29. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Living

Out for a road ride yesterday, on the cross bike with my Michelin Mud2 tires but without spare tubes, a Co2 cartridge, or pump, I managed some 26 miles, and then had a pinch flat in the front tire.  Murphy’s Law.  Now, I did have my cell phone, but I had already used up that chit when I called my wife for a ride back in December (after a log had ripped off the rear dereuilleur on a dirt road).  So, what to do?  I decided that before making the dreaded call, I would get myself closer to home and to a location easily acccessible to my wife and driver-to-be.  I started walking.

After not more than three minutes, a woman with a small child in the back of her car pulled over and asked me if I needed anything.  Feeling optimistic, and hoping that maybe, just maybe, the air had somehow mysteriously escaped through the valve, I replied, “A pump.”  She said, “No problem,” and drove away, only to return less than five minutes later with one.  I pumped the tire up, thanked her, and managed to get about another 3/4′s of a mile closer to where I would make the call.  I walked the rest of the way, found the store, bought some hot chocolate, and then made the call.  “Ah, hey sweetie, I’m ok but have a flat and nothing with me to fix it.  How stupid am I?  Hey, hey, hey.”  With a good-natured, “ I’ll be there in just a few!” she left me feeling sheepish.

Murphy’s Law, part 2.  With the call having been made, and as I sat drinking my hot chocolate on a bench outside the general store , no fewer than three different folks stopped to ask me if I needed a spare inner tube or if they could otherwise help me.  I really wanted to take them up on it.  And I know in a real pinch that I could have.  That’s a good feeling.  OK, cue strings, but it’s true.

My reading this week has presented two somewhat conflicting stories.  One story concerns a nationwide quality collaboration that “has saved an estimated 24,820 lives and reduced health care spending by nearly $4.5 billion in the first three years” of its enactment.  In this collaborative model, 157 hospitals in 31 states share data and “define a common framework” using consistent measures between them.   So far, so good.

The other story comes out of a Government Accountability Office report issued on January 13.  The GAO found that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has not yet prioritized the development of quality measures, and, HHS’s National Quality Forum, a non-profit, “consensus-based group of health experts hired by HHS,” has not followed deadlines, which may result in missing other crucial deadlines in the Accountable Care Act.  This may result in delays in enacting programs under health care reform to control health care costs.

What is the difference?  Perhaps, human nature being what it is, timetables need to be followed, with repercussions if they are not.

22. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Skiing · Tags:

In New Hampshire just enough snow has fallen to ski – skate ski, that is.  It has been pleasant to finally be outside on snow and good to start using the muscles this activity demands.  I enjoy setting a pace that I can hold and getting into a rhythm.  It is easy to start too hard, and hard to start and hold an easy pace. Seeing skiers with really solid technique can be humbling – with less overall effort they go faster for longer than I can.  But, of course, there is nothing like skiing in a quiet falling snow, no matter the pace.