Why an air sickness bag?


Somewhere over the great Midwest, an impending storm caused the pilot to turn on the seatbelt sign and instruct us to put our tray tables back in their locked position. There was no access to my laptop, leaving me with my Sharpie and the bag that I pulled from the seatback pocket – causing a degree of concern from my fellow seatmate.


Our first Monitor Monday aired live on Jan. 11, 2010. Our special guest was announced only as “Kathleen,” as it was her wish not to be identified by her full name. Her facility, located in Florida, was at the second level of appeals in a situation I described as untenable: a RAC’s interpretation of CMS guidance was in conflict with the contractor’s payment policy and industry standards. It also merits noting that Ernie de los Santos, the chief information officer for eduTrax® and a regular panelist, reported that morning on the 66 newly approved issues on the HDI website.


Our fourth Monitor Monday, airing Jan. 25, had a historical footnote: at the end of the show, I said, “our thoughts are with the Health and Human Services’ medical relief workers and the people in Haiti.” The devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake had struck on Tuesday, Jan. 12.


Remember President Obama’s term “Snowmegeddon?” In the opening segment for the Feb.  8 edition, I had written my script to read that “over the weekend, Washington, D.C. and the Northeast suffered a huge snowstorm that brought the nation’s capital to its knees – ‘Snowmegeddon,’ as the president called it last Saturday. For those of you who had to brave icy roads and hazardous conditions to get to your hospital this morning, we really appreciate your listening to this podcast.” Ironically, that edition never aired, cancelled by adverse weather.


One month later, on Feb. 22, we reported on the upcoming meeting between President Obama and the Republicans for an unprecedented televised summit on healthcare reform at Blair House.


There were two big stories we reported on in April of last year, and we did so in a one-hour edition, covering the O’Connor hospital appeal relative to inpatient versus outpatient reimbursement and the passage of healthcare reform (otherwise known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act). Prominent healthcare attorney and RACMonitorEnews contributing editor Andrew Wachler explained the significance of the O’Connor case. And healthcare futurist Joe Flower was invited to discuss the healthcare reform legislation that had been passed the previous Tuesday. My first question to Flower was this: “So, Joe, let me begin by asking…since the president signed the bill last Tuesday, is it likely to be repealed or replaced?”


As we begin our second year, I personally want to thank all the loyal listeners who come to their offices and log on every Monday morning in all three time zones – especially those in the West where, often times, the sun has yet to rise. We receive e-mails from locales as far away as Alaska representing listeners checking in, and the messages of support are most encouraging.


I also want to thank our outstanding special guests – prominent healthcare experts who provide Monitor Monday listeners with incredibly concise information in six-minute segments.


And I especially want to acknowledge the Monitor Monday staff, in particular the show’s producer, Colleen Raab, production specialist Gracielinda Prescott and the very supportive RACMonitor folks.


Now go out and make it a great week.


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