Charges for some of the most common inpatient procedures surged at hospitals across the country in 2012 from a year earlier, some at more than four times the national rate of inflation, according to data released by Medicare officials on Monday.
While it has long been known that hospitals bill Medicare widely varying amounts — sometimes many multiples of what Medicare typically reimburses — for the same procedure, an analysis of the data by The New York Times shows how much the price of some procedures rose in just one year’s time.
It’s razor clam season!
The Pacific razor clam (Siliqua patula) grows along the Pacific Coast from Alaska to California. They are big and meaty, nicely chewy when lightly breaded and pan seared.
According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, razor clams along the Washington coast generally grow to a maximum of 6 inches, although on the coast of Alaska, where the water is colder and the growing season is longer, razor clams can grow up to 11 inches long. Here’s what the clam in the shell looks like:
Digging razor clams is a popular family activity that requires a state license and is confined to certain times of the year.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife page linked above contains a huge amount of information about this huge clam, including how to obtain a license, what to look for if you go clamming, and how to clean and prepare razor clams, including recipes.
Here’s what the Washington State website has to say about the official state flower:
In 1892, before they had the right to vote, Washington women selected the coast rhododendron as the state flower. They wanted an official flower to enter in a floral exhibit at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. Six flowers were considered, but the final decision was narrowed to clover and the “rhodie,” and voting booths were set up for ladies throughout the state. When the ballots were counted, the rhododendron had been chosen as the Washington state flower. In 1959, the Legislature designated the native species, Rhododendron macrophyllum, as the official flower of the state of Washington.
These flowers are gorgeous, with their huge blooms. Colors include pale pink, magenta, red, salmon, and violet, with different varieties blooming at slightly different times.
Rhododendron bushes are nearly ubiquitous in landscaping around here—so much so that lots of people say they’re sick of seeing them. But I’m still enough of a newcomer that I love to see these bursts of color all over during the spring.
Much of the research on grandparents and grandchildren has focused on young children and on the safety-net function that grandparents can provide in troubled families. But lengthening lifespans mean that more people will have adult relationships with their grandparents, too, sometimes for many years.
“We know relatively little about what grandparents and grandchildren do for each other on a daily basis during the grandchildren’s adulthood,” said Sara Moorman, a Boston College sociologist who set out to learn more. She presented the results of her research at the American Sociological Association’s annual meeting in New York this week.
I don’t have any grandchildren, so this is a topic I had not thought about: the relationship between grandparents and adult grandchildren.
What can one expect in an assisted living facility? It can be hard to evaluate their seemingly bucolic surroundings based solely on their websites and promotional literature. The team at Frontline teamed up with Pro Publica to craft this well-done documentary on the assisted living industry in the United States. Visitors can watch the entire 53 minute documentary online or explore the site’s wealth of extra features. Users shouldn’t miss the interviews with two of the nation’s largest assisted living companies or the very compelling live chat transcript with the filmmakers, titled Is Assisted Living Safe for Your Parents? Journalists, in particular, will appreciate the section How “Life and Death in Assisted Living” Was Reported.
From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout 1994-2013. https://www.scout.wisc.edu/
“I am happily living in ‘the other Washington’ where I have a day job that I love,” Amazon founder Jeff Bezos told Washington Post employees after the announcement of his purchase of the newspaper.
Paula Span reviews this new film:
Not long ago, I could name the really excellent recent movies about aging on one hand. Now I’m running short of fingers, which I hope reflects filmmakers’ dawning recognition of the way this global demographic shift affects all our lives. The latest entry, a Canadian movie called “Still Mine,” opened in New York, Washington, Phoenix and several other cities last month and will arrive in Denver, Atlanta, Seattle, Charlotte and more locations today.
And, just as rain is the standard symbol for Seattle, dementia has become a standard trope for aging:
Interesting, isn’t it, how many of the best films about aging zero in on dementia? On my personal favorites list (adding “Still Mine” to “Amour,” “The Iron Lady,” “Iris,” “The Savages,” “Away from Her” and “About Schmidt”), all but the last incorporate a central character suffering from this disease. Screenwriters, and novelists like Walter Mosley and Alice LaPlante, can’t seem to resist its intrinsic here-but-not-here drama.
“Still Mine” is clear-eyed about this phase, not nearly as brutal as the masterful “Amour,” but more grounded than “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and “Quartet,” both of which featured charming British actors in fluffy screenplays that carefully evaded most realities of advanced age.
This film doesn’t, but it is gentle, more gentle than life can be.