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Gender: Male
Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
Home country: United States
Current location: Bryan, Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 85,934

About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

Women's Health: Not So Popular in Regular Session

When House Bill 2 was signed, Governor Perry said it was an "important day" for "those who support the health of Texas women." Women's health was such an important focus of the Governor and the 83rd Legislature that they called two special sessions to ensure the passage of this important women's health legislation.

In the debate over restrictions to abortion access in the first and second special sessions, women's health has been at the center of the arguments put forth by both the opposition and those supporting the legislation. Opponents pointed out the possibly devastating results of clinic closures and reduced access to reproductive health care, while supporters maintained that these higher standards would ensure that women received the best care possible.

Interestingly, of the more than twenty women's health bills filed during the regular 83rd legislative session, two made it to the Governor's desk to be signed into law. Legislators from both sides of the aisle filed bills meant to improve women's health by addressing issues such as the right to breast feed and the ability of teen mothers to consent to vaccination. The vast majority of these women's health centered bills never made it out of committee.

Multiple bills were filed to address the new challenges faced by the Women's Health Program, after Planned Parenthood was removed from the list of providers and Texas rejected federal funding for the program last year. Some attempted to increase funding, others to study the delivery of services under the current program.

More at http://www.burntorangereport.com/diary/13857/womens-health-not-so-popular-in-regular-session .

Kenedy Water Shortage Impacts Prison Conditions

KENEDY - A water supply shortage in Kenedy has led to some pretty bad conditions in the State prison nearby.

Two of the towns five wells failed early last week. So, the City had to use water from the prison.

That meant inmates didn't shower for a week, the toilets were only flushed every so often, and drinking water for inmates was also rationed.

The mother of one of those inmates, Dianne Wright, contacted us and showed us a letter she got from her son detailing the situation.

More at http://www.kristv.com/news/kenedy-water-shortage-impacts-prison-conditions/ .

Farmers Branch Is Now Being Sued for Being Too Soft on Hispanics

Farmers Branch has spent a remarkable amount of time, money and energy over the past several years battling to limit the influence of Hispanics. It's infamous rental ban on people living in this country illegally cost the city seven years and $6 million in legal fees before it was struck down as unconstitutional last week, probably for good this time.

The fight to keep its at-large system of electing City Council members, which a number of Hispanic residents challenged in federal court, fared no better. In January, a judge ordered the city to adopt single-member districts, which led to the election of Ana Reyes as the first-ever Hispanic council member. The city quickly appealed the decision but, at a meeting on July 16, the newly elected council voted to drop the challenge.

Farmers Branch is now being sued over that decision, which leaves the city in an awkward, not to mention ironic, position. After years of battling in court to defend its efforts to repress Hispanics, it's now facing a lawsuit for doing the opposite.

The litigation is being brought by Mark Baker, a civic-minded but otherwise ordinary Farmers Branch resident who accuses the City Council of violating the Texas Open Meetings Act. The City Council, he says, "concealed from the public" the purpose of their July 16 meeting and met illegally behind closed doors in in violation of state law.

More at http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2013/07/farmers_branch_is_now_being_su.php .

UT Med District--Biggest Transformation Facing Downtown Austin

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You can clearly see from any of Austin’s view corridors the myriad cranes in downtown Austin, transforming the skyline. But, the biggest transformation facing downtown Austin is not the redevelopment of Seaholm, nor Green Water.

I’m thinking of the Dell Medical School and UT’s Medical District Plan. This plan developed within two years, seemingly from thin air, and is awesome in the “shock and awe” sense of the word.

We’ve seen “Master Plans” come, go, sit on the shelves of City Hall, but the UT Medical District is more or less guaranteed to happen in the next couple of years, at least the first phase. The UT system, the No. 3 richest system in the nation, will carry the brunt of development for Phase 1 of the master plan. I’d wager they aren’t dependent on lenders, credit markets, etc. when they (literally) have $1 billion of gold in the bank. That gold, by the way, represents just five percent of UT’s nearly $20 billion portfolio.

Officially, UT plans to open the medical school in the fall of 2016, while the planned opening of the hospital is January 2017.

More at http://downtownaustinblog.org/2013/07/24/this-is-biggest-transformation-facing-downtown-austin/ .

[font color=green]Note the demise of the Frank Erwin Center based upon the plan and the new alignment for Red River Street.[/font]

Guardsman, ex-Marine guilty in recruiting fraud

Two more current or former military service members have admitted their roles in a recruiting fraud scheme that allowed them to collect tens of thousands of dollars they weren't entitled to.

Fabian J. Barrera Jr., a captain in the Texas Army National Guard, and Christopher Castro, who with the Marines made international headlines for one of his missions in Iraq, are the two latest to be charged and admit guilt in the mushrooming investigation.

After first charging six people in 2011, the Army and the IRS have been probing more cells of recruiters and service members who prosecutors say were pocketing up to $3,000 in bonuses per person recruited into the military.

In reality, the people listed as recruits had entered on their own, the Justice Department said. The defendants paid recruiters or recruiting assistants within the military for the personal information of such people and used that information to list them as recruits, and to claim the bonuses.

More at http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local/article/Guardsman-ex-Marine-guilty-in-recruiting-fraud-4696485.php .

[font color=green]I don't recall the Bush administration doing as much to eliminate/identify fraud.[/font]

Republicans Want Wendy Davis to Foot Possible $2.4 Million Bill for Special Session

In the wake of yesterday's epic fail on transportation funding it looks like state legislators are headed back to Austin for a third month-long special session, and it won't be cheap. As the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports this morning, each extra month the legislature's in session costs $800,000, bringing the likely toll on taxpayers to $2.4 million.

Much of this could have been avoided, of course. Lawmakers could have done what they're elected to do and finished their business in the spring. Failing that, they could have set aside inflammatory topics and focused on addressing the state's glaring funding shortfalls in water and transportation. Or, since that seems to have been a nonstarter, Republicans could have steamrolled Democrats and pushed through their desired abortion restrictions as they wound up doing in the second session.

The other option is to blame everything -- the mounting numbers of special sessions, the unnecessary costs, the GOP's embarrassing collapse in round one -- on State Senator Wendy Davis

"I am upset at the cost," Representative Giovanni Capriglione, a Tea Party Republican from Southlake, told the Star-Telegram. "I think we need to remember why we are having this extra special session. One state senator, in an effort to capture national attention, forced this special session.

More at http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2013/07/republicans_want_wendy_davis_t.php .

Harris County judge orders Michael Brown's arrest for contempt of court (again)

A Harris County family court judge has again ordered the arrest of former hand surgeon Michael Brown.

State District Judge Sheri Y. Dean issued the order Tuesday after Brown failed to attend a hearing in Harris County's 309th District Court, a family court.

The hearing was scheduled partly to address the judge's finding on June 28 that Brown was in contempt of court for failing to let a court official inspect his house in Miami Beach.

Dean is the same judge who ordered Brown's arrest in March and then sentenced him to 180 days in the Harris County Jail on a previous contempt-of-court finding. He was released after serving less than three weeks.

More at http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Harris-County-judge-orders-Michael-Brown-s-arrest-4696198.php?cmpid=hpbn .

Texas Legislature starts another special session — its third — to deal with road funding

Don't pack.

Gov. Rick Perry plans to call an immediate third special session to tackle roads funding if lawmakers - as appears likely - fail to pass a transportation bill today, a confidant of the governor said.

Morning debate in the governor's office weighed factors of the impasse, whether time off would help reach an agreement or whether the situation was urgent enough to warrant yet another back, to back, to back session.

The urgency argument won, the source said.


[font color=green]Thirty minutes recess between the second and third sessions. My avatar remains in the "state of emergency" mode.[/font]

Health Insurance: Driving the Craziness

By Dr. Brian Carr
President, Behavioral Health Associates, Lubbock, Texas, 1991-Present
Chairman, City of Lubbock Board of Health, 2013
Submitted on July 30, 2013 - 8:07am

To understand how broken the current health insurance model is one need only receive an “Explanation of Benefits”. Everyday my office files insurance claims and receives correspondence back from insurance carriers.

The “Prime Directive” of insurance is to capture as much as possible in premium dollars and pay out as little as possible in claims. This leads to a shell game of back-and-forth messaging where the issue of actual care is of little importance. What matters is proper authorization, endless medical review by individuals of questionable educational background, and “got you” moments when your claim is denied based on rules enforced by manner directed by chaos.

Yesterday I received two sets of correspondence that demonstrates the problem. To protect the first insurance carrier let me just say that their name sounds nothing like “NoCare”. NoCare is a carrier that was once locally based but now has grown to the point where they have relocated to Austin. I am very careful in obtaining pre-authorization from NoCare and submitting claims that are error free however my collection rate (what I actual receive as opposed to what I charge) is the lowest among all carriers, hovering around 47%. NoCare will deny claims stating I did not obtain pre-authorization (even though I submitted the correct authorization number), they will simply not pay a claim (forcing me to closely monitor to catch later payments while failing to pay earlier ones), or they will mismanage the entire process to the point where the claim is denied because, as noted in my letter from them today “the time limit for filing has expired” (Because they delayed it in the back and forth review process). One way that NoCare delays claims is that they are one of the very few carriers that requires you surface mail your claims. All of my other claims are submitted electronically (read quickly) while NoCare requires I use a paper envelope and stamp to submit claims. A nice way to slow everything down.

A second company we will call Inferior Health Plan is a managed care Medicaid program for Texas that is located in a far north state (apparently Texas cannot manage insurance within our borders). Today I received the following denial:

“The claim submitted was black and white. Only claim forms that are printed in Flint OCR Red, J6983 (or exact match) ink are accepted as of 4/1/13”.

So, in order to comply with this ONE carrier I must purchase pre-printed forms with the absolutely correct exact match ink, the purchase a printer that can print on the form, then surface mail off the claim.

Inferior Health Plan is the only carrier I submit to that demands the exact match red form.

Does any of this process related to the care that is provided?

The purpose is merely to slow, delay, and deny claims. It is no wonder that providers are angry. While issues of payment and reimbursement are one part of the discussion the other is the insanity of the specific requirements to even submit claims.

Medicare may have its issues but mind-boggling idiotic rules for claim submissions are not the issue. It is within the carriers such as Nocare and Inferior Health Plans that one witnesses the strategy that is designed to deny care and maintain profits.

Bring on the Affordable Care Act and let the country tweet the standards. To continue to work within the existing modal of care will ensure the destruction of our country. Just get your insurance EOB today and watch what happens.


LubbockOnline Blog
crazy like a fox
did you think that insurance actually paid for that?
don't get sick
Perry don't need no stinkin' insurance
profit before people
Randy loves Ted
trouble in river city
you need to fill this out before we can deny you


#NotaNormalParty Zapped in Dallas

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1401 South Ervay

On Saturday night, a massive party was planned for a historic warehouse in the Cedars — one that filled all five floors with five DJs and promised, among other things, a bounce house, mud wrestling, a mechanical bull ride, a wet T-shirt contest, a foam party and a level referred to as the “Trippy/iHate Bein Sober floor,” where, of course, one “must take shot to enter.” But the so-called Not a Normal Party at 1401 S. Ervay Street never took place: Dallas police were on hand to disburse the long line waiting to get in, sending some would-be partygoers to Northwest Dallas, where, police say, some were shot in the wee small hours of Sunday morning in a nearby McDonald’s parking lot.

A lawsuit filed in Dallas County shows that the city of Dallas’ attorneys actually shut down the party on Friday, getting a temporary injunction against 1401 S. Ervay’s owner, Frieda Bosh, and her youngest son Joel, who, according to city attorneys, “is currently promoting or contracting with others to promote” events in the 110-year-old warehouse, which is on the Dallas County tax rolls for $2,286,880. Frieda has another, more famous son: Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat.

According to city’s petition and application for a temporary injunction filed in Dallas County court Friday, 1401 S. Ervay poses a serious danger to anyone who steps foot in the five-story structure. As in: “The Property is unsafe for human use or occupation because it has various health and safety violations.” The suit was filed at around 2 Friday afternoon; shortly after that the city got its temporary injunction, allowing officers to close down the party before it ever started Saturday night. A hearing on the injunction is scheduled for August 9 in Judge Martin Lowy’s courtroom.

Efforts to reach Freida and Joel, and their representative Larenzo Maxfield, have been unsuccessful; the city says it too had no luck reaching Maxfield last week “despite two voicemails left on his cell.”

More at http://cityhallblog.dallasnews.com/2013/07/dallas-city-attorneys-get-court-to-stop-chris-boshs-brother-from-throwing-parties-at-their-moms-s-ervay-warehouse.html/ .
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