Health reform may require a crisis

first_imgA new, more sweeping version of health care reform that provides universal coverage and controls costs is still a few years away, according to ABC-TV’s medical editor Timothy Johnson, M.P.H. ’76. Unfortunately, it likely will take a budget crisis to get it through Congress, Johnson said.Despite the passage of national health care reform that extends coverage to the uninsured, ends discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions, and allows parents to keep children on their insurance until age 26, Johnson said even more sweeping changes are in the works that would create a system similar to Canada’s single-payer program.The reason, Johnson said, is that health care costs in the United States remain far higher than those in other countries and are climbing fast enough to threaten the nation with bankruptcy within a few years.“In five to seven years, we’re going to be facing true financial catastrophe, with the possibility of actual bankruptcy in this country,” Johnson said. “We’ll probably throw up our hands … and what we’ll probably do at that point is expand Medicare to cover everyone.”Johnson, who is also the medical editor for the local ABC affiliate, WCVB-TV, and who holds appointments at Harvard Medical School and Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital, analyzed America’s health quandary Wednesday evening (May 4) during the annual Lowell Lecture, sponsored by the Harvard Extension School and the Lowell Institute of Boston.Johnson based his talk on his recent book “The Truth About Getting Sick in America: The Real Problems with Healthcare and What We Can Do.”  He was introduced by Dean of Continuing Education Michael Shinagel.There are no easy answers to America’s health care problems, Johnson said. Per capita costs for health care in America are more than double those in other industrialized nations. Though some observers may say that the quality of care is better in America, Johnson argued that it is not more than twice as good, and the problems of the uninsured and of the bureaucratic burden placed on doctors far outweigh any benefits.Any discussion of quality of care must include the impact of medical errors, Johnson said, which are estimated to take 100,000 lives a year and which Johnson attributed to the lack of comprehensive federal oversight. Another 45,000 deaths a year are attributed to the lack of insurance, something that Johnson labeled as simply wrong.He attributed fast-rising health costs to malpractice costs, to the role of insurers, to the financial incentive to drug and medical device companies to sell more of their products, and to doctors and hospitals being paid on a fee-for-service model that rewards them financially for providing more care. He also said the media act as cheerleaders for new advances, which are demanded by patients even at greatly increased costs. America’s patients demand convenient, cutting-edge care, which has little personal cost.“We want cutting-edge care even if the latest isn’t the best,” Johnson said. “We have this list of expectations but expect someone else will pay for our bill. That’s a recipe for disaster.”True reform has been difficult because the people and businesses making money on America’s $2.6 trillion health care industry resist reform, he said. In his own recipe for a working system, Johnson said tort reform will be critical to reduce malpractice lawsuits that benefit only a few injured patients a year, as will changes to how industry players are paid to remove financial incentives to provide more care, even if unnecessary. Also needed are national information technology standards that will allow analysis and comparison of health outcomes, universal access to primary care, and a population that has overcome fears of greater government involvement in health care.Johnson attributed the fear of government-run health care to politicians adept at scaring the public. The facts on the ground are that government-run health care programs are already in effect and are largely successful, he said. The Veterans Affairs health system is a successful model, where electronic records and physicians paid by salary keep costs down and quality high. Another example, Johnson said, is the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, which insures millions of workers, including members of Congress. In addition, millions of America’s elderly get help through Medicare, which, though its costs are rising, has just 1.3 percent of its cost going to overhead, compared with 11.7 percent for private, for-profit insurers.There is a chance the nation will avoid the budgetary calamity that seems headed this way, Johnson said. Massachusetts, which already has universal coverage, is now tackling the cost problem. With state political leaders and medical and health industry leaders located here and participating in the conversation about cost containment, Johnson said it’s possible they’ll succeed and point the way for the rest of the country.Johnson likened the need for federal involvement in the health care industry to that of the airline industry. Federal regulations and oversight ensure that planes are inspected, maintained, and safe to fly. A health system where thousands die annually from medical errors could benefit from similar oversight, he said. Further, Johnson sees little difference in the government’s mission of protecting the public’s safety by providing police and fire services and protecting its health by providing health care.“They’re all essential to life,” Johnson said.last_img read more

Dell’s New Air Gap Security Solution Keeps Sensitive Data Airtight

first_imgWhat’s more secure than a secure internet connection? How about no connection at all?That’s the philosophy behind air gap: using PCs that are not connected to the internet, other devices nor the company’s primary network. For high-assurance organizations like utilities, critical infrastructure, banks, government agencies and other heavily regulated companies, air-gapped devices can be a simple solution to today’s complex data security challenges.The idea behind air gap technology is simple: leave no doors or windows open, and criminals will have no way in and data no way out. There are very few ways to infiltrate air-gapped computers because data can only be shared to and from the machine via a FireWire connection, a USB flash drive or other external, removable media.But as many IT teams have learned firsthand in recent years, air-gapped devices aren’t immune to insider threats, zero-day attacks or the risk of coming into contact with malicious USBs. Stuxnet, a virus that wreaked havoc on centrifuges used at a uranium enrichment plant in Iran back in 2010, is one of the most notorious examples of compromising an air-gapped environment. The attackers first infected the PCs of external contractors programming the plant’s systems in Iran. Unaware they had been breached, the contractors brought their infected laptops into the plant to transfer data to the air-gapped systems with a flash drive.More recently, WikiLeaks released new Vault7 files revealing the details of malware aimed at infecting air-gapped PCs using USB drives. This leak, known as Brutal Kangaroo, included a user guide on “Drifting Deadline,” malware designed to first infect a computer and then any thumb drive plugged into it. After infecting an air-gapped device, the malware would perform an encore, employing a software called “Shadow” to create a custom covert network within the victim’s closed network where the attacker could carry on freely with further attacks.So how can high-assurance organizations protect their air-gapped devices? Many organizations in air-gapped environments turn to traditional, signature-based anti-virus solutions for additional protection, but they require ongoing, manual updates. These frequent signature updates are an enormous burden for IT teams, and sometimes IT falls behind on this time-consuming maintenance. Furthermore, signature-based anti-virus is inadequate protection against zero day threats or newly-created targeted malware precisely because it hasn’t been released yet – a requirement for these applications in order to have the malware signatures.All of this amounts to a defense that’s less than airtight, which isn’t good enough for high-assurance companies in heavily-regulated industries. Dell took on the task of finding a way to close the gaps in air gap environments to give our clients the level of protection they require and helping them reduce the burden on their IT teams at the same time.We recently introduced an air gap version of our Dell Endpoint Security Suite Enterprise solution. By developing APIs to adapt the solution with Cylance’s mathematical modeling technology and enabling it for on-premises, air gap environments, we are able to give organizations an advanced threat protection and data encryption solution that removes many of the shortcomings that make air-gapped environments vulnerable and inefficient for teams to manage.The combined power of advanced threat protection and data encryption rolled into a single, on-premises solution means organizations can defend against insider threats like malicious USB connections as well as external zero-day attacks, in addition to protecting the data itself with file-based encryption. Dell Endpoint Security Suite Enterprise air gap solution not only protects against incoming threats, but goes one step further by easing the burden on IT teams because the mathematical models used to detect anomalies only need to be updated a few times a year. Compare this to the often daily, manual updates required by signature-based anti-virus solutions.The data encryption solution included in the suite provides a policy-based approach to protect data on any device or external media. It allows IT to easily enforce encryption policies for multiple endpoints and operating systems without disrupting end-user productivity.If you’re ready to see the next generation of air gap security solutions, we’re ready to show it to you. Learn more at Dell.com/DataSecuritylast_img read more

New Extension Leader.

first_img William R. Lambert ATHENS, GA. — William R. Lambert will become Associate Dean for Extensionat the University of Georgia in the College of Agricultural and Environmental SciencesJuly 15, pending approval by the Board of Regents. The announcement was made Friday, June4, by Dean Gale Buchanan. “Dr. Lambert brings a wealth of experience and an appreciation forthe many facets of agriculture to this important and demanding job for our state,”Buchanan said. Lambert will give leadership to the university’s largest public service and outreach program, whichserves all 159 counties with a team of county Extension Service agents. They are supportedby extension scientists in the colleges of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Family and Consumer Sciences and the David B. Warnell School of Forest Resources. He will also coordinate extension programs with research and teaching units of theCollege of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences as well as other outreach units of theUniversity of Georgia. Lambert has served as assistant dean for extension since 1996. In histenure with UGA, which began in 1976, he has also served as associate director foragriculture and natural resources, interim department head for the Department of Entomology and extensionentomologist. Lambert has received the Walter B. Hill Award for his work in publicservice, the Distinguished Achievement Award in Extension from the southeastern branch ofthe Entomological Society of America, the Public Service and Extension Award from the vicepresident for service and outreach, and the D. W. Brooks Award.center_img Lambert will replace Robert Isaac, who retires July 1 after serving in theleadership role for the UGA Cooperative Extension Servicesince 1996. The Extension Service is a unique partnership among federal, state and countygovernments, conducted in Georgia through the University of Georgia and Fort Valley State University. last_img read more

Vermont gasoline prices fall again

first_imgAverage retail gasoline prices in Vermont have fallen 7.1 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.75/g yesterday. This compares with the national average that has fallen 1.9 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.70/g, according to gasoline price website VermontGasPrices.com.Including the change in gas prices in Vermont during the past week, prices yesterday were 11.4 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 16.1 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 18.0 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 5.9 cents per gallon higher than this day a year ago.Source: VermontGasPrices.com. 6.14.2010last_img read more

iRobot Mission Rolls to Tobyhanna Army Depot

first_img Tobyhanna Army Depot’s new robotics mission helps warfighters remotely search for improvised explosive devices using either a laptop computer or backpack control system. The depot’s System Integration and Support, Production Engineering, and Communication Systems directorates are involved in fabricating and upgrading several components of the iRobot unmanned ground vehicles. “There is no doubt that this mission directly saves lives,” said Chase Gardner, electronics engineer in the Production Engineering Directorate. “The work we do at the depot with the iRobots provides Soldiers a larger safety blanket and greater sense of security by extending the range of communications between the vehicle and the operator.” The requirement to upgrade two different robots came as part of a Joint Urgent Operational Needs Statement asking for improved communication capabilities. The larger iRobot 510 PackBot system features a front- and rear-facing camera, mechanical arm and two ‘forks’ that allow the robot to position itself in several different stances. The iRobot 310 Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle is slightly smaller and is controlled using an optic lens. Both systems are operated using video game controllers. Michael Murray, an electronics integrated systems mechanic in the Communication Systems Directorate, says the mission requires a wide range of knowledge and skills. “This project uses hands-on skills like Soldering and manual troubleshooting but also incorporates software-based knowledge,” he said. “Since it is such a new mission and requires a different type of thinking, a total team effort is required to pull all of our skills together and put out a quality product while adapting to customer requests.” Requests have included fixing a problem with the battery door latches. Increased temperatures would cause the latch to fail, leaving the door unsecured. Had the problem persisted, the robot may not have functioned properly, compromising the safety of the warfighter and his mission. Electronics Worker Nicholas Prehotsky’s solution to replace the ineffective latches with snaps not only fixed the problem, but saved time and money. Tactical Radio Branch chief Patrick Connolly said adapting to challenges and quickly finding solutions is an integral part of the mission. “Problems are to be expected, but knowing that warfighters count on our work to keep them safe pushes us to be accountable,” said Connolly. “I’ve never seen a team with so much enthusiasm, dedication and pride.” By Dialogo November 05, 2012last_img read more

Loan Zone: A strong loan review system is good for your business

first_img continue reading » Regulators consider an effective loan review system vital to financial institutions’ efforts to meet safety and soundness standards. In fact, banking regulators are in the process of issuing updated guidance on loan or credit risk review systems as a standalone document (rather than including it in guidance related to the allowance for credit losses, as it is now) to emphasize their importance in broader risk management efforts.But beyond making it easier to withstand examiners’ scrutiny, is a strong loan review system good for your credit union’s business?Effective Credit Risk Review Promotes Lending AgilityAbsolutely, says Ancin Cooley, principal with Synergy Bank Consulting and Synergy Credit Union Consulting, Elgin, Illinois. Cooley is a former Office of the Comptroller of the Currency examiner who provides loan reviews, outsourced credit analysis, strategic planning and risk appetite consulting. A strong loan review function is especially important for helping financial institutions be nimble, he explained during the recent webinar, “Best Practices for Credit Analysts.” ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Overworked, underpaid Brazil nurses risk lives to care for patients

first_imgHans Bossan is 40 hours into his 72-hour work week, but despite his marathon nursing shifts and the pandemic claiming an alarming number of his colleagues’ lives in Brazil, he barely looks tired.Bossan works three jobs to provide for his wife and two-year-old daughter — at two different hospitals and a mobile emergency unit.Double and triple shifts like his are not unusual in Brazil, where the average salary for nurses, nursing assistants and health care technicians is just 3,000 reals ($600) a month for a 30- to 44-hour work week. Around 18,000 nurses in Brazil have been infected with COVID-19, and at least 181 have died — among the highest numbers in the world, according to the International Council of Nurses.Last month, nurses protested in the capital, Brasilia, against the poor working conditions they blame for contributing to their colleagues’ deaths.Brazil accounts for nearly one-third of the 600 deaths among nurses and other health professionals registered worldwide by the International Council of Nurses, though the organization says many countries are not doing enough to track the real number. The coronavirus pandemic, which has thrust health care workers into the spotlight around the world, has in Brazil also highlighted the plight of nurses, who often face bad working conditions and are now getting sick and dying from COVID-19 at a startling rate.”Nursing was always an overworked profession, and this pandemic has just made things worse,” said Bossan, 41.”We’re highly undervalued. Nurses deal directly with patients, with the virus, we’re on the front lines of the war. But not everyone realizes that,” he told AFP at his home in a poor neighborhood on the eastern outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.Nurses have been hit particularly hard as Brazil has become the latest epicenter in the pandemic, with 39,680 deaths, behind only the United States and Britain. Heroes without capes One of Bossan’s jobs is in the intensive care unit at Che Guevara Hospital in Marica, about 60 kilometers outside Rio.Working behind a face shield with a mask underneath, he monitored the constantly beeping machines helping to keep his patients alive.One of them, 56-year-old Eliane Lima, thanked her health care team from behind her oxygen mask.”The doctors and nurses are excellent here. They take care of us with a lot of love. It’s badly needed in a place like this,” she said.Outside, in the semi-intensive care ward, nurse technician Flavia Menezes summed up her profession thus: “It’s the art of caring for people.””Not all heroes wear capes,” she added.center_img ‘Anxiety and depression’ More than 80 percent of Brazil’s 2.3 million nurses are women.Often they work double and triple shifts caring for patients and then go home to care for their own families — now with the added worry of infecting them.”It’s a time of great anxiety and depression” for the profession, said Nadia Mattos, vice president of Brazil’s Federal Nursing Council (Cofen).When the initial flood of cases hit Brazil’s hospitals, health care workers faced shortages of protective equipment and inadequate training on dealing with the new virus, she said.Although the situation has improved with time, “we’re still getting lots of complaints about lack of protective gear or low-quality equipment,” she said.The council has set up virtual psychological counseling for nurses, available 24 hours a day.The group has also pushed for years for nurses’ minimum salary to be increased to $1,200 a month, double the current average. Topics :last_img read more

Mermaid Beach shack sells for $1.41 million at auction

first_img13 Seaside Ave sold under the hammer on the weekend. Picture: Scott FletcherMore from news02:37Purchasers snap up every residence in the $40 million Siarn Palm Beach North12 hours ago02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa1 day agoA MERMAID Beach shack sold for $1.41 million under the hammer on the weekend.The two-bedroom, one-bathroom cottage at 13 Seaside Ave is on a 438sq m block and is close to the bustling Nobby Beach restaurant and bar scene.Margaret Miller, 90, bought the property in the 1960s for $6000 and spent 20 years proudly paying it off.Harcourts Coastal marketing agent Shaun Kaddatz took the property to auction where it attracted 15 registered bidders.“We have a very happy seller, and a delighted buyer,” he said.last_img read more

Marjorie M. Zimmer, age 89

first_imgMarjorie Muntz Zimmer, age 89, of Brookville, Indiana died Thursday, December 31, 2015 at McCullough Hyde Memorial Hospital in Oxford, Ohio.Born November 6, 1926 in Saylor Park, Ohio she was the daughter of the late Chester & Ida (Andres) Muntz. On November 1, 1947 she was united in marriage to William A. Zimmer and he preceded her in death on July 12, 2014.She was an active member of St. Thomas Lutheran Church in Brookville, where she had served in various capacities. Marge graduated from Moores Hill High School in 1943, and Miami University in 1968. Mrs. Zimmer loved teaching grade school classes at Morgan School in Okeana, Ohio and at St. Michaels School in Brookville, from where she retired.She touched many lives sharing Jesus in her neighborhood bible studies, bible outreach, and nursing home ministries. She and her husband Bill enjoyed spending time with family & friends entertaining at Zimmer Hills. Her hobbies included playing the accordion, gardening, and cooking & canning. Survivors include two daughters, Carol Gosciniak of Vevay, Indiana and Cheryl Hall of Temple, Texas; one son, Daryl W. (Gretchen) Zimmer of Brookville, Indiana; 11 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, 1 great-great grandchild; as well as one sister, Doris (Ray) Butt of Batesville, Indiana.Besides her parents and husband, William, she was preceded in death by an infant sister, and a great-granddaughter.Family & friends may visit from 4 till 7:00 P.M. on Tuesday, January 5, 2016 at Philips & Meyers Funeral Home, 1025 Franklin Avenue, Brookville; and Wednesday, January 6, 2015 from 10 until 10:45 A.M. at St. Thomas Lutheran Church, 823 Franklin Avenue, Brookville.Rev. Ladona Webb, Pastor of St. Thomas Lutheran Church, will officiate the Funeral Services on Wednesday, January 6, 2016, 11:00 A.M. at St. Thomas Lutheran Church. Burial will follow in Maple Grove Cemetery in Brookville.Memorial contributions may be directed to St. Thomas Lutheran Church or the William & Marge Zimmer Endowment C/O the Franklin County Community Foundation. Phillips & Meyers Funeral Home is honored to serve the Zimmer family, to sign the online guest book please visit www.phillipsandmeyers.comlast_img read more

Vidic returns for United victory

first_imgNemanja Vidic played for an hour as a second-string Manchester United side won 2-0 at Crewe. The Portugal international, who has been suffering with a broken nose, slotted in a first-half free-kick and then tucked away a second goal after the break. The Serbian defender missed United’s tour of Australia and the Far East with a back complaint but came through 62 minutes untroubled at Gresty Road. There were also run-outs for Nani and Antonio Valencia who both missed the trip, with Nani scoring both goals. center_img Press Associationlast_img read more