Friday, January 11, 2019

The Medical Up Sell

Have you ever found yourself being sold more medical services than you planned on?

Tampa Bay, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.
Have you had the experience of going to a dentist, eye doctor, chiropractor or other medical provider and been given a reasonable looking estimate of the cost of the procedure you need or are interested in only to have that cost rise dramatically as the process begins?
There are a lot of names for this type of business practice: bait and switch, entice and transfer, trade up, up sell, move up more; or as I like to call it “lie and cheat.”
Now, there are certainly times that a medical, dental or eye procedure may require additional services, but what I am talking about is a deliberate attempt to lure you in and get you in a position where you have little option but continue with escalating costs.
My wife and I have recently experienced this process, me with a dentist and her with a Lasik process.
In my case, a large dental practice with multiple locations in the bay area that I had been using for years recommended I have an implant where a tooth had been removed.
I agreed and was referred to their traveling oral surgeon.
What started out as an estimate of about $1000.00 for the implant quickly ballooned into a nearly $6000.00 process of deep cleaning, periodontal process, oral gum surgery, tooth extraction (the tooth was on the other side of my mouth) and finally an implant.
Fortunately, they provided estimates prior to any work being performed and I have called a halt to the process.
In my wife’s case one of the larger Lasik/eye centers you see advertised in the Bay area examined my wife, who already knew she needed eye surgery but was looking for services closer to our new home.
Following the examination, she was taken to a “scheduling room”, where a non-medical professional recommended a more expensive lens and other services that “your insurance will not cover.” The cost rose to levels considerably higher than her original Lasik procedure in her other eye. She has decided to go back to her original provider even though the drive will be much longer.
The point of all of this is simply when you walk into a specialty medical facility that looks like a cross between a medieval castle and a new car dealership remember someone has to pay for all of that and that someone is you. The primary reason they don’t accept your medical insurance is that if they do in many cases the insurance provider sets the procedure rates and that limits revenue.
It used to be you could trust your doctor to be fair and honest, and I believe that is still true in many cases. But large practices are often owned by medical businesses and run by non-medical professionals. Their objectives are revenue and return on investment.
So, if you find yourself in a closing room as opposed to an examination room being hustled for expensive procedures and add ons, especially those “your insurance” doesn’t cover, it may be time for you to do some shopping around.
These days caveat emptor (buyer beware) is just as applicable in the medical clinic, vision center or dental practice as it is at the car dealership.
These days you are more of a customer than a patient.
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Monday, January 7, 2019

Rays in Crosshairs of Brash Vegas, Restrained Portland


          Tampa Bay Beat 
           By Jim Bleyer

Rio All Suites and Casino could be site of new 
Rays stadium in Sin City

The abject failure of Hillsborough County to provide a sensible location and realistic financing for a new Tampa Bay Rays stadium has emboldened two western cities that yearn for Major League Baseball.

Both Portland and Las Vegas are rumored to be hastening plans for building state-of-the-art stadiums, even without the awarding of a franchise or commitment for one.  Their tactics mirror the personality of each city: Vegas hasn’t disguised its glee at the Rays’ plight; Portland, publicly at least, is playing its cards close to the vest.
The two cities have reportedly expedited their timetables for stadium construction.
Rays owner Stuart Sternberg asserted last month at Major League Baseball’s winter meetings—held in Las Vegas—that the ephemeral plans for a new stadium in Ybor City, are dead.  Not only was the proposal more flawed than diamonds sold on E-bay, Sternberg was reportedly spooked by associating himself with self-enriching land barons connected to county government cronies.
The Rays owner, a New York resident with no real ties to Tampa Bay, then issued this outlandish statement:
“We’ll continue to look in Tampa Bay and we’ll put our efforts to that,” Sternberg said at a news conference during the winter meetings. “One way or another, we need to figure out where the team is going to be in 2028, if not sooner. Ideally sooner. But absolutely by 2028.”
Don’t buy it.  He knows he will find the best deal elsewhere from cities starving for a MLB franchise that won’t be as attendance-challenged as at Tropicana Field, or very likely, any Tampa Bay location.
For decades, the four major professional sports leagues have shunned Vegas, the world’s number one gambling mecca.  That longtime barrier has fallen with a gigantic thud.
The city is home to the second-year NHL Las Vegas Golden Knights and, along with the state of Nevada, is building a $1.5 billion stadium for the relocation of the NFL’s Oakland Raiders in two years.  The NBA’s Phoenix Suns, unhappy with ancient American Airlines Arena, are leveraging a move to Las Vegas to gain a new facility in the Valley of the Sun.  In November, Major League Baseball named MGM Resorts as its first official gambling partner.
The convergence of events is stunning.
There is rampant speculation that the Vegas stadium will be built on the site of the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino, owned by Caesars Entertainment, on Flamingo Boulevard.  This would have been heart breaking a dozen or so years ago but the property has been on a downhill slide.  At least I’ll always have the memory of assisting Teller with a card trick.
What makes the rumors so believable is that Sin City would be hard pressed to find a better location.  In my mind, it is perfect.
The Rio sits on more than 100 acres and is 1.2 miles from Las Vegas Boulevard—The Strip.  Close enough but not too close to bottleneck the main drag any more than it is now.  Tropicana Field, home of the Rays for the time being, sits on 85 acres.
Six-lane Flamingo Road can handle the traffic and it is traversed by Interstate-15.  The cross streets surrounding the Rio are more than adequate.  The hotel runs a shuttle to the strip, similar to the one operated between Tropicana Field-downtown St. Pete. That’s easily replicated if the Rio site becomes home to the Las  Vegas Rays.  City buses also serve the property.
Intersate-15 is .6 miles from the projected stadium site.  Vegas insiders are betting that demolition of the Rio is impending.  Land in proximity to the property is being snapped up by speculators.
Portland has pined for major league baseball for years but, unlike the city 762 miles to the southeast, it’s angling for the Rays with more humility.
John Canzano of the Oregonian, following the Ybor City debacle, wrote that Portland’s movers and shakers should  “operate with caution and humility, and great care.” That’s the Portland way.
Spearheading Portland’s effort to land a MLB franchise is a group known as the Portland Diamond Project. The PDP  has garnered land rights, political support, and allegedly, the blessing of MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.
”Tampa fell flat on its face,” Canzano wrote, “it didn’t just blink, it shut its eyes.” He added that Portland is, by far, he best city for relocation.  Homer.
The scribe is already concocting nicknames for the team. “Rays” would belie Portland’s reputation for wet weather.  His suggestions: Mavericks, Pioneers, Steelhead. Meh!
The loser in the Rays derby can afford to be patient.  The Oakland Athletics  are nursing stadium and attendance woes with no solutions on the horizon.

Cross Posted with permission from: Tampa Bay Beat

This post is contributed by Tampa Bay Beat. The views and opinions expressed in this post are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of Bay Post Internet or the publisher.