Just some advice from a medical business administrator. I work for a private practice, but know the tricks hospitals, insurance agencies and office managers use.


For the effed-up US system, anyway.

In case the above goes away:

Do you often receive bills claiming you owe a hospital tens of thousands of dollars?

Never, EVER, assume you owe that. This is a tactic used by hospitals to try to have patients overpay them.

Here’s the best way I can explain it: Hospitals are allowed to say that the cost of using a needle to draw blood is $400 a pop. Not only is this untrue, but insurance companies say the maximum allowable amount is more like $10. So, a hospital can charge insurance $400 and they say ‘fuck that, the real price is $10’ insurance usually will pay $8 and then the remaining $2 is adjusted off. Now if you don’t have insurance, there is no agency performing the checks and balances to ensure you aren’t overpaying. Hospitals are not allowed to charge ANYONE above the maximum allowable amount, but for non-insured patients they will send a bill for all their jacked up prices and most people have no idea that this is not the amount they truly owe.

So what should you do? First, ask to speak with financial aid at the hospital. Usually, they will bring your bill down by 75% simply by having a conversation with them and filling out one form. The hospital billing department will not tell you about this. See financial aid before you leave the hospital. They can often find charitable organizations that pay medical bills, especially in cancer cases, they can retroactively procure you Medicaid or Medicare. They can get you the maximum discount for your bill. Second, mention you are aware of the laws for maximum allowable amounts. Third, if you are uninsured pre-scheduled surgery, ask to speak with the financial advisor of the surgeon’s office. Usually the surgeon has a relationship with a hospital and anesthesiologist that will provide you with an all-inclusive one-time payment covering the surgery, anesthesia and hospital bills. If the office manager refuses to speak with you, ask to speak with the doctor directly.

9/10 doctors have no idea about their billing processes and I guarantee you that most are willing to work with you. For instance, my doctor only requires a payment of $1 a month to ensure a patient’s account will not go to collections. He gives discounts to patients that have no insurance to the tune of 75% sometimes. And most of the time, the patient told him they can’t pay and the doctor tells me and we work out a payment plan this works and is discounted.

Basically, just know your rights. Don’t be afraid to speak up and mention to the doctor your financial concerns. Appeal any insurance payment decision you feel is unjust. And please, please appeal any insurance denial you receive. I can’t tell you how many times insurance denied a claim, simply because they didn’t have recent medical records or a wrong DX code. Don’t mistake an EOB (explanation of benefits) for a bill. Call your doctor’s office and make sure prior authorizations (PAs) are made before radiology testing and surgery. If you have a deductible YOU do not have to pay it before having surgery. If an office manager tries to make you, simply explain you will wait until the claim has been filed before paying. Say you’d be happy to put some money down, but you’re not comfortable paying your full deductible without knowing if you truly owe the entire amount for the procedure. And lastly if you need any help, like disputing a bill, filing an appeal, trying to understand an explanation of benefits, etc. don’t hesitate to message me. I’ll do all I can to help. Front page edit: Wow was not expecting this to go anywhere. Glad I could help spread information to you guys. I’m hoping to work my way up to a hospital administrator and put an end to this type of billing, designed to scare people and confuse those, who don’t understand EOBs or allowable amounts. Another tip, if you have ACA insurance and your insurance keeps rejecting claims, it may be because you have not assigned a primary care provider to your plan. Some require a PCP for hospital bills to be covered.

Farewell Badger, by Tesa Silvestre


“It tells the story of an old Badger who knows he will be dying soon, and worries about how his friends Mole, Frog, Fox, and Rabbit will cope with his departure after he goes down “the Long Tunnel.” The rest of this beautifully illustrated book revolves around the touching and creative ways in which Badger’s friends end up cherishing his legacy, and working through their loss.”

Experiencing Musical “Chills”


There are parts of some songs that give me goosebumps, or get me choked up.

Everything is Alive - excellent podcast


An “unscripted” interview show, in which all of the subjects are inanimate objects.

The best shave ever

I heard good stuff about shaving oils, and tried a few, but I finally tried Shave Secret (as found at my local Meijer store), and I can give up trying others, because this is the stuff!

It’s almost magical in how well it works, especially since it feels like it really shouldn’t work: to use it, you wet your face well, then rub just three drops of this stuff between your hands, and apply it to your face… and it feels like you didn’t even put anything on your hands, and there’s no way this is going to work… and then you get the smoothest, closest shave ever, and your skin feels super smooth all day from it. I’ve always had trouble with my neck especially, because my neck hair grows flat and sideways, but with this stuff on the job, no problem.

Because there’s no mass of soapy emulsifier like with other products, it’s harder to rinse the razor during shaving, I have to tap it on the side of the sink, and when I’m done I use an old toothbrush to really clean out the blades before I dry it and put it away (I use this method to get months out of each Schick Slim Twin disposable: https://imgur.com/gallery/u84HGGn).

If you get irritated skin from shaving, or want a closer shave, I recommend trying this.


Climate vs. Weather - Science Rap Academy - YouTube


What's the difference between weather and climate? Learn in this science-ified version of "Better Now" by Post Malone, written and produced by 7th graders from the Nueva School.

What's next when you're the one who cheated on your partner

What I think of commercials

https://vimeo.com/6306434 (47-second humorous video)

I gave up cable TV, and listen to commercial free music… and I do not miss commercials.

Forgetting the correct word


Comforting (to know that others do it) and hilarious (I laughed out loud, often), this also leads to some interesting observations about how ideas become words in our head.

Pet hair removal by dishwashing gloves

Follow-up pro-tip: I’d read that dish gloves were good at removing hair from upholstery and clothing, and big yes! I bought these:

And was able to easily brush off the armrests of my microfiber couch, and a sweatshirt that was on its way to becoming a fuzzy sweater. It’s jut like crumbing a countertop, except the hair stays together in a nice easy-to-pick-up line.

Weird City - Ep 1 "The One" - YouTube


This kind of thing may get me to pay for YouTube Premium. Although the second one (also free) is not quite as good, in my opinion.

Cat Slicker Brush

Fellow cat owners: I bought this after seeing a good review of it, and wow, does it work well! You have to brush carefully (if you have an old cat like I do), but it really gets out the undercoat and loose hair. And then when you’re done, jut push the button to retract the tines and the hair falls right into the trash. I might grow my hair out so I can use it on me too.


Psychological Placebos – Science-Based Medicine


"A thorough understanding of placebo effects is critical to the science of medicine, and to understanding how objectively worthless interventions can become so popular. A recent https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-37945-1 presents a series of experiments that take a look at psychological placebos, where the intervention is not medical, but purely psychological. The results are not surprising, but they are instructive for both practitioners and researchers."

Psychedelic drugs and the future of mental health care


“Our current laws sanction various poisons, including booze and cigarettes. These are drugs that destroy lives and feed addictions. And yet one of the most striking things about the recent (limited) psychedelic research is that the drugs do not appear to be addictive or have adverse effects when a guide is involved. Many researchers believe these drugs, when used under the supervision of trained professionals, could revolutionize mental health care.”

Just some advice from a medical business administrator. I work for a private practice, but know the tricks hospitals, insurance agencies and office managers use

The Gift of Presence and the Perils of Advice


“Advice-giving comes naturally to our species, and is mostly done with good intent. But in my experience, the driver behind a lot of advice has as much to do with self-interest as interest in the other’s needs — and some advice can end up doing more harm than good.”

Korg Wavedrum Global Edition Review and Notes

I highly recommend the Korg Wavedrum Global Edition.

  • It uses a real drum head for input, and adds/changes that (and, separately, the rim of the Wavedrum) to provide some very good sounds. As a hand drummer who’s been unhappy with every MIDI trigger device I’ve tried, (even the Zendrum), this instrument makes me very happy.
  • Playability is limited only by your skills: it’s not a MIDI trigger device, so it can play as fast as you can play, and it is infinite in dynamic range, because it uses the actual drum sound (and the varying degrees in which you strike it) as the sound source. You can also use sticks, brushes, and mallets on it.
  • Check out some YouTube videos; they guy with the red plaid shirt has some good demo videos.
  • Superb stereo sound for every voice, so much so that I’m trying to reproduce it outside of headphones, with an amp that supports stereo sound with external speakers for stereo imaging (I also can’t speak highly enough about the Simmons DA200S drum amp, which does have external speaker outs for just this purpose; I’m going to try it with a couple small Crate amps, which is fine for this because the external speaker outputs are crossovered so they don’t get the low end).
  • I use it on a snare stand.
  • The had can be replaced with any 10” drum head. It comes with a drum key and an Allen wrench needed to adjust/change the head.
  • It takes several seconds to boot up when powered on, and a second or two to change voices. But it’s worth it.
  • The Aux In input (into which you can plug a phone, MP3 player, or any other source that has a headphone jack) is inexplicably set to zero, and therefore doesn’t work. The process for making it not-zero is not included in the manual that comes with the Wavedrum. They also recommend that you leave it set to zero when not using it, I think because it either introduces noise into the mix, or reduces the output volume of the already too-low output, or both. Instructions for enabling Aux In may be found in the Parameter Guide on page 7.
  • The instrument list (voice list) is found in the back of the Quick Start Guide, and contains a main list of the presets, and separate lists for the head and rim so you can presumably mix your own in the 200 blanks spots available.
  • While all of the sounds are high-quality sounds, some of them are just plain silly, so I’ll be setting up my own favorites when I learn the system.
  • This version of the Wavedrum supposedly has much better instrument-level output than the previous models… which really makes me sad for the owners of previous models. It’s still not good, and I’m looking into a pre-amp to use it with my amplifier, and I have to max out the volume to use headphones with it by itself.
  • There are some tasty drum loops built into it, but they’re hard to get to, and you can’t alter the tempo, so they’re of reduced value.
  • In my opinion this device suffers from having too many functions controlled by too few controllers… I suppose they were trying to keep a nice simple look for the majority of people who would just play it and not get into the deeper functions, but it makes it tough to use.
  • Some of the voices have an echo built in… and it adjust to match the basic tempo of what you’re playing! Kudos to whoever thought of that.

Will Credit Monitoring Services Protect Me After a Data Breach?

Farewell Badger, by Tesa Silvestre


It tells the story of an old Badger who knows he will be dying soon, and worries about how his friends Mole, Frog, Fox, and Rabbit will cope with his departure after he goes down “the Long Tunnel.” The rest of this beautifully illustrated book revolves around the touching and creative ways in which Badger’s friends end up cherishing his legacy, and working through their loss.

Tell the world "I love you"

MyNoise.net is a very interesting site, featuring many customizable noise environments you can use for studying, sleeping, or just relaxing (I suggest the introduction to get you up to speed on how it’s meant to work). The person who provides it is an interesting person who is always thinking of and doing interesting things, and his newest project is a fun one: creating a soundscape of people saying “I love you”. Learn more at https://mynoise.net/loveYou.php, and I urge you to contribute your voice to the mix!


American Psychosis


Pulitzer-prize winning Journalist, Author and Activist Chris Hedges, discusses modern day consumerism, totalitarian corporate power and living in a culture dominated by pervasive illusion.