined as the ratio of intensity of the single reconstructed image to the power of incident light. Explore further Citation: Multichannel vectorial holographic display and encryption (2018, December 7) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-12-multichannel-vectorial-holographic-encryption.html Technique makes more efficient, independent holograms
Holy cow!!! Delhi this weekend made this expression towards a philanthropic cause (which was saving our Indian desi cow). How? By organising an exhibition plus fest centered on a conscious awakening towards going back to nature and preserving nature for our own happy and healthy future.Organised at Select City Walk, Saket, the Ahimsa Bazar or Holy Cow Music Fest, was organised by Holy Cow Foundation. It had stalls opened from 11 am till 10 pm aimed at promoting products made from cowdung (manure, dhoopbati, agnihotra samidha, air purifier kit etc) and urine (ark, pesticide, phenyel etc.); the foundation is working towards enabling sustainability of the cow and creating awareness about apathetic condition of our domestic animals. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Visitors could select from a sumptuous menu consisting of vegetarian and vegan food and vegan ice-cream. Also, there was choice of organic vegetables and products as well as ayurveda and Holy Cow panchgavya health products. For the nature conscious, there were stalls on home composting units and organic compost and for those with literary interest, there were books on display by Indological book store. The festival also had some entertainment value to it with scintillating performances by the snake charmers sans the live snakes and kajri sangeet. For the classically attuned, there were breathtaking jugalbandi on table and the lion dance of the north east. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe music extravaganza continued till late in the evening with rock Kirtan by Vraj Vadhu group of ISKON, including street plays and several other performances.Covered with glee and fun, the event had an underlying message which highlighted the following points- Stop cow slaughter. Stop any kind of animal slaughter for food and pleasure and respect all forms of life and live with nature. Encourage farmers to produce organic products by creating a demand for them and use cow milk, curd and ghee in your homes since these are ambrosia for humans amongst others The major concern marked was indiscriminate slaughter of cows to export meat (in our country everyday 50,000 cows are being slaughtered) and excessive use of chemical fertilizers in agriculture (today Punjab is known as the cancer capital of India) have become the major cause of growing instance of women becoming barren and men becoming impotent, rising graphs of diseases, mental stress and disorders, disorientation of youth and growing aggression in our society.This is the second time the festival is being held and the response was quite heartening.
Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals “If I’ve never directly worked with you or if you’ve never directly worked for me, don’t bother sending me a connection request on LinkedIn. It’s not gonna happen. I’ll just click ‘Ignore.’”Those are the wise words of a friend of mine who works in New York City as a top executive at one of the Big Four broadcast TV networks.At first, I thought she was being harsh. But as more and more LinkedIn connection requests trickled, then poured in for me from people I didn’t know any better than a random passerby on the street, I changed my mind.Related: LinkedIn Tips: 10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your NetworkI stopped accepting connection requests from total strangers. And I stopped sending them to people I haven’t met or haven’t actually worked with, too.If I don’t know you, have never directly done business with you, and we don’t even work in a remotely similar industry and have zero connections in common, please don’t ask me to connect with you on LinkedIn. Like my friend said, it’s not gonna happen. Not anymore.Your good name is on the line on LinkedIn. It’s not like Facebook or Instagram. The difference: it’s for professionals only. Well, it’s supposed to be.Connection requests are nothing like friend requests. I think they’re much more serious and that the professionals I align myself with on LinkedIn should reflect nothing less than positively on me and I on them. That’s not something I take lightly. If you want to keep your professional reputation intact, you probably shouldn’t either.Here are three reasons to shoot down LinkedIn Connection requests (hopefully politely, not like Kelly Blazek):1. You don’t know the requester from Adam. Connecting with someone on LinkedIn isn’t like introducing yourself and handing them your business card at an in-person networking event. It’s more like you’re both vouching for each other’s professional experience and skills. You’re entering into a mutual circle of professional trust. That said, if you don’t know someone at all and have zero connections in common, it’s probably best to ignore their request.Even LinkedIn says you should only “connect with those you know and trust.” I can’t think of any strangers I know and trust. Can you?”To be a connection on LinkedIn, I would wait until you have some kind of rapport,” Lizzie Post, co-author of Emily Post’s Etiquette (William Morrow, 2011), recently told the Washington Post.Related: 3 Ways You Might Be Screwing Up Your LinkedIn Profile and How to Avoid ThemIf you don’t recognize the requester’s name at all, you obviously haven’t established rapport with them and you probably have no idea what the individual’s professional reputation is.It’s best to steer clear and skip the connection. If you do accept them (instead of clicking “Ignore” or “I Don’t Know [Name]”), beware: know that you’re granting a complete stranger carte blanche to your trusted professional network, which they’ll be able to freely snoop around in. They might even contact your connections to ask about you.2. The requester was lazy and didn’t customize his or her connection request.LinkedIn’s standard (and drab) connection verbiage, “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn,” is basically code for “I couldn’t be bothered to personalize my connection request, so please ignore it now.”Not customizing an invite is like leaving a voicemail or sending a text or email that simply says, “My name is Kim. Bye.” It’s not enough by a longshot. Go the extra mile and briefly explain how you already know — not merely know of — the person, because, again, as LinkedIn cautions (via a link posted directly below the connection invitation personal note box), “Connecting to someone on LinkedIn implies that you know them well.”Related: 17 Must-Have Features on Your LinkedIn Profile (Infographic)Take the time to mention where and how you worked together before or how you are otherwise directly well acquainted. If that doesn’t jog the person’s memory, you probably shouldn’t have tried to connect in the first place.3. The requester looks and feels like a spammer.If you receive a connection request from someone you don’t know who is advertising goods or services, it might not be a person at all. It could be a spam bot. Or, yes, a real (sales!) person with spammy intentions. Both are equally lame and both deserve LinkedIn “Report as Spam” as option.Spammers trolling LinkedIn often don’t have a profile picture. Follow this simple formula to avoid falling into their trap: No face = no connection. Another red flag: the perpetrator might also be from a far off country that you’ve never visited.Reporting a suspicious connection invite that stinks of spam automatically archives the invitation and tips off LinkedIn so it can investigate. You could also just click “Ignore,” but it won’t do much to stop the spammer from bugging other LinkedIn users. Whatever you do, don’t open any attachments or click on any links within a suspect connection request.Related: 10 Questions to Ask When Creating Your LinkedIn Company Page April 17, 2014 5 min read Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Register Now »
State Rep. Aaron Miller of Sturgis today announced his monthly in-district office hours with local residents.“I enjoy connecting with the people in my community and hear what matters most to them,” Rep. Miller said. “It is important I am accessible to everyone.”Rep. Miller will hold office hours at the following times and locations:Monday, June 259 to 10:30 a.m. at Broadway Café, 158 S. Broadway St. in Cassopolis; and11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Marcellus Township Library, 205 E. Main St. in Marcellus. 30May Rep. Miller announces June office hours Categories: Miller News No appointments are necessary. Those unable to attend may contact Rep. Miller’s office at (517) 373-0832 or AaronMiller@house.mi.gov.
Deutschland 83Channel 4’s new on-demand service for foreign-language drama, Walter Presents, has notched up more than 1 million views in just two weeks.According to the UK broadcaster, the 11 titles currently available on Walter Presents – which launched on January 3 – have now attracted 1.1 million views on Channel 4’s on-demand platform All 4.So far German spy drama Deutschland 83 has been the most popular title on Walter Presents, followed by Danish thriller Heartless and French political drama Spin in second and third place respectively.Channel 4 claims Deutschland 83 was the “highest rated foreign-language drama in UK TV history” after recording a consolidated audience of 2.5 million viewers across TV and online for the first episode.“Walter Presents has captured viewers’ imaginations in the most wonderful way. It’s thrilling to see so many people finding the best of world drama on 4,” said Channel 4’s chief creative officer, Jay Hunt.The free, ad-supported service is the product of a partnership between Channel 4 and Global Series Network (GSN) and will offer a “constantly evolving and expanding” slate of foreign dramas, chosen by Walter Presents curator, Walter Iuzzolino. Channel 4 said the service will eventually host more than 600 hours of box-set drama.
Health care in the U.S. Virgin Islands remains in a critical state, five months after Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria pummeled the region. The only hospital on St. Thomas, the Schneider Regional Medical Center, serves some 55,000 residents between the islands of St. Thomas and St. John. Schneider’s facilities suffered major structural damage, forcing a decrease in its range of services, mass transfers of its patients, staff departures and significant losses in revenue. Only about one-third of the beds are currently available for patient care.In early September, when Irma hit the Virgin Islands, most of Schneider’s staff members were on duty. At the height of the storm, a large window on the hospital’s top floor gave out. “You had winds of 175, 180 miles per hour whipping through here,” says the hospital’s Vice President Darryl Smalls.The screws holding the window in place failed. The window itself, made from hurricane impact glass, remained intact. It’s here, leaning against a nursing station that’s now in shambles. Ceiling panels are gone, exposed pipes and ducts are damaged and sagging in places. A large plywood barrier covers the window opening.When the window tore off, Smalls says the staff worked quickly to evacuate some 20 patients to a safer part of the hospital. They couldn’t use the elevator in the middle of the storm, so staff transported patients from the fourth floor to the third floor using the emergency stairwells. “We literally took the patients on the mattresses, slid them down the stairs, down to the third floor, across the building and up onto the other side,” Smalls says. “We have a surgical unit which was not compromised and capable of handling patient care.”Eventually, all of the patients who were at Schneider during the storm were evacuated off of the island. But even as staff dealt with a host of problems, the hospital remained open. In the emergency room, which flooded badly from a leaky roof, Smalls says, “You probably had about 3 to 4 inches of water on the floor in here. I had pumps. I think we probably had 50 people in here at any given time just trying to evacuate as much water out of the facility.”Today, the hospital continues to provide surgery, labor and delivery care, radiology and lab services. But its cancer center, a $28 million facility, remains closed because of extensive storm damage. The hospital can now only provide limited services for patients requiring dialysis. Meanwhile, Schneider Medical’s sister center, the only hospital on St. Croix, the U.S. Virgin Islands’ other major island, suffered even more extensive damage to its operating rooms.Without adequate medical services available, Schneider Regional CEO Bernard Wheatley says most patients who evacuated St. Thomas have not been able to return. “It’s over 400 that have been transferred off island,” Wheatley says. “And to this day, we’re still transferring some patients, especially the ones requiring extensive length of stay.”Along with the lack of facilities, another major problem is staffing. Wheatley says he’s lost 150 of the hospital’s 600 employees — many of whom left the island after the storms destroyed their homes. “The sad part of it, we’ve lost a lot of nurses,” he says. “If you ask me right now, what’s my key entity in terms of shortages, from a clinical standpoint it would be the nursing staff.” Shanique Woods-Boschulte, who directs Schneider’s foundation says, “Every day we get one or two resignations.” After five months, Woods-Boschulte says, the daily struggle is wearing down many staff members. “The morale was really high after the storm because we saw what we were able to accomplish — no patients hurt,” she says. “But now things are trickling down and everyone is leaving a broken hospital and going home to a broken home.”Adding to the woes, the hospital is in desperate financial straits. Revenues are half of what they were because there are far fewer patients. The government-supported hospital is projecting a $7 million loss.With all the competing problems on the islands, CEO Bernard Wheatley says it’s not clear how much help the local government can provide. “The territory itself is projecting a $400 million loss,” he says. “They don’t have the hotel rooms, tourism is down. It’s just not the same island.”The U.S. Virgin Islands is now looking to Congress to help decide what to do about its battered hospitals. The local government is in talks with FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers to determine whether the hospitals can be rehabilitated, or if new facilities will be needed. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
Marilyn Bartlett took a deep breath, drew herself up to her full 5 feet and a smidge, and told the assembled handful of Montana officials that she had a radical strategy to bail out the state’s foundering benefit plan for its 30,000 employees and their families.The officials were listening. Their health plan was going broke, with losses that could top $50 million in just a few years. It needed a savior, but none of the applicants to be its new administrator had wowed them.Now here was a self-described pushy 64-year-old grandmother interviewing for the job.Bartlett came with some unique qualifications. She had just spent 13 years on the insurance industry side, first as a controller for a Blue Cross Blue Shield plan, then as the chief financial officer for a company that administered benefits. She was a potent combination of irreverent and nerdy, a certified public accountant whose smart car’s license plate reads “DR CR,” the Latin abbreviations for “debit” and “credit.” Most importantly, Bartlett understood something the state officials didn’t: the side deals, kickbacks and lucrative clauses that industry players secretly build into medical costs. Everyone, she had observed, was profiting except the employers and workers paying the tab. Now, in the twilight of her career, Bartlett wanted to switch teams. In her view, employers should be pushing back against the industry and demanding that it justify its costs. They should ask for itemized bills to determine how prices are set. And they should read the fine print in their contracts to weed out secret deals that work against them. The way health care works in America, most employers cede control of costs to their health insurers, the hospitals that treat their employees and the companies they pay to manage their benefits. The costs are a dense thicket that few employers feel equipped to hack through. So they don’t.This failure helps explain why Americans pay the highest health care costs in the world — and why the tab continues to increase, year after year. Employers fund these costs through employee compensation packages, so the math is typically bad news for workers: Rising health costs mean fewer wage increases and less take-home pay. Montana was no different.And so Bartlett pitched a bold strategy. Step 1: Tell the state’s hospitals what the plan would pay. Take it or leave it. Step 2: Demand a full accounting from the company managing drug costs. If it won’t reveal any side deals it had with drugmakers, replace it.Bartlett’s strategy would expose a culture in which participants fail to question escalating costs and the role each part of the health care industry plays in them. These little-seen aspects of the health insurance industry and the way Americans pay for medical care are the focus of an ongoing series from ProPublica and NPR. As Bartlett laid out her plan that day in July 2014 in a conference room in Helena, Sheila Hogan, then-director of the state’s Department of Administration, liked what she was hearing. They needed something radical. To her knowledge, no one had ever tried anything like this. Bartlett would be taking on some of the state’s power players: hospitals and health insurers — and their politically connected lobbyists. If her plan didn’t work, the state and its employees were in trouble. If it did, it could create a blueprint for employers everywhere.Bartlett knew employers have negotiating power that few of them use. The health care system depends on the revenue produced by the surgeries, mammograms, lab tests and other services it provides, and it can ill afford to lose it. Bartlett got the job. She would call the industry’s bluff.Ballooning medical costsEmployer-sponsored health benefits are almost as old as America itself. In 1798, John Adams, the second U.S. president, signed a law that took 20 cents per month from the paychecks of U.S. seamen to fund their medical care. After the Civil War, lumber, mining and railroad companies in the American West withheld money from employee paychecks to pay for doctors and hospitals.After World War II, such plans became mainstream. Today, about 150 million Americans get their health benefits through their employers. The industry is dominated by what some call the “BUCAH” plans – Blue Cross Blue Shield, UnitedHealth Group, Cigna, Aetna and Humana. Half a dozen health insurers currently sit near the top of the Fortune 500, with combined annual revenue of about half a trillion dollars. Despite the money at stake, many employers have, wittingly or not, deferred to the industry. Decisions about health benefit plans are usually made by midlevel human resources managers who may not understand the forces in the medical industry operating against them. They’re often advised by insurance brokers, who are traditionally funded by the industry. And they’re trying to keep the peace for employees — who demand convenient access to the care they need. It’s a recipe for inertia.The conventional wisdom is that insurance companies want to reduce health care spending. In reality, insurers’ business plans hinge on keeping hospitals and other providers happy — and in their networks — often at the expense of employers and patients. Employers often feel caught between rising costs and concern that changes they make will be bad for their employees, says Michael Thompson, president of the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions, which represents groups of employers who provide benefits to more than 45 million Americans. And, he says, they rely on the advice of industry experts instead of digging into the details.”We have got to get control of this thing or it’s going to bring down the economy, our personal bankrolls and our wages,” he says. “It’ll cost jobs in the United States and it’ll bring down our public programs. This is not a small issue. It’s a huge issue.”But Bartlett soon discovered that it was easier to talk about pushing back than to do it. A showdown with Montana’s hospitalsBartlett arrived in Helena, the state capital, in fall 2014 as an outsider navigating a minefield of established relationships. From the start, she knew she would have to tackle the staggering bills from the state’s hospitals, which made up the largest chunk of the plan’s expenses. It wouldn’t be popular because they also made up a significant chunk of hospitals’ profitsMontana, like many large employers, self-funds its plan. That means it pays the bills and hires an insurance company or other firm to process the claims. More than half of American workers are covered by self-funded plans. As the boss in this arrangement, Bartlett assumed she would have access to detailed information about how much the plan, which was managed by Cigna, paid for procedures at each hospital. But when she asked Cigna for its pricing terms with the hospitals, Cigna refused to provide them. Its contracts with hospitals were secret, Cigna representatives told her. That didn’t sit well with Bartlett, she recalls. “The payer cannot see the contract,” she says, “but we agree to pay whatever the contract says we will pay.” A cumbersome querying process set up by Cigna allowed her to get individual claims and other limited information. But the company would only give her aggregate data, with things lumped together, to show what she paid each hospital. It was like telling a family trying to reduce its grocery spending that it could only see what it spent in a year, not a breakdown of what bread and fruit and other items cost at each market. When Bartlett continued to demand information, Cigna balked; it needed to balance what she wanted with keeping the hospitals happy. “I don’t see the need for a balance,” she recalls telling them. “I am representing the payer.” Cigna declined to answer questions about its relationship with Montana’s plan, but it said in a statement that it had prioritized the plan’s preferences and needs. Bartlett ultimately settled on a radical solution: The plan would set its own prices for the hospitals.In the illusory world of hospital billing, the hospitals typically charge a high price for a procedure, then give insurers in-network discounts. These charges and discounts might be different for each procedure at each hospital, depending on who has more leverage during negotiations. The discounts, however, are meaningless if the underlying charges aren’t capped. When Bartlett looked at a common knee replacement, with no complications and a one-night hospital stay, she saw that one hospital had charged the plan $25,000, then applied a 7 percent discount. So, the plan paid $23,250. A different hospital gave a better discount, 10 percent, but on a sticker price of $115,000. So, the plan got billed $103,500 — more than four times the amount it paid the other hospital for the same operation. Bartlett recalled wondering why anyone would think this was OK. Under Bartlett’s proposed new strategy, the plan would use the prices set by Medicare as a reference point. Medicare, the federal government’s insurance for the disabled and patients over 65, is a good benchmark because it makes its prices public and adjusts them for hospitals based on geography and other factors. Montana’s plan would pay hospitals a set percentage above the Medicare amount, a method known as “reference-based pricing,” making it impossible for the hospitals to arbitrarily raise their prices. Fed up, Bartlett ended the plan’s relationship with Cigna. Her battle to upend the status quo riled some employees of her own office, who complained that she was demanding too many changes. Some quit. Bartlett didn’t let up. That Christmas, the Cigna representative sent each employee in Bartlett’s office a small gift, a snow globe. Bartlett didn’t get one. But her ideas were exciting to Ron Dewsnup, the president of Allegiance Benefit Plan Management, a Montana-based subsidiary of, ironically, Cigna. Allegiance had been studying variation in hospital prices for years and had twice sent reports to Montana hospitals showing how their prices for the same procedures differed significantly. The company had also considered a reference-based pricing model, but it “didn’t have any employers that were serious about taking a stand,” Dewsnup says. Allegiance got the state contract and began by comparing what the plan paid the 11 biggest hospitals in the state with the Medicare rates. The cheaper ones averaged about twice the Medicare rates, the most expensive one about five times the Medicare rates. No one wanted to stiff the hospitals, but this was ridiculous, Bartlett recalls thinking. She determined the new rate for all hospitals would be a little more than twice the Medicare rate — still a lucrative deal, but a good starting point to get prices under control. The contracts would also prohibit a practice called “balance billing,” under which hospitals bill patients for whatever charges a health plan refuses to pay. It would mean a boost for some lower-cost hospitals. Now, she had to persuade the more expensive hospitals to take less. “You’re in or you’re out”Kirk Bodlovic, the chief financial officer of Providence St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, remembers the day an entourage from the state health plan, including Bartlett and Hogan, arrived at his hospital. Bodlovic knew from Allegiance’s reports that St. Patrick’s prices were on the high side. But he wasn’t prepared for the ultimatum: If St. Patrick’s wanted to treat state employees, the hospital would have to accept lower rates. If it didn’t, the state would pay for its employees to travel to other hospitals. “You’re in or you’re out, basically,” Bodlovic says.The state’s demand set off a series of meetings within the Providence chain, which also operates in California, Alaska and the Northwest. It didn’t have a lot of leverage because Missoula is a two-hospital town. Its competitor, one of the lower-priced facilities, had already agreed to the deal. St. Patrick’s considered rejecting the deal. Bodlovic says that thought gives him heartburn to think about now, envisioning the wrath of doctors if some 3,000 state plan members had ended up at a rival hospital. And the hospital would have lost about $4 million in annual revenue. “That’s a good chunk of business,” he says. In their final analysis, he says, St. Patrick’s officials decided it was the “lesser pain” to accept the new contract than to be left out of the deal. While the state worked to get hospitals to sign new contracts, their CEOs and lobbyists plotted end runs, scheduling meetings with the governor’s office to propose alternative solutions. When they arrived for the meetings, they found that Bartlett had also been invited. She effectively blocked their ideas. Still, Bartlett had to get all the hospitals on board — or else. The new pricing was set to go live on July 1, 2016, and, with a month to go, six of the major hospitals were holding out. “I started to panic,” Bartlett recalls. During sleepless nights, Bartlett imagined thousands of state employees being forced to zigzag across the state for medical care or running up massive bills at noncontracted hospitals. She put together communication plans for members describing how they would need to travel to avoid certain hospitals.With her stomach in knots, she went on the offensive. She took a graph showing the variation in hospital prices to state legislators. Then she threatened to go public. She couldn’t name names because of contract restrictions, but she could tell the media that some hospitals’ prices were three times as high as others and let reporters figure out which ones were which. Five of the holdouts surrendered and signed the contract. “The hospitals didn’t want that out there,” she says. Only Benefis Health System in Great Falls, one of the higher-priced hospitals, refused. The hospital’s CEO told the local newspaper that “it was business for them and it was business for us.” The new plan went into place July 1, without Benefis as a contracted hospital. Bartlett ratcheted up the pressure one more time, calling in the Montana Federation of Public Employees. The union has hundreds of members in the Great Falls area, including Keith Leathers, who works as an investigator with the state’s child support enforcement division. Leathers has a young daughter with scoliosis, and he didn’t want to drive long distances to get her the care she needs. He readily engaged in the fight.”We have a regional medical facility here that’s supposed to be able to handle almost any medical problem, period,” he recalls thinking. “And I got to go out of town to get care because they want to charge more than anyone else?”Union leaders launched a campaign against the hospital. Leathers says he sent a postcard and made a phone call every day to the hospital CEO, the board members — anyone he could find in leadership. He urged them to accept the new rates. Hundreds of other employees from across the state did the same. Within a month, Benefis agreed to join the health plan. The hospital declined to comment for this story.Leathers says employers and workers should be protesting health care costs “over and over again” all over the country. “Are we going to wait until the health care system just crashes?” he says. When Bartlett took over the state health plan, it spent about $200 million a year. Bartlett’s team estimated that the new hospital pricing schedule saved the plan more than $17 million in the second half of 2016 and all of 2017 — almost $1 million a month. By 2017, a plan that state officials had predicted would go broke had turned itself around. And it’s projected to save an additional $15 million in 2018 without cutting benefits to employees or raising their rates. Exposing hidden drug dealsBut Bartlett had one more target in her sights: prescription drug costs. Health plans contract with separate companies, middlemen entities known as pharmacy benefit managers, to get members their medication. And everyone assured Bartlett the state’s pharmacy benefits deal was “state of the art.” But just like with Cigna, she insisted on examining it herself. That wasn’t easy because the pharmacy benefits were run through a cooperative arrangement with other health plans, including those of universities, school trusts and counties. The state plan anchored the co-op, and the other partners were happy with the arrangement. Bartlett knew that pharmacy benefit managers are notorious for including deals that boost their profits at the expense of employers. One of the common tricks is called the “spread.” A pharmacy benefit manager, for example, will tell an employer it cost $100 to fill a prescription that actually cost $60, allowing the pharmacy benefit manager to pocket the extra $40. The fine print in the contracts often allows it. The spread is widespread. A recent report by the Ohio state auditor noted that the spread on generic drugs had cost that state’s Medicaid plan $208 million in a single year — 31 percent of what it spent.Sure enough, when she got the contract, Bartlett found that the state plan had fallen victim to the spread. Pharmacy benefit managers also rake in dollars through rebates paid by pharmaceutical companies. Most health plans would assume that because they’re paying for the drugs, they should get any rebates. But pharmacy benefit managers often don’t disclose the size of the rebate, which allows them to keep some or most of it for themselves. When Bartlett pressed, she discovered the state wasn’t getting the full amount of its rebates. Montana was getting taken, but it put Bartlett in a touchy political situation. The co-op needed the state as a partner or it wouldn’t survive. Bartlett decided her allegiance was to the plan’s bottom line. She pulled out of the deal. “She wasn’t afraid of ruining her career or making people angry,” says Scott McClave, a consultant with Alliant Insurance Services who helped analyze the pharmacy benefit contract. Bartlett says it helped that she was near the end of her career and didn’t need to please people. “I’m 67, so I could give a s***,” she says. “What are they going to do, fire me? I’m packin’ a Medicare card.” Bartlett found a pharmacy benefit manager, Navitus Health Solutions, that would not take any spread and would pass along all rebates in full. The next year, the plan saved an average of almost $16 per prescription. It purchased a similar mix and volume of drugs in 2016 and 2017. But it saved $2 million on the spread. And its revenue from rebates jumped from $3.5 million to $7 million, Bartlett said. The savings continue to this day.In July of this year, her mission accomplished, Bartlett left her position as administrator of the state employee health plan. She now works for the office of the Montana insurance commissioner, which is taking on pharmacy benefit managers in a bigger way. But Bartlett also has a side gig as a guru to other employers across the country seeking to pay less for their health benefits. Her advice boils down to pushing back. “You’ve got to get in there and do it,” she says. So how are Montana’s hospitals after the price cut? Just fine, it appears. Bob Olsen, vice president of the Montana Hospital Association, says he has not heard hospital leaders say they are struggling under the new state contract. They have had “reasonable financial performance,” he says. But Bartlett’s legacy may be even greater. With the state’s model in mind, St. Patrick’s Bodlovic said Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana, the state’s largest insurer, recently came calling. Now it wants a similar pricing arrangement. ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom based in New York. Sign up to get ProPublica’s Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox as soon as they are published.You can follow Marshall Allen on Twitter: @marshall_allen. Copyright 2018 ProPublica. To see more, visit ProPublica.
Doctors who are opposed to abortions don’t have to provide them. Since the 1970s, a series of federal rules have provided clinicians with “conscience protections” that help them keep their jobs if they don’t want to perform or assist with the procedure. Religious hospitals are also protected. Catholic health care systems, for example, are protected if they choose not to provide abortions or sterilizations. Doctors who work for religious hospitals usually sign contracts that they’ll uphold religious values in their work. But as the reach of Catholic-affiliated health care grows, these protections are starting to have consequences for doctors who do want to perform abortions — even as a side job.Religious hospitals often prohibit their doctors from performing abortions — even if they do so at unaffiliated clinics, says Noel León, a lawyer with the National Women’s Law Center. León was hired about two years ago to help physicians who want to be abortion providers. They have little in the way of legal protection, she says. “Institutions are using the institutional religious and moral beliefs to interfere with employees’ religious and moral beliefs,” León says. This kind of legal argument, León says, may prevent doctors from providing care they feel called to offer. And since many clinics that provide abortions rely heavily on part-time staff, it may also prevent these clinics from finding the doctors they need to stay open. Dr. Kimberly Remski sought help from León when she was job hunting. She is a primary care physician but had always been interested in women’s health. When she first set foot in a clinic that provides abortions, she realized it was her passion. “A lot of the things we spend our time doing in training are monotonous, or you’re getting swamped in work,” she says. “I just remember leaving the clinic feeling like I was doing something really important.”She interviewed for a job as a primary care doctor with IHA, one of the largest physician groups in Michigan, in 2017. She says she was clear about her desire to work one day a week in an independent clinic that provides abortions. Part-time work is common for outpatient physicians, and Remski says the doctors she interviewed with were receptive. “I was very upfront. I told that them that was a special interest of mine. I wanted to be able to pursue it,” she says. She signed a contract, and started preparing for her move. Then she got a call that the offer was off. Remski learned that her potential employer was actually owned by a larger Catholic hospital network called Trinity Health, and it requires physicians to “provide services in a manner consistent with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services,” according to her contract. And, she says, she was shocked to learn Trinity Health would also have had a say over how she spent her free time. IHA officials told her that she couldn’t work on the side as an abortion provider if she took the job, Remski says. Trinity Health had merged with IHA in 2010, part of a wave of mergers that has led to a net increase in Catholic ownership of hospitals. According to a 2016 report from MergerWatch, an organization that tracks hospital consolidation, 14.5 percent of acute care hospitals are Catholic-owned or affiliated. That number grew by 22 percent between 2001 and 2016, while the overall number of acute care hospitals dropped by 6 percent. And as Catholic-affiliated health care expands, says León, doctors increasingly encounter morality clauses that prohibit them from performing abortions.León says she has worked with at least 30 physicians and nurse practitioners from 20 different states who faced problems similar to Remski’s when they disclosed to their employers, or potential employers, that they planned to provide abortions. “They’re being told, ‘We can’t provide the care we went into medicine to provide,’ ” León says. “We shouldn’t be putting providers in the position of caring for their patients or keeping their jobs.”Representatives of IHA would not agree to a phone interview about Remski’s situation, but spokesperson Amy Middleton explained in an email that IHA “works hard with our physicians to enable them to pursue other positions.” But, she added, “outside work that interferes with a physician’s ability to serve patients or contradicts the organization’s practices could present a conflict of interest.”IHA physicians follow Catholic health care guidelines, Middleton wrote, which requires that physicians “not promote or condone contraceptive practices.” Dr. Barbara Golder, the editor of the Catholic Medical Association journal, Linacre Quarterly, says that language about morality is ubiquitous in contracts — and that it is reasonable that religious institutions might not want to be associated with abortion providers. “The person is seen primarily as Dr. X of Catholic hospital Y, and then it turns out that Dr. X of Catholic hospital Y is doing abortions on the weekends,” Golder says. “There’s sort of a cognitive dissonance about that. It’s in opposition to what Catholic health care is.”According to Lance Leider, a Florida attorney who has reviewed hundreds of physician contracts, it is “exceedingly common” for contracts, not just at religiously affiliated hospitals, to include language about the reasons an employer can fire a doctor, including but not limited to morality clauses.”There’s always a laundry list of things the employer can terminate the contract for,” Leider says. “There’s usually a catch-all. Anything that calls into question the reputation of the practice.” These clauses tend to be vague, León adds, which means employers can invoke them to prevent a wide range of activities, like political activity, controversial posts on social media or, in religious hospitals, physicians spending time at clinics that provide abortions. The restrictions may have ramifications not only for physicians but for many clinics that provide abortions. Smaller clinics may be staffed almost entirely with part-time doctors, and when they can’t find enough, they’re sometimes left unable to meet the demand for services. “We don’t have full-time doctors,” says Shelly Miller, the executive director of Scotsdale Women’s Center in Detroit, one of the clinics where Remski worked. “We really cannot afford to have a provider sit here all day and wait for patients to come in.” Through her involvement with the National Abortion Federation, Miller often talks with other directors of small clinics that provide abortions and sometimes other women’s health services. She says that many of her counterparts say they exclusively hire part-time physicians because they simply don’t need somebody full time. If more physicians are prohibited from part-time abortion work, it may put some smaller clinics out of business, Miller worries.It’s hard to know exactly how many of these clinics primarily use part-time staff, according to Rachel Jones, who studies the demographics of U.S. abortion services at the Guttmacher Institute, a family planning research organization. Ninety-five percent of abortions take place in clinics as opposed to hospitals, Jones notes, which may be more likely to utilize a team of part-time staff. León doesn’t have data to show how common it is for physicians to be threatened with termination for providing abortions. She guesses that doctors will either give up on providing abortions — or, like Remski did, look for a different job that allows them to. León spends much of her time speaking to groups of doctors about how to approach contract negotiation if they want to provide abortions. Ultimately, Remski says, she parted amicably from IHA, since “it felt like the wrong place for me.” She ended up finding a job at an urgent-care clinic in Michigan, which allowed her to work part time at three separate clinics that provide abortions. She has since moved to Chicago, where she also splits her time between providing abortions and primary care. “I was providing a service that was needed and necessary,” Remski says. “I realized it was something I really needed to do.” Mara Gordon is a family physician in Washington, D.C., and a health and media fellow at NPR and Georgetown University School of Medicine. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
Startup Debuts App to Make Qualitative Research Faster & Easier Batterii debuted a mobile app to replace traditional consumer research. The new app gives major corporations an intimate look into the lives of consumers, helping brands to internally disrupt instead of being disrupted by competition. This breakthrough app features include: deploying TV copy to consumers via mobile for reactions, capturing photos as inspiration, and quick survey tools. Consumers record video responses to company questions, and respond within 24-48 hrs. The mobile platform allows the flexibility for consumers to record product in-usage, consumer shopper journeys, in home research, or wherever research is required.“At Batterii we are proud of the trust our clients place in our technology and the flexibility mobile provides to respond with deep consumer insights at the speed of business,” said Chad Reynolds, CEO/Founder of Batterii, LLC. “The Qualitative Research field is ripe for disruption. The democratization of research, willingness of consumers to freely share their intimate insights, and the mass adoption of mobile creates a unique environment to game-change. Our new Mobile Mission App showcases our commitment to providing quality, fast, and authentic consumer co-creation, allowing our corporate clients to continue confidently launching disruptive innovation.”Marketing Technology News: Vyond Announces End of Beta for Vyond Studio, Enhanced Security Features BatteriiChad Reynoldsdemocratization of researchDollar Shave ClubMarketing TechnologyNewsQualitative Research Previous ArticleInformation Builders’ WebFOCUS Named a FrontRunner in Business Intelligence in Fourth Consecutive ReportNext ArticleRelativity Showcases a New Way to Analyze Short Message and Mobile Data Recently the rise of rise of scrappy, grassroots players have disrupted industries based on an un-met or unobserved consumer need. Dollar Shave Club, AirBnB, and Hims are a few companies that are borne of a close understanding of consumers. By focusing on the holistic consumer experience, and pairing big data with rich, qualitative insights, companies can pioneer instead of fast-following.Marketing Technology News: ON24 Empowers Marketers with a 360-degree View of Customer EngagementAdidas partnered with Batterii over the past 5 years to enable consumer insights across their business units. Per Andy Leslie, Adidas Advanced Concepts: ‘Batterii Mobile Missions enable our creation teams to get closer to our consumer, get responses in real time, and avoid the need for disruptive travel schedules. Our partners at Batterii join our project team, ensuring a rich understanding of the business problem. Equally, the insights generated allow us to refine our consumer base and ensure our in person meet ups are with the most engaged and relevant consumers.’Marketing Technology News: Amazon Dominates E-Commerce Share, Ebay and Walmart Less of a Focus, Feedvisor Study Finds Batterii Unveils New Co-Creation App to Eliminate All Traditional Focus Groups PRNewswireMay 22, 2019, 4:41 pmMay 22, 2019
Related StoriesIt is okay for women with lupus to get pregnant with proper care, says new studyAMSBIO offers new, best-in-class CAR-T cell range for research and immunotherapyTAU’s new Translational Medical Research Center acquires MILabs’ VECTor PET/SPECT/CTThe study reports that crowdsourced data, collected by software applications like Google’s Waze, are highly correlated with conventional reporting data that are often costly to collect and suffer from reporting lag-time. The ability to use crowdsourced user-generated traffic data has several immediate clinical implications for treatment and mortality rates among motor vehicle crash victims as well as for improving efficiency around emergency department operations in the United States.”The potential is game-changing. Trauma surgeons could be notified earlier, diagnostic testing could be prioritized for crash victims, and blood and other life-saving equipment could be made available sooner,” said Chakravarthy. “These pre-hospital and hospital level resources, if activated sooner, could aid in increasing quality and rapidity of patient care and potentially reduce morbidity and mortality.”Every day, more than 100 deaths and 2.5 million emergency department visits result from motor vehicle crashes, making it one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Reducing ambulance and emergency department treatment response time for crash victims could dramatically save lives.Further research is needed on the integration of crowdsourced traffic data as a tool to monitor car crashes and reduce associated mortality, including the potential risks of implementing this approach.Source:University of California – IrvineJournal reference:Chakravarthy, B. et al. (2019) Crowdsourced Traffic Data as an Emerging Tool to Monitor Car Crashes. JAMA Surgery. doi.org/10.1001/jamasurg.2019.1167. According to our research, it takes emergency medical service (EMS) units an average of seven to 14 minutes to arrive on scene after a 911 call. Crowdsourced traffic data might help to cut that time by as much as 60 percent.”Bharath Chakravarthy, vice chair of research and academic affairs for the UCI School of Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine and one of the researchers on the study Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)May 24 2019A new UCI-led pilot study finds, on average, Waze “crash alerts” occur two minutes and 41 seconds prior to their corresponding California Highway Patrol (CHP)-reported crash. These minutes could mean the difference between life and death.The paper titled, “Crowdsourced Traffic Data as an Emerging Tool to Monitor Car Crashes,” was published today in JAMA Surgery.
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Tesla’s Autopilot engaged during Utah crash The electric vehicles are under intense scrutiny from federal investigators, who have been looking into post-crash battery fires and the performance of Tesla’s Autopilot semi-autonomous driving system. On Wednesday, they traveled to Utah to open another inquiry into a Tesla crash—their fourth this year—in which a Model S slammed into a firetruck that was stopped at a red light.A look at the tweets and Tesla’s past claims about the safety of its vehicles and Autopilot:MUSK (from his tweets Monday): “According to (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), there was an automotive fatality every 86M miles in 2017 ((tilde)40,000 deaths). Tesla was every 320M miles. It’s not possible to be zero, but probability of fatality is much lower in a Tesla.”THE FACTS: This is based on a Tesla analysis of U.S. fatal crashes per miles traveled in 2017. The company’s math is correct on the fatality rate involving all of the nation’s 272 million vehicles, about 150,000 of which are Teslas, according to sales estimates from Ward’s Automotive. But Tesla won’t say how many fatalities occurred in its vehicles or how many miles they were driven.We don’t know of any Tesla fatalities in 2017, but the numbers can vary widely from year to year. There have been at least three already this year and a check of 2016 NHTSA fatal crash data—the most recent year available—shows five deaths in Tesla vehicles. Statistically, experts say Musk’s tweet analysis isn’t valid. While Teslas could have a lower death rate, it may speak more about the demographics of Tesla drivers than it does about safety of the vehicles, says Ken Kolosh, manager of statistics for the National Safety Council.Expensive Teslas tend to be driven by middle-age affluent people who are less likely to get in a crash than younger people, Kolosh said. Also, Tesla drivers tend to live in urban areas and travel on roads with lower speeds, where fatality rates are lower, he said.Musk also is comparing a fleet of older, less-expensive vehicles to his newer and more costly models, Kolosh said. Most Teslas on the road are six years old or less. The average vehicle in the U.S. is 11.6 years old, according to IHS Markit. Older, less-expensive vehicles often aren’t maintained like newer ones and would have more mechanical problems. TESLA: The company has touted on its website and in press releases that the Model S sedan scored the highest numerical rating of any vehicle in NHTSA’s crash tests, and that the Model X was the first SUV to get a five-star rating in every category.THE FACTS: It’s true that the Model S and Model X got five-star crash-test ratings from NHTSA, and the Model S did have the highest numerical score of any vehicle. But in more demanding tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Model S failed to get the industry group’s coveted “Top Safety Pick” or “Top Safety Pick Plus” ratings.The reasons: the Model S got an “Acceptable” rating in a front-end small offset crash test that mimics when the front driver-side corner of a vehicle collides with a tree or another vehicle. Its headlights also were rated “Poor.” Vehicles have to get the highest rating of “Good” in five crash tests to be top safety picks. Fourteen large cars from other manufacturers received Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick Plus ratings. IIHS has not yet done crash tests on Tesla’s Model X or Model 3.The Model S also had a low rate of medical insurance claims for injuries, tying for seventh in IIHS’s most recent rankings. The institute gave it a score of 46, which is 54 percent better than the average score of 100. The Toyota Camry, the top-selling car in America, scored 112. But the Model S had higher collision claim frequencies and was more expensive to fix than gas-powered large luxury cars. In this April 15, 2018, photo, unsold 2018 models sits amid a series of charging stations on a Tesla dealer’s lot in the south Denver suburb of Littleton, Colo. For years, Tesla has boasted that its cars and SUVs are safer than other vehicles on the roads, and CEO Elon Musk doubled down on the claims in a series of tweets this week. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File) Citation: FACT CHECK: Tesla safety claims aren’t quite right (2018, May 18) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-fact-tesla-safety.html For years, Tesla has boasted that its cars and SUVs are safer than other vehicles on the roads, and CEO Elon Musk doubled down on the claims in a series of tweets this week. In this Sept. 29, 2015, file photo, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors Inc., introduces the Model X car at the company’s headquarters in Fremont, Calif. For years, Tesla has boasted that its cars and SUVs are safer than other vehicles on the roads, and Musk doubled down on the claims in a series of tweets this week. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File) In this April 15, 2018, photo, the sun shines off the rear deck of a roadster on a Tesla dealer’s lot in the south Denver suburb of Littleton, Colo. For years, Tesla has boasted that its cars and SUVs are safer than other vehicles on the roads, and CEO Elon Musk doubled down on the claims in a series of tweets this week. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File) Explore further © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. In March, the driver of a Tesla Model X was killed in California when his SUV hit a barrier while traveling at “freeway speed.” NHTSA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating that case, in which the Autopilot system was engaged. Autopilot was also engaged in the Utah crash, according to a summary of data from the car.Last week, the NTSB opened a probe into an accident in which a Model S caught fire after crashing into a wall at a high speed in Florida. Two 18-year-olds were trapped in the vehicle and died in the flames. The agency has said it does not expect Autopilot to be a focus of that investigation.___TESLA (from a March 30 press release): “Over a year ago, our first iteration of Autopilot was found by the U.S. government to reduce crash rates by as much as 40 percent.”THE FACTS: The government says it did not assess how effective Autopilot is at reducing crashes. It did mention a 40 percent reduction in crash rates after “Autosteer” was installed in Tesla vehicles, based on data provided by Tesla. Autosteer is the part of Autopilot that keeps the car centered in a lane and can change lanes automatically. NHTSA said it did a “cursory” comparison of crash rates between vehicles with and without Autosteer, but it didn’t consider whether drivers were actually using Autosteer, which has to be manually activated.___ ___MUSK (from his tweets Monday in reference to the Utah crash): “What’s actually amazing about this accident is that a Model S hit a fire truck at 60 mph and the driver only broke an ankle. An impact at that speed usually results in severe injury or death.”THE FACTS: It’s true that the driver in the Utah crash sustained minor injuries considering how fast her car was traveling. The same is true for a January freeway crash near Los Angeles in which the driver was not hurt. But not all Tesla crashes end the same way. In this Dec. 2, 2015, file photo, Tesla Motors Inc. CEO Elon Musk delivers a speech at the Paris Pantheon Sorbonne University as part of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. For years, Tesla has boasted that its cars and SUVs are safer than other vehicles on the roads, and CEO Elon Musk doubled down on the claims in a series of tweets this week. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)
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in Rivers state has been vandalised by unknown political thugs. to more comprehensively assess their preferences and to simulate policymaking. Lauren Chadwick is a Scoville fellow at the Center for Public Integrity. Frobig said he’s not concerned about violence from the inmate. he served for 2 1/2 years as deputy propaganda minister of the Communist Party of China. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of TIME editors.Images of armed soldiers blocking nine African-American high school students from integrating a public high school in Little Rock.
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2015. They’re “dumb” bombs, it’s a few times now that I’ve not played there. allowing researchers to refreeze the samples. Eventually, along with us wannabes. You shouldn’t try: Swigging whiskey for toothaches “The alcohol was thought to kill bacteria and numb the area,com. PTI Adityanath also led a 10-km roadshow in Dharmanagar town, "Governance in the state is very bad and the common people do not get the benefits of the Prime Minister Awas Yojana.
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