Why Do Core Supporters Continue, To Believe Lying Politicians?

We seem to be living, in the era of fake, or false news! Sometimes, there are, simply, a few faulty aspects of an otherwise accurate report, while other times, the entire statement or article, is a total misstatement. It appears, both sides of the political spectrum, take advantage of these types of tactics. While this is probably, not a new phenomenon, for a variety of reasons, we seem to be witnessing, an epidemic of these. Individuals, who rarely tell the truth, attacks their opponents, by claiming, anything, written or stated, which opposes them, are fake facts! How is anyone, to know, what might be true, and which reports, are not?

1. Why does it appear, this is more prevalent, today?: Are we actually, witnessing more of this, or does it, only seem that way? In the past, there were far fewer forms of, press media, and coverage was predominantly covered, by a few newspapers, magazines, television, and radio stations. Today, with the growth of cable television, satellite radio, and, of course, the Internet, it seems, there are endless numbers of outlets. While we used to rely, on the reputation of the company, and developed a degree of trust on certain news anchors, such as Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley, and Chet Huntley, etc, today, instead of balanced reporting, certain appear to focus on the conservative, or right – wing, positions, while others, are more progressive, or left – wing. The major networks, and the cable ones (which are owned by major companies), often, skew their reports, according to their perspectives, positions, and the demographics of the viewing audience. How often, have we observed, one specific company, appears to focus, and report, far further to the so – called, right, than the others?

2. The Donald Trump Phenomenon: Whether one supports, and believes in, or opposes and despises/ fears, etc, most agree, Donald Trump, is significantly different, than those, who proceeded him! His campaign appeared to bring hope, and to a degree, idol – worship, to/ from, his core supporters, and he used rhetoric, and vitriol, to encourage. and even enable them, to view things, as, us, versus them! Most political fact – checkers state, President Trump, had lied consistently, and constantly, at a record pace, even for a politician. He seems to change positions, as the wind blows, and while, proclaiming himself, as the so – called, master of negotiating, his style is an adversarial/ polarizing one, rather than a unifying one.

3. Why do his supporters continue to support him, and believe in him?: There are many theories, but I believe, the major reason, is the message, he articulates, is what they want to hear. He stokes their fears, and appears to enable them, so they feel justified, with their often – prejudiced positions, which they believe benefit them. They don’t seem to care about his lies and, even, actions, as long as he continues to articulate a message, the want to hear!

Wake up, America, because, until/ unless, you do, our nation will no longer, remain the country, which represents, liberty, freedom, and justice, for all. We’ve seen this before, and the impact, in history, was consistently, a sad one!

Why Is a Bankruptcy Petition So Confusing?

Lately there’s been a lot on the news about the fiscal cliff, the debt ceiling and even the US on the verge of bankruptcy. All one has to do is pick up a financial paper or go on the inter-web and they will see many articles even about a $23 trillion credit bubble that is starting to collapse in China. It seems that no one is immune from bad financial news globally. Let’s face it, the world has been living too high on the hog for too many years. The big banks have been behind a lot of the financial problems by loaning money to people and even countries that can’t afford to pay it back. All they care about is getting their interest payments monthly and are not too concerned about paying them back. The US is now close to the breakeven point where the taxes that are collected won’t even pay the interest on the US debt. The government recently reported that unemployment was down to 6.7% but zero hedge said that unemployment is closer to 37% and is higher than it was in the 30s after the Great Depression. What the government is not accounting for, is all the people that lost their jobs and never found a new one before losing unemployment insurance. If it wasn’t for all the social programs, like food stamps, there would be long soup lines just like there was in the depression.

Now, many people are once again dangling at the end of their rope not knowing what to do next. Creditors once again have become overly generous allowing Americans to get in historically deep debt like we’ve never seen before. People are now using one credit card to pay another one so they are able to continue charging and digging themselves a deeper hole. At some point in time the only thing that will help this group of people is filing bankruptcy.

When a person decides filing bankruptcy is in their future, they should speak with a bankruptcy attorney about the process. Although it is possible to file for bankruptcy on your own, it’s best to have the help of a bankruptcy attorney. The first thing the attorney will need to do before filing bankruptcy is fill out the bankruptcy petition. In most cases, a bankruptcy attorney will use an online software that has a secure web portal that allows their clients to log in and submit all of their information to help populate the bankruptcy petition. This will keep the bankruptcy attorney from having to go back and forth with their clients while trying to pry information out of them.

The bankruptcy petition includes all financial information about the person filing for bankruptcy. The information will be divided up into schedules and that is where the bankruptcy attorney really comes in handy. For the layman, knowing where to put information can be complicated and sometimes can cost the person money or even property if the bankruptcy petition is filled out improperly.

The schedules of the bankruptcy petition are divided into real property, like real estate or land on schedule A and personal property will be listed on schedule B. Schedule C will be a list of all the bankruptcy exemptions protecting the property from schedule A and B. The secured debts will be listed on schedule D, priority debts will be listed on schedule E and unsecured debts will be listed on schedule F.

When filing bankruptcy, the petition will be filed with the bankruptcy court and at that time the individual will be given a date of when they will need to appear at the 341 meeting or meeting of creditors. At this time, the individual will meet the bankruptcy trustee and be asked questions regarding the bankruptcy petition. Once again this is why it’s good to have a bankruptcy attorney representing the individual. When a person is being represented by a bankruptcy attorney, they have the assurance of a professional to handle their case so as to avoid any problems along the way.

The Psychological and Physical Implications of Covid-19 in Healthcare Organizations

In this time of uncertainty and sustained concerns and fears around Covid-19, there has been an extensive impact on the workplace – both physically and psychological. In this article, I address the Covid-19 background and data in the region of the country I live in. I will also cover workplace changes, emotional transitions, re-opening anxiety and ongoing employee stress.

Covid-19 Background

Covid-19, at present date (6/4/2020) has infected 6,563,099 people around the globe and killed 387,568. In the United States, there are 1,859,135 confirmed infections and 107,450 deaths. The fatality rate continues to be criticized while the illness is easily transmitted and acuity is extraordinarily high. In many cases patients are admitted for more than a week to treat a flu-related illness. As a country kid I lived near a very small town of roughly 500 people. While a low fatality rate is criticized, over 100,000 deaths equates to many small towns and communities.

Covid-19 enters and influences social, psychological, community and workplace settings in four key ways. First is the physical implication. Individuals become infected socially without knowing or they become infected from exposure to a known positively tested individual. The second way Covid-19 impacts our world is through overwhelming healthcare systems. Think of the explosion and propped up temporary hospitals in Italy that occurred, and in New York as well. The number of healthcare workers does not automatically go up to treat a virus; patients begin to significantly outweigh safe care practices by number of patients per nurse. As a result, facilities become over-extended and thus increased internal facility virus spread and community health hazards.

Third, Covid-19 implications are a result of media ‘over’ coverage. While awareness is a great thing, over coverage invokes human fear behavior changes that, in this situation, cause people to not go to the hospital for serious life-threatening conditions. Individuals with cardio health conditions that need to go to check-ups suddenly stop going. Those who would go to the ER and urgent care facilities suddenly take the risk in order to avoid Covid-19. Even further, individuals with mental health problems, drug addiction and rehabilitation needs also put off seeking care. Fourth, Covid-19 impacts influence public policy by causing non-essential business and services to come to a halt. This has significantly impacted economic conditions, unemployment and social behaviors in how individuals now are forced, and choose, to respond in different ways.

Data, Re-Opening and Anxiety

In the state of Wisconsin, where I currently reside, the state Supreme Court overturned the state governors stay at home order on May 13, 2020 and allowed businesses to start opening while emphasizing social distancing. At present, roughly 22 days later the state spiked record numbers four times with only three points of brief decline in total cases per day confirmed. What was not getting better suddenly got much worse. However, social settings in the community, such as bars and restaurants, continue to increase in volumes and social distancing is not being practiced while facemasks remain to be used by about half of individuals. In the same window of time, total deaths per day spiked six times with three short lulls in the data.

While the community has mixed emotions on re-opening the economy and communities, there remains a significant amount of anxiety in healthcare. Generally speaking, healthcare facilities are always ‘on guard’ to protect employees, visitors and patients. We look to healthcare for safety, advice and personal and social health. Yet in these times, when you walk into a hospital you’ll notice several things. First of which is empty parking lots; few are seeking care. Next, when you walk in to the front door you immediately come to a table with a large plexiglass barrier and an employee on the other side asking you about symptoms. Then, as you come to see, you and everyone else in the building is required to wear a mask at all times. You’ll also see social distancing markers on the floor in public spaces with waiting rooms with a fraction of the sitting capacity as compared to pre-Covid-19. Finally, you’ll notice the hospital is nearly empty with no visitors in the buildings; patients and clinical staff are the only people in the building. This is a significant difference than what is occurring in the community. It’s as though one exists in preparation for a war zone that the community seems to have forgotten while there is little decrease occurring in positive patients. This is particularly the case in Wisconsin where the total confirmed is rising day by day.

Physical Changes

In addition to the physical changes in the workplace mentioned above, there are other changes that have occurred. In hospitals, customers swipe their own card for payment, they cannot get fountain drinks, there are no salad bars, there is no way to dish food on their own; everything is done by employees. When you go to the Post Office you see an entire barrier of clear plastic across the entire counter with a small gap at the counter to pay for items, give your packages to the clerk and so forth. In some restaurants social distancing markers have been placed on the floors and payment is done touch free where employees do not touch anything in a shared manner.

Healthcare Employee Psychological Impacts

There are several psychological impacts from Covid-19. First, healthcare employees have to continue to digest the changes in their environment; barriers, constant masking, changes in policies, etc. There is also the continued increased level of potential exposures and future waves of infection. They also face increased workload demands and risks as hospitals expand opening of surgical procedures; more patients, less resources. Additionally, workload demands increase because peers resign, retire or quit their positions because of Covid-19.

The stressors of Covid-19 also influence attachment, motivation and organizational commitment. As I have covered before, motivation is determined by the presence and absence of particular workplace factors and the extent to which they are present or absent. Organizational commitment is based in ones emotional attachment to remain with an organization. Attachment is based on the trust and expectation that help and support will be available when it is needed and past experience continue to exhibit support for needs.

During the course of Covid-19, the CDC and hospitals began to bend the rules of acceptable PPE usage. Changes were suddenly accepted as reasonable practice because of the PPE strain and safety quickly exploded as a concern. For example, single use masks were now to be used for an entire working shift and isolation gowns had to be used for the entire shift. Things truly began to look like the Wild Wild West.

Due to environment during Covid-19, motivation factors adversely influenced include Company Policies, Relationship with Supervisors, Working Conditions and Safety. As outlined in my research on motivation and commitment, each construct is highly correlated. So, in other words, the more motivation is influenced, the more commitment is weakened.

As outlined, Covid-19 has wreaked havoc on healthcare employee psychological behaviors, physical changes and social dynamics. With no end in sight these things will continue to put pressure on sensitive areas of humanity.

Managers As Talent Magnets – Building a Progressive Organization

As the world experiences uncertainty, be it in technology, markets, talent, or the opportunity landscape, organizations continue to grapple with managing human capital challenges in terms of acquisition, engagement, retention, and career planning. People will not shine in their careers unless they understand their key strengths and explore them, or their lacuna, further. In doing so, they can improve and deliver greater results. For many employees, the case of “No news is good news,” can be quite common as they only get to hear if things go wrong. Feedback is extremely critical for improving and perfecting performance, but if we do it in a constructive way, it acts as a highly motivational and life-changing exercise.

There are many ways of engaging and developing talent in organizations. A Performance Management System is one of the most trusted ways an organization can measure and evaluate best performance practices, and support the future development of its people. Every professional needs to know where he/she stands in their job performance. While every individual awaits his/her performance feedback at regular intervals, feedback is related to many facets of overall development, such as knowledge, skills, abilities, attitude, behavior, values, etc. Human capital is the most critical element for business success. If you are a leader who is serious about improving your capacity to attract the best talent, you need to develop the habits of a true talent magnet.

Performance management is a process where the manager and employee work together to plan, act, and review an employee’s goals and overall contribution to organization building. Performance management is the continuous process of setting objectives, assessing progress, and providing on-going coaching and feedback to ensure employees are meeting their objectives and career goals.

As a recipient of performance feedback, it’s extremely critical to understand feedback in the right perspective. Here are a few basic guidelines for performance appraisal:

  1. It’s an opportunity to present your achievements and highlight development areas in the right perspective (accurate self-assessment)
  2. Evaluating objectives vs. measurement criteria related to a job/project
  3. Measuring behavioral/values in a professional environment
  4. It’s an instrument which facilitates the receipt of both positive and negative feedback, and helps takes corrective action for self-development
  5. Appraisal also focuses on competence development; not only performance evaluation/review

Key Strategies to Become a Talent Magnet:

1. Be a TOP (Trust, Openness, and Purpose) Manager

Organizations, leaders, and teams need to develop a strong sense of trust among each other to achieve collective results. Considering that most employees spend their time at work, striving together, they often have work in multi-module, multi-modal, and multi-geo teams with responsibilities overlapping onto other people for their contribution.

Trust Model

ABCD (Able, Believable, Connected, Dependable) is a very powerful and credible model for building TRUST in teams. As managers/leaders, we should have demonstrable competence, and the ability to connect, coach, and drive results.

Build and nurture an environment where your behavior, actions, commitments are consistent, helping build credibility among your teams. People trust credible leaders because people will believe in your abilities, judgement, and actions. It’s also extremely important not only to be fair, but also seen as fair in all your actions, always.

Another important aspect of building trust is to invest in developing connections with teams beyond work, as being a manager means you need to open an emotional bank account with significant investments in your teams. Over a period, your investments will yield significant, rich dividends. Trusted managers do not hesitate to deal with any situation, be it difficult customers, conflicts in teams, crucial conversations, etc., as teams believe that a manager will step up and deal with such situations. They will see you as someone who does not hesitate to make tough decisions, and can work on creating a thriving work environment.

2. Be Real/Be Honest

The most talented people are attracted to leaders whom they can trust, and role models they want to emulate. Thus, ask yourself this question: “Why would any real talent want to work for me?” As managers, it’s very important to focus more on contributions of the employee and share the overall feedback on how best they become even better in their jobs instead of just critical incidents, numbers, ratings, and what the person did not do. While working on the annual appraisal of your employees, it’s extremely critical to be REAL AND HONEST in your assessment. You need to focus on covering the entire gamut of performance and not focus too much on recent events which may positively or negatively affect the overall performance. Today’s professional is extremely aware, smart, and well-informed. It may not be possible for managers to evade certain questions, if one is not fully informed about the progress of his/her team member. Not being honest, upfront, and real with employees about their performance in appraisals clearly becomes a controversial point for disagreements.

3. Be a SMART Manager

As managers, we need to create continuous value for individuals and organizations. It’s vital to be a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) manager in your overall objectives, goals, and results. SMART managers demonstrate specific attention to detail on each team member’s performance, on a continuous basis, and works through regular one-to-ones to establish an emotional connect with employees. When the rules of engagement are well established, we can create well-performing teams. Use your courage to stand by your values, your reputation as a great manager/coach, or your soft power to bring opposites together. Then, set clear expectations from day one of what you are willing to do to help employees learn from you that which they can’t learn from anyone else. And tell them what you expect them to do to succeed in their career. Remember, you do not get what you expect, but you get what you inspect in a timely manner.

4. People-First Approach

The success of any company can be measured by the engagement/happiness quotient of its employees. What worked in the past may not work now or even in the future. The good, old practice of customer-first is of the past era. The employee is the epicenter of progress, growth, and success. As managers, if we surround ourselves with highly-talented, ambitious, passionate, committed, kind, and genuine people, we are assured of success in whatever we do. If we take care of our employees better than anyone else, they are bound to deliver extraordinary value to customers, managers, and organizations. We have the primary responsibility of adding significant value to our team members through structured reviews, timely and continuous performance feedback, genuine appreciation, practiced meritocracy, and effective coaching. Life is work, and work is life, and both are interesting and challenging. The need of the hour is to integrate both and bring out the passion for success in life.

5. Career Mentors

A manager as a mentor is about providing constructive feedback, direction, and kind-hearted advice. Mentoring is a journey and not a destination, and it’s a long process which involves intense participation and dedication. It is based on mutual convenience, commitment, and involvement in self-discovery and continuous learning. As a Manager, the primary role is to make the other person succeed in his/her professional life. Periodically, find time to have white-space discussions not focused on immediate tasks, but focused on a long-term career. Discuss ways, methods, and means for employees to progress in their professional journey and achieve their dreams.

In a nutshell, employees are the most vital and irreplaceable human capital for the progress of any organization. Managers and leaders alike have the great opportunity and responsibility of developing people who shoulder the responsibility of driving the new economy. Aim not to teach, but to inspire!

Panama’s Health Tourism Boom

A new kind of tourism is sweeping into Panama, but these visitors are not just coming for sun and fun. Offering first-rate health care at cut-rate prices, Panama is attracting the latest kind of traveler: the medical tourist.

Medical tourism is a rapidly growing, multi-billion dollar worldwide industry. Countries like India and Thailand have long been attracting patients from developed countries looking to escape the high prices and long waits at home, providing high-quality health care at a fraction of the price.

Panama is one of the latest countries to emerge on the health tourism scene, offering US-trained doctors, state-of-the-art infrastructure and equipment, plus a distinct advantage — proximity to North America. With as many as 45 million Americans uninsured, and Canadians waiting up to two years for critical procedures, many are looking south for alternatives.

“The demand is very strong, and we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface,” says Rudy Rupak, president of Planet Hospital, a medical tourism agency researching qualified doctors and hospitals in countries around the world to perform procedures for clients who cannot afford, or wait, in their home countries.

His company recently added Panama to its list of destinations, thanks to the newly-opened Punta Pacifica hospital, an affiliate of the prestigious US hospital, John Hopkins Medicine International.

“We look for doctors who are educated in the USA, or other excellent institutions abroad such as in Canada, the UK or Europe,” explains Mr Rupak, “as well as peer review, publications over the years in their area of specialization, and patient interviews.”

“I see Panama as a strategic place, with a good location, just a five or six hour flight from the US. But the main factors are quality of doctors and the presence of a US hospital,” he says.

Add to that a beautiful setting for recovery, personalized care, short wait times and price tags 40% to 70% less than those in the US — and the allure is clear.

Dr Richard Ford, medical coordinator of Pana-Health, a group of doctors specializing in medical tourism to Panama, estimates tourists spent in approximately $5 million last year on procedures such as cosmetic surgery, in-vitro fertilization, orthopedic prostheses, dentistry and laser eye surgery.

Despite the growing trade, the Panamanian government is not yet tracking health tourism numbers, but Dr Ford says they are on the rise, pegging 2006 figures at more than one thousand, a sharp increase over previous years.

“[That] is about 35 per cent more than the previous year and 80 per cent more than the year before,” he estimates.

While these numbers might seem small, Rudy Rupak believes they are about to explode, with many health officials and policy makers in the US calling for Medicare to pay for procedures abroad, to relieve a soon-to-be overburdened health care system.

Debra Lipson, a senior health researcher speaking at an AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) forum, said outsourcing medical care could amount to big savings in the US.

According to one study, she said, “the US could save $1.4 billion annually if only one in ten US patients receives treatment for 15 low-risk medical procedures abroad.”

Many of those who migrated from Latin America are returning to their home countries to retire, she pointed out, also taking advantage of ‘more affordable aged care support and services’.

“My husband’s parents recently moved back to Panama, after spending 15 years in the US,” she recounted. “They are still among the “young-old” — not yet out of their sixties. But my mother-in-law has a neurological condition that requires constant vigilance and I sleep better at night knowing that she has reliable, affordable care.”