Phil Hauck's TEC Blog

Sunday, February 13, 2011

About July 2011

Of interest: July 2011 will have FIVE Fridays, FIVE Saturdays and FIVE Sundays. This happens only about every 823 years, or so ... according to a friend who passed this along.

If You Went Out of Business, Would Anyone Care?

Very challenging Harvard Business Review article by Bill Taylor, Co-Founder of Fast Company magazine

Brown County: Parent Counseling Very Effective

Parenting, we know, is the most important thing we do yet prepare for the least. It becomes a major problem with parents in at-risk families who frequently didn't have good parenting models themselves. What they "know" to do often has poor results, yet they have the same aspirations for effectiveness that we all do.
Now, Brown County has a success model. The Community Partnership for Children now has funding to interview new mothers in Brown County (while still at the hospital) and ascertain whether she is in an "at risk" situation, and if so, to provide many of them (funding doesn't yet allow all) a counselor in parenting skills. The counselor works with the new Mom (and Dad) in one-on-one situations as well as the classroom.
Effective? Look at these results for the counselor who works out of the Howe Neighborhood Family Resource Center. It covers the first four months of counseling, with the scale 1-7. (Other counselors work out of other agencies, although funding still doesn't allow intense attention to every "at risk" family.)
1. I know whom to contact and where to go in the community when I need help. Before: 4.7 After: 6.1
2. I have confidence in my ability to parent and help my children develop. Before: 4.7 After: 6.5
3. I make choices about family schedules and activities that reduce family stress. Before: 4.1 After: 6.7
4. I know discipline methods other than hitting and spanking. Before: 5.1 After: 7
5. I set clear and realistic limits for my children. Before: 4.3 After: 6.7
6. I know what to expect as my children learn and grow. Before: 4.0 After: 6.0
7. I know how to keep my children safe and healthy. Before: 5.1 After: 6.9

The Moms were then asked to be specific, to list what they are now doing differently with their kids, and there was a long list of changes they have made.
Wow! The program is modeled after a very successful one in Hampden, West Virginia. It followed an initial effort stimulated by United Way that has been broadened to widen its impact. Something like 44% of all babies born in Brown County are to "at risk" families.
These are our current workers, and parents of our future ones.

On HSAs and Transparency: We need BOTH!

A study published recently by Mercer, a human resources consulting firm, found that people on high-deductible health plans, with more exposure to the prices of doctor visits, spent less. Indiana adopted high-deductible health plans, and the average expense in 2009 for patients on one of these plans was $6,393, compared with $8,570 for patients on a more traditional health maintenance organization plan.
Safeway pays up to $1,200 for its employees’ colonoscopies, a preventative procedure to detect cancer. If employees wish to go to a doctor who charges more, they must pay the difference. According to Castlight, colonoscopies in the Bay Area, where Safeway is based, range from $500 to $3,000, and sometimes a doctor charges different rates at different hospitals.

Social Security: An 'Auto IRA' Solution

Michael Kiley, CEO of PAi, DePere, an administrator of 401(k) and payroll plans, has spent much of the last year and a half in Washington, DC, working to create a better approach to funding social security. In a recent presentation to St. Norbert's CEO Breakfast & Strategy series, he noted that we have a national Bill of Rights, but not an accompanying Bill of Responsibilities.
The Social Security Consequence: At least 60%, and perhaps 90%, are on track to not have enough money to retire on (even estimated as low as 70% of final annual income). And THAT's assuming that the current funding levels stay the same, which they probably can't (at least, shouldn't). National figures indicate the AVERAGE retiree now has $25,000 in savings to make up the difference over his/her LIFETIME between the Social Security payment and the dollars needed to live.
There doesn't seem to be an understanding of the urgency of this problem by Congress, nor an understanding by those within a decade or so of retiring, nor by the younger generation, he says. How much will those who have saved have to pay out from those savings to take care of those who didn't?
Alert: He's helped developed an Auto(matic) IRA, which may see the light of day. It will automatically deduct a Congressionally-specified amount from each paycheck to go into the individual's OWN IRA ... untouchable by Congress. Thus, over a lifetime, the necessary dollars will build. Sounds like the foundation of a solution.