Tag: prison

HIPAA and other things that go bump in the night…

HIPAA and other things that go bump in the night…

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(HIPAA) Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

Being and IT guy for the last 35 years, I am no stranger to HIPAA, SOX, FISMA, and many other regulations from the government, including the federal mandates as to how this is to be accomplished.

While HIPAA is designed to protect your privacy, I wonder if that is how it is actually being used.

From a DR (disaster recovery) standpoint, your data must be backed up and off site. Your data must be recoverable; meaning that you have successfully tested the process on a regular basis.

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The easiest way to do this is with CLOUD technology but, I am here to tell you that the hackers attack the cloud… If you’re data, and my data, and your competitors, is in some nebulous storage arrays out there in some data center…that is a central target for the bad guy…

You must have written policies and procedures regarding same… This would be part of your DR plan, run book; or even your living document that is your DR plan.

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SOX or Sarbanes Oxley is another set of rules that apply to all publicly traded companies that share many of the same tenants of a good DR plan.  E-mails must be stored and retrievable in the event the government wants to see them.  Stored off-site and recoverable…

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The government, for the government’s own use, has stricter policies and procedures which I wrote about some time back when the Hillary e-mail fiasco came to light…  That is why this whole e-mail scandal is laughable as there is no possible way that those e-mails should have been lost, just like there is no way that she should have had a server of her own, dealing with Top Secret Classified e-mails.  Why she is already not wearing orange, and living in Club Cupcake Penitentiary, is a testament to the corrupt policies and procedures that our wonderful government seems to enjoy for the rich and famous or in this case the political elites.

Calling and talking with any of the folks at your insurance carrier, you are told that your call may be recorded and monitored for security and training purposes…  Now please tell me how this does not violate HIPAA?

 

When visiting your doctors you had to sign a release, basically nullifying HIPAA so they, the office staff or doctors can talk about your case, health or anything that is needed to whomever that they have to deal with to get paid.  Again, how is this not a violation of HIPAA?  Working behind the scenes at these places I have heard many cases talked about from end stage renal disease, to genital warts complete with names. I was once working in a plastic surgeons office where his desk was littered with open pictures of nude women with before and after breast augmentation etc etc.   This stuff should have been put up before I was ever allowed into his office.

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The simple facts are, that we are living in an age of no-privacy; either expressed or implied.  The idea of HIPAA is great but, like the thousands of pages of tax code, it is virtually meaningless after the lawyers get through with it.  It’s like living in Chicago with all sorts of police vehicles, and one cop who lives at the donut shop.  There is the illusion of security, but it simply does not exists.

The airport is another place where you have no privacy but, still the TSA misses about 95% of the threats that their agents try to smuggle through, while testing their efficiency. 

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While we parade through scanners that strip us naked, and expose us to ionizing radiation, they still miss 95%…! How the hell is that possible?!

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While in the waiting room the other day I could hear the office staff talking about patients and their treatment options… That was not bad enough… One of the ladies at the reception desk was calling patients who owed them money between greeting people, taking credit card info… Yep, she read back the guy’s number complete, the billing zip code and expiration where everyone could hear it.  I take credit cards and I thought to myself… you did not get the CVV code… A few minutes later she called him back to get that…. And repeated it to where anyone in the waiting room could have heard.

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While I have since written a letter to my Doctor…it does not end here…

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This same doctor prescribed some meds that I went to CVS to pick up…  While in line, the cashier, after getting your name and date of birth, grabs the meds off the shelf, and tells you what they are so everyone in line and the immediate area can hear.

Name and DOB are nobody’s business and certainly what you are buying is nobody’s business…

While I may be over sensitive to this, I don’t really think so…

Either we have HIPAA or we don’t.  Either we follow the rules and policies set forth…or we don’t.

The illusions of security is not enough.  The illusion of privacy is not enough.  Collecting everyone’s Meta data without warrant, is wrong on many levels.

We need to look at and re-vamp all of these policies as we have given up so much of our privacy for the sake of laziness on the part of the employees.

Instead of me telling the lady behind the counter she should ask me to see my ID verifying who I am and my DOB without saying it aloud.  After she pulls my meds she can show me what they are without voicing them… Simple policy changes prevent unauthorized or in this case nosey people in line getting into your business.

There are simple answers for all of these things but one simply has to think… We are too damned lazy to think…

-Best

© Copyright 2015 All Rights Reserved

 

Out of the box thinking continued…

After doing a little research on prisons, I have come to the conclusion that there are huge financial gains for “thinking outside the box” on this issue.

 The average cost to house a prisoner is $20k per year, give or take.  These include statistics in states where there is over crowding and states where there is not.

 http://www.vera.org/sites/default/files/resources/downloads/Price_of_Prisons_updated_version_072512.pdf

 What if we took all prisoners with non-violent offenses, although I would start with the 75 thousand non-violent drug offense inmates and made farmers out of them?  This could be their choice but, time off for good behavior while learning how to farm and become productive would be a win! Monitoring of them could be easier and less expensive with technology i.e. drones or proximity devices etc.  

The simple facts are that this cost “the tax payers” tons of money each year, both at a state and federal level.

If we were able to get the 75 thousand currently sitting in prison on non-violent drug offenses off the prison role and working on a farm being productive, that alone is $1.5Billion a year of tax money that could be used for something else.   

 Now how many are in prison for other non-violent offenses?

Factor into this the folks that are on welfare that can work and don’t, as well as the street folks who might want to take part in this, (comes with a place to live, heat and food.)

 Lets get them to grow staples that the country needs and then they all of the sudden are a “profit center” if you will.

 Between making a business out of housing criminals, entitlement spending and spending on aliens that are here illegally; tax payers bear one hell of a burden.  We really need some “out of the box thinkers” to address these problems.

 We really need some of these thinkers for the illegal alien issues here in this country.  I really hate to use that terminology for them.  If I lived there, I would do my best to come here as well.  While I would do my best to come through the front door, that is certainly a lot easier said than done.   Some of the basic arguments that I read are false however.  There are plenty of “white people” that will do those jobs.  There are plenty of “Americans” that will do those jobs.  To say that white people and or Americans are too lazy to do them is a blatant falsehood and offensive to me.  If you need work, you will do what you have to.  If the government is paying you not to work, well that is really the cruckst of it, isn’t it?  Who would dig ditches if the government will pay you stay home and watch The View or some other absolute mind-rotting nonsense?

 Propaganda comes in all shapes and sizes.  It comes from those that you “trust” on the nightly news, to shows from Disney with fuzzy little creatures.  Third world countries are not the only ones brainwashing their citizens.  While we can still get multiple views on certain topics, some countries have state run everything so the only “view” that they get is whatever the “government in power” wants them to have.

Currently we have the first amendment (free speech.) That however is under attack by the political correct police.  This needs to be stopped.  If what you say offends others let them not listen to you.  They have the right to not listen just like you have the right to make a complete and utter ass of yourself.  If I can control what you say under the guise of political correctness, than I can have free reign on a myriad of subjects and you cant say anything bad about.  Friends, that is not right and “UN-American!” 

The real trick is finding the multiple views as for some reason the media is in love “or in bed” with the progressives in this country.  I personally read news from all over the world as there is always something going on that other countries find newsworthy.  The BBC which is liberal is for the most part “right” of most of our media.

 It would be refreshing to have objective journalist again.  It would seem that the only time that they are tough on the government is when the GOP in charge.  I am not saying that the GOP is right, what I am saying is that we need objective standards in the media.  If the president drew a crowd of 5000 at some event, both FOX and CNN should say 5000, not “that there were only a few thousand” or “there were absolutely THOUSANDS that showed up for the event!”  Both statements are correct, and both are misleading. 

 There are thousands of folks out there “speaking of thousands” who have probably thought about these issues from time to time.  Let’s noodle this around a little and see what we can come up with.  Let’s have a little “enlightened conversation.”

-Best to you and those that you care about!

An Open letter to those that can make a change, “You.”

Today I want to talk about the uber poor.

 Currently there exist three classes of folks; The Rich, the middle class and the poor.  I would argue that there are more than this.  I would argue that there are five classes, the Uber rich, Rich, middle class, poor and very poor.

 Anyone with over a Billion dollars is Uber rich.  When you get into this club you have enough “gold” to make the rules.

 The rich are really just upper middle class as they cannot make the rules and must live by the ones created by the uber rich however; since they are in the upper middle class they know some of the folks who make the rules and can have influence.

Before you write me and tell me uber rich don’t make the rules, I know congress makes the laws / rules but I am also savvy to Avenue K and lobbyist and who hires them…

 I am skipping the middle class at the moment to jump to the poor. 

The poor have apartments, houses, cable TV, one or more televisions, at least one computer and have most likely figured out how to get enough government assistance or other “invisible income” to make up the difference between being poor instead of very poor.  I would argue that these folks are really middle class; they for a large part just pay taxes as if they were poor or living in poverty.

Then there are the very poor, they are street folks who live under bridges and basically exist on the benevolence of others, charitable organizations or what they can find on their own.

 Now we have the middle class.  These are the folks that strive to be upper middle class or rich and really have too much pride to be anything else.  These are the people that get up every day and go to work whether they feel good or not.  These are the folks that take two jobs, take their kids to soccer, and do all of the other stuff that most do but they are driven to press on, to get ahead, to give their kids a “chance” at something better than what they have.

 Some would argue that their eye might not be on giving their kids something better but on having more “do dads, or gadgets” or trying to keep up with the millionaires.

These are also the folks who have little to no control over the rules.  These are the folks that try to vote for the right person, do the PTA thing, and use whatever influence they have to make a difference.

 These are also the folks who are most taken advantage of, not only by the rich and uber rich, but the poor as well. These are the folks who the 9000 pages of tax code screw the most because they don’t have enough power to anything about it!

 These are the folks who get the Cable, satellite radio, cell phones with data plans and other do dads to fill voids in their lives that life quite frankly is not fulfilling.  These are the folks who have the “universal fees” taken out of their ass-pocket, not knowing that they are one of the government’s ways of redistributing wealth!

 I was in a park not long ago.  While there, a guy, “street person” walked by me.  He smelled bad and was a good distance from me.  That is not however what got my attention.  He was talking on a cell phone.  He was in fact calling 911 because one of his fellow street people had taken his trash bag full of stuff or so he alleged.  I am certain that the local police were really happy that this gentleman was able to call 911 with his “emergency.”

This is the uber poor or poorest of the poor.  Not only is he relegated to living on the street, carrying his stuff in a trash bag but, he has no support system.  Even though this is Texas it still gets cold in the winter.  Instead of getting these people phones, would they not be better served with some other assistance?  Let’s start with clean dry clothes and a warm place to sleep and some warm food.  Let’s get them some medical care, including mental health.  Let’s teach them what constitutes and emergency.  While I am certain that was an emergency to him, that call could very well take away from a real life and death situation. There are other numbers for non emergency stuff and that should be the number he used. Truth be told if he had called sanitation he most probably would have learned that they pick up and discard full trash bags left alone.

Some folks are there on the street because that is where they want to be, I get that.  Some are there because of mental illness.  Some are there because they have no training to get a job or are wrapped up in some sort of substance abuse problem and waiting to hit “true bottom.” Some are undoubtedly there because of “shit happens.

These folks don’t need a cell phone or internet, they need help!  There is no money to be made in helping these folks however; giving them something tangible like a cell phone and allowing them to vote without a picture ID makes perfect sense to the government, and creates “more useful idiots.”

 The purpose of this diatribe is to offer a solution to the problem.  Unlike Washington and the uber greedy, I think outside the box.  So, take that cell phone money and cable TV money and all of those other “universal fees” that Carter started, Clinton pushed through and Obama expanded upon and do this.

 Set aside government land outside of large cities that is “farm worthy.”  Enlist faith based groups, and other groups like habitat for humanity and set these folks up farms. 

I am not talking about buying $150K tractors, just land and some modest accommodations and some hand tools while they make it a working business.  A mule pulling a plow worked for our forefathers, maybe that could be located until they could earn their own stuff.  Using the habitat for humanity model, they must put in sweat equity…  I would say they must stay clean, pass drug test etc but that is just common sense, isn’t it?

 Farming is not rocket science but, it is becoming a lost art.  Kids today who grow up on the farm are leaving it at alarming rates.  Involve the Aggies in teaching these folks the principles of farming.  As the population continues to grow, does it not make sense that we could use some more farmers?

 Offer this to the street people that don’t want to be on the street.

Offer this to the poor and downtrodden trapped in desperate situations; in neighborhoods that are virtual war zones with drug and gang activity.  Offer them a way out, a hand up.

 Find leaders among these people to self police themselves. Assist these folks to regain some sense of self worth. 

 First, get them medical help including mental and drug rehab.  Part of that is learning how to farm.  They can learn to farm, run a business and sell their product on the markets.  Subsequently they can make profits and purchase tractors and what have you.  If they could just feed themselves, that would be a huge win! It would be a “shot!”

I would also offer these types of programs to the 75 thousand currently in prison for non-violent drug offenses. Put ankle monitors on them and give them a chance to re-deem themselves.  Prison is no place to “rehabilitate oneself.”  Prison is a good place to learn how to be a smarter criminal. What if we had them help the others to become something more than a lost soul.

 If we could get 75 thousand out of prison which the American people are currently paying to house,feed and manage, as well as help the poor to re-gain their lives and self worth, would this not be “giving them a shot” Mr. President?  Would this not be “spreading the wealth,” in a way that makes sense?  

Wealth is not just money Mr. President, it is knowledge.  If I give poor people money and phones and other stuff I am enabling the poor to stay poor and in effect, I am crippling them.  I am giving them a handout, instead of a hand up!  All they learn is how to take.. Kennedy said, “ask what you can do” (paraphrased) Should we not teach them to fish?

 If I take currently non-productive people and give them a sense of purpose; is that not giving them a shot?  

Instead of kicking this can down the road people, we need to take ownership of it and make it our problem; instead of our grandchildren’s’.  We need more givers than takers and it starts now.

There are smarter people out there than I, and possibly with enough “think tank” collective from the American people, maybe something good can happen.  We have enough bad things on the news each and every day, it is time for something good, don’t you think?

Here is the challenge to you the readers.  I am not trying to get anything out of this.  This is my way of giving back. Writing a letter to the white house would end up in file 13…the bin.  One voice in the wind is one voice.  I need millions of voices.  The only way that this has a chance is to re-blog, re-post, re-tweet and make it as viral as possible.  If enough read it, someone with some “influence” will get this to the right person or people. Maybe some Hollywood type that is tired of his or her tax dollars going to keep non-violent drug offenders locked up might think outside the box as well.

Let’s give this administration a positive way that they can “fundamentally transform this country in a good way” by teaching those that need help, how to help themselves.

Yes there are details that need sorting out and I would offer that private citizens do it.  Maybe, just maybe some benevolent Capitalist might have some good ideas or contacts, or a way to help.  If the government gets involved too heavily with the details, we will have another 9000 pages of tax code, 60 thousand earmarks, amendments creating turtle tunnels in the tundra, and nothing will ever happen to help these people.  This process needs to be streamlined and someplace like Detroit might make a good pilot as that place “like Chicago” is a war-zone.

These kids need an out and learning how to take from the government is not it.  Learning how to not get shot walking to school, or how to look innocent in a lineup is not what they need to be learning.

This would also work at the state level.  How about it Mr. Perry, can you make this work and show the Country /World how Texans take care of things?

 

Some prisons have farms already, are some of those inmates candidates to teach others?

 

-Best to you and those that you care about, now get reposting… Thanks!

“Schools are a pipeline to prison.”

 Those words were spoken by our not so illustrious AG, not so long ago.  I don’t know where this man got his degree but, I firmly suspect it came out of a package with a little blue man with a dog by his side as the logo.

 

The problems in our society are not a mystery as to how they happened and the “fix” is really not that esoteric either.  The simple facts are that there is no easy fix.

 

To repair the problem one first has to identify where the problems started and reverse the trend.  Any pilot knows that when you get into trouble or off course or what have you the first thing is not some knee jerk response but, slow small course corrections.  

 

It still boggles my mind that we are where we are at and the AG makes such a lame statement on national TV.  The answer he says is to “give minorities a pass.  Don’t correct them as harshly as you would someone who is not a minority.”

 

There are two basic problems.  The breakdown of the family unit, (no dad around) and the schools have been neutered by those that feel that grading with red pens or reprimanding children or heaven forbid, spanking a child is just simply not done!  You might damage their self esteem!  The parents have gone as crazy by giving into their children’s empty threats of “give me my way or I will hurt myself, I will cut my self and then you will be sorry!”  “Oh ok honey, here is your iPhone back and I have upped your data plan, please don’t hurt yourself.”  Kids have taken “I will hold my breath” one step further to cutting or worse.  If they do this parents, they need more help than you can give them with your parenting skills, seek help!

 

Consistent boundary setting is a lost concept today.  “Explain to the “child” I really wish you wouldn’t do that because there will be consequences to your actions if you do but, that is your decision.  I am keeping the phone for X weeks as I told you, because you did not do what you were supposed to….” 

 

When you set their expectation that “if they do or don’t do” as the case may be the consequence will be X,Y,or Z than you must follow through each and every time.

 

The legal system is real good about setting boundaries for all of us in that if we speed, and get caught, we will get a ticket which cost us money, time and yes it could be embarrassing.

 

When I was in school if we did something that was even slightly egregious, it usually meant a visit to the dean, coach or principal which usually ended up with a few swats and depending upon the offence, may be followed up with after school detention.

 

If you check the charts of people in prison in this country today you will see that there is a direct correlation between that rise in prison population and this drive to neuter the teachers from disciplining your child!  There are 2.2 million people in prison in the US, 75K from non-violent drug offenses.  If you could do the math you would quickly see that we have made an industry out of housing inmates! 

 

Let’s take that one step further, of the people that are currently on the government dole, how many of them could have benefited from a little “course correction” in school?  There is such a thing as character, and I think that between missing dad’s or sperm donors; and the lack of programs for young people and quite frankly the “Stuff” that these teachers are forced to teach, you have the elements for the perfect storm of mediocrity and or “failure as a people.”

 

For instance, if we could re-direct some of that money currently going out to welfare or to house prisoners and put it towards the space program, we no doubt would have people living on MARS by now.  Instead we have to waste our precious resources housing prisoners and paying people not to work. 

 

How about educating those “Americans” that would like to learn, before worrying about educating illegal aliens?  This is not a diatribe against Hispanics or others who come here to have a better life; it is however a statement that those that are here “legally” should have fist shot and not the other way around as we are currently doing in Texas and Mr. Christie is proposing doing!

 

The goal of school is to turn out taxpayers.  School by definition is part of the process and tax payers invest in you, your children and so forth in hopes that you will be a productive citizen. While I doubt few get up in the morning and say, “today I want to be a better criminal,” there are probably some who do, and that is a real loss, not only for them but for all of society.

 

Give the schools the power to discipline all children equally.  That means make the course correction in a way that will get through to that child.  If the consequence is embarrassing and painful enough, the odds of the kid doing something to earn it again are much lower than if you simply throw them onto the street!  You were right about one thing MR AG… We need to show these kids that “we do love them and care for them, and one way you do that is by not sparing the rod!

 

The numbers don’t lie and I am aghast that no one has put it together and done something about it.  So get out those red pens teachers!  Not everyone wins a trophy and some need to see a big red “F” to get their attention.  No child needs to be on the street or swept aside in some “program” that is indeed a pathway to prison.  Make some course corrections before it gets that far.  How about spending some of that money allocated for “prisons” on programs aimed at working with those families with “no dad at home.”

 

It is not rocket science MR Holder but, if we would take some steps now, just maybe we could get to teaching “rocket science” instead of “how to look innocent in a lineup.” What kids see at home today they will no doubt re-peat in their lives thus adding to the already growing prison populations, broken families and homes and “Detroits,” all over America!  Stop the madness!

 

Happy 2014!