*** March 2011 E-zine ***

This Month's Highlights:
· Hospital Quality Overview
· New Technology Challenges
· Keeping Appliances Safe?

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Enjoy St. Patrick's Day
Happy St. Patrick's Day

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When it's time for us to seek hospital care, we generally seek the closest facility. In many cases this may not be the best location to get the specific services we need or want. For those with Medicare or Medicaid, the government has a website devoted to comparing hospitals.

The Hospital Compare website was created through the efforts of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), along with the Hospital Quality Alliance (HQA). The HQA is a public-private collaboration established to promote reporting on hospital quality of care. The HQA consists of organizations that represent consumers, hospitals, doctors and nurses, employers, accrediting organizations, and federal agencies. The information on this website can be used by any patients needing hospital care.

Hospital Compare displays rates for Process of Care measures that show whether or not hospitals provide some of the care that is recommended for patients being treated for a heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, asthma (children only), or patients having surgery. Hospitals voluntarily submit data from medical records about the treatments their patients receive for these conditions. The data include patients with Medicare, those enrolled in Medicare health plans, and those who don't have Medicare.

This website also displays information on Hospital Outcome of Care Measures. The Hospital Outcome of Care Measures includes the 30-day Risk Adjusted Death (Mortality) and Readmission Rates for patients with Medicare who were admitted to the hospital for heart attack, heart failure, and pneumonia. The 30-day period is used because this is the time period when deaths are most likely to be related to the care patients received in the hospital.

CMS compiles this information from claims and enrollment data for patients in Original (fee-for-service) Medicare. It does not include people in Medicare Advantage plans or people who do not have Medicare.

Hospital Compare displays the Survey of Patients' Hospital Experiences, using data collected from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) Survey. The intent of the HCAHPS initiative is to provide a standardized survey instrument and data collection methodology for measuring patients' perspectives on hospital care.

This website also displays Medicare inpatient hospital payment information and the number of Medicare patients treated (volume) for certain illnesses or diagnoses. Medicare Severity-Diagnosis Related Groups (MS-DRG) Hospital Compare shows information for each hospital on selected MS-DRGs from October 2007 through September 2008.

This information helps you, your health care provider, family and friends compare the quality of care provided in the hospitals that agree to submit data on the quality of certain services they provide for certain conditions. This quality information not only helps you make good decisions about your health care, but also encourages hospitals to improve the quality of health care they provide.

Quality information is not available on this website for psychiatric, rehabilitation or long-term care hospitals, because they generally do not treat patients for heart attack, heart failure or pneumonia, or perform surgeries.

To help you make good health care decisions, refer to How To Use This Information.

For more information on Health, see

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A good laugh, even if you're NOT over 50!

When I bought my BlackBerry I thought about the 30-year business I ran with 1800 employees, all without a cell phone that plays music, takes videos, pictures and communicates with Facebook and Twitter. I signed up under duress for Twitter and Facebook, so that my seven kids, their spouses, 13 grandkids and 2 great grandkids could communicate with me in the modern way. I figured I could handle something as simple as Twitter with only 140 characters of space.

That was before one of my grandkids hooked me up for Tweeter, Tweetree, Twhirl, Twitterfon, Tweetie and Twittererific, Tweetdeck, Twitpix and something that sends every message to my cell phone and every other program within the texting world. My phone was beeping every three minutes with the details of everything except the bowel movements of the entire next generation. I am not ready to live like this. I keep my cell phone in the garage in my golf bag.

The kids bought me a GPS for my last birthday because they say I get lost every now and then going over to the grocery store or library. I keep that in a box under my tool bench with the Bluetooth (it's red) phone I am supposed to use when I drive. I wore it once and was standing in line at Barnes & Noble, talking to my wife, and everyone in the nearest 50 yards was glaring at me. I had to take my hearing aid out to use it, and I guess I got a little loud.

I mean, the GPS looked pretty smart on my dashboard, but the lady inside that gadget was the most annoying, rudest person I had run into in a long time. Every ten minutes, she would sarcastically say, "Re-cal-cu-lating." You would think that she could be nicer. It was like she could barely tolerate me. She would let go with a deep sigh and then tell me to make a U-turn at the next light. Then if I made a right turn instead... well, it was not a good relationship.

When I get really lost now, I call my wife and tell her the name of the cross streets and while she is starting to develop the same tone as Gypsy, the GPS lady, at least she loves me.

To be perfectly frank, I am still trying to learn how to use the cordless phones in our house. We have had them for four years, but I still haven't figured out how I can lose three phones all at once and have run around digging under chair cushions and checking bathrooms and the dirty-laundry baskets when the phone rings.

The world is just getting too complex for me. They even mess me up every time I go to the grocery store. You would think they could settle on something themselves but this sudden "paper or plastic?" every time I check out just knocks me for a loop. I bought some of those cloth reusable bags to avoid looking confused, but I never remember to take them in with me.

Now I toss it back to them. When they ask me, "paper or plastic?" I just say, "Doesn't matter to me. I am bi-sacksual." Then it's their turn to stare at me with a blank look.

P.S.: I was recently asked if I Tweet. I answered, "No, but I do toot a lot."

To continue in a light mood visit

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1. Keeping Appliances Safe?
While household appliances make our lives much easier, they also pose significant risks. If not maintained properly, they can be the cause of one of the many thousands of residential-building fires each year. Here is a brief checklist to protect your household and to avoid the potential risk of fire,

Never leave flammable items such as hot pads or towels near burners. Keep burners, the stovetop, and oven clean and free of grease and other flammable debris. Don’t leave food cooking unattended.

Allow proper airflow by removing dust and dirt from the coils behind and underneath your refrigerator.

Keep the dryer area clear of things that can burn. Do not leave a dryer running if you leave home or when you go to bed. Only operate the dryer with a clean lint filter.

Replace hoses which have become cracked or dried. Periodically clean the tub with hot water and vinegar. Do not overloading a washing machine.

Find additional tips here:

2. Free Entrance Days in the National Parks
America's Best Idea--the national parks--gets even better with several fee-free days at more than 100 national parks that usually charge entrance fees. The fee waiver includes: entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees. Other fees such as reservations, camping, tours, concession and fees collected by third parties are not included unless stated otherwise.

The 2011 fee-free days are as follows:

April 16-24 (National Park Week)

June 21 (first day of summer)

September 24 (Public Lands Day)

November 11-13 (Veterans' Day weekend)

Making the fun even more affordable, many national park concessioners are joining the National Park Service in welcoming visitors with their own special offers. Here's a tip--many of the 394 national parks NEVER charge an entrance fee!

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We present here some words from those with a birthday this month.

Tammy Faye Bakker - "I always say, shopping is cheaper than a psychiatrist."

Juliette Binoche - "I live for the present always. I accept this risk. I don't deny the past, but it's a page to turn."

Chuck Norris - "Men are like steel. When they lose their temper, they lose their worth."

Kim Campbell - "I have always believed governments must adapt to the needs of the people, not the other way around."

Lawrence Welk - "There are good days and there are bad days, and this is one of them."

More "Thoughts" at:

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1. How to Develop a Creative Lifestyle Using Mental Imagery to Guide You.
The technique of mental imagery to change thinking and behavior has been around for hundreds of years. Sometimes called "visualization," or "waking dreams," mental imagery is used in hypnosis, behavioral therapy, meditation, yoga, and plain ordinary daydreaming. It is primarily a tool to change who you are and what you can accomplish.

You can learn more about this new creativity by visiting and downloading a completely FREE ebook, "The Power of Mental Imagery." There is absolutely no obligation, nothing to buy, and no sign-up to download this ebook. It can be downloaded with a simple click.

Learn more at about the aging process at:

2. Best Independent Living Aids of 2010
The Gold Violin website has selected the top 10 independent living aids of 2010. These items were selected based on popularity, various awards, and client reviews/feedback. Here are the selected items:

1.Handybar Car Support 6. Reclining Bath Lift
2. Shirt Saver 7. Soft Swivel Seat Cushion
3. Vermont Shoulder Cozy 8. Full Page Magnifier Lamp
4. Ergonomic Rolling Table 9. Adjustable Bed Rail
5. Ultralight Designer Transport Chair 10. Jar Grabber
Visit our Senior Bazaar for other items of interest to Seniors.

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1. Things we Eventually Learn

- Wrinkles don't hurt.
Middle age is when you choose your cereal for the fiber, not the toy.
- Never hold a Dust-Buster and a cat at the same time.
- Do not sneeze when someone is cutting your hair.
- The best place to be when you are sad is Grandma' s lap.

2. One-Day Wonder
Can you believe I lasted less than a day as a retail store greeter?
A few hours into my first day on the job a very loud, unattractive, mean-acting woman came into the store with her two children, yelling at them all the way through the entrance.
As I had been instructed, I said pleasantly,
'Good morning, and welcome. Nice children you have there; are they twins?'
The ugly woman stopped yelling long enough to say, 'Hell no, they ain't twins. The oldest one's nine, and the other one's seven. Why the hell would you think they're twins? Are you blind, or just stupid?'
So I replied, 'I'm neither blind nor stupid, ma'am, I just couldn't believe someone would make a baby with you twice. Have a good day and thank you for shopping at Wal-Mart.'
The HR department said I probably wasn't cut out for this line of work.

"Oh My Aging Funny Bone" is at:

This issue has been edited by Betsy Day ([email protected]).

Copyright 2011, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Information in this document is subject to change without notice. Other products, service and companies named herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders and are solely responsible for the content of their articles. Articles are included for informational purposes and are not an endorsement.

This Copyright E-zine may be forwarded to others only if sent in its entirety. Other uses are subject to written permission of the publisher.

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