April 2004 Archives

April 22, 2004

Work Avoidance MEME

(via Dollhouse) Nearest book, page 18, line 7 - "that year, there was a fortune to be made from the well-" Stretching out my left land, I touch - request for email address for assistant office manager Last TV show I watched - Law&Order last night Without looking, what time would you guess it is? - 12:15 With the exception of the computer, what do you hear? - chirping birds in my office air conditioner When did you last step outside? - going to work this morning Before this survey, what were you looking at? - a Microsoft Access form design template What are you wearing? - blue and yellow short-sleeve shirt, polyester slacks, black leather shoes and a blue pair of heavy socks Did you dream last night? - no When did you last laugh? - listening to Howard Stern make fun of the guy with the cleft palate this morning What are on the walls of the room you are in? - a horse calendar, 41 snapshots of my co-worker's horses and lizards and kitties and doggies, and a yellowed, 3-year-old newspaper cutout of two American flags in the shape of the Twin Towers with the words "UNITED WE STAND" underneath. Have you seen anything weird lately? - a horse calendar, 41 snapshots of my co-worker's horses and lizards and kitties and doggies, and a yellowed, 3-year-old newspaper cutout of two American flags in the shape of the Twin Towers with the words "UNITED WE STAND" underneath. Last film? - Bladerunner, Director's Cut What is the first you would buy if you became a multi-millionaire overnight? - a penthouse apartment in Manhattan Tell me something I don't know about you: - Garrison Keillor once said I have a very wise look If you could change one thing, regardless of guilt or politics, what would it be? - bring The Greatest American Hero back to primetime George W. Bush? - is my favorite president, in the same way The Apprentice is my favorite television show Girl child? - "Chloe" Boy child? - "Richard" Would you ever consider living abroad? - I will retire in Paris.

April 13, 2004

Housing AGAIN

Uh-oh! Say it ain't so!; http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4724213/ Oh, wait, I already did; http://www.samology.com/archives/2003_07.html#000068 http://www.samology.com/archives/2003_09.html#000089 http://www.samology.com/archives/2004_04.html#000232 And so did this Dean Baker; http://www.cepr.net/columns/housing_bubble/yes_housing_bubble.htm Sell your ridiculously overpriced houses right now, y'all! Also, I would take my investments out of the Real Estate market this minute if I were you. International markets, where the fast-falling value of the dollar will help you, are probably better. Gold is okay, too!

April 12, 2004

Events Past and Future

I am pretending to drive here; http://www.sassygals.net/gallery/benz I am very excited about making the annual pilgrimage here later this month; http://www.samology.com/archives/2003_05.html#000029 Where I will be eating here...; http://new.orleans.diningguide.net/data/d100185.htm ...and hopefully here...; http://new.orleans.diningguide.net/data/d100272.htm ...and no doubt tipping a few back here...; http://www.digitalcity.com/neworleans/dining/venue.adp?sbid=105693747 With my other half in tow, here; dollhaus.sassygals.net Meanwhile, can somebody find me a tech job here?; http://www.sassygals.net/gallery/SFMarch

April 8, 2004

Manage This

Maybe it is just my background in college Journalism talking, but it seems there be something mighty fishy about managed healthcare organizations in New York State. Take this chart I put together today, as part of an effort to explain why the hospital where I work is experiencing a decrease in Medicaid revenue; It shows Medicaid Managed Care enrollment in Brooklyn, according to the New York State Department of Health, since January last year. If you do the math, enrollment appears to be up about 20% over last year. And the numbers appear to be climbing still. This means people who are eligible for the public New York Medicaid program in Brooklyn are choosing to "switch" their insurance to a Managed Medicaid private insurance plan, in what appear to be record numbers. I happened to be walking down Church Avenue here in Brooklyn over my lunch hour today, and by complete coincidence got a firsthand understanding of why so many people are signing up with these Managed Care Organizations (MCO's); In the course of my 15 minute walk, I ran accross at least 3 of these tables, all with a Managed Care representative standing nearby, aggressively hawking "free health insurance!" I asked one of the reps how the insurance could be free, he explained, "The state pays for it." In other words, New York State pays a flat rate per enrollee to the Managed Care Organization, and the MCO then "manages" that person's healthcare. Typically this involves limiting the enrollee to "in plan" physicians, requiring special pre-authorization for healthcare procedures, and in the case of Home Health care, severely limiting the allowed number of home visits (if the enrollee can even get authorization for any visits in the first place). There were also a number of bus stop ads for different Managed Care companies, similar to this one offering the highly tantalizing "free car service!" if you sign up with HealthFirst; And a sample of the many brochures I had stuffed into my hand as I walked past the tables; On the way back from my walk down Church I started putting a few things together. Something just seemed ugly about this whole arrangement. Church avenue near where I work is hardly an "affluent" neighborhood. And here are all these Managed Care companies (there were at least 4 represented in as many blocks) pushing their "free" insurance to everyone on the street. It could be argued, I thought, that these companies are deliberately setting up shop in areas where people lack the resources and time to do any research to see if they are getting a good deal. And it is my contention that they are not getting a good deal. I know they are not, I work for a hospital, and I know a Managed Care eligible patient does not get the same services as a straight New York Medicaid eligible patient. Not only that, but the hospital department where I work is projecting a Medicaid revenue loss of about 20% vs. last year, matching quite closely the graph of Managed Care enrollees above. Do you know what a revenue loss of 20% means to a non-profit hospital in New York City? Well for one thing it means the hospital could close, and I could lose my job- which is no doubt the reason I am all up-in-arms about this subject in the first place. Some will argue it is a good thing Medicaid expenditures are being limited; weaker, less well-run hospitals, too inefficient to handle the revenue "fluctuations", will close and give way to better-run organizations that will ultimately give better care. However this argument has no legs to stand on; all the hospitals in poor areas of Brooklyn (where the MCO's appear to be plying their trade the hardest) are utter horseshit (not including the hospital where I work, I am of course obligated to mention). How do I know? I have been to all of them! You don't have any clue how close to "shithole" these places can be, unless you have actually been there. If one closes, it just means people living nearby will have to trudge even farther from home to get the same horseshit care at the next one over. Universal healthcare, anyone?

April 7, 2004

Back on the Treadmill Again

Hey, what is the deal with "runner's high", is this an actual phenomenon? After my planned 15 minutes on the treadmill this yesterday morning, I was feeling so euphoric I ran for another 5. Strange but true... According to the machine I was running at "4.7" miles per hour- isn't that more of a "brisk walk"? It certainly felt more like jogging than walking though so maybe the machine is broken. Much to my personal chagrin, I just finished installing Symantec Antivirus Corporate on my work computer. I am convinced the whole virus bruhaha is a hoax perpetrated by virus software companies to sell software, since in over 10 years of computing neither my home machine nor my work machine has ever acquired a virus! How would I know if I never run a virus scanner? Well I do run the occasional web-based scan now and then just to set my mind at ease.

April 6, 2004

Housing Bubble Redux

No, it did not go away; read these articles about why the housing bubble in the United States is unsustainable and will cause an economic "pop" even greater than the recent stock market crash; Dean Baker: http://www.cepr.net/columns/housing_bubble/yes_housing_bubble.htm Some Other Fella: http://weblog.siliconvalley.com/column/dangillmor/archives/010142.shtml And for fun read this article with an opposing view (which incidentally I feel expresses its position weakly); CNN.com: http://money.cnn.com/2003/02/19/news/economy/housing/ I get a lot of Samology Google hits from "housing crash" and "housing bubble" from an entry last year, so I feel obligated to keep on top of this stuff...

April 2, 2004

NY Road Test - Phase 1

Unfortunately my parallel parking skills are not quite up to New York standards (What? You need to know how to parallel park in NYC?). 30 points off for; hitting the curb, hitting the car in front and then backing over the curb at the end. It wasn't all as horrible as it sounds (it was more like "lightly tapping" rather than "hitting"), but technically that is what happened. The worst is that I don't get to drive a Mercedes tomorrow with the gf, however I am going to go along to the Drive Party anyway and take pictures while she zips around. More on my NYC driver's license trials; Samology at the DMV: Episode One Brooklyn DMV Park Deux: Permit Test