A national quality review organization has awarded Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont (BCBSVT) its highest level of accreditation for both its managed care and preferred provider organization (PPO) product lines, the company announced today.The awards position BCBSVT as the only health plan serving Vermont that has received the highest level of accreditation from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) for both managed care and PPO products. NCQA is an independent, non-profit organization that assesses and reports on the quality of the nations managed care plans. Accreditation status — the highest possible level — is based on a voluntary review of how a health plan ensures that its members are receiving high quality care.BCBSVT received an Excellent rating for its VHP and TVHP managed care benefit plans, and Full Accreditation for its Freedom Plan PPO benefit plans. A PPO offers more flexibility than HMO style managed care plans by allowing visits to out-of-network professionals at a greater expense to the member.Achieving an accreditation status of Excellent is a significant achievement for a health plan, said Margaret E. OKane, president of NCQA. It is only awarded to those plans that both meet or exceed NCQAs rigorous requirements for consumer protection and quality improvement and have HEDISâ results in the highest range of national performance.The NCQA Accreditation survey process includes on and off-site evaluations of over 60 standards and selected HEDIS performance measures conducted by a team of physicians and managed care experts. A committee of physicians analyzes the teams finding and assigns an accreditation level based on the performance level of the plan being evaluated to NCQAs standards.We are an organization committed to continuous quality improvement, and I believe that has been validated by NCQA, said William R. Milnes, Jr., President and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont. Each of our employees, providers and management contributed to the NCQA Accreditation process in some way, so we are extremely proud of this achievement.This Accreditation tells our members that the care they receive and the physicians who provide that care meet or exceed the industrys highest standards of quality, said Don George, Vice President of Managed Health Systems. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont and The Vermont Health Plan have a long and proud tradition of providing high-quality care. Receiving objective recognition of that is rewarding for all of us.The NCQA Accreditation process evaluates how well a health plan manages quality throughout every part of its delivery system — physicians, hospitals, affiliated providers, and administrative services — to continuously improve health care for its members.More than three-quarters of Americans enrolled in HMOs are in plans that have been reviewed by NCQA and many employers are now mandating accreditation of the plans they offer their employees. No comparable evaluation exists for fee-for-service health care.Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is the state’s oldest and largest private health insurer, providing coverage for about 180,000 Vermonters. It employs over 350 Vermonters at its headquarters in Berlin and branch office in Williston, and offers group and individual health plans to Vermonters. More information about Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is available on the Internet at www.bcbsvt.com(link is external). Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is an independent corporation operating under a license with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans.(End)
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Brothers Andrew and Joseph Barbieri have been decking out their childhood home in Deer Park for Christmas for the past 40 years. Their elaborate light display will now get national attention when they appear on an episode of ABC’s The Great Christmas Light Fight tomorrow.Located on Liberty Street, the Barbieris’ nightly show is called Lights on Liberty. Andrew, an electrical contractor who now lives in West Islip, synchronizes 90 animated light-up dolls and 30,000 LED lights with music, and Joseph, who still lives in the Deer Park home, helps with new ideas and setting it all up. Tons of Long Islanders come to see the show each December. “It’s been years and years of people coming to see the display,” Andrew said. “When I was younger, there were just a few people coming to see. [Between starting] a Facebook page, being on local news and in the newspaper, and word of mouth — all of those things add to the people that come.”“When someone says, ‘I took my daughter here, and now I’m taking my granddaughter here,’ it’s a great thing to hear,” he added. “There’s one family that comes every year on Christmas Eve. We see them every year, so now we invite them in.”Each night, the brothers collect donations for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in a box in front of the light display. Over the years, many people would tell them that they should apply to be on the ABC Christmas light competition, but “I was too busy doing the lights!” Andrew said. Nevertheless, Lights on Liberty eventually got on the show’s radar — ABC producers reached out to the Barbieris last fall asking them to be on the show.Lights on Liberty (ABC)“It was an awesome, once in a lifetime experience,” Andrew said. “The first day was very difficult, and we were retaking stuff. By the third day, we were like family, eating lunch and dinner together. The producers and whole crew was great.”Being on the show fulfills a childhood dream, Andrew said. He’s been fascinated by electricity and lights since age 12, when he started Lights on Liberty 40 years ago. Every year since then, he and his brother have added new additions to the lights display.“That’s the best part, looking forward to the new idea,” Andrew said. “We’re already discussing ‘we should do this next year.’”On Wednesday, Dec. 9, The Great Christmas Light Fight’s season premiere will feature footage of Andrew and Joseph creating lights last year. They will compete with another family’s light show for a $50,000 prize and a Light Fight trophy. But for Andrew, “If you’re getting on the show, you’re winning already.”Tune in to see Lights on Liberty on The Great Christmas Light Fight on Dec. 9 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.For more entertainment coverage, visit longislandpress.com/category/entertainment.Sign up for Long Island Press’ email newsletters here. Sign up for home delivery of Long Island Press here. Sign up for discounts by becoming a Long Island Press community partner here.
StumbleUpon Submit GambleAware: Engage those with lived experience of gambling harms August 28, 2020 Share Related Articles GambleAware has this morning published insights from research it commissioned on public uptake and effectiveness of bank card ‘gambling blockers’.The charity sanctioned researchers from the University of Bristol’s ‘Personal Finance Research Centre (PFRC)‘ to evaluate the effectiveness of blockers and its potential as a tool to prevent gambling harms.The PFRC’s research estimated that at present 60% of UK current accounts are covered by blocker services, with just eight banking apps offering the tool to customers on certain products.The research stated that approximately 28 million personal current accounts offer no services restricting gambling expenditure.Reviewing aggregated data and statistics shared by financial firms, the PFRC underlined that blockers are being used by roughly 0.5 million customers across all banks.Data disclosed by one bank showed that customers who turned on blocking services an average of two to three gambling transactions per month. Across all its customers with a card blocker, this represents 390,000-585,000 blocked transactions per month.GambleAware Chief Executive Marc Etches said: “Keeping people safe from gambling harms requires banks to play their full part in providing consumers with effective means to block gambling transactions.“While some banks have taken proactive steps to help shield their customers from gambling harms, the findings of this research indicate that improvements can and should be made. We encourage the banking industry to work together alongside the Government and regulators to implement the proposed recommendations.”Analysing the effectiveness of blockers, the PFRC detailed a number of flaws in the service. Of the eight banks that offer blockers, three tools could be immediately turned on-and-off, with the PFRC labelling provisions as ‘more like a light switch than a lock’.The report urged banks to add more friction to its blocker services, specifically time-release locks that are at least 48 hours. Moving forward, GambleAware has called on UK Finance to ensure all its members offer card blockers that have a time-release lock mechanism.Seeking to maximise the effectiveness of blockers, GambleAware has compiled a ‘blueprint of recommendations’ for UK Finance and further financial services stakeholders, including:Firms and regulators need to work with ‘experts by experience’ so they can design products, services and interventions for people who are negatively affected by gambling.UK Finance needs to build the report’s recommendations into their member guidance and policy on supporting vulnerable consumers.The Financial Conduct Authority should recommend in its guidance on vulnerable customers that gambling blocks are standard on debit and credit cards.A cross-sector consumer awareness campaign that places bank card blockers alongside other forms of self-exclusion and player control is needed.The UK Government needs to create the legal and regulatory conditions to encourage the financial services sector to innovate and develop a range of consumer spending controls.Professor Sharon Collard, PFRC Research Director at the University of Bristol, said: “Our research has found bank card gambling blockers are not available on roughly 40% of personal current accounts. This means an estimated 28 million people are missing out on this crucial tool to block gambling expenditure which helps protect them from gambling harms. We are calling on the Financial Conduct Authority to urgently recommend that gambling blocks are standard on all debit and credit cards.“We examined the effectiveness of all existing blockers and found that serious changes are required. The people affected by gambling harms who took part in the review stated that the more positive friction that can be built into a bank blocker, the more effective it can be. It is vital, therefore, that the blockers cannot just be turned on and off, as the benefits of the technology become redundant. Instead, we recommend all financial service firms require consumers to wait at least two days between requesting to turn the blocker off, and the blocker technology stopping.” Share Marc Etches to step down as CEO of GambleAware in 2021 August 14, 2020 YGAM focuses on BAME community engagement with CVR link-up August 21, 2020
Financial impacts of the coronavirus have reached the NFL in form of pay cuts and furloughs.According to a memo issued to league employees, NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, has given up his salary temporarily.Goodell reduced his $40 million annual salary to $0 earlier this month.The league is also implementing reductions in base salary for league staffers beginning with the pay period ending May 22. The reduction will be 5% for workers up to the manager’s level, 7% for directors, 10% for vice presidents, 12% for senior vice presidents, and 15% for executive vice presidents.Some staffers will also be asked to take furloughs. In a memo sent to league office staffers, Goodell also said no employee earning a base salary of less than $100,000 will be affected by these reductions, and no employee’s salary will be reduced below $100,000 by the reductions.The NFL continues to plan for a release of the regular-season schedule some time during the first full week of May. And for now, the league continues to aim for an on-time start for the season.
“Up until about two days from the event I wasn’t even registered. My friend (Ayla) had to convince me to sign up, and I still wasn’t sure I was going to be accepted because I was such a late entry. And then transportation became an issue because I don’t live locally,” Aiello said. “This situation could have turned out much differently if any one of those hurdles had gotten in the way.” For McGraw, “thank you” didn’t capture the emotions that overcame her when her husband, William, awoke in the hospital following a heart-stopping medical emergency he suffered on the side of Route 36 while participating in the annual Bike New York-sanctioned Twin Lights Ride. Hitting Close to Home What Might Have Been “Thank you hardly seems like enough,” she said in the emotional letter, read aloud by Highlands Police Chief Robert Burton at a Jan. 16 government meeting filled with residents, police and fire department personnel and local EMS workers. “It makes me think about my own family and how lucky I am.” Actions Speak Louder Than Words “When you enter this job you accept that you’ll have to be doing things like this. It’s something that can be perceived as extraordinary, but a lot of extraordinary things happen on the job,” Roxby explained. “Thankfully the guy didn’t need any help, but then I said to (Ayla) that I knew CPR, but I was thankful I didn’t have to use it. And looking back it’s the craziest thing, because there was nothing that could have prepared me for a few hours later when I would end up performing it. But this incident really put me on edge and in that state of mind.” HIGHLANDS – In a heartfelt letter to three good Samaritans who helped save her husband’s life during a cycling event in September, Kathleen McGraw said she struggled to find the words to express gratitude. “I think this is a case of the training and experience taking over. I’ve performed CPR a few times now. In some cases it’s been unsuccessful. And in others, like this, it was successful. I’m just very thankful that the three of us could draw from the experience of working in stressful situations,” said Roxby, referring to Ramirez’s membership with the Roselle Fire Department, and Aiello’s employment history with the Metropolitan Transit Authority and NJ Transit. Saying “thank you” couldn’t possibly sum up the tears of joy she swiped away when her two young daughters, Kathleen and Annie, and teenage son Liam rushed to William’s bedside to share a deep embrace. “I’m very appreciative of the people who saved me, and appreciative of the people these biking events bring together. These are people who enjoy life, who celebrate life and in my case, people who can save a life. Because of them I am still here with my family, and I can’t thank them enough for giving me that gift,” said McGraw, who added that prior to the Twin Lights Ride he had never visited Highlands, and quipped that after missing the easiest leg of the race, a downhill stretch from Route 36 to Huddy Park, he needs to return to for another biking excursion. Burton explained that two nearby riders, Aiello and Ramirez, dismounted their bikes, raced to McGraw and began performing CPR in tandem. Just three and a half months removed from the incident, McGraw was a man of few words at the Jan. 16 awards ceremony, standing together with his saviors under the same roof for the first time and thankful for the time they’ve given him. “It’s not something you really think about until a night like this, when you see him with his wife and kids. And you start thinking about that letter, and their kids having another Christmas, another birthday, another wedding, and that really makes it hit home,” said Roxby. Roxby said the gravity of his actions, in cooperation with Aiello’s and Ramirez’s, didn’t sink in until the Jan. 16 meeting, when he came face-to-face with the entire McGraw family. Aiello went on to describe an ominous moment during the race when she witnessed a fellow rider get clipped by a passing motorist and how it placed her in an anticipatory mindset. A motorist who observed the incident reported it to a Highlands Police officer patrolling about a mile away from the scene. The emergency was reported and Roxby was the first officer to respond, treating McGraw with a defibrillator unit until the Highlands First Aid Squad arrived and transported McGraw to Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch. During the Sept. 30 incident, William McGraw collapsed on the side of the highway approximately a half mile from the finish line located at the borough’s Huddy Park, across the street from Kranky Cycles and the Waterwitch Cafe on Waterwitch Avenue. According to Aiello, the Brooklyn resident has thought a lot about the events of Sept. 30, most prominently about how she almost didn’t attend the biking event, and what her absence might have meant. A return trip will be made simpler for McGraw and his family after Bike New York president Ken Podziba, who attended the meeting, told William he may participate in any future sanctioned event free of charge. “We are looking forward to Christmas, the New Year, and hopefully many more holidays and birthdays and vacations and family movie nights and graduations and weddings. These dreams can exist because of your actions that day. We are forever grateful.” For Kathleen, actions are more impactful than words ever can be, a notion that brought the McGraw family from their Hoboken home to the borough’s community center on a frigid winter evening to honor Alexandra Aiello, Claudio Ramirez and Capt. George Roxby by awarding the heroic trio of first responders with Lifesaving Medals.
Throughout the KIJHL season The Nelson Daily Sports Editor Bruce Fuhr will take a capsule look at the players on the Nelson Leafs hockey club. Today the focus in on the red-hot Patrick Martens. The Maple Ridge Minor Hockey grad has been on one of the most amazing streaks in Nelson Leafs hockey history and now leads the KIJHL in scoring.Filling the net, like a Sidney Crosby or Wayne Gretzky, is the dream of every Canadian minor hockey player.However, seldom does the dream come true. Which is why there are so many checkers and grinders in hockey.Patrick Martens was one of those grinder-like players. That was until his sophomore season in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.Martens, or “Marty” to his teammates, has been on quite a roll for the Nelson Leafs. A streak that has seen the native of Moncton, N.B. score in the last ten games – including a seven-goal explosion during a recent road swing through the South Okanagan.Martens added a pair Wednesday night at the Murdoch Division-leading Leafs knocked off rival Beaver Valley 5-3. It was the seventh multiple point game during the streak for the 18-year-old sniper.”I think the last time I scored like this was in Atom. . .. I maybe had one four-goal game in Midget but nothing like this,” Martens, researching the career memory bank, admitted prior to practice at the NCDD Arena.”It definitely makes me more confident now,” added the 6-foot, 180-pound forward who has more points in 14 games this season than he did in the entire 2010-11 KIJHL season.”Our line is getting lots of chances now and it’s giving us lots of confidence knowing that I can put the puck in the net.”Martens is one of the few finds last season of coach and GM Chris Shaw.The Maple Ridge product had just experienced a successful conclusion to his minor hockey career playing for Ridge Meadows Midget AAA, where the squad lost in the B.C. Minor Hockey Midget AAA Championship to Kelowna.Martens registered ten points in six games to lead Ridge Meadows in scoring.Shaw liked what he saw, convincing the speedster to join the Green and White after a long courtship.”He (Shaw) has been watching me since Bantam,” Martens explained. “We began a personal relationship and I decided to come to Nelson after talking to him.”However, the season under Shaw probably wasn’t the most enjoyable the 13-year career for Martens.Still, once hearing about the coaching change, Martens was confident with the core that was returning, this season would be different.”I heard Frank (Maida) was going in to coach and he coached with Simon Wheeldon and had good teams so I felt this was a good decision,” Martens said. “Plus I like the group of guys we have here so I was excited to come back.”And boy has there ever been a change both on and off the ice.Nelson has taken advantage of an abundance of home games to jump out to a 11-3-0-1 mark — tops in the entire KIJHL. Much of the reason for the early season success — Nelson is 8-2 in the last 10 games — is due part to the line of Martens, Matthew Naka and Colton Schell.The trio filled the net during the weekend series in the South Okanagan before combining for seven points in Wednesday’s win over Beaver Valley.”We’re doing everything the same,” Martens said when asked about the secret of the Naka, Martens, Schell unit.”We’re playing really well as a line, not worrying about who get points. Right now it’s kind of my turn and I’ve been fortunate to be able to put the puck in the net.””But it doesn’t really matter which one of us on our line or on the team scores,” Martens added. “Just as long as one of us scores and the team are winning.”The early season success has allowed Nelson to lead the Murdoch Division almost from the start of the season. Which has played a big part to the camaraderie on the Leaf roster.”It definitely wasn’t much fun playing last year,” said Martens, who spend time in Chile with family before moving to Maple Ridge with parents, mother Cindy and father Terry — the latter a big influence on his hockey career.”But being competitive this year has made the game a lot more funner the it was last year.”And then there’s the filling of the net for Martens who has climbed into top spot in KIJHL scoring.A similar spot those guys Crosby and Gretzky occupied on a yearly basis.Nice to see good things come to those who wait.Patrick Martens Fast Facts:Position: right wingAge: 18Born: Moncton, NBHometown: Maple RidgeHeight: 6-feetWeight: 180 poundsFavourite music: A bit of everythingFavourite hockey player: Pavel DatsyukFavourite NHL team: Colorado AvalancheHobbies other than hockey: Golf . . . sorry, hockeyBlackberry or iPhone: BlackberryFuture goals: Attend college to pursue an engineering degree
Embed from Getty ImagesSouthall have signed former QPR striker Rowan Vine.The 34-year-old, who also spent the 2002-03 season on loan at Brentford, has played for St Johnstone, Morton and a number of non-League clubs since leaving Loftus Road in 2012.His Rangers career was badly affected by a double leg fracture he suffered in training. Ads by Revcontent Trending Articles Urologists: Men, Forget the Blue Pill! This “Destroys” ED x ‘Genius Pill’ Used By Rich Americans Now Available In Netherlands! x What She Did to Lose Weight Stuns Doctors: Do This Daily Before Bed! x Men, You Don’t Need the Blue Pill if You Do This x One Cup of This (Before Bed) Burns Belly Fat Like Crazy! x Drink This Before Bed, Watch Your Body Fat Melt Like Crazy x Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook
Food for thought: You might want to think twice before entering into a business agreement with Antonio Brown.According to ESPN, Brown, then in the employ of the Pittsburgh Steelers, hired Stefano Tedeschi — who bills himself as “The Sports Chef” — to prepare meals at a rented Florida mansion during the week of the 2018 Pro Bowl.On July 30, Tedeschi filed a lawsuit in Osceola County which claims Brown withheld $38,521.20 in compensation.A seven-time Pro Bowl selection, Brown now is with the …
CLICK HERE if you are having a problem viewing the photos on a mobile deviceSANTA CLARA — All-too-familiar news of a Jimmie Ward injury was offset Thursday by the upbeat prognosis for Nick Bosa, who looks cleared for his 49ers debut in Sunday’s opener at Tampa Bay.A broken finger kept Ward out of practice and cast in doubt his availability to serve as the starting free safety and potential nickel back.“They’re still trying to ascertain and get a hold on this thing and talking to …
Portia Chidi is proud of her daughterRorisang. Getting straight A’s in each of her sevensubjects has made Rorisang the pride ofher family and her community. Chidi, far left, received recognitionalongside other top achievers.(Images: Bongani Nkosi)MEDIA CONTACTS• Charles PhahlaneHead of CommunicationGauteng Department of Education+27 11 355 1530 or +27 71 860 4496RELATED ARTICLES• SA matrics excel despite hardships• Gauteng matric results best in South Africa• SA matric results up by 7%• Top marks for IEB matricsBongani NkosiRorisang Chidi, 18, stays with her family in a zinc shack in Mandela Park – an informal settlement outside Pretoria.A major challenge in the section of her sprawling neighbourhood is a lack of electricity.During Chidi’s matric year in 2010, and she would sometimes have to bath in cold water in the mornings before going to school.She regularly used a paraffin lamp when studying after dark, and when the vital fuel ran out, she had to resort to candles.“Rorisang studied hard, even though we are without electricity,” said her sister, Ouma Chidi. “Sometimes we would not have paraffin and she would have to go to school after bathing in cold water.”Her former school, J Kekana Secondary School, is located outside Mandela Park in Mamelodi, a neighbouring township. This means she had to take a taxi to and from school every day.Her unemployed parents had to fork out a R20 (US$3) taxi fare each day to ensure she got to school. “My three brothers and my father really helped me with getting Rorisang to school,” said her mother, Portia Chidi.But none of these obstacles could stop Rorisang from achieving top marks in her final school year. The eloquent youngster has been honoured as one of the top achievers in the Gauteng province, receiving a certificate of recognition and a bursary from the provincial government.Getting straight A’s in each of her seven subjects has made Rorisang the pride of her family and her community. “I’m proud of her. It has been through her hard work that she made it,” said her mother.University gates beckonRorisang has secured herself a place at the University of Pretoria where she’ll study for a BCom degree. “I want to become a chartered accountant,” she said.The bursary she’s received from Gauteng’s Department of Education is worth R40 000 ($5.700). Although it will only help pay for the first academic year, it will certainly come in handy. And if it’s not enough to cover all her study fees and living expenses, her matric marks will put her in a great position to apply for the university’s top achiever bursary. She could use this to supplement her initial grant.“My matric achievement has secured me a bursary and my future,” Rorisang said.Rorisang’s mother is delighted about her getting one of the bursaries for top achievers in Gauteng. “If it wasn’t for the bursary my child wouldn’t be able to go to university. I’m really thankful for the bursary,” Portia said.Sister Ouma is confident that Rorisang will do extremely well at university. “She’s committed to her studies. She’ll now have an advantage because she’ll have electricity at the university,” Ouma said.“But she must double her efforts.”Inspiration during stay-awayRorisang was one of thousands of pupils who overcame difficulties during a prolonged public servants strike in 2010, which left many public schools without teachers for two weeks.The Department of Education’s decision that schools be closed for five weeks during the month-long Fifa World Cup didn’t help matters either.But many youngsters took the initiative to set up their own study groups to work through and revise the syllabus. Rorisang and her group of friends were among this dedicated bunch.A study camp arranged by the Department of Education also helped her prepare for the final exams. The department organised camps from September until the start of exams in November to make up for lost time during the strike and World Cup.Rorisang has an encouraging message to fellow pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds: “There’s nothing that pays more than hard work. No matter what circumstances you face, you can overcome your challenges through hard work.”