Shoe of the Day

RIP

RIP
Founder of Apple Computer. He started the business and operated it out of his father's garage. No zoning disputes, no code enforcement, no cease and desist orders. 1955-2011. Rest In Peace Steve Jobs. We must return our goverment to one that supports, (not fights) personal innovation.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Northampton County Employee Sick Bank : Real World?


Do Northampton County Employees Deserve Better?
As the County employees blow up plastic cats,  moan,  hiss an boo at County Council meetings over a change from a 100-0 health plan to a 90-10 health plan, my readers can peruse the accumulated sick day bank listed below. The numbers in the far right column represent the number of accumulated hours of sick time per employee. This is not the vacation time or personal time. I will be reporting on that later.

The accumulated sick time is payable upon separation of employment. The amount of sick pay, ( lump sum pay ) that the employee receives is based upon which union (or non-union) agreement they have. The union agreements as they pertain to sick time are also listed below. 

Though each agreement is slightly different, it seems that no employee can walk away with more than 50% of their banked sick time. Most employees get 12 sick days a year, though the Sheriff's get 15. Most agreements allow the employee to use 5 days of sick time per year to care for a sick family member, which would alleviate them of the requirement of a medical clearance upon return. 

Here's something else.....check out the union agreements below. Not only are employees allowed to bank sick time, some unions get $500 annual bonus pay if they do not use a sick day in 12 months. Other unions get an additional 4 personal days if they have no sick day use in 12 months. One agreement hands out a perfect attendance award for only using 3 sick days in a calendar year (Detectives). That reward is 1 additional personal day to be used the following year. 

Read through the union agreements to see what else they reveal. Each employee, regardless of union affiliation, gets paid 15 holidays per year. One agreement calls for up to 30 days per year of vacation time. Other agreements have bereavement leave of 4 days, added to the already generous sick, vacation, and personal time. Additionally, once bereavement leave is exhausted, an employee can use an additional 20 sick days, with approval from a supervisor. 

One agreement allows an additional paid day to be used for "stress."...I'm not making this up. You can read it all below. 

Check out the "longevity bonus" that is $200-$2000, paid annually, based on years of service. Holiday pay at Gracedale and NCP is not listed in the agreement posted, but I am aware that if you work a holiday, you receive 2.5 times your hourly rate. This happens nowhere in the real world...in fact one private nursing home refuses to compensate anyone extra pay for working a holiday, and only recognizes 6 holidays a year. ( This is the norm) So, if you are assigned on a holiday....its straight pay with no differential. 

Does anyone in the private sector have it this good? 








Saturday, October 18, 2014

Extendicare House of Horrors to Pay Out Multi-Million Dollar Whistleblower Settlement

Extendicare is one of many "for-profit" nursing home chains that operate in this area, with several different locations. According to a recent news report, this chain is now on the hook for 38 million dollars. Why? An employee spoke truth to power about the horrid level of care at one of these facilities, eventually sued, and won. When I read about victories such as this one, I am pleased to no end. I had the displeasure of working at one of these facilities a few years ago. I'll elaborate below.

"Among the allegations made against Extendicare, which is a Delaware company, were that it failed to sufficiently staff its facilities—it runs 146 facilities across 11 states, according to the settlement. The company also faced allegations that it had failed to give proper catheter care to patients, didn't follow "pressure ulcer protocols," didn't follow "appropriate falls protocols," and didn't properly administer medicine to some patients, according to the settlement.
The company was also accused of submitting claims for payments from Medicare and Medicaid for medically unnecessary therapy services, according to the agreement."




The Extendicare facility that I worked at a few years ago for just two days, was nothing less than a House of Horrors (see abortion doctor Gosnell Trial and conviction) . I was offered the position of House RN Supervisor to oversee the RN unit Managers, and all staff under the RN level of management on the 3-11 shift. This was a supervisory , hands off position that reported directly to the DON. But that is not what came to fruition. There were no RN unit managers. I was put in the awkward position, on my first day, of being thrown the keys to the med cart, and left to my own devices. Patients had no ID bracelets. Almost all patients were restrained to an alarm system that blared excessively each time they moved a muscle. CNAs and LPNs fought excessively and constantly in a Jerry Springer style series of fights. On top of being the RN and the LPN, I was then told that I had several CNA duties to perform as well. Many patients had PICC lines and many had advanced wounds. The condition of the medication room looked like something close to a hurricane Sandy disaster area. (No exaggeration)

Fast forward . I called the Administrator to tell her why I would not be returning. She was silent on the other end of the phone and had nothing to say in return. Fast forward. Two weeks later, I received a letter from this Administrator telling me that my resignation was accepted and not to ever appear on the property again. Alrighty!

Though there are mass numbers of people who have the ability to turn a blind eye, and accept work standards that are completely void of any and all compliance with laws, and require the employee to throw their ethics out the window, I am not one of them. Though I am in the minority, I see that most, if not all of these geriatric warehouse style of nursing homes are constantly advertising for help. Apparently I am not alone.

Though people are allowed to video tape and expose the horrors that occur in nationwide meat manufacturing facilites, to show the neglect and abuse of animals, this in not permitted in nursing homes due to HIPPA laws. Perhaps we need to change these laws, to show the public where NOT to bring an elderly loved one. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

West Easton Minutes-Now available on this sidebar

I have uploaded all of the West Easton Minutes from 2012 through 4/2014. The only set of minutes missing is the last half of 2013. Coming soon.

I will continue to post minutes on the sidebar, until such time, West Easton uses the technology that we pay for, and that is available to them. They have refused to post the minutes online.

I will also be updating the checklists/expenditure reports as well.

I will try to add the 2013 Audit report. (It was previously posted within a blog).

West Easton has refused to email,  fax or post on its website, the Borough Council Minutes. They are now proposing a $32,000 expenditure for new technology. If they refuse to use technology, as they currently do, I will not support this expense.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Rest In Peace Peg D'alessandro

Peggy is second from left
It is with sadness that I must inform my readers , Peg D'alessandro passed away on Friday evening. She was the wife of Jack D'alessandro, a mother, an RN, a member of the Coalition of Alzheimers familes, a Gracedale Advisory Board member, and a good friend.

Peggy was one of the people who organized a rally to save Gracedale nursing home from being sold to a private company. She spent countless hours in her grassroots effort to obtain signatures, so that a referendum would be put out to the voters. She, her husband Jack, Maryann Schmoyer, Reverend Mario Martinez , and Joe Mammana were founders of what is known as COAF, a household name in Northampton County. Pegs efforts were met with hostilty and lawsuits from three of the most despised people in Northampton County. She helped the COAF win three lawsuits, in two counties, in less than one year. She was assisted in her efforts by hundreds of Gracedale supporters, the AFSCME union leaders, Attorney Larry Otter, County Councilman LaMont McClure, and County Councilwomen Ann McHale and Peg Ferarro.

Peg will be sadly missed.  Peggy's service will be held on Wed. Oct.15 at 5:30 pm. calling hours 3:30 pm. till time of service. Campanaro Funeral Home.
841 Slate Belt Blvd.
Bangor, PA.
Please remember Peggy, and her Family in your prayers
Thank You.

Largest Win In PA History: Allstate Insurance to Pay $22 Million in Bad Faith Damages For Car Accident Case

Kudos to Patrick Hennessy for following through with this uphill battle. I can imagine he would rather have his leg back, but this win certainly softens the blow. Its nice to see the judicial system working as it should in this case of extreme bad faith. 



" Philadelphia, PA: A denied disability claim has resulted in a $22 million settlement in a bad faith insurance lawsuit filed against Allstate Insurance. The settlement is reported to be the largest ever in Pennsylvania.


According to The Times-Tribune (9/30/14), the original lawsuit was filed by Patrick Hennessy, who suffered severe injuries in a car accident. Court documents note that Hennessy had originally been in a car driven by Ryan Caruso when Caruso’s car rear-ended a car at a traffic light driven by Bruce Reikow. Caruso’s car stalled and Hennessy moved to push it out of traffic when a car driven by Shawn Robertson struck them.

Hennessy required a leg amputation and filed a claim against Allstate, the company that insured Caruso’s car. Shawn Robertson, the driver of the vehicle that hit Hennessy, was not insured.

Hennessy filed suit in state court but offered to settle with Allstate for the policy limit of $250,000. Allstate refused the offer, so Hennessy went to trial against Caruso and Robertson. The jury awarded Hennessy more than $19 million, finding Caruso 40 percent responsible and Robertson 55 percent. Caruso assigned his rights against Allstate to Hennessy.

According to court documents, Allstate refused to pay the judgment, so Hennessy filed another suit. The suit named Allstate employees and agents Kevin Broadhead, Paul Fraver, John Russell and Henry Ricci, III. Allstate argued that Hennessy fraudulently joined the company’s Pennsylvania employees in the case, to defeat diversity of citizenship, but the judge ruled that the claims against the company’s Pennsylvania employees were neither insubstantial nor frivolous, noting that joinder is fraudulent when there is no reasonable basis supporting the claim against joint defendants.

Specifically, Judge Stengel wrote that the lawsuit alleged Mr. Ricci fraudulently represented to the Caruso family that Allstate’s internal policies were consistent with its “Good Hands” advertising campaign, leading the Caruso family to purchase the policy.

READ MORE DENIED DISABILITY INSURANCE LEGAL NEWS
“Mr. Broadhead, Mr. Russell, and Mr. Fraver are alleged to have sent several misleading letters to the plaintiff’s attorneys insisting that Allstate was continuing to conduct an investigation of the claims, when, in fact, the letters were actively concealing that Allstate was not investigating the claims at all,” Judge Stengel wrote. “Further, Mr. Broadhead had also not informed the Caruso family that the plaintiff would have accepted the policy limit of $250,000 as settlement of the entire case on the eve of trial.” That failure to notify Caruso was deemed unfair because Caruso was later found liable for damages greater than the $250,000 initially offered as a settlement amount.


The second suit was settled for $22 million. The Times-Tribune notes that the $22 million is 88 times what Allstate would have paid if it had initially approved Hennessy’s claim."

Friday, October 10, 2014

Sayreville Football Scandal: Hazing, Rape, or A Jerry Sandusky Training Camp?

In this sickening scandal, it has been reported that the senior members of the Sayreville Football team engaged in sexual assault of the freshman, as some type of hazing ritual inside the football locker rooms. The result has been a cancellation of all remaining football season activities, including practice and games, for freshman, JV and Varsity teams. The cheerleaders will have no games to attend, and the marching band wont be marching. This has drawn criticism from parents, and members of the public.

UPDATE: 10/11/14    7  Students ranging in age from 15 - 17 have been charged with sex crimes, criminal restraint, etc. 6 were arrested and the 7th is being sought.


A recent letter to the editor of the Express Times condemns the cancellation of the entire football season.

Governor Chris Christie has described the allegations as "extrodinarily disturbing" and a "nightmare" if they are true.

Just when you think the ink has dried on the Sandusky settlement checks and penned orders of courts that have spanned the last 5 years, and that this type of football foul play will never happen again anytime, anywhere in the USA, we see another revolting case of sexual abuse that has occurred in the Sayreville, NJ  school football locker rooms. This time, it is alleged to have occurred between students, on an almost daily basis, for years.

Apparently, after practice while inside the locker rooms, the senior football players would howl like wolves, (in some type of warning call) and then shut off the lights. The seniors would then allegedly grab a Freshman, pin him to the floor, hold down his arms and legs, lift him off the floor, while simultaneously performing a sex assault, while all others watched. This ritual is called "hazing." But to me, it is a sex assault. Its a crime that is punishable by years in prison, if the charges are filed, and the seniors are charged as adults.

At this point in time, there have been dozens of media reports. Many reports say that the Freshman would often refuse to change their clothes in the locker rooms, out of fear for the "hazing". They would stay outside the locker rooms, use the restrooms, or stampede the locker rooms, before the Senior players arrived. Allegedly, all 13 ( this is why taxes are sky high in NJ) Assistant Football Coaches, and the Head Coach deny knowing anything about this. We will see what happens in the coming months.

In the gruesome Sandusky case, a football coach in his 60s prayed upon children from broken homes, who were poor, and disadvantaged. He appeared to them as a mentor, a father figure, and one who brought hope, gifts and financial support to at risk , and underprivilaged youths. He started this through his non-profit "The Second Mile". As most people now know, this was all basically a facade. Jerry Sandusky met and groomed his victims as they passed through "The Second Mile." He is a convicted serial child molester, who was sentenced to 30 - 60 years in prison.