Tuesday, February 27, 2007

L.C. and Q.D. in a Marital Relationship?

Now this is something which I would never have expected to see on any internet site. But from what I read there appears to be some sort of suggested action related to the merging of two giants of the laboratory industry.

I still don’t really believe it and I honestly don’t see how such a thing could transpire in any way that would be good for the employees of either Laboratory Corporation of America or their present chief rival Quest Diagnostics. I doubt that the government would even allow such a merger due to the financial monopoly impact on the industry.

Since Quest Diagnostics walked away from the United Healthcare contract and Lab Corp. signed onto what I see as a bad contract it makes no sense that Quest Diagnostics would then become wed in any way with the company which is obliged to honor that same contract which Quest walked away from.

Perhaps this action, if even true is in some fashion a way for both companies to work around the obstacles created by the strong arm tactics of United Healthcare which have been alleged by some in the healthcare industry.

Through some sort of limited joint venture perhaps each company feels that it can gain some sort of benefit. Quest Diagnostics would stand to lose the burden of any sort of negative financial result of giving up the United Healthcare contract since it would again be in network.

At the same time Lab Corporation would loss the burden of paying to United Healthcare the greater portion of the $200,000,000.00 it is obligated to pay to United Healthcare in order to protect that company from liability caused by leakage to Quest Diagnostics and other labs.

But in such a marriage would Quest Diagnostics then be obligated to live by the terms of a contract which it had just months before walked away from? That would make little to no sense at all.

It would be an admission of irresponsibility on the part of Quest Diagnostics to crawl back to the contract in such a manner. Perhaps such an action is a way by which the executives could enable themselves to do business with the devil and at the same time attempt to save face.

This is of course all speculation since I don’t have any facts at all and I am basing all of this conjecture on a single comment on what might or might not be reliable information. And since I am writing all of this on what is very possibly erroneous information and speculation then perhaps I should take it one step further.

If such a merger were to occur either now or at some future date and it were in fact a full scale merger then it would be one in which the executives of the two companies would do very well for themselves but as for the employees that would be a very different issue.

Let’s face it if two giants got together it would mean that many job functions could be combined and it would seem to me that such a thing would lead immediately to numerous layoffs. Many middle level managers would be looking for a new job. Many low level employees would be following their managers out the door.

But again let’s hold down the panic level until someone clarifies all of these issues. I personally find it difficult to believe that something of this magnitude is even being discussed between these two companies. Time will tell.

I am hopeful that Bruce Friedman at Lab Soft News is looking into this issue as he seems very capable at getting down to the facts which are hidden behind the talk. So, until then I shall continue to watch the developing situation if in fact there even is a developing situation and I don’t know with any certainty that there is. I’m so confused. Mommy!

If anyone has any facts please Gmail me at the link below.

It was this post which sent me off in the wrong direction
. I find this type of post to be very misleading.

As a follow-up to this issue, after extensive research in the Snake Pit I see that a stock blogging
blogger has made some information available which is worth a read. It appears that this issue is related to something which Jim Cramer was doing on his program Mad Money. So I guess that this is the original source of the story. False Alarm.

But this area of the stock market is an area where I don’t even intend to comment. Yet it is an area of interest to many, so if you like the subject, feel free to investigate the issue of anti-competitive mergers further.
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007
Contact Snake Oil Sam

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Why Michael Savage will never run for the Presidency

Syndicated radio talk show host Michael Savage has said that he is mulling the idea of running for the Presidency of the United States of America. By placing a poll at his website asking listeners if he should run for the office he has received a substantial number of positive votes. Considering that the people who visit his website are his listeners going there at his behest then that positive result should not come as any great surprise.

That positive result will and indeed already has given Savage something to talk about on his program. He himself stated on at least one occasion which I am aware of something on the order of, show me any other candidate who is able to get over a million votes on a website. Even in view of the positive result it is highly doubtful that Savage would ever officially announce as a real candidate.

The fact that Savage has any voice at all, in terms of any power or influence which he might boast about, is due directly to his daily exposure on a nationally syndicated talk show. Were he to formally announce as a candidate for that high office he would immediately be compelled to resign his radio position.

Savage must not ever do that for fear of entering the abyss of media oblivion even though that media be a hostile media. Savage is destined to continue to mull an issue which will prove to be always beyond reach of any honest man.

Like it or not Michael Savage is nothing without that bully pulpit of the broadcast studio. Without a microphone in front of him Savage has no soapbox. The media would completely compartmentalize and ignore Michael Savage and he knows that. Even now with a radio show Savage gets little to no media coverage and any which he might get is about that “Nazi” who rants his hate filled speech on the radio.

Since the ordinary citizen only hears what the mainstream media has to say about anyone then the average man will believe that media lie just as readily as they believe all media lies. The public view of Michael Savage the presidential candidate will be no more or less positive than it already is. He will be at the mercy of the media and without a microphone to make a daily defense of his positions.

Since the public has the attention span and memory ability of a pigeon in a park filled with stale breadcrumbs, Savage and his internet website million plus votes will soon be forgotten as will he.

But you argue that Savage will have the same ability as all candidates in getting out his message. That is wishful thinking since you need three basic things for getting out that message in order to become the President of the United States of America.

To start with you are required to have a tremendous amount of funding. Far more than Savage could provide through his own personal wealth. Even with the financial support of his current listeners he could not do it since the majority of funding for political campaigns comes from corporate sponsorship which Savage would not ever have any share in.

Savage would need the backing of a highly organized national campaign network which Savage has not even begun to form. It is doubtful that he could ever accomplish that task in the timeframe required for it to have any effect. Remember, he will no longer have a nationally syndicated radio show, his true stock in trade.

Savage would require the backing of the national media which Savage clearly does not now nor will he ever have. If he did have such backing then he would be a sweetheart of the media and if that were the case then he would no longer be the man which he is. Remember, the only reason for voting for Savage is because he is his own man.

The only thing which Savage could do that would make any sense at all would be for him to find a dark horse and place the full weight of his influence behind that individual. By doing so he could retain his bully pulpit and truly have his voice heard by America.

Many people would, I believe, support the person who was to receive the papal blessing of Michael Savage. That is the only way that Michael Savage and the Savage Nation could possibly have any voice in a nation which at one time belonged to the people.

The only other option which is available to Savage in which he could be a candidate and still retain his bully pulpit would be to be a write in candidate. And now we have entered the realm of the long shot. People telling people that Savage is truly a man of the people and then writing in that name might be the only way to send a powerful message to Washington.

Of course there is always the option for those reading this who aren’t intending to cast a vote for Savage and who also don’t like any of the declared candidates to write in Snake Oil Sam as I am also in contention for that lofty office.

If you are not aware of my positions on important issues of the day you can read an important article on my campaign positions in my own long shot low level campaign
in order to inform yourself with my stance on life in America.

It recently occurred to me that people might want to communicate with Snake Oil Sam for any number of reasons either related to this blog or for other purpose. So since that is the case I have created a Gmail address for that reason. I will for your convenience, beginning here with this article include that Gmail link at the end of my articles. I hope to here from some of you.
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007
Contact Snake Oil Sam

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Quest Diagnostics Counters with a Left Hook!

If this were a boxing match then United Healthcare just took one to the head. The verbal pummel came from the Quest Diagnostics Teterboro Business Unit a.k.a. H.Q. when it produced a flyer directed to doctors in New Jersey. The flyer is titled Unhappy About UnitedHealthcare’s Penalty Program? Subtitled Three Things You Can Do.

Within the opening paragraph the author of the letter makes reference to the issue of possible financial sanctions against doctors starting March 1, 2007. The author here makes a very important statement as quoted herein: “Through these financial intimidation tactics, United is interfering with your ability to make medical decisions on behalf of your patients.”

The letter continues by making three important bullet points answering Why This Issue Matters. Below I offer those three bullet points in highlight so as to not confuse them with my comments contained within the Quest Diagnostics text.

• United has, in effect, implemented administrative policies that may change the terms of your provider agreement and limit your ability to practice medicine as you see fit. What will be the next medical decision that will be removed from your discretion if United is successful in its action?

I would have to wonder if the person who wrote this has been reading old Snakes’ blog, since this is the type of point I have been attempting to make to the medical community for some time.

• The selection of what laboratory to use for PPO, POS and indemnity patients is one we believe physicians expect to have when they sign physician provider agreements that are not restricted to HMO closed network products. Would you have executed your provider agreement with United if you had known that your ability to recommend which providers your patients should see would be limited by the imposition of these penalties?

This type of practice is one which in the retail business is I believe known as “bait and switch” in which the customer is looked at and treated as a sucker. The vendor advertises one product and then sells you something you didn’t want or changes the terms of the contract when you aren’t looking.

In the carnival world this is known as the “carney” and the “rube.” In the instance of the relationship of United Healhtcare and a contracted doctor, the “carney” a.k.a. United Healthcare and the contracted doctor a.k.a. the “rube.” The only thing lacking here is that the cost of the dart is more than fifty cents.

I can’t imagine that too many doctors would like being treated as a “rube” but that is precisely what United Healthcare is doing. And the only way that doctors can do anything about it is to stand up to the “carney.”

• United has changed a PPO, POS and indemnity patient into an HMO patient when it comes to laboratory services. Patients and employers purchase, through higher premiums and coinsurance amounts, the right to access out of network providers, yet United’s Protocol (which does not distinguish between benefit types) eliminates that right through its threats to the physician who refer patients for laboratory testing services. Should United be able to eliminate benefits unilaterally through administrative protocols?

Indeed, “patients and employers purchase, through higher premiums and coinsurance amounts, the right to access out of network providers,” this is one of the key points about how United Healthcare has been acting in a seemingly criminal manner. It is why I have called upon the legal community to step up to the plate on this issue. It is why I have been calling upon medical associations to step up to the plate.

Quest Diagnostics has made suggestions to doctors in New Jersey about what action they can take personally if they are concerned about their rights as doctors affected by this issue.

Contact your NJ State Medical Society
Lawrence Downs, Director Public Health & Acting General Counsel
Phone: (609) 896-7166 x 258
Send e-mail to Lawrence Downs

Contact your state Insurance Commissioner:
Lee Barry, Assistant Commissioner
Phone: (609) 292-5316 x 50156
Send e-mail to Lee Barry

Call or write United/Oxford:
United Main phone: (732) 623-1000
United Network management: (800) 638-8075

Alan M. Muney, MD, MHA
Executive VP & Chief Medical Officer, Oxford Health Plans
48 Monroe Turnpike
Trumbull, Ct 06611

Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007

Monday, February 19, 2007

This is Murder by Spreadsheet

The title of this article is taken from an expression used in an article appearing in a blog titled TortDeform THE CIVIL JUSTICE BLOG and is such a great expression that I wish that I had thought of it myself. But I didn’t so that is something I will have to live with. In that blogs article which is titled “UnitedHealth sued for racketeering” the author pries open the eyes of the reader with the pry bar of truth.

That headline got my attention quickly and I just had to read more. The author of the article identified as NycEve brings out some important points. The very first line of the article “If you have insurance from UnitedHealth, you are sadly encumbered by a very corrupt organization” makes it clear that the author has no great love for United Healthcare.

But as you continue to read on you will see that this is not simply some vindictive rant as might have been written about an issue by Snake Oil Sam. The author documents reasons why such bold statements are justifiable.

This article is exactly what the medical community and the medical insurance client has been in need of so as to fully understand what is happening to the healthcare industry. All of the dots are well connected in this article so that it is understandable why the medical industry is hurting.

Medical Professionals are no longer able to control the care of the individual being treated. Costs too medical professionals are skyrocketing. That is a very important issue which the government needs to think about. Choice of professional service providers and support companies is vital in order to be able to provide quality healthcare.

The article references statements made by Quest Diagnostics C.E.O. Surya Mohapatra as well as Bob Hagemann, CFO, VP, of Quest Diagnostics. This important article found at
TORTDEFORM is one article which deserves the reading time of everyone. I recommend that you not only read the article but give serious thought to an issue which impacts on not only the economy but the very health and wellbeing of everyone.
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007

Friday, February 16, 2007

Quest Diagnostics Turns Up Heat

Quest Diagnostics C.E.O. Surya Mohapatra announced a new advertising campaign designed to inform clients that his company is still in the game. In what is a campaign intended to let patients know that of those doctors who expressed a preference in testing laboratories the results are in and they say that Quest Diagnostics was their first choice by far.

The survey conducted by National Analysts Worldwide
indicates that of the survey group of doctors nationwide who have a preference Quest Diagnostics was rated higher than Lab Corp. in eleven critical areas including quality and service.

An advertising campaign announcing those results is now under way in 15 major markets. It appears that Quest Diagnostics is not being put off by the threatened fine announced by United Healthcare along with other sanctions against doctors who dare go out of network under the terms of the contract of service provider.

Of course that threatening fine action on the part of United Healthcare has resulted in a lot of angry medical professionals
. The result of that is yet to be seen and I will be making some comments on that issue in a different article. But I would suggest to United Healthcare that you just back off the gas a little.

One of the features of the Quest Diagnostics campaign is the matter of quality. No one would argue that quality is important and anyone can make a mistake. But the recent mistake made by Laboratory Corporation of America surly couldn’t have thrilled the execs at that company in the middle of a major advertising blitz.

In the meantime it is a certainty that Laboratory Corporation of America is going to have to revisit their radio campaign as it is getting very old very quickly. It is getting to the point that people in their cars are beginning to punch out when they hear the voices of the play actors who are talking about all the many virtues of Lab Corp.

The new Quest Diagnostics campaign was launched in the print media but I believe that it will also contain a new radio version as well. We would hope that the radio segment is not as dull as their competitions radio spots.
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Snake Oil Sam Rates ZimBio A Plus

Recently, while looking at some footprints at this blog I came upon a footprint which directed me to a website called ZimBio. Always being someone who is interested in community based sites I checked it out. All I can say is that ZimBio is, I believe, one of the most technologically intelligent and well thought out community and news gathering portals that I have ever seen or attempted to use.

For anyone who is interested in or might be interested in using this site as a research tool I would highly recommend that you
take a look at ZimBio and consider giving it a test drive. You might enjoy the experience and find something which proves useful to your work or killtime.

As stated I found it because of a footprint. It dealt with something which I had written which included the name of Quest Diagnostics C.E.O. Surya Mohapatra. Apparently the ZimBio Team had previously created a brief bio on this individual and since the program platform has the ability and intelligence to search for related topics it automatically located my blog comments as well as those of others whom had referenced Quest Diagnostics and Surya Mohapatra.

So, since I find it a useful tool I am certain that others will as well. And additionally you can create your own communities once you take a few minutes to create an identity. The portals can be made either public or private. Each of these two features offers positive points depending upon the needs of the individual member utilizing it. And it is free, a really big plus for Snake Oil Sam. So, go ahead and give it a try. I think that you will like it.
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007

Teterboro Runway Accident Weather Related?

This is a report of what appears to be a weather related accident on the evening of St. Valentines Day involving what looked from a distance to be a small private jet which apparently skidded off runway 1 just north of midfield. About half a dozen Emergency vehicles responded to the craft as seen by myself at 8:38 P.M. E.S.T.

No details are available at this time but I will offer an update as information becomes known to the local news media. All that can be said at this time is that the area was hit hard with several inches of freezing rain, ice and snow for much of the day.

A cross wind might have also played a part in this event. Teterboro airport just several miles outside New York City has been the scene of a number of such on ground accidents in recent months.

It is doubtful that anything could have been done to prevent this accident short of shutting down until the weather improved. With the combination of high cross field winds and icing problems it was almost inevitable that such an accident would take place at Teterboro today.
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Has United Healthcare Gone Beyond Legal Boundaries?

While in the process of checking footprints of visitors to this blog I came across one which took me on an interesting journey. The visitor, someone located at Pearl in Hawaii, visiting under the auspices of the United States Army was directed it seems to this blog by way of a website, zimbio which appears to be centered on a who’s who format.

Since the topic of the bio search was in this case Quest Diagnostics C.E.O. Surya Mohapatra the site linked to articles dealing with Quest Diagnostics issues. In addition to my own writing on the topic of Quest Diagnostics as sited and linked at the zimbio web site, it was here that I also found articles written by others dealing with the seemingly strong arm tactics being utilized by United Healthcare.

Since the actions taken or about to be taken by United Healthcare as reported by those other sites seem to be directed exclusively at Quest Diagnostics in the ongoing blood feud, pun intended, it seems that the time might have arrived for the Attorney General of the United States Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to take a closer look at the actions of United Healthcare in respect to Quest Diagnostics as well as the actions of United Healthcare in general.

So, if you want to research the matter further, and I am sure that the intelligent people who often visit here do, I offer to you a link to a news article appearing in Lab Soft News
.

I would suspect that the $50.00 fine mentioned in the articles is in each individual patient case which if considering a medical office might send Quest Diagnostic 50 individual patient specimen requisitions per day, well you do the math.

Since that amount is likely more than the doctor would receive in payment under terms of contract with United Healthcare, it would appear that United Healthcare is acting like some sort of mafia.

It is for this reason that I am calling for the attention of the office of the United States Attorney General, Federal Trade Commission and any other Federal or State governing body or agency who believes that they have an interest in this matter.

As a side note to doctors the issue of a $50.00 penalty might be nothing more than smoke and mirrors, pure snake oil intended to frighten the medical community. To you I would say stand up to a bully and he will run away like a scared little school girl. Don’t let others tell you how to run your practice.

As an addendum to this article I offer links to important articles which I failed to place within my article at time of posting. They are important reading on the subject and worthy of your time and consideration. They can be found by going to the St. Petersberg Times as well as the opinion of a medical professional writing at his blog Kevin, M.D. Medical Weblog.

Addendum number two a comment by Bob Carroll, Attorney at Law.
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007

Monday, February 12, 2007

Ron and Fez a One Man Show?

Apparently Fez Whatley suffered a heart attack at some point in time during their absence from New York radio. Such a medical condition would explain the failure of Fez to any longer do the Friday fezitorial. It might very well be that it was the fezitorial which caused the heart attack in the first place. One has to wonder how he didn’t have a heart attack in the middle of some of those past fezitorials.

It is sad since Ron Bennington seems to be holding up both ends of the show lately. Fez simply seems to be along for the ride. When left alone I the studio, Fez seems unable to even keep a simple conversation with the audience going on his own. Fez almost had an anxiety attack recently when Ron and the crew walked out on air leaving Fez all alone. But it was a pretty funny bit on Ron’s part.

It is sad to see such a situation and I would ask that Ron encourage Fez to be more involved in the program. Sometime it is even hard to determine if Fez is in the studio. I often wonder if Ron sent him out to get the coffee.

After all it is the Ron and Fez show but lately it has become the Ron and EastSide show. Fez needs to take some vitamins and do a little more talking. Perhaps Ron can prompt Fez to get on air a little more than he has been. The show has been a little off track lately.
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007

Friday, February 09, 2007

Laboratory Corporation of America Nailed by Paterson Jury

According to a front page story in The Record of Hackensack, New Jersey, a jury seated to hear a “wrongful birth” case which involved among others Laboratory Corporation of America as a defendant, Laboratory Corporation of America was found to be at least partially responsible for the errors which resulted in the “wrongful birth” of a child having a rare genetic disorder.

According to the article in The Record, the disorder known as Myotubular Myopothy is a rare defect in the Exon1 gene, which controls muscle development. The family knowing that there was a potential in the family gene pool for the possibility for the condition to be present sought to have testing to determine if the gene was in fact present.

The mother was prepared to abort the pregnancy basing the decision on the result of the test. She was later assured by her doctor that there was no indication of the presence of the gene. She went full term with the pregnancy believing that she ran no more than the usual risk of a normal pregnancy.

When the infant was delivered it was soon clear that the information which she had been given was in serious error. The infant had in fact been born with the disorder and the resulting complications.

It was then that the finger pointing began. Her doctor insisted that he had properly and clearly requested the test be performed by Lab Corp. which then countered that the doctor never requested the test.

So after hearing all of the testimony and reviewing the evidence submitted the jury found as follows:

Of the five (5) named defendants those found to have responsibility in the issue are according to the article published in The Record of Friday February 9, 2007:

• Dr. Aldo Khoury, a high-risk-birth specialist with St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson.
• Laboratory Corporation of America, a major medical testing laboratory.
• Dr. James Tepperberg, director of cytogenetics department at Laboratory Corporation of America.

All three parties were found by the jury to have deviated from “accepted standards of medical practice.”

In regard to financial responsibility the jury found in the following degree of financial responsibility.

Khoury: 50 percent negligent
Laboratory Corporation of America: 40 percent negligent
Tepperberg: 10 percent negligent.

The jury awarded the plaintiff Wanda Tineo the sum of $28,000,000.00 in what some observers said was among the highest they had ever seen in Passaic County. This case makes it clear to the medical community and the diagnostic testing industry that it is extremely important that there always be clear and open lines of communications between the two parties.

It also raises other issues such as a medical professional’s inability to at times do business with a laboratory of choice due in large part to laws affecting the contractual payment of testing services. This situation is directly related to the actions of Health Maintenance Organizations in not dealing fairly and equitably with all laboratories.

It is an issue which in my view deserves examination by the law making bodies of government, individual state judicial bar associations and medical associations acting in conjunction to solve this ongoing problem.

It is a problem which places a barrier in the path of a medical professional effectively preventing the medical practitioner from practicing medicine in the way he or she deems to be best for the patient in his or her care.

As a question, had the plaintiff in a hypothetical case wanted to use the services of a laboratory other than say Laboratory Corporation of America and been prevented from doing so by an H.M.O would the H.M.O. then have some degree of legal responsibility? In my view they would indeed be susceptible to inclusion in such a lawsuit.

As I see the matter, by coercion the insured individual would have been forced to utilize the services of a laboratory which might not be as qualified in testing procedure or operated under the high standards of another laboratory. That lack of high business practice, [found by the jury to have deviated from “accepted standards of medical practice.”] was in fact the main causal reason by which the jury held Laboratory Corporation of America partially responsible.

So basing it on that reason I would have to conclude that by causing an individual in a hypothetical case to use a particular laboratory the H.M.O. would also bear some degree of financial accountability.

But what do I know; I am just a small town snake oil salesman. Perhaps it is a matter which some law school student can consider as a syllabus. If anyone in law school wishes to pick up the mantle on this project I would only ask that you mention old Snake in the title.

Syllabus:
Title: Profound universal ramifications of forced diagnostic testing choice sans six sigma quality controls. United Healthcare Syndrome and the world according to Snake Oil Sam.
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Richard Bey Guests on 92.3 New York

When you say the name Richard Bey anywhere in New York City most people will recognize the name. Yes, he is the guy who had that wacky television show a few years ago on Channel 9, then W.W.O.R. New York City. Actually the license was in New York but Bey broadcast out of the studios in beautiful Secaucus, New Jersey.

So now that he has been on 92.3 this week all of his many fans have had the chance of once again listening and talking to the man with the golden voice. Unlike many of the guest hosts in this time slot who are generally unknown and of little talent, Dick Bey is someone who knows his way around the microphone.

Since he was last heard at 77 W.A.B.C. where he was suddenly replaced by Monica Crowley it seems that he has been keeping busy on things like satellite radio. That is something I learned from the man himself in some e-mail correspondence. Yes I do have his super secret e-mail address and you will never be able to beat it out of me. Still the idea sounds like fun so feel free to give it a try.

We would really like to see him return on a regular schedule on terrestrial radio. I believe that this guy would be a real asset to any radio station which picked him up. And I do have a pretty good ear for radio talent. After all it was I, Snake Oil Sam who as strange as it may sound is pretty much responsible for Hannity having a nationally syndicated radio program thanks to my letter written to Mainelli many years ago.

That letter of mine which was forwarded by Mainelli to The Big Guy was what was responsible for Hannity serving a full two weeks as a Limbaugh vacation fill in, which resulted in Hannity receiving national media attention and his current national radio show. One of the first things which Hannity did if you recall was to break the Golden E.I.B. microphone.

So if I have any pull with you John how about getting Richard Bey a full time gig at 92.3 f.m. in New York City. You are doing a great job resurrecting what was until recently the laughing stock of New York radio 92.3 f.m. Bringing Bey onboard fulltime can only make it even better.
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Reasons behind Quest Diagnostics HemoCue Acquisition

Once again Bruce Friedman at Lab Soft News has produced an intelligent and insightful article, this time on the topic of the Quest Diagnostics acquisition of HemoCue. Friedman offers much well researched information which is one of the reasons that I have so much respect for his writing. He also gives a personal viewpoint on many subjects he writes about as he seems to have a great many industry insiders whom he is in communication with.

The fact that he sites my own thoughts on the issue also tends to cause me to respect what he writes about. So in order for me to pay tribute to him and at the same time make this blog more useful to people who look at it anytime the issue involves Quest Diagnostics I offer this link to Mr. Friedman’s article about the
Quest Diagnostics HemoCue Purchase for your perusal.

It is at this time my belief that the main reason that the purchase was made is that it is simply the objective of Quest Diagnostics to diversify the business in ways that add value to the overall financial health of the company. By doing this with related business ventures it makes perfectly good sense that it would position itself in a market which adds prestige to the name brand.

As far as the Dark Daily comment which is linked to at Friedman’s article suggesting that it is in any way designed as a distraction from the United Healthcare issue, I find that thought to be a little over the top.

Nothing can take that story out of the news and I really don’t think that it is all that significant an issue anyway. Sure, it has caused the company which is just now coming off of a great financial year to rethink some of its business strategy. But it is not so serious that the company is facing any sort of real crises.

The entire staff is doing all that is required to make adjustments so that the overall health of the business remains strong. Everyone in the company understands the situation and most view it as a minor inconvenience. There is no widespread panic and all are sharing the burden in order to soften the blow. In the end the company will do what it must in order to protect the investor.

I do believe that as
I stated in another article that even though C.E.O. Surya Mohapatra might have reported that the company expects to lose much of the United Healthcare business to Laboratory Corporation of America, that he was being careful not to mislead investors.

In the inner sanctum among peers I believe that he is being far more positive that much of that business will remain with Quest Diagnostics. Consider that according to sources speaking on the subject, that when the stock last split two for one the company was not processing as many requisitions as it s doing now on a daily basis even without the United Healthcare business.

Friedman in his Lab Soft News article himself suggests that one of the problems with Quest Diagnostics is the sheer volume of specimens on a daily basis. I here quote his own words in an effort to place a little spin on his words.

1. Moreover, Quest is now hitting-the-wall in terms of its automation support for the myriad specimens processed per day. The major IVDs can no longer provide adequate engineering solutions for a test volume of this magnitude. The solution for Quest may be to move testing (i.e., point-of-care or point-of collection testing) closer to the patient -- that is to say, to the patient service centers or even to those physician offices with enough test volume to support min-labs (also know as physician office labs or POLs) with Quest management and QC oversight.

I could say more but I think that I have already said enough. In fact I know a few people who might suggest as they pound on their desks that I have already said far too much.
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007

Michael Savage a Political Contender?

Considering what might prove to be one of the most interesting political announcements in recent history, radio talk show host Michael Savage has indicated on his nationally syndicated program that he is mulling over the idea of running for the highest office in the nation.

This has been received with comments such as go for it Mike and don’t do it Mike I need to hear you on radio. Obviously if Savage is serious about this matter he would be obligated to give up the radio show.

I don’t see him giving up the show in order to do this. It is likely only being done in order to raise a little sweat on the brow of the D.C. crew who would be hard pressed to face off with Savage in a political debate.

Clearly Savage would make mince meat out of any potential opponent. By being in the debate field he would clearly raise issues which all of his political foes would want to avoid. Savage would prove to be the gadfly of the political scene if he were to really make a bid for the White House.

My own feeling is that as much as I would love to see him run for high office it would be a problem for me as
I also am seeking 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as an address at which I might reside for a time.

By running Savage would make my plans for lodging at the White House a bit more of a task than I had planned. After all running against Savage is going to be a little bit more difficult than running against Ms. Clinton.

So even if Savage does decide to run I would ask that you at least give me some consideration. But if not then I am sure that the nation will remain secure with Michael Savage at the helm.
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007

Monday, February 05, 2007

Your Body Your Choice Your Freedom at Stake

When people need to make personal medical decisions they should have the right to make those choices for themselves. That is a statement which I believe that most people would agree with. The average person would not expect that it is the business of others what health choices they might make. That is something between the individual and the medical professional. After all, if it does not adversely impact others then what business is it how I decide to manage my health?

Indeed, there are laws making it illegal for those who have access to the medical records of an individual to make available to third parties such information in almost all circumstances other than a rare occasion for law enforcement reasons. Even then there are standards which must be met. A police officer could not simply request the medical records of an individual just because he wanted to have a look.

If making information available is illegal how then is impacting the actual physical administering of such medical procedures any less a violation of law? How is it that the
Governor of Texas can sign into law legislation requiring that all girls entering the public school system be required to receive a vaccination for the Human Papilloma Virus? That isn’t to say that the ability of someone to receive such a vaccination is a bad thing.

Anytime that the medical community has available to them a vaccine which offers a degree of protection against something as potentially deadly as the Papilloma Virus it should be greeted with at least the respect it deserves.

But to legislate that anyone should have any form of drug therapy or medical procedure forced upon them so that they might be able to participate in something such as public school education or risk having such education withheld is wrong.

Unlike a virus which might be spread through basic daily contact and interaction, the Papilloma virus requires such a degree of intimate contact that it would preclude it from being listed among such common viruses which are or have been a problem in the past such as polio.

Since the Papilloma virus is not born by some sort of vector it is not as if it is going to jump off someone infected with it and migrate to the vagina of a female student standing nearby therefore the idea of mandated immunization is stupid and unreasonable at best.

Yes, the law in the instance of the Texas legislation does make exceptions for religious reasons, but if the immunization can be excluded for reason of religion then why compel other young girls who have no religious prohibition to receive it? It is reasonable that such a product should be made available to all who not only require it, but request it as well.

There is no reasonable explanation as to why young girls should be subjected to this course of action by way of a governmental mandate. The only rational explanation for such a mandate is that some political lobbyist doing his or her job for the pharmaceutical industry has been busy at work.

This as in all medical decisions which do not represent a clear and obvious threat to the health and wellbeing of the child should in almost all but the most extenuating of circumstances be left to the parent.

As a matter of fact there are areas which are so sensitive that I do not offer any firm opinion on the matter. That though does not prevent me from bringing such issues to light of day when such come to my attention. I find such situations simply fascinating and a study in human nature and only offer a point of view for the consideration of others.

What then when ones religious beliefs come into direct conflict with the interests of the state? The issue is fairly well understood by the judicial system when the issue involves adults. But the matter is far less clear when it involves a minor child. Time and again the state has taken action to seize
temporary control of minors for medical purposes. Is this right? You will have to decide for yourself.

Remember though that when you side with the state simply basing your viewpoint on the fact that you disagree with the beliefs of the individuals undergoing a human drama you, by your implicit support for the action of the state, authorize them to take control over your life at a time in the future when the issue involves your health decisions. It is truly a matter which requires and deserves some prudence.

Someone once said to me that it might sound strange that I am willing to die for my religious belief. I agreed with the statement. He then said this to me. How many fine young American boys were willing to die in World War 2 for something which they strongly believed in?

His point was made. There are some things that are worth dying for and whether or not a particular understanding of biblical scripture from the perspective of a
particular theologian or a religious body rates up there with dying for liberty and freedom remains to be seen. Still it is an issue of faith, an issue of protected personal belief and freedom. No less important than the right to speak freely.

And since Snake Oil Sam is all about individual freedoms who am I to decide for someone else. The one fact which is clear to me is that such things are and should remain a personal decision which is not done under the compulsion of any other person, governmental entity or religious body of men.
Snake Oil Sam
Internet Media Publishing © 2007

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Snake Oil Sam’s Super Bowl Weekend P.S.A.

Don’t Drink and Drive! The life you save just might be your own.

New Jersey State Police are advertising a Drunk Driving Crackdown on Super Bowl Weekend.

Remember, Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.

Always Buckle Up.

Enjoy the big game and live to talk about it tomorrow.

Always drive defensively.

Remember, your only job when behind the wheel is to drive. Let voice mail answer that call for you.
No child should have to grow up without a father. Think about them.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Quest Diagnostics and the Strategy of Diversification Economics

Just when you think that there isn’t much happening at Quest Diagnostics you open the Business Section of the local paper and see the headline “Quest buys into instant blood tests.” In what seems to be an effort to counteract any negative financial results of the United Healthcare issue upon the company C.E.O. Surya N. Mohaptra has fallen back on the lessons of his mentor and former Quest C.E.O. Ken Freeman in the understanding that buying into established and proven markets is a key to a successful venture.

That assessment of mine for the reason for the purchase might be a little off base as this action might in fact have a tracking date starting before the United Healthcare issue as these types of business deals don’t simply happen overnight. This might very well be a strategy a part of an overall long term growth and diversification plan. In any event it surly will prove in my view to be a good investment plan.

Through this accusation Quest Diagnostics will diversify the business and open new markets for future growth potential. It is and always has been the operating philosophy of Quest Diagnostics to constantly be on the cutting edge of new technologies which can be linked to and incorporated into the main focus of the business.

Through the acquisition of Swedish based HemoCue AB for what is reported to be $420 million in cash Quest Diagnostics has positioned itself in an area which it obviously believes has great potential.

The market seems to be happy with the purchase as the stock rose 58 cents a share Thursday closing at $53.06. The lower stock price is something which has been a sad fact since the United Healthcare contract moved to Laboratory Corporation of America.

I have always felt that the stock was way undervalued and suggested that it is a good and sound investment. Even at the new higher price I still believe that this market is open to growth potential.

Even though Mohaptra reported to investors that the company believes that it will lose most of the United Healthcare business it is asking all members of the company to fight for every single requisition that it can obtain from United Healthcare out-of-network specimens.

I believe that even though issues involving integrity, religiously practiced at Quest Diagnostics, might have compelled Mohaptra to take that position with the investors, in reality the company will achieve a higher than anticipated result in retaining accounts and producing results.

One of the things which offer the investor a glimmer of hope that things will continue on track is the dedication of all employees of Quest Diagnostics in working as a team in doing what needs to be done, a nip here, a tuck there in order to trim waste and make the company as lean and efficient as in humanly possible.

It is clear that Surya Mohaptra and the entire administrative staff at Quest Diagnostics has placed their confidence in the people who tow the line and those people are doing everything in their power to keep Quest Diagnostics a strong and vibrant company.

That can be seen by clients in the way in which those clients of Quest Diagnostics are treated by phlebotomists at the Patient Service Centers. What cannot be seen by those clients is the way in which the rest of the staff treats those clients’ medical specimens behind the scenes.

In fact every specimen is viewed as representing a patient who is concerned about their health and wants a fast and accurate determination about their condition. At Quest Diagnostics they are going to get that result. Every test is given as much importance as it deserves. That is what quality is all about.

So once again the actions of the administration have remained true to the focus on providing quality results and cutting edge technology in order to make and keep this company strong.

As a side note it seems that I may have beaten Bruce Friedman to the HemoCue story but I am sure he will have something to say about it soon enough, including far more details and important insights into this company. It will be interesting to read his thoughts on the issue. I look forward to your thoughts Bruce.

After all I am just a snake oil salesman, indeed seemingly a pseudo apparatchik.
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Why Snake, Do You Blog?

During a conversation about communication I was asked a question. It was as stated above, why do I Snake Oil Sam blog? As much as I blog I have never spent much time thinking about reasons why I or for that matter others blog. I suppose the simple answer would be for the same reason that a dog licks his balls. But that answer is not really a sufficient reason.

So I said that I would have to give it some thought and that my response would be forthcoming in the form of a blog post. That response in and of itself offers, I think a small degree of insight into the reason I blog. The very fact that I can communicate a response to the question to a wide audience available to them at their convenience is an excellent reason to blog.

Thinking back to past conversations on the subject, though limited in scope, I recalled a conversation with a friend who was taking a psychology class. During this class the subject of the importance of communicating came up as a part of the nights topics for discussion.

The professor, a well respected psychologist asked the class about some of the ways in which we communicate in modern society. Among the many responses the one which caught the interest of the professor was a comment made by my friend. His answer was the he was a prolific blogger.

Not knowing much about what was then a new means of communication the professor asked for an explanation of exactly what a blog was. After he received the explanation of the basics of the concept of blogging the professor put the question to my friend, why do you blog.

My friend who being considerably brighter than myself seemed to have an answer for the professor right away, though he made his explanation by way of a series of questions to the professor in an attempt to draw out the answer.

First he asked the professor this seemingly strange question. Have you sir ever had a case in which a client was treated for publicly masturbating? Though failing to see the relationship with the topic, still the professor indulged the student.

Indeed he had any number of such cases during his lengthy career as he had worked closely with the police department and social services in a large city. What then did you find to be the answer to this situation as it related to these individuals?

The professor said that he could not attribute any one cause to this condition, that in fact there was any number of reasons for such behavior. So tell us the primary three reasons why this activity was taking place in the lives of these individuals.

Well, in one case it seems that the individual practiced this behavior because he wished to express his discontent with society at large. He wished to express his contempt for authority figures and his revulsion that society had rejected him and refused to allow him to excel due to his not holding a formal degree in the arts even though it was apparent that he was far more intelligent than some who held administrative power over him.

In fact it appeared that his intellect was borderline genius. The boiling caldron of rage within drove him to his antisocial actions.

In yet another case the behavior was attributed to a desire to push the societal envelope and get people to test just how far they could go before the weight of administrative authority came crashing down on them. He desired to see the little people stand up for what was rightfully their heritage, their birthright, freedom.

Basically he wanted to say to everyone that even though you likely know who I really am, my true identity, I dare you to take action against me. He was perhaps the most deeply disturbed of the three. He in effect had a death wish caused by years of psychological abuse at the hands of his tormentors. He acted as he did in public simply to serve as a safety valve in order to prevent himself from doing anything which would cause serious harm to others.

In truth he was a sweetheart of a guy whom people simply misjudged as a social misfit. In truth he wouldn’t harm a pussy cat. All his bluster was just that bluster, pure snake oil. It was something which was conceived and designed to hide his deeply held fears of being viewed and judged as a total failure in life. Failure, a thing viewed as something which is considered to be unacceptable in our society. It was something which he could not permit himself to accept about himself.

The only response to the acceptance of the truth would be to eliminate himself, to erase himself from the book of life. That thought was never far off but he knew that if he lived each day, one by one that someday things would change. His entire life was hinged to that one single thought. Hope!

The third individual did what he did in public simply because he was bored out of his mind and had nothing better to do. So he did what he did in a public venue so that all would know just how he felt about social issues.

After having listened intently to the professor as he related the case histories and the reason for which the behaviors occurred, the professor’s student looked at the professor and said, “I guess those are the same reasons I blog.”

Yes, blogging is a great way to express contempt for society. It is a great way to push the envelope. It is also a great way in which to kill time when you are bored to death. But having said all of these things I have come to conclude that the best reason which I can offer for blogging this article and everything else I blog is that it allows me the chance to communicate ideas to any who venture forth in the garden of Snake Oil Sam.

Yes, it appears that blogging is nothing more than pure intellectual and psychological masturbation of the mind. It is in the case of the blogger auto eroticism. From the perspective of the reader it is nothing more than a voyeuristic journey into the late night suicidal fantasies of someone whom you will likely never have the chance to meet in person.

On the other hand perhaps the true reason why I blog is the same reason the dog mentioned earlier licks his balls. Because he can!
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007

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