UP HEALTH SYSTEM-Marquette is trying to extinguish a brushfire that has some employees and patients hot under the collar.
Turns out many of them–patients and employees–have been getting robo-calls from someone seemingly trying to sell them health insurance.
Here’s the story behind the story, according to UP Health System:
The calls were only intended to inform the community about affordable coverage that’s available to them. Obamacare, in other words. The calls were intended only for patients who might be eligible for the subsidies and who had given permission for the calls during the registration process.
Word is, the calls are coming from a group known as MedAssist Solutions, based in Louisville, Kentucky, but the hospital explains the calls were made on behalf of UP Health System-Marquette.
Okay. This explains a lot, but still…
- Why are some employees receiving the calls? Well, many of them also happen to be patients from time to time, but surely MedAssist must know the employees have insurance.
- Are these calls truly going out only to patients who requested them…or is MedAssist taking liberties with some of them?
- Should the hospital really be giving out names to a third party?
- Why “robo-calls”? Why not real human beings who could show respect and compassion?
- Have the calls stopped?
This response from UP Health System-Marquette:
“We regret any dissatisfaction this may have caused, but assure the community and call recipients that this outreach is made with good intent to help people gain covered access to important medical services.”
Apparently good intentions. Bad execution. Irate employees. And a lotta questions.
LOOKS LIKE YOU can stop yelling at your TV whenever you’re watching WJMN TV-3. You know, when the picture suddenly freezes and the sound goes away during a football game or a newscast or your favorite prime time shows.
The problem has been fixed. That’s what the folks at WJMN are now saying, with a huge sigh of relief.
The culprit apparently was the fiber optic cable that circuitously winds it way from Green Bay up to Negaunee. Not enough band width on it.
It was always operating near capacity and at peak times, it went over and…presto…it created a picture freeze. It affected both cable and satellite viewers.
The fix? The fiber optic cable provider has now opened up more band width for the station, but WJMN’s engineer says that’s only a temporary remedy. Eventually, they’ll need more actual fiber optic cable.
But let’s celebrate small victories for now and stop yelling at our televisions.
THE NEWS RATINGS don’t seem to change much, no matter what year you check, no matter what rating service you use.
That’s what the latest Rentrak ratings tell us. Rentrak is an alternative to the big-name Nielsen ratings, and some observers say it’s a better service utilizing a much larger sample size.
So here’s the Rentrak local news ratings from November of 2015. The November 2014 ratings are in parentheses:
6 pm news
Local 3 1.4 (1.7)
ABC 10 1.0 (1.3)
TV6 26.7 (30.0)
11 pm news
Local 3 2.0 (2.0)
ABC 10 1.2 (1.4)
TV6 9.4 (10.6)
These numbers represent households watching the stations. Sales people are generally more interested in certain demographics, but across the board, the numbers are more or less the same.
- TV6 remains remarkably dominant, especially at 6 pm. The 11 pm ratings, which are considerably closer, are more affected by the networks’ prime time shows, just before the newscasts.
- Overall, the ratings haven’t changed much, although you’ll notice almost all the numbers have declined slightly since November of last year.
And a final note: Both Local 3 and ABC 10 continue to put on solid newscasts. They’re just hampered by much smaller news departments, much less money to spend, and a much shorter and thinner news tradition.
YOU CAN CALL it a stupid idea, a gross waste of money, or maybe just a plan that was ahead of its time.
We’re talking about NMU’s biomass heating plant.
A few years ago, the university revamped its heating plant to allow for it to use biomass (wood chips) as well as natural gas and fuel oil. It gave the university options for heating fuels. It seemed very forward-thinking.
And the change cost $16 million.
Here’s what happened. They started burning wood chips for a while but then they took the unit down for a repair, and went back to natural gas. And then they realized, hey, natural gas is much cheaper than wood chips! Why use the more expensive fuel? So they stayed on natural gas.
Natural gas remains much cheaper today, the biomass unit remains idled, and the $16 million has been spent.
Maybe it was an expensive miscalculation. Or maybe, we can hope, it pays off sometime in the future.
MORE SHUFFLING AMONG the stores downtown.
The Chocolay River Trading Company has left its location on Front Street after four years and is returning to its former location on US-41 in Harvey. It’s expected to re-open on Monday.
Owner Pam Gilmore loved being downtown and got a lot of walk-in traffic, but the fact was, she was leasing downtown, whereas she owns the building in Harvey. Makes more sense to operate in a building you own.
The store enjoys a great reputation: furniture and furnishings that you could describe as both rustic and elegant. Upscale. Having a fat wallet helps.
Most likely, those customers won’t mind driving the four miles from downtown to Harvey to find what they want.
SO YOU’VE GOT a great business idea but you just don’t know where to go to get advice? Or you own a small, struggling business and you need help?
There’s a lot of agencies out there, but who do you go to? It’s confusing and frustrating.
This Thursday, January 21st, 5:30 pm, on the second floor of the Hedgecock Building at NMU, all those agencies are going to show up together and try to straighten you out.
We’re talking about the Marquette Chamber of Commerce, the Lake Superior Community Partnership, Northern Initiatives, Invent@NMU, AccelerateUP, and the InnovateMarquette SmartZone.
All of them. They want to talk to you, whether you’d like to open up a hot dog stand or start an Internet firm. It’ll be a big-time networking session lubricated by complimentary wine and beer (soft drinks for the under-21 crowd).
Good ideas. Smart people. An eagerness to help. Oh, did we mention the free wine and beer?
You got news? Click Here to email Brian.