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The Afternoon Flap: November 25, 2011

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These are my links for November 23rd through November 25th:

  • An Electronic Eye on Hospital Hand-Washing – Beeps and blinking lights are the constant chatter of a hospital intensive care unit, but at the I.C.U.’s in North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y., the conversation has some unusual contributors. Two L.E.D. displays adorn the wall across from each nurses’ station. They show the hand hygiene rate achieved: last Friday in the surgical I.C.U., the weekly rate was 85 percent and the current shift had a rate of 91 percent. “Great Shift!!” the sign said. At the medical I.C.U. next door, the weekly rate was 81 percent, and the current shift 82 percent.

    That’s too low for a “Great Shift!!” message. But by most standards, both I.C.U.’s are doing well. Those L.E.D. displays are very demanding — health care workers must clean their hands within 10 seconds of entering and exiting a patient’s room, or it doesn’t count. Three years ago, using the same criteria, the medical I.C.U.’s hand hygiene rate was appalling — it averaged 6.5 percent. But a video monitoring system that provides instant feedback on success has raised rates of hand-washing or use of alcohol rubs to over 80 percent, and kept them there.

  • First 5 LA chief to get sizable severance despite having quit – The board of First 5 LA will give its former chief executive officer an expensive severance package even after she resigned earlier this month following a critical audit of the agency.

    Evelyn V. Martinez submitted a letter on Nov. 10, saying the commissioners had required her to resign instead of being fired without cause from the independent Los Angeles County agency, which uses state cigarette taxes to fund health, safety and educational programs for children from birth to age 5.

    In her letter, Martinez said she was entitled to a lump sum payment equal to 12 months of salary and health benefits and her unused vacation. Martinez, who earned more than $240,000 annually, also said she should receive an additional month of pay and health benefit costs because she was not given a 30-day written notice.

  • Push against California’s redistricting maps moves forward – Republican activists trying to overturn some new voting districts cleared a significant hurdle toward putting the issue on the ballot by turning in petitions bearing hundreds of thousands of signatures.

    But the next step — verification of those names by county elections officials — could take long enough to stymie the proponents’ goal of getting new state Senate districts drawn by the state Supreme Court in time for next year’s elections.

    Secretary of State Debra Bowen has said that vetting all the signatures could take until mid-March, after the Feb. 23 deadline for some candidates to file for the June primary. The timing could mean that the maps drawn by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission would be used until voters could weigh in on the November ballot.

    The referendum would allow voters the final word on the Senate maps. Dave Gilliard, a consultant who oversaw the $2.5-million signature drive for a group called Fairness and Accountability in Redistricting (FAIR), said the activists believe the state’s high court could act in time for the June elections. He said FAIR’s attorneys believe current redistricting law gives the court the authority to create new maps once signed petitions for the referendum have been filed.

  • NYT Claims Increasing Bipartisan Support for Plans that Could Raise the Cost of Medicare Policies by $34 Trillion – The NYT claims that plans that could raise the cost of Medicare equivalent policies for seniors by $34 trillion are gaining increasing support in Congress. These plans involve replacing Medicare with a voucher. This leads to higher costs both because the administrative costs of private plans are far higher than Medicare and they are likely to be less effective in controlling costs.

    The Congressional Budget Official projected that a Republican plan along these lines, that was approved by House earlier in this year, would raise the cost of Medicare equivalent polices by $34 trillion over the program’s 75-year planning horizon. While this plan would save the government money by reducing its payments for Medicare, it would mean that future generations of workers would pay far more for health care in their retirement. The cost of Medicare equivalent policies would far exceed the typical retiree’s income by 2050.

  • Support Builds for Premium Support Plan for Medicare – Though it reached no agreement, the special Congressional committee on deficit reduction built a case for major structural changes in Medicare that would limit the government’s open-ended financial commitment to the program, lawmakers and health policy experts say.

    Members of both parties told the panel that Medicare should offer a fixed amount of money to each beneficiary to buy coverage from competing private plans, whose costs and benefits would be tightly regulated by the government.

    Republicans have long been enamored of that idea. In the last few weeks, two of the Republican candidates for president, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, have endorsed variations of it.

    The idea faces opposition from many Democrats, who say it would shift costs to beneficiaries and eliminate the guarantee of affordable health insurance for older Americans. But some Democrats say that — if carefully designed, with enough protections for beneficiaries — it might work.

    The idea is sometimes known as premium support, because Medicare would subsidize premiums charged by private insurers that care for beneficiaries under contract with the government.

    “This is an idea that could easily resurface in the future as Congress seeks additional Medicare savings for deficit reduction,” said Patricia H. Neuman, senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

  • @Flap Twitter Updates for 2011-11-25 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – @Flap Twitter Updates for 2011-11-25 #tcot #catcot
  • foursquare :: Gregory Flap @ Chez Bev Webb – Alice’s mom’s home for Thanksgiving – watching football (@ Chez Bev Webb)
  • foursquare :: Gregory Flap’s Badges :: Superstar – I just unlocked the “Superstar” badge on @foursquare!
  • U.S. ranks 28th in life expectancy while we pay the MOST for health care | Mail Online – U.S. ranks 25th in life expectancy — lower than Chile and Greece…
  • @Flap Twitter Updates for 2011-11-24 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – @Flap Twitter Updates for 2011-11-24 #tcot #catcot
  • News from The Associated Press – RT @AP: #Bachmann receives apology from NBC after off-color song was played during her appearance on ‘Late Night’:
  • NationalJournal.com
  • Wishing You a Happy Thanksgiving: November 24, 2011 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Wishing You a Happy Thanksgiving: November 24, 2011 #tcot #catcot
  • NationalJournal.com – Timeline of 2012 Presidential Primaries and Caucuses – Kenneth Chamberlain –
  • Medscape: Medscape Access – Medscape: Medscape Access
  • Timeline of 2012 Presidential Primaries and Caucuses – Kenneth Chamberlain – NationalJournal.com – RT @nationaljournal: TIMELINE: 2012 Presidential Primaries and Caucuses:
  • Medscape: Medscape Access – Coffee Linked to Lower Endometrial Cancer Risk
  • The Afternoon Flap: November 23, 2011 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – The Afternoon Flap: November 23, 2011 #tcot #catcot
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Elton Gallegly

Rep. Elton Gallegly and Friends Operation Toy Drop 2011 Edition

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Rep. Elton Gallegly lends a hand as the non-profit group For the Troops packs its 25,000th package for military men and women deployed overseas, October 2010.
Photo Credit Elton Gallegly’s Facebook.

From the press release:

In a community thank you to military families at Naval Base Ventura County, the U.S. Rep. Elton Gallegly and Friends Operation Toy Drop will once again present toys and food primarily to families who have a service member who has been deployed, is deployed or is scheduled to be deployed.Media will have three opportunities to cover the events:

  • Saturday, Nov. 26, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the home of Elton and Janice Gallegly in Simi Valley, when about 30 volunteers will package 3,500 toys and sporting goods into 750 age- and gender-appropriate gift bags.
  • Saturday, Dec. 3, Time TBD, Simi Valley to Navy Base Ventura County,  when Navy personnel will transport the bicycles, tricycles, battery-operated quads and gift bags to Navy Base Ventura County
  • Sunday, Dec. 4, 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., Naval Base Ventura County, when Santa will arrive from the North Pole on an Air Force C-130 bearing gifts for the children. (Interested media are requested to call Vance Vasquez, Naval Base Ventura County Public Affairs Office, at (805) 989-8095 by COB on Thursday Dec. 1.)

And, why?

To thank those families who also sacrifice when their loved one is deployed to protect all of us Americans.

What a worthy charity.

So what will be distributed?

  •  Approximately 500 bicycles, battery-operated quads, and tricycles
  • Approximately 750 age- and gender-appropriate gift bags with toys and/or sporting goods

In addition, on Saturday, Dec. 3, food to be distributed will include:

  • 400 hams
  • 400 Marie Callender’s pies
  • 2,000 pounds of potatoes

For more information, media can contact Tom Pfeifer, thomas.pfeifer@verizon.net

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@Flap Twitter Updates for 2011-11-25

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