Which Is More Cost-Effective, Cabs or Car Rentals?

Rent it or cab it?

People like the freedom of having their own vehicle to drive about in, at home or when they travel, and the tendency is to book a rental car when you are away. But freedom comes with a price and it depends where your travel destination is as to whether you’re best to rent a car or take a taxi.

Cheap ground transportation depends upon location, accessibility and extraneous expense factors, like gasoline costs and parking fees. Add to that the potential complexity of finding your way around a strange city, especially a large one, and you might change your mind about what freedom means.

A trip to, for example, New York City or Montreal, two North American cities with decent public transit systems, plenty of cabs, walkable areas in their cores, and very high parking fees, and you’ll realize that a taxi will almost inevitably surface as the cheapest mode of getting around.

But what if you want a day trip to the Laurentian Mountains or the antiques stores of Hudson? That’s the day to rent a car, or to find out if there is a luxury coach service to those destinations that returns the same day.

Car rentals are convenient, to be sure, but the costs add up quickly (don’t forget insurance and occasional peak-season added fees), unless your airline points cover all or most of the cost; even then, in large cities gasoline and parking is very costly, and that is not usually included in credit card or airline rewards perquisites.

When does a rental car make sense? If you live in North America (and can’t drive across the Atlantic Ocean!) and are vacationing in Italy, for example, landing in Rome and taking a motorcar tour of Tuscany and other regions from there, your only other viable option is the train. Like anywhere else, gasoline in Europe is expensive, but you can’t take a full driving holiday in a taxi. But don’t forget, there are guided tours and some taxi drivers will gladly spend a day with you, exploring San Gimignano; they are often the best tour guides, full of information about their homeland. And driving in other countries can be a harrowing experience, especially if it involves driving on the opposite side of the road than you are accustomed to!

Plan your itinerary, do an accurate cost comparison and decide whether a taxi or car rental, or combination of the two, is the cheapest way to get around when you reach your destination. And don’t forget to ensure that your driver’s license is current, and if you need to, get an international license before you set off for your trip. Happy motoring!

Planning and Design of Behavioral Healthcare Facilities

Behavioral Healthcare Facilities: The Current State of Design

In keeping with most districts of healthcare, the marketplace has seen a boom in the construction of Behavioral Healthcare facilities. Contributing to this increase is the paradigm shift in the way society views mental illness. Society is placing a heavier value on the need to treat people with serious addictions such as alcohol, prescription and elicit drugs. A large percentage of people suffering from behavioral disorders are afflicted with both mental and addictive behaviors, and most will re-enter communities and either become contributors or violators.

These very specialized facilities do not typically yield the attention from today’s top healthcare designers and their quantity accounts for a small fraction of healthcare construction. However, Behavioral Healthcare projects are increasing in number and are being designed by some very prominent architectural firms such as Cannon Design and Architecture Plus. Many are creating state-of-the-art, award-winning contemporary facilities that defy what most of us believe Behavioral Healthcare design to be.

Changing the Way We Design Behavioral Healthcare Facilities

As with all good planners and designers, A+D (along with facility experts) are reviewing the direct needs of patient and staff while reflecting on how new medicine and modern design can foster patient healing rates, reduce environmental stress, and increase safety. This is changing the face of treatment and outcome by giving the practitioner more time to treat because they require less time and resources to “manage” disruptive patient populations.

The face of Behavioral Healthcare is quickly changing. No longer are these facilities designed to warehouse patients indefinitely. And society’s expectations have changed. Patients are often treated with the belief that they can return to their community and be a contributor to society. According to the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems (NAPHS), depending on the severity of illness, the average length of stay in a Behavioral Healthcare facility is only 9.6 days.

What has changed?

Jaques Laurence Black, AIA, president and principal of New York City-based daSILVA Architects, states that there are two primary reasons for the shortened admission period:

1. Introduction of modern psychotropic drugs that greatly speed recovery

2. Pressures from insurance companies to get patients out of expensive modes of care

To meet these challenges, healthcare professionals are finding it very difficult to effectively treat patients within the walls of antiquated, rapidly deteriorating mental facilities. A great percentage of these facilities were built between 1908 and 1928 and were designed for psychiatric needs that were principled in the belief to “store” not to “rehabilitate.”

Also impacting the need for Behavioral Healthcare construction is the reluctance of acute-care facilities to provide mental health level services for psychiatric or addiction patients. They recognize that patient groups suffering from behavioral disorders have unique health needs, all of which need to be handled and treated only by very experienced healthcare professionals. This patient population also requires a heightened level of security. Self-harm and injuring staff and other patients are major concerns.

The Report of the Surgeon General: “Epidemiology of Mental Illness” also reports that within a given year about 20% of Americans suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder and 5.4% suffer from a serious mental illness (SMI ) – defined as bipolar, panic, obsessive-compulsive, personality, and depression disorders and schizophrenia. It is also believed 6% of Americans suffer from addiction disorders, a statistic that is separate from individuals who suffer from both mental and addiction disorders. Within a given year it is believed that over one-quarter of America’s population warrants levels of mental clinical care. Even if these statistics were cut in half, it cannot be denied as a serious societal issue.

With a growing population, effectively designing in accordance with such measures is at the heart of public health.

Understanding the Complexity of Behavioral Healthcare Design

Therefore, like Corrections, leading planners and designers specializing in Behavioral Healthcare are delving deeper to better understand the complexity of issues and to be the activist to design facilities that promote treatment and healing – and a safer community.

The following is a list of key design variables that are being studied and implemented:

1. Right Sizing

2. Humanizing Materials and Color

3. Staff-Focused Amneties and Happiness

4. Security and Safety

5. Therapeutic Design Tenants

Right-sizing

Today’s Behavioral Healthcare facilities are often one-story single buildings within a campus size. Often debated by Clients due to costs, this design preference is driven by the demand for Uncategorized light, window views to nature for all patient areas, and outdoor open-air gardens “wrapped” within. All of this provides soothing qualities to the patient, reduces their anxieties, counteracts disruptive conduct and helps to reduce staff stress.

“When you look at the program mix in these buildings, there’s a high demand for perimeter because there are a lot of rooms that need Uncategorized light. Offices, classrooms, dining areas, community rooms, and patient rooms all demand Uncategorized light, so you end up with a tremendous amount of exterior wall, and it forces the building to have a very large footprint.” – James Kent Muirhead, AIA, associate principal at Cannon Design in Baltimore

These design principles are also believed to improve staff work conditions. Unlike a multi-story complex, at any moment staff can walk outdoors and access nature, free from visual barriers, and within a building that more accurately reflects building types that both patients and staff would encounter in their communities.

In addition to right-sizing for the overall building footprint, is right-sizing for internal patient and staff support area. Similar to the move we have seen in Corrections to de-centralize support spaces, Behavioral Healthcare is moving to decentralized nursing/patient units called “neighborhoods.” With mental health facilities there is a large concern with distances and space adjacencies in relation to the patient room and patient support areas such as treatment and social spaces. Frank Pitts, AIA, FACHA, OAA president of Architecture Plus, Troy, NY, advocates neighborhoods that average 24-30 beds arranged in sub-clusters, called “houses”, of 8-10 beds. Thus, each neighborhood consists of three houses. Often these layouts will include a common area where patients congregate and socialize, with a separate quiet room so patients can elect to avoid active, crowded areas. In addition Pitts states, “There’s a move away from central dining facilities. So, while facilities will still have a central kitchen, it’s a whole lot easier moving food than it is patients.” However, it is important for the facility to mimic normal outside daily life routines, so patients are encouraged to frequently leave their neighborhoods to attend treatment sessions, and outdoor courtyards.

Humanizing Materials & Color

In all facilities that play a role in rehabilitation, design strives to create spaces that humanize, calm, and relax. Behavioral Healthcare patients need to feel that they are in familiar surroundings; therefore, the architectural vocabulary should feel comfortable and normal. Since these facilities are about rehabilitation (when possible) and encouraging patients to merge back into society, the facility should feel like an extension of the community. Their spaces should reflect the nature and architecture of the surrounding region and thus so, no two facilities should look too much alike.

“Our a
pproach to designing these facilities is to view the facility as an extension of the community where patients will end up when they’re released. Interior finishes also depend on geography because you want to replicate the environment patients are used to. You want to de-stigmatize the facility as much as possible.” – Tim Rommel, AIA, ACHA, OAA, principal with Cannon Design in Buffalo, NY.

Therefore, materials and colors within these spaces want to feel familiar to one’s region and everyday life. To soothe the psyche and rehabilitate, they want to feel soft and comfortable, yet visually stimulating. An interior that is overly neutral or hard in appearance is not appropriate. Materials should reduce noise, and colors should lift the spirit. This can help to create an environment in which the patient can learn, socialize, and be productive while easing anxieties, delivering dignity, and modifying behavior. As stated previously, behavioral studies advise the use of softer interior materials-like carpeting, wood doors and tile. Doing so translates directly to both patient and staff well-being, particularly staff safety, and makes for a nicer place to work. In addition, staff have more resources to “treat” instead of manage heated situations. When staff experiences are eased and satisfied, morale is boosted and life-saving rules and policies are more likely to be enforced.

Staff-Focused Amenities & Happiness

While reducing staff stress and fatigue through a healing supportive environment seems like an obvious goal, there are relatively few studies that have dealt with this issue in any detail. More attention has been given to patient outcomes. However, many leading hospitals that have adopted therapeutic tenants into their newly built environments have seen vast improvement through their “business matrixes” and financial reporting.

In one example, the Mayo Clinic, a national leader in implementing healing design in its facilities, has reported a reduction of nursing turnover from a national annual average of 20% to an annual 3%-4%. In another example, when Bronson Methodist Hospital incorporated evidence-based design into its new 343-bed hospital, they cited their 19%-20% nurse turnover rate dramatically dropped to 5%.

Now, both the Mayo Clinic and Bronson Methodist Hospital have had to initiate a waiting list for nursing staff seeking positions. This converts to better-trained and qualified staff, and a reduced error rate. Therefore, more health facilities are investing in staff support areas such as lounges, changing rooms, and temporary sleep rooms. Within these staff spaces and in the hospital throughout, facilities are also recognizing the need for upgrade materials, better day lighting, and an interesting use of color: One soon realizes that the need of patients and staff are interwoven, each impacting positively or negatively the other.

Security & Safety

Without debate, self harm and harm to staff is one of the biggest concerns mental health facilities manage. Often the biggest safety and security concern is the damage patients can do to themselves. “There are three rules I had drummed in me,” says Mark Hanchar; Director of Preconstruction Services for Gilbane Building Company, Providence, R.I. “First, there can’t be any way for people to hang themselves. Second, there can be no way for them to create weapons. Third, you must eliminate things that can be thrown.” Hanchar says that the typical facility is, “a hospital with medium-security prison construction.” This means shatter proof glass, solid surface countertops (laminate can be peeled apart), stainless steel toilets and sinks (porcelain can shatter), push pull door latches and furniture that cannot be pulled apart and used as a weapon. These are just to name a few.

Additionally, removing barriers between patients and nursing staff is a safety consideration. Frank Pitts, AIA, FACHA, OAA president of Architecture Plus, says what may be counter-intuitive for safety precautions, “Glass walls around nursing stations just aggravate the patients.” Removing glass or lowering it at nursing stations so patients can feel a more human connection to nurses often calms patients. There is also discussion of removing nursing stations altogether; decentralizing and placing these care needs directly into the clinical neighborhoods and community spaces. Pitt says, “The view is that [nursing staff] need to be out there treating their patients.”

Therapeutic Design Tenants

As medicine is increasingly moving towards “evidence-based” medicine, where clinical choices are informed by research, healthcare design is increasingly guided by research linking the physical environment directly to patient and staff outcomes. Research teams from Texas A&M and Georgia Tech sifted through thousands of scientific articles and identified more than 600 – most from top peer-reviewed journals – to quantify how hospital design can play a direct role in clinical outcomes.

The research teams uncovered a large body of evidence that demonstrates design features such as increased day-lighting, access to nature, reduced noise and increased patient control helped reduce stress, improve sleep, and increase staff effectiveness – all of which promote healing rates and save facilities cost. Therefore, improving physical settings can be a critical tool in making hospitals more safe, more healing, and better places to work.

Today’s therapeutic spaces have been defined to excel in 3 categories:

1. Provide clinical excellence in the treatment of the body

2. Meet the psycho-social needs of patients, families, and staff

3. Produce measurable positive patient outcomes and staff effectiveness

Considering the cost of treating mental illness, which is exceedingly high, and wanting facilities to have effective outcomes, a further practice of incorporating therapeutic design is increasing. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIM H) approximated in 2008 that serious mental illnesses (SMI ), costs the nation $193 billion annually in lost wages. The indirect costs are impossible to estimate.

The estimated direct cost to clinically treat is approximately $70 billion annually and another $12 billion spent towards substance abuse disorders. In addition to the increased need of care and the boom in Behavioral Healthcare construction, it becomes an obligation to make certain that we as facility managers, architects, designers and manufacturers therapeutically plan and design these facilities.

Notably, in 2004, “The Role of the Physical Environment in the Hospital for the 21st Century: A Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity,” published by Roger Ulrich P.H.D., of Texas A&M University, was released. In a culmination of evidence-based research, research teams found five design principles that contributed significantly to achieving therapeutic design goals.

The report indicates five key factors that are essential for the psychological well-being of patients, families and staff, including:

1. Access to Nature

2. Provide Positive Distractions

3. Provide Social Support Spaces

4. Give a Sense of Control

5. Reduce or eliminate environmental stress

Access to Nature

Studies indicate that nature might have the most powerful impact to help patient outcomes and staff effectiveness. Nature can be literal or figurative – Uncategorized light, water walls, views to nature, large prints of botanicals and geography, materials that indicate nature and most importantly, stimulating color that evokes nature. Several studies strongly support that access to nature such as day-lighting and appropriate colorations can improve health outcomes such as depression, agitation, sleep, circadian rest-activity rhythms, as well as length of stay in demented patients and persons with seasonal affective disorders (SAD).

These and related studies continue to affirm the powerful impact of Uncategorized elements on patient recovery and stress reduction. Thus, it is clea
r that interior designs which integrate Uncategorized elements can create a more relaxing, therapeutic environment that benefits both patients and staff.

Positive Distractions

These are a small set of environmental features that provide the patient and family a positive diversion from “the difficult” and, in doing so, also negate an institutional feel. These can be views to nature, water walls, artwork, super imposed graphics, sculpture, music – and ideally all of these want to be focused on nature and, when applicable, an interesting use of color. Therapeutic environments that provide such patient-centered features can empower patients and families, but also increase their confidence in the facility and staff. This helps with open lines of communication between patient and caregiver.

Social Support Spaces

These are spaces designed partially for the patient but mainly for the comfort and socialization of family members and friends of the patient; therefore, family lounges, resource libraries, chapels, sleep rooms and consult rooms all play a role. When family and friends play a key role in a patient’s healing, these spaces encourage families to play an active role in the rehabilitation process.

Sense of Control

In times when patients and family feel out of control, it is very healing for the facility design and staff to provide it back when appropriate. Although, this cannot always be done suitably in mental healthcare facilities. However, when applicable, these design features include optional lighting choices, architectural way-finding, resource libraries, enhanced food menus, private patient rooms and

optional areas to reside in. A few well-appointed studies in psychiatric wards and nursing homes have found that optional choices of moveable seating in dining areas enhanced social interaction and improved eating disorders. When patients feel partially in control of their healing program and that the building features are focused to them, an increased confidence of the quality of care enters and tensions lower.

As with all therapeutic design, this allows the caregiver to use their resources healing in lieu of “managing” patient populations.

Reduce or Eliminate Environmental Stress

Noise level measurements show that hospital wards can be excessively noisy places resulting in negative effects on patient outcomes. The continuous background noise produced by medical equipment and staff voices often exceeds the level of a busy restaurant. Peak noise periods (shift changes, equipment alarms, paging systems, telephones, bedrails, trolleys, and certain medical equipment like portable xray machines are comparable to walking next to a busy highway when a motorcycle or large truck passes.

Several studies have focused on infants in NIC Us, finding that higher noise levels, for example, decrease oxygen saturation (increasing need for oxygen support therapy), elevate blood pressure, increase heart and respiration rate, and worsen sleep. Research on adults and children show that noise is a major cause of awakening and sleep loss.

In addition to worsening sleep, there is strong evidence that noise increases stress in adult patients, for example, heightening blood pressure and heart rate. Environmental surfaces in hospitals are usually hard and sound-reflecting, not sound-absorbing causing noise to travel down corridors and into patient rooms. Sounds tend to echo, overlap and linger longer.

Interventions that reduce noise have been found to improve sleep and reduce patient stress. Of these, the environmental or design interventions such as changing to sound-absorbing ceiling tiles, are more successful than organizational interventions like establishing “quiet hours.”

Conclusion and Additional Information

The information contained in this excerpted report is intended as a guide for architects, specifiers, designers, facility planners, medical directors, procurers, psychologists and social workers which have a stake in providing improved facilities for behavioral healthcare patients. It is a portion of a report entitled “The Contributions of Color” authored by Tara Hill, of Little Fish Think Tank. Ms. Hill was commissioned by Norix Group Inc., in 2010 to research the role color plays in the safe operation of correctional facilities and behavioral health centers. More in-depth information specifically about the psychological influence of color and behavioral healthcare facility design can be found by reading the full report.

A Removal Company After Your Own Heart

It’s that time again-moving time! Headaches abound, screaming and frustration ensues. You aren’t sure if you’re going or coming, and if you are, chance is that you won’t be for long. You can be organized, clever, and have enough containers to stock Tupperware warehouses, but in most cases, that’s the exact opposite of your situation. In most cases, you’re surprised you finally make it once you get there.

Which is why hiring a removal company can come in handy. For example, say that you’re less than gifted at packing…maybe your Christmas gifts look pre-opened or maybe your containers just refuse to close and you’ve surrounded them with rolls of tape, praying they didn’t bust open during the trip. In most cases, a removal company will pack for you. Now, keep in mind that it will cost you. But it can also be rather beneficial and can help you to keep everything much more organized.

Don’t forget the actual moving services. This can help you so much! Especially if you have arthritis or a bad back or are getting up on age or are alone: you shouldn’t be moving things in these cases-it just isn’t safe and you have no business getting hurt.

But where do you choose a removal company? Surely there’s a way of picking one?

First of all, ask your friends. If they have any recommendations, keep them in mind. Compile a small list. Then, Google them.

Google may sound a bit tacky, but it’s actually a quick, easy way to search for reviews. Make sure that you are searching the right company (there are times when you go to check on a company and then discover that it’s a different company of the same kind) and check the reviews. You should be looking for:

1. Safety. If they aren’t safe, then you need to discard them. True, one employee might have made a mistake. It does happen. But, if an offense occurs over and over and over again, you need to completely toss that company out the window, so to speak.

2. Reputation. If you see more than ten bad reviews in a row, you need to seriously reconsider that project. It’s one of those cases where it goes to show-and especially if they have a recurring problem.

3. No thieves. If there are repeated cases where someone mentions workers pocketing items or searching through boxes (without instruction or if they aren’t packing), then you need to be wary or throw them away. You don’t have time to deal with removal companies that will steal your money and your valuables. This sort of falls under reputation, but, at the same time, you have to make sure that you put forth a bit of extra effort to watch out for things like this.

4. Scams. If you see ridiculously low prices or you notice many reviews that mention the company being a scam, avoid them. It doesn’t matter if they look like they have the best removal company reviews ever-they could be written by the scammers!

Bathroom Remodeling – Top 10 Tips For a Successful Bathroom Remodel

1.) Choose the Right Contractor:

Selecting the right contractor for a bathroom remodeling project in Dayton, Ohio is the crucial first step and can make the difference between a successful enjoyable process and a never ending nightmare of regret. Make sure the bathroom contractor you select is qualified and capable. Apples to Apples estimates often differ since outstanding quality and customer service costs more to provide you then low attention to detail and no customer service.

Remember often times in life you get what you pay for. Be sure to compare more then just Scope of Work when comparing estimates and investigate and verify their Better Business record.

2.) Proper Prior Planning:

Sound familiar from college? Well it applies to everything including bathroom remodeling. There is a lot of coordinating to be done in typically small spaces when bathroom remodeling. Sure a good contractor will do most if not all the coordinating for you but it is a good idea to go over the steps yourself prior to construction.

Planning the process yourself will not only allow you to be more educated about it, but also make you more informed and better capable of making good decisions with regards to your bathroom remodeling project.

3.) Functional Work Triangles:

Work triangles typically apply to kitchen remodeling but also have value when Bathroom remodeling. “Work triangles” refer to the distance between the functional amenities of your bathroom such as toilet, lavatory sink, showers and tubs, and storage. Creating the right amount of space between these items can make your bathroom functional and comfortable as well as create a feeling of openness and space.

4.) Choose the Right Materials:

With the increased popularity of the big box stores came a gambit of new choices, consequently making selecting materials a nerve racking experience for some remodeling novices. A good contractor will help you select the right stuff for the right spot keeping esthetic appeal, texture, durability and cost in mind.

By properly installing the right materials, they should last the lifetime of your home. The right materials can make all the difference in the world and its painfully obvious when you select the wrong ones.

5.) Waterproofing and Concrete.

By properly waterproofing the concrete board it will create a durable long lasting medium for the tile setting. Reputable contractors only remodel bathrooms using moisture resistant drywall for dry painted surfaces, and concrete board for any areas to be tiled or exposed to wet conditions. However hanging cement board alone is not enough.

The joints and corners need to be taped and finished with ASTM approved mortar in a similar fashion as one finishes drywall. Doing this waterproofs the system allowing your walls to not rely solely on the finished tile for water proofing characteristics and, creates a second moisture barrier.

This simple, low cost step will add decades of time to your bathrooms life span. Ask your proposed contractors how they intend to waterproof the cement board. If they leave this step out of the answer, or say, “the tile is the waterproof system.” move onto the next guy.

6.) Get Great Lighting:

Proper lighting is essential for bathrooms. The right lighting can dramatically improve the appearance and function of your newly remodeled bathrooms. Utilizing a diverse selection of lighting such as 6 inch can lights, 4 inch cans lights, flush mounted lighting, wall sconces, under cabinet lighting, and vanity lights truly livens the space and adds a sense of elegance only great lighting can. The more lights and type of lights you use the more dramatic the aesthetic appeal.

7.) Select the Right Trim:

A bathrooms trim is very important. Types of bathroom trim include; baseboard, casing, chair rail, wainscoting, crown molding, and around mirror trim. The correct combination of trim separates good bathrooms from great bathrooms. There is a fallacy that all of a home’s trim must match. It just isn’t true. Upgrading a bathroom’s trim package can provide huge design dividends while remodeling a bath room and separate it as the most elegant room in the house, which it should be.

8.) Hardware and Fixture Fluency:

Not many things can destroy a bathroom remodel like mismatched hardware and fixtures. There are several finishes to choose from when considering which one is best for your project such as, chrome, brass, brass and chrome, nickel, brushed nickel, stainless steel, brushed stainless steel, antiqued bronze, brushed bronze, and oil rubbed bronze. It is imperative that all items in your bathroom have similar finishes. Disregarding this will confuse the eye, create an un-unified look and take away from your bathrooms appeal.

9.) Remember the Small Stuff:

The small stuff is commonly overlooked then thrown together in the end. One of the largest consumer complaints with regards to bathroom remodeling is that the contractors did not include, or forgot to hang the towel bars, robe hooks, toilet paper dispenser, and soap dishes. Excluding these items results in them being thrown together in an often times dysfunctional manner.

Including the small stuff in the initial prior planning process allows you to select and order the proper pieces for your project with matching finishes to you hardware and fixtures. Keep in mind brushed nickel from Moen does not always match the brushed nickel finish from Kohler and other manufacturers. Ordering all your stuff from the same brand at the same time in the beginning shortens total time for your remodel, assures finish matching, and adds value to your home’s bathroom.

10.) Don’t over Due It:

Bathrooms are typically limited by space regardless of their size. Cramming too many things into to your bathroom will not increase its beauty or function. Instead concentrate on selecting high quality products, proper design, and excellent installation. Quality over quantity is mode of best approach. There are thousands of great products available for bathrooms, try not to fit them all into your bathroom at once.

Also avoid too many accents in tile work. Often time’s people are taken away by the beauty of a mosaic pattern or tile trim detail and throw it up everywhere resulting in a busy almost dizzying effect. Focus on material cohesiveness and minimalist design and you’ll be amazed what you can come up with, without breaking the bank.

Dental Insurance And Individual Health Plans

You could rarely find and buy individual health plans that also cover dental hygiene. There is useful information that people should know particularly if they consider buying the policies separately.

It is estimated that about 45 million Americans currently don’t own any dental insurance policy. Most non-elderly citizens who own individual health plans also own dental hygiene policies. However, majority of people who buy health insurance plans by themselves do not have dental insurance. This data is based on a report released by Centers for Disease Manage and Prevention.

While individual health plans cover several added services like basic emergency care in addition to costs of prescription drugs, they logically are not necessary to include coverage for adult oral care. Nevertheless, for health insurance policies for children, dental services are needed.

In March 2010, reforms to the healthcare insurance coverage were set. However, despite the push exerted through many advocates, that bill did not include the wider dental component. Supporters and proponents of the reform argued that each health plans already cover costs for other pressing health problems like diabetes and heart diseases.

About 75% of 172 million Americans under age 65 years (who own private health insurance plans) have dental insurance plans as well. Their employers mostly supply the health insurances. Among those with separate dental protection, more than a quarter of them have comprehensive plans with dental insurance while one fourth have stand-alone plans. Some have both.

About 90 million Americans own individual health plans through Medicaid and Medicare insurance, which both do not offer dental care programs for adults. There is no figure available regarding public health insurance plans. Medicaid shoulders dental take care of people under 21 years old. The insurer currently serves up to 45 million people of the low-income group. However, such patients complain about troubles to find accredited dentists.

A separate government-sponsored program provides dental hygiene, albeit limited. It is the Children’s Health Insurance coverage Program. As for the older people, they could always choose to purchase separate dental care policies from health insurance companies.

Do you look for health insurers that also offer dental hygiene plans? Data from the Association for Health Insurance Plans reveal that we now have only a few insurers that do so. Individuals include Cigna Corp, Aetna Inc, Assurant Inc, Humana Inc, as well as UnitedHealth Group Inc. The association represents up to 80 of overall dental insurance plans in america. There are also health insurance plans that offer dental coverage included in health policies. They include several and specific programs from MetLife, Principal Financial Group Inc, and Azure Cross Blue Shield Association.

Experts advise people to purchase dental care insurance policies even if they currently own individual healthcare plans. Purchasing separate plans is more advisable especially because it might be very hard, if not impossible, to find and purchase health insurance policies that also include dental protection.

Uses of Car Detailing

Owning a car has now become a norm for middle class families in India. With the country showing good economic growth, the average middle class consumer has enough money to splurge on a car. With a wide range of models to choose from, the Indian consumer is pampered for choice. From going out on picnics to having a fun drive, a car has become a part and parcel of an Indian family’s growth, happiness and transportation needs.

Buying an automobile is always a daunting task. First one has to decide if one needs a new care or a used car based on one’s budget and needs. But whatever be the case, a car once bought needs good care and maintenance for peak performance and all round reliability. Given that a car is a utility, due care must be taken to ensure that there are no breakdowns at any time so as not to be caught unawares. Besides periodic maintenance of the engine, chassis, turbocharger and other technical aspects, the aesthetic aspect of things must also be considered. A car is a work of art and over time, it is subject to a lot of wear and tear. The initial lustre may be lost, scratches and dents may occur. Further, when the owner decides to sell a car, he must ensure that he can attract potential buyers and convince them that their potential investment is good value for money. A first impression is always the best impression at any point in the lifetime of a car and here is where car detailing comes in.

Auto detailing is a technical process where an automobile is thoroughly cleaned, waxed and polished both on the inside and the outside to produce show quality level of detail. Besides improving appearance, it helps to raise the resale value of a car. It is subdivided into three aspects- exterior detailing, interior detailing and engine detailing.

Interior detailing involves cleaning the passenger compartment, trunk, dash board areas, panels, windows and carpet. Vacuuming is the first step and this may be followed by steam cleaning, use of liquid cleaners and brushing to remove stains. Exterior detailing involves cleaning and bringing to shine all the parts of the visible exterior like wheels, paint, chrome trim, windows, wheels and other components. Cleaning, polishing and protection are the three steps in exterior detailing. Cleaning deals with the removal of all foreign matter from the exterior surface. Polishing involves the use of machines to remove scratches and other imperfections from the surface. This is done by removing a micrometre of paint from the surface by special pads. Waxing or protection involves the application of wax on the surface to prevent foreign matter from adhering to the surface. The third aspect of detailing is where steam, high pressure water, degreasers and all purpose cleaners are used to clean under the hood of a car. A lot of car dealers in India offer restoration services in addition to car detailing. The best way to shortlist a company will be based on reputation, service quality and cost effectiveness.

How to Make $100 an Hour – The Simple Secret to Earning Great Money Online (Fast, Fun and Free!)

Who else is looking to build a business around doing something you truly love… while simultaneously earning a great living to boot? Are you motivated by contribution as much as cash? Progress as much as profit? If you truly feel a compelling craving to CREATE a community of passionate people who you can truly help succeed, you already have the very BEST business model in the world in mind.

The truth is, if you can coach, teach or train people in an area that you already excel, and simply share valuable information that helps makes their lives better, you’ve got 90% of the puzzle put together.

Where most people drop the ball?

In figuring out how to make a profit from their passion!

In my experience, people go through so many hoops and confuse themselves by making the simple… complex.

If you know what you love, and you are good at it, I don’t care if it’s cooking or credit repair, you CAN make a great business doing what you really enjoy.

Here is the secret:

Making great money as coach, consultant, teacher, trainer, mentor, marketer or PASSION professional is about math, as much as it is about marketing. You need a certain amount of people to be exposed to your ideas, authority and expertise for each income goal you set, and there is really NOTHING more to it than that.

Let’s say you want to earn $150 an hour and you want to work 4 hours a day… 4 days a week.

That is $2400 a week, and while that may SOUND like a lot of money, in this business… as you probably already know, it really isn’t.

The truth is, you only need 16 coaching clients to pay you your hourly goal to hit that number.

Or – 8 who meet with you for 2 hours a week.

Or better yet, while this MAY sound difficult to believe, getting 3 or 4 premium priced clients who pay you several thousand dollars each for higher end coaching or consulting over the course of the month.

Remember, in the real world… a hairdresser, or karate teacher, or computer tech is going to earn 60-80 dollars on average for one client, meeting them in a LOCAL community.

With the WORLD as your stage, why shouldn’t you be able to get at least that much, if not double… if you are really good at what you do… and can literally work from people in every state, and every country in the world?

Here is my basic formula:

I write articles like this one 2 or 3 hours a day.

I force myself to write at a fast clip – 1 4-500 word article every 20 minutes.

Every article I write, over it’s lifetime… generates about 20 visitors to my website.

About a third of those will sign up for my list.

That means, on average (and on the low side) every hour I create content about 18 people join my community.

If I can convert 5% of my community (meaning 95% will buy nothing) to spend $150 with me at some point now or in the future… every hour, mas o menus, I’m creating about 1 new client worth about $150 to my business.

It’s truly about MATH, and not marketing.

The marketing is easy! (the math is the challenge)

Of course, where you can REALLY make a killing is scaling the above with ads, offers, and leveraging the viral nature of the web to get your marketing message out to more people… and using the very same approach on a larger level… building your brand, your blog, your business and your bank account to boot!

Get Ready Now: Tips For A Stress Free Holiday Season!

Planning

1.) Write — Sit down at the table with a blank notebook and do what I call a Time Out where you write down everything associated with your holiday traditions. Write all of the tasks, to-do’s and commitments you can think of and include things you are responsible for as well as what you take part in. Do you always travel? Are you hosting meals and house-guests? Do you set up or participate in a gift exchange? Annual parties and events? People you always buy gifts for?

2.) Sort & Prioritize– Take your Time Out and sort it into a task list, an events list and a gift list. Hosting Thanksgiving dinner is an event, meal planning, grocery shopping and delegating who brings what, are tasks. Shopping for gifts goes on the task list, what you buy for whom goes on the gift list. You may choose to create more lists to further breakdown tasks or events that you are in charge of. In addition to the gifts your family exchanges, the gift list should include: hostess gifts, teacher gifts, holiday tipping, office gifts, Secret Santa and the like. Having these lists will help you prioritize and you should make a note of the must-do, non-negotiables (visiting grandma) and the things you might be able to skip to save your sanity (decorating 12 dozen cookies by hand).

3.) Schedule — Assign the events and tasks to your calendar. Notate all the travel, arrivals and departures of guests, the annual food drive and neighborhood caroling. If you are unsure of dates, put a question mark next to them and add a note to your task list to call people to clarify. This part helps other people make decisions and put plans in motion. Mark time and dates ahead of events for tasks, chores and errands so nothing sneaks up on you. Feeling frantic feels terrible; being prepared feels great! Decide when you have time to bake, write cards and shop online and schedule those tasks too.

Act Now! Looking at your lists and calendar, what can you do now to save time, energy and stress later on? Here are some ideas:

1.) Cooking — Plan your meals, choose your recipes and make your lists.

• Do you make the same Thanksgiving dinner every year? Make your grocery list and start stocking up on the non-perishables. Place orders for the turkey, pies and linen rental. Mark your calendar with dates to call and confirm as well as the pick up or delivery dates. Delegate side dishes to your guests now and don’t be afraid to be specific!
• Plan your recipes for holiday cookies and appetizers for parties and make your grocery lists. Can you make dough or sauces ahead and freeze? Double a recipe and bring the same item to multiple parties. This saves time and money by streamlining effort and ingredients. People will only remember your contribution and the fabulous flavor!

2.) Traveling — Plan your trip.

• Book your airline tickets, car rental and hotel reservations now! Prices are only going to go up as the holidays near.
• Set up your transportation to and from the airport. Arrange home and pet care while you’re gone. Again, set up dates to confirm in your calendar.
• Make lists for what to pack and get all the cold weather gear out of storage, cleaned and ready to go.

3.) Guests coming to you — Get ready for your guests and help them get ready for their travel.

• Make sure their travel is booked. Do you need to arrange lodging or are they staying with you?
• Make sure your home is house-guest ready and check your linens, towels and spare toiletries. What items do you need to buy to make their stay more comfortable?
• Plan events, activities and transportation now, purchasing tickets and making reservations when necessary.

4.) Minimize future errands — Stock up now on items you always need. Remember, being prepared feels great!

• Make shopping lists from your tasks list for the holidays and the normal things you shop for. This step will save you trips to places like the drugstore.
• These items might include your everyday toiletries, paper goods, wrapping paper, cases of wine, water and other beverages.
• Create a space in the closet, garage or even under the bed for all these extras so your home doesn’t get overwhelmed.
• Make a note of what you bought and where you put it!

5.) Holiday cards, newsletters and photos — Start now! Having these time-consuming tasks out of the way will allow you to breathe easier.

• Make your list, purchase your supplies, including postage and put a bag or box together with everything you need including pens and your address book (if you still use one) so you can have it at the ready, but put it away when you’re done.

• Do a few at a time so the task isn’t overwhelming and they’re ready to send on the date you’ve chosen.

• If you order pre-printed cards, do that now too.

• Newsletters are fun to send and keep people updated on your goings on so make an outline of what you’d like to include and start writing!

• If your card includes or consists of a photo, choose one now or set up your photo session ASAP.

6.) Gifts — As an organizer, I love to give people consumables: food, beverages, gift cards and charitable donations. You can buy many of these now and they will save you so much time and energy. Feel free to personalize, but it’s a real time saver to streamline and give everyone, or group of people, the same thing.

• Give all the teachers gift certificates where they can treat themselves to an indulgence, like a pedicure, shopping or restaurants.
• Make charitable donations for hostess gifts — a few favorites are the Heifer Foundation and Charity Checks which allows people to choose where their donation goes.
• The office or neighborhood can pool together and instead of individual gift giving, Adopt A Family, volunteer at or make donations to a local charity or animal shelter.
• If you give monetary gifts to people such as your hairstylist or garbage collector, visit the bank as you can afford to, write the accompanying notes and store the envelopes in a safe place.

7.) Dressing Up — Plan your party outfits now so you’re not scrambling through the mall on the day of the event.

• Comb your (hopefully organized!) closet and find what fits, is occasion appropriate and what you can reinvent?
• If you need to shop, consider basics and/or separates that you can change up with accessories and can be worn year-round. Or maybe you only need a few sparkly accessories to spruce up your favorite frock.
• If you have children, make sure their clothes fit too and that everything is clean and ready to go.
• Taking family photos? Do you need or coordinate what you’re wearing? Plan and shop now.

8.) Decorating — Where are the ornaments? Do I still like everything I have? How is it stored?

• When you take out your decorations, use only what you love or what has meaning and part with the rest. Sometimes we continue to use the decorations we have, even if we no longer like them, out of habit or because you only look at it for 30 days or so.

• Before you put anything away, make sure you have proper storage to protect your treasured ornaments, wreaths and lights. Plastic bins keep the critters and dust out and everything organized inside. Check out The Container Store for their fabulous and helpful products. Don’t forget to label everything!

I hope these tips help you to plan and get ahead for the holidays so you can enjoy this wonderful time with your family and friends!

Effective Bird Control For Healthcare Centers & Hospitals

It’s no secret that people who are already sick are more vulnerable to contracting diseases.And one potentially unhealthful source of disease is bird waste. As a hospital administrator, you are no doubt aware of the problems pest birds can cause. Many species of birds, including pigeons, starlings and sparrows, often gather to roost on a hospital’s roof, under parking structures, in receiving bays and loading docks, and around exterior employee lunch and snack areas. Without bird control, you soon have a noisy, smelly and potentially dangerous problem on your hands.

Keep in mind that a single pigeon can excrete up to 25 pounds of droppings per year. The bacteria, fungal agents and ectoparasites in bird droppings and nesting materials have been known to carry any of 60 diseases–including histoplasmosis, encephalitis, salmonella, meningitis, and toxoplasmosis, even the West Nile virus.

No less harmful is bird fecal dust carried into hospitals through rooftop heating, ventilation and air-conditioning ducts. Birds often build nests around air handling equipment, ducts, compressors and other vented pathways. Dried by wind and sun, this disease-infested dust gets sucked into HVAC systems. The fine particles can quickly spread diseases throughout a hospital or medical center.

Hospital administrators should also be aware of the negative visual impact bird droppings, nests and other debris can have on a hospital’s image. Finally, bird droppings can cause dangerous slip-and-fall hazards–a huge legal liability for any institution.

Today’s Bird Control Measures

Hospitals and healthcare centers are somewhat restricted in their use of pest bird control measures. They certainly can’t use firearms, noise cannons or fireworks. And poisons present too much of a liability. Besides, federal, state and local wildlife protection ordinances forbid the use of lethal or harmful bird control measures. Fortunately, there are several highly effective bird proofing solutions currently available that are safe, sane and humane.

Bird Spikes

The good thing about Bird Spikes is that they prevent many species of large birds from landing in the first place. Suddenly, rooftops, ledges, signs, light fixtures and other elevated areas are off-limits to birds. Bird Spikes come in rows of spiked strips. And you can get them in either rigid U.V.-resistant unbreakable polycarbonate or high strength, durable stainless steel. The stainless steel spikes come in 3-, 5- and 8-inch widths; the plastic spikes (which cost slightly less) come in 3-, 5- and 7-inch widths. Plastic spikes are ideal for use near antenna arrays since they won’t interfere with radiated RF energy. You can get bird spikes in a non-reflective metal finish or a variety of colors–like white, tan, gray, black, brown, brick red and crystal clear. There’s also a no-gap spike that’s easy to affix to curved surfaces.

If your hospital or healthcare center is being invaded by large birds like gulls, try the Mega Spike. Its 7-inch spikes made of marine grade stainless steel will make sure these birds get the point and leave. There’s also the Gutter Spike, ideal for keeping large pest birds out of gutters or drains. Look for gutter spikes that have adjustable clamps at the base; these allow the spikes to be easily attached to the lip of a gutter.

Lastly, Birds Spikes look dangerous, but they are harmless to birds or people. They have even been approved by a number of humane groups worldwide–including the U.S. Humane Society and PICAS (Pigeon Control Advisory Service).

Sonic Bird Deterrents

Ideal for use in certain areas of a hospital or healthcare center, Typically, Sonic Bird Deterrents emit predator and distress calls that frighten pest birds but are basically just Uncategorized sounds that are not unpleasant to humans. Some highly versatile sonic systems emit distress and predator calls for as many as 22 types of birds. The sounds are cycled every few minutes to convince pest birds that they best leave or risk being attacked. Sonic Bird Deterrents are an ideal bird control solution for deterring pigeons, crows, starlings, swallows, gulls, woodpeckers, sparrows, grackles, cormorants and many other birds.

Bird Netting

To keep pest birds out of certain specific areas–like eaves, overhangs, patios, and parking structure recesses–there’s Bird Netting. This barrier bird control measure is available in various cuts and mesh sizes. For large birds like pigeons or seagulls, use a 1-1/8-inch to 2-inch mesh size. Sparrows or starlings, on the other hand are best excluded using a 3/4-inch mesh net. The best bird repellent netting will meet ISO 1806 protocols, is U.V. stabilized, flame resistant and rot- and water-proof. In areas where electrical conductivity or radio frequency interference is a problem, non-conductive netting is often used. Also note that netting now comes in various colors– including white, stone and black–to match a structure’s color scheme.

Electric-Tracks
A great spot deterrent for ledges, rooflines, eaves, signs and most flat or curved surfaces, Electric Tracks impart a mild electrical shock when birds land on their surface. This is an ideal bird control device for use against a wide variety of pest birds–including pigeons, sparrows, gulls, starlings and crows. The best electric tracks feature a low-profile design that makes them almost invisible. The strips of electrified track are usually powered by an AC charger or solar charger. One manufacturer uses copper knitted wire mesh in a continuous tube-in-tube stocking design. This gives the track greater conductivity, strength and reliability. The copper mesh is resists corrosion and will stand up to alkali and acidic environments.
Bird Slope
These angled, slippery PVC panels known simply as Bird Slope, won’t allow pest birds enough of a grip to land. After a few unsuccessful attempts, they just slide off like water off a goose. Bird slopes are easily installed, tucking unnoticeably into ledges, eaves, beams and other 90-degree areas pest birds often nest. The best panels are U.V. protected and sun and weather resistant. They deter a wide range of birds, including swallows, starlings, pigeons and seagulls. Some panels have a “snap-on” extender, which allows them to adapt more easily to wider ledges and coverage areas.
Bird Scare Deterrents

These inexpensive bird control devices make pest birds too nervous to nest. There’s Flash tape, an iridescent material that shimmers and crackles in the sunlight and breeze to scare pest birds. And Bird Scare Balloons, which, emblazoned with lifelike reflective predator eyes, bob and weave menacingly in the breeze to make birds really uncomfortable.

How to Plan a Family Day at a Baseball Game

Summer brings thoughts of fun family outings at sunny beaches, garden picnics, and professional baseball games.

Professional baseball may not be first on your list of family outings, but it is worth consideration. Whether it’s one of the major league teams, one of the approximately 250 minor league teams, or a college team, baseball is an affordable entertainment venue available to families. With minimal planning, the whole family can enjoy a day at the ball park. Ballparks host promotional events that can range from fireworks after the game to fan participation events complete with prizes.

An entire nine inning baseball game will take at least two and a half hours so plan ahead if children will be in attendance. Things to think about when planning for a baseball outing with children are:

Food: Professional ballparks will not allow the fan to bring any food or drinks (unless for a baby) into the stadium. There will be food offerings available for purchase at the ballpark. Limiting sugary food intake for children is always a good idea. A parent might want to consider selecting peanuts or popcorn to start and saving the Crackerjacks for the last couple of innings. (Wait until the closer comes to the mound.)

Sunscreen: Baseball is a summertime sport. Sunburns happen quickly so bring a good sunscreen. Apply it often. If a baby or toddler is in attendance, bringing an umbrella to provide shade may be a good choice or select seats in a shady area.

Hats: The team will be offering a variety of baseball hats and buying one at the park could be a practical souvenir of the outing.

Water: Again most professional ballparks do not allow liquids into the stadium. Remember to budget for plenty of drinking water and keep it handy for children.

Money: It is easy to spend more than intended when going to a ballpark. Decide on a budget for food and souvenirs. Remember to budget your money so you don’t end up spending too much on food and water. A quick check of the team’s website usually will provide a good idea of the various items for sale and the cost.

Hopefully these tips will help you and your family enjoy a great day at the baseball game. With a little bit of planning, a few hours spent at a baseball game can provide a lifetime of fond memories for the entire family.

Don’t forget to take the baseball gloves to get those foul balls.