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How To Reduce Your Hospital Bills

(category: Home-Family, Word count: 820)
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The medical industry, unlike virtually every other business, loves to keep their prices secret. They do this, very simply, so they can make more money. Only by shopping your medical care, demanding price transparency, negotiating for the best price, and carefully reviewing your bill can you be assured that you are getting a fair price, and not being ripped off.

A dramatic example is the price hospitals charge of open heart surgery. The Valley Hospital Medical Center in Las Vegas, Nevada charges $233,259 for open heart surgery involving a heart valve replacement. The Mayo Clinic, recognized as one of the top heart care centers in the world, charges $79,601 for the same procedure. As another example, The Miami Herald recently published an article about hospital pricing in Florida. A woman going to Palmetto General Hospital in Hialeah for physical therapy following a car accident had tried to find out what the treatment would cost her, but to little avail. After eleven sessions she started receiving the bills - $1,560 per visit. She was able to find the same service at Memorial Regional hospital in Hollywood, FL for only $50 per visit.

Hospital Overcharges

Anyone who has ever tried to decipher a hospital bill knows that they can be next to impossible to understand. This conveniently makes it easy for hospitals to hide improper charges by using mysterious medical technology and codes. Whether through deliberate overcharges or honest errors, experts estimate that hospitals overcharge patients by $10 billion a year, or an average of $1,300 per hospital stay.

Hospitals have been known to charge $129 for a "mucus recovery system" that was really a $2 box of tissues, $57.50 for a "free" teddy bear, and even $1,004 for a toothbrush. Most people never see an itemized statement, and so have no idea what they're being charged for.

Nora Johnson, a medical billing advocate, was quoted in a recent article saying that over 90% of the hospitals bills that she has audited have had gross overcharges.

Hospitals often go to extraordinary lengths to discourage you from delving too much into your bill. Nevertheless, there are some specific things you can do to make sure you're not getting taken for a ride.

- If possible, call the hospital's billing department ahead of time and ask them what you will be charged for a room and what that charge includes. If it doesn't include something you might need, such as tissues, bring your own.

- Ask your doctor to estimate your cost of treatment.

- Bring your own prescription medications to avoid paying top price for medications purchased from the hospital.

- If possible, keep your own lists of tests, medications, and treatments. Hospitals have been known to charge men for pregnancy tests and adults for newborn tests.

- Never pay the bill before leaving the hospital. You may be told this is required, but it is not. Before paying your bill read it carefully, and compare it to the estimated costs you were given before being admitted.

- Demand an itemized bill, and ask for a detailed explanation for any items you don't understand. Don't accept generic answers like "lab fees" or "miscellaneous fees".

Health Savings Accounts Promote Price Transparency

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are plans that have a high deductible, and a savings account in which tax-deductible contributions can be placed. The money in the account can be used to pay deductibles and other charges not covered by health insurance.

The great promise of health savings accounts is that they will re-inject market competition into the healthcare market. As all of us who were fortunate enough to take Economics 101 understand, the balance of supply and demand provides the public with the greatest value at the lowest possible cost. If company B can produce and distribute the same quality widgets as company A, but at a lower cost, then the average price of widgets will fall, more people will be able to afford more widgets, and the average quality of a widget will increase, as businesses compete for customers. This is a wonderful system, and is part of what has made the United States the wealthiest country in the world.

Unfortunately, this system has not been in play when it comes to healthcare, because the consumer has not typically been paying the bill. As a result, the consumer doesn't care what the service costs, and most doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies are very reluctant to reveal their (high) prices.

Health Savings Accounts are now changing all that. Millions of people have purchased these plans because of the lower premiums and tax advantages they offer. This has made consumers much more aware of what they are being charged. By demanding to know prices up front, HSA holders will begin to force medical providers to compete on price and quality, just like any other business does.

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Genealogy Trace Your Family S History

(category: Home-Family, Word count: 434)
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Did you ever consider that your great-great-grandfather may have fought in the civil war? Perhaps your great-great-great grandfather made his way here from the "old country" on a great old sailing ship with just a few pence in his pocket. What of your grandmother? Perhaps she was the local librarian in her town. Once they start a genealogy search most people find tracing their family history fascinating. What may start with the simple desire to know a few names and dates turns into nothing short of a fascinating archaeological "dig" of sorts.

There are many ways to get tidbits on your family history. Perhaps you're lucky like me and your family never threw any scrap of paper away. You may have a handwritten birth certificate, as I do, for my great-great-grandfather who was born in England in the 1800's. Birth, death and marriage records are generally easy to find, especially if the family members you are searching about were born here in this country. Maybe you have letters sent back and forth that have information about your ancestors in them. I have a bible that belonged to my great-great-grandmother that has in the back pages where she recorded family births, deaths and marriages.

My father was interested in our family history and had quite a collection of information about our ancestors. When my sister took over the work on the family tree that my father had started one thing she did was to contact the local historical society in the town where we knew my great-grandparents lived. They were able to give some family history as my great-grandfather was a rather prominent citizen. From there she contacted the cemetery where family members were buried and was able to get birth dates and dates of death. When she made a visit to another town where some of our ancestors lived she took a camera to the cemetery and took pictures of the tomb stones.

The internet is a great starting point for your genealogy search. You can visit a website where you can check the passenger arrival records from Ellis Island. AOL has a site where you can type in name, birth and death info on your ancestors to see if there is any information online. Some sites offer genealogy information by country. There are some sights that offer the ability to see information that others have already searched out. Some of these are paid membership sites. You may even find out that you have an unknown family member out there doing the same search on your family members.

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The History Behind Lego Toys

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For sure you have heard or play with LEGO, one of the most famous toys in the word. I want today to tell you a bit more about the history of such a great company.

Ole Kirk Christiansen was a carpenter in Billund, Denmark who opened a woodworking shop in 1916. He and his team of apprentices built furniture for people in the area. The company's name was coined by christiansen in and from the danish phrase. Ole kirk christiansen also his son godtfred kirk invented lego, of the years of the lego brick here are the best sets in history handpicked from.

By 1954 , Christiansen's son, Godtfred, had become the junior managing director of the LEGO Group. It was his conversation with an overseas buyer that struck the idea of a toy system . Lego was born from the creative mind of Danish carpenter Ole Kirk Christiansen back in the early 1930's. The Lego name was coined in 1934, meaning "play well" and it certainly has lived up to it's name. The history begins in 1932, when master carpenter Ole Kirk Christiansen sets up a company in Denmark to manufacture a variety of household goods like ironing boards and stepladders along with wooden toys.

Christiansen's company continued to make wooden toys until 1960, when its wooden toy warehouse was destroyed in a fire. In 1934, he named the company "LEGO," an abbreviation of the Danish words "leg godt," or "play well.". Godfred Kirk Christiansen travels to England and meets a purchasing agent on the ferry. They talk about toys. Ole Kirk Christiansen was a carpenter who lived in Bilund, Denmark, and that is also where the company first began.

Little would he know that from one decision during the Depression, one of the most popular toys in the world would be created.

For over 30 years, the LEGO Company made only toys and related goods. Then in 1968, the company opened its first LEGOLAND - in its home city of Billund, Denmark. Combining the LEGO building bricks with a computer, the Robotics Invention System 1.5 is currently the most advanced set in the LEGO Company's line of technology-based products. This toy is targeted at users ages twelve and above, and that includes any moms, dads, and grandparents that want to join in. Lego Company still can harvest the profits from its bricks sales as this software will be highle dependable to Lego Mindstorm brick.

Even Lego Company will probably never know where will this partnership goes.

Unfortunately, the Lego company sometimes behaves monopalistically and often overprices its products, counting on branch loyalty to pull them through. Lego has been losing money in recent years but still controls a large market. The LEGO company patents the stud-and-tube coupling system. This new system makes models much more stable.

The Lego company expanded their production lines to include lights, cameras, sensors, gears and accessory motors that compliment the Lego RCX. The RCX was a programmable brick that could be connected to a PC and given instructions to carry out very complicated tasks.

Regardless LEGO new policies, LEGO is a great toy, and it's company has done a lot to entertain many kids around the world. Including me.

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Curved Stair Lifts

(category: Home-Family, Word count: 218)
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A stair lift is a piece of home medical equipment that is used to carry people up and down the stairs. They are often called stair chairs because they frequently use a chair that is attached to a set of rails in order to transport a seated individual across the distance of the stairs. They do however make some models that utilize a small platform instead of a chair. The units themselves typically attach to the steps, and are found in several different shapes and sizes. For people with straight staircases, the installation is fairly straight forward and simple. Curved stair cases prevent a much more complicated installation and are much more expensive.

When you purchase a stair lift for a straight stair case, the rail system is cut to fit your specific stair case length. As long as you do not have abnormally narrow stairs, this is really the only custom part of your stair lift. When dealing with curved stairs, however, the whole track must be custom built to fit your specific stair case. Since there is no standard when it comes to curved stair cases, you will have to have a professional installer come and measure your stairs. The turn around time to build the custom track is usually anywhere from 1

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Game Tables Have Come A Long Way

(category: Home-Family, Word count: 391)
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When I was young, my family had a game table in our basement that my siblings and I all enjoyed. We played chess and checkers just about every night to amuse ourselves and I can still recall many fond memories of conversations we had while seated around that table. My mother would always want us to play upstairs where she could keep a better eye on us, but that would have meant bringing the game table upstairs as well. Unfortunately, that wasn't a possibility. You see, our game table was perfect for games, but horrible as a piece of furniture. Ugly doesn't begin to describe the aesthetics of our table. It wasn't that it once looked good and years of use had worn it unevenly. In fact, because we loved the table so much, we took great care of it. This table was never attractive to begin with, as gaming was its primary function. Luckily, things have changed.

I recently decided to buy a game table for my young brood. I was pleasantly surprised to find several gaming tables that were as elegant as even the nicest pieces in our home but that still retained a high level of functionality as a gaming device. From marble topped game tables to wood and veneer tables that hid the game board, the choices were almost endless. I found so many that I liked that I had a legitimately hard time choosing. We have four antique Moller chairs in Danish modern design that I wanted to use with the table, so that enabled me to narrow it down to a few choices. I have always liked the look of pedestal tables, so that further narrowed the field to two at the online furniture dealer I ended up buying from. I still couldn't decide, so I called in the experts (my children), and they unanimously voted between the two I had chosen. My wife and I are thrilled because we now have a beautiful piece of furniture that looks perfect in our family room and also helps keep the family together in one place. Our house doesn't have a basement, though we wouldn't even think of putting our game table anywhere but where it is even if we did.

I wonder what my mom would think of that.

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Make Household Chores Easier With Softened Water

(category: Home-Family, Word count: 289)
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If you find yourself spending too much time on household chores and not enough time with your family, there's a simple solution that can make your life easier. The answer is to use softened water.

Dreary tasks such as washing dishes, doing laundry and cleaning up the bathroom and kitchen are easier and less time-consuming with softened water-and softened water brings added benefits such as softer skin and shinier hair.

Hard water forms when naturally occurring minerals enter water sources. It is also very common in this country. Eighty-five percent of the U.S. geography has hard water, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. As our population grows and becomes more diverse, many homeowners may be feeling the effects of hard water without even realizing it.

The naturally occurring minerals in "hard" water make it difficult for soaps, detergents and shampoos to lather, which in turn forces you to scrub harder when cleaning your home. In fact, the term "hard water" originally referred to water that was difficult or hard to work with.

Installing a water softener in your home can greatly reduce the natural hard minerals found in water. Inside the water softener, salt pellets are used to charge thousands of tiny resin beads with sodium ions. As hard water moves over the resin beads, the minerals are replaced with sodium ions, creating soft water.

While the joys of soft water greatly outweigh the maintenance of a water softener, one task most people dread is changing the softener pellets as instructed by the manufacturer. Carrying bags of salt to the water softener was a chore that hadn't seen much improvement in a long, long time-until now. Diamond Crystal

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Mother S Advice For Optimal Memory

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Remember when you were still young and mother would tell you to eat your vegetables, go to bed early, and do all those sort of stuffs which you dislike? It turns out that your mom (although she might be unaware of it) is giving you some ideal advice for a sharper memory. Let us recall some of them.

Mother used to say fruits and vegetables are good for you. Undeniably, they are. Studies reveal that blueberries in particular, aid to improve memory aside from giving health benefits to the body. Another berry, which is strawberry, is also good in memory retention. On the vegetable side, spinach and broccoli are foods for the brain. These fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants that protect the body and brain against stress.

I bet you've heard of the same old "early to bed, early to rise makes a person happy, healthy, and wise." What mom used to impress on you is indeed a good advice, particularly the portion about "wise." When you're asleep, the brain sorts information obtained during the day so that this information is stored for future use.

Quit smoking and cut down on caffeine. Researchers found that consuming a pack or more cigarettes a day can result to impaired visual and verbal memory, and this will further result to the brain's poor ability to process information. As for caffeine (coffee and colas), it will make you feel agitated and irritated. This is contrary to a brain that performs at its best when relaxed.

Fish is food for the brain. Fish contains the polyunsaturated fatty acid DHA, which is the main contributor to efficient development of the nervous system and the brain. That is why some milk products for young children are supplemented with DHA. One of the best sources of DHA is cod liver oil. Oh, how you hated it when you were still kids, but actually it's good for you. Aside from fish, other products that are memory enhancers due to the presence of choline are soybeans, eggs, and liver. Still another substance that is present in fish like salmon, herring, mackerel, and sardines is the amazing omega-3 fatty acid. It promotes good mood, aside from being a good memory developer. It also increases the learning capability because it enhances the capacity, speed, and efficiency of the brain. Researchers are still checking the benefits that omega-3 can give to patients with alzheimer's disease and stress related disorders. If you can't get enough of these fish products, taking supplements (about 600 mg) will suffice.

"Did you take your vitamins?" mom used to tell you this every morning. That's because they are good for you, especially vitamins C, B12, and beta-carotene. Not only are they good antioxidants, they are good memory enhancers as well.

Get off that sofa. Get out and get some exercise. Seems like a complete drag but exercise, like it or not, is good in sharpening memory. It's like jogging your mind to wake it up. Studies reveal that strenuous physical exercise gets the brain cells up and running, thus improving memory and creativity. Just half an hour of jogging can deliver astounding results to your body and mind.

Remember that you're always better off with a sharp memory.

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How To Pick Perfect Birthday Flowers For Women

(category: Home-Family, Word count: 336)
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Flowers have long been considered one of the best birthday gifts for women and rightfully so. Flowers are beautiful, graceful and simply make the recipient feel very special. However, the woman you are buying flowers for may impact the type of flowers you buy. If you are interested in buying flowers for a daughter or a mom, then affectionate and cheerful flowers are more appropriate. Examples of flowers that should be given to a daughter or a mother include wild flowers, tulips, Gerber daisies, birth month flowers, or any flower that is a woman's particular favorite. Roses are always a popular choice, however for a mom or daughter pink, yellow, orange, or white are more appropriate. Every woman loves roses, and the alternate colors brighten up the rose as well as show love in a non-romantic way. As such, red roses should be reserved only for romantic relationships.

The best birthday flowers suggestion for your girlfriend or wife is always red roses. Although red roses symbolize love and romance and are always an appropriate choice for your wife they might not be the right choice for your girlfriend if a relationship is new. In this case, pink or any other colored roses would be an appropriate choice as well as any favorite flower your girlfriend has mentioned.

Different months of the year have corresponding flowers, much like birthstones. January is the snowdrop and carnation; February the primrose and violet; March the violet and jonquil; April flowers are the daisy and sweet pea; May represents lily of the valley and hawthorn; June is the rose and honeysuckle; July the water lily and larkspur; August represents the gladiolus and poppy; September the Morning Glory and Aster; October the Marigold; November, chrysanthemum; and December birthday's the Poinsettia and Holly.

Regardless of whose birthday it is whether man or woman, son or daughter, husband or wife, girlfriend or boyfriend, flowers are always an appropriate and thoughtful gift that will be appreciated immensely.

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Residential Dumbwaiter Installations On The Rise

(category: Home-Family, Word count: 488)
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The news is true. Dumbwaiters have successfully invaded countless homes and residences. If you think dumbwaiters are only for commercial uses such as hospitals, restaurants, lodging establishments, libraries, etc. then think again. It has already made its way into millions of homes all over the world. And why not, it is very functional, multipurpose, uncomplicated to operate and customizable. Its success may be attributed to the fact that it is very straightforward and yet offers numerous applications. Below are detailed explanation and scenarios of its usefulness and how it becomes so close to the hearts of every member of the family:


The main benefit of residential dumbwaiters is the ease and convenience it provides in transporting goods. Items are moved from one location to another faster and safer. It significantly reduces the task load of a person who is collecting the stuffs to be transported. For some instances, it totally eliminates the need for a person/s to make the movement. It is so reliable that you may not have to get a house helper, maid or any other extra hand to finish chores. That is an absolute saving!


Its functionality may be simple and basic yet can be used in countless applications. For heavy and fragile equipment, dumbwaiters can move it without difficulty. When it is laundry day, every family member can simply toss their washables and mom will be happier than ever before. For dad who keeps his home office at the top floor, transporting equipment, supplies, books and other materials will never be back breaking again. Other remarkable uses of dumbwaiters in transferring items includes: groceries and packages, household supplies, trash and garbage, firewood, food and beverages, portable equipment and so much more.

Simple to operate and maintain

Whether it is a manual or electronic type; dumbwaiter can be operated by almost any member of the family. It does not require much time and effort to learn how to use it. Operating it does not entail technical expertise and complexities. Simply, put the item on the dumbwaiter, pull the rope or push the button and that is all you need. A dumbwaiter usually does not need several scheduled maintenance under normal residential operating situations. Even for heavy residential use - over 20 trips a day, frequency of inspection may be done less often like every quarter.

Various models to choose from

You can customize your dumbwaiter according to your preferences. Lifting capacity varies depending on your requirements. You can choose from manual or electronic model type. Also, some models have built-in doors. Generally, manual dumbwaiters are cheaper and operate with a pulley system. But if you can spend some cash then why not opt for the electronic model especially if a push of a button appeals to you more. You can also match its colors, designs and materials with the elegance and style of your home interior.

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