Posted tagged ‘Kaiser’

Where I’ve Been Lately…

September 11, 2009

UPDATE: MRI results show some fluid build up which led to pressure causing the headaches. Some medication will solve the problem in 3-5 days! 🙂

Hi Everyone,

You may have noticed that my posts have not been as in-depth or as recently. It’s not because I don’t love you all and reading the great dialogue that you are always having 🙂

I’ve been suffering from a bout of headaches for the past 3 1/2 weeks that have been constant 24/7 (mild, not severe) and a state of being tired all the time. I finally went into the doctor last week and they ordered an MRI. When the results came back, they found an anomaly in the Sella region of the brain, specifically the pituitary gland.

I went in this morning for a 2nd MRI to determine the issue. I’m currently awaiting the results. As you can imagine, the thought of an “anomaly” is pretty scary so I’m just waiting to find out what the MRI shows and will move forward from there. It could be as simple as a hormone imbalance or some swelling, but of course could be worse. They mentioned the possibility of a tumor/cancer but they don’t seem too concerned that this is what it is. I’m leaning toward the good side since I’m always optimistic and, frankly, I don’t think it’s anything too serious.

With this being the case, I just haven’t felt much like reading and writing as much as I usually do, but I’ll keep trying to post some stories that I find interesting, when I can 🙂 Thanks again for everyone who stops by every day to participate in the ongoing discussion on all the articles that I post. I know I enjoy reading what you all have to say and I hope you feel the same way!

If you ever want to reach me, try either my email roaddawg33@aol.com or you can also find me here on Facebook.

Talk to you all soon!

John

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WSJ: Burgerville’s Health-Care Recipe

August 31, 2009

A great article in today’s Wall Street Journal, written by Sarah Needleman, featuring client Burgerville and their affordable employee health care program.

If you don’t believe that a fast food, quick serve or fast casual restaurant chain can provide their employees with affordable health care, you will be pleasantly surprised!

From the Wall Street Journal:

Four years ago, executives of Burgerville, a regional restaurant chain, agreed to pay at least 90% of health-care premiums for hourly employees who work at least 20 hours a week. Today, the executives say the unusual move has saved money by cutting turnover, boosting sales and improving productivity.

Burgerville’s experience is notable for the food-service industry, where turnover is high and fewer than half of chains offer health insurance for part-time hourly employees, according to People Report, a research firm. The chains that do offer benefits pay on average 49% of the cost for employees working at least 30 hours a week, People Report says.

Burgerville’s initiative “not only improves quality of service but it saves money by not having to replace staff as frequently,” said Darren Tristano, executive vice president at Technomic Inc., a Chicago consulting and research firm for the food industry.

Burgerville, a 39-restaurant chain based in Vancouver, Wash., and owned by closely held Holland Inc., has long followed a distinctive path. It offers hormone-free meat, uses wind energy to power its stores and prints nutritional information on its receipts.

Under Burgerville’s plan, individual hourly workers can enroll in a health-maintenance organization for $15 a month, with no deductible. A worker and spouse pay $30 monthly; family plans cost $90. Salaried employees, whose plans didn’t change significantly, pay $84 a month for individual and $240 monthly for family coverage, and have an annual deductible of $500.

Executives say the plan paid for itself, and more. Turnover in 2006 plunged to 54%, from 128% in 2005. That’s a big deal when it costs an average of $1,700 to replace and train a restaurant worker, according to People Report.

Octuplets Born in California

January 27, 2009

Doctors say the octuplets born to a mother in Southern California are a feisty bunch that appear healthy after being born kicking and crying.

Wow! And some days I feel like 2 is too many 🙂

From MSNBC:

Dr. Mandhir Gupta, a neonatologist at Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center, said Tuesday that three of the eight babies are still receiving small amounts of oxygen through their noses but appear to be doing well.

He says at least four should be ready for their first oral feeding later Tuesday.

Gupta says their mother is resting comfortably.

“All babies seem to be stable,” Dr. Karen Maples, chief of the department of obstetrics and gynecology told NBC’s TODAY. “All of them are now breathing on their own and are no longer requiring ventilators.”

The mother, who was not identified, gave birth Monday to the six boys and two girls weighing between 1.8 pounds and 3.4 pounds. The eighth baby was a surprise to the parents and doctors who had been expecting only seven children.

Just five minutes after the first birth, the unexpected eighth baby came out at 10:48 a.m.

Study: Kids Are Actually Learning By Social Networking

November 20, 2008

A study by the MacArthur Foundation suggests teenagers who interact on social networks are building important real-world skill sets — even though they might look to their parents like they are frittering away their lives. “Their participation is giving them the technological skills and literacy they need to succeed in the contemporary world,” said Mizuko Ito, the lead researcher on the study. “They’re learning how to get along with others, how to manage a public identity, how to create a home page.”

From the New York Times:

Good news for worried parents: All those hours their teenagers spend socializing on the Internet are not a bad thing, according to a new study by the MacArthur Foundation.

The study, conducted from 2005 to last summer, describes new-media usage but does not measure its effects.

“It certainly rings true that new media are inextricably woven into young people’s lives,” said Vicki Rideout, vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation and director of its program for the study of media and health. “Ethnographic studies like this are good at describing how young people fit social media into their lives. What they can’t do is document effects. This highlights the need for larger, nationally representative studies.”

Ms. Ito, a research scientist in the department of informatics at the University of California, Irvine, said that some parental concern about the dangers of Internet socializing might result from a misperception.

“Those concerns about predators and stranger danger have been overblown,” she said. “There’s been some confusion about what kids are actually doing online. Mostly, they’re socializing with their friends, people they’ve met at school or camp or sports.”

The study, part of a $50 million project on digital and media learning, used several teams of researchers to interview more than 800 young people and their parents and to observe teenagers online for more than 5,000 hours. Because of the adult sense that socializing on the Internet is a waste of time, the study said, teenagers reported many rules and restrictions on their electronic hanging out, but most found ways to work around such barriers that let them stay in touch with their friends steadily throughout the day.

“Teens usually have a ‘full-time intimate community’ with whom they communicate in an always-on mode via mobile phones and instant messaging,” the study said.

Retailers and Restaurants Get Smart to Retain Staff

October 6, 2008

Turnover is generally high in the retail industry because of numerous factors ranging from long hours and tedious work to competition for staff from other companies. Retailers and restaurants that have taken several approaches to worker retention include my client Burgerville, who makes affordable health care available to all employees who have been with the company at least six months and work 20 hours a week, all for just $15 per month. Another company, Finish Line, has developed distinctive strategies to attract and retain Generation Y workers, and a third company, Duane Reade, has deployed a work force management application to boost customer service and scheduling flexibility.

Susan Reda of STORES Magazine has written a great piece featuring these three companies which can be found on the STORES Website by clicking here.

From the article:

Recruiting employees to work in retail stores is the easy part; it’s convincing them to stay that can be grueling.

Turnover in the retail industry is notoriously high. For myriad reasons — everything from long hours and tedious tasks to the chance to earn a dime more per hour at the shop across the mall — retail employees suffer from a collective case of retention deficit disorder. Statistics reported earlier this year by the National Retail Federation estimate industry turnover at 58 percent for full-time associates and 114 percent for part-time employees.

Given the cost of recruiting, hiring, onboarding and training, retailers are understandably frustrated when an employee who has been with the company just a few short weeks or months decides to move on. The prospect of investing in an employee who departs before the season changes is unsettling at best, but return on investment is not the only concern: Customer service suffers when there are not enough associates to assist shoppers, process transactions or provide the knowledgeable insight that a seasoned employee can offer.

Company: BURGERVILLE
Headquarters: Vancouver, Wash.
Employees: 1,400+
Retention Strategy: Affordable Health Care

A 2005 employee survey spelled it out in black and white: The No. 1 concern of Burgerville workers was affordable health care.

“We bet that if we could find a way to make health care affordable for all our employees — most of whom are hourly employees — we could alleviate a huge concern and win their loyalty,” chief cultural officer Jack Graves says.

It was a sizeable bet — approximately $1.5 million — but it has paid off handsomely. Since it began offering an extended and improved health insurance plan, Burgerville has achieved a dramatic increase in employee retention and loyalty.

Prior to implementing the new plan, turnover rates hovered around 128 percent. In 2006, the first full year of the health care initiative, turnover dropped to 54 percent; today the rate is holding steady at 52 percent. Productivity and employee confidence are up, absenteeism is down and, by reducing turnover, Burgerville has conservatively saved more than $500,000 — capital the quick-serve chain would have had to invest in recruiting, training and onboarding.

Under Burgerville’s plan, employees who have been with the company for at least six months and work 20 hours a week are eligible for health insurance; it costs each employee $15 per month, or $90 monthly for family coverage. Burgerville’s parent company, The Holland, pays more than 90 percent of the premium for employees and their dependents.

The package, put together in partnership with Kaiser Permanente, has no deductible — a tipping point for employee acceptance, according to Graves. High school and college students, retirees and young moms working part time “are often on a tight budget,” Graves says. “What we learned, however, was that these employees were less likely to go to the doctor — even if they had some insurance — because they couldn’t afford the deductible.

“Offering affordable health care with a zero deductible was a game changer,” he says.

It didn’t happen overnight, however. “The program was so outside the box that people didn’t believe it at first,” Graves says. “We actually set up a field trip of sorts to a Kaiser clinic to demonstrate how it worked.”

Employee retention isn’t the only metric Burgerville uses to measure its return on investment. “With more skilled employees, our restaurants are running better and they look better,” Graves says. “The food is hotter and it’s served faster, too. There’s a renewed sense of pride and commitment.”

The changes are having a healthy effect on the bottom line, too; Burgerville reports a year-over-year increase in guest counts and a lift in sales.

“Being a local company, word spread quickly of our commitment to providing health care, and guests have rewarded us for that,” Graves says. The company has received substantial feedback from guests indicating that the care showed to its employees separates Burgerville from the pack.

“Many guests have written to us saying that it is this sort of program that keeps them committed to the Burgerville brand,” Graves says. “I’ve got the e-mails to prove it.”

Burgerville employees are at the forefront of what allows the company to live its values to their fullest extent. Without strong, vibrant and healthy people working in each of their restaurants, the company cannot provide the service which their guests expect.

Even more important, Burgerville has been able to live their mission “Serve with Love” and stand by their employees. Burgerville believes that thriving individuals lead to thriving families which helps build efficient and connected communities. This in turn supports a very healthy and sustainable business.