Is it Time for Help? Knowing When Your Aging Loved One Can’t Go it Alone – Aging Life Care Association® professionals are a great resource

During the holiday season families and friends visit aging loved ones. Frequently, this is the time when they discover troubling changes in health, behavior or physical appearance of their family member. Many will discover their aging loved one now needs more help or attention.(PRWeb December 17, 2019)Read the full story at

Did human hunting activities alone drive great auks’ extinction?

CAMBRIDGE, England (PRWEB) November 26, 2019
New insight on the extinction history of a flightless seabird that vanished from the shores of the North Atlantic during the 19th century has been published today in eLife.
The findings suggest that intense hunting by humans could have caused the rapid extinction of the great auk, showing how even species that exist in large and widespread populations can be vulnerable to exploitation.
Great auks were large, flightless diving birds thought to have existed in the millions. They were distributed around the North Atlantic, with breeding colonies along the east coast of North America and especially on the islands off Newfoundland. They could also be found on islands off the coasts of Iceland and Scotland, as well as throughout Scandinavia.
But these birds had a long history of being hunted by humans. They were poached for their meat and eggs during prehistoric times, and this activity was further intensified in 1500 AD by European seamen visiting the fishing grounds of Newfoundland. Their feathers later became highly sought after in the 1700s, contributing further to their demise.
“Despite the well-documented history of exploitation since the 16th century, it is unclear whether hunting alone could have been responsible for the species’ extinction, or whether the birds were already in decline due to natural environmental changes,” says lead author Jessica Thomas, who completed the work as part of her PhD studies at Bangor University, UK, and the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and is now a postdoctoral researcher at Swansea University, Wales, UK.
To investigate this further, Thomas and her collaborators carried out combined analyses of ancient genetic data, GPS-based ocean current data, and population viability – a process that looks at the probability of a population going extinct within a given number of years. They sequenced complete mitochondrial genomes of 41 individuals from across the species’ geographic range and used their analyses to reconstruct the birds’ population structure and dynamics throughout the Holocene period, the last 11,700 years of Earth’s history.
“Taken together, our data don’t suggest that great auks were at risk of extinction prior to intensive human hunting behaviour in the early 16th century,” explains co-senior author Thomas Gilbert, Professor of Evolutionary Genomics at the University of Copenhagen. “But critically, this doesn’t mean that we’ve provided solid evidence that humans alone were the cause of great auk extinction. What we have demonstrated is that human hunting pressure was likely to have caused extinction even if the birds weren’t already under threat from environmental changes.”
Gilbert adds that their conclusions are limited by a couple of factors. The mitochondrial genome represents only a single genetic marker and, due to limited sample preservation and availability, the study sample size of 41 is relatively small for population genetic analyses.
“Despite these limitations, the findings help reveal how industrial-scale commercial exploitation of natural resources have the potential to drive an abundant, wide-ranging and genetically diverse species to extinction within a short period of time,” says collaborator Gary Carvalho, Professor in Zoology (Molecular Ecology) at Bangor University. This echoes the conclusions of a previous study* on the passenger pigeon, a bird that existed in significant numbers before going extinct in the early 20th century.
“Our work also emphasises the need to thoroughly monitor commercially harvested species, particularly in poorly researched environments such as our oceans,” concludes co-senior author Michael Knapp, Senior Lecturer in Biological Anthropology and Rutherford Discovery Fellow at the University of Otago, New Zealand. “This will help lay the platform for sustainable ecosystems and ensure more effective conservation efforts.”
The paper ‘Demographic reconstruction from ancient DNA supports rapid extinction of the great auk’ can be freely accessed online at Contents, including text, figures and data, are free to reuse under a CC BY 4.0 license.
*Murray et al., ’Natural selection shaped the rise and fall of passenger pigeon genomic diversity’:
Media contact
Emily Packer, Senior Press OfficereLifee.packer@elifesciences.org01223 855373
About eLife
eLife is a non-profit organisation inspired by research funders and led by scientists. Our mission is to help scientists accelerate discovery by operating a platform for research communication that encourages and recognises the most responsible behaviours in science. We publish important research in all areas of the life and biomedical sciences, including Evolutionary Biology and Genetics and Genomics, which is selected and evaluated by working scientists and made freely available online without delay. eLife also invests in innovation through open-source tool development to accelerate research communication and discovery. Our work is guided by the communities we serve. eLife is supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Max Planck Society, the Wellcome Trust and the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. Learn more at
To read the latest Evolutionary Biology research published in eLife, visit
And for the latest in Genetics and Genomics, see

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Medicare’s Price Transparency Rules Alone Don’t Deliver What Patients Need – a Patient-First Approach Does – Industry Analysis by Loyale Healthcare

Medicare’s final price transparency rules fail to deliver the tools and information patients really need. Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile from Pexels

In our view, the new CMS rules threaten to distract providers and payers from the larger, more important issue facing healthcare and patients. That issue is patient financial engagement – Kevin Fleming, CEO, Loyale Healthcare

LAFAYETTE, Calif. (PRWEB) November 20, 2019
On November 15, 2019 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized their updated Hospital Price Transparency Requirements. Scheduled to be implemented by each hospital operating in the U.S. by January 1, 2021, these new policies were initiated by the current administration “so (patients) can be more informed about what they might pay for hospital items and services.” In essence, CMS is responding to the administration’s demands for a more market-driven healthcare delivery system. One that functions more like other sectors of the American economy, where price is a key consideration in nearly every financial transaction.
More information about these rules is available by viewing the CMS Fact Sheet or the entire rule proposal itself. It is also summarized nicely by Becker’s Hospital Review. Though these new rules are well intended, we at Loyale – along with many other industry experts – believe they will do little to provide consumers with the useful information patients really need. Instead of merely requiring healthcare providers and payers to open the curtain on the complexities of healthcare’s pricing, consumers need information and tools that empower them to make better informed decisions about their care and its costs. These new rules will confuse and frustrate consumers while placing an unsustainable, possibly illegal, burden on the most vulnerable providers.
How the New Price Transparency Rules Fall Short
Merely displaying prices does little to empower the healthcare consumer. In fact, according to a brief from The Advisory Board, this type of transparency could actually lead to higher prices by exposing the volume-based discounts that some larger hospitals have negotiated with payers because of their higher operating efficiencies. Insurance companies could very well resist pleas from smaller, less efficient providers to offer similar discounts and elect to eliminate them entirely. This would have the net effect of raising prices for consumers, while doing nothing to relieve the untenable financial burden afflicting smaller, regional and critical access hospitals.
The Case for a More Consumer-Friendly Patient Experience
Loyale Healthcare is a vocal proponent for healthcare price transparency. We firmly believe that patients should know beforehand what their care is likely to cost and what their out-of-pocket expenses will be. For patients who are burdened by large and growing personal financial responsibilities, it simply makes sense that cost – particularly out-of-pocket cost – is a crucial determinant for anyone seeking care for themselves or their dependents.
A growing field of evidence supports the thesis that the U.S. healthcare industry has entered into a consumer age. Driven largely by the rise in high-deductible health plans and soaring insurance premiums, patients now represent the third largest source of revenue for most healthcare providers. As a result, consumers and patient advocates are raising their voices to call attention to high prices, financially devastating surprise medical bills and egregious, aggressive billing and collection tactics. Legislators are responding. With more than 1,000 bills pending that address healthcare and its costs, the U.S. Congress is also poised to act.
For most Americans, the cost of healthcare is a big-ticket item. Even routine care events can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars. For patients who lack the ability to meet an unplanned expense of $1,000 and whose average annual deductible has risen to $1,300, this cost represents an obstacle to care. Research varies, but it is estimated that 50% – 64% of Americans avoid or delay care because of concerns about their ability to afford it. Other big-ticket industries have found ways to deal with their customers’ out-of-pocket limitations. It’s time for healthcare to do the same thing – but without impinging on the competitiveness of larger providers and the survival of smaller ones.
That’s not as simple as putting published and negotiated prices in a machine-readable format on a hospital or health plan website. And it doesn’t deal with the real problem. As consumers, we care about price, but what really matters is affordability. I can get a good used car for $10,000 which I can’t afford. But if the dealer will offer me a payment plan for $250 – which I can afford – we’ve got a deal. I get the reliable transportation and the dealer gets paid. If in the end I spend more, what matters most is that I got what I needed when I needed it. The same principle now applies to healthcare.
In our view, the new CMS rules threaten to distract providers and payers from the larger, more important issue facing healthcare and patients. That issue is patient financial engagement, where we can again look to another industry for signposts to help guide the way.
The Dishwasher Allegory
No one would argue that a dishwasher is essential to survival, but when a dishwasher doesn’t work, it can seem like it is. Yet many households cannot afford to pay cash for a new dishwasher. Manufacturers and retailers know that, so they and their customers work together to find ways to make the purchase possible. Of course, price is one of the variables that goes into the consumer’s purchase decision. But the purchaser also makes judgments based on the financing (payments) that are offered, whether delivery and installation are included and the reputation of the store where the dishwasher was purchased.
Based only on the published prices of dishwashers, a consumer can compare the prices at Home Depot, Lowes, Best Buy, Costco and others, but that ability alone does not get the consumer where they need to be – which is anywhere but the kitchen sink after dinner. Knowing they can get the dishwasher they want, with a discount or payment plan that makes it affordable, they can commit to purchasing an item they could not pay for out-of-pocket. The consumer gets the home appliance they need. The seller gets the sale and revenue. And, knowing that the customer represents a prospective future purchaser with a lifetime value, both parties are invested in delivering a satisfying experience and outcome.
This is, of course, a gross over simplification. We know very well that achieving authentic patient financial engagement in healthcare is much more complicated than posting competitive prices and some financing terms. When a person is sick, injured or just working to maintain their health, there are a variety of other, highly personal stressors and emotional inputs.
In a setting characterized by intimacy and highly competent and compassionate clinical care, the financial dimension of a patient’s experience must also be considered. That is why my company, Loyale Healthcare, was founded. Our company has worked to influence positive consumer payment behavior in complex enterprise environments for thirty years. Over the last ten years, we’ve worked exclusively with healthcare providers. We were among the first to recognize healthcare’s unavoidable transition to consumerism. And we developed the most widely deployed patient financial engagement platform in the industry to help providers make that transition.
Five Requirements for Authentic Patient Financial Engagement and CMS Transparency Compliance
Working with large health systems and multi-facility specialty providers across the U.S., we’re proving every day that patients will get – and pay for – the care they need as long as their providers are prepared to work with them to remove cost as an obstacle to care. To do that, we believe providers must have the means to:
Present upfront cost estimates for the anticipated course of treatment and all associated expenses, including pre-service eligibility so a reliable out-of-pocket estimate is also presented
Offer multiple payment options to address patient affordability, the Loyale Affordability Workbench, for example, offers provider-configured options that may include discounts for prompt or upfront payment; short-term interest free financing; or longer-term payment plans funded by third party lenders with a reputation for client care
Interactive self-service options with secure personalized experiences that measure up to the best online experiences consumers have with trusted brands like Amazon, Apple, Zappos and other industry leaders. This is the new standard by which providers will be measured.
Personalized, contextual digital communications that honor each patient’s preferences and behavior. For some providers up until recently, every patient with an unpaid balance became little more than a number – a balance to be collected. In an industry dedicated to health and well-being, no provider can hope to compete without engaging in the financial dimension of care.
End-to-end data analytics, so providers have the information they need to make evidence-based decisions about their patient-pay portfolios and manage for success – as care givers and as business operations.
Fortunately, the kind of pre-treatment cost estimates we support comply with the new CMS transparency rules. But we’re encouraged to see growing demand for a much more comprehensive, holistic approach to patient financial engagement. This approach calls for systems, policies and cultures that put patients at the center of everything they do – clinical, administrative and financial. So, while we appreciate the good intentions of CMS’ new transparency rules, we believe the industry is setting a higher standard for itself and for patients. To us, that’s good news.
Kevin Fleming is the CEO of Loyale Healthcare
About Loyale
Loyale Patient Financial Manager™ is a comprehensive patient financial engagement technology platform leveraging a suite of configurable solution components including predictive analytics, intelligent workflows, multiple patient financing vehicles, communications, payments, digital front doors and other key capabilities.
Loyale Healthcare is committed to a mission of turning patient responsibility into lasting loyalty for its healthcare provider customers. Based in Lafayette, California, Loyale and its leadership team bring 27 years of expertise delivering leading financial engagement solutions for complex business environments. Loyale currently serves approximately 12,000 healthcare providers across 48 states. Loyale recently announced an Enterprise level strategic partnership with Parallon including deployment of its industry leading technology to all HCA hospitals and Physician Groups.

Thomas J. Roberts' New Book 'By Grace Alone' is a Clear Example of How One Man Surpasses the Hardest of Challenges Through God's Grace

Recent release “By Grace Alone” from Covenant Books author Thomas J. Roberts is a stirring life story about the pains and trials that circulate in life and the hope that rises above them all.
Press Release – updated: Nov 15, 2019 06:00 EST

HURON, Ohio, November 15, 2019 ( – Thomas J. Roberts, is a husband and father of four whose passion in photography and music paved the way to his successful retail and manufacturing businesses. He has completed his new book, “By Grace Alone”: a captivating read along the journey of a child of God as he triumphs over the battling challenges he encounters through the power of the Father.
Thomas writes, “Life can teach us some pretty hard lessons, most of which we are totally unprepared for. By Grace Alone examines the pain and trials we all encounter when things suddenly go wrong. It’s a story that proves there is always hope, even in the midst of hopelessness.”
Published by Covenant Books of Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, Thomas J. Roberts’ new book captures a God-centered journey of a person who saw through his challenging events in life with the help of God’s grace. This book also aims to reach other people to trust in the power of the Lord especially in times when a great struggle fogs hope.
Readers can purchase “By Grace Alone” at bookstores everywhere, or online at the Apple iTunes store, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.
Covenant Books is an international Christian owned and operated publishing house based in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. Covenant Books specializes in all genres of work which appeal to the Christian market. For additional information or media inquiries, contact Covenant Books at 843-507-8373.
Source: Covenant Books