June 25th, 2020
June 25th Meeting – Update on our soon-to-be new Website! Robin Stanhope has been working with Rinard Media and has a Mock-Up of the new site. With any luck we are about 2 or 3 weeks from going live. Please visit often and look for changes!
Brent Reinke announced that the Idaho Food Bank will be distributing two 25 lb boxes of food each to the first 750 people to be in line at the Twin Falls County West Building. If you’re in need, or know someone who is, the food will be available for pickup Saturday, June 27,, at 10:00 am, according to the IFB website. This will be the first of four events slated to take place on the last Saturday of each month, with money coming from COVID 19 funding.
Club News –
Our 50th Anniversary of the Twin Falls Optimist Club has gone pretty much unnoticed because of COVID 19. HOWEVER, we’re planning an event for sometime in September to celebrate both our 50 years and our President, Board of Directors, and our Club Members. We’ll hold the event outside, and do our best to observe social distancing. We really hope everyone will plan to attend! More information to come on this event.
Next Board of Directors meeting will be a virtual meeting, via Microsoft Teams, on Monday July 13th at noon.
Our own Brent Evans is broken again 🙁 !!! NOW he has a torn something somewhere in his leg and must have surgery to repair it or replace it (or something like that!!) We all send Brent our best and hope he starts acting his age soon!! (Checkers? Shuffleboard?)
Membership Committee: Eva Craner reported two new members on her membership committee: Kim Hamblin and Kathleen Hale.
Our guests this week were Officer Dennis from the Twin Falls Police Department, and Kayla Zaldivar from DL Evans Bank.
You know, there are a lot of Chicken Littles around that seem to delight in devising and spreading conspiracy theories. Unfortunately, the COVID 19 pandemic provides them fertile ground to hatch some more bird-brained fantasies. TFOC President Dawn Soto provided us the following information with regard to one cracked egg currently making the internet rounds:
FALSE CONSPIRACY THEORY:
- COVID-19 case numbers are inflated. Hospitals are falsely listing patients as COVID-19 because they get more money that way.
- Doctors are putting people on ventilators unnecessarily to get more money.
- Doctors and hospitals get paid more to put COVID-19 on a death certificate.
- Yes, the Medicare reimbursement rate for treating patients with COVID-19 is higher than treating non-contagious patients. These patients require more equipment, different staffing ratios, special rooms, etc. The cost of treating a COVID-19 patient on a ventilator is more than other non-contagious patients on ventilators. Therefore, the reimbursement is different.
- A hospital cannot get the COVID-19 reimbursement rate unless the patient is tested and confirmed as a COVID-19 case, or meets specific criteria. Hospitals cannot just list all their flu patients as COVID-19.
- We just ran the numbers and, even with the specific COVID-19 reimbursement coding, hospitals lose about 20% on these patients. Hospitals are not getting rich on COVID-19, especially not in Idaho.
- Any physician writing false orders, to put people on ventilators that didn’t need them, could lose their license. If a hospital is forcing doctors to put people on ventilators when it is not medically indicated, that is fraud and they can lose their license, be fined and face criminal charges.
- Hospitals are audited regularly to identify any “upcoding” or medically unnecessary care. These outside auditors are incentivized financially to find mistakes or fraud. Does this mean there will be no bad actors? Absolutely not. And we will probably hear of a few because they will be caught by the auditors. Anyone who is committing fraud should be charged. I feel extremely confident that no hospital in Idaho is going to risk their license, fines and/or jail over fraudulent coding of COVID-19 patients.
- Hospitals don’t get paid based on what is listed on a death certificate. There is no financial incentive to put false information on a death certificate. The way in which COVID-19 related deaths are listed comes from CDC guidelines not CMS reimbursement regs.
Our Speaker – Not a guest, but our own Rob Lundgren, who shared with us a vivid description of the consequences of Driving Under the Influence. Rob told us of an accident he had after drinking a couple of beers and the effect it had on his life. Not only did he wreck his car and hit his head on the windshield, but he also had several months of supervised probation including weekly urinalysis. It was costly, along with his insurance premiums doubling.
After he was off probation, his life went on for several years in which he found himself enjoying a couple of beers after work, and in the summer of 2018 when he retired he started renovating his home. He was working 10-12 hours a day on his home and had progressed to 12 or 15 beers a weekend. After a Christmas party where he had a few beers, he was on his way home when he was )stopped by a policeman for running a stop sign.
He was booked into the Twin Falls County Jail ( a place where he never wants to go again). He spent a total of 5 days in jail (part of his sentencing), lost his drivers license for 30 days, took part in DUI Court, and has an interlock detection device on his car that he has to blow into every time he starts his car. He also has a UA at least twice a week, goes to counseling weekly, and reports to a probation officer.
His time in jail was spent in a 15 foot by 50 foot room with 25 other people and a bathroom with no doors. If all the bunks were full, inmates were issued a blanket and an inflatable boat, so they could sleep on the floor (that is, if they could sleep in a fully lighted room.)
This has cost Rob a lot: increased insurance premiums, court costs, attorney fees, interlock fees, probation fees, and UA fees.
If there is a third offense, Rob would incur a mandatory felony charge and 10 years in prison. He is incredibly open about what happened, and is bound and determined that he will never take another drink. He is interested in taking his story to the community and asked us (his Optimist Club) for input. There were some questions for Officer Dennis and many comments from the group.
All our heartfelt congratulations to Rob for facing up to his mistakes of the past, and looking Optimistically toward the future.
Upcoming Community Events:
– Anna Scholes informed us of an event this Saturday at the Visitors Center called “8 Can’t Wait”.
– Brent Reinke announced an event at Twin Falls City Park called Back the Blue—Twin Falls Law Enforcement, on Wednesday July 1st at 6:00 pm. More information on our Facebook page.