Wednesday, September 30, 2009

29 September 2009 Special Meeting with County Council, Commissioners, and Animal Control Notes

29 September 2009 Special Meeting with County Council, Commissioners, and Animal Control Notes

County Commissioners and Council had an executive session preceding the meeting.
Two decisions resulted from the executive meeting.

1. Council passed a non-binding resolution for St. Leon to keep their town budget at or below the 3.9% increase for 2009.

2. Commissioners accepted the $795,000 counter offer from Rack for the buildings and acreage on Rack property on Randall Avenue in the Aurora Industrial Park for the county highway garage and facility. Hughes voted NAY- no reason given as to why.
Council then noted that $400,000 was available in the county highway savings for this so far and they will take moneys from two different funds to make up the difference, and Council approved the funding.
[NOTE: This property was bought at a reasonable price due to market conditions. The county has been discussing this for several years and cooperation between commissioners and council brought it to fruition tonight. Though it passed easily at this meeting- many negotiations in the past lead to this moment. Efficient highway dept operations will benefit all county citizens in services and in effective use of tax money.]

Animal Shelter Hearing only took 1 hour to hear all citizens wishing to speak. The room was full- approximately 80 people. About 20 of those were news people ( WSCH, REGISTER PUBLICATIONS, and CHANNEL 12) and elected officials. PAWS members and Animal Control Board members were also present.

Commissioners noted this was a hearing only and there would be no resolution this evening. They were here to hear the public and encouraged everyone to speak politely and allow all to be heard. [NOTE: 10 AM Thurs the Commissioners etc. meet with SPCA in the county adm bldg. This is a public meeting]


Tom Cheek- County Council- noted that $1.775 million was the lowest bid (though the architect said it was unqualified, as it did not follow his specs). He heard that energy efficiency was being cut for “luxury” items. Cheek felt it needed to be FUNCTIONAL and a HUMANE place for animals.

Bill Ullrich- County Council and Animal Control Board since 2000. He has seen a remarkable change in the way animals are treated with both the county workers and PAWS volunteers’ efforts. It is a slow process- but it seems that the shelter has taken on a life of its own in scope and size. He wants a nice facility for animals and public. Ullrich said a “no kill” shelter is a lofty goal- but it is not practical; unfortunately, we have to euthanize some. If the shelter gets too big, there is a lot more needed to handle the costs. This is a lot bigger and a lot more expense. Now we are at $250,000 to operate, but we can only handle so much more. He would like to scale things back a bit and eliminate the frills.

Tom Orschell- County Commissioner- thanked attendees and Mayor Cunningham for his city’s generous donation to the shelter. PAWS has raised money also. He met with Daryl Sears and the PAWS folks and expressed his desire to know how much it would cost to maintain and operate the facility they designed. When you go from 3000 sq ft to 14,414 sq ft how many more employees are needed. They are meeting with SPCA and Daryl Gates Thurs to help get a line on this. Orschell stressed that he is responsible for the people’s money and he has to know how much this is going to COST!

Jeff Hughes- County Commissioner- We need a much better shelter than what we have now. In the past, Council asked how much this would cost and PAWS thought only one new employee was needed. Geothermal will lower HVAC costs. We have come to a roadblock and need to have a short-term task force to put a realist budget together. When PAWS brought it, we thought it was a good idea. I am not going to say I am an animal lover- I was raised on a farm – and you all know what cows and pigs are for.

Ralph Thompson- President of County Commissioners, Member of Animal Control Board, and Acting overseer of Animal Control until a director is approved. Thompson thanked the citizens and PAWS for their spay, neuter, and mobile adoptions program. He noted the shelter runs with a dedicated staff of county employees. As overseer in the beginning- he was almost full time there- now it is reduced to a few hours a week with the staff handling it. The facility needs to be improved and Council and Commissioners have to be good stewards of the public’s money. The current shelter deteriorated because the county could not afford the upkeep.

Liz Morris- County Council- A lot of people would love to be in our position- where an organization has raised a huge amount of money. Volunteer hours could help offset payroll. Reasonable people can come to a reasonable solution. Morris appreciates all their efforts.


Dennis Monroe- PAWS board member- we agree that the shelter needs to be built and a lot of money was raised. We agree that the new facility needs a significant organized volunteer program- as all other shelters use.
The new shelter is 3 times as large- well actually it only increases the dog space by 33%- the rest is people space. There is a lot of lobby, volunteer area, education room etc. [NOTE: This may be a clue as to where savings could be made. The lobby could double as education area during those programs for example.]

Donna Hartman- took cats to the shelter 2-3 years ago when they were dumped at my house. Joined PAWS and helped raise money. Could not wait for the shelter to be built! PAWS raised the money- it is a gift from us to us. Nobody has really talked to us (PAWS) about all of this. I am not an officer of PAWS, just one of dozens and dozens who raised the money.

Sandy Carley- PAWS BOARD and Animal Control Board- just here to answer questions if needed.

Jim Scott- It is apparent that there is a lack of understanding as to what is going on- $1.8 million was raised. [NOTE: This number keeps changing- $1 million from L-bg- but PAWS raised $600,000 before- maybe more has come in?]
What is the need? - PAWS has a good handle on what is going on with animals. Then we need to figure out what it takes to take care of that need. It is too crowded at the current shelter. Both Butler and Hamilton County built brand new shelters. There is no question that you need volunteers. PAWS spent $250,000 on spay and neuter. PAWS is a partnership- and we need to open ourselves to working with them. If we cannot do the shelter right- then PAWS should take the money back and WAIT. [NOTE: PAWS has their money- the only money in the county coffers is Lawrenceburg’s $1 million. That would be returned also.] Move this process on. I do not know what you think, Mr. Thompson. I hear something about smaller shelters like Switzerland County’s. Let’s just do it right.

Linda Thaler- Moved here 7 years ago. Aghast when I went to the shelter. A county like this should have a shelter we can be proud of. Mindsets are changing- we can expect more.
Talk to Mr. Gates- he has done a wonderful job in Ham Cty.

Gina Murray- Thanks for the open meeting. I agree we should have a comprehensive budget task force like Hughes said. I noted online that even people dying here give money to PAWS. The design is an excellent design. We are only as good as our weakest. If we have no space in the shelter- people drop them somewhere.

Annie Meyers- I understand that at every phase you were shown documents of this. Why now is there a change of heart? Thompson said he was not shown documents in 2.5 years here. Hughes thought they could tweak it and make it work. [NOTE: The PLANS with details were not given to commissioners at phases. At least not in public meetings that I attend. There was a presentation a couple years ago on the status of their plans. Perhaps Rick Fox was given them at ACB meetings, as he was the commissioner rep until 2009. Now the only commissioner remaining from those early planning days is Hughes. He has indicated they gave tacit approval to plans then. Does no one see that there is also one other big difference in the last year? The economy has tanked. Public coffers get hit the same as private businesses and job seekers. A prudent look at the plans and scope of costs is NECESSARY.]

Vivien Reinhardt ( sp?)- You knew this was coming and this is the thanks they get? People gave money- they need to know what is happening with that. There are horrible smells at the shelter- animals out there are suffering…

Pat Hawkins- new to the county- 2 years ago. I adopted a cat from the shelter. Appalled at the conditions. We have money sitting in the bank and dozens of volunteers willing to help. PAWS is part of the solution and not the problem. There are models to tell us the costs for heating and A/C etc. Move forward.

Barbara Platt- you said you didn’ t see the plans- then how are you telling us we can’t afford it? Thompson- we looked at other shelters…[NOTE: They did see the plans THIS year- that’s when the questions started coming in. The question was about prior to this year.]

Bill Cunningham- Mayor Lawrenceburg- see that the 2 sides are very far apart. Been through this before in my political career. Get both sides to get info together and get a mediator to reach agreement. [NOTE: A mediator COSTS more money however.]
- you volunteering to mediate?
Cunningham- you need someone way above me!

Maria LaRosa- Why wasn’t this shelter taken care of three years ago?

Hughes- there was a change in two commissioners. I am still on board with this. I wasn’t in full control of this. Fox was on the board then. I think the unrealistic budget escalated this.

Dennis Monroe- ( spoke again for PAWS)- the Aug 21,2007 Commissioner meeting notes show Sandy Carley presented a packet of info to the commissioners. The brochure showed the floors plan. Thompson- but not the documents.

Doug Hedrick- Mayor of Greendale- We have a 13,000 sq ft firehouse. Some of the costs there are $2000 a month for ??? and $600-900 a month for HVAC summer to winter costs. The costs of running it is much greater than the costs to build it. Let’s get down to the table and get this built. [NOTE: Not sure if Hedrick wanted to build it as is when he talked about running costs, but then he ended with saying to get it done. Greendale had originally offered land to PAWS to build a shelter.]

Tommy Beatley- set a goal of when you will break ground and then reach that goal.

Lisa Harrison- shelter worker- we go in every day and clean the shelter every day. We have very few volunteers now- we need more on a REGULAR BASIS.

Unidentified woman- Putting her on the spot isn’t fair- you are her boss- you should recuse yourself! ( talking to Thompson)

Lisa W- It’s OK- I was planning to talk anyway.

Orschell- Maybe we need a mediator, Maybe a committee, but we DO NEED a shelter.

Cheek- What’s the timetable for a new director.

Doug Taylor- Lawrenceburg K-9 police officer and ACB member- I agree with Orschell. If I’d had 366 more votes I’d be sitting in Hughes seat right now. PAWS came before the county years, and the county thought they couldn’t raise it.- but they did. We need to stop bickering.

Hughes – we need to move forward. Get a committee to look at this budget- maybe Commissioner, Councilman, PAWS, L-bg, and G-dale. [NOTE: Add Pickens and/or Jessica Tibbetts to get the county numbers too.]

Dennis Kraus- For 2010 we already have to add $111,000 over 2009. The county cannot handle this kind of yearly increase.

Cheek- We are looking at this now and into forever. Windows, insulation, HVAC are the LAST things you should cheat on if you are building a home- same for a shelter.
We have injected %5.6 million into our operational costs out of gaming money. WE are NOT rich- due to the negative costs of gaming too as in courts, jails etc. This year we did not increase salaries. Is the new shelter $500 or 300,000 per year- we don’t know! Last year we laid off 2 highway workers.

Todd Listerman- Highway Director- WE used $750,000 out of gaming funds just to make operating costs for highway. Thankfully salt and fuel went down this year.

Cheek- we have to look further out. The state capped money from our gaming and sent it to other non-gaming counties.

Orschell- Aurora YMCA raised money for the building but can’t operate it so it sits empty. WE don’t want that.

Cheek- Build what you NEED, efficient as you can, and what you can afford to run.

Thompson- I haven’t been involved in PAWS since my wife died- for personal reasons. I saw the plans THIS year and started to ask questions. The shelter has improved since I began overseeing it- PRO BONO. It smells in the morning and then it gets cleaned again. There are PAWS volunteers and others out there. [NOTE: Sometimes county jail sends workers out from the jail inmate population also.]
We tried to get this out the public- hence this meeting.

Orschell and Hughes also thanked the crowd.

Thompson- said there were other problems he’d been working to resolve including BZA issues on a variance, farm contract on the land, and Park Board cooperation. These still have to resolve before they break ground.
Decision on next steps will be discussed at the next commissioners meeting Tues Oct 6th at 7 PM.
There is NO MORNING commissioner’s meeting in October due to Judge Blankenship needing the room for court.

Meeting adjourned at 8:20 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

28 September 2009 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Notes

28 September 2009 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Notes

Present: Hall, Chairman, Kraus,Jr., Beiersdorfer, Hoog, Lansing, Hornbach, Lehman, Nelson, and Thompson.
McCormack, Director, and McGill, Attorney, also were present.


Waiver of requirement in Article 2 Section 200 to create a parcel for Robert Brinkmoeller property by owner Seevers, Inc. on North Dearborn Road on .018 acres Ag land in Kelso Township.
Kraus, Jr., surveyor, presented for the applicant and then removed himself to the hall for discussion and decision. The North Dearborn water co has a policy that the meter has to be on land owned by the customer. The tract created is a non- buildable tract and is non- adjoining. This requires a waiver as the code states that non buildables must adjoin the main tract. No public spoke. The board quickly decided to allow this. Thompson motioned and Beiersdorfer 2nd to grant the waiver stating it constituted an undue hardship, did not harm others in the area, and was a peculiarity of the land and property. (Brinkmoeller’s home sits about a half mile down a long driveway. The meter sits at the road.) All ayes passed.


1. Comp Plan members responded to the June memo- only 15 did not. Of those many were not active during the original meetings. McCormack will call and see if they received the notice and/or want someone else to replace them if they represent a group or interest needed for the make-up of the advisory board. Final list available at October meeting.

2. Article 18 on proposed wind energy conversion systems was passed out for review. McCormack and Hornbach went to a conference on these in April. We already have one outside Moores Hill on Chesterville Road and like cell towers etc , the PC wants to be ahead of the issues on placing these in the county. If a utility company comes in- other laws will apply as well. Currently allowing them up to a 25-ft max on Ag lands with other heights requiring permission of the board is what is written in the PROPOSED possible code for discussion. No decisions- just discussion at this point.

3. Mixed martial arts fights ( cage fights) etc have been springing up in the cities and county at local restaurant/bars. Several hundred people show up and these are outside. They are not normally allowed in restricted business zones as restricted business is for indoor activities primarily. The noise, traffic, lights, etc. are issues. County is looking at using special activities permits. The FOP lodge shooting range on Brooks Lane off Wilson Creek was brought up also due to noise issues. McGill thought it should be a county ordinance – not a zoning issue. That will help law enforcement take care of it. [NOTE: If they are required to have the fights indoors, the bars may stop doing it, as they will want to protect their property from damages.]

Meeting adjourned at 8:05 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Monday, September 28, 2009


SEPTEMBER 29, 2009
7:00 p.m., Commissioners Room
County Administration Building
215 B West High Street, Lawrenceburg, Indiana



1. Executive session results
2. Randal Avenue
3 Hearing on Animal Shelter


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Proposal - Healthcare by Insurance is Not the Way.

My original intent was to begin with, smaller, less weighty topics, offering observations and possible solutions, but it would seem that that notion has been overrun by events. I have read a great many essays of late discussing health care generally and, usually, some narrow area of interest to the author along with his or her solution to that piece. These are often quite logical from that narrow perspective and utterly useless or even counterproductive in arriving at a systemic solution. On the national political stage I am struck by the muddled, stumbling lack of clarity in defining what we are talking about.

It seems to me there are two distinct topics of discussion that have become commingled:
1) Health Care - the system that takes care of people
2) Health Insurance - the current system for paying (or avoiding paying) for Health Care.

Some say the current system doesn't work, that it is expensive and inefficient, that we need the government to intervene to fix it. This strikes me as a stunning leap of optimism in the face of extensive evidence that grand government programmes are never cheap or efficient (post office, Amtrak, medicare, social security) In fact, the current system is what it is because of the Federal Government. "That can't be" you say. Consider this. Employer funded health benefits exist because the Federal Government sanctioned them with tax benefits. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

It is my position that we need to rethink how we pay for health care and what role health insurance should play in that.

First, Insurance. Insurance is about Risk. If you think about it, risk carries with it the notion of uncertainty. The entire premise of insurance is the likelihood that something will or will not happen. If it doesn't, the insurance company profits, and let's be clear, insurance companies are all about profit. We shouldn't begrudge them that, it is the reward for risk.

These days, however, there is nothing uncertain about the need for medical attention, if only to make sure that we are as healthy as we think we are. For good or ill, it has become a routine part of our lives. This being the case, the business model of insurance companies is wholly unsuited to the role they are currently playing as part and parcel of the health care delivery system. In the absence of risk, the only mechanisms for profit are to increase the price of the service or drive down the cost (not for the consumer, but for the insurance company). The latter almost always means drive down the quality and/or quantity of service provided. Neither of these is desirable for the consumer.

So, in a free market system how do they survive? Who would tolerate paying more or getting less? Well, we do. We do it because we don't see money flow to the insurance companies, so we have no idea how much we are spending (rather similar to the way we pay taxes). Nor do we have any idea how much the services we receive really cost because we aren't the ones writing the check, nor do we shop around for the best service for the dollar. The truth is that we are neither the buyer nor the customer, so why should our interests even be considered?

Are you shocked? You should be. Consider the following analogy.

A dairy farmer has under his care a herd of cows. The milk processor pays the farmer for the milk he harvests, and some of that money is used to feed the cows, and occasionally to pay the Vet to tend to the health of his cows.

Now when the vet is taking care of the cows, you you really think he sees the cow as his customer? Of course not, the cows aren't paying him, the farmer is. The farmer is the real customer, and you can bet the vet is mostly focused on what the farmer wants or what he can get out of the farmer in fees. Do you think the farmer really cares what the cows think of the service they get? Of course not, they are simply a source of revenue.

I realize this is not a perfect analogy. There are only two entities deciding the fate of the cows in question. The perfect analogy would be much worse, with a third party between the farmer and the vet. Be that as it may, do you really want to be the cow?

When viewed from the perspective of incentives, this system is a disaster. Neither the insurance company nor the doctor is in the position or has any incentive to contain costs. You, as the consumer, are the only one in a position to judge if the cost is worth the service, and you have no idea what is being spent or what the real cost of service is. Is it any wonder costs are out of control?

Which begs the question, Why do we need this middleman when his primary motivator, profit, works against our interests? If marketplace insurance funded by employers isn't the way to pay for health care how should it be accomplished?

The Federal Government? Why do you think the Federal Government would be any different? This simply substitutes one third party for another. Both of them bring unwanted overhead without adding anything to better the position of the consumer, you and me. Truthfully, it would be different, it would be much worse. While an insurance company might not fund the health care services you want or need, or help curtail rising costs at least they can't coerce you into doing things you don't want to do. The same can't be said of the Federal Government.

So what should we do? Considering the analysis above, formulate your own ideas and check back for the next installment to see if your plan matches mine.

Friday, September 18, 2009


The Free Republic posted numerous pictures from the March on Washington. Click on the url to view:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

15 September 2009 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

15 September 2009 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

Present: Thompson, President, Orschell, and Hughes
Also present: Pickens, Auditor, and Witte, Attorney


County Campus plan remained tabled.

County Website discussion continued with a presentation form David and Brian Wyly. David is a web designer and owns Reaction PC Services in Bright. Brian is a graduate student and works at XU. He has 8 years experience as a web developer. Their resume includes Bright FD (David is a volunteer with FD and did the site for them), RJ Reynolds, Skyline Chili, and Scots Lawn Care web sites. No decision.

Policy on euthanization for animal control remains tabled.

Hogan Water Corp remains tabled, as Witte has not heard anything more from them or SEIRPC.
East Fork Road was discussed regarding the possibility of making small parking lots at the church. The state has not returned Listerman’s calls yet. Witte noted a definite liability on opening the road as it was previously stated that it was unsafe. “Negligent design or maintenance” would be an issue if sued. They also discussed opening it once a year with a gate and traffic control at the site at that time as an option. Tabled.

YES HOME lease given to board to review. Tabled.

Computer purchases for 911 were approved at $25 each for Ashley and Teaney. Computers are 10 years old.

Ginny Daum was tabled again as Doug Baer (Health Dept) had indicated the position went away when the funding went away.

Lifetime Housing- Commissioners signed the sub-recipient agreement to cover the individual grants when they come in.

Julie Hammond- Dearborn County Large Animal Rescue- stated that they are an all-volunteer organization and will help outside the county. Only one other in the state in Elkhart County. N KY has one, Hamilton County does not. They have all their equipment in a trailer and can lift up to 40,000 lbs max. They were registered under Spoiled Acres first. Training began in April and she hopes to have a member of each FD trained eventually. No county money is involved. Commissioners thanked her.

Dale Wirthlin and Chris Southern- Tronitech- Data Storage and Retrieval- gave a powerpoint presentation of their company’s background ( since 1974) and expertise. Their main office is in Cincinnati, with offices in the tristates as well. Cloud computing with shared applications was demonstrated as a means of lowering expenses by multi- tenant applications at a shared data center. They are secure, we are not locked into a contract – just annual agreements, the data is not stored in proprietary form but in pdf files. They use microfilm also as it has a 500 year life. Cost is absorbed into a predictable monthly subscription rate. Thompson to meet with them to get data size in 2 weeks to get pricing. No decision.

Highway Dept- Todd Listerman gave a 30-minute update:

Commissioners signed a right of entry agreement with Aurora Lumber to let bids for destroying, temp storage, and rebuilding new storage on their property. They are improving the intersection and creating the beginnings of an access road to the businesses on the south side of US 50.

Three change orders were signed for work that is completed on the three bridges- Sagamaw, Johnson Fork, and Salt For. The total price for rehabbing these 3 including extras was $308,106.30 which is less than the $360,000 estimated. Change orders were $6,523.79 for modified latex concrete, $21,202.50 for box beam repairs and $2,664.00 for expansion joint extensions.

Commissioners approved use of time and materials to repair riprap in Guilford Park for the Park Board. Park Board will pay and Council has allotted funds for this.

Over 7 miles of roads were redone with millings from SR 46 and old US52. Chip seal will go over these by the end of October. (Mosmeier, Ester Ridge, Graf, Tangaman, and Ennis Ridge)

Indiana News had an article showing the crisis in funding local roads. Listerman noted that BMV and State Police are raiding our MVHA continuously. $80 million goes to State police (school traffic safety, forensic lab, and operations) and $31 million to BMV for operations. Assembly does not want to increase the state gas tax, so this trend will continue to erode local street funds.

Listerman said he would be happy to go over the website for highway with the potential webmasters.

Lake Dilldear work is finished and Collier Ridge still waiting on REMC to move poles.

Attorney- Witte- said that when Cary Pickens wondered if it would be snowing before it is finished- he wasn’t sure if he was referring to the road millings or Listerman’s report!

Witte had commissioners sign the letter officially offering Rack a price for the Industrial Park property. They have 3-5 days to respond.

Large Animal Rescue will not incur county liability as they are not paying for it- it is volunteer.
Witte is still in the midst of contacting DNR on Hartford ROW.

Witte has filed all reports on torts and litigation to date with Sarah Wurtz or SDOA for their audit.

In the DC Hosp suit mentioned last week- the county insurance does NOT cover the county as they have an exclusion for hospitals under the policy. He will contact Resnick at DCH about this. He noted the circumstances would be difficult in a jury trial.

Woodland Hills Nursing Home has filed a tax appeal going back to 2001 to be tax exempt as they treat indigent patients. Tax assessor requested his help and commissioners approved- as he is beyond his retainer for this.

Jury trial starts in Oct for 3 weeks. He will miss the Oct 6 meeting and has McGill covering the Oct 20 one. He will fine a sub for Oct 6 which is a 9 AM meeting.

Auditor- Claims and Minutes signed. $40,000 to Bright Fire EMS as contract signed.

Hughes- asked about Aurora and Bldg Insp combining- and Witte said this was very preliminary in discussion phase.

Orschell – gave a brief recap of the safety meetings with Bill black and dept personnel. They have discussed evacuations and sign ins for guests to the buildings etc.


Cliff Eibeck asked again about the 2nd meeting being the morning one. Thompson said they are still checking the schedule for Nov on- Oct stays as is with OCT 6 being a MORNING

Meeting adjourned at 9:15 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Thursday, September 10, 2009


September 15, 2009
7:00 p.m., Commissioners Room
County Administration Building
215 B West High Street, Lawrenceburg, Indiana



1. Latest addition of the County Campus Plan – remain tabled from 7/7/09
2. Web Site Discussion – tabled from 7/21/09
3. Policy Recommendations from Animal Control Board – remain tabled from 7/21/09
4 Hogan Water Corp. – tabled from 8/18/09
5. East Fork Rd. – tabled from 9/1/09
6. YES Home Lease – tabled from 9/1/09
7. Computer purchases for 911 – tabled from 9/1/09

1. Life Time Housing - Signature for Sub-Recipient Agreement

2. Julie Hammond - Dearborn County Technician Large Animal Rescue

3. Dale Wirthlin & Chris Southern - Tronitech (Data Storage & Retrieval)

1. Updates

VI. AUDITOR - Cary Pickens
1. Claims/Minutes




X. COMMISSIONER – Ralph Thompson, Jr.




Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Insurance Ruins the Doctor Patient Relationship

Insurance Ruins the Doctor Patient Relationship

For thirteen years I was a Business Manager for what became a five-doctor Internal Medicine practice. This gives me a unique perspective on some of the changes in health care financing that preceded the clamor for reform.

Primary care medical offices in the early 1980s operated as “payment at the time of service.”We filed Insurance as a COURTESY for patients in nursing homes and hospitals. Overhead was low.

As large employers offered health plans that required doctors to sign up to be on their “preferred provider" list, we began to accept insurance in order to keep patients. Referrals were required before patients could go to an ER or a subspecialist. Patients had small copays if they stayed in their network of doctors (preferred providers.) We hired more people to handle the referrals, claims, and posting of insurance payments, plus the follow up on lost or denied claims.

If you treated a Medicare patient, you HAD to file their insurance and accept Medicare rates. We computerized the practice in the late 1980’s in order to handle the volume and to file electronically to insurance companies.

Smaller practices struggled economically, as the small number of doctors could not support more personnel and computerization. For primary care doctors this caused decreased professional satisfaction as their practices were bought out and merged to larger groups with emphasis on “productivity” and how many patients they could see in an hour etc. Patient care suffered or else the bottom line suffered. Practices went under or sold out.

Some practices expanded as we did. Five doctors were able to maintain an office where the staff had the same paid benefit plan the doctors had for health insurance and profit sharing. Malpractice costs were low. (I know that contradicts the media, but good primary care doctors are rarely sued.)

Even 20 years ago, there were less than ten big players in the insurance field. Their negotiated rates or fee schedules were remarkably similar. Current fear of no competition sounds good when it comes to insurance coverage, but the fact is, we have been sliding to this moment for a long time.

The increased cost to buy insurance so you can pay higher copays to go out of network does not make sense. If you have kids away at school or live across state lines, you have to think about emergency out of network medical care.

What about private pay patients- those with no insurance or pre-existing conditions? They get hit with a bill for the full rate. In 2009, I personally saw a common lab test charge go from $160 to $18 depending upon if I was paying or my insurance was. How did that rate get so skewed? It is because of something called UCR (Usual customary rates) that were set each year. The insurers paid a percentage and doctors, hospitals, and labs write-off the rest. If providers do not keep raising the rates, they end up with low fee schedules. Sounds a lot like government- “if we don’t spend everything we asked for in our budget, then they will cut it next year!”)

Why is health insurance tied to employment? Medicare isn’t and it is portable- so retirees can use it all over the country with no increase in rates. Medicare seems to be running out of money, because there is no incentive to shop for what you NEED in health care. When care is essentially free, once you’ve paid the premium, people don’t worry about the cost. Nor do they worry about necessity. Do we really need an mri or cat scan? Do you have to see a specialist or can your family doctor handle it? Do you know the difference in cost? Do you need all those drugs they advertise? Is anyone paying attention to how many over the counter chemicals people pop to counteract their unhealthy lifestyles?

I personally think we need to decide; first, if health care should be an insurance issue. And if it is, should all health care be insurable?

Should we just insure against accidents and catastrophic events, such as procedures and hospitalizations, and not office visits?

Should drugs only be covered after you spend $500 or $1000 a year?

It may be that when the patient and doctor get back to a professional relationship with the insurance company out of the middle, both health care quality- and its costs- will improve.

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Can you be a Washington?

Over the years since our beginnings in 2004, this site has focused almost exclusively on providing as much information about local events as possible with the goal of promoting local involvement rooted firmly in a real understanding of local issues. Chris Mueller has been Herculean in her efforts (the Augean Stables come to mind) in furtherance of this goal and we all owe her a debt of gratitude for her fortitude.

For now, the home waters have calmed, while in the sea that is national politics, storms are raging. They are storms we cannot escape or ignore.

It used to be, in the time of the founding of THE Republic, that persons of honor set aside their personal interests to focus their considerable intellects and honest hearts on finding a way for people to govern themselves. This, it seems to me, is the Change that people have been hungering for but still have not found in the recent and current leaders of OUR Republic. The time has come for us to govern for ourselves if we have any hope of setting a new course.

But first, we must focus Our intellect. To that end this forum will begin a series of proposals and essays that we hope will provide food for thought and a catalyst for discussion. Perhaps the ghosts of our forefathers will lend us their spirit for a while and lead us to the new ideas and solutions that will fill our hunger.

So bring an honest, thoughtful heart. Discuss, extend, or tear down and rebuild what will be offered in the spirit of what has made America a great nation. Fulfill the promise of the Declaration of Independence. Take up your birthright that is the Constitution and decide, again, how you will govern yourselves.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Greetings to our listeners and subscribers --

We hope you enjoy listening to the following shows. Of course you can subscribe to all of our shows absolutely FREE -- for loading onto your iPod, MP3 player, or other portable media player -- just visit our website. It's very simple. However, for the moment if you have a high-speed internet connection and working speakers connected, simply click on the following direct show-links to listen. If you would like to download your own free copy of any of our shows (for personal use, only), they are currently available on our website along with over 700 other show selections --

POLITICALLY CORRECT: BOB BISCHOFF, STATE REPRESENTATIVE -- Show host Gary Puckett interviews Bob Bischoff about the legislation from the latest session. To listen to this show, click on the following direct show-link:

WE THE HOOSIERS (TEA PARTY GROUP interview) -- Show host Gary Puckett interviews Tea Party member, ALEX PARNIUK. To listen to this show, click on the following direct show-link:

THE BRIGHT BEACON: CELESTE CALVITTO -- Host Gary Puckett interviews the new owner of The Bright Beacon publication. To listen to this interview, click on the following direct show-link:

We hope you enjoy listening to these shows. Tell your friends, neighbors and co-workers about New-Media Network. Also, check out the OPEN FLY FORUM feature on our website -- you can create your own broadcast, immediately! We are quickly becoming a leading "local world" source of programming in the new digital-media age. Any person can sign up on our website to begin automatically receiving "New and Notable Show Alerts". It's 100% free and we will never, under any circumstances, share your email address with any person or organization.

To submit your ideas, questions, comments or complaints, email us directly in Studio 7 at anytime 24/7 -- -- or pick up your cell phone and call our national listener feedback line at 206.337.1716

Fly Paper Productions, LLC
Digital Media Group - National Operations Ctr POB 324 Harrison, OH 45030 USA

206-337-1716 Listener Feedback Line
TheFlyPod New-Media Network

Wednesday, September 02, 2009




WASHINGTON – Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Michael Steele will make four stops on Thursday in Indiana and Ohio targeting the health care positions of Democrat Representatives Baron Hill (IN-09), Steve Driehaus (OH-01), Zach Space (OH-18), and Mary Jo Kilroy (OH-15). Thursday’s events are detailed below and are open to the press.

Thursday, September 3, 2009
WHAT: Chairman Steele Holds a Media Availability on Health Care and Rep. Baron Hill (IN-09)
WHO: RNC Chairman Michael Steele
WHEN: 9:30 a.m. EDT
WHERE: Physician Associates of Southern Indiana
800 Highlander Point Drive
Floyds Knob, IN

WHAT: Chairman Steele Holds a Media Availability on Health Care and Rep. Steve Driehaus (OH-01)
WHO: RNC Chairman Michael Steele
WHEN: 12:00 p.m. EDT
WHERE: JTM Food Group
200 Sales Avenue
Harrison, OH
NOTE: A mult-box will be available.

WHAT: Chairman Steele Holds a Media Availability on Health Care and Rep. Zach Space (OH-18)
WHO: RNC Chairman Michael Steele
WHEN: 2:30 p.m. EDTWHERE: Balderson Motor Sales
2270 Maple Avenue
Zanesville, OH
NOTE: A mult-box will be available.

WHAT: Chairman Steele Holds a Media Availability on Health Care and Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (OH-15)
WHO: RNC Chairman Michael Steele
WHEN: 4:30 p.m. EDT
WHERE: Knotty Pine Grill
1765 West 3rd Avenue
Columbus, OH
NOTE: A mult-box will be available.

1 September 2009 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

1 September 2009 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

Present: Thompson, President, Hughes, and Orschell

Also present: Witte, Attorney

Pickens, Auditor- ABSENT

Executive Session on highway facility purchase was prior to this meeting.
Orschell motioned and Thompson 2nd for the Board of Commissioners to OFFER $767,500 to Rack for the property and building on Randall Avenue for county highway. This offer is contingent upon good title, building inspection, and environmental. Passed with Hughes voting NAY.


County Campus Plan remains tabled. See below under RQAW.

Website was discussed with Thompson approved to get pricing from Steve Pope for the next meeting. There are several issues with dept heads having responsiveness issues with FX Design, the current website manager.

Animal Control policies remain tabled.

RQAW evaluation of Shumway building handled in New Business along with Charette. Hughes was adamant about doing the charette before the Shumway was analyzed. He insisted the county had already done that before. Orschell said he hadn’t seen that work. See below on new business for further info.

Hogan water company remains tabled though Witte reported that county adm duties for the grant are minimal as it is solely for infrastructure, so no payroll involved.


William Scharold Commander of VFW who runs the Memorial Day observances at East Fork Cemetery off SR1 requested that East Fork Road be reopened and become one way. It was determined that Bob Ewbank, former county attorney had recommended the request to close the south end for safety reasons. The request went to INDOT and was approved. The cemetery holds members of the Smith and Ewbank families. Todd Listerman is to research this some more to see what can be done to accommodate the annual ceremony without too much cost. Tabled.

RQAW Charette proposal for Campus Plan with Brett Dodd. Dodd was asked if they could roll the Shumway work into the charette process for the same total amount as the charette. Dodd said- sure- why not. Contracts were amended and the process includes Shumway for a total not to exceed $!5,000. Signed- all three approved.

YES HOME lease will be redrawn for 25 years and it will go year to year after that. Witte to rework language to make it simpler also.

Todd Listerman- Highway Dept- gave a 20-minute update:

DNR requested ROW from new Cole Lane to Laughery Creek access at old ford. Witte and Listerman to get ordinance prepared for this contingent on them using it for public access.

Artemis cameras will be let Oct to Nov with 100% federal funding- no local money.
Commissioners had to sign off on increases in design of $38,413- $60,000 and construction from $288,000 to $300,000.

Yorkridge Road stimulus project will let end of Oct for resurface after Apr 1 2010.

Old SR52 is 1st stimulus project and will be finished by October.

Woliung Road will get the millings off SR 52.

2nd stimulus will go to chip seal North Hogan and North Dearborn sections this fall.

SR 46 millings are going to Ennis Ridge and Mosmeier- 2 miles total.

Bells Branch Bridge is being cleaned for November completion.

Collier Ridge is waiting on REMC to move two poles. They will them put on top coat, guard rail and ditch etc. They will then remove the old deck on the bridge and replace with a steel one.

Auditor- (Cathy subbed)- claims signed with Hughes abstaining as he was on vacation last week and hadn’t reviewed them. Minutes were tabled for Hughes to review.

Witte- Attorney-Langley Heights lawsuit – requires another attorney as Witte did some work with this as a judge. Jack Gay was approved with Hughes abstaining as he wanted some lawyer from the county. Orschell agreed but said Gay already had some knowledge, so he wanted to proceed with him.

DC Hospital was named in a suit in federal court due to a DUI where the blood test was refused and urine collection was done alleging a forced catheterization. The alcohol level came back less than .08 and so civil rights violation is alleged. The county itself was not named in this. [NOTE: Did law enforcement order this?]

Jeff Hughes- said he saw Daryl Sears there (the architect for animal shelter) Sears said the lowest bid was not in compliance. Hughes was surprised and asked him to explain. Maxwell’s bid apparently substituted different quality materials than specified to get the price down. Therefore, it wasn’t apples to apples. The next highest bid is $1,999,000. Thompson noted all the funds were not in the county’s account, farm lease was not resolved. Pickens was working on that and he wasn’t there tonight. Orschell said Council didn’t commit enough money to run this. Bottom line- the Commissioners, Council and Animal Control Board are to meet and discuss how to proceed.

Tom Orschell- said Jenny Daum wants to be on the emergency coordination board. Doug Baer is on leave and he is part of this decision. No decision.

Ralph Thompson- discussed 911 to rebuy 3 computer CPUs for $25 each if they stay in the building. Concern for data and privacy on these. Tabled for further research.

Partnership agreement on 2010 census signed.


Cliff Eibeck-
requested the commissioners make the 2nd meeting of the month the morning one as it conflicts with St. Leon Sewer Board meetings and he is being sewed for forced hook-up and wants to attend those. Sept will stay evening- commissioners to check the court schedule etc to see if this will work. Hughes still wants evenings. Orschell is neutral. Thompson noted they could get venders easier during the day meeting and be sure all public hearings are at night meetings. No decision.

Meeting adjourned at 8:35 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township