Monday, August 19, 2013

Essex Happenings, August 1. 2013

Information on the following organizations is provided as a Trustee.  I am not an employee or in management of the organizations mentioned below.  TOM LEONARD

Essex Heritage Events

Salem Maritime Festival at the Salem NPS Site
August 3, 2013 • Salem Maritime National Historic Site, 193 Derby Street, Salem, MA, 01970
Celebrate Four Centuries of Salem's Maritime Heritage!.  Come and see what Maritime life must have been like.

Featured Partner Event: Seven Lectures at The Seven Gables: Seven Lectures at The Seven Gables: Hank Phillipi Ryan
August 21, 2013 • The House of the Seven Gables, 115 Derby Street, Salem, MA, 01970
How does an Emmy winning reporter become a best-selling author of fast-paced murder mysteries? Hank will share how she went from a reporter at Rolling Stone Magazine to the US Senate and then to under-cover investigations for NBC to following her dreams.

Essex Heritage Annual Fall Meeting
September 5, 2013 • Cape Ann Museum, 27 Pleasant Street, Gloucester, MA, 01930
Essex Heritage's Annual Fall Meeting is Thursday, September 5th, at the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester.  In the  at the 9/1 posting of Essex Happenings we will provide additional  information about the format , agenda and location for this twice a year gathering of interested Essex Heritage participants.   This event can be a wonderfully informative gathering with sensational networking opportunities.   It is never too early to register for this premier regional event and a call to Essex Heritage at 978 740 0444 can accomplish that act now. By calling ESSEX Heritage 978 740 044.

Regional County Events and Other Happenings

Regional Salem MBTA Station
In mid July, the MBTA closed the Salem railroad station parking lot to begin construction of a new parking garage at that site.  Over the next 14 months or even possibly longer, the current 460 parking spaces will not be available.  For those of you still using the train for transportation alternate planning for parking  in Salem will be a must.

Information on a future Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salem Fundraise
The Boys & Girls Club will be holding a fund raiser, Champion for Kids Celebration, on Saturday, September 28th, 3-8 PM at 29 Winter Island Road in Salem. “This year we will be honoring Collins Middle School Principal Mary Manning.  Mary has spent her entire career in service to Salem children working as a teacher and then middle school principal.  Mary has a reputation as being completely devoted to her position, often serving as an advocate for children, especially those most vulnerable. This event will be well attended by those who admire Mary and want to express their sincere appreciation in a lighthearted and humorous way. Thank you very much for your consideration.”
Proposed Salem Redevelopment of A Parcel at Washington and Dodge Street Receives Initial City Approval
The Salem City Council recently approved the selling of roughly half acre of land owned by the city and currently contains 38 open parking spaces.  This will be sold to RGC a Somerville based development firm with previous experience with the city.   There will likely be a number of changes that will be made to this development before even a groundbreaking is scheduled but in the preliminary plans. The developer plans a six story building that will contain an interesting mix of retail, commercial and residential uses that could include one hundred hotel units.   This project will help change the face of downtown Salem, and as plans progress we will keep you posted.

Reports from North Shore Elder Services

Mixed Results in Health Pilot Plan: Program Members Raise Quality of Care but Struggle to Lower Costs, By  MELINDA BECK, Wall Street Journal

Lowering health-care costs is tougher than improving the quality of care, according to first-year results from a key pilot program under the federal health law.

All of the 32 health systems in the so-called Pioneer Accountable Care Organization program improved patient care on quality measures such as cancer screenings and controlling blood pressure, according to data to be released Tuesday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. But only 18 of the 32 managed to lower costs for the Medicare patients they treated—a major goal of the effort.

Two hospitals lost money on the program in the first year. Seven have notified CMS that they intend to move to another program where they will face less financial risk. Two others have indicated they intend to leave the program, CMS says, but it declined to identify them.

ACOs are an emerging concept in which hospitals and groups of doctors contract to care for a specified population of patients, with the goal of improving quality and lowering costs by better coordinating care. In general, ACOs are shifting to a system that pays doctors to keep people healthy, as opposed to the volume of services they provide. To do this, many systems emphasize preventive care to stave off costly hospitalizations.

The pilot program is a closely watched first indicator of whether these pillars of the landmark federal health law can help transform care. However, some analysts said it is unsurprising that more participants didn't achieve savings in the first year, given that the program has three years to achieve its goals.

As outlined in the Affordable Care Act, health systems that lower the cost of care for a large group of Medicare beneficiaries, while meeting 33 quality measures, stand to split the savings with Medicare. The systems chosen as Pioneers were supposed to serve as models, since they were already experienced in providing such value-based care.

The Obama administration says it is pleased with the results on quality measures. "Overall, we are very excited about the results. It's incredibly rare that 100% of the participants outperform benchmarks," said Patrick Conway, chief medical officer for CMS and acting director of its Innovation Center, which runs the program.

The Pioneers were able to slow cost increases, according to the initial indicators. On average, costs for the more than 669,000 Medicare beneficiaries treated in the 32 Pioneers grew by only 0.3% in 2012, compared with 0.8% growth for typical Medicare beneficiaries, CMS said.

The ACO concept has spread quickly. Another 250 health-care systems have set them up under Medicare's Shared Savings Program, which is similar except that those ACOs aren't required to share in any losses, as Pioneers are. They stand to share only in the savings in the first two years.

Commercial insurance companies have set up nearly 200 ACO-type contracts with health-care systems. Last week, UnitedHealth Group Inc. UNH +11.27% said it expects to double its accountable-care contracts to $50 billion by 2017. More than a dozen states also have created ACOs to care for Medicaid patients.

As of January 2013, the Shared Savings ACOs were providing care for more than four million Medicare beneficiaries in 49 states, according to Levitt Partners LLC, a health-care consulting firm.

Of the 18 Pioneers that saved money, 13 saved enough to be able to split their savings with Medicare, generating a gross savings of $87.6 million in 2012. Among them was Partners Healthcare in Boston, which includes Massachusetts General.

"We did great. We saved about $14.4 million for Medicare, and will get back a little over $7 million," said President and Chief Executive Gary Gottlieb.

He said that about 70% of the system's patients are still under traditional "fee-for-service" contracts, where a hospital is paid separately for the individual services it provides. However, on the basis of the pilot-program results, he said he expects to move toward the ACO model "as we continue to demonstrate cost savings and quality improvements."

Bellin-ThedaCare Healthcare Partners in northern Wisconsin lowered costs for its 20,000 Medicare ACO patients by an average of 4.6% compared with the baseline population the program used for comparison. It stands to share in several million dollars in savings.

Executive Director David Krueger said the health-care system reduced hospital admissions rates, readmission rates and length of hospital stays for its ACO patients. "All that would be very bad news in a fee-for-service world, but in a shared-savings world, it's very positive news," he said.

One of the two that incurred losses was Atrius Health, a nonprofit alliance in eastern and central Massachusetts. Officials there said one difficulty Atrius faced was that the historical cost-per-patient it needed to beat was already unusually low, because they had lowered costs in years before. "We didn't have as much low-hanging fruit," said Emily Brower, executive director of the ACO.

She said Atrius may owe Medicare about $2 million, but the total amount won't be known until the next quarter. But she said the system has no plans to leave the program.

Many health-care analysts said they weren't surprised that more Pioneers didn't achieve savings—in part because many of their other patients are still under traditional payment contracts. "It's like being a little bit pregnant," said Chas Roades, chief research officer of the Advisory Board Co., which advises hospital systems. "It's hard to manage two separate sets of books, and it's hard to ask doctors to practice medicine in two different ways."

When organizations undertake major health-care reforms, "it's a marathon, not a sprint," said Mark McClellan, former administrator of CMS who now directs the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform at the Brookings Institution, a left-leaning Washington think tank. Significantly lowering the cost of care is harder and takes more time than showing improvements in quality.

"It's a big step just to be able to track which of your patients has diabetes, let alone improving their care at less cost," he said.

Longevity center health fair announced
This fair is focused on equipment and clinics,  as well as the launch of our first yoga class here at Longevity.  You have all been so supportive of Longevity that we want to give you the option of setting up that day or just visiting as a guest to have some lunch and network.  Let me know if you are interested in participating as a vendor.  In any event it will be a pleasure to see you all.  Please forward this to contacts and clients that you feel may benefit.  We thank you as always.  Eileen C. Lubas, Manager, The Longevity Connection, 152 Sylvan Street, Danvers, MA 01923
OFFICE 978.539.8254; CELL 978. 766. 6738; FAX 978. 750. 8053

Salem COA Plans Events for Heritage Days
The Salem Council on Aging is organizing a number of events foe seniors in Salem in conjunction with the annual celebration of Heritage Days in that City.   For details or reservations to various events call the Council at 978-744- 0924

Danvers High School Project Nears Completion
As we get closer to the start of the 2013-14 school year the ongoing project to improve the High School is almost complete and will be ready for the incoming students.  This project when coupled with the Junior High addition  and rehabilitation makes the town well prepared from an educative perspective,

School House in Newbury near Sale
The old Yellow School House that has been declared surplus in Newbury is about ready for sale to a couple that wants to convert to property to a single family home.   There are historic ramifications to the sale that need to be addressed.

City of Peabody Library Prepares for Restoration
One of the most iconic historic buildings in the region is scheduled for rehabilitation.   The Peabody Institute Library in the City of Peabody is being readied for renovation.  There will be structural repairs used to correct the damage that has occurred in the building damaged in  a winter storm in 2011.  The library was built in 1854.  Work to be done includes new windows, masonry work and elevator repairs.   The restore historic buildings in the region has always been a high priority for Essex Heritage. 

Danvers Historical Society News
Programs and Fundraisers:
On Fri. August 9, 2013 Onion Town Variety Show 7 PM Tapley Memorial Hall.
On Fri. Sept. 6, 2013 Onion Town Variety Show
On Mon. Sept. 16, 2013 Golf Tournament Black Swan C.C. $125 includes golf, cart, lunch and lots of fun!! or sponsor a hole for $125. Other sponsor levels available. Oct. 2012 program TBD
Fri. Oct. 18, 2013  Onion Town Variety Show 7 PM Tapley Memorial Hall
On Fri. Nov.8, 2013 Onion Town Variety Show 7 PM Tapley Memorial Hall
On Thurs. Nov. 14, 2013 program: Richard Trask “JFK Assassination, A Personal Perspective” 7 PM Tapley Memorial Hall
Sat. Nov. 30-Sat. Dec. 7 -Parade of Trees Tapley Memorial Hall

INFORMATION ON A MOST IMPORTANT FUNDRAISING EVENT SESCHEDULED FOR GLEN MAGNA :  Designer Show case:  To date DHS have 13 available spaces of the 15 established spaces filled.  Committee is still actively seeking a Presenting Sponsor.  Rich Warren did not have any success with East Boston Savings. Wayne E. will approach Peoples United. Gold Sponsors to date: NorthEast Community Bank; Corporate sponsors to date:  Landry & Arcari, Designer Bath and Salem Plumbing, North Shore Window Solutions.  Media Sponsor is Northshore Magazine. 

Designers to date:  Michael Carter, ASID,;  Donna T, ASID, Boston Design and Interiors, Inc.; Diana Kennedy,; Eric Roth,;  Caitlin Flynn and Elyse Parkhurst of North Fork Design,; Candy Weston, Weston Design,; Don Mosher,;  Yvonne Blacker Creative,;  Bill Ralph, Fine Arts and Antiques, Essex; PLEASE CHECK OUT THEIR WEBSITES AND FAMILIARIZE YOURSELVES WITH THESE DESIGNERS!!!!!

For Registration and Appointments, call: 978-539-8254

Personal Observations

2013 Patriots Camp Training Camp Opened this past week 
There will be many new challenges not faced previously to be considered by the Patriots in light of current player conditions.   New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick offered a most personal, candid and effective presentation at his long awaited press conference He covered a wide range of issues connected to the Hernandez matter and the talent evaluation process.   He appeared to be most stricken and hurt by the depth and severity of this situation.   He took responsibility for bringing the players into the process.  Building a cohesive and competitive team going forward in 2013 may be the biggest issue he will have been challenged within the 14 years he has been connected with this franchise.   I generally attend one practice each camp and that visit will be this week in an in stadium practice and that will be interesting to observe.

Bulger Trial Continues
The trial currently underway at the Federal Court House in Boston has taken many twists and turns and the final disposition of these proceedings will be followed closely by the local population, as justice for many is expected with the trial result.
 Annie and Susan, the following is the volunteer BLOG that I am now preparing once each month.  Can it be reviewed and then posted to BLOGER     TOM

Boston baseball team still in first place half way through the 2013 season
The Boston Baseball entry has surprised its fans with a better than expected first half of the season and with sixty or so games still remaining in contention, but recent pitching injuries have had an impact.  The schedule remains competitive and the final year-end standings are still very much in doubt. The schedule for the Boston entry remains difficult and to stay in the race will be difficult.


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