non-profit hospitals offer financial assistance…???

Learned something new while watching ABC World News tonight with Diane Sawyer.

Seems a woman who owed a hospital $27,000 was on the verge of losing her house. With the help of an ABC investigative reporter, the woman’s bill was lowered to $7,000…allowing her to keep her home.

Non-profit hospitals (I never heard of the concept…Have you?) are required by law to publicize the fact that financial assistance is available to those in need…even folks with health insurance.

How is that possible? Government money.

Non-profits get our money. It’s only fair…they give back.

So next time you’re in a hospital, check if it’s non-profit.

Felicia Willems: Thank You Affordable Care Act

If it is…look for some kind of public notification which indicates the hospital is in compliance with the Affordable Care Act‘s financial assistance requirements.

The ACA directs the IRS to establish Section 501 ( r ) of the Internal Revenue Code to implement new community benefit rules for hospitals that are subsidized through the federal tax exemption. These new rules are currently in effect and require that hospitals do the following:

1. Establish written financial assistance policies describing who is eligible for free or reduced cost care and publicize them to patients and the community.

2. Refrain from extraordinary collections actions against patients before screening them to determine whether they qualify for financial assistance.

3. Limit fees charged to patients eligible for financial assistance to rates paid by Medicare or the lowest amounts paid by insured patients.

4. Conduct a regular community health needs assessment and implement a plan to address selected needs.

(An excerpt from   http://blog.credit.com/2012/05/how-obamacare-keeps-debt-collectors-out-of-hospitals/  )

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an opinion…to ponder

I came across the following in today’s Wall Street Journal which I thought deserved sharing, primarily because of its author.

afghanistan

afghanistan (Photo credit: The U.S. Army)

The gentleman is not someone of notoriety; rather, he’s more like…every man.


A Marine Volunteers–for a Pay Cut

by Benjamin Luxenberg

US Navy 090424-N-3271W-021 More than 500 veter...

US Navy 090424-N-3271W-021 More than 500 veterans who escorted the unclaimed remains of seven Iowa veterans to their final resting place at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery line the procession route with American flags after providin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

America owes its veterans. For the past 12 years, they have toiled and sacrificed in Iraq, Afghanistan and in so many other places around the world. Thousands made the ultimate sacrifice with their lives, and thousands more were wounded. Even those without serious injuries gave their blood, sweat and tears. When service members take their oath, they are writing a blank check to the U.S. government, to the American people, for their lives. When and how America chooses to cash that check is beyond their control.

Nor should the untold sacrifices of military families be forgotten. How many husbands weren’t with their wives during the birth of their child? How many kids’ birthdays or Little League games were missed? How many childhoods were missed almost entirely? Twelve years of war does that. The time cannot pay veterans enough to compensate for those kinds of losses.

America has asked–or, more truthfully, demanded–so much from its veterans. And yet the country must now ask for more. Not for more of those things that really matter, the things that make life worth living. What the country seeks is more material in nature: basically, money.

The current budget sequestration plan protects military pay at the expense of all other costs in the Defense Department. Because our pay (I am a Marine) has become sacrosanct, even deeper cuts in the rest of the Defense Department budget will have to be made–cuts that will endanger us now and in the future. It isn’t just a matter of national security but also of personal security. As the Pentagon reduces funds for equipment, troops may begin to wonder: Are we going to be forced to surrender body armor to keep our pay? A more reasonable balance needs to be found. Even the currently envisioned cuts won’t necessarily be enough to stave off future ones, especially if military pay continues to be off-limits.

National security shouldn’t be sacrificed on the altar of military pay. But cuts wouldn’t have to start with basic paychecks. They could begin by aligning special pay across the branches. For example, airmen who serve aboard Navy ships earn “hardship pay” while the sailors aboard those same ships don’t. Serving aboard ship isn’t reasonably more difficult for an airman than it is for a sailor or Marine. Lodging and food allowances for those temporarily assigned to certain units can be reduced; there is no need for service members who are on temporary active duty in Bahrain–sometimes for as long as a year–to receive $142 per day on top of all the other moneys and forms of compensation. And there are, no doubt, dozens of other small fixes that can make some difference to the military budget.

But, ultimately, even base pay may have to be put on the line. Congress should cut only what feels justified in the name of national security. The cuts should be done the American way: Those who most need the money should be affected the least. Don’t start with cuts for everyone across the board. In the Marine Corps, we have a saying” “Officers eat last.” We officers exist to serve the enlisted Marines under our command. Start with us. But don’t start with those of us who are married and on whom spouses depend. Don’t start with those of us who have children. Start with those of us who don’t. Start with the single, childless officers. Start with me.

Yet active-duty service members and veterans cannot endure these sacrifices alone. For the past dozen years, most Americans have barely felt the impact of the wars and deployments abroad. To steer the government and the U.S. economy–the greatest pillar of national security–back on track, let everyone bear some of the burden. Let civilian officials take a pay cut too. Let older Americans, including my own grandparents–Nani, Papa Bernie, Grandma Dorothy–accept some cuts in Medicare. The middle-aged (that means you, Mom and Dad) must accept some cuts to Social Security benefits upon retirement. And to my civilian friends (Greg, Preethi, David, Anna), you must accept raising the Social Security retirement age, whether it is a mere two years or a painful 10.

It is long past time for all Americans to share in the sacrifice. Nothing should be off the table. Maintaining present comforts at the expense of future security endangers everything that veterans and their families have fought for. Don’t tell them that they fought in vain. That is what America owes.

Mr. Luxenberg is a first lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. His views do not represent those of the Defense Department or USMC.


We all make sacrifices, big and small.

Even civilian families are often denied the substantive presence of working fathers…and mothers. And many do not have Uncle Sam footing the bill for health care costs and the like. 

Notwithstanding such comparable sacrifices, those in the military are charged with the extraordinary task of dying…to preserve our freedom and those of others who desire democracy for themselves.

Death is…the ultimate sacrifice.

English: Arlington National Cemetery: A U.S. M...

English: Arlington National Cemetery: A U.S. Marine with the Drum and Bugle Corps, Marine Barracks Washington, plays Taps during an interment ceremony for 11 Marines recently brought back from Vietnam. Hundreds of friends, family and service members were on hand to pay tribute to the men who made the ultimate sacrifice so many years before. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…not something to be taken lightly…

………hugmamma.

in loving memory…of lives lived…not lost…

 

Life…and death…have a way of slowing down the rat race.

When we seem certain that the nuts and bolts in our daily lives are running smoothly, the machinery in our little world…our microcosm…chugging along quite nicely, producing the results we’d hoped for, striven for…fate intervenes, upending our…house of cards.

I spent a few moments this morning perusing the most recent posts written by friend and fellow blogger, Christine at http://randomthoughtsfrommidlife.wordpress.com

Français : couverture du livre La maladie d'Al...

Français : couverture du livre La maladie d’Alzheimer – Accompagnez votre proche au quotidien (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My original connection with her was that her dad was suffering from Alzheimer’s. You see…my mom also suffered its debilitating effects before finally succumbing a number of years ago.

As a result, I was on the path to doing what I could to deter or slow the progression of that dreadful disease…in myself.

Sadly, Christine recently lost…both parents.

Her mother was unexpectedly diagnosed with cancer, not too long before she died. Christine’s dad followed soon after.

A few years ago, before I began following Christine’s blog, she suffered the loss of a beloved sister who had been retarded.

I’ve admired Christine’s strength throughout the turmoil she endured caring for her parents. And the love she shared with them…and the sister who had gone before.

Christine’s compelling story was like…a dip in the icy cold glacial waters off the coast of Alaska.

When we think life is so unfair…it seems best to remember the advantages we do enjoy.

I’ve been given a chance to live…

…to love…and be loved…

…to explore my talents…and forgive my weaknesses…

…to know others…and have them know me…

…to see with my eyes…the beauty of all I see…

…to hear with my ears…the sounds of life beckoning me forward…

…to sample with my own taste buds…all the gastronomical delights that others create…and the humble offerings that emanate from my own two hands…

…to walk and jump and climb and crawl and wriggle and stretch.

Above all…

I can think and remember and express and give voice and cry and laugh and complain and argue and be thankful…

…and I can pray…

…for myself and for others…

LIFE AFFORDS ME ALL THIS…

AND SO MUCH MORE.

Death cannot take away all the life that I have lived thus far.

Only I can do that…if I fail to crowd every nook and cranny of my life with the sights, sounds, smells…and all the amazing moments that present themselves.

Christine’s story reminded me to…enjoy the ride of a lifetime…

…every single moment…of every single day!!! croppedphoto

precious, precious…sunshine

Just left the blog of friend and fellow blogger…pocket perspectives. Her post on sunshine  stirred up wonderful memories of my 27-year-old.

http://pocketperspectives.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/you-are-my-sunshine-so-much-potential-sunshine-in-our-lives-each-day/#comment-8635

Her birthday’s tomorrow. 

Image

“You are My Sunshine” was the song we dubbed my daughter’s very own, often changing it to “you are my moonshine.” Of course we weren’t referencing the alcohol some folks took to concocting behind the barn in the good old days. (They’re probably still at it.)

Watching our only child’s face light up as we sang the words, was like seeing her standing in the middle of a sunbeam…or moonbeam.

We were three happy mousketeers…warmed by our love for one another.

Still are.

I’d forgotten that there was another song about sunshine, until I saw it reprinted on Pocket Perspectives. 

Now that my daughter’s grown into a lovely, young woman…I’d like to dedicate the following to her.

Happy birthday, precious! You still are our sunshine…and moonshine.

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy
Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry
Sunshine on the water looks so lovely
Sunshine almost always makes me high

If I had a day that I could give you
I’d give to you a day just like today
If I had a song that I could sing for you
I’d sing a song to make you feel this way

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy
Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry
Sunshine on the water looks so lovely
Sunshine almost always makes me high

If I had a tale that I could tell you
I’d tell a tale sure to make you smile
If I had a wish that I could wish for you
I’d make a wish for sunshine all the while

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy
Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry
Sunshine on the water looks so lovely
Sunshine almost always makes me high
Sunshine almost all the time makes me high
Sunshine almost always

Words by John Denver

springtime…when all things turn to fanciful-ness

I tend to decorate to the nines.Imported Photos 00154 What I can’t fit inside my four walls…is relegated to a space in the great outdoors.

Lazy summer days in our backyard...

Lazy summer days in our backyard…

img_1665.jpgApril 2011 00038Not only does my yard abound with the normal tchotckes, like bird baths…trellises…and statuary, but there’s a vintage iron headboard nestled under the shade of a maple tree.

img_2036.jpgBroken-down, painted benches with which I can’t bear to part company have put down roots alongside the house, as well as on the front and back decks.

img_1784.jpgStep ladders, too short to be of much use, are content to prettify a spot bereft of sunlight, or serve as a backdrop to pots draped to overflowing with petunias, sweet pea, heliotrope and alyssum.

IMG_1549IMG_4433 IMG_4436Neighbors comment, and have for years, that our yard serves as eye-candy for them. So hubby and I are encouraged to slave away during the warm days of spring, summer and fall…making sure  we keep the neighbors happy

IMG_1869IMG_1964The wildlife don’t seem to mind either. In fact, hummingbirds…well, at least one…monarchs and smaller butterflies, finches, sparrows, blue jays and red-breasted robins…flit and fly about the yard, owning every inch of it.

And then there are those critters that annoy, the ones who chew their way through the garden indiscriminately…the slugs, the deer, the bunnies.

IMG_3302Slugs dine at night, while the deer and bunny rabbits feast all the day long. Both stand their ground, daring me to…”Come closer…I dare you.” Only when I shout and wave my arms like a psychopath, do they get the message. Glancing at me furtively over their shoulders, they seem to say…”Sheesh! What’s all the fuss about?”

Squirrels test my patience as well. They act as masters of all they survey, taking control as it suits their fancy. They pay no mind to my attempts at shooshing them away.

IMG_1864IMG_1865The little, black squirrel in particular sizes me up as though he’d like to chew me up and…spit me out. I’m sure if I got in his face, that’s exactly what he’d do. I don’t think I’ll tempt fate.

I got to thinking about all this after reading about Thierry Ehrmann, a Frenchman. It seems he fancies decorating his outdoor space as well. Have a peek at his genius at http://www.cvltnation.com/abode-of-chaos/

Scattered around the garden are a giant silver skull, a crashed helicopter and a model of the jagged steel remains of the World Trade Center. On the outside, the house is decorated with big black-and-white portraits of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, George Bush, Bashar al-assad and Mitt Romney. Old computers and hard drives hang from a tree in a net.

A sign reads: “Chaos in progress.”

You can imagine Ehrman’s neighbors aren’t pleased with having a rock star of a garden artist living among them, mere mortals that they are.

The ‘Abode of Chaos,’ which is his name for the museum, attracts hundreds of visitors on weekends. ‘They come in droves and look at us as if we were strange animals,’ says neighbor Boris Perrodon.

A 45-year-old schoolteacher, Mr. Perrodon says he has considered moving away but when he tried to sell his house, he says, he didn’t get a single offer. Other neighbors say they are in the same predicament.

Pascal Paysant, who runs a real-estate agency in nearby Fontaines-sur-Saone, says there is no rush to acquire property near the Abode of Chaos. ‘Perhaps we lack artistic flair, but the fact is this house depreciates real-estate value in the town,’ he says.

Even the local mayor is on the verge of collapsing under the weight of Ehrmann’s Abode of Chaos.

The village mayor Ms. Revel, who has been pursuing the fight against Mr. Ehrmann undertaken by her predecessor, says the protracted legal battle has left her on her knees. She says she is exhausted physically and mentally because dealing with Mr. Ehrmann’s mail is ‘a full-time job.’

‘It is unbearable,’ she says, showing off piles of letters on her desk sent to her by Mr. Ehrmann.

I guess I could spiffy up my garden…just a tad more.

thierry Ehrmann le 112 ème est Jorge Mario Ber...

thierry Ehrmann le 112 ème est Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pope Francis), painted portrait DDC_7831 (Photo credit: Abode of Chaos)

…what do you think?…

………hugmamma.

harsh reality…

Shirk The Harsh Reality

Shirk The Harsh Reality (Photo credit: Jeremy Brooks)

…the name of a blog created just this year.

I invite you to go take a peek…if you dare… http://aopinionatedman.com

The blog’s author is quite opinionated as you might guess, but he does not welcome opinions to the contrary.

While I may not agree with him in all matters, I do agree that argumentative narratives should go find themselves their own Internet home.

I highly recommend Word Press.

Four Women

Four Women (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One “harsh reality” post speaks of women as being crazed individuals who only make sense to one another. It goes on to inform men that women stir up a hornet’s nest…just because. And that we already know all the answers, before getting into an argument with men. 

A must read… women-are-crazy-the-way-to-lose-your-female-readers.”

Finally! A man who knows why women are placed on a pedestal…and offers no argument as to why we should be removed.

…need i say more…

………hugmamma.

rare breed of men…

Governor Cuomo of New York and Governor Hickenlooper of Colorado deserve thunderous applause.  They have stood up to gun rights activists who refuse to reign in the ability of individuals to massacre others in seconds.

Welcome to America

Welcome to America (Photo credit: Alan Cleaver)

Pitting their Second Amendment rights to bear arms against innocent lives lost, extremists have dug in their heels refusing to do anything about the bloodshed.

So while the rest of us hope and pray we and our loved ones don’t get caught in the cross-fire, those set on only protecting their rights as written on a piece of paper inadvertently assist the lunatics in our society who are hell-bent on doing harm.

Thank God two brave politicians have stepped forward to take up the cause of the victims.

…like newtown’s 5 and 6 year olds…and those who tried to shield them from 151 bullets…

Republicrat Pundit Offers Proposals In Respons...

Republicrat Pundit Offers Proposals In Response To The Newtown Massacre (Photo credit: tomblanton1957)

………hugmamma.

cut from the same cloth…

Someone paid me the nicest compliment early this morning and literally made my day.

The unexpected bouquet of fragrant words was sent me by a perfect stranger…Don.

After the slew of emails we recently exchanged, I can’t really call him a stranger. I can, however, call him perfect…a perfect host.

English: Times Square

English: Times Square (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our family has decided to spend some time in The Big Apple this summer.

Rather than pay exorbitant hotel prices, we’re renting Don’s vacation hideaway. The decision to do so was not lightly made. But then again I never, ever do anything…lightly.

I researched all the angles as though my life depended upon it, or at the very least, as though I were aiming for an A+ on a college term paper.

For every answer Don gave me, I had at least 3 more questions. We were burning up the internet, with me splitting hairs over every minute detail.

Don was either desperate for my business or Heaven help him…he actually liked me! And that’s when he let slip those priceless words.

“You remind me of my mother, and that’s not a bad thing.”

I adopted the man on the spot! Well…not until he admitted that he was younger than me…49 to my soon-to-be 64.

The moral of the story? Be yourself. Someone might just like you that way. And if not? It’s got nothing to do with you. It’s their perception that’s skewed. You’re fine…just the way you are.

…i know i am…my husband and daughter told me so…but even if they didn’t…

…i’m just fine…

………hugmamma.

at long last…

WOW! Have I been on hiatus or what?

With the advent of 2013 I’ve been out foraging through the forests of life, overturning any rock or fallen limb searching for…change.

Rather than stagnate doing the same old, same old, I’ve been giving my cozy, little world the once over. Until I ventured forth outside the boundaries of my old skin…I didn’t realize how glazed over my eyes had become.

It happens…over time.

I liken it to putting on my new eye glasses from Costco last week.

Deutsch: Blaue Brille, eingeklappt.

Deutsch: Blaue Brille, eingeklappt. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lifting the jazzy, hip eggplant-colored frames to my eyes for the first time I nearly toppled over.

It’d been a few years since I’d updated my prescription. Everything in the retail warehouse seemed to fly at me. The friendly sales clerk advised me to walk around…get comfy with my new look.

Happily, I’m finally settling in with the new and improved me.

My vision is crisper, and my life is catching up slowly, but surely.

I’m getting the hang of French…”Je m’appelle…hugmamma. …Comment t’appelles – tu?” Just when classes are winding down.

Aaahhh…but there’s always French 2.

Juice

Juice (Photo credit: hepp)

Hubby and I are juice fanatics now. Best way to incorporate lots of fruits and veggies. Besides chewing them, we’re now swallowing them as well.

I recommend Bed, Bath and Beyond‘s NUTRI-BULLET. Lots less fuss and muss than those mega-juicers.

Pilates almost did me in. Two privates with a lovely instructor nearly had me in traction.

Five visits to the chiropractor reintroduced me to my old body. Aches and pains that were like old friends…minor by comparison to what I’d endured after a couple of sessions on the reformer.

One 9:30 morning yoga class…an hour’s drive away…was enough to convince me that I couldn’t make it last long term.

So I’m stretching and walking…stretching and walking…stretching and walking.

I made it to 8 out of 10 Creative Writing classes. The folks were lovely, their stories compelling, but I didn’t derive much personally. So I’ll not be returning.

88/365 New Smart Phone

88/365 New Smart Phone (Photo credit: Theophilus Photography)

Instead, I might try a class to learn how to do more with my Smart Phone.

I can dial up friends and loved ones. I can text them. I can check voice mail and emails. I can take photos and view them. I can barely use Tango which allows me to see the person with whom I’m talking.

But it’s the APPS! I’d like to tap into those little gems. Wonders of this advanced social network world in which we live.

We all know…YOU SNOOZE…YOU LOSE!!!

…embrace change!…if i can do it…so can you…

tango dansen op het Spuiplein

tango dansen op het Spuiplein (Photo credit: Gerard Stolk (marche vers Pâques ))

………hugmamma.