July 26, 2007

Update to the Wal*mart E-mail

On Tuesday, I received a voice-mail message on my home phone from Wal*Mart, thanking me for bringing the lighting problem to their attention. (see July 20, 2007 for the story)

The message went on about how they really appreciated me taking the time to inform them of the lighting problem. The lady finally said, she would call back because she wanted to talk to me in person.

She called back about an hour later and went on and on again about how they were about to get the problem fixed and that I brought it to their attention. She seemed genuinely happy about it, although she didn’t offer me any type of reward! In fact, she or the manager will probably get a bonus for lowering their store's costs!

It is amazing though, a $200 billion company was able to respond to me in Doe Valley in a matter of a few days!

July 23, 2007

Giving away the secrets

I am sure everyone is aware of the latest release of the Harry Potter book. The author, J.K. Rowling, was disappointed with the media. She claimed the media gave away too much information about the book.

Big deal. Should this surprise us? This is what the media does. In fact, two days before I received my Money magazine in the mail, I heard on the news about the main story in the current issue. On Friday, I heard about the main story in my SmartMoney magazine, I have yet to receive that issue. The media “giving” away too much information regarding Harry Potter is nothing new. It is simply par for the course. It's what they do.

Besides, the Potter series was wrote for kids. How many kids (that read Harry Potter) are actually watching the news?

July 20, 2007

Wal*Mart – Lights on for Safety?

Below is an e-mail I sent to the local Wal*Mart.

I shop at the Ebensburg (Pennsylvania) store every (day inserted here) evening usually from about (times inserted here). I notice that the outside parking lot lights are on at this time. Obviously, during the summer it is still light outside and those lights do not need to be on.

If Wal*mart is trying to be "green" then shutting off the outside lights during the day or early evening would help conserve resources right?


I wonder if I’ll get a response? Better yet, I wonder if they will turn off the lights! I figure if turning off the lights will lower Wal*Mart’s costs, then maybe they will pass that savings on to me.

Always thinking of something here at Doe Valley.

July 19, 2007

How about this! Who wants $1 million?

On Tuesday, Representative Jeff Flake of Arizona questioned Representative Peter Visclosky of Indiana about a $1 million earmark in his bill. The million dollars was earmarked for the “Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructure.”

Flake and his staff could not find any information about the Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructure. He asked Visclosky if it even existed. Visclosky was unsure whether it existed or not!

Upon further review, the earmark was inserted into the legislation by our friend Representative John Murtha. Apparently, the center is part of Concurrent Technologies Corporation in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

After the discussion, Rep. Flake made a motion to have the $1 million earmark removed from the legislation since they were unable to determine anything about this center. He was defeated 98-326 (H-AMDT.503).

Don’t believe me, check it out for yourself. The resolution is HR-2641. The transcript is H7875, search for “Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructure”. (THOMAS)

So to be clear. The government just approved $1 million for a center they are not sure even exits! I don’t make this stuff up! Just for the record, CTC does contribute to John Murtha’s reelection campaign. And we wonder why are taxes are high.

July 18, 2007

How much does it cost to administer a shot?

As you know from reading yesterdays post, my wife and I recently got tetanus shots.

My wife’s code was 90715, whereas, my initial code was 90721.
90715 is the Tdap vaccine
90721 is the Dtap/hib vaccine

The Doctor’s office changed my billing code to 90715 after the insurance company rejected it. Apparently the 90721 shot is for children and is not covered for adults. The 90721 shot was $65 whereas, the 90715 was only $40. I wonder which shot I actually got? I’ll probably never know. Or was this simply a billing “error” to attempt to get more money from the insurance company?

The Doctor’s office also charges you to have someone actually give you the shot. This is code 90471. They charged my insurance company $8 to jab me. My wife’s Doctor charged around $20 to jab her!

What’s my point? I don’t really have one, other than you need to pay attention to your medical bills. When you don’t understand what it means, find out.

July 17, 2007

Secrets of Medical Billing

Did you ever wonder what those codes mean on your medical bill? How do you know you were billed for the right procedure?

Last month I went to the Doctor’s office to finally get my test results from April (turns out I am in perfect health). While at the Doctor’s office I decided to get a tetanus shot, since I hadn’t had one since probably 1995. The nurse gave me the tetanus shot with some other “stuff” in it. I figured it was the diphtheria and pertussis shots, but she didn’t clarify it.

A few weeks later, I get the insurance statement saying the shot I got was not covered under my policy. A few weeks before my wife got a tetanus shot and it was covered. After spending quite a while on the phone with the spokesperson at the insurance company, she said the billed code is not covered, however, if the Doctor’s office rebilled the shot under another code, then maybe it would be covered. What? I called the Doctor’s office and they said they would rebill the shot under a different code.

A few more weeks later, I get the rebilled insurance statement stating that everything was covered with the different code.

What do these codes mean? I decided to find out. A couple of web sites were helpful in determining what the codes mean. The first site is from Perdue University.
The second site comes from the AMA.

Check back tomorrow for further analysis of the billing codes.

The codes are usually listed right below the description on your bill. Grab your most recent statement and find what you have been charged for.
Here are some sample codes:

July 05, 2007

Book Review

The Truth War: Fighting For Certainty in an Age of Deception
By John MacArthur

It seems like after reading any book I am fired up about the topic. This book is no different. The topic is the war on the Truth. The Church is being terrorized and infiltrated by people claiming to be believers, yet don’t believe in many of the Truth’s of the Bible.

Much of the book stems from the book of Jude. In fact, Jude 1:3-4 really sums up the book better than anything. In fact, instead of reading this book, just read and study the book of Jude!

The Bible is absolutely clear in its Truth. There is no question about its main Truth, which is God’s plan for salvation through Jesus Christ.

Many churches today present an “easy to believe” gospel or try to entertain the crowd on Sunday mornings. The pastors speak of a prosperity gospel, the “you name it and claim it” type. Many of the denominations want to include everyone and don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, therefore, they do not confront the sins of their members.

This is an outright assault on the Truth! Want some straight-forward, plain English speaking Truth? Read 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.

The Gospel is not all-inclusive. Everyone isn’t and won’t be saved. Read some of those “I-Am” statements found in Gospel According to John. (Check out the Circuit Riders Range for a further study of the exclusive way to salvation.)

This is the type of teaching and preaching that needs to be in our churches and our seminaries. This is what I attempt to do when speaking. I know everyone doesn’t like it, but this is what needs to be done. The best part is the fact that it is the unveiled TRUTH! If you do not worship the God of the Bible (Old and New Testaments – the same triune God from the beginning), then you are worshipping Satan, plain and simple.

I think my book review turned into a mini-lecture, but sometimes that happens. Overall, the book was a good read, probably not MacArthur’s best work, but good none-the-less. He does name some names of people who preach and teach a gospel that people WANT to hear. The discerning Christian won’t be surprised by the names though.

July 03, 2007


A couple of days after I sent my letter to the editor of SmartMoney Magazine regarding their article about Solar Power (see “Here Comes the Sun” to read it), I received a phone call from SmartMoney asking for permission to print my letter.

They told me my comments would appear in the August 2007 issue. Yesterday, the August 2007 issue came and sure enough there is my letter to the editor. The only thing is that it wasn’t the letter I was expecting! They printed a letter I sent to them in May regarding the “Common Sense” column (You can read that letter here)

The letter I wrote was not the greatest, but did get published. Strongstown made a nationwide magazine!

If you are interested in purchasing the magazine it is the August 2007 issue of SmartMoney. Warren Buffet and four other people are on the front cover with the lead story “World’s Greatest Investors.” I am famous! I recommend purchasing several copies, since it will be a collectors item some day.

July 02, 2007

How much is enough?

There is still no contract between the union that represents the faculty of Pennsylvania’s state-owned universities and the administrators (PASSHE).

The union is seeking a wage increase of 20% over four years. The PASSHE is offering a more reasonable increase of 2% or 3% a year. This is about 11% over the four year contract period. The union claims with PASSHE’s proposal they will actually loose about 7% of purchasing power over the life of the contract.

Oh my! What an outrage, our poor professors will be living in cardboard boxes and lining up at the food kitchens. We can’t have that now can we. We better come up with some more money for them. Where does the money come from? The rest of the hard working Pennsylvanian’s that work 12 months a year and work 8+ hours per day.

For the 2006-2007 the average full-time faculty member earned (or a better term to use is made) about $70,000 (source: Indiana Gazette). This is a nine month salary and they aren’t usually 8 hour days either!

I understand and accept the fact that education at all levels is extremely important. However, you shouldn’t want to be a professor, teacher, or instructor for the money. You do it for the good of society and because you enjoy it. The best motivator is the work it self, not the money.

I also question if the members of the union really support the union leaders or do they just go with the flow and do what the union leaders (bosses) tell them because that is what they are supposed to do or else there will be retribution against them.

Just for the record. I am an Adjunct Instructor so I do know what it is like to teach. Yes, I do get paid for my services and the money is indeed nice supplement to my regular job, but I do it because I enjoy teaching. The more I teach, the more I learn!