And they come with no warning,
nature loves her little surprises.
Continual crisis!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Linkee-poo Monday morning couldn't guarantee

"Hynden was shocked when he got the second CT scan in January, and the listed price was $8,897 — 33 times what he paid for the first test." I have a little experience here. There's a big difference between an outpatient imaging center and a CT scan performed through an Emergency Room. Besides the differences they list in the article, there are a world of differences on the back end that they didn't explore. Now first, yes, hospital master price lists are egregiously out of line, but there is something to the discussion about having to care for people without insurance (and hospitals needing to make up the difference somewhere - yes even with the ACA and expanded Medicaid we still get people without insurance thanks to several reasons, most of which is GOP interference and disinformation). As I remember, Florida didn't expand Medicaid. Another difference can be the type of contrast used for the different scans (oral and IV, and the amount and type given). Then there's the timing. A Radiologist will give a report within 1 hour for the ER scan (and hospitals typically employ their own Radiologists to accomplish this), for the outpatient scan there's no timeline and could possibly have been read by a Radiologist in Australia or India (or really anywhere in the world). Then there is the difference in scanners. One reason why the outpatient facility may be seeing their reimbursements reduce is they're using an old and "outdated" scanner. Medicare is constantly updating their specifications and reducing payments for equipment considered "obsolete" or "less optimal/safe". One of the new requirements (started in 2017) is the CT scanner must calculate patient radiation dose (in a particular fashion). If the outpatient scanner can't, they get reduced payments. Also there are differences not only in quality but in ability. Without knowing anything about the scanners it's quite possible the outpatient scanner is a 16-slice where as the hospitals would most likely be a 64-slice or even an 256-slice (you can think of these as 2-megapixel cameras compared to 8 mega-pixel cameras compared to 20-megapixel cameras). The more slices, the faster the scan and the lower patient dose (it's complex, you don't want me to explain) but also increases the cost of the scanner greatly. More than likely the emergency room scan had thinner slices (how "thick" the images are), which means there were more images for the radiologist to read, which takes longer, which increases cost. So while it may sound like they're comparing apples to apples, it might be apples to pineapples.

"Oklahoma Republican Gov. Mary Fallin drew national outrage when she accused striking teachers of being like 'teenagers' who 'want a better car.'… The governor claimed that they have given teachers the largest pay raise in history and agreed to millions in funding for books and other supplies. The money comes after ten years of significant cuts to education. The additional funding promised to educators and schools doesn’t recoup the cuts." More of that compassionate conservatism we've heard about. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"At 5:15, Ken Ham mentions that 'we actually have a lot of jobs that we can’t fill here at the Creation Museum.' He says that applies to Ark Encounter, too. And he’s right; just look at the part-time, full-time, and seasonal job openings." I guess being a total douche has its problems. (Grokked from Fred Clark)

"Using 12 years of archival data from NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory, a team led by Columbia University astrophysicist Chuck Hailey has found a dozen potential black holes within a few light-years of the Milky Way’s center, well within the gravitational reach of our galaxy’s supermassive black hole…Based on the emissions and spatial distribution of these 12 systems, the team estimates 10,000 to 20,000 of these objects should be swirling around our galaxy’s core, mostly unseen." A swam of black holes.

"South Carolina Republican Trey Gowdy, who is retiring from Congress this year, told Vice News' Michael C. Moynihan that he felt being in Congress was largely a waste of time, as it was bogged down by 'ineffectiveness.'" Well, Trey, your time was largely wasted, but that was your choice. But I bet if you had just one more Benghazi investigation it would have all been worth while, right? "'To the extent men judge themselves based on what they do for a living, I don't have a lot to show for the last seven years.'" Because, you know, public service, civic duty, helping others, representing your constituents, all completely worthless in the conservative mind. Dear Trey, please feel free to fuck off and relinquish your retirement pay. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Ah, Crazy Uncle Pat is at it again. "Pat Robertson: I’m being dominated by homosexuals. If that visual doesn't keep you up and night, I don't know what will. Oh, and Uncle Pat, the word you're actually looking for is "pwned". (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"A conservative Republican congressman from South Carolina admitted pulling out a pistol during a 'coffee with constituents' event in Rock Hill, the Post and Courier reported Friday." Nice people. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"Meanwhile, the United States government, traditionally one of the bastions of press freedom, is about to compile a list of professional journalists and 'top media influencers,' which would seem to include bloggers and podcasters, and monitor what they're putting out to the public." Raises hand. Ooo, ooo, ooo, Mista Kotter! Well, at least the Russians think I'm important (actually my money is they're using me as a barometer of what the zeitgeist is). (Grokked from Kathryn Kramer)

"The Washington Post reported Thursday that, after watching a recorded video of a drone strike in Syria in which officials waited until the target was outside of his family’s home, Trump asked, 'Why did you wait?'" Moral bankruptcy. (Grokked from Xopher Halftounge)

"In an unusual twist, Fox News actually reported on something accurately Sunday — just not on purpose… The inadvertently honest moment took place during a segment on Fox News’ 'Media Buzz,' when host Howard Kurtz accidentally showed a graph revealing that Fox is the least trusted of any major cable news network." Well there's a broadcast graphics designer and producer looking for a new job this morning. (Grokked from Jer)

"Police have arrested six people suspected of planning a 'crime' during the Berlin Half Marathon on Sunday." But, hey, you can't treat terrorists as criminals because it' ineffective and something something potatoes.

"The National Rifle Association may have accepted more contributions from Russian donors than it first acknowledged, new documents show." This is my shocked face.

"Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said no evidence has been found of a chemical weapons attack in Syria's formerly rebel-held town of Douma… Medical sources say dozens were killed in Saturday's alleged attack but numbers are impossible to verify." I'll just note that Russia has always denied every Syrian chemical attack (including the use of chlorine gas delivered in "barrel" bombs). But the news reports on Israel's involvement in attacks on Syria is quite interesting and troubling.

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