Author Archive: berkslancasterlebanonlink

“Op-Ed: Think you want to die at home? You might want to think twice about that” – The Los Angeles Times


by Nathan Gray

“Gray is an assistant professor of medicine and palliative care at Duke University School of Medicine and an artist who draws comics on medical topics.” And this is an interesting way to get information on the subject of end of life care.

Click here to see more.

“Is my life worth $1,000 a month? The reality of feeling undervalued by federal disability payments.” – PublicSource

ssdi“Sue Kerr receives $1,000 each month through Social Security Disability Insurance.” (Photo by Ryan Loew/PublicSource)

First-person essay by Sue Kerr

“My personal income puts me at the federal poverty level, even though I have a graduate degree and more than 30 years of both paid and unpaid work experience. Because I am disabled and no longer able to do most paid work, I receive about $1,000 through Social Security Disability Insurance [SSDI].

“Our household income is higher, but I can’t help but wonder why my life is valued so low. Is it determined by some higher entity or karma? Is it a numerological message or is it just a confluence of being a woman, a disabled person and a queer person?

“According to the 2016 National Survey of Drug Use and Health, an estimated 10.4 million adults age 18 and older in the United States had a serious mental illness, including 2.4 million adults living below the poverty line. In 2018, 9% of white women were living in poverty, compared to 20% of Black women and 29% of all women with disabilities, according to the National Women’s Law Center. A recent report from the Williams Institute found that one in five LGBTQ persons live in poverty.”

Read this first person article in its entirety at PublicSource, click here.

“You can go from an upstanding middle-class American citizen to completely under the eight ball.” | “Patients Stuck With Bills After Insurers Don’t Pay As Promised” – Kaiser Health News

Markley Prior Authorization“Darla Markley and her husband, Andy Markley, of Winter Park, Florida, tried to pay off their medical bills following tests Darla had done at the Mayo Clinic in 2010. Even after Mayo wrote off some of what they owed, her disability and Social Security checks barely covered her insurance premiums. Five years after her initial hospitalization, they had no choice but to declare bankruptcy.” (Zack Wittman for KHN)

by Lauren Weber

“The more than $34,000 in medical bills that contributed to Darla and Andy Markley’s bankruptcy and loss of their home in Beloit, Wisconsin, grew out of what felt like a broken promise.

“Darla Markley, 53, said her insurer had sent her a letter preapproving her to have a battery of tests at the Mayo Clinic in neighboring Minnesota after she came down with transverse myelitis, a rare, paralyzing illness that had kept her hospitalized for over a month. But after the tests found she also had beriberi, a vitamin deficiency, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield judged that the tests weren’t needed after all and refused to pay — although Markley said she and Mayo had gotten approval.

“While Darla learned to walk again, the Markleys tried to pay off the bills. Even after Mayo wrote off some of what they owed, her disability and Social Security checks barely covered her insurance premiums. By 2014, five years after her initial hospitalization, they had no choice but to declare bankruptcy.”

Read this article at Kaiser Health News in its entirety, click here.

“People born blind are mysteriously protected from schizophrenia” –

The possible explanations could help us better understand the condition.


by Shayla Love

“It was something Tom Pollak had heard whispers about—an odd factoid, referred to now and again, usually with bewilderment: No person who was born blind has ever been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

“Over the past 60-some years, scientists around the world have been writing about this mystery. They’ve analyzed past studies, combed the wards of psychiatric hospitals, and looked through agencies that treat blind people, trying to find a case.

“As time goes on, larger data sets have emerged: In 2018, a study led by a researcher named Vera Morgan at the University of Western Australia looked at nearly half a million children born between 1980 and 2001 and strengthened this negative association. Pollak, a psychiatrist and researcher at King’s College London, remembered checking in the mental health facility where he works after learning about it; he too was unable to find a single patient with congenital blindness who had schizophrenia.”

Click here to continue reading this fascinating article at

Register for the National Child Passenger Training Technician Certification Course

child passenger safety


“Visualizing Health Policy: US Statistics on Surprise Medical Billing” – Kaiser Family Foundation


by Karen Pollitz, MPPLunna Lopes, MAAudrey Kearney, MAet al

This Visualizing Health Policy infographic examines unexpected and ‘surprise’ medical bills in the United States. Out-of-network charges typically expose patients to higher cost-sharing when they use services and may lead to balance billing—in which health care providers bill patients directly, often at an unexpectedly higher rate. In the past 2 years, 1 in 5 insured adults had an unexpected medical bill from an out-of-network provider.

Overall, two-thirds of adults are worried about affording unexpected medical bills for themselves and their family. In emergency departments across the country, 18% of visits result in at least 1 surprise bill, but rates vary by state. Politically, majorities of Democrats and Republicans support government action to protect patients against these surprise bills. –

Fighting Fraud: Senate Aging Committee Identifies Top 10 Scams Targeting Our Nation’s Seniors

fighting fraud

Click on the graphic to download the guide as a .pdf file.

“Age Bias That’s Barred by Law Appears in Thousands of Job Listings” – AARP

aarp-age-bias-job-adsILLUSTRATION BY PAUL SPELLA

With the words they use, employers keep experienced workers from applying

by Kenneth Terrell

“‘This is an excellent opportunity for a recent college graduate looking to get their start in automotive!!’ reads a recent job posting on LinkedIn.

“‘The ideal candidate is a digital native that is fueled by big ideas, driven by measurable results and is inspired to lead,’ says another posting, also on LinkedIn, for a mid-level marketing position at Amazon.

“‘Current College Students — Now Hiring Product Demonstrators!’ says a third ad, from a company that specializes in product demonstrations and wants candidates with flexible hours.

“The common thread through these three postings: Each uses age-biased language that is discouraged by advocates for older workers and in some cases could be legal evidence of discrimination.”

Continue reading this article; click here.

“‘He’s still Superman in our eyes’: Former Raiders, Penn State football player fights to live” – The York Daily Record

steve smithAbove (left), “Penn State’s Steve Smith (33) was a bulldozing fullback with a good set of wheels. But he believes playing arguably the game’s most brutal position led to head trauma and ALS that has all but paralyzed him for more than a decade. [Photo: Richard Drew, AP]; (right), Chie Smith helps her husband, Steve, use a computer controlled by eye movements. However, he struggles now to even communicate with that because of deteriorating health. He’s battled ALS for 15 years … the disease the former Penn State fullback believes was caused by years of head trauma from football. [Photo: Frank Bodani]

by Frank Bodani

“RICHARDSON, Texas — She leaned in close to ask him a question.

“One of the great Penn State football leaders looked up from his wheelchair. He cannot speak to his wife anymore.

“The best he can do is move his eyes from side to side for, ‘No.’

“A blink means, ‘Yes.’

“Only the rhythmic whoosh of air from his breathing machine cut the quiet.

“Finally, Steve Smith blinked. And then he smiled, slow and big.

“The fullback and captain of Penn State’s last national championship team has not walked or talked on his own — has not been able to even hold his wife’s hand — in more than a decade.

“‘Superman,’ as his Nittany Lion teammates once called him, cannot do anything for himself, despite an apparently clear mind.

“Even more, he fights on after renouncing the sport that shaped his entire life.”

Read this York Daily Record article in its entirety, click here.


“‘Trailer is akin to a slur’: Mobile home industry tries to remove stigma amid Lehigh Valley housing crunch” – The Morning Call

mobile home“Luis and Tammy Figueroa outside their home in the Whispering Hollow neighborhood in Allen Township, where they live with their three small children, on Thursday Feb, 6, 2020. This was their first home they bought together, in December 2018.” (JANE THERESE / Special to The Morning Call)

by Kayla Dwyer

It only took four months for Tammy Figueroa to realize renting was not for her, or her husband and three little children.

“She was scrolling on Facebook when she came across a listing for what would become their first home together: a tiny three-bedroom, two-bathroom cottage in Allen Township. She thought it was cute; her husband said, ‘No way.’

The 924-square-foot home was only $14,000.

“Then she noticed in the listing that it was a manufactured home — a mobile home, or the ‘T-word,’ trailer — but it didn’t end up mattering.”

Read this Morning Call article in its entirety, click here.