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New Tech Blog: Max On Media
Max On Media is a technology-based blog written by Burke Liburt. Burke Liburt is the co-founder and CMO of SynchroPET, a biomedical device company that has licensed patented nuclear imaging technologies from Brookhaven National Laboratories. He has developed marketing strategies at television groups (Dun & Bradstreet/ ABC Television) and at his own multi-media company. Read Max On Media Now!
Stony Brook Innovation Center Blog

The Innovation Vigilante Committee

Apr 08 2016

The most helpful topic for an Innovation Center blog would seem to be examining whether innovativeness can be instilled in people the way installing computer programs enables us to do different things, and if so, how is it downloaded, or learned?  Is there a single Skill Set underpinning all the other attributes that are identifiable in the majority of innovators, short of the few savants floating around, and even there?  Do innovations like the light bulb and Internet arise out of nowhere, or evolve as species do: putting similar things together again and again, and how is that done?  

By the time we got to Woodstock
We were half a million strong
And everywhere was a song and a celebration
And I dreamed I saw the bomber jet planes
Riding shotgun in the sky
Turning into butterflies above our nation

                 Joni Mitchell

Last April 5rh, in “Those Innovation Blu-ue-ue /uessss,” I referred to our very own Karen Sobel-Lojeski, in the Department of Technology and Society, having come up with a Virtual Distance Index to measure how detached from each other people are in the workplace from how attached they are to Virtual Reality, instead, and carried her concept two steps further to how detached we are from each other and Actual Reality altogether.  The post also referred to a book called How the Modern Age Is Rewiring Your Brain by a prominent neurologist named Richard Restak, on whose books the PBS program about the brain is based, and “Marshall McLuhan skyrocketed to fame with The Medium Is the Message back when folks began wondering how gobs of TV might be affecting us, before Virtual Reality was even a glint in anyone’s eye.”
Who hasn’t seen the disclaimers in medication TV commercials, which only a truly desperate person would ignore?  Has the time come for warnings before accessing the internet each and every time?  Do school classes include lessons about its downside at every grade level, as part and parcel of Social Studies and Health curricula?  I forget if it was on Public Television or some other network where I saw a documentary about interring adolescents and young adults, who got hooked on Virtual Reality.  How does someone know when they’ve gone too far, or when they’re starting to lose touch with themselves, the people around them, or reality altogether?  Is the first symptom that you aren’t even worried, or don’t wanna hear about it?
ractically as soon as CD’s became widespread, the word got around that they lack the fidelity of phonograph records.  I’ve seen better phonograph collections in the homes of someone whose parent worked in the industry or musicologists.  Some are half a century old and have the inevitable pops and skips; some get stuck there, so I have to get off my derriere to move the phonograph arm forward.  I didn’t mind a bit buying a second Johnny Mathis or Rhapsody in Blue album when the interferences became unbearable, but remember being told when I bought a bulb for my father’s old 8 mm film projector that it was one of four left in the world, and am afraid that the time will come when I can no longer replace the phonograph needle for the top of the line record player I bought used forty years ago.  Can’t the innovators be required to set aside enough funds from their profits to preserve enough of what they’re disrupting, the way real estate developers have to leave a certain amount of open space where we can breathe freely and play?

Yeeeah, you’ve heard it all before: progress is going backwards, the old fogies always say, although many have embraced it nowadays to survive, only it’s different now: I didn’t make up Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, nor that the ice cas are melting, and the consequences to our fod supply, not just coastal cities.  Maybe it is time to rethink disruptive innovations, and start asking ourselves whether we’re negotiating business deals or making bargains with the devil.  How an we stay the course of civilization if nobody is minding the store?
I sold something like five hundred Medicare Advantage plans before turning 65 and being forced into taking one, myself, only then learning what I had wrought upon them because I had a New York State of Health plan as an individual, rather than through a business, for whatever reason that was written into Obamacare, which I still can’t see, nor have been able to find anyone in the system, who could explain it to me—yet.  Only then did I learn what I had wrought upon all those people, and got the attention of the head of the entire Center for Medicare and Medicaid Systems with an email explaining that if every step you take in it requires filing a grievanc, the whole system is grievous.  My recent correspondence with a subordinate, on whom she foisted me, is instructive with regard to innovations of all kinds, which overlook what they do to the people they affect.  The appeals, themselves, were over specific details that got overlooked in the plans’ design, which someone might consider esoteric.  The concerns—call the beefs—below are of a general nature, which one would find difficult to understand how an institution the size of Medicare and Medicaid could have overlooked.  The subject line was “Connecting Generalities with Specifics.”

M’ Dear Jessica and Debra,

I appreciate your kind assistance in facilitating the extension of my Rx appeal at AgeWell from having been granted it by Empire in 2015, insofar as that is the case, BUT … I was disheartened, in the first place, to learn that AgeWell claims I have to go through this AGAIN every year, and moreover by how needlessly difficult they made it, both for me and my doctor, who kept submitting the forms they require, which AgeWell kept insisting they hadn’t received.  Their rationale for repeating the process each year is that their formulary may change.  If there are changes in it that have no bearing on my medication, I don’t see how that justifies putting me and my doctor through the whole ordeal again and again.
I realize that such general policy matters may be above your jurisdiction.  Even if they aren’t, they should apply to EVERY plan.  Sense makes sense everywhere.  Nonsense doesn’t anywhere.

Another matter of a similar, general nature recently came to mind, regarding Medicare Advantage Plan Rx or Part B deductibles, which I thought would be best to include with the appeal carryover issue mentioned above, when seeking a decision.  I recently enrolled someone in AgeWell on a Special Election Period basis outside the Annual Enrollment Period, so it occurred to me that such people starting their deductibles over again is unjust and might even be construed as fraudulent by a good lawyer.  Medicare sets the Part B and Part D annual deductible guidelines.  Many plans diminish one or both to woo members, but the Annual Base Guideline is exceeded when someone changes plans in mid-year on an SEP basis and has to meet two plans’ deductibles.
 would appreciate forwarding this concept, along with the appeal carryover, to whomoever’s jurisdiction it may fall, and letting me know the results, or having them do so.

 Having the right to appeal is NULLIFIED if the system makes it SO inordinately (and needlessly) difficult to exercise that right, particularly considering the huge percentage (70%+?) of people on Medicare, who are still working, and the significant percentage of those who aren’t, whose working children with their own children have to take care of their medical and prescription needs.  Very few people have the skills, patience, persistence, and time to prevail in obtaining what by rights should be granted, against the strategies that plans use to frustrate them, like those I mentioned previously.  The mere fact that they make you go through the ordeal all over again each year, for no reason, is enough to make a reasonable person give up at the outset.

Your consideration, as always, is appreciated.

David Myers

Dear Mr. Myers,

Thank you for providing us with this innovative concept. We will forward your request to CMS Central Office for review.



There’s a TV promo—call it a commercial—often run for an old Western show called Wanted, Dead or Alive, with the great Steve McQueen as a bounty hunter, in which he tells someone how far beyond that he takes his role: “Most towns have sherriffs.  We’re a long way between towns out here.  There’s not much law.  Men like Krieger are free to do what they please: killing, stealing.  Somebody’s got to stop them.
That’s innovation, too.

Stony Brook University Innovation Center, Stony Brook, NY 11794-3775

Phone: 631.632.7171
Fax: 631.632.8181