Holy Mother Church is Suffering

Anyone who knows me knows I love Jesus and his Church, the bride of Christ. The original article, the one true Church.

But, the crazy things people do in the world can also be found in the Church and the repeat scandal in the Church, sadly, reflects the moral changes in our culture. No surprise then, if we rid the Church of the evil that’s come into the church, we stand a chance of influencing the culture to do the same. If the Church can’t, or won’t change, then the culture will continue to devour the lives we love; our marriages, families, children, and grand-children. Continue reading “Holy Mother Church is Suffering”

BlockChain Healthcare Disruption

Blockchain will require stakeholders from every silo to play nicely together. This HEALTH-BLOCK-CHAIN-DETROIT Forum will continue the conversations and help you catch-up, or stay-up on what’s happening. Meet others who plan to use BLOCKCHAIN in their Healthcare Silo and want to connect with you.

Moving Swiftly

BLOCK-CHAIN technology is moving swiftly, Financial Service giants Fidelity and Prudential, Universities like MIT, and Harvard,  Federal Reserve, and Regulators are discussing and testing BlockChain. Stakeholders from every Healthcare silo need to be part of the discussions. This Forum is an opportunity to see and hear who is making BlockChain happen here in Detroit and get your ideas on the table.

Transparency

HEALTH-BLOCK-CHAIN will force transparency, changing how just about every team does their work.
  • Payer teams who will be affected: actuarial & pricing, underwriting, marketing, sales, Medicare, CMS, Medicaid, affinity, agents and distribution of every kind.
  • HR departments: large and small employers, and related functions and vendors for payroll, third-party administrators, total rewards,
  • Physician groups: contracting, billing, medical records, coding, and other payment streams,
  • Hospitals: contracting, billing, revenue cycle, charge-master, medical records,
  • Pharmacy benefits: incentives, pharmacy rebates,
  • Regulators, Policymakers and legal for plan documents, State and Federal regulators,
  • Banks and other financial institutions,
  • Developers in-house and outside developers,
  • Research and the science of health.

Experience Working In Most Silos

So, why this now? HEALTH-BLOCK-CHAIN is changing healthcare. Spanning more than three decades, I have first-hand experience in many of the healthcare silos. It is easy for me to see BlockChain replacing outdated methods and systems, replacing them with patient and physician friendly tools. This is the discussion, it makes sense intuitively and many are studying it right now. Healthcare is broken, that is no surprise. Accepting our current state and focusing on the future state, with this technology as the backdrop, means allowing our history and experience to influence the decisions that will be the basis of the disruption. It means, embracing what is coming without losing lessons learned. Like me, maybe you keep hearing how transparency is what’s needed in healthcare. If that is true, BlockChain is transparency for every stakeholder or silo in Healthcare. BlockChain is the transformational, disruptive change needed to move us from our current state to the future one. Be part of the discussion.

Should You Attend?

Seasoned executives would benefit the most, but all are encouraged to attend. There is a Detroit and Michigan Ecosystem for Healthcare and this Forum is intended to help you connect with others who share an interest in BlockChain. Share this with others to make this beneficial and to include many viewpoints. Invite them to be part of your internal conversations and participate in the larger conversation. In this safe environment you can connect and learn with others.

Register Your Interest, Details To Follow

I will schedule a fall date and location after hearing from you and others to determine the likely attendance. In addition to attending, let me know if you, or someone you know, are a subject matter expert and interested in presenting. If sponsoring is your interest let me know that as well, it would be helpful to keep any cost as low as possible to make attendance easy. Complete the form, and bookmark this page so you can return to offer further insights or thoughts.

Top 5 DOL Audit Corrections

Sales People Are Not Benefit Plan Experts

Sadly, information for owners almost exclusively comes from financial service salesmen or saleswomen. In most everything I post, I focus on filling the void of information to protect an owners ass_ets. So, the info below, an owner should know. But, your product salesperson won’t be providing.

The DOL recently focused on CPA Auditors and how their audit of benefit plans happen. They reviewed work processes, training, licensing, practice size. Then, they looked to improve CPA practices to fix the problems they found. The DOL wanted to know how well CPA’s understood employee benefit plans.

CPA’s Are Not Benefit Plan Experts

CPA’s are not well trained in benefit plans. That’s what the DOL discovered. They’re not prepared and do not have good processes to perform plan audits. This includes audits for retirement or welfare plans. Welfare is the technical name for plans that are not retirement, this includes health plans, dental, flexible spending accounts, COBRA and other plans.

Owners Are Responsible

Along with their correction to the CPA community, the DOL offered advice to fiduciaries. Fiduciaries are those responsible for the plan, including the auditor’s actions. One of all the hats owners wear includes fiduciary, they are responsible for what they setup for retirement and healthcare. No one else can be substituted in that role. Sorry Owner friends.

Top 5 Audit Failures Identified by the Department of Labor

1 The word “limited scope audits” poorly defines what should be happening.

2 CPA’s from any size firm who perform too few audits, should not be doing audits.

3 Training of CPA’s is insufficient.

4 CPA’s who do not have others audit their work, should not be doing audits.

5 Don’t assume large firms do enough audits

It Takes Time Owners Don’t Have

Benefit plans can burn up a lot of time for owners who aren’t familiar with their responsibilities to lead the audit. The DOL reminded owners that the audit responsibility ultimately is the owner/fiduciary/trustees responsibility. Your job is to look after the best interest of your employee benefits.

What’s the fix?

The best solution is to hire an outsider, not an employee, not a vendor, not a friend. Someone independent, and someone who can review what’s best for the employees with experience and training. That’s it. You can’t trust fiduciary to anyone, but you should not expect a financial advisor or anyone associated with the company or you personally to make recommendations for operating the plan.

It doesn’t have to be expensive.

This doesn’t have to be expensive, look for independence in an outsider, or look for a contractual agreement to assume fiduciary responsibilities, just remember, you can’t pass off your responsibility but you can hire trusted people to help.

I’m focused on helping small business owners by guiding them and not selling them. I can help owners by doing any of the following: preaudit plans reviewing frequently overlooked plan details, act as trustee or fiduciary, reduce HR costs and increase customer satisfaction by using LEAN efficiency techniques.

LEAN Is Catholic

How do you balance listening to employees needs and making time for all the other things to do as a manager?

LEAN says, go to the shop floor employee, go to the office worker, ask any employee about what exactly is going on, listen, understand, then ask them, 

“What do you need right now, to do your job serving the customer?”

Catholic says, subsidiarity is a very Catholic notion, it says, the person closest to the work is the person who should influence change the most. That sounds pretty much like LEAN, don’t you think?

Continue reading “LEAN Is Catholic”

7 Reasons You May Never Retire

If you ran out of money at age 80 what would you do? Sobering but true, below are only 7 reasons you may never retire. These items should alarm you but it won’t. That’s because unless you study this stuff, and I do, you won’t see the problem or what it means to you.

I’m not a doomsday sayer. I’m just a guy watching this story unfold, and watch it get bigger. I do like the image of politicians, “kicking the can down the road.” But, really, aren’t we all kicking it down the road?

So, listen up, here’s the list of 7.

1) 10,000 Americans reach age 65 every day.
2) Companies offering Pensions has dropped from 112,000 to 23,000
3) 45% of workers cannot access employer-sponsored 401k or pensions.
4) Medicare and Social Security will run out of money by 2028 and 2034.
5) $300 Trillion dollars are owed for unfunded public pensions
6) Americans don’t save, in fact, Americans have a negative savings rate.
7) Politicians have too many competing interests, so they kick the can.

The earlier one starts to save, the easier it is to accumulate sufficient wealth at retirement. The corollary to this is that the longer a country (or an individual) waits to address these issues, the fewer options there will be for solutions, and the options that remain will become more and more difficult to successfully implement (source noted below).

The authors of the article I quote grade our current 401k system as a letter grade of “D+.” I’m not sure what the plus sign means, but I can tell you many individuals are not prepared to retire because so few have pensions (that’s what your Grandpa or Grandma had), and those with a 401k have put too little in it.

Work for a City or other governmental unit?

There is a combined $300 Trillion in unfunded liabilities for employees of these places of work. And, these employees are going to look for their retirement check and receive something like what Detroit retirees received, which was pennies on the dollar.

Your parents and grandparents retired with a pension. They received a check each month for as long as they lived, that, plus social security, made a very comfortable retirement for many people. With the list of 7, you can hopefully see you’re unlikely to retire the way you might be thinking.

You can save now, try closing your Amazon account. Or, find any other way to save. Whether you’re by yourself or at a company or government, the time to do something is now. Make saving and asking questions to protect retirement important to you. After all, I have a friend who says;

“What gets attention, gets done.”

I love these conversations, either to help you as an individual, or your employer. I am happy to help or steer you to better resources.

Building a Strong Retirement Program: One for the AGES, Benefits Quarterly, International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists, Brookfield, Wisconsin; www.iscebs.org.