Medicare Disadvantage

Every year during Medicare’s open enrollment period, which is from October 15 to December 7 this year, millions of Medicare beneficiaries are bombarded by private insurance companies looking for their business. The advertising makes it sound like these benevolent companies are looking to offer you a pot of gold for free. If it sounds too good to be true then it is too good to be true.

Here’s the story. In 1997 congress authorized the creation of Medicare C which has come to be known as Medicare Advantage. It was an effort by Republicans to privatize Medicare and make it less of a government-run program. It was also a gift for the private insurance industry which continues to haul in huge profits when people switch from traditional Medicare A to Medicare C.


Town of Brattleboro Update: COVID-19 at American Legion Not A Risk To Voters

Town Clerk Hilary Francis learned that a person who visited the Legion last week has tested positive for COVID-19. Francis advised Town Manager Peter Elwell immediately of this information and also that someone who was at the Legion yesterday had briefly interacted with the visitor last week. Town Manager Elwell reviewed this matter with officials at the Vermont Department of Health. The department informed him that because of the circumstances of the person’s potential exposure, no one who was at the Legion yesterday was at risk, or are being considered a “close contact.” Also, the Legion was deep cleaned last weekend (as it is every weekend) and best practices to prevent the spread of germs were in place throughout yesterday’s voting at that site. 


Brattleboro and Vermont COVID-19 Dashboard Numbers – November 2020

We’re in November. Here is the continuation of daily COVID-19 dashboard numbers from the Vermont Department of Health, Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, and MA and NH counties that surround Brattleboro.

You can find the October stats here,  September numbers here, August numbers here,  July numbers here, the June numbers here, the May dashboard reporting here, and the April numbers here.


Brattleboro and Vermont COVID-19 Dashboard Numbers – October 2020

It’s October now. Here is the continuation of daily COVID-19 dashboard numbers from the Vermont Department of Health, Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, and MA and NH counties that surround Brattleboro.

You can find the September numbers here, August numbers here,  July numbers here, the June numbers here, the May dashboard reporting here, and the April numbers here.


The End of Restaurants as We Know Them?

Sadly, one of the sectors of the economy taking a major hit during the pandemic is the restaurant industry. Many places have gone out of business and those that remain are struggling to figuring out a way to create a new kind of business model that promotes financial viability.

When restaurants ramp down and close there are all kinds of ripple effects in the economy. People lose jobs and supporting industries, which include farmers, also feel the pinch. If one looked at the pandemic solely from an economic viewpoint that would mean that opening all public businesses would be the highest priority.


Brattleboro and Vermont COVID-19 Dashboard Numbers – September 2020

Welcome to September. Here is the continuation of daily COVID-19 dashboard numbers from the Vermont Department of Health, Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, and MA and NH counties that surround Brattleboro.

You can find the August numbers here,  July numbers here, the June numbers here, the May dashboard reporting here, and the April numbers here.


Bupkis

The literal meaning of the Yiddish word bupkis is nothing. But as is the case with many Yiddish words, bupkis can add richness and nuance to the description of situations. For example: I got bupkis for presents from my friends on my 70th birthday. Bupkis implies disappointment and some degree of anger, as well as an expectation of a specific kind of behavior from friends.

As the current pandemic unfolded in this country it became clear that the American health care non-system is not meeting the needs of a large segment of the population. It was not exactly a revelation, but it should have been a wakeup call.

Politicians offered their usual meaningless rhetoric and there was no legislation put forward to address the sickness of the health care system. In fact, the pandemic legislation that passed became a financial windfall for obscenely rich Americans while the rest of us were thrown a few crumbs: political bupkis.


The Great Vaccine Hype

Listening to news reports one might think that the only way that we can move from pandemic mode to some degree of post-pandemic normalcy is to have a vaccine to rid us of COVID 19. Any vaccine that is developed will not magically make COVID 19 go away. It might help a little, but a magic bullet cure is unlikely.

The sound bite, short-attention span world is not suited to explaining complex issues such as how vaccines are developed and how they work. Instead, the world sees hope when a lab developing a vaccine sends out premature press releases of success so their stock value can increase.

There are well established scientific protocols in place for vaccine development and they all require years of trials and research. Sometimes vaccine development efforts are successful and sometimes they are not. When a vaccine is developed and made available to the public it takes years for us to see the big picture of how the vaccine works.


COVID 19 Update

It is clear that the United States is doing a deadly poor job of controlling the pandemic. There are too many people who think that having a beer and mingling in crowds is more important than saving lives. And there are too many people in power who have turned the pandemic into a political battle.

As of July 20, 3,834,208 Americans have been infected with COVID 19 and 142,601 have died. The U.S. has had 24% of the 606,173 deaths worldwide.

Most other countries have slowed disease spread because they have had organized government efforts to provide citizens with the tools to stay safe. There is no national effort in this country and that means the numbers will continue to rise and more people will die, despite the best efforts of individual states.


Brattleboro VFW is Opening!

Good news!! The Brattleboro VFW at 40 Black Mountain Road is scheduled to open Monday, June 15th. Our new hours will be Mon-Fri from 11am-7pm. Sat & Sun from 1pm-7pm. Yes, we will be serving lunches Mon-Fri from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm, with doors opening at 11 am. There will be slight price increases at this time, with prices subject to change. Our lunch specials will now be $7. Lunches will be served on our hall side due to social distancing restrictions. Entrance will be through the glass doors, and the public is welcome to lunches. Hand made burgers, fries, chicken wings, chicken fingers, etc. are still available. Watch our Facebook page for changes and updates (Vfw Post 1034, Carl Dessaint, Brattleboro, Vt)


Vermont COVID-19 Cases – June 2020

For better or worse, we start the June dashboard numbers roundup, with numbers from the Vermont Department of Health and Brattleboro Memorial Hospital with looks at nearby counties in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

You can find the May dashboard reporting here, and the April numbers here.


Brattleboro Area Hospice’s Taking Steps Brattleboro Online Q&A

Brattleboro, Vermont.  May 20, 2020 10 -11 am Brattleboro Area Hospice’s Taking Steps Brattleboro (TSB) program will host a zoom Advance Care Planning/Advance Directive Question and answer Information session. If you are interested in attending, please contact Don Freeman by email: don.freeman@brattleborohospice.org  or calling 802.257.0775 ext 101 and leave your contact information so that you can receive the emailed zoom invitation and/or telephone call-in number.  

Interested people are encouraged to attend this informational session to ask questions about how to complete or update an Advance Directive for healthcare including where do I find the forms, who should be named as an healthcare agent, who do I give the completed form to, and how do I talk with my family about my healthcare wishes if I am unable to speak for myself? Anyone over 18 years old should have a completed Advance Directive. This is the third weekly zoom informational session, which will be held each Wednesday from 10-11 am through June 24, 2020.


80 Facemasks Available

I just found a bunch of respirator-style facemasks in my closet. I’don’r even remember how I got them. I’d like to get ‘em out on the street, where they’re needed.

Right now, they are in two boxes, one containing 20, and one with 60 masks. I’d like to sell them in those quantities. Please call me if you can use them.


Brattleboro Area Hospice Virtual Advance Care Planning/Advance Directive Session

Brattleboro, Vermont.  May 13, 2020 10 -11 am Brattleboro Area Hospice’s Taking Steps Brattleboro (TSB) program will host a zoom Advance Care Planning/Advance Directive Question and answer Information session. If you are interested in attending, please contact Don Freeman by email: don.freeman@brattleborohospice.org  or calling 802.257.0775 ext 101 and leave your contact information so that you can receive the emailed zoom invitation and/or telephone call-in number.  

Interested people are encouraged to attend this informational session to ask questions about how to complete or update an Advance Directive for healthcare including where do I find the forms, who should be named as an healthcare agent, who do I give the completed form to, and how do I talk with my family about my healthcare wishes if I am unable to speak for myself? Anyone over 18 years old should have a completed Advance Directive. This is the second weekly zoom informational session, which will be held each Wednesday from 10-11 am through June 24, 2020.


Happy Walpurgisnacht Everybody!

Walpurgisnacht or Walpurgis Night is the eve of the Christian feast day of Saint Walpurga, an 8th-century abbess and is celebrated on the night of April 30 and the day of May 1.

Saint Walpurga is revered by Christians for battling rabies and whooping cough. Miracle cures are reported from ailing people who anoint themselves with a fluid known as Walpurga’s oil that drains from a rock at her shrine in Eichstatt, Germany.


How To Wear A Mask

Over the past few weeks I have been tempted to create a squad of the mask police. I have seen too many people who either don’t seem to understand how a facemask is supposed to work or they think half a job is better than none.

When I see people who do not cover their nose with a mask my blood pressure rises a little, but I have refrained from telling them how to use it correctly. Forty years as a nurse in a variety of settings has given me some credibility in this area, having probably spent hundreds of hours in close proximity to communicable disease while wearing a mask and other protective gear.

This isn’t rocket science. It’s actually pretty simple if you just put a little bit of thought into why you are wearing a mask. Although some masks are more effective than others they all have the same purpose: to stop the spread of disease.


Vermont COVID-19 Cases – May 2020

We’ll continue our daily dashboard number roundup, with numbers from the Vermont Department of Health and Brattleboro Memorial Hospital with looks at nearby counties in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

You can find the April dashboard reporting here.


Vermont Covid-19 Real Estate Guidance

Stay Home Stay Safe Sector Specific Guidance

New Rules effective April 20 for various occupations:
https://accd.vermont.gov/covid-19/business/stay-home-stay-safe-sector-specific-guidance

Guidance specifically for Real Estate