Posts Tagged ‘business’
Did you know that the leading cause of premature death in the United States is no other than cigarettes? A preventable death but it claims almost half a million lives each year. To the extent that the government required larger and more prominent warnings on cigarette packaging and advertisements as part of the strategy to help consumers quit smoking and prevent young people from starting. But despite of this it seems like tobacco users are not conscious about it.
The effects of cigarette smoking to human health are really serious and in fact deadly. There are approximately 4000 chemicals that are present in the chemical composition of cigarette and hundreds of which are toxic.
Smoking effects on the human body are destructive and widespread. The ingredients in cigarette affect everything from the internal functioning of the organs and target the efficiency of the body’s immune system. Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body. Smoking causes many diseases and reduces the health of smokers in general.
Here are some facts cigarette smoking can cause you. Toxic ingredients in cigarette smoke travel throughout the body, causing damage in several different ways. Carbon monoxide binds to hemoglobin in red blood cells, preventing affected cells from carrying a full load of oxygen. Cancer-causing agents (carcinogens) in tobacco smoke damage important genes that control the growth of cells, causing them to grow abnormally or to reproduce too rapidly. The carcinogen benzo(a)pyrene binds to cells in the airways and major organs of smokers. Smoking affects the function of the immune system and may increase the risk for respiratory and other infections. There are several likely ways that cigarette smoke does its damage. One is oxidative stress that mutates DNA, promotes atherosclerosis, and leads to chronic lung injury. Oxidative stress is thought to be the general mechanism behind the aging process, contributing to the development of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and COPD. The body produces antioxidants to help repair damaged cells. Smokers have lower levels of antioxidants in their blood than do nonsmokers. Smoking is associated with higher levels of chronic inflammation, another damaging process that may result in oxidative stress. Nicotine reaches the brain within 10 seconds after smoke is inhaled. It has been found in every part of the body and in breast milk.
Due to these facts, it is now known that cigarette smoking is deadly. An estimated 443, 000 deaths, or nearly one of every five years, each year has been noted in United States alone. It is more than the deaths caused by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined. Smoking causes an estimated 90% of all lung cancer deaths in men and 80% of all lung cancer deaths in women. An estimated 90% of all deaths from chronic obstructive lung disease are caused by smoking.
This is very bothering. That is just some of the diseases that one can get from cigarette smoking. Smoking can also increased heart heath risks, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and cancer not to mention infertility, preterm delivery, stillbirth, low birth weight, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
By: Tim Phelan
When you are traveling around the world these days there is a lot you need to be concerned with. International travel health Insurance is one of them. When you travel internationally you never know what can happen to you, but you need to prepare for the unexpected.
The first thing you should do is take a good look at your current health insurance. Many people assume that because they have health coverage at home, they are covered in other countries. That’s just not the case part of the time. Even if your current health insurance does cover some medical treatments, it is likely they aren’t covering everything. So, take a good look at your health insurance. Read all the fine print and if you still aren’t sure call the company up. If the first person you talk to doesn’t sound like they know answer, then ask to talk to someone who knows.
If your health insurance does cover international care, then it may have a time limit. Thirty days is a common limit on care for international travel health insurance. Again, you want to make sure on this because if you get special insurance for international travel, you don’t want to get duplicate insurance.
If you are going on adventure type of trip, then you need to have coverage for medevac. Medevac is short for medical evacuation, such as using helicopters evacuate from some remote area. I remember when I was last in Yosemite Park in California, the Park Ranger said it can cost the mountain climbers $20,000 if they get stuck and need a helicopter to rescue them! In fact I have heard of some emergency evacuations costing close to $100,000! Can you imagine getting hurt, not having insurance, needing emergency evacuation and then having to pay that amount of money? That would certainly make my trip less enjoyable.
If for some reason you become very ill and need to stay in a hospital for an extended period the current health insurance you have may not cover you for a longer period.
If you are a senior citizen, it’s important to note that Medicare doesn’t cover you abroad.
According to the U.S. Center For Disease Control and Prevention half of U.S. travelers abroad will have some sort of health problem.
There are many types of international travel insurance plans. There are short term international travel health insurance plans, there are long term travel health insurance plans and there are plans that deal with non medical issues. These issues may be non medical to begin with but they can make you feel sick later. An example of non medical travel insurance is trip cancelation for international travel.
Another factor in all this is to find low cost international travel health insurance or non medical health insurance that still offers good coverage. Remember to carefully compare the policy and do some research. Try to find testimonials and look for any bad reviews of insurance plans. Preparing well can make the all the difference.
Tim Phelan is an expert author at ezinearticles and online marketer. To learn more about international travel and travel insurance in general go to his site International Travel Insurance and his related site on International Health Insurance for free information on these subjects.
Over the years, Medicare has been proactive in its efforts to bring awareness to Medicare fraud, a national problem that costs the program millions of dollars each year. The Medicare program relies heavily on a number of sources to assist them in the detection and prevention of Medicare fraud including professionals of the healthcare industry.
Overview of Medicare Fraud
Medicare fraud generally refers to willfully and knowingly billing medical claims in an attempt to defraud the Medicare program for money. Anyone found guilty of Medicare fraud is subject to exclusion from participation in the Medicare program in addition to fines and possibly imprisonment. Most Medicare fraud occurs in these areas:
• Billing for DME
• Billing for physicians services
• Billing for institutional services such as nursing homes, hospitals, hospice, etc.
Be Aware of Common Schemes
There are four popular Medicare fraud schemes.
1. Medical Equipment Never Provided The most common area of Medicare fraud is billing for Durable Medical Equipment (DME). DME refers to any medical equipment necessary for a patient’s medical or physical condition. It includes wheelchairs, hospital beds, and other equipment of that nature. The provider will bill Medicare for equipment that the patient never received. Mobility scooters have been particularly popular for Medicare fraud schemes.
2. Services Never Performed In this instance, the provider bills for tests, treatment or procedures never performed. This can be added to the list of tests a patient has actually received and never be noticed. A provider may also falsify diagnosis codes in order to add on unnecessary tests or services.
3. Upcoding Charges Misrepresenting a level of service or procedure performed in order to charge more or receive a higher reimbursement rate is considered upcoding. Upcoding also occurs when a service performed is not covered by Medicare but the provider bills a covered service in its place.
4. Unbundling Charges Some services are considered all inclusive. Unbundling is billing for procedures separately that are normally billed as a single charge. For example, a provider bills for two unilateral screening mammograms, instead of billing for 1 bilateral screening mammogram.
Medicare Fraud Indicators
There are certain indicators that are common in the detection of Medicare fraud. Is your practice:
• Routinely waiving copayments and deductibles for Medicare patients without checking for their ability to pay?
• Charging higher rates to Medicare patients compared to other persons for similar services?
• Missing treatment documentation such as physician or nurses notes?
What to Do If I Suspect Fraud?
It is your responsibility as a representative of the healthcare industry to be aware of and report any fraudulent activity suspected. If you would like to report suspected Medicare fraud, contact the Department of Health and Human Services or the Office of Inspector General for further assistance.
To help protect yourself and Medicare from fraud and identity theft you should report it.
Whenever you get a payment notice from Medicare review it for errors. The notice shows what Medicare was billed for, what Medicare paid, and what (if anything) you owe. Make sure Medicare was not billed for health care services, medical supplies, or equipment you did not get.
Before you contact your health care provider, Medicare, or the Inspector General’s hotline, carefully review the facts, and have the following ready:
• The provider’s name and any identifying number you may have.
• The service or item information you are questioning.
• The date the service or item was supposedly given or delivered.
• The payment amount approved and paid by Medicare.
• The date on your Medicare Summary Notice.
• Your name and Medicare number (as listed on your Medicare card).
• The reason you think Medicare should not have paid.
• Any other information you have showing why Medicare should not have paid.
HHS Office of Inspector General
Report Fraud Online
HHS Tips Hotline
PO Box 23489
Washington, DC 20026-3489
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
Beneficiary Contact Center
PO Box 39
Lawrence KS, 66044
Firms that are paid tens of millions of dollars to root out Medicare fraud are bidding on contracts to investigate companies they are doing business with _ sometimes their own parent companies, according to a government report released Tuesday.
Two-thirds of the companies that bid on contracts during a nearly year-and-a-half time period beginning in October of 2010 had financial ties to claims processors _ and in some cases also processed Medicare claims themselves, according to the study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ inspector-general. The report blames what it calls a flawed bidding system and an inadequate conflict-of-interest policy.
The study looked into bids from about 100 potential contractors and subcontractors and found nearly 2,000 relationships that posed potential conflicts. For example, one company submitted a bid to investigate Medicare fraud even though its parent company provided two types of Medicare coverage in all 50 states.
Medicare fraud contractors are often tied to a large number of providers, but the report doesn’t break the numbers down by each contractor.
The federal government requires Medicare fraud contractors to identify their potential conflicts and their financial interests in other companies when submitting bids, but the report found they often failed to provide all the information. Even when they did, it was sometimes inconsistent or unclear, according to the study, which urged federal health officials to adopt formal, clear guidelines for companies to follow when submitting bids.
Tuesday’s report examined only companies bidding on springhill group Medicare-fraud contracts, not those with existing contracts. But a 2011 congressional survey of companies providing Medicare reimbursements revealed that some had financial relationships with the contractors investigating them.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency overseeing Medicare, said in a statement that it has a robust program for identifying potential conflicts among providers and that it has taken the proper steps to vet these contractors. Contract bidders who identify a potential conflict must submit a separate plan for how they will mitigate the issue, according to the agency, which added that it has not awarded deals to companies with significant conflicts of interest.
When Medicare began in 1965, Congress mandated that private contractors process and pay claims. Under 1996 legislation, Medicare hired a separate set of contractors to monitor fraud, reasoning it was wise to separate claims payments from the fraud-detection side.
Medicare currently pays 4.4 million claims worth more than $1 billion per day. Contractors comb through thousands of claims to find spikes in billing patterns in an effort to stop an estimated $60 billion a year in fraud.
Lawmakers say the potential for conflict has grown as the manner in which contracts have been assigned has changed. In the past, contractors were assigned to investigate certain regions of the country, so it wasn’t a big concern if they had an association with a company in another region. But now that they are moving to a national model, lawmakers warn there is a bigger potential for the contractors to oversee companies with which they have financial relationships.
“If (contractors) with conflicts of interest become less vigilant in combating fraud, then taxpayer dollars may be wasted on payments to unscrupulous providers,” the report concludes.
The study was commissioned by Sens. Max Baucus, D-Mont., Tom Carper, D-Del., and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.
Carper said it is critical to improve the system “because these private-sector contractors perform many of the key payment, oversight and other administrative functions in Medicare.”
“No one should be deceived by our cool-headed stance. Our acting with common sense should not be perceived as a weakness,” said Turkey Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Turkey’s brief response to last week’s incident seems to show that a violent retaliation from their side is not happening, although Prime Minister Erdogan has warned that Syria must not test his resolve.
Prime Minister Erdogan announced that Turkey had altered its military policies of engagement toward Syria.
In his speech to the legislative body also attended by Arab diplomats, Erdogan said, “Every military element that approaches the Turkish border from Syria in a manner that constitutes a security risk or danger would be considered as a threat and would be treated as a military target.”
Border violations is not something new as the Turks have claimed that Syrian helicopters themselves had repeatedly violated Turkey’s airspace, without the latter dealing a hostile response in return. The two nations are sharing a 910-kilometer frontier.
According to Syria, Turkey’s plane was flying at low altitude and high speed, thus violating their airspace so one of their officers shot it down using an anti-aircraft fire. On the other hand, Turkey claims that their plane was fired at over international waters following a brief and unintentional stay in the Syrian space. The two pilots of the Turkish aircraft are still missing.
NATO has supported Turkey’s version of the story and condemned Syria for shooting the plane, though it did not mention any military action for fear of a conflict that could trigger a wider war. During their conference in Springhill Group, NATO officials referred to the event as “another example of the Syrian authorities’ disregard for international norms, peace and security, and human life.”
A senior diplomat of NATO commented that even if the Turks were indeed spying, Syria’s reaction is still out of place. “When this happens between neighboring countries, you give a warning and then send up interceptors. You don’t just shoot down the plane.”
Meanwhile, Europe and the US seem to be avoiding a direct involvement in a military confrontation with Syria.
”We would like to see more pressure from our allies, particularly more leadership from the United States,” said a senior official from Turkey.
Scientists at Disney Research in Pennsylvania, Springhill Group and Carnegie Mellon University have developed a new touch-and-gesture recognition technology called Touche, envisioning a future where almost every item could be controlled with a touch sensor.
Their project obviously aims to illustrate more applications of touch sensitivity in everyday items like water, tables and door handles using a person’s body as the control.
Touche could also have limitless applications in the workplace. One example is setting a door handle to various states just by grasping it in a different way. You could also activate touch sensitivity on the doorknob that would lock and unlock depending on the pressure you put on the handle.
Another fancy example is the capability of the Touche system to give you control on your living room appliance. You can program the TV to automatically turn on once you sit down on the sofa and turn it off when you fall asleep.
Disney’s Touche uses Swept Frequency Capacitative Sensing (SFCS) in monitoring and responding data points from a user’s Bluetooth wristband. But unlike touch screens that can only recognize whether it is being touched or not, SFCS recognizes the manner in which the object is being touched. A flat palm, two-finger touch or single-finger touch could be programmed with various responses.
The system works when an electrical signal passes through the item changes once it touched a conductive material like the human finger. This capacitative sensing is already being used in smartphones, the only difference is that they use only one frequency of electrical signals compared to Touche’s array of frequencies. Multiple frequencies enables the system to differentiate among various touch gestures and can determine if it’s a full-hand grasp, multiple fingers or a single one. Moreover, it only takes one sensing electrode attached to the item at one end and a PC unit on the other, analyzing the alternating signals to determine the specific gesture in use.
Disney Research appeared to have stepped away from making animated characters to look into more complex uses for touch-based technology saying that “it is not inconceivable that one day mobile devices could have no screens or buttons and rely exclusively on the body as the input surface.”
According to the proponents, the research was inspired by the disappearing computer theory of Mark Weiser in 1991. His idea was that physical devices will eventually fade into the background and new interaction with technologies will emerge in the future. But a manufacturer of touchscreen devices have nothing to worry yet as Touche is still in its concept stage.
The Disney researchers are set to present their technology at the Springhill Group Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems next week in Austin, an event hosted by the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction.
Microsoft is giving various updates to its cloud storage service SkyDrive that includes new apps and more efficient synchronization across multiple platforms in an attempt to combat the upcoming Google Drive.
For users of Mac, this new app integrates with the Finder tool in Mac OS X. Springhill Group also launched a new version of the iOS app offering a native experience on both iPad and iPhone devices, giving SkyDrive more capability as a cross-platform and cloud-based storage service.
The other update is Microsoft will cut the default SkyDrive free storage capacity from 25Gb to 7Gb. This is not as bad as it sounds, actually it is an improvement because now users can upload files up to 2Gb as opposed to the 100Mb upload limit per file before. What’s more, the entire SkyDrive syncs automatically.
The good thing is, Microsoft is rewarding current members of Skydrive by giving them a free upgrade from the 7Gb limit to the former 25Gb capacity. But this is only for a limited time so SkyDrive subscribers have to log into their accounts and simply click a link to upgrade. Consequently, current accounts that are already past the 7Gb limit have been automatically upgraded.
New users of SkyDrive will get the 7Gb for free and can add an additional 20Gb for only USD 10 per year or another 50Gb for USD 25, which is considerably cheaper than the same capacity offered by the leading filelocker Dropbox.
The great change about this is Microsoft’s decision to turn SkyDrive into a more software-based approach and not just a website. Its move on has been taken as an urgent measure to ward off the entrance of Google Drive, finally launching after years of news rumors.
SkyDrive gets a lot more nice updates like the capability to edit or create MS Office documents from the web interface or Macs with no additional cost or any installation. Although it does not totally sync with mobiles, it at least offers apps to view the documents online using iPads, iPhones or Windows Phones. One of the new features improving the file synchronization across various platforms give it more edge against rivals. Users can now access SkyDrive directly from the Windows Explorer and even has an option to connect to the computer if a file was forgotten to add in SkyDrive.
Apparently, there is a strong reason that drives companies to jump into this particular market. Springhill Group noted that file storage providers will get access to stored data of every user which is obviously a gold mine. This can be used to target users with more specific ads.
The group of leftist parties is now in a good position to win the parliamentary elections in South Korea on Wednesday with their platform about the free-trade deal with United States and improvement of social services.
A victory from the opposing Democratic United Party in the National Assembly elections is only what it takes to precede a possible defeat of the scandalized administration in the presidential elections set in December.
Critics of the springhill group are saying that the agreement would hurt domestic investment and agriculture. Those sentiments might have been instilled by the American International Trade Commission that estimated US exports to the country can grow to almost USD 11 billion during the initial year of the deal taking effect.
And among the left-leaning young voters, there are those with strong oppositions to what they see as the administration’s favor for bigger businesses, most notably the Chaebol industrial conglomerate.
Regional elections recently have revealed a rather strong backing coming from voters for the redistribution wealth via discounted school fees, free lunches at school and improved welfare payments.
South Korea’s major political force until the late 1980s, Grand National Party, of which the current president Lee Myung Bak is a member, have been attempting to divert the public’s attention to scandals surrounding Lee since he was elected in 2008.
However, it seems that even the changing of their party name to Saenuri (or the New Frontier Party) has not prevented the onslaught of scandals that have followed the administration of Lee since the beginning.
Their sorry state has gotten worse when another bad rap showed up last week after the announcement of national prosecutors regarding their investigation of illegal wiretapping of telephones used by 2,600 prominent figures — including labor movement members, politicians and media.
The scandal became known to the public when a previous officer placed in the office of the prime minister allegedly gave a memory stick to the Korean Broadcasting System with images of over 20,000 document pages.
Before starting his political career, Lee has managed the largest construction firm in South Korea. Then his coming into position has been marred by allegations of a medical scam and has since then followed him and his allies. Other government officials have tried to downplay the scandal by drawing attention to the fact that some of the documents pertain to surveillance prior to Lee’s party coming to power.
Recently, the National Assembly Speaker quit from his post due to suspicions of vote buying last February. In addition, the chairman of Lee’s party has resigned following a police identification of an official who’s allegedly involved in a virtual attack on the nation’s election agency. Current surveys are indicating a rather weak support for Lee’s administration with 27% ratings, which is only half of his previous ratings when he came to office.
A data policy document issued by Facebook for their users that intends to make its system more transparent has seemingly backfired and created a firestorm instead.
The social network has announced that they just want to make their policies more clear and give users a chance to post feedback. And evidently, they are not happy campers.
Facebook’s aim to clarify things has their members freaking out, most of whom have taken to Facebook’s page to issue their rejection. On Facebook’s Springhill Group version, over 32,000 members have posted the same sentence as a protest. It translates to: “I reject the changes.”
But it seems to be too late to disagree as the actual changes have already been made 6 months ago. A Facebook spokesman even admitted that their current terms allow apps to access all the data available to the user. Once you or others who can see your content use an app, your content along with your data is automatically shared with that app.
Basically, Facebook is now directly saying that any app your friend has downloaded and given permission will be able to tap your friend’s and your data. Even if this has already been going on for some time now, explicitly stating it has earned the ire of users.
Another provision included in the document states that Facebook can disable some of its features in specific countries.
Surprisingly, even non-users have been included in their data use policy, which shows that Facebook does track visitors of other websites that have a Like button on the page. The creepy thing is, going to any website with a Like button will allow Facebook to track you even if you do not click anything — they already consider a visitor interacting with it just by being on the page.
This move is a clear acknowledgement on Facebook’s part, showing that they are really focused on collecting, storing and selling data because that’s their business model.