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TWO PLANET EXCLUSIVES!! WE BEGIN A LINE-EDIT OF THE SCHOOL DEPARTMENT’s ANNUAL REPORT … plus … MORE QUESTIONS SWIRL IN A HAZE OF METH: PETITION ON CLINIC RAISES SERIOUS QUESTIONS

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, NOV. 30, 2011) — At the invitation of Pittsfield superintendent of schools, Howard “Jake” Eberwein, THE PLANET went online to review the latest posted annual report. It’s a 76-page document, full of interesting facts, suppositions, and assertions. As a way of continuing to put the spotlight on a department that accounts for an astounding three of every four dollars spent in the city ($89 million out of $120 million), THE PLANET presents our digest here, with commentary. This will be the first in a series of posts that goes through the document, highlighting and annotating.

* LOFTY GOAL — In its preface remarks, the report — which bears Eberwein’s name as author — makes this promise to Pittsfield taxpayers and citizens: “[W]e will prepare every student for postsecondary and a career that will lead to lifelong economic, social, and civic success” (p. 2). A couple pages later, Eberwein formally makes “The Pittsfield Promise.” The promise lists five goals, with the first being the apex and the umbrella: “100% of students are prepared for postsecondary education.”

Comment: Ask yourself, as neutrally and as objectively as possible: Is “every student” that gets a sheepskin from PHS or THS ready for college or higher learning? Remember, the promise is for “100% prepared.” The answer, obviously is “no.” Just one kid who’s not ready violates the promise and there are plenty more than one. We bring this up not with the expectation that the Pittsfield schools will produce perfection, but it is THEY who have promised “a Don Larsen” and not THE PLANET.

ELEMENTS OF A HOLLOW PROMISE — In light of the “promise” of perfection, the report then gets into the elements out of which “100%” is supposed to materialize: the student population. Check these demographics: First language not English — 5.6; Limited English Proficiency — 3.8 percent; Low Income — 49.7%; Special Education — 16.3 percent. These are figures from the 2009-10 school year, the most recent posted. These percentages are most likely higher now.

Comment — Taken as an aggregate, these four “selected populations,” whose learning deficiencies are well documented, comprise 75.4% of the Pittsfield school population of 6,072 or 4,578 students. How, in light of this cold water in the demographic face, can the school department seriously promise a 100% success rate, when it’s more likely that more than half will be unable to complete in college, hold down a meaningful job, or take advanced professional training after high school?

NUMBERS — FYI, Pittsfield High School had 972 students and Taconic 946 for the 09-10 school year. These numbers will surely come into play in any future discussion of the high school in Pittsfield. There are 509 teachers employed (average yearly compensation $72,000). There is a student to teacher ratio in the system of 11.9 to 1.

Comment — The numbers of teachers has nearly doubled in less than a generation. The number of students has been more than halved. Teacher-to-student-ratio is triple what it was, and yet we still get anecdotal reports of kids out of control and teachers who have lost the ability to maintain the disciplined atmosphere necessary not just for outstanding learning but sufficient learning.  Apologists for the schools (“More money” for “The Children”) argue for smaller class sizes. Do we have to draw you a map, or can you see the problem with this picture based on the data?

NUMBERS II — The report publishes trends that show the number of white students decreasing by 7% by the beginning of 2012, with Hispanics rising by 48%, Asians by 156%, and blacks increasing by 4%. Low-income students by the end of this year will have increased 35%, free lunch students by 42% (of course, there is no such thing as a “free lunch.” It’s paid for by the taxpayers), special education will rise by 2%, “first language not English” will increase 26%, and “limited English proficient” will jump 17%.

Comment — For the department’s claims of 100% success, either standards will have to be dumbed down to the least common denominator or Dr. Eberwein and his staff will have to invent smart pills to turn every student into educable and proficient. Which of these two do you think is more likely?

WHEN A PROMISE GETS CUT DOWN TO AN ASPIRATION — On p. 14, Eberwein et al repeat the “Overarching Aspiration” that “100% of students will be prepared for postsecondary training.” Comment: The “Promise” of page 2 becomes the “Aspiration” of page 14.

Comment — A promise is a declaration of assurance that something will occur or get done. An aspiration is the hope of achieving something. Using the department’s own words, then, within 14 pages of the 76-page report, they have already downsized the promise of proficiency to the hope of proficiency.

THE PLANET shall stop our digest of the school report here. We shall resume on pg. 15 tomorrow. We invite your comments.

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Methadone Clinic and Objecting Petition: THE PLANET Raises Pertinent Points and Ask the Tough Questions the BB and Others Ignore

Yesterday, we covered Ward 6 councilor John Krol’s petition to keep methadone clinics out of Pittsfield. THE PLANET is pursuing several angles on this story, and we invite readers’ contributions. We presented the pros and cons of the case, based on our research.

One reader noted that Krol — who is currently employed by Sweetwood of Williamstown, an assisted living facility, as its director — formerly worked at Berkshire Healthcare Systems (BHCS). Yesterday, Krol confirmed his stint at BHCS. That much is established, then.

What is the relationship between BHCS and Berkshire Health Systems? It appears that BHCS is a subsidiary of parent company BHS. This may — THE PLANET only says “may” — shed light on Krol’s petition trying to keep a methadone clinic out of downtown Pittsfield. Spectrum Health Systems wants to put a meth clinic on Summer Street in the Berkshire Nautilus Building. Krol has filed a petition that would ban such clinics from the downtown arts and business district and require a special permit anywhere else in the city. Considering how Spectrum and BHCS via BHS are competitors in healthcare, can Krol’s actions be construed as acting on behalf of a former employer? This is a question? We don’t know the answer?

In an interview yesterday, Krol dismissed any allegations that he was working on behalf of his former employer or anyone else. He said he introduced his petition to address a gap in the zoning regulations, which presently do not have a specific designation for a methadone clinic. Krol said the language in the petition is his own, solely, which he cleared with the office of the city solicitor.

Anyone who lives in the area also know the gravitational pull BHS has on Pittsfield politics. It’s one of the region’s largest employers. It makes a hefty contribution to the city in lieu of taxes from its non-profit status. It’s management and directors are part of what is generally considered by observers as the GOB network. How this all plays in, and out, of the Spectrum petition is an open question.

THE PLANET doesn’t shy away from honest questions. We leave that the the Boring Broadsheet and the rest of the local mainstream media.

BHS Owns BHCS, Where Councilor Krol Used to Work, Who Wrote the Petition …

THE PLANET’s investigation of Spectrum suggests it is a sophisticated healthcare company. They are in business to make a profit. They have five methadone facilities in Massachusetts. They appear to be a thorough company, and in deciding they wanted to immediately set up shop in Pittsfield, the evidence suggests they know there is money to be made here treating those addicted to opiates, what the street calls junkies.In short, we can be reasonably certain that Spectrum had completed a rigorous due-diligence study of the Pittsfield market before deciding to open a methadone clinic on Summer Street,

* QUESTION: Did Spectrum’s pre-emtive strike upset plans of either BHS, BHCS, the Brien Center, or any other local healthcare provider to enter the lucrative business of  opiate addictions?

* QUESTION: Is Krol’s petition in any way related to a perceived market threat by any Pittsfield company, including the transportation company that allegedly has an lucrative and exclusive contract to transport Pittsfield addicts to Holyoke. Some place the contract as high as $1.4 million a year? Krol says no.

* QUESTION: Why is the city, through Krol’s petition, only acting now to define what a methadone clinic is for zoning purposes?

Annual Report Reveals a Couple Interesting Names

A related document is the Annual Report filed by Berkshire Healthcare Systems Inc., 75 North Street, Suite 210, on Nov. 1, 2011. The report lists David Phelps as president of the company, William Jones as treasurer, Lynn Murphy as clerk, and it is signed by Jones. Contact person is listed as Kathryn Hassett (413) 395-7847.

The filing lists BHCS Board of Trustees: 12 people are named, including:

* Clifford Nilan, 72 Winesap Road, Pittsfield, and

* Carmen Massimiano, 274 Appleton Ave., Pittsfield.

These two names speak for themselves in GOB legend and lore. The fact that such men are on the Board at BHCS, Krol’s former company, raises a fair question of both the timing and the motivations behind his sudden petition on methadone clinics. Once again, we repeat: It raises the question. It doesn’t answer the question.

BHS and BHCS: The Doublemint Twins

Is Berkshire Healthcare Systems the same as, or in the same corporate family as Berkshire Health Systems? The question is relevant. If so, does it mean that Krol, as a one-time employee of the former, should have disclosed his professional relationship with BHCS and that company’s relationship to BHS? THE PLANET thinks as much.

Here, also uncovered by THE PLANET’s Secret Squadron, is a news article on BHCS. What’s more important than the article is the note that at the end, where contact information is given. The article (from Vocus/PR Web) lists as contact berkshirehealthsystems.org. In sum: The article on BHCS lists BHS as the contact. Clearly they are related, more like the Doublemint Twins than distant cousins.

Here is that article. PAY PARTICULAR ATTENTION TO THE CONTACT ADDRESS AT THE END.

Berkshire Healthcare Systems Dramatically Improves Skilled Nursing Facility Census Performance with the Referral Management System

Patient Admissions up 25%, Additional 70 Admissions per Month on Average, Referral Volumes up 7.4%

Atlanta, GA (Vocus/PRWEB) March 01, 2011

Patient Placement Systems (PPS) announced today that Berkshire Healthcare Systems has documented dramatic improvements in referral response times, admissions efficiency, performance reporting and census by automating and accelerating marketing and admissions with the Web-based Referral Management System.

In the spring of 2009, Berkshire Healthcare Systems implemented the Referral Management System for 16 of its skilled nursing facilities. Since the initial system rollout, Berkshire Healthcare has documented performance improvements in several areas, including referral tracking and reporting, approval workflows and response time analysis, fax management, insurance verification, and post-admissions workflow. By combining these process improvements with more strategic marketing, Berkshire Healthcare has recognized outstanding returns in conversion rates, admissions and census:

  • Patient admissions up 25%
  • Conversion rate up from 35% to 40.6%
  • Additional 70 admissions per month on average
  • Referral volumes up 7.4%

“The Referral Management System has enabled us to work smarter and faster at every level—from the liaisons to administrators to corporate management,” said Lisa Gaudet, vice president of business development and marketing for Berkshire Healthcare Systems. “We’ve seen significant increases in conversion rates and census as a result.”

Berkshire also has been able to assess reasons for declined and lost referrals, and make adjustments to prevent those opportunities from getting away. For example, by looking at which competitors are winning referrals, and which case managers are sending those referrals, Berkshire facilities can identify referral source relationships they want to strengthen. Also, steered by trends uncovered in declined referral reports, Berkshire has expanded clinical services at some facilities that were declining catheter patients and increased patient acceptance rates. And Berkshire liaisons rely on referral source conversion, payer and trend analysis reports to focus their efforts on high-volume referral sources with high conversion rates and preferred payer mixes.

“Berkshire Healthcare Systems wanted to know more. More about liaison performance. More about referral response times. More about where referrals—and ultimately admitted patients—were coming from,” said Doug Walker, vice president and general manager of Patient Placement Systems. “By capturing and tracking every referral from every source, Berkshire has taken advantage of the Referral Management System’s vigorous reporting to market and build census more effectively.”

About Patient Placement Systems: Patient Placement Systems increases occupancy and revenue for skilled nursing facilities with simple Web-based tools to manage marketing activities and process and track patient referrals better and faster. Long-term care providers embrace the Referral Management System to build and manage quality census, improve payer mix, respond faster, outmaneuver competitors, work smarter, and significantly increase revenue by admitting more patients. Clients improving their admissions and referral management with our solutions include Extendicare, Greystone Healthcare Management, Kindred, Berkshire Healthcare Systems, and Golden Living. For more information, visit PatientPlacement.com or call 877-748-6656.

About Berkshire Healthcare Systems: Berkshire Health Systems is the region’s leading provider of comprehensive healthcare services. With award-winning programs, nationally-recognized physicians, world-class technology and a sincere commitment to the community, BHS is delivering the kind of advanced healthcare most commonly found in large metropolitan centers. Berkshire Healthcare Systems is the largest nonprofit long-term care company in Massachusetts, operating 16 rehabilitation and nursing facilities in three Northeastern states.http://www.berkshirehealthsystems.org

–END OR ARTICLE–

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The two — BHCS and BHS — are one, it seems … John Krol shold have revealed the connection. We have a situation where his former employer is Berkshire Healthcare Systems. This former employer is probably the most politically connected and influential company in the city. Spectrum Heath Systems, a competitor, wants to move into the city — BHS/BHCS turf — and set up what would appear to be a lucrative business.

Did Spectrum catch BHS/BHCS  off guard and snatch a lucrative methadone treatment business out from under their noses? Again, this is just a question.

THE PLANET believes questions are good, unlike much of “official” Pittsfield.

THE PLANET invites your thoughts. Remember, keep on topic, keep the discussion moving, contribute your ideas, but don’t get stupid on us.

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MOVING ON INTO THE DAY, WE SKIP SOWN THE PATH OF LIFE, SMILING, MAN …

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE  TO ALL.

56 Responses to “TWO PLANET EXCLUSIVES!! WE BEGIN A LINE-EDIT OF THE SCHOOL DEPARTMENT’s ANNUAL REPORT … plus … MORE QUESTIONS SWIRL IN A HAZE OF METH: PETITION ON CLINIC RAISES SERIOUS QUESTIONS”

  1. Ray Ovac
    November 30, 2011 at 7:12 am #

    In Re: The proposed methadone clinic, the petition against the clinic, BHCS, BHS, and BHS boss David E. Phelps. Follow the money………………….

    • Concern
      November 30, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

      Ray. That’s what it all about whether we like or not. Seems to me he is doing a great job at BMC.

  2. Ray Ovac
    November 30, 2011 at 7:41 am #

    DV, for all your excellent questions the man to really ask is David E. Phelps, president and CEO of both Berkshire Health Systems AND Berkshire Health Care Systems. He’s a longtime Democrat political operative, originally cutting his teeth in Democrat Party politics with another longtime Democrat political operative, former Pittsfield Mayor Evan Dobelle. (As you may remember, Dobelle got kicked out, fired, dismissed, from one of the best jobs on the entire planet, that of president of the University of Hawaii (mid six-figure salary, free room and board in the on-campus President’s House, perks up the kazoo) for allegedly being a crook, a thief, etc..Dobelle, disgraced, with tail firmly between legs, limped back to Massachusetts where his buddies, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry, got him a job at Westfield State College, the only place that would likely have him, as college president — quite a step down from paradise and the beaches of Waikiki.)
    David Phelps has fared far better than Dobelle, but these are Democrat operatives and it was Phelps and BHS that went to the Mass. State legislature and succeeded in preventing a clinic from opening in Berkshire County that would have provided radiological services that would have been in competition with a similar unit at BHS subsidiary Berkshire Medical Center.
    The following is from Berkshire Health Systems own web page at: http://berkshiremedicalcenter.com/body.cfm?id=91

    BHS Senior Leadership

    David E. Phelps, President & CEO
    Berkshire Health Systems
    David E. Phelps was born and raised in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and attended local schools in the City. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Mary’s College and a Master of Business Administration degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).

    Phelps was appointed President of Berkshire Health Systems (BHS) and Berkshire Health Care Systems (BHCS) in 1993. Berkshire Health Systems is the primary provider of healthcare services in Berkshire County. Its affiliates include Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield and Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington. A long-term care associate of Berkshire Health Systems, Berkshire Health Care Systems operates nursing and rehabilitative care facilities throughout the Berkshires, including Mt. Greylock Extended Care, Kimball Farms, Hillcrest Commons, Fairview Commons, North Adams Commons and Williamstown Commons. In addition, BHCS owns and operates nursing facilities across Massachusetts, and in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

    Long active in civic affairs and a leader in the Massachusetts healthcare industry, Phelps currently serves on the Board of the Massachusetts Council of Community Hospitals, Massachusetts Hospital Association, and is a member of the American Hospital Association’s Regional Policy Board. He is a former Chairman of the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority, past President of the Massachusetts Council of Community Hospitals, and has served on the Massachusetts Health and Education Facilities Authority (HEFA), Massachusetts Business Roundtable Healthcare Task Force and the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Healthcare.

    Prior to joining Berkshire Health Systems, Phelps held several key government positions locally and on the national level. He served as assistant to former Pittsfield Mayor Evan S. Dobelle, and later joined Dobelle in Washington as a Special Assistant to the Chief of Protocol for the U.S. State Department. In addition, Phelps served as Deputy Chairman of the Democratic National Committee.<<<<<

    • Boom
      November 30, 2011 at 7:21 pm #

      Dobelle supported a democrat for Lt. Gov. and was run out of town when the republican won. UH acknowledged the unjust termination with a severance package of 3.2 million. I’d hardly consider that leaving with his tail between his legs, would you? Don’t let the facts get in your way Ray. The guy transformed a small urban college in CT before attempting to do the same in HI. Little did he know, they weren’t looking for a change agent rather someone to maintain the status quo while boosting funds.

      • Joe Pinhead
        December 1, 2011 at 7:00 am #

        Boom:

        You cannot be serious? Just because he is getting a severance does not mean that they acknowledge unjust termination. According to news reports he got significantly less than the 2.2 million called for in his contract. Boom I know he was a “good guy” and all that but please in this day and age of Al Gore’s internet please provide some back up for the official bs tossed out.
        Example I will post a link saying your not talking fact but passing along what one of the GOB’s told you. I understand im certain whoever told you that was only trying to perpetuate the myth that all is well with the swells.
        http://www.croninfried.com/CM/Articles/UH-Regents-Reach-Settlement-With-Dobelle.asp

        Please post a cite showing the above link as being inaccurate, I would love to read it.
        http://articles.latimes.com/2002/jan/25/news/mn-24682
        The above link shows Ken Lay was entitled to a 25-51 million dollar severance, you might remember the whole ENRON story.
        Just sayin

        • jimbo
          December 1, 2011 at 11:43 am #

          JP, here you go:
          http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Aug/08/op/op07a.html

          You can’t be serious comparing Dobelle to Lay? Lay wouldn’t have seen a dime if he agreed, per his employement contract, to accept the severance owed. Wasn’t he sentenced to 45yrs in jail? Is Dobelle being brought up on charges? Nope. In fact, the regents recinded their “just cause” for firing because they didn’t have a leg to stand on. Just sayin

          • Joe Pinhead
            December 1, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

            Jimbo:
            Thanks for the op-ed piece in the paper, the article I cited was from his lawyer’s web page the same lawyer who would get a cut off of the settlement. I do thank you for posting something to back up Boom’s statement. I was not comparing Dobelle to Lay who yes got a ton of time, I was pointing out that there is a severance package in almost every one of the contracts written at that level. If it is exercised it is nothing more than the cost of doing business and not an admission of guilt from either side. Just a term of exercising that portion of the contract.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Severance_pay
            I guess we now have to look at the situation and ask ourselves a couple of questions; Is the UH full of rotten Dobelle haters who are vindictive, and mean spirited ready to fire a Poor little guy who has never played the political game? Even though he was in the Carter administration?
            Or was he the undisciplined book keeper with shoddy expenses and reimbursements who held the locals in disdain for merely being local? While remaining free of political ties and encumbrances?
            Or does the truth lie somewhere in the middle?
            I do thank you for the contrasting op-ed piece though and I like the Just sayin at the end of your comment. It is a catchy little phrase.
            Just sayin

          • Joe Pinhead
            December 1, 2011 at 6:59 pm #

            Thanks for the link, However I dont see 3.2 mil anywhere. Dont get me wrong were not talking chump change here but not 3.2 million either.
            All I really wanted was proof of your claim I accept your cite as the counter to mine.
            Just sayin

  3. Ray Ovac
    November 30, 2011 at 8:11 am #

    DV, also please note that for all his affiliations with medicine, medical centers, hospitals, and clinics, David Phelps’ specialty is not medicine. He is NOT a medical doctor. Rather, his forte is business. He has a Masters in Business Administration. With Phelps, it’s business and Democrat insider politics all the way, all used to get him what he wants, where he wants, and when he wants it. He’s connected with all the right national Democrats and in Pittsfield he’s the quintessential behind-the-scenes GOB who gets his way on just about everything for which he asks. Compensation to Phelps from BHS, BHCS, and all the various subsidiaries and related companies: in the mid to high six-figures. Remember also, BHS, BHCS, etc are all registered as tax-exempt, not-for-profits. Not for the profit of the patient and his family paying for the hospital stay or visit to a BHS clinic, that’s for sure. But for Phelps, it’s all cash flow.

  4. Ray Ovac
    November 30, 2011 at 8:36 am #

    DV, check out Guidestar: PDF pgs. 22, 23, 24, & 25.
    http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2010/042/442/2010-042442944-076d7c95-9.pdf
    This is the IRS Form 990 for Berkshire Health Systems. Pay particular attention to ‘Schedule J’ and the lengthy list of BHS-related entities paying compensation to David E. Phelps — talk about having “a piece of the action”! There are not less than 25 separate BHS-related entities from which Phelps personally gets an income stream. These are all listed on Schedule ‘J’, pdf pgs. 22,23,24, & 25.

    • Anytime
      November 30, 2011 at 11:42 am #

      wow that’s great work, Ray.

  5. Dee
    November 30, 2011 at 9:01 am #

    I’m not fond of Mr. Krol, but I think this is a huge and improbable stretch. If it were any other type of business, such as a MRI center, then I would say perhaps this is related, but the public outcry about placing this clinic off North Street has been huge. I believe Mr. Krol is flexing his muscle as a councilman.

    That being said, there are already at least two clinics that service addicts with Suboxone in Pittsfield. Add to that the fact that quite a few physicians will enter into a ‘drug contract’ with their patients and provide the methadone prescriptions themselves. Since this is being handled I see no reason to put a formal clinic in a location that already shows itself to be a drug friendly area with substandard policing.

    If an addict cannot transition to Suboxone or are untrustworthy enough that they cannot enter into a contract with their own physicians, then by all means, send them east. If they are inconvienenced, too bad, it’s their choice, it’s their addiction. I do not buy into the media hype that addiction is a disease. Cancer is a disease, you don’t choose to get it.

    Just my two cents.

    • danvalenti
      November 30, 2011 at 11:53 am #

      DEE
      Thank you for this contribution. I learned something. I learned that Pittsfield already has two suboxone clinics. Do you know where they are and the names? I respectfully disagree, though, that it is a “huge and improbably stretch” the question the connection, if any, between his petition and his past connections with BHS through employment with BHCS. Of course, the matter is vitally relevant if — if — BHS has plans to gets into the opiate treatment business per se. The public outcry against the clinic downtown is a separate (though obviously related) matter. Again, many thanks.

      • Dee
        November 30, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

        http://www.allaboutsuboxone.com/?st=MA&ct=Pittsfield

        This link will show the doctors who prescribe Suboxone in Pittsfield.

        http://www.allaboutsuboxone.com/find-methadone-treatment-clinics/?st=MA

        And, according to this link BMC/McGee already is listed as a prescribing facility for methadone in Pittsfield.

        Additionally, as I mentioned single providers can also write prescriptions for their patients. So, Pittsfield is pretty well covered. Why is it necessary to add an additional layer; one that may not have the strict ‘drug contracting’ that already exists. It is a recipe for disaster. A real addict can find treatment within the confines of the well established facilities here in town, both Brien Center and McGee.

        • Joe Pinhead
          November 30, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

          The question is what is the reimbursement rate for each method of treatment? Medicaid and Medicare are the payments that would be sought after here. Based upon the latest data approx 75% of the patients seen by BMC or Berkshire Health care etc (whatever name you want to use) are what’s referred to as publicly insured. The take home reimbursement is $2.00 and the reimbursement for clinically administered methadone is $11.00 Yes this is the Texas rate not the Mass rate leaving that for later. The other piece of the pie or the real gold might be in the testing or the screening once entered into the program, Will spectrum use their own testing and labs to do so? What’s the reimbursement on that?
          More importantly due to the stellar job of economic development that has been done by the City Council the reimbursement rates for Medicaid and Medicare are higher than the typical rates or known as full rates based upon the high percentage of “publicly insured”. I spoke before at the council and encourage the council to only count economic development as full time benefited positions. not as bell boys wait staff etc. there is NOTHING wrong with those positions but as taxpayers we get zapped a second time with higher reimbursement rates due to the fact BHS cannot recover costs from the privately insured. Or simply put there’s more people in the wagon than pulling the wagon. Or the pool isn’t deep enough.
          http://www.tmhp.com/News_Items/2011/02-24-11%20New%20Reimbursement%20Rate%20for%20Take-Home%20Methadone%20Effective%20March%201%202011.pdf

  6. Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
    November 30, 2011 at 10:58 am #

    @ dee…I usually agree with your posts but not this time…First we respectfully disagree on Krol and on addiction as a disease..I’ll leave addiction to the doctors but as far as Krol goes…huh??? I was going to quote directly from Krols email and subsequent voicemail that Dan had scribed in yesterdays post but it seems to have been taken down…
    @DV , can we repost Councilor Krols email and voicemail from yesterday where he is pretty deceptive and coy about who his past employer is…?? Why was it taken down?

    • danvalenti
      November 30, 2011 at 11:49 am #

      HBIW4
      I took John Krol’s corrections to my story yesterday down after talking with him a couple times by phone. He was adamant that he never worked for Bkerkshire Health Systems. I took the claim out of my story, which at the time made his e-mail objections superfluous. Later, I learned of the attached-at-the-hip relationship between BHS and Berkshire Healthcare Systems. We shall repost Krol’s e-mail tomorrow, which we think is in play, given his reluctance to initially disclose to me that being an employee of BHCS, while technically not the same as being employed by the parent BHS, is in principle the same as being employed by BHS.

  7. Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
    November 30, 2011 at 11:09 am #

    @ RO…BHS is a list of who’s who in Dem politics

    • Ray Ovac
      November 30, 2011 at 2:58 pm #

      Conservative Republicans need not apply.

    • Ray Ovac
      November 30, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

      DV and HB2iW4,
      It’s pretty clear that David Phelps and his hand-picked board of trustees (Gee, I wonder if they’re ALL Democrats?) at parent company Berkshire Health Systems not only seek to monopolize as many as possible facets of health care from cradle to grave in Berkshire County, but that indeed Phelps, BHS and its subsidiaries have in fact succeeded in doing exactly that. Phelps’ long-time connections with the Democrat power structure controlling little Pittsfield, Beacon Hill, within the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, within the Obama White House, and within party circles in the Democrat National Committee are more than willing to give Phelps anything he wants to accomplish his local and regional goals. Hence Phelps, as stated above, was able not long ago to outlaw a competing radiological imaging company from muscling in on BHS’ Berkshire turf. Quite likely the same scenario is now playing out with Spectrum’s application to gain entre into Pittsfield’s lucrative Opiate Treatment market (once an addict, always a revenue stream for someone). If Spectrum succeeds, it would certainly take away from BHS a potential profit center should BHS or one of its subsidiaries decide in the future to tap this profitable niche market. Further, once ensconced in Pittsfield, what’s to prevent Spectrum from branching out and offering access to the firm’s mental health services?

  8. Leona
    November 30, 2011 at 11:15 am #

    Maybe Krol is a silent partner of a drug dealer and he really is opposed to any clinics in Pittsfield, and this downtown theater district crap is just a distraction to throw us off his trail? It’s just a question.

  9. Shakes His Head
    November 30, 2011 at 12:05 pm #

    Regardless of whether you think the clinic is a good idea or not, the permit application was submitted. If the City changes the laws and refuses to act on the permit, then I would say Spectrum would have a good challenge for due process.

    The City should act on this permit as it would any medical office. If it does not then a court could grant Spectrum’s application carte blanc, removing any opportunities for the City to influence or negotiate how the facility is developed. Let’s let the City process work through and not pay more money to the attorneys and courts, removing decision making from local control to the extent provided in the current ordinance.

    Also, please note that the City’s ignorance of drug problems and treatments is why this wasn’t addressed when drug treatment clinics came on line…. If there were already special rules written in the code to anticipate this kind of use, then the debate would be moot. Another sign that the Ruberto administration’s head is buried in sand.

  10. Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
    November 30, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    The City is and has buried its head in the sand for decades about its drug problem…
    I smell a rat…Councilor Krols twitlike reaction to Dan’s post yesterday about who he worked for, how he was purposely coy , ingenious and possibly even deceptive seems to me like he knows there is a conflict of interest and that there is MUCH more to this story than originally meets the eye…

    • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
      November 30, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

      ….Disingenious

  11. Joe Pinhead
    November 30, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

    As I stated in a post a few days back, this is nothing but politics for Councilor Krol, The petition will not include the current suboxone clinics or the proposed Spectrum health clinic. What type of Clinics and treatment can we have councilor? Are you in a position to say medically what addicts or any other person needs to have effective treatment? Have you conferred with medical professionals and determined that you have the information that can provide for positive outcomes for the treated? And you contrasted this information with future proposed treatments as currently being tested and or verified by the FDA? What other types of federally reimbursed treatments should we be unable to lawfully offer to the citizens of Pittsfield and Berkshire County? Am I saying we need to have a methadone clinic in downtown? No I’m going to go out on a limb here and say we need to openly discuss the drug problems we do have in the City and actually have leadership from the Council in that area FIRST, then determine a long term strategy to combat and control the issue.
    How many if any of the potential patients are native and how many are here due to some type of greyhound therapy? Are any of the people in need of treatment tied to any funding that was taken from the State or federal government for any public project? McKinney funding, HUD and HHS funding sources? Or put simply what are the social costs of all the State and Federal funding for the various projects on North Street and the surrounding area? That discussion now needs to be had before we decide with no leadership and little knowledge of the issue to dismiss a form of treatment. The problem is here, When all this was building up “WE” as a City where talking about how nice it would be to give our buddies some free cash to open a restaurant or something of the ilk. Sadly the leadership has failed. I submit this as proof: are we preparing for or reacting to the situation? After you decide that question for yourself ask which is leadership?
    Just sayin

    • Molly
      December 1, 2011 at 10:51 am #

      “Like” – Good post, Joe.
      Also, what about the “Experience Wellness Centers LLC” that is on North Street, almost across the street from Steven Valenti Clothing? This is a “suboxone clinic”. What are the zoning regulations for that?

      On the surface, I wouldn’t like to see a Meth Clinic downtown, either. But I readily admit that I don’t know a lot about it. I’d like to get some professional information from some doctors before I make a decision about this — I like “informed decisions”. And also, how can Pittsfield legally refuse to allow this clinic based on zoning laws that aren’t currently there? If you want a meth clinic in downtown or not, you have to admit that this is “shady” to say the least! But yet again, this is Pittsfield that is run by a GOB network that we, the people, never elect.

      Also, it is VERY suspect about Krol submitting this petition and working for BHS and not admitting that he works for BHS? It is a well-known fact that BHS owns BHCS – if you work for BHCS, you work for BHS. Just like if you work for BMC, you work for BHS. Please stay on this, Dan.

  12. Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
    November 30, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    @ JoePin..Sharp as a tack!

  13. Concern
    November 30, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    The biggest problem with so many people on drugs is not the government it the Parents, or lack of being a parent.

  14. tito
    November 30, 2011 at 2:49 pm #

    Kinnas will step on your face if you get in his way without facts. He has tendancies of a Pit Bull when it comes to getting his points across. So just beware of the new Dawg in town and come prepared or else! His genre, he asks the hard questions he already has the answer to and makes you responsible. If your going to start a gaggle, Kinnas would be my first pick. Quality and Reliability is the new order.

  15. Ray Ovac
    November 30, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

    DV and HB2iW4,
    It’s pretty clear that David Phelps and his hand-picked board of trustees (Gee, I wonder if they’re ALL Democrats?) at parent company Berkshire Health Systems not only seek to monopolize as many as possible facets of health care from cradle to grave in Berkshire County, but that indeed Phelps, BHS and its subsidiaries have in fact succeeded in doing exactly that. Phelps’ long-time connections with the Democrat power structure controlling little Pittsfield, Beacon Hill, within the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, within the Obama White House, and within party circles in the Democrat National Committee are more than willing to give Phelps anything he wants to accomplish his local and regional goals. Hence Phelps, as stated above, was able not long ago to outlaw a competing radiological imaging company from muscling in on BHS’ Berkshire turf. Quite likely the same scenario is now playing out with Spectrum’s application to gain entre into Pittsfield’s lucrative Opiate Treatment market (once an addict, always a revenue stream for someone). If Spectrum succeeds, it would certainly take away from BHS a potential profit center should BHS or one of its subsidiaries decide in the future to tap this profitable niche market. Further, once ensconced in Pittsfield, what’s to prevent Spectrum from branching out and offering access to the firm’s mental health services?

  16. Jim Gleason
    November 30, 2011 at 6:18 pm #

    In my opinuion Mr Krol doesn’t take any action whose result won’t be of advantage to himself or his cronies. He is doing this to benefit some entity, be it himself or his former or current employer.He is in the mold of ruberto, where everything he does should be looked at with either skepticism or close inspection. He does nothing for “the good of all”.

  17. Jim Gleason
    November 30, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

    Sorry, hit the “u” key by mistake in spelling opinion.

  18. Joe Pinhead
    November 30, 2011 at 6:50 pm #

    Let’s get down to Brass tacks regarding the proposed clinic on Summer Street. Spectrum Health is a healthcare delivery company that has a vested interest in developing its business and expanding itself in the market. In reality treatment for opiate addiction has been ongoing here in the City for years. The issue is that the monopoly has been controlled and contained by Berkshire Health Systems BHS and now that monopoly is being challenged. Councilor Krol can play semantics all he wants about whom he worked for at BHS and its umbrella of companies all he likes, in reality all he is doing is challenging your intelligence, are we all that dumb? I think not.
    Opiate addiction on the business side of the medical world is no different than any other disease of addiction. To turn a profit on it it is best to control the 4 T’s. If one group can capitalize on all four T’s then they can charge and request reimbursement at every step of the game.
    What are the 4 T’s
    Treatment: of course we all want to see someone who is suffering withdrawal get immediate attention and the help they need whether it’s in a formal detox center or a gradual withdrawal using pharmaceutical aid (methadone suboxone etc) Who owns the detox center$ Any guess$
    Testing: Once someone enters into a program we need to be certain that individual is truthful about the drug use or lack thereof, only one way to prove that send him down for lab work and monitor via the whiz quiz or the blood work. Can anyone guess who would submit for that payment$
    Therapy: As everyone knows we would need to get to the root cause of the problem and determine exactly why the addict was using. Hum who would have the counseling and or support services for that$ guess who is going to submit to the state for that$
    Tabulating: we would need people to ensure appointments were made and that records were filed and lab work correlated etc. 3 guess’s who has the Administrative staff properly trained in medical record coding, is HIPPA compliant etc$
    All these services went unchallenged up to this point; looking at Spectrum Health cares website it indicates they have their own flavor of these services.
    I find it hard to believe that the executive administrator of a healthcare facility does not know who owns and operates these facilities in his sphere of influence. I’m certain that the law requires the facility where he works to use only approved and accredited providers for all health care services. I’m also certain that JACHO mandates much if not all of this information be available to them during the inspection as do the State agencies etc.
    And I’m supposed to believe he’s concerned about clinics that are as of yet unknown?
    Just sayin

    • Molly
      December 1, 2011 at 11:00 am #

      o (that’s the “Like Button” for now!! :-) Another great post, Joe.

    • Ray Ovac
      December 2, 2011 at 7:59 am #

      Dy-no-mite post, JP!

  19. Poker Boy
    November 30, 2011 at 8:17 pm #

    I am convinced that a huge story has been uncovered here. After following the debate looking into some of hte links then reading the eagle’s fluff coverage today it’s obvious to me that Berk Health Systems is behind all this looking to keep Spectrum out because as been said before, bhs has had a monopoly. This whole thing stinks. At first I wasnt for the meth clinic but now I am because there’s already meth treatment and bhs controls monopolizing the business. not right. Go Spectrum. In the process maybe we help a few more addicts bounced back from their plights.

    • Ray Ovac
      December 1, 2011 at 12:28 am #

      PB, recommend you browse through BHS’ IRS Form 990 along with the 990′s from that list of 25 other BHS subsidiaries and related companies to see just how much money actually passes through this complex web of companies. Mindboggling.

  20. Molly
    November 30, 2011 at 9:29 pm #

    SCHOOL DEPARTMENT’S ANNUAL REPORT
    Dan — let’s be fair. He first said it’s a GOAL or a ‘core mission’ that 100% of students will be prepared for college. “We continue to set ambitious GOALS which are supported by detailed improvement plans that reflect ongoing evaluation and strategic alignment of programs and resources. In doing so, our efforts reflect our CORE MISSION, that all children meet high academic expectations in order to be prepared for postsecondary success.”
    But – yes, there IS “The Pittsfield Promise” of “100% of students are prepared for postsecondary education” — considering the previous remarks, I took that as “a goal”, but you are right – it does say “The Pittsfield Promise” and you are right — it shouldn’t.
    Really, everyone should read this entire report. And with all of the programs that are already in place to address the English as a second language, not understanding English, on and on – they SHOULD be able to make every child prepared for postsecondary education!! Unless, as I said previously, the kid just doesn’t want to and doesn’t have a parent who cares (which is also one of the many realities that would prevent the “Pittsfield Promise” from ever happening).
    One other item to be fair on – the $82 million operating budget is not 3 out of every 4 city tax dollars because the amount that the Pittsfield Property Tax Payers pay toward the school budget is $30 million out of a $120 million city budget, or 25% of the city budget goes to the schools. The remaining $52 million is state money, grants, etc. Yes, still taxpayer dollars (state tax $), but is not 75% of the city’s total budget. But I hear ya – the entire city’s budget is still $120 million and the total School Dept. budget is still $89 million.
    Now that I have been fair to the School Dept., I agree with you on ALL of your other points. And although I also agree that it’s a good thing for our kids to experience “cultural diversity”, I have a problem with people who have broken our laws to be here (they are here illegally) and yet we have to pay this kind of money and implement this many “special programs” to educate their kids. We have to hire translators and two teachers per class – one to teach the content and one to translate it, and that’s just one of the many programs for them. And although I hesitate to say this as I really would not want any child to go hungry, I wonder why we pay for both breakfast and lunch (even during the summer), for kids when we already pay for food stamps? Likely the answer is that we know that the parents aren’t feeding their kids for whatever reason and we don’t want the kids going hungry. But if that’s the case, then lets take the food stamps away! Or make the parents get their butts up in the morning to feed their kids with the food that we have given them with food stamps.
    Now to read up on the meth clinic… Thanks for all of this!

    • Joe Pinhead
      December 1, 2011 at 6:37 am #

      Molly:
      Thanks for putting the annual report into some form of perspective, I went down the clinic trail and have yet to fully read the schools report. Great question on the Food stamps, I am not Saying let kids go hungry but how about some accountability on the parents. Why not deduct something from the food stamp account and credit the lunch/breakfast account at the school? Not a terribly hard thing to do in this day and age.
      Like your comments
      Dan we still need a like button
      Just sayin

  21. Concern
    November 30, 2011 at 9:37 pm #

    Bravo Molly!!!!! I agree with you. As I said it’s the lack of parents that cause most of the social problems from drug addiction to child obesity and so on and on. Also all the regulation these idiots come up with and pile on the educators.

  22. Ray Ovac
    December 1, 2011 at 1:19 am #

    DV,
    Why would Berkshire Health Systems need an office, employees, or agents outside the United States?
    And why would BHS need a bank account in the Cayman Islands?

    Check out the firm’s most recently filed IRS Form 990 (fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2010). It’s signed by chief financial officer Darlene Rodowicz.

    Part IV. 14a. “Did the organization maintain an office, employees, or agents outside of the United States?”
    Answer: “YES”.

    Part V. 4a. “At any time during the calendar year, did the organization have an interest in, or a signature or other authority over, a financial account in a foreign country (such as a bank account, securities account, or other financial account)?”
    Answer: “YES”.

    Part V. 4b. “If yes, enter the name of the foreign country:
    Answer: “CAYMAN ISLANDS”.

    Here’s the link at Guidestar, PDF pgs. 3 & 5: http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2010/042/442/2010-042442944-076d7c95-9.pdf

    • dusty
      December 1, 2011 at 1:50 am #

      The superintendent of schools was man enough to come here and try to explain his position. Perhaps, or maybe not, Mr Phelps will surface long enough to provide a few answers.

    • danvalenti
      December 1, 2011 at 8:16 am #

      RAY O
      That jumped out at me, too. It will be highlighted in a future post, coming soon to a PLANET near you.

    • Molly
      December 1, 2011 at 11:04 am #

      WOW! Good job, Ray!

  23. Ray Ovac
    December 1, 2011 at 1:46 am #

    DV,
    BHS subsidiary Berkshire Medical Center reports total revenues (year ending Sept. 30, 2010) over $315 Million. (Form 990, Part I, line 12).
    BMC also claims to “operate a substance abuse center with providing the highest of patient care”.
    “Total patent days for the Year: 6,527″.
    “Program operates 24 hrs/day 365 days/year”
    (Form 990, Part III – 4, Program Service Accomplishments)

    Link at Guidestar, PDF pgs. 1 & 17: http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2010/042/791/2010-042791396-07722657-9.pdf

    • Joe Pinhead
      December 1, 2011 at 6:30 am #

      Thanks Mr. Ovac, I was working on breaking down the reimbursement rates and what the impact of a competitor would or could be. But lucky for us Councilor Krol has no idea of any of this he just wants to be certain that the foot traffic into Spice or whatever iteration it will be next month and yet again next year isnt impacted adversly.
      Just sayin

      • Ray Ovac
        December 1, 2011 at 7:50 am #

        JP, FYI that long list of Berkshire Health Systems-related entities funneling income to David Phelps should be examined close-up. There are IRS Form 990 reports for most, if not all. Some appear to be shell companies without much revenue (at present). For example, tax-exempt Berkshire Healthcare Systems, Inc. claims to be unrelated to tax-exempt BHS Management Services, Inc. but they both share David Phelps as president, with Phelps claiming to work 40 hours weekly at Berkshire Healthcare Systems and 50 hours weekly at BHS Management Services. Whereas, Berkshire Healthcare Systems only booked just a little more than $2,000 in total revenues for calendar 2009, Phelps has BHS Management Services reporting gross revenues of $39.5 Million for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2010. Another example, tax-exempt Hillcrest Extended Care Services (formerly Berkshire Missouri, Inc. — that’s not a typo) reports David Phelps working 40 hours weekly for calendar 2009 and reports total revenues over $22 Million.

  24. Ray Ovac
    December 1, 2011 at 7:57 am #

    Berkshire Healthcare Systems, Inc.:
    Link to Guidestar at: http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2009/043/030/2009-043030633-069dfdb8-9.pdf

    BHS Management Services, Inc.:
    Link to Guidestar at: http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2010/222/755/2010-222755258-076d7c43-9.pdf

    Hillcrest Extended Care Services (formerly Berkshire Missouri, Inc.):
    Link to Guidestar at:
    http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2009/363/700/2009-363700875-0695eb74-9.pdf

  25. Ray Ovac
    December 1, 2011 at 8:36 am #

    DV,
    Here’s that lengthy list of tax-exempt, healthcare-related companies reported on Schedule J of the IRS Form 990 filed by Berkshire Health Systems, Inc. for fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2010, indicating those tax-exempt organizations from which compensation is paid to David E. Phelps. Mr. Phelps is listed as president of most if not all the companies listed.
    Does this not prove yet again that it pays to be a Democrat operative in Democrat-controlled Massachusetts?

    List of tax-exempt, ‘non-profit’ healthcare organizations from which David E. Phelps derives compensation as a senior executive employee:

    1. Berkshire Health Systems, Inc.
    2. Berkshire Medical Center, Inc.
    3. Fairview Hospital, Inc.
    4. Berkshire Faculty Services, Inc.
    5. Berkshire Indemnity Company, SPC, LTD
    6. BHS Management Services, Inc.
    7. Berkshire Healthcare Systems, Inc.
    8. Bourne Management Systems, Inc.
    9. Greenfield Management Systems, Inc.
    10. New Bedford Management Systems, Inc.
    11. Northampton Management Systems, Inc.
    12. East Longmeadow Management Systems, Inc.
    13. Danvers Management Systems, Inc.
    14. Peabody Management Systems, Inc.
    15. South Yarmouth Management Systems, Inc.
    16. Berkshire Pennsylvania, Inc.
    17. Xenia East Management Systems, Inc.
    18. Willowood of Great Barrington, Inc.
    19. Willowood of North Adams, Inc.
    20. Willowood of Williamstown, Inc.
    21. Hillcrest Extended Care Services, Inc.
    22. Berkshire Retirement Community, Inc.
    23. Berkshire Extended Care Services, Inc.
    24. Integri Nurse, Inc.
    25. Integriscript, Inc.
    26. Hospicecare in the Berkshires
    27. Pittsfield Management Systems, Inc.

    Link to Guidestar at PDF pgs. 22, 23, 24, & 25: http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2010/042/442/2010-042442944-076d7c95-9.pdf

  26. Ray Ovac
    December 1, 2011 at 8:57 am #

    DV,
    It would appear from the list above that Berkshire County residents are directly subsidizing tax-exempt Berkshire Health System, Inc.’s expansion not only throughout Massachusetts, but also across state lines. This, as a direct result of the near total monopoly BHS enjoys in providing and managing health care services to Berkshire County residents.

    • Steve Wade
      December 1, 2011 at 9:17 am #

      Heller oops I mean Ray great work!

  27. Ray Ovac
    December 1, 2011 at 9:24 am #

    DV,
    Is it correct to assume that come the second week in January 2012 is just about the right time for the annual inspection of BHS, Inc.’s Cayman Islands operations by BHS senior management? Heck, doesn’t it take three or four months just to go over all those books and do a thorough examination? No doubt senior management, once finally back home in the Berkshires in May, are totally exhausted.

    • Joe Pinhead
      December 1, 2011 at 7:49 pm #

      Well,
      They cant go to Hawaii Dobelle isnt there anymore. The Cayman islands are nice that time of year. Im guessing Pings, not callaways
      Just Sayin

      • Ray Ovac
        December 1, 2011 at 11:30 pm #

        Hey, don’t laugh, it’s a legitimate business expense for BHS, Inc. to pay for senior management’s hotel accommodations and meals while these homesick execs are stuck the Winter in the Caymans pouring over endless accounts. Wow, isn’t that Madoff’s boat over there? Pass me one of those banana daiquiris. Thanks.

  28. las artes
    December 11, 2011 at 1:35 pm #

    William Young came to BHS in 2009 from Ellis Hospital in Schenectady, NY, where he had served as Chief Information Officer. During his tenure at Ellis, Young successfully managed the implementation of a multi-million dollar information systems investment plan and was involved as a senior manager in the merger of three hospitals on disparate systems into one organization and one information system.