Friday, December 13, 2019

From 1 year Ago - Healthcare – The business - How safe are you?

When you are looking at health care services or even particular doctors, here are some questions to ask and things to look for.

December 2018
St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.
If you sit there watching those hospital-based semi reality TV dramas, you might find yourself thinking this is just fiction. I know I am safe at the hospital; I am sure my children are in good hands.
Those money-grubbing, company centered, hospital and healthcare administrators who put dollars ahead of patient care are just some figment of a TV drama writer’s imagination. Right?
All hospitals reflect the finest in us as businesses and human beings. They are really all about taking care of people, especially the most vulnerable among us. Right?
Then along comes a real-life example like John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital where we are smacked in the face with the reality of health care and the business that controls it.
If you have not been following the Tampa Bay Times reporting of John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, here are links to the articles, and they are a MUST READ.
These articles and this excellent reporting are chilling if you don’t have any small children and downright frightening if you do.
Do not, however, delude yourself into thinking this is an isolated case.
As healthcare becomes an ever-larger business, money wows increase, and you will see consolidations of hospitals, clinics and even doctor's individual practices. Revenue and profit are the driving factors behind how health care is delivered.
Anytime you see a consolidation or purchase of a hospital, clinic or large practice by a corporately run shell or hedge fund it is time to be on the alert if you are a patient.
A real tip off is when the first page of its annual report is all about numbers and money.
 The unfortunate part of all of this is there are still a lot of doctors who want to provide excellent care and healthcare administrators who want to provide the best and safest health care services they are just being overwhelmed by healthcare businesses who answer to the stock holders.
When you are looking at health care services or even particular doctors, here are some questions to ask and things to look for:
  • Who actually owns the Hospital you are considering? 
  • Who owns the clinic or even the doctors practice you are seeing?
  • Do some research and look for outcomes and lawsuits?
  • Check on physician and staff turnover. High turnover is a sign of a problem. 
Don’t wait until you're on the way to the hospital in an ambulance to start worrying about these things. Make some plans and talk to your primary-care physician now so when the time comes, you’ll be prepared. 

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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Sunset view of ever changing downtown St. Petersburg from Tampa Bay

St. Petersburg Fl
Photo Essay
By author/contributor: Robert Neff

On November 30, 2019,  sunset behind an ever changing downtown St. Petersburg, Florida was photographed from the Royal Caribbean Rhapsody of the Seas.

This past week, St Petersburg’s Development Review Commission (DRC) unanimously approved the 45-story mixed use tower located at 400 Central Avenue.

The fate of the Tropicana Field and Tampa Bay Rays continues to be an unknown. The City declined to split the season with Montreal. Tampa Bay's baseball fans are caught in the middle.

Tropicana Field has 80 acres and a close proximity to Interstate 275 and a downtown that is busting at the seams with condos, apartments, restaurants and nightlife. The City desperately needs office space. The Tropicana Field property may be more valuable to the City and residents as a business park and mixed used property.

Photography: ©2019 Robert Neff. All rights Reserved

Monday, December 9, 2019

Sunshine Skyway Bridge’s New Light Display

St. Petersburg Fl
Photo Essay
By author/contributor: Robert Neff

In August 2019, a light display was added to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. From dusk until dawn seven days a week, over 1,800 LED lights illuminate the Skyway’s 1.7 miles of columns and both sides the bridge deck.  

The shows or animated routines are organized by themes. There is “Patriotic,” “Sunset,” “Verdant Green,” “Waves and Water”” and “Purple Majestic.” For Breast Cancer Awareness Month the bridge was pink. For Veterans Day, the bridge was red, white and blue.

The light display is now a tourist attraction. This is not only an exciting moment for cruise ship passengers passing under the bridge and vehicular traffic crossing the bridge, but for anyone who wants to enjoy the view from the Skyway Fishing Pier State Park. 

There are two fishing piers, the north and south. The approaches to the old bridge were converted into fishing piers. On Interstate 275, look for the Skyway Fishing Pier State Park signage. The respective rest areas and fishing piers use the same exit. Follow the signs for the fishing pier. 

There is an entrance fee to sightsee or fish. Be sure to let the attendant know you are there to enjoy the light display. The fee to sightsee for an hour is $3.21. If you are fishing, the fee is more. This includes a fishing license and 24-hour pass that is good for both the north and south fishing pier. If you have a Florida State Parks Annual Entrance Pass, there is a discount.

The Tampa Bay side of the South Rest Area has great views. To reach the Tampa Bay views from the north side, exit the North Rest Area’s ramp but turn right at the ramp’s stop sign. Pass the gate and park along the road to enjoy the light display on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. You may want to bring a pair of binoculars to get a closer view.

If you check the Port Tampa Bay cruise schedule, you can plan your visit to watch a cruise ship pass under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Once the cruise ship leaves the port, takes approximately two hours to arrive at the bridge. 

In the above photograph, Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas is passing under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Passengers on the ship's bow can be seen enjoying the spectacular view.

Photography: ©2019 Robert Neff. All rights Reserved