Saturday, January 31, 2015

The NUCC--a Great Discovery for a Lover of Bureaucracy

Who knew there was a NUCC in our world? 

What, you may ask, is a NUCC?

It's the National Uniform Claim Committee, the proud sponsor of 1500_Claim, which is one of the government's most popular publications.

Essentially it tries to standard healthcare claims. As they say:

"The NUCC replaced the Uniform Claim Form Task Force, which was co-chaired by the AMA and CMS and resulted in the development of the 1500 Claim Form, a single paper claim form for use by all third-party payers. With the transition of the medical community to electronic data interchange and the proliferation of data element definitions among various payers, it became essential that an organization be established to maintain uniformity and standardization in these areas. The NUCC is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the data sets and physical layout of the hard copy 1500 Claim Form.
From the provider viewpoint, non-uniform data elements have caused significant frustration, claims billing and processing delays, and rejections. From the payer viewpoint, claims that are not in the required format may be resubmitted several times before they can be processed. The result is a very labor-intensive and costly business practice for providers and payers.
Through an iterative process, the NUCC used existing implementation guides, data dictionaries and results from ongoing standardization efforts within the health care industry to consolidate the many current data sets into one set.  The NUCC continues to work to optimize, as necessary, coordination of implementation within the health care industry, working with ASC X12N as required, to resolve data maintenance and standards problems that arise from the NUCC's work.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Gloom and Doom

"Gloom and doom" was a popular term in the '50s--if I remember Republicans accused the Dems of embracing gloom and doom when Dems pointed with alarm at all the shortcomings of Ike's administration and the general state of the world.

On a day when spring seem far away, I thought I'd highlight a contemporary gloom and doomster, Leslie Gelb, writing as part of a Politico survey of learned people forecasting 15 years ahead:

The world of 2030 will be an ugly place, littered with rebellion and repression. Societies will be deeply fragmented and overwhelmed by irreconcilable religious and political groups, by disparities in wealth, by ignorant citizenry and by states’ impotence to fix problems. This world will resemble today’s, only almost everything will be more difficult to manage and solve.
Advances in technology and science won’t save us. Technology will both decentralize power and increase the power of central authorities. Social media will be able to prompt mass demonstrations in public squares, even occasionally overturning governments as in Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt, but oligarchs and dictators will have the force and power to prevail as they did in Cairo. Almost certainly, science and politics won’t be up to checking global warming, which will soon overwhelm us.
Muslims will be the principal disruptive factor, whether in the Islamic world, where repression, bad governance and economic underperformance have sparked revolt, or abroad, where they are increasingly unhappy and distained by rulers and peoples. In America, blacks will become less tolerant of their marginalization, as will other persecuted minorities around the world. These groups will challenge authority, and authority will slam back with enough force to deeply wound, but not destroy, these rebellions.
A long period of worldwide economic stagnation and even decline will reinforce these trends. There will be sustained economic gulfs between rich and poor. And the rich will be increasingly willing to use government power to maintain their advantages.
Unfortunately, the next years will see a reversal of the hopes for better government and for effective democracies that loomed so large at the end of the Cold War.
(I think he's by far the most pessimistic seer.)

Enjoy the weekend.

"An Accretion of Intention"

A phrase lifted from a New Yorker Around Town piece--the context is that the New Yorker's offices are moving from midtown Manhattan south.  (See their cover.)  Nick Paumgarten has observations on the moving process, the loss of familiar routines and landmarks, the need to go through years of accumulation hoardings.  He quotes an acquaintance as calling it "the accretion of intention", which I think is right on.  In my old office, in my home, in my life I've seen the gradual accumulation of stuff which were parts of good intentions: projects I wanted to do; things I wanted people to see me doing; stuff I wanted to have done, but always works which I never had the energy or determination actually to do.

One thing I did once do is pass my drivers test.  Adam Gopnik has an article on his late-life experience learning to drive. 

BTW I've a stack of last year's New Yorkers to get rid of--read most of most of them.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Farm Program Costs Under the New FArm Bill

David Rogers at Politico has a longish piece on projections of costs under the new farm bill.  The Congressional Budget Office has revised their estimates upward.  Rogers suggests maybe their estimating process has problems, that as prices fall and  the new direct payment programs increase their payouts, crop insurance costs will also fall.

Food Waste--Michael Roberts

Prof. Roberts doesn't blog often but he's good. His latest is a long spiel on the subject of food, especially food waste. Naturally his opinion and mine are reasonably in agreement, though his is longer and with added points: food waste is correlated to the cheapness of food; reducing food waste would increase the supply of food, making it cheaper.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Changing Norms

I follow the Powerline blog, even though it's conservative and I'm liberal. Sometimes they, particularly Paul Mirengoff, surprise me but mostly not.

Today Steven Hayward writes on manners and norms in the classroom.  His takeoff point is a university banning the use of titles in favor of using the students' full names when a professor calls on a student--i.e., "Mr. Harshaw", etc.  He pats himself on the back for using "Mr and Ms" when calling on his students.

Call me old, call my memory defective, but I believe I remember back in the late 60's when all good true conservatives would never let "Ms" cross their lips. So things change.

The Farmer's Risks: Death

Farmers are about twice as likely to die as police, according to this graph of deadliest occupations. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Farmland Transfers

Chris Clayton at DTN has a piece on farmland transfers,given the high proportion of farmland owned by the old, who will be dying shortly, creating problems both for inheritance and especially for leasing.  The Iowa poet laureate wrote a play on the topic.

Here's the link to the website of the playwright

Sunday, January 25, 2015

On User Interfaces

Via Technology Review (I think) comes this post discussing the design of the user interface of subway ticket machines for San Francisco and New York City.  It's got a twist in the middle, and having been a tourist in NYC myself, and being older getting more easily confused and less resilient in dealing with confusion, I end up valuing the design I dismissed when I started reading it.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Free Trade, Promotion Orders, and the Case of the Hass Avocado


A while back foodies attacked NAFTA for permitting US farmers to export cheap corn into Mexico, thereby undermining small farmers in Mexico.

There's controversy over the constitutionality of "research and promotion orders", the Hass Avocado Board operates as the result of one.

Now the avocado is surging in popularity as described here.  One might assume that the importing of avocados from Mexico has ruined the market for California growers.  But looking closely at the charts there, that doesn't seem to be the case.  Imports have grown tremendously, but US production has also grown, if not so fast (it appears US avocados went from 600 million in 2007 to 1 billion in 2013.)  It seems at least for the moment that the combination of free trade (NAFTA) and government interference (the Avocado Board) have produced prosperity for everyone, at least as long as California doesn't dry up.