Sunday, June 4, 2017

Kingston Hospital Underpaid by Medicare for 15 years

For about 15 years, Kingston and Benedictine Hospitals (now Health Alliance Hospital) have been underpaid by Medicare.  Northern Dutchess and Vassar Hospitals in Dutchess County receive about 25 percent more Medicare reimbursement for the same procedure.  This is an underpayment of about
$10 Million per year for Kingston's hospitals.  For 15 years, Kingston has lost about $150 Million.
What has this caused?

1)  Nurses and technicians get paid more at Northern Dutchess Hospital.  Nurses that hire and train
in Kingston often leave for jobs in Dutchess County.

2)  Dutchess hospitals attract more Medicare hospital admissions, nurses and doctors, while Kingston
loses medical expertise.

3)  Empire BlueCross has decided to drop Kingston hospital admissions for seniors, non-seniors and every age bracket, since BlueCross and Kingston Hospital cannot agree on a fair reimbursement schedule.  Why?  Because BlueCross wants to reimburse Kingston at a lower rate, which is consistent with the lower Medicare reimbursement rate of Ulster versus Dutchess Counties.  All Ulster County Government employees, who are covered by Empire BlueCross, cannot receive in-hospital treatment at Kingston Hospital. 

Our local hospital officials and some politicians have tried over the past 15 years to appeal this injustice, but they have failed to correct this unfairness, which almost destroyed our local hospitals.

Personally, I believe that this 15 years of Medicare unfairness deserved to be fought with a lawsuit by the Kingston / Health Alliance / WMC Hospital.  By now, we people of Ulster County would have gotten the attention of news outlets, government agencies.and the court system.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Kingston and Ulster County Residents PLAYED FOR FOOLS AGAIN

OPEN GOVERNMENT ALERT -- Today on Kingston Community Radio, I asked Mayor Steve Noble if he could enumerate the items in his negotiated Sales Tax agreement with County Executive Mike Hein. He said that he could not, because the NY State Comptroller in Albany had to approve of the agreement before the citizens of Kingston and Ulster County could know what is in the agreement. Also, I specifically asked Mayor Noble if there were any clauses dealing with the removal of Catskill Mt.Railroad trains from Kingston in the agreement. He said that he could not give that information. We the citizens of Ulster County are being "PLAYED - ie. played for FOOLS" again. OPEN GOVERNMENT IS A FARCE IN KINGSTON AND ULSTER COUNTY

Sunday, March 20, 2016


Two Big Things Have to Happen SOON to Save the Polar Express (40,000 visitors) in Kingston

1)  Ulster County needs to accept a Proposal from the Catskill Mt.Railroad with or without a larger
Railroad Partner, such as Rail Events for example.

The Catskill Mt.Railroad has the trains, the volunteers and the experience running the local Polar Express events.  A larger railroad partner would be welcomed by the Catskill Mt.Railroad.

2)  Ulster County needs to sign a short term renewal contract with the Catskill Mt. Railroad to extend
the contract beyond the expiration of the current contract on May 31st.  The Catskill Mt.Railroad needs to have this short term contract in place by May 31st so they can begin planning and booking the Polar Express Event in Kingston.

WATCH THE LATEST "Save The Train 2" video on Kingston Time Warner Public Access TV Channel 23 every night at 7pm.

Ulster County Legislature:   Let's not blow this Economic Development Opportunity

Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Top Priority for Ulster County Government is Economic Development

The Top Priority for Ulster County Government is Economic Development.  There is some appearance of progress in Ulster County, but a deeper look shows a property tax disaster coming.  The loss of stores at the Hudson Valley Mall and the loss of buildings at TechCity will cause tax assessment reductions for the mall and TechCity.  For we residents, this will cause large tax increases in our town and city property tax and school tax for the City of Kingston, Town of Ulster, Town of Hurley and the Town of Esopus.  I suggest an Ulster County Task Force responsible for Economic Development.  This Task Force should shine light on the efforts, failures and warnings of not paying attention to Economic Development.  Saving money by moving and consolidating county offices is good, but it does not solve the property tax disaster caused by the closing of mall stores and the demolition of TechCity buildings.  We need much more Ulster County leadership in bringing a branch of the Nano College to TechCity.  We need much more Ulster County Leadership in developing a 12-month daily tourist train attraction from Kingston Plaza to the Ashokan Reservoir.  These 2 action items would go a long way toward healing our county economy and tax situation.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Mike Hein's Report Card is Two A's and One C (Economic Development)

Mike Hein's Report Card

A --- Budget and Taxes

A --- County Services & Efficient Use of Resources

C --- Economic Development

Let's expand on the reasons for the C in Economic Development.

1)  Tech City (former IBM Kingston property) --- Mike has not spent much political capital, ie. He has not beat the drums, stuck his neck out or even publicly mentioned Tech City in his radio appearances and Chamber of Commerce speeches.  He has failed to successfully connect with Governor Cuomo for help in bringing companies into this perfectly located property.  The failure to
market and use Tech City has hurt our county's economy and our residents.

2)   Mike continues to align himself with a strictly "green" agenda that accepts grant money for trails, while ignoring the Huge Potential of 12-month Tourist Trains from Kingston Plaza to the Glenford Dike at the Ashokan Reservoir.  Kingston Area businesses and taxpayers would greatly benefit from the proven potential of the tourist railroad in drawing tourists from NYC, Albany, downstate, NJ, MA, CT and other areas for the highly popular "Polar Express".  This short train ride to the Kenco area could easily be expanded to go to the edge of the Ashokan Reservoir to shuttle tourists, including handicapped, senior citizen, to enjoy the sights.  However, the key is to start the train ride at the Kingston Plaza where tourists can enjoy the many restaurants, hotels and amenities of the the Kingston area.  The Kingston Plaza location has the potential for bringing in a developer to build
a hotel at the sight of the former parking garage on North Front Street in Uptown Kingston.  A new train station could be contructed near Mac Fitness in the Plaza, looking up toward the Pike Plan on Wall Street in the Stockade district.  The potential is enormous.  But right now, Mike Hein wants to rip up the tracks from Kenco to the Ashokan Reservoir.  This removal of the railroad tracks in favor of another hiking trails would snuff our the above dream and economic development boom for Kingston.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

12-Month Daily Train Service from Kingston Plaze to the Ashokan Reservoir

Many Kingston and Area businesses and residents are for 12-month daily Train Service from the Kingston Plaza to the Glenford Dike at the edge of the Ashokan Reservoir. As many of you know, Ulster County Executive Mike Hein has proposed a lengthy "walk-around" from Kingston to the Hurley Flats to allow a trail to co-exist with the Rail for about 2 miles. If Mike Hein can propose this walk-around, Area businesses and residents can continue to propose additional walk-arounds for the trail access to the Glenford Dike, so as to convince Mike Hein to allow the tracks to remain in place to the Glenford Dike and to allow the huge money-maker of 12-month daily Train Service from the Kingston Plaza to the Glenford Dike at the edge of the Ashokan Reservoir.  The tourists from everywhere will get off the Thruway at our Exit 19 and spend money and enjoy themselves riding from the Kingston Plaza to the Ashokan Reservoir on the Train, daily, 12-months per year.  Let's be reasonable. This is huge.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Can You Imagine the Potential for Drawing Tourists Off of the Thruway at Exit 19?

It is a fact that the CMRR has served Ulster County quite well bringing in thousands of tourists to Kingston and Ulster County.  CMRR has also pointed us to the future, showing us that CMRR could easily run regular tourist trains every 2 hours, (10am, 12pm, 2pm.4pm, ...) year round.  Can you imagine the potential for drawing tourists off the Thruway to Exit 19 to the Kingston Plaza Train Station?