OK-SAFE, Inc. Blog

July 18, 2013

Why Health Care Costs So Much – Interview with Dr. G. Keith Smith

OK-SAFE, Inc. – On July 15, 2013 we had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. G. Keith Smith (Anesthesiologist) of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma on America in the Balance on Truth in Focus Internet radio.

Dr G Keith Smith photo

The Surgery Center of Oklahoma was established in 1997 by two doctors (Dr. Steven Lantier and Dr. G. Keith Smith) fed up with how hospitals were treating both the patients and the surgeons.

Right away they decided they would do two things very differently:

  1. They would never take a dime of government money.  “We just decided that the federal government is not a reliable, or an honest or a trustworthy partner or payer in any capacity.  And we did not want to take the leverage that went along with taking their money.  We also increasing saw, philosophically, accepting federal money as an act of theft.” Taking money from one neighbor to give it to someone else was unacceptable to them.
  2. They would engage in what they called “price honesty.” They decided their own prices and communicated this beforehand to the patient.  “This is what we charge and mean it.”

Soon, the Surgery Center of Oklahoma (SCO) became a haven for not only the uninsured, but people who lived outside of Oklahoma.  Patients from as far away as Canada come to the SCO, as well as from Massachusetts and Alaska.

Apparently this success dismayed the insurance establishment, who made multiple attempts to throw down roadblocks in their path – i.e., by steering patients away from them.

Dr. Smith provides a history of the health care system (see the Hill-Burton Act of 1946, for one), and goes into the specifics of why health care costs so much; the role “not-for-profit” hospitals play in distorting the costs of health care, and the manipulative pricing tactics employed by the insurance companies.

Those Privacy-Killing Electronic Health Records

At the bottom of the interview be sure to listen to the “The Four Buckets of Meaningful Use” audio, as a woman explains Stages 1 through 4 of the “Meaningfully Use” requirements for electronic health records.  Stages 1-4 can be summed up as, 1) adopt electronic health records technology, 2) capture data, 3) move the data, 4) report the data. All that “data” is about you, the patient, so it can be sent hither and yon, including to CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services).  In a nutshell, you are getting naked for more than just the doctor.

The Surgery Center of Oklahoma does not use electronic health records, recognizing their inherent risks, and belongs to no “network” of information sharing about their patients.

Options?

What can we in  Oklahoma do to avoid the pitfalls of “ObamaCare”?  One recommendation Dr. Smith makes is to avoid seeing a doctor attached to a hospital.  Independent providers are still out there – these are the ones to frequent.  Toward the end of the interview Dr. Smith provides a list of other options for health care, including options if you need a hospital.

About the Surgery Center of Oklahoma

“The Surgery Center of Oklahoma is a 32,535 square foot, state-of-the-art multispecialty facility in Oklahoma City, owned and operated by approximately 40 of the top surgeons and anesthesiologists in central Oklahoma.Soon, the Surgery Center became a haven for uninsured and more – people from as far away as Canada started showing up at their facility.”

“It is no secret to anyone that the pricing of surgical services is at the top of the list of problems in our dysfunctional healthcare system. Bureaucracy at the insurance and hospital levels, cost shifting and the absence of free market principles are among the culprits for what has caused surgical care in the United States to be cost prohibitive. As more and more patients find themselves paying more and more out of pocket, it is clear that something must change. We believe that a very different approach is necessary, one involving transparent and direct pricing.”

Government interference in health care is the problem.  Entities like The Surgery Center of Oklahoma are the solution.

Link to the Surgery Center of Oklahoma:  www.surgerycenterok.com

Address: 9500 N. Broadway Extension, Oklahoma City, OK 73114

Phone: 405-475-0678

Dr. Smith’s email: Ksmith@surgerycenterok.com
Be sure to check out Dr. Smith’s blog.

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March 15, 2012

Health Privacy Rights – Interview with Dr. Deborah Peel on America in the Balance

OK-SAFE, Inc.  recently had the opportunity to interview Dr. Deborah C. Peel, founder and Chair of Patient Privacy Rights, a non-profit organization formed in 2004 to promote patient privacy and the protection of personally identifiable health information. (patientprivacyrights.org).

Dr. Peel is also supporting the 2nd Annual International Summit on the Future of Health Privacy, to be held June 6-7, 2012 at the Georgetown Law Center in Washington, D.C.
http://www.healthprivacysummit.org

This summit is free, and will be available via live-streaming if you cannot travel to D.C. for this important event.

 

Follow this link to the 3/14/12 America in the Balance interview:
http://www.truthinfocus.org/radio/america_in_the_balance.php

  • We live in a “digital universe” – everything you do online leaves a digital trail
  • Everything you do online is valuable to someone –  including gaining access to your Social Security number
  • The most valuable information is any kind of health information – this information sells for more
  • Health information is bought and sold online – including your personal prescription information
  • Electronic health records – pharmacies, hospitals, and labs sell the information. Generally, it is sold for two reasons – 1) to sell you a product, and/or 2) to sell profiles of you to various purchasers – from drug companies, to health insurers, or for business analytics information
  • Despite the laws that says employers are not supposed to discriminate based on health information – they do.
  • Genetic bias is not supposed to take place – but it does
  • Paper records did not cause health information to be leaked out – only when a third party was brought into the picture via electronic means did personal health information leak out.
  • This electronic health information system is dangerous – not only to us, but to our children and their future.
  • Quote: “Your diagnosis and your genes do not tell us how you will live and what your life will be like.”
  • HIPPA is not about protecting your privacy – in fact, patients really don’t have any privacy rights.
  • There are problems with “mHealth”, or mobile health, i.e. the use of Smartphones, I-pads, etc.- to view personal health information  Currently, this information is not encrypted, nor is there a way to control the access to it.
  • The Health Information Exchanges mean any party to the exchange can pull your information before you get to your provider.

Although people may not have a way to opt out of all health information sharing systems, there is a Consent Form form available on the Patient Privacy Rights website, that you may like to print out and share with your health care provider to try to minimize the likelihood of your personal health information being shared.

Link to Consent Form on PPR site: http://patientprivacyrights.org/media/Consent_Form.pdf

Listen to the entire 3/14/12 interview on Truth in Focus radio:

http://www.truthinfocus.org/radio/america_in_the_balance.php

This is probably one of the most important rights issues we are facing today.

November 29, 2011

Upcoming radio interviews on Health Care Reform; Chinese Foreign Direct Investment

OK-SAFE, Inc.  Executive Director Amanda Teegarden will be the guest on two upcoming radio interviews on the real definition of Health Care Reform (aka “Obama Care”) and why we need stop its’ implementation:

  1. Saturday 12/3/11 – 8:00 am to 10:00 am – Govern America with host Darren Weeks – RBN (Link: http://republicbroadcasting.org/?page_id=18171)
  2. Saturday 12/3/11 – 11:30 am  – Tulsa Beacon Weekend with host Charley Biggs. – KCFO, 970 AM in Tulsa.  (link: http://www.kcfo.com/ )

 

 

 

 

OK-SAFE will be interviewing Vince Wade, award-winning journalist, on their show America in the Balance on Sunday, 12/4/11Subject will be increased Chinese foreign direct investment in the U.S., including investment by Huawei, who has interest in the broadband service in the state of Michigan.  Broadband connection is a key component of health care reform, to enable “access to and use of” the new health care reform technologies- i.e. telemedicine, etc.

This America in the Balance show will be podcast by Sunday evening 12/4/11, on Truth in Focus internet radio.

November 14, 2011

Health Care Reform Definded – It’s Not What You Think

OK-SAFE, Inc. – OK-SAFE was the only grassroots organization* in Oklahoma given an opportunity to speak to the Joint Legislative Committee on Federal Health Care Law.

It was also the only organization that actually defined what is meant by “health care reform”.

The Federal Data Hub – the New American Idol?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Health Care Reform – is really about the use of IT to implement a nationwide health information network (NHIN), that will enable the seamless flow of information across boundaries, and that allows a growing global surveillance system to function. Medical records will be accessible, without a search warrant, by the Dept. of Homeland Security, and others.

Electronic Health Records – Reform is predicated on the creation of a standardized, interoperable electronic health record (EHR) on every single individual

Cradle-to-Grave – EHRs are used for data collection, aggregation and reporting and are intended to track a person from birth to death. (Longitudinal)

EHRs are universal and to be shared globally – not only within our government, but with foreign governments, universities, and other third parties.

Requires Standardization and Interoperability – to establish uniformity and compatibility in data collection, regardless of jurisdiction.

EHRs include each person’s genetic information – and will be used for research purposes without the knowledge or consent of the person.

Rights killing – Health care reform, and other data collection networks, do an “end-run” around search warrants and nullif our inherent rights to life, liberty and property.

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See the OK-SAFE power point here for a detailed explanation of Health Care Reform – IT, Privacy and Security Issues.

Listen

You can listen online to two interviews discussing the real meaning and purpose of health care reform and how the exchanges plug into the system. Check out the 11/6/11 America in the Balance radio show and to the 11/4/11 interview entitled “Privacy or Panopticon?” podcast on Axxiom for Liberty on Rule of Law radio.
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*[OCPA gave the only other conservative perspective to these proceedings, having a speaker at two of the meetings. Both OCPA presentations showed the stark reality of the high cost of health care reform, as well as pointing out excess spending by state health care entities.]

November 3, 2010

Education Soviet Style: SCANS and School-to-Work

Three recent events  necessitated a refresher on the importance of understanding the current educational system operating in the U.S., and specifically in Oklahoma.

Those three events were:

  1. Following up on an earmark request for a technology company in OK which led to researching  enterprise zones, technology parks, the dept. of commerce, the quality jobs program, and tax incentives for ‘qualified’ businesses.
  2. Hearing a current school board member, and candidate for State House Dist. 66, declaring the purpose of education is to ‘prepare students for the workforce.’
  3. Re-reading the booklet entitled Tangled Web, The Mastery Learning, OBE, STW- TQM Connection by Joe Esposito, an Oklahoman who served on Governor Frank Keating’s School-to-Work Executive Council  in 1995/1996, and Charlotte Iserbyt’s book, the deliberate dumbing down of america (lower case intentional.)

All these events helped to clarify that the fusing together of business, government, and education has been long in the making and is intentional.

What is Education?

The traditional definition of education is generally understood to be this:

“The drawing out of a person’s innate talents and abilities by imparting the knowledge of languages, scientific reasoning, history, literature, rhetoric, etc. – the channels through which those abilities would flourish and serve.”  [Source: The New Century Dictionary of the English Language (Appleton, Century, Crofts: New York 1927), as quoted in the deliberate dumbing down of america, by Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt, p. 1]

This definition acknowledges that is the imparting of knowledge, through a well-grounded set of disciplines, that will allow the innate abilities (those an individual is born with) to flourish and serveto the benefit of that individual.  Implied is that the individual himself will decide  how he will best engage those innate abilities, not the state or some outside force.

Labor and Education

The school-board-member-turned candidate stated the purpose of education is to prepare students for the workplace.

In 1990 the U.S. Department of Education provided a $4 million dollar grant for a study of the Polytechnical education system in the Soviet Union.   From Polytechnical Education: A Step, by Robert H. Beck, page 5:

“Many definitions of polytechnical education exist, but all make the same general points.  For example, in the Editor’s Introduction to “Polytechnical Labor Education in the Soviet School” (1975), one reads the following: “Refined from Marxist writings, polytechnism means, in brief, combining teaching and learning about economic production with practical work experience.  The aim of polytechnical education in the USSR is to prepare youth for a life of productive labor in society and contribution to the construction of communism.””

The school-board-member-turned-candidate simply reiterated the Soviet definition of education. Blending academic and vocational education together for the benefit of the state and the production of goods has become standard educational protocol.

Two excerpts from Tangled Web demonstrate this re-orientation of education:

“Learner vs. Exit Outcomes: Remember, OBE is about what students know, what they can do, and what they are like. The Oklahoma Learner outcomes  list “know” and “do” parts of the equation.  Exit Outcomes tell us what students should be like.” [Source: Tangled Web, p. 9, quoting ‘Results in Class! (September 1992) Volume 22, Number 1, Oklahoma State Department of Education. Sandy Garrett, Superintendent.]

This quote from the Governor of Maine further demonstrates the re-orientation education:  “We should look ahead in our changing workforce needs and design a new, comprehensive, innovative and flexible workforce development system accountable to all the key stakeholders.” (Ibid., p. 24]

SCANS Competencies

1990 saw the establishment of the Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) “to study the kinds of competencies and skills that workers must have to succeed in today’s workplace.”  Source here.

In 1991 the results of the study were published in a report entitled What Work Requires of Schools: A SCANS Report for America 2000.

In 1993 the U.S. Department of Labor produced their SCANS Competencies, (the Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills), which listed those Skills and Competencies to “succeed in today’s workplace.”

Outcomes-based education and School-to-Work (STW) became the darling of education reformers and Oklahoma was no exception.

Oklahoma and STW

1991 – SB 549, Amending Title 70, Section 4411 –  2-year colleges became vo-tech school districts. (In 2001 these became Technological Center School Districts)

1991 – College Area Vocation-Technical School District is governed by Oklahoma State Regents of Higher Education

1992 – State Board of Vocational and Technical Education was changed to Oklahoma Board of Career and Technology Education

1994 – HB 2299 –  Added youth apprenticeship program to Title 70, Section 14-103

1995 – HB 1569,  Amending Title 70, Section 14-103 – Changed youth apprenticeship programs to Oklahoma school to work system. This bill passed the OK legislature on 5/16/95 yet was vetoed by Governor Frank Keating (R)

1995 – Governor Frank Keating (R) set up the Executive Council for School To Work. Joe Esposito, businessman, part of the council, began to question the source of data and the significance of the SCANS documents. (SCANS – The Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills, issued by the Secretary of the US Department of Labor, appointed by Clinton).  By the end of 1995 Mr. Esposito had figured out what the SCANS documents and STW were really about and worked with other Oklahomans to defeat school to work.  The result? Joe Esposito was removed from the Executive Council for School To Work. 

1999 – Governor Frank Keating signed HB 2128, amending Title 70, Section 14-101, to read:  

“The official name of the Board which is known as the “State Board of Vocational and Technical Education” shall be designated in all future references as the “State Board of Career and Technology Education”.  Any references in the statutes to the State Board of Vocational and Technical Education shall be deemed references to the State Board of Career and Technology Education.”

2001 – HB 1214  – Amended all OK statutes by replacing the word “Vocational” with “Career”, the word “Technical” with “Technology”, and changing references to “area school districts for vocational and technical schools” to “technology center school districts.”

2002 – SB 1212 –  Created the Technology Intern Program in Title 70, Section 4674.   The “benefits” listed are, in part,  that this “Enhances classroom learning for the student by integrating academic curriculum and real-world work experience”; and “Promotes the lifelong learning process of integrating work and learning, and enhances workplace skills in occupational, analytical, and teamwork performance.” And “It is further the intent of the Legislature that the Technology Intern Partner Program shall provide internships for eligible students with technology-based companies. One-half of the funding for the internships shall be provided by the University and one-half by the participating companies.”

2010 STW in Oklahoma is the law. 

Title 70, Section 14-103 in Oklahoma currently reads:

“The State Board of Career and Technology Education shall have the following powers and duties:

1. Have the supervision of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education of the State Board of Career and Technology Education, which department shall keep its principal offices at Stillwater, and appoint and fix the compensation and duties of the Director and other personnel of such Department;

2. Have the supervision of the technology center schools and colleges of Oklahoma, except Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology-Okmulgee and the Oklahoma State University Technical Institutes at Oklahoma City and Stillwater, which, however, shall be eligible to participate in federal programs administered by the State Board of Career and Technology Education as hereinafter provided;

3. Cooperate with, and enter into agreements with, and administer programs of, and receive federal funds from, the United States Department of Education and other federal agencies in matters relating to vocational and technical education, youth apprenticeship programs, and manpower training, and be the sole state agency for such purposes. Provided that, programs and funds made available through the Job Training Partnership Act, or its successor programs, shall be excluded;

4. Provide for the formulation and adoption of curricula, courses of study, and other instructional aids necessary for the adequate instruction of students in the technology center schools and colleges of this state. It is the intent of the Legislature that instructional models for vocational students should include higher standards of academic work with increased emphasis on communication, computation and applied science;

5. Develop a plan to provide adequate vocational offerings accessible to all students having the ability to benefit;

6. Purchase or otherwise acquire equipment, materials, supplies and other property, real or personal, as may be necessary for the operation of the technology center schools of this state, and provide for the maximum utilization of such property through a coordinated and cooperative use thereof, including transfer of title to real and personal property to a technology center school district for a reasonable cash consideration if said property is to be utilized in a vocational-technical program administered by the technology center district board of education. Any conveyance of real property for a reasonable consideration shall contain a reversionary clause by which the real property shall revert to the State Board of Career and Technology Education if the property ceases to be used in a vocational-technical program administered by the technology center district board of education;

7. Enter into such agreements and contracts with the State Board of Education, boards of trustees of community junior colleges, boards of education of independent and elementary school districts, boards of education of school districts for technology center schools, private educational or training institutions, public or private industry, and boards of directors of community action programs, as may be necessary or feasible for the furtherance of vocational and technical training within this state;

8. Cooperate and enter into agreements with the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education;

9. Cooperate with the State Department of Education in developing hands-on career exploration activities for students in grades 6 through 10, integrating academic competencies into vocational instruction, and ensuring counseling of all students in order to minimize the number of students graduating from high school without having completed either a vocational-technical program or college preparation;

10. Develop and periodically update a plan to allow teacher training and the purchase and installation of technological equipment necessary to modernize vocational educational programs;

11. Accept and provide for the administration of any land, money, buildings, gifts, funds, donations or other things of value which may be offered or bequeathed to the schools or colleges under the supervision or control of said Board;

12. Enter into cooperative arrangements with one or more other states for the conduct and administration of programs, services and activities;

13. Cooperate whenever possible, to avoid any duplication of training programs with any established training program registered by the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training, United States Department of Labor;

14. Accept and expend funds from any source in order to market, advertise or promote programs and services available through the Career and Technology Education system; and

15. Participate in activities pertaining to the recruitment of companies to locate or expand operations in the state, and participate in activities that will increase the competitiveness of companies with headquarters or branch operations located in the state. These activities may require agency staff to travel, train, or provide technical assistance outside the State of Oklahoma.”

Selected Chronology – Oklahoma Department of Career and Technical Education

The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technical Education lists a selected chronology of vo-tech/STW/Career Tech in Oklahoma. (link provided by education researcher Debra Niwa, author of All Children Left Behind, and International Baccalaureate Unraveled.)

Undermining the foundations of liberty cannot be attributed to one party.

The legislation to establish Soviet-style school to work in the state of Oklahoma was promulgated by both Republicans and Democrats.

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