Thursday, January 3, 2008

Back to School

Really just taking note of the fact that school started yesterday. The long break is over and it means that I'm out of the house most of the week. On Monday, the two sons go back to school as well. This is actually harder than starting school in the Fall since the family has to adjust to the fact that there is more than 3 years to go, but there is none of the excitement of starting the journey.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Noise Machine

Three examples of the noise machine without (much) comment:

1. The family of Nataline Sarkisyan got CIGNA to reverse their denial of coverage for a liver transplant. The reversal came too late for Nataline although, sadly, it was probably already too late given her years of leukemia, her bone marrow transplant w/complications, and her vegetative state. My opinion is that, without knowing anything more than news reports (a very incomplete picture), CIGNA probably made the right decision. The real kicker is that CIGNA was criticized heavily as a profit-maximizing corporate ogre (which it probably is), but in this particular case, they served only as an adminsitrator for a self-insured plan. This means they had NO financial stake in the decision either way.

2. A woman is kicked off the bus in Ft. Worth, TX for reading aloud the Bible. A case of persecution or just standard policy that passengers are not allowed to bother other people whether the subject is the evils of globalization OR the Bible? I pity everyone involved at the bus company who are now about to get an unholy ton of bricks dumped on them. I don't think they deserve the punishment that is will be dealt out to them by the self-righteous even if they were all a bunch of Satanists who did animal sacrifices at midnight, but there's nothing that can stop it now that it made the Drudge Report.

3. The halting of an incredibly successful checklist quality improvement program overseen by John Hopkins. Thousands of lives and millions of dollars in potential savings, but the OHRP halted the program with a decision made in a compliance letter published November 6. Here, I am taking baby steps to be part of the noisy protest. I contacted my Congressperson to find out if he could find out anything more about the decision. I will probably make a FOIA request to the agency. I'm sure there are two sides to the story; after all, John Hopkins has had some real ethical problems with their research in the past resulting in death. BUT I can't understand the logic that allows such a simple, low-cost, valuable program to be derailed by what appears to be a beauracratic dust-up. Also, who complained in the first place to initiate the process?