Miss Universe receives a grand homecoming in the Philippines

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Kaiser Permanente Moanalua Medical Center Receives Women’s Choice Award for Excellence in Bariatric Surgery

HONOLULU — For the fourth straight year, Kaiser Permanente Moanalua Medical Center has been recognized as one of America’s Best Hospitals for Bariatric Surgery by the Women’s Choice Award®. Presented by WomenCertified Inc., this evidence-based designation scored Moanalua Medical Center in the top 8 percent of 4,797 U.S. hospitals reviewed.

The America’s Best Hospitals for Bariatric Surgery award is given to hospitals recognized by the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. To be eligible for consideration, hospitals must be accredited by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program, which indicates the highest standards for patient safety and quality care in the treatment of severe obesity. The award also takes into account patient safety data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and patient recommendation ratings from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey.

“Nearly 24 percent of Hawaii’s adult population is obese, living with an increased risk of developing diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, arthritis and obesity-related cancer,” said Peggy Latare, MD, co-chief of the bariatric surgery department at Kaiser Permanente Hawaii. “Our bariatric team focuses on offering high-quality, integrated care and support that includes surgery, medication and meal replacements to treat obesity and its many associated risks, as well as education and resources that help patients improve their overall health and quality of life.” Kaiser Permanente Hawaii members who are interested in these services can call 808-432-7830.

America’s Best Hospitals for Bariatric Surgery combines national accreditations, HCAHPS survey results and hospital outcome scores with primary research about women’s health care preferences. It is the only award recognizing excellence in bariatric surgery based on robust criteria that consider female patient satisfaction and clinical excellence.


About the Women’s Choice Award®
The Women’s Choice Award sets the standard for helping women to make smarter choices for themselves and their families. The company and its awards identify the brands, products and services that are most recommended and trusted by women. The Women’s Choice Award is the only evidence-based quality designation that drives consumer and patient appreciation through education, empowerment and validation. Additionally, they recognize those that deliver a recommendation-worthy customer experience. Visit www.WomensChoiceAward.com to learn more.

About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 12.2 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to kp.org/share.

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Jazmine Headley, Mom Whose Baby Was Ripped From Her Arms, Receives An Overdue Apology From The NYC Council

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Source: KENA BETANCUR / Getty

A month ago, one of the most disturbing optics to hit the internet emerged, of a Black woman lying on the floor, clutching her toddler to her body while several members of the New York Police Department pried her child from her tight clasp.

The incident, which took place in a public benefits office in Brooklyn, New York, on December 7, reminded many of the violence Black women experience for merely existing. Jazmine Headley, a 23-year-old mother who visited the office to inquire about her SNAP benefits and a subsidy for her son to attend day care, was accosted by the building’s city peace officers and later five New York Police officers because she opted to sit on the floor in the crowded waiting area.

“You’re hurting my son!” Headley screams in the terrifying video.

On Tuesday, Headley sat before New York City Council members as she explained how her life was violently disrupted due to the officer’s actions.

“It’s not just the fact that I was arrested. It was the harsh way that I was treated by people who are supposed to help me,” she said.  “In my case, I was just sitting. A peaceful act,” Headley said during her emotional testimony.

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who was one of the main advocates for Headley’s release, personally apologized to her. One that was way overdue and will no doubt, still no soothe the pain she experienced.

“I also want to apologize. I’m sorry on behalf of the city of New York. I’m sorry you ever had to go to that HRA center. I’m sorry that you and your baby had to experience that trauma,” Johnson said.

Headley, for her refusal to move was arrested and spent four nights in Rikers Island until she was released after a judge dropped the impending charges against her.

“You deserve so much more than you received and I am deeply, deeply apologetic that you had to have this experience and I am similarly, deeply, deeply grateful for your bravery,” Johnson said.

In response, the city council will introduce 13 bills which would look into city offerings for residents who rely on government assistance. They include a quarterly report on use-of-force-incidents from the Department of Social services and the creation of the “Office of the Special handlers,” which would respond to complaints and questions, according to The New York Times.

But what Headley also needs is a direct apology from the officers who failed her and provided an environment of chaos instead of intending to diffuse and protect.

To date, none of the police officers involved have faced disciplinary action, while two of the peace officers involved are no longer in their roles, according to report by NY1.com.

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Air Force receives first Boeing KC-46 tankers after a two-year delay and $3 billion in cost overruns

The two KC-46 tankers, derived from Boeing's commercial 767 airframe, touched down at McConnell Air Force base in Kansas on Friday after departing the company's Everett, Washington, facility.
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Kaiser Permanente Moanalua Medical Center Receives Women’s Choice Award for Cancer Care

HONOLULU — For the second consecutive year, Kaiser Permanente Moanalua Medical Center has been named one of America’s Best Hospitals for Cancer Care by the Women’s Choice Award®. This evidence-based designation places Moanalua Medical Center in the top 9 percent of 4,797 U.S. hospitals offering cancer care services.

The America’s Best Hospitals for Cancer Care award is based on criteria such as the comprehensiveness of diagnostic and treatment services offered, low rates of infection compared to the national average, national accreditations, and female patient satisfaction and preference ratings on the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey.

Kaiser Permanente’s multidisciplinary, team-based approach focuses on all stages of cancer care, from prevention through treatment. The organization holds an annual Cancer Screening and Prevention Fair where medical specialists and counselors provide screening and lifestyle education to hundreds of attendees. Kaiser Permanente also recognizes that women have specialized health care needs. Moanalua Medical Center’s cancer care services include a breast care clinic, which provides cancer patients with a coordinated team made up of oncologists, geneticists, radiologists, surgeons and support staff who provide comprehensive care under one roof.

“Every year, thousands of people in Hawaii receive a cancer diagnosis,” said Jennifer Carney, MD, chief of oncology and hematology at Kaiser Permanente Hawaii. “Getting that news is never easy. We strive to provide coordinated care that takes into account our patients’ total picture of health so we can deliver safer, more effective care that is also more convenient for our members. We’re grateful to be able to make a difference in the lives of our many members, who survive cancer every year.”

In 2016, Kaiser Permanente Hawaii was ranked first in the state on breast and colorectal cancer screenings by the National Committee for Quality Assurance, a national quality assurance organization. In 2017, Moanalua Medical Center received a 3-year accreditation, the longest available, from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (ACS CoC) based on quality measures including early diagnosis, cancer staging, optimal treatment, rehabilitation and end-of-life care.


About the Women’s Choice Award®
The Women’s Choice Award sets the standard for helping women to make smarter choices for themselves and their families. The company and its awards identify the brands, products and services that are most recommended and trusted by women. The Women’s Choice Award is the only evidence-based quality designation that drives consumer and patient appreciation through education, empowerment and validation. Additionally, they recognize those that deliver a recommendation-worthy customer experience. Visit www.WomensChoiceAward.com to learn more.

About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 12.2 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to kp.org/share.

 

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The adidas UltraBOOST 19 Receives an “Oreo” Colorway

adidas presents its latest colorway to the newly introduced UltraBOOST 19 model. As a colorway that has found its way across multiple footwear brands, the “Oreo” colorway, as you guessed it, takes on a predominantly black-and-white color scheme.

With a new weave pattern, the uppers see a horizontal split, where black covers the toe-to-tongue portions of the shoe, while white can be seen just above the midsole and back towards the heel. Features include a white BOOST outsole with Continental rubber grip, framed heel support cup, and a textured lace cage system.

This iteration of the adidas UltraBOOST 19 doesn’t have a release date, but expect it to arrive on adidas’ site early next year for $ 180 USD.

In other footwear news, a white colorway of Paul George’s Playstation x Nike PG 2.5 is on its way.

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Massachusetts Stroke Patient Receives ‘Outrageous’ $474,725 Medical Flight Bill

Kristina Cunningham was in stable condition on an evening in June, when EMTs lifted her gurney into a medical flight, bound for Boston.

The 34-year-old couldn’t use her right arm or speak clearly after a stroke six days earlier, and still had two blood clots at the base of her brain. Cunningham’s dad, Jim Royer, remembers doctors at the small hospital in Wichita, Kan., where Cunningham had attended a family wedding, saying she needed to see a neurosurgeon.

“There was discussion of flying her to St. Louis, there was discussion of flying her to Chicago, there was discussion of flying her to Dallas,” Royer recalled, but “we don’t have family in any of those locations.”

So the doctors arranged to transfer Cunningham, via an Angel MedFlight Learjet, to Massachusetts General Hospital, where she would be diagnosed with a rare blood vessel disease of the brain. MGH is about an hour from Cunningham’s home in Berlin, Mass. — and her 7-year-old son. Cunningham’s doctors and her insurer, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, based in Maryland, agreed the transfer was medically necessary.

“We assumed it would be [covered],” Royer said, “because it was supposedly preapproved by the insurer before any flight took place.”

Royer said he and Cunningham didn’t think about the Angel MedFlight piece of her health scare again until a letter arrived in August. It was a one-page “explanation of benefits” with a jaw-dropping total in a column labeled “other amounts not covered.”
“When I got the bill for $ 474,725, I’m thinking six or seven flights, and you can buy a whole new jet,” Royer said with a wry laugh.

That nearly half-million dollars is the total of four items, the largest of which is a per-mile charge. That figure, $ 389,125, breaks down to $ 275 a mile.

“It’s larger than any surprise medical bill I’ve personally seen,” said Chuck Bell, program director for the advocacy division at Consumer Reports. “It’s really outrageous.”

In a study last year, Consumer Reports detailed some of the reasons excessively high air ambulance bills have become more common. Use of air ambulances is rising as more rural hospitals close, baby boomers age and the use of telemedicine increases.

“The industry has really grown by leaps and bounds over the last 15 years and prices have doubled or tripled,” Bell said. “Most of the operators of air ambulances now are for-profit, Wall Street-type corporations reporting very large profits to investors.”

The Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS), a trade group, counters that it is not unique, that many hospitals and health insurers across the country are also for-profit and that some are owned by private equity firms.

AAMS said a key reason bills for patients with private insurance plans are often high is this: Companies have to make up for the money they lose transporting other patients.

“Medicare pays about 60 percent of the cost of the flight. Medicaid pays 35 percent or less. Self-paid patients pay a few cents on the dollar. And that has led to a crisis of being able to sustain the service,” Christopher Eastlee, AAMS vice president for government relations, said in a statement, stressing that he has cost data only for emergency helicopter transports, not jets like the one in which Cunningham traveled.

In 2018, Medicare paid $ 8.65 per mile for a fixed-wing aircraft like the Learjet that transported Cunningham. That’s a stark contrast to Angel MedFlight’s $ 275 charge per mile. There are no guidelines for determining reasonable charges in this case.

Cunningham’s insurer, CareFirst, initially paid $ 14,304.55, leaving about $ 460,420 unpaid. In Massachusetts, a ground-based ambulance could not demand that Cunningham pay the balance, as state law doesn’t allow so-called balance billing. But air ambulances are governed by federal aviation laws. There are numerous cases of companies demanding payments from patients. A few states have tried to intervene but been unsuccessful, with courts saying that federal law prevails.

Cunningham has been focused on recovering her speech and preparing for surgery. In January, she will meet with her doctors to decide which type of surgery they recommend for removing or bypassing the blood clots at the base of her brain.

But Cunningham and her father have another worry: what the mail may bring.
“I don’t know, we’ll see,” Cunningham said, with a shrug.

“It’s a big bill to be sitting out there wondering what’s going on,” said Royer, who contacted KHN-NPR’s Bill of the Month on his daughter’s behalf. “It would force her into bankruptcy.”

Angel MedFlight COO Andrew Bess told WBUR the company is negotiating with CareFirst and will not demand payment from Cunningham.

“We’re quite confident we’ll come to a clear resolution despite the insurer placing the patient in the middle of the dispute,” said Bess.

Royer said it was a letter from Angel MedFlight that sounded threatening. As he read it, the company told Cunningham she must sign over the rights for Angel MedFlight to negotiate with CareFirst or risk being held liable if the insurer did not pay. Cunningham signed the request.

Bell, with Consumer Reports, said agreeing to such terms can be risky. Some air ambulance companies ask for detailed information about the patient’s personal finances, information they then use to determine how much the patient can pay if the insurance reimbursement is deemed inadequate.

During inquiries for this story, CareFirst told WBUR it would increase the proposed payment to Angel MedFlight. The insurer said it had discovered an error in its initial reimbursement to Angel MedFlight. CareFirst is now proposing to pay $ 70,864.90, or about one-seventh of the original charge.

“Unfortunately, exorbitant charges like these by air ambulance providers are not uncommon,” said Scott Graham, a spokesman for CareFirst, in an email. “This is an issue because companies like Angel MedFlight typically do not contract with health insurers on negotiated rates.”

WBUR forwarded this update to Bess, who called it a “meaningful offer” in his emailed response.

“We provide a valuable service, and for that providers should be fairly compensated and reimbursed,” Bess said. “We strive to work with our patients and advocate on behalf of them to get coverage rightfully owed to them under their insurance plans.”

Royer, a retired Air Force air traffic control systems manager, knows something about the cost of operating jets. To him, it looks like Angel MedFlight inflated the bill, hoping the insurer would agree to a generous settlement.

“I guess that the way things work nowadays. You ask for the moon and if you only get a large island, that’s what you get,” Royer said.

Bess responded to Royer’s claim in a statement.

“Staffing what is essentially an Intensive Care Unit at 30,000 feet presents unique medical and aviation challenges that may not be apparent to those outside of the medical aviation industry,” Bess wrote. “The amount we receive per flight is a fraction of the billed charge.”

Patients caught up in an air ambulance billing dispute can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Transportation.

A recent push for stricter federal billing regulations was stripped out of the Federal Aviation Reauthorization Act, passed in October. The legislation did establish a council of industry representatives, including air ambulance providers and insurance company representatives, among others, to write and re-evaluate consumer protections, including balance-billing practices. It did not add a requirement for more price and other data transparency called for in a Government Accountability Office report on the air ambulance industry.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners says federal legislation is needed so that states can intervene to oppose unreasonable air ambulance charges. Lawmakers from rural states, including Sen. Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat, said they’ll reintroduce such legislation.

The air ambulance trade group says any such change would create “borders in the sky” that would interfere with lifesaving air rescues across state borders.

This story is part of a partnership that includes WBUR, NPR and Kaiser Health News.

Do you have an interesting or outrageous medical bill you’d like KHN and NPR to examine? Tell us about it!

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Romeo Gigli Receives Honoris Causa Diploma From Brera Art Academy

GIGLI’S TRIBUTE: Romeo Gigli was recognized on Wednesday in Milan by Brera’s prestigious Art Academy, which bestowed the Honoris Causa Diploma in communication and art teaching to the designer. Gigli also received the title of honorary member of the institution.
“Romeo Gigli, who made culture, books, traveling and kindness his own style, understands that many secrets challenge us and are hidden in mythical stories.…Gigli’s language morphed into clothes that wanted to reveal the most hidden secret: that of poetry,” stated the academy, which emphasized not only Gigli’s contribution as a designer of high fashion, but also his “ability to use the spiritual activity that created myths,” creating a “mythological vision of reality.” The academy also underscored the designer’s “tireless research [and] his ability to transform the light and history in fabrics, clothes and accessories,” his “great contribution to the enhancement of the Italian culture,” and how the designer “infused his passion for beauty, history and the journey in his work.”
The designer was born in 1949 in Castel Bolognese, near Ravenna, to a family of antique book sellers and studied architecture at university. Gigli launched his own brand in 1983 and conceived looks with architectural shapes combined with romantic, Renaissance touches, dashes of

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Jo Malone Receives CBE From the Prince of Wales

NAME CHANGE: Perfumer Jo Malone has picked up a new title. Today, she was awarded Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, or CBE, by The Prince of Wales.
Malone founded the eponymous fragrance house in 1994 and sold it to the Estée Lauder Companies in 1999. It is now known as Jo Malone London. She is also the founder of luxury fragrance brand, Jo Loves, which she launched in 2011.
The award, one of the Queen’s Honors, recognizes Malone’s contributions to the fragrance industry, her work as an entrepreneur, shopkeeper and mentor to students and small and medium-size enterprises alike. Malone is an ambassador for the Great Britain campaign which unites the public and private sector to generate jobs for the U.K.
Malone received the accolade on Friday, dressed in a cream dress and coat from St. John, a fascinator by Harrods and shoes by Tory Burch.
“I am so honored and overwhelmed to be receiving this incredible CBE award. Lots of people work hard in life so it’s beyond a privilege to be recognized this way. Congratulations to everyone,” said Malone.

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Ralph Lauren Receives Honorary UK Knighthood for Services to Fashion

Ralph Lauren can add a new notch to his leather belt: Honorary Knighthood.
The 79-year-old designer, who is celebrating 50 years in business, has been made an Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. He may be called Ralph Lauren KBE, if he wishes.
The honorary knighthood insignia will be presented to the designer by a representative of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at a ceremony next year.
Antony Phillipson, British Consul General to New York and Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for North America, said the award recognizes that “in fashion, business and philanthropy, Mr. Lauren has played a key role in forging transatlantic cultural and economic connections. As creator and visionary of the Ralph Lauren brand worldwide, Mr. Lauren has been a vanguard for the global fashion industry and American style for nearly half a century. In addition, monumental philanthropic efforts, especially in the realm of public health, cancer research and treatment in both the U.S. and the U.K., have led to benefits felt by citizens around the world.”
Lauren is the first American fashion designer to be recognized with an honorary knighthood. Other notable American recipients of an honorary U.K. knighthood or damehood include former Presidents Dwight

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Diane von Furstenberg Receives International Rescue Committee Freedom Award

Diane von Furstenberg was recognized by the International Rescue Committee on Thursday evening with the organization’s Freedom Award at its annual gala, the Rescue Dinner. The designer visited refugees in June at the IRC’s offices in Alexandria, Greece, where she met IRC staff members and Syrian refugees, who were recovering from traumas experienced on their journeys while trying to reunite with their families in Northern Europe.
Earlier this week, von Furstenberg visited the New York Resettlement Office to participate in a refugee business development workshop, where she met with a Congolese woman who is committed to starting an ice cream business.
The IRC notes they award the Freedom Award to “individuals who have made extraordinary contributions in support of refugees, and who have championed the cause of liberty, individual freedom and dignity. Diane von Furstenberg, a legend in the fashion industry, is a dedicated philanthropist and an outspoken advocate for vulnerable people.”
It has previously been awarded to the likes of Michael Bloomberg, Sen. John McCain, George Soros, Kofi Annan, Madeleine Albright and Winston Churchill.

Diane von Furstenberg at the IRC office in Greece. 

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Newton Thomas Sigel Receives Praise From Three Directors

Three directors who have worked closely with DP Newton Thomas Sigel, Variety’s latest Billion Dollar Cinematographer, speak of their experiences with him. Nicolas Winding Refn When Danish director and screenwriter Refn first talked to Sigel via Skype about possibly shooting his retro-noir thriller “Drive” (pictured above), he quickly realized he’d found the ideal DP for […]

Variety

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