Rising Healthcare Costs and Outsourcing | healthcare

The cost of healthcare in the US has been steadily increasing in the past few years, and according to some projections by consultancy firms, the trend will continue. This has lead to increasing acceptance of outsourcing by different hospitals and healthcare providers across the country. Information technology, medical transcription, medical billing, and medical coding outsourcing have been increasing in response to the need to reduce cost.Healthcare Costs On the RiseOn the 15th of September, New York based consultancy firm, Towers Watson (NYSE:TW), projected an 8.2% increase in employer health care costs for 2011. According to Ron Fontanetta, senior health care consultant with Towers Watson, “Employees today are adjusting to historically lower-than-average merit pay increases, while at the same time facing higher health care contributions, copays and deductibles. This combination could adversely affect many employees and intensify the growing affordability crisis.”Meanwhile, Chicago based company, Hewitt Associates (NYSE:HEW), estimates that it may be as much as 9%. In Chicago, the projection is as high as 12.4%. The figure is the highest it’s been in five years.In a statement by Hewitt’s health care practice leader Ken Sperling said, “Employers continue to struggle to balance the significant health care needs of an aging workforce with the economic realities of a difficult business environment.”The report attributes the increase to an aging workforce, coupled with increasing costs of technology as well as the health care reform act.Cost And OutsourcingThere’s certainly no doubt that the cost of healthcare is increasing and in response, healthcare providers and hospitals are struggling to maximize revenue while minimizing expenses in order to reduce the cost on consumers.One example is Hendrick Medical Center, who, on the 7th of September, signed a managed service and recruitment process outsourcing contract with AMN Healthcare Services (NYSE:AHS). Ralph Henderson, AMN President for the Nursing and Allied divisions, said that the contract would result in, “lower bill rates and operational costs, reduced liability and mitigated insurance risks, and increased compliance with clinical standards.”Outsourcers in the meantime are expanding into the healthcare space in order to take advantage of the opportunity.As MaryAnne Pace, co-founder of company, Health BluePrints stated, “Healthcare providers are looking for solutions to increase net cash, achieve revenue cycle performance improvement, enhance operational efficiency, and improve overall patient and physician satisfaction.” The company was recently acquired by NCO Group, who along with the acquisition also released a new end-to-end Healthcare Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) solution on the 13th of September.Another company moving into the healthcare space is Tricom India (NSE:TRICOM), who is currently acquiring US healthcare service provider GTESS Corporation. The news announced on the 14th of September came after Tricom India announced that it recently secured a five-year contract from a US-based healthcare firm for $10 million. Meanwhile, Conifer Health Solutions also announced an acquisition on the 28th of September. The company is acquiring MediHealth Outsourcing in order to strengthen its position in the healthcare outsourcing space.Healthcare NumbersAs the trend of rising healthcare continues, healthcare providers and hospitals are looking to reduce costs, and at this point one of the solutions they are turning to is outsourcing – an opportunity that outsourcers are gearing to take advantage of. Healthcare, just like any other business, has to worry about the numbers.

Why Do Would-be Real Estate Investors Fail? | Real estate

Let’s face it, there’s tons of real estate investing information out there.  But of all the people you’ve seen at seminars lapping up the words of wisdom from the real estate gurus, or the people you see at Barnes and Noble skulking around til 11 PM reading all the real estate investing books they can get their hands on (A charge of which I am guilty!), how many do you think actually succeed in their real estate investing businesses?I don’t have exact figures, but based on my experience as a real estate investing information provider and coach, I would guess it’s close to only 1-2% of people who want to be real estate investors get into the business and stay in the business and make it profitable.Those figures are so disappointing.Why is it so hard? Why do so many would-be investors fail before they begin?  And why do others, who are able to take the first steps of their real estate investing career successfully, still fail to meet their goals long-term?I realized the deck was stacked against me as I begin as a real estate investing student at a seminar a few years ago.  I bought all the real estate investing courses, signed up for private coaching, and watched as many of the people around me fell by the wayside.  There were many times I wanted to quit, myself.  You probably have your own story of struggle in your real estate investing career.It’s the million dollar question.  Here are the conclusions I’ve been able to come up with.Why Do Real Estate Investors Fail In Spite of Great Real Estate Investing Information?1) The Myth of Get Rich Quick – Why do would-be real estate investors fail?Just because there are real estate investment strategies, such as flipping homes, that can be implemented quickly (60-90 days), that doesn’t mean that it is easy to find deals, negotiate them and close them in the first month or two after you start your real estate investing career.  In my experience, most people need to take a little time to become familiar with the real estate markets in their area, real estate terminology and strategies, and then get started implementing so they can practice finding and negotiating with motivated sellers. Even with a good deal closed, you might only walk away with $5,000 or so from a flip.  With a subject to or lease option deal, the property may take years to “ripen” in your portfolio before you are able to sell it for a significant profit.  The biggest money I’ve seen people make quickly is coming from rehabs and short sale negotiations.  Pursuing these types of deals can verge onto a full time job.  They do work, and work quickly, but they take a lot of time to implement.2) The Myth of No Money DownSo many times, I have heard students come on coaching calls with me and say, “I just lost my job, so I am really motivated to make this work quickly.”  or “My goal is to flip one house a month every month because I need some cash for start up capital.”  These sentiments are probably being perpetuated by the gurus out there who encourage people to think that real estate investing is a no-capital-required business.  Even after you get the formula down, it can take years before a paper-profit becomes cash-in-hand if you own rental property or do lease/options.The exception proves the rule and I’m sure it’s true that some people during some periods of time are able to make “thousands” quickly, when they need it most. For example, I know folks who get a lot of free deals off of craigslist or calling through the newspaper.  However, for the vast majority of real estate investors, some money is required for marketing to find motivated sellers if they want to keep their deal pipeline reasonably full.  In addition to marketing to find motivated sellers, deals take money for due diligence, legal fees, inspections, and so forth.  If you plan to hold property as a landlord, the costs escalate even more steeply.  If I had to put my finger on one major reason for lack of success in this business, besides false expectations, I would list lack of funding right at the top.3) The TRUTH in “It doesn’t work where I live.”  There’s a cliche in the real estate guru field that speakers like to joke about.  It’s that a lot of students like to say, “Your strategies won’t work where I live.”  Guru’s play it off as a joke, like the person is making an excuse for not getting started in their investing, because they “can’t.” The truth of the matter is, there is a LOT of variation in the performance of real estate markets across the country.  In some areas, like the South and Midwest, property values are relatively stable and properties cash flow well.  In other areas, Southern California, Florida, and Las Vegas come to mind, property values fluctuate wildly and you can make a fortune or lose your shirt on the changing tides of appreciation. It’s very important to understand real estate market cycles and where your market fits within the current phase of the market.  You implement to take strategies that work in your marketplace if you want to be successful locally.  Otherwise, you need to do what I’ve done and learn to invest where it makes sense, without being constrained feeling a need to invest where you live.  There are pros and cons to each strategy.  However, my point is that it’s not right for the gurus to mock people who raise this objection.  It’s a valid concern raised by thinking investors, even if it doesn’t help sell the guru’s real estate investing courses.So, I’ve raised a lot of concerns about the mis-information being circulated in the real estate investing industry.  Have I disappointed you too much?  I are you “off” of investing now?  If you are good – if you can be talked out of it that easily, I’m glad I got you out BEFORE you invested any more of your precious time and money pursuing a strategy that doesn’t appeal to you.If not, even better. it is certainly possible to take a realistic approach to real estate investing and make it work for you.  You can grow your net worth to millions, but it does take time and perseverance.  I hope you’re willing to stick it out.

TV Shows and Board Games | Board Games

It can be safely said that television plays a very large role in culture today. It is extremely rare to find someone who doesn’t pay attention to the programming on the networks today. This attention starts to bleed out into other forms of entertainment available to the public and this includes the world of board games. Popular television shows are beginning to find some life in the gaming industry and this is a fact that is unlikely to change anytime soon. Fans are becoming more and more outspoken about exactly what they like and when options are available to them to continue to enjoy their interests, especially in the world of board games, they will take them.A number of popular television shows have been given a platform with board games in the form of trivia. Grey’s Anatomy, Sex and the City, I Love Lucy, and Desperate Housewives are just a few of the shows which have been given this trivia game treatment. With these board games, players often compete with each other in questions about the show’s storyline, the actors in the show, and production behind it. Fans who know the most, usually with some lucky throws of the dice, find themselves as the winner of the game. These games feature a simple board that players race around, landing on different spaces that usually denote the type of question that needs to be answered to progress. Trivia games based on popular television shows are usually popular with the fans because not only does it allow them to prove their status as super fans, but to usually learn something new about the show that they did not realize before.Trivia games aren’t the only representation that television shows have in the board game world, however. Different shows are adaptable to different types of games, such as reality television. Some of these reality game shows have been adapted into board games, with Survivor, Big Brother, and The Amazing Race being some of the most popular ones. With Survivor, players race around the board for Immunity by solving different puzzles or trivia questions about survival skills. The first player to reach the end of the board wins the round and Immunity for that turn. Players will then vote one member of the game out of the running and onto the jury. Players who have previously been voted out return at the end of the game to determine the winner between the final two players, much like the show. The Amazing Race board game utilizes a DVD which allows players to experience some of the different cultures of the world while racing through the board, giving it an edge that other board games usually do not provide.Lost gives its fans a strategy board game that changes each time it is played. By laying different tiles across the playing field, the board is built randomly each game and “the island” is never quite the same twice. It allows players to have a variety of different characters from the show and the novelty of this can last quite a while. Television can be a very creative outlet for storytelling and adventure and when these quality cross over into the board games representing the shows, quality entertainment can be enjoyed by all.