Saturday, November 28, 2009

Congrats to the Handley Judges and all of Handley Nation!

The Judges soundly defeated the Park View Patriots today at James Wilkins Jr. Stadium at the Handley Bowl by the score of 33 to 7 while claiming the Region II Championship.

The Judges will host Bruton High School next Saturday at 1pm at the Division III State Semi-Final.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

**UPDATE** Who will become Shenandoah University’s next Athletic Director(s)?

Wonder what is taking Shenandoah University administration so long to fill the voided position left by former Athletic Director JOHN HILL, ANNOUNCEMENT APRIL 9, 2009 when he was named as Tiffin University’s new Head Basketball Coach/Associate VP for Development.  The delay can be perceived from a couple of different angles, to save money and/or as which seems to be the most logical, to ensure the right person is chosen.

The combo team of co-interim Athletic Directors, KIM SCRUTON and KEVIN ANDERSON which were both very sound choices for co-interim candidates as the perception is that its working pretty efficiently in their 5th and 6th years respectively at SU.  Kevin Anderson is a locally home grown product and has Division I experience to help the Athletic Department grow to the next level.  Kim Scruton is eager to be a vibrant SU ambassador within the community.  Both are currently pursing their PHD’s.

Shenandoah University has a great opportunity for the majority of its sports programs to be successful at a regional/national level only if the “country club atmosphere” is removed.  There needs to be performance/accountability protocols put into place and enforced or it will just remain as status quo.  One would be hard press to believe that the administrators want SU to be known for having a country club atmosphere within the athletic department.  This type of atmosphere is referenced because what kind of example is an unnamed coaching staff setting while consuming beverages on the bus that were not soda pops while in route to away trips?  Worse yet, on the trip back home, from the perspective of the bus driver, anyone who wanted this beverage that was purchased by one of the members of the coaching staff was free to do so.  There was no discretion about the beverage being consumed as the trash can on the bus was full of the empties.  This is a very much factual as this was shared from the bus driver himself of the Charter Bus service. 

The sports at SU are very vital for some student/athletes as it can have very positive life changing affects.  The baseball program enjoyed an epic year in winning the Mid-Atlantic Regional tournament in Salisbury, MD last May and in return earned a berth to the World Series in Appleton, WI.  The 2009 baseball team went the most far of any team in the history of SU sports.  Coach Barr started it back with the startup of football and with the success gained in just the 3rd , 4th and 5th year of the program; we saw the fruits of his labor and desire to make those young men better human beings.  Not sure what needs to come about to turn the football program back around as its only won 10 out of the last 46 games since the 2005 season.  Coach Anderson’s baseball program has countless success stories off the diamond where these student/athletes have evolved into outstanding young men.  There are a lot more positive things than just baseball.  Coach Kotynski’s softball program has enjoyed much success over the last few years.  Along with Coach Guyant-Holloway (women's basketball) and Coach Marrocco’s (track-n-field/cross country) programs are making very positive strides and constantly hear nothing but positive things about those coaches.

With the recent success with the mentioned programs, can the future of SU athletics afford to take a step backward with a new AD to be selected from outside the regional area?  There will be a learning curve for a new AD not chosen from within the regional area.  This person would have to learn who is who and develop relationships which need to be very sincere and long lasting.

The entire community of Winchester would love to see a very successful sports program at Shenandoah University.  One could easily foresee SU sports reaching a level between a Bridgewater College and JMU only if it’s the desires of the administration.  It will be a win/win for everyone.  One can only imagine the opportunities that could present themselves as result of having a successful sports program.

To close, is it the goal of the Shenandoah University administration to have a successful sports program for the majority of the programs?  If so, then are not the new Athletic Director(s) to be chosen currently filling the position already?

[Posted 10/18/09 @12:24am]

*** New Comments added *** 

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Pub needs for the Citizens of the Shenandoah Valley & Tri-State region to respond

Did you know?

Not-for-profit hospitals (NFPs), have operated free from federal and state taxes because they have promised the government that they would operate as a charity provider of health care for the uninsured and that they would not engage in business "directly or indirectly, for the benefit of private interests." In reality, some NFPs do just the opposite:

    * Charging their uninsured patients significantly more than those who have Insurance, Medicare or Medicaid;

    * Pursuing the poor or uninsured relentlessly by aggressive and humiliating collection techniques;

    * Rampantly violating federal and state prohibition against profiteering by "private interests, " through either "connected" board members and/or physicians whose for-profit businesses are formed and subsidized by the "tax-free" organization.

Certain NFPs, and their subsidiaries who employ the same business model, have amassed and hoarded billions of dollars in cash and marketable securities that otherwise would have been available to provide charity care to those who were contemplated by the tax exemption. Moreover, enormous property and revenues have been isolated from taxation, the effect of which has bestowed upon the NFPs greater liquidity than that possessed by most state and local governments.

Lawsuits have been filed against NFPs asking the Court simply to require the Defendants to honor their obligation to provide charity care to those who need it, and to cease the cronyism to favored board members or physicians whose businesses are being unlawfully subsidized by the perverse business practices summarized above.

(1) Were you a person, who was/is  in "need" or was/is "uninsured", do you know what your options were when you visited one of the facilities of Valley Health Systems?  Were those options explained to you?

(2) Did VH's collection department pursue you relentlessly with aggressive and humiliating collection techniques?

(3) Did VH garnish your wages or force you into bankruptcy?

(4) Did you get a discount off the charges as a result of being an uninsured patient?

If you answered NO to question #1 - please document and send The Pub your story.

If you answered YES to question #2 - please document and send The Pub your story.

If you answered YES to question #3 - please document and send The Pub your story.

If you answered NO to question #4 - please document and send The Pub your story.

*** Note (pdf) files are now OPEN to all for review ***

Valley Health's previous billing policy Valley Health January 15, 2009 Financial Aid Policy basically stated the following:
- Please pay us
- If you cannot pay us, make arrangements to pay us
- If you are uninsured, we want a deposit

Now ... if you were a "needy" or "uninsured" patient, did you know your options?  Were you aware that IF you are uninsured, that you are suppose to get a discount off the charges?  Now take a look at
NEW updated billing policy at the following ... ... Do you see a difference in the two now?

What in the world happen between years 2004 and 2005 when the community benefit had a negative variance of nearly $21million?  In 2004, VH states that their community benefit to the regional area was $59,000,000 BUT in 2005, it fell to just $38,168,146.  Folks, $21,000,000 is not peanuts, something epic took place here!

Review this document: Community Benefit Trend 2004 - 2008

Do you want to see an interesting side-by-side comparison with a "for-profit" hospital?  Then just review this link : Winchester Medical Center / Lewis-Gale Medical Center side-by-side comparison and do you see anything that jumps off the paper at you?

To close ... a few stories to share ...

- A man (uninsured individual) went to his Dr. and he needed an MRI, the man said Doc, how much is the MRI, I need to know since I do not have insurance.  Doc replied the MRI's have went down in the last year or so, should be around $800 bucks.  What do you think his bill was?  $1400 bucks ... now, did he get a discount?

- Remember the man who was featured on TV3 that was under RT. 37 bridge begging for work because he lost his job? 
No need to go into details on that story, but kudos to TV3 shedding much light on his situation.

- A man (who had insurance thru Wal-Mart with max payout of $25k) ... well, he had the grand-slam $125k open heart surgery and he was left with $100k outstanding.  VH sends him a bill requesting $400-$500 bucks a month.  I was quick to reply, Mr. Such-n-Such ... I know right now you are a "charity care" candidate ... he was quick to reply, let me finish my story as he kept fighting the system, he finally got near the top and a week later he received a letter stating that his outstanding balance was ZERO dollars.  Now the man did share, IF Valley Health would of requested him to pay a $100 a month, he clearly stated, I would have started to pay ... and I was quick to reply, yes for the rest of your life!

Folks ... those are just a few documented stories where the perception of the "needy" and "uninformed" have been taken advantage of ... Please help the mission of The Pibbster's Pub in spreading the word and we need more documentation of such stories as described above.

Keep sending The Pub your stories!

Bottom-line ... the mission of THE PIBBSTER's PUB is to keep the citizenry more informed and if that is a crime my friends, then we are guilty as charged.

Respectfully shared and God Bless!
Your friends at The Pibbster's Pub

Please document & e-mail The Pub your story to the following :

Please help us to help you to be more informed!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Cost of Dying (CBS 60 Minutes video segment)

Patients' Last Two Months of Life Cost Medicare $50 Billion Last Year; Is There a Better Way?

(CBS)  Every medical study ever conducted has concluded that 100 percent of all Americans will eventually die. This comes as no great surprise, but the amount of money being spent at the very end of people's lives probably will.

Last year, Medicare paid $50 billion just for doctor and hospital bills during the last two months of patients' lives - that's more than the budget of the Department of Homeland Security or the Department of Education.

And it has been estimated that 20 to 30 percent of these medical expenditures may have had no meaningful impact. Most of the bills are paid for by the federal government with few or no questions asked.

You might think this would be an obvious thing for Congress and the president to address as they try to reform health care. But what used to be a bipartisan issue has become a politically explosive one - a perfect example of the costs that threaten to bankrupt the country and how hard it's going to be to rein them in.

Bridgeforth Field "makeover"

Day 1 - 11/17 Bridgeforth Field infield "makeover"

Day 2 - 11/18 Bridgeforth Field infield "makeover"

Day 3 - 11/20 Bridgeforth Field infield "makeover"

Day 4 - 11/21 Bridgeforth Field infield "makeover"

Came up with a new "catch-phrase" for the Spring of 2010, let me know what you think?

Come out-n-watch SU Baseball play the best darn game ever played on dirt @ "The Bridge"

For ballplayers, safer days ahead

Kudos to the Winchester Parks and Rec board members and officials for acknowledging the safety concerns with Bridgeforth Field with the start of the regrade on the infield Tuesday by Premier Sports Fields of Bealeton.

Just in the last year, a Misericordia University first baseman lost three teeth, a Handley High School shortstop received a concussion, and a Shenandoah University player received a broken nose that required surgery this fall. Those are injuries that I am aware of as a result of that unsafe infield that was about as safe as playing Russian roulette with baseballs hit at the infielders.

I went to lunch on Tuesday with Bob Benyo, vice president of Premier Sports Fields and discovered that we have several mutual friends in the Bealeton area. I inquired about the price of the regrade and the new sod. Mr. Benyo replied, “Jeff, we cut them a break because the other vice president of Premier Sports Fields’ son, if I recall accurately, attends Shenandoah University and is a member of the football team.”

I was quick to thank Mr. Benyo for their generosity and shook his hand.

To close, a quick shout-out to the students of Handley High School’s carpentry class, under the direction of instructor Jimmy Robertson, who are doing outstanding work on the 32-year-old pressbox and dugouts, along with a new backstop.

Jeff Milburn
The Winchester Star
November 20, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thought for the day!

"Anything that is not of the truth is in the dark"

Is this a sign of the times with the conversion of 2-way traffic on Braddock and Cameron?

Are these pictures attached a view of what the citizenry should expect with the Delivery drivers with the conversion of 2-way traffic on Braddock and Cameron?  I personally do have any issue with the 2-way but someone (a Civil Traffic Engineer) was quick to point out, you forget about the truck traffic, well I witnessed that 1st hand today.

The Civil Traffic Engineer response to these pictures:

 "Someone did not do turning radius minimums before they line painted."

 My only question about the 2-way conversion was ... "If it's not broke, why fix it?"

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thought for the day! Maybe the quote of the year on Healthcare Reform Bill?

Wise man told me just yesterday ...

"Milburn, paper lay still, they can write anything on it"

For the record, the successful farmer said I could share it BUT I could not share his name.  Quote was made locally in 22601 and when it was "googled", it was nowhere to be found on the net.

How 'bout that! :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Right on, Rev. Luttrell / Where is common sense? (TheWinchesterStar)

Right on, Rev. Luttrell

I thoroughly agree with the Rev. Isaac Luttrell in his letter “Where is common sense?” (Your Views, Nov. 11), but I would like to go one step further and state that it is no longer safe to walk or ride a bicycle either.

The removal of the traffic lights at the intersections of Amherst and Washington streets and Amherst and Braddock streets was definitely a step backwards. A pedestrian has to take his life in his hands every time he crosses the street, especially at Amherst and Braddock streets which is not even a four-way stop now.

There are no stop signs for drivers on Braddock Street, and they just sail through with no regard for those trying to cross. And now with it being two-way, you not only have to be concerned with the traffic from the left, but also the right, not to mention those coming out of the parking garage!

I would say you could put this in the category of “What were they thinking?” But that would be incorrect. It's more like they weren’t thinking, at least not about the safety of pedestrians.

I propose they reinstall the traffic lights with a pedestrian crosswalk like they have at the intersection of Loudoun and Piccadilly streets.

Kathleen Wilson
Mountain Falls
November 17, 2009

Where is common sense?

Well, folks, it was bound to happen. I could see the handwriting on the wall. It is one thing to set the clock back in fall, but something else when you turn the calendar back more than 50 years.

Back when Larry Omps was mayor of Winchester, I mentioned to him about the street situation in Winchester. There were times that out-of-town people would ask for directions how to get through Winchester. Some would even call it a “hick town”.

That bothered me at first, but now when I see what the boys have done to Winchester, it makes me sick. So I have to agree with them.

They need to change the signs from historic district to prehistoric district.

I remember the days when people came to town on horseback and in buggies. In 1951, Braddock and Cameron streets were made one-way to move traffic more efficiently. Every time they have done something with the streets over the last 12 to 18 years it has only decreased the flow of traffic.

The boys moved the sidewalks out into the street so those making a right-hand turn either run over the sidewalk or out into oncoming traffic. Now they have changed Cameron and Braddock streets back to two-way traffic. Putting up four-way stop signs at intersections is only for unlearned drivers and will just slow down traffic that much more.

If the boys keep it up, the only way to get in and out of Winchester in the near future will be walking or riding a bicycle.

Rev. Isaac Luttrell
Frederick County
November 11, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

JMU's new Baseball/Softball complex

JMU's new Baseball/Softball complex  Updated slideshow as of November 14, 2009

Construction progress pics of JMU's new baseball/softball complex

A ‘simple fix’ and A much-welcome ‘Welcome’ (Letters to Editor)

A ‘simple fix’

This is an open letter to Winch­ester Public Services Director Per­ry Eisenach.

I read with great interest your comments in Friday’s Star about traffic flow in Winchester.

I agree with you, the timing of the lights on Pleasant Valley Road and Valley Avenue does help traffic flow. But there is something else your department could do that would help traffic flow around this city as much as timing the traffic lights and would not cost $200,000 per intersection.

It really is a simple fix. Desig­nate the right-most lane at all the three-lane intersections right turn only.

I sit at various intersections around town, mostly northbound on Pleasant Valley at East Cork Street and wait forever in a line of traffic that at certain times of the day is several hundred yards long. The reason we are all sitting there wasting time and gas is most of us want to turn right onto Cork Street, but one driver up front wants to go straight through the intersection but didn’t want to get out of the right lane into the center lane.

An example of how the intersec­tions should be laid out is at the in­tersection of Apple Blossom Drive and Jubal Early Drive, traveling north on Apple Blossom Drive ex­iting the mall and crossing Jubal Early. There is a straight through lane, a left-turn lane and a right­tur n-only lane.

Another example is heading north on Pleasant Valley at Berryville Avenue. The lanes at these intersections are correct and allow for a good flow of traffic and no long lines of right- turn traffic waiting because someone up front in the line doesn’t need to turn right.

There is more and more talk these days about being “geen” and conserving energy and such. Perhaps now is the time to change these intersections to improve traf­fic flow even more and, in the end, save gas and energy. It’s just a good idea for the times.

November 16, 2009
The Winchester Star

A much-welcome ‘Welcome’

Kudos to City Councilors, past and present, who made the decision to convert Braddock and Cameron streets to two-way traffic!

I travel Valley Avenue (U.S. 11) every day, and it is wonderful being able to go north on Braddock from Handley Boulevard. It is as if our city now says “Welcome” instead of “Do not enter.”

Fast-moving traffic belongs on Va. 37 and not in the “Heart of Winchester,” for there is much to see, do, and experience in Old Town.

To Perry Eisenach and his staff, I commend you for all of your hard work and a smooth transition.

Thanks to all for a job well done!

Kimberly P. Burke
November 13, 2009

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Virginia High School League Financial Highlights for FY-June 08, 07 and 06

There has always been interest in what type of revenue does the VHSL bring in each year.  Well, The Pibbster's Pub is always more than happy to share information so that the citizenry can be more informed.


Direct Public Support
Program Service Revenue
Membership Dues & Assessments
Interest on Savings & Temp Cash Investments
Total Revenue
Program Services (Expenses)
Management & General
Total Expenses
Excess of (Deficit)
Net Assests of Fund Balances at Beginning of Year
Other changes in net assests or fund balances
Net Assests of Fund Balances at End of Year

Kenneth Tilley (Exec Director)
Contrib. to employee benefit plan/Deferred plans
Robert Button (Asst. Director)
Contrib. to employee benefit plan/Deferred plans
Jim Garman (CFO)
Contrib. to employee benefit plan/Deferred plans
Tom Zimorski (Deputy Director)
Contrib. to employee benefit plan/Deferred plans
Joyce Sisson (Asst. Director)
Contrib. to employee benefit plan/Deferred plans
Bruce Patrick (Asst. Director)
Contrib. to employee benefit plan/Deferred plans
Hannah-Catherine Muro (Director of Develop)
Contrib. to employee benefit plan/Deferred plans
Tom Dolan (Asst. Director)
Contrib. to employee benefit plan/Deferred plans
Lisa Giles (Asst. Director)
Contrib. to employee benefit plan/Deferred plans
Lora Bickley (Office Mgr)
Contrib. to employee benefit plan/Deferred plans

Gross Receipts from Admission, merchandise sold or services performed, or furnishing of facilities in any activity that is related to the organization's charitable, etc, purpose :

 - 6,648,555

 - 2,582,567

 - 2,508,573

 - 1,814,950

[Source: IRS990 that is open to the public for inspection]

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Local area High School Football results

Clarke County (47) @ Madison (7) ... Congrats to Eagles for perfect (10-0) regular season!

Region II Playoffs:

Millbrook (0) @ Goochland (21)

James Wood (27) vs. Loudoun County (25) ... Sat. 1pm @  The Handley Bowl

The Colonels survived to hold on for their 1st playoff victory since 1970 beating William Fleming for the Group AAA crown according to sources from VAPREPS, namely "21base".

The Raiders missed a last minute FG.  The play of the game was when Loudoun County was moving east toward Valley Ave facing a 4th down and goal but elected to go for the 1st down vs. attempting to add 3 more points to the 11 to 7 lead.  Fortunately for the Colonels, the Raiders missed the FG.  The next series, JW's Brock Lockhart broke open for an 84yd TD run which completely shifted the big MO to put JW up 14 to 11.

Next Friday night ... The Colonels will travel to Sherando along with the majority of the citizenry that will be invading Arrow Head Stadium on the campus of Sherando High School.

FBI knew of the Ft. Hood shooter and his views in Dec. 2008, but did nothing with it ... PC will get you every time ...

The Federal Bureau of Non-Investigation

On Monday, ABC News first reported that Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan had reached out to al Qaeda associates prior to his attack. There were good reasons to speculate that one of these al Qaeda figures is Anwar al Awlaki -- an al Qaeda recruiter who acted as a “spiritual advisor” to two of the 9/11 hijackers. Awlaki preached at a mosque Hasan attended in 2001 and praised Hasan’s attack on his web site Monday morning.

It turns out that informed speculation was correct, according to the Associated Press and the New York Times. Beginning in December of last year, authorities found that Hasan communicated with Awlaki “10 to 20 times.” But no formal investigation was ever launched. Why?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Council to honor FOIA regulations, Aug. 18 closed session violated meeting rules

Council to honor FOIA regulations
Aug. 18 closed session violated meeting rules

By Cynthia Cather Burton
The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — A City Council panel has committed a procedural violation of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, according to Maria J.K. Everett, executive director of the Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council.

The council’s Finance and Administration Committee held a closed-session meeting Aug. 18 to discuss a memorandum of understanding drafted by Shenandoah University.

When it began the closed session, the committee cited the portion of the Freedom of Information Act that allows closed meetings to confer with legal counsel about a real estate matter.

Everett said the committee correctly cited the code section and the purpose for the closed session, but it failed to identify the subject of the special meeting.

During closed sessions, the public and news media are not allowed to be present.

If people are being “kicked out,” they have a right to know “some idea of the subject,” Everett said Thursday from her Richmond office. “It doesn’t have to be gruelingly specific ... but just a reference to real estate or legal advice is insufficient and a procedural violation of the law.”

The committee’s motion to move into a closed session should have included a subject, such as the joint venture with the university on projects, she offered as an example. “The subject is required.”

Without it, the public has no idea about the nature of the discussions that public officials have behind closed doors, Everett said.

The minutes from the Aug. 18 meeting, for instance, contain no references to the memorandum of understanding, making it difficult for the public to know when the topic was discussed by officials in closed session.

“They did violate the rights granted to the public and press under FOIA,” Everett said. “They are obligated to do it correctly, and they did not. They can be sued on that basis.”

City Council President Jeff Buettner, who attended the Aug. 18 meeting, said the council typically cites only the code section and purpose before going into a closed session, but does not state a subject.

“I think it’s fair to state that we probably haven’t been as specific as we should,” he said. “But it’s not because we’re trying to hide anything.”

Everett called the practice “an ignorance issue, more than anything.”

Buettner said the council acts on advice from its attorney. From now on, as much information as possible will be included in motions for closed sessions, he said, as long as it does not jeopardize the city government’s position on “any specific issues.”

City Attorney Anthony “Tony” Williams declined to comment, citing attorney-client privilege.

For the remaining story in The Winchester Star, following this link :
Council to honor FOIA regulations, Aug. 18 closed session violated meeting rules

Buettner explains decision to hike city attorney's salary nearly $20k

A special session of the Winchester Common Council was held on Tuesday, October 6, 2009 in the Council Chambers, Rouss City Hall. President Jeffrey Buettner called the meeting to order at 6:59 p.m.

PRESENT: President Jeff Buettner; Vice-Mayor Michael Butler; Councilors Evan Clark, John Hill, Milt McInturff, Les Veach and John Willingham; Vice-President Art Major; Mayor Elizabeth Minor (9)

The perception was that the local media was not present or could not stick around after this executive session on Tuesday, October 6, 2009  due to their respective deadlines.
• Motion to convene in Executive Session pursuant to §2.2-3711(A)(1) of the Code of Virginia to discuss a personnel matter regarding assignment, appointment, performance, and salaries of specific public appointees.

Councilor Willingham moved to convene in executive session. The motion was seconded then
unanimously approved by voice-vote.

At 7:01 p.m. President Buettner stated that executive session would begin after a five minute recess.

Upon returning at 7:44 p.m., council members approved a motion to return to open meeting and each member certified that only public business matters lawfully exempted from open meeting requirements of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act were discussed during the closed meeting, and that only those public business matters identified in the motion which convened the closed meeting were heard, discussed, or considered during the closed meeting.

A roll call vote was taken, the ayes and nays being recorded as shown below:


Councilor Buettner Aye
Councilor Butler Aye
Councilor Clark Aye
Councilor Hill Aye
Councilor Major Aye
Councilor McInturff Aye
Mayor Minor Aye
Councilor Veach Aye
Councilor Willingham Aye

Page 2 October 6, 2009

• President Buettner presented a motion to increase the City Attorney’s annual salary to $124,000.  The motion was seconded by Councilor Willingham and then unanimously approved by voice-vote.  President Buettner stated that Council would ask the City Manager to look at employee salaries throughout the City and would need to pay them competitively. During the next budget cycle, the other employees would be compensated.

A quote from a local reporter in response to this increase which the local media was not aware until someone from downtown notified The Pub on Wednesday, October 21, 2009 in return was shared with the local media outlets which produced a front page story in the NVD on Thursday, October 22nd.  The Winchester Star ran a story on page B5 of the local section the same day.

The night I DIDN'T stick around after the "executive session" ... actually I think no one from the media stuck around. Keep in mind, this is NOT an election year for council.

All media reps who attended the Oct. 6 meeting left when council convened in closed session and no one returned.

The length of closed sessions are never known beforehand so media reps who face deadline issues often have to return to their offices in enough time to file stories. I can't say whether council realized everyone had left and THEN decided to act or if they would not have taken action were any of us still at the meeting.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Valley Health may feel squeeze (The Winchester Star)

Valley Health may feel squeeze

By Rebecca Layne
The Winchester Star
November 11, 2009

Winchester — Health-care reform was the major topic among many discussed by Valley Health officials during their semi-annual meeting Tuesday.

Company Chairman Dixon Whitworth told the crowded room that a change is needed to sustain the viability of the nation’s health care.

He also spoke of the effect on Valley Health of possible cuts of $11 million to $12 million in Medicare reimbursements.

“The magnitude of such costs will have significant impact on our jobs and health-care services,” said Whitworth.

Folks, the Pub has shared a different side of Valley Health System that displays a much healthier financial position than the masses of the regional community is informed about.

Please keep in mind, from years 2001 through 2005, the Winchester Medical Center profits made epic leaps and bounds with an jaw dropping 383%.

Wonder if Mr. Whitworth is trying to say that Valley Health will have to raise the "charges" on their services to overcome this revenue shortfall?

Valley Health has made epic strides in Excess of Revenue (Profits) since 2001

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A new direction? Winchester flunks Engineering 101 (TheWinchesterStar)

A new direction?
Winchester flunks Engineering 101

By Michael Shea

While I suspect that additional traffic in Winchester was in part due to the glorious last gasp of summer, the condition demonstrated that government — at every level — is subject to the law of unintended consequences. Namely, by making Braddock and Cameron two-way, what was once a one-minute trip from Piccadilly to Handley Boulevard, now takes no less than six minutes.

The timing of the lights is set to ensure each is red upon arrival. The lines of cars at each light were no less than 10 deep, and just turning off Braddock at Handley took two full cycles of the light at a minimum. None of this was because of any “confusion.” By cramming the same amount of cars from two lanes down to one, we get what any first-grader could have deduced: traffic jams.

Thanks, City Council — you’ve now guaranteed I will never go down to the historic district again. I gather I won’t be alone. More businesses will close, and the number of shuttered buildings will continue to increase.

Whatever you paid the traffic engineer to calculate that this madness would make traffic flow more freely, it was too much. Same number of cars plus fewer lanes never equal flowing traffic. Engineering 101. Time for a refund.

Instead, I suspect those council members voting for this will defend their decision, asking that we “give it time” to work, and that we, the driving public, who, while perfectly capable of navigating two-way streets in every other part of the city and county, must be seizing up with confusion the minute we turn onto Braddock. It’s the typical “we know best and you the public don’t” excuse we’re all getting tired of lately. Sorry, no sale.

Do everyone a favor — admit you goofed, pull up the striping, and restore the old signage. A costly lesson, but not nearly so costly as revenues lost to business transactions that will never take place because no one wants to fight the traffic downtown.

Remember the adage: “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” Braddock wasn’t “broke,” but it sure is now!

Michael Shea is a resident of Stephenson.
Open Forum, Winchester Star, November 10, 2009

Sunday, November 8, 2009

2007 Winchester Medical Center / Lewis-Gale Medical Center side-by-side comparison

To give the citizenry a better understanding of the differences between a "not-for-profit" and "for-profit" hospital, THE PIBBSTER's PUB wants to share with all a side-by-side comparison between Winchester Medical Center and Lewis-Gale Medical Center.

Winchester Lewis-Gale

Medical Center Medical Center

Winchester, VA Salem, VA
Licensed Beds: 411 521
Staffed Beds: 411 216
Licensed NISCU bassinets: 24 0
Staffed NISCU bassinets: 24 0
Staffed normal newborn bassinets: 12 5
Patient days: 110,155 69,613
Admissions: 25,318 13,405
FT equivalents - Payroll: 2,297 1,138
FT equivalents - Contract: 140 58

Gross Inpatient Revenue: 409,766,805 347,615,243
Gross Outpatient Revenue: 263,761,298 252,975,201
Gross Patient Revenue: 673,528,103 600,590,201
Contractual Allowance: 234,014,441 385,083,587
Charity Care: 25,752,576 7,961,893
Indigent Care Trust: 0 6,040
Net Patient Revenue: 413,761,086 207,544,964
Other Operating Revenue: 13,788,825 2,539,328

Current Assets: 207,181,874 36,828,681
Net Fixed Assets: 276,623,250 112,204,986
Other Assets: 220,606,786 93,385,839
Total Assets: 704,411,910 242,419,506
Current Liabilities: 43,025,848 25,498,841
Long Term Liabilities: 207,765,314 41,232,819
Total Liabilities: 250,792,162 66,731,660
Fund Balance: 453,619,748 175,687,846

Labor Expense: 180,988,686 76,762,259
Non-Labor Expense: 145,327,697 78,477,511
Capital Expense: 37,317,267 21,729,361
Taxes: $162,362 $12,170,282
Bad-Debt Expense: 23,331,159 9,076,278
Total Operating Expense: 387,127,171 198,245,691
Operating Income: 40,422,740 11,838,601
Net Non-Operating gains: 26,195,223 157,705

Revenue & Gains

in excess of expenses (profits): $66,617,963 $11,996,306
Tax Status: Not-For-Profit Proprietary

In addition to other services offered, these facilities reported the following services available during fiscal year their Utilization Spread Sheets

Winchester Lewis-Gale

Medical Center Medical Center

Winchester, VA Salem, VA
Cardiac Catheterization: X X
Chemotheraphy: X X
Chronis Renal Dialsis: X X
Cobalt & Linear Accelerator Radiology: X X
Hyperbaric Therapy:
Lithotripshy: X X
Neonatal Intensive Care: X X
Organized Hospice Program:
Pain Management Program: X X
Wound Clinic: X X

[Source: Virginia Health Information, From Numbers to Knowledge]

Pricing Transparency:

Lewis-Gale Medical Center's Commitment to Pricing Transparency
We know that especially today, when so many people are uninsured or underinsured, it is important for individuals to have healthcare pricing information. We are committed to making this information available to consumers so they can better anticipate and understand their financial responsibilities and make informed healthcare decisions.

Because we know that healthcare is complex and that a general listing of prices for our common procedures will not meet everyone’s needs, we have developed a toll free number where consumers can contact us directly for a prospective service quote. Our goal in making this information easy to access is to remain a leader in key healthcare initiatives aimed at better patient care.

Click here for ... Lewis-Gale Medical Center Pricing Estimates

Please note when Valley Health's website was searched for "pricing estimates", there was nothing to be found.

Charity Care / Community Benefit:

Uninsured & Low-Income Patients - Charity Care by Lewis-Gale Medical Center (for-profit)
Americans who do not have health insurance constitute a sizable and growing problem for our society - a problem that touches not just patients, hospitals and physicians, but also employers and the government. In 2007, HCA Virginia provided $242 million in free charitable care to low-income, uninsured patients who needed care but could not afford to pay for it. While this effort is not a solution to the larger issue of the uninsured, it provides a meaningful benefit to thousands of Virginians annually.

Download our charity care and financial discount policy.

If you have further questions about charity care after reviewing our policy, you may call us at 800-799-6478.

Examples of donations HCA Virginia made in the past three years of what they gave away:
  •     $1.8 million to Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine
  •     $1 million to Virginia Western Community College Nursing and Radiology/Technology Program
  •     $1 million to John Tyler Community College Nursing School
  •     $1 million to J. Sargeant Reynolds Nursing School
  •     $500,000 to the VCU School of Nursing
  •     $300,000 to the Alleghany Highland YMCA
  •     $160,000 to the Science Museum of Virginia
  •     $140,000 to Virginia Tech
  •     $100,000 to the New River Community College RN Program
  •     $100,000 to the Friends of Loudoun County Mental Health
  •     $100,000 to Loudoun County Youth, Inc.
  •     $70,000 to the Radford University Family Health Clinic
  •     $63,000 to North Virginia Community College's NOVA HealthForce Coalition
  •     $50,000 to The Capitol Square Civil Rights Memorial Foundation

Ballpark naming rights sold to Lewis-Gale Medical Center, Avalanche Ballpark re-named Lewis-Gale Medical Center Field @ Salem Baseball Stadium on April 5, 2006

Click here for "About Lewis-Gale Medical Center Videos"

To review the entire Valley Health System's benefit to the regional area, click here: "Valley Health System's Community Benefit"

Click here for "Featured Videos by Valley Health"

Population Comparisons:

25,449 - City of Salem
25,878 - City of Winchester

92,967 - City of Roanoke
73,898 - Frederick County

Other areas population figures:

295,700 - Roanoke Metro Area

102,044 - Berkeley County, WV
36,663 - Warren County
40,777 - Shenandoah County
24,164 - Page County ... new hospital planned for future???
16,325 - Morgan County, WV
17,020 - City of Martinsburg, WV
22,574 - Hampshire County, WV
Hampshire Memorial Breaks Ground on $35 million on a New Hospital

Please keep in mind that Valley Health is purchasing the majority of the Regional hospitals and the perception is that the standard protocol is a brand new facility of $30 million.

On the web:
HCA Virginia Health System:  
Valley Health System:

Winchester Medical Center: 
Lewis-Gale Medical Center:

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A first time ever? Every NWD football will advance to the playoffs

According to several sources, the perception is that ever Northwestern District football team will be advancing to the Region II playoffs.

- Handley
- Sherando
- James Wood
- Skyline
- Millbrook

Wonder IF this is a 1st in VHSL history?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Bridgeforth infield : A-Turf or a regrade/sodded infield?

This pic below is what about $350-$400k (just an educated guess) will get you if an A-Turf infield is selected for Bridgeforth’s infield over the “regrade/new sod” which the perception for the cost for a renovated natural grass infield is less than $25k.

The answer to that question is as follows:

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael White []
Sent: Friday, November 06, 2009 9:30 AM
Subject: RE: Cost estimates for A-Turf infield @ Bridgeforth


To answer your questions…artificial turf vs. natural has been the discussion over the last couple of months when it comes to the infield at Bridgeforth.  We’ve seen prices range anywhere from $9 - $14 per square foot install costs for the turf.  That range includes all of your sub-construction, curb, drainage, infill, and turf.  The life span of that surface is roughly 10 years.  At the 10 year mark, you’re looking at 50 – 60% of that initial cost to pay for replacement infill and turf as all of your drainage and curbing remains intact.  The area we’ve been discussing converting to artificial turf is roughly 21,000 – 24,000 square feet or pretty close to your 150 x 150 estimate.  So, you’re basically looking at roughly $200,000 - $225,000 for construction and $100,000 - $120,000 after 10 years to replace it.  To install turf on an area that big would take anywhere between 3 – 5 weeks.  At the 10 year point or time of replacement, as it stands in 2009, almost 100% of that turf and infill would go to a landfill.  However, they’re working on having a viable recycling option.  Who knows what technology will be like in 10 years?  I would bet they have something figured out by then.

What is being discussed is laying a large square area of artificial turf that would go from the backstop and extend down each foul line 15 feet past where the infield skin stops.  You’re correct, the only dirt on the infield would be the mound and everything else would be covered with turf.  They use different color turf around the bases to give the appearance of cutouts.  The other option is covering the entire field with artificial turf.  That has it’s advantages too when you consider multi-use.  We could potentially play soccer, lacrosse, football, etc. in the outfield on artificial turf.  The infield only option is common at many colleges, high schools, parks, etc. mainly because of the cost.  To do the entire field would probably triple that figure easily.

As far as advantages go, you’re pretty much right on with what you listed.  But, it’s not realistic to expect to pay for the turf solely on your maintenance savings.  Some turf companies pitch that but I don’t think it’s 100% accurate.  We will no doubt see a reduction in our costs at Bridgeforth.  But, you still have to have someone groom the field and we’ll still have guys mowing the outfield area (if it stays natural grass).  But, the time savings in man hours for the players and coaches of our user groups would be significant allowing for more baseball play and less maintenance time.  It would also save our maintenance staff man hours at the field which can be dedicated elsewhere throughout the 255 acre park system.  The biggest benefit to having artificial turf is over the 10 year life cycle of the turf, you can play twice the amount of baseball than you can in the same 10 year period on a natural infield surface when you factor in maintenance hours saved and wet weather being a non-factor.  The Bridgeforth renovation committee is serious about pursuing artificial turf at the field and the only way we’re going to be able to realize it is to have the committee and the user groups fundraise the money to pay for it.  That’s the next step the committee will be taking and we’ll be discussing our plan of action very soon.  It’s not realistic to expect the committee to raise the funds and jump through all of the necessary procurement hoops and contracts to get the turf in place before the 2010 season.  That’s why we’re moving forward with the re-grade of the infield.  That buys the committee the necessary time to go out and fundraise to convert it to artificial turf.  At Bridgeforth Field, artificial turf is probably our best long term solution.

Hope this answers your questions.