Guest post by Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT)
The Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce understands road construction, like that on I-94 between Saint Paul and Maplewood, can impact commute times and the number of customers who walk through your door. You worry that long-term road improvements come with short-term frustrations for your colleagues, customers, vendors, and suppliers.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) is aware of these concerns, as well. Back in April 2017, MnDOT began using innovative technology called a moveable barrier to ease traffic build-up and to help mitigate any disruptions that you may otherwise experience during construction.
Meet the moveable barrier.
Watch this short video to see how the moveable barrier works. It adds a lane when and where it’s most needed. That’s good for business because it will save drivers time on the road and make businesses more accessible.
Know someone who travels this corridor? Share the video.
Learn more about the I-94 Resurfacing Construction Project
Staying informed about construction will help you better communicate with all of the people that help make your business possible, especially customers and delivery drivers who are not familiar with the area and those who have come a long way to reach you.
Learn more about the project and stay in touch:
The City of Saint Paul is considering changing the operating hours of the skyway. The current ordinance requires all skyway bridges to be open from 6 a.m. – 2 a.m., and allows them to be open longer, as the building chooses. The proposed change would require all skyway bridges to be open from 6 a.m. – midnight (so they would close two hours earlier) and would require that all skyway doors be locked at midnight. Building owners would be allowed to keep their skyway open later, if they have someone patrolling the area.
We asked our members with a presence downtown to weigh in on the hours the skyway is open. The majority of our downtown members who responded to our original survey about the skyway were not concerned with the skyway being closed earlier than 2 a.m., and many applauded that change.
We then sent a follow-up email to downtown members asking specifically for thoughts on skyway hours and received 16 responses. 14 of those responses were in favor of the closing, including calls for closing even earlier. A few excerpts:
The other two emails provide good insight into the negative impact this change could have on some businesses.
Email 1, from a downtown restaurant:
Closing the skyway earlier than 2 a.m. would negatively impact [restaurant name].
The skyway is not the problem. Walking the streets has also gotten worse with the escalating population of aggressive vagrants in St. Paul that harass businesses, their customers, and visitors of our city.
Email 2, from a downtown consultant firm:
Our staff has some very long hours as we push toward certain milestones. It’s not uncommon for us to have individuals work beyond midnight and safe skyway access certainly makes that more comfortable when they do head home. I’m not saying that we necessarily are opposed to the skyways closing at midnight, but we can certainly make use of them on a semi regular basis between midnight and 2 a.m.
We will continue to work with the City and other stakeholders to find ways to make every segment of the skyway system as welcoming as possible.
If your views on skyway hours are not reflected here, please give us a call at 651-265-2780 – we appreciate your feedback!
Guest post by Athos Health
What would you do with half a million dollars?
The healthcare system in the U.S. is expensive, but what can you do? Well, one reason healthcare is so expensive is that we’re paying for mistakes. A lot of mistakes. Your private insurer doesn’t report the number of claims with errors that it pays, but we can look at what happens in Medicare to get a sense of the problem.
11% of medical bills reviewed by Medicare have errors.
In fiscal year 2015, Medicare recovered $359 million in overpayments due to billing and coding errors. [FY2015 Medicare FFS RAC Report to Congress]
This results in overpayment of, on average, 2-5%.
That means healthplans with a $10M spend are spending $200,000-$500,000 for other people’s mistakes!
What makes a self-funded healthplan uniquely vulnerable to mistakes?
In short, self-funded healthplans typically don’t have anyone looking for errors on claims they’re asked to pay. With about 5% of a plan’s spend covering errors, that’s real money left on the table.
It used to be that an insurance company bore the risk and financial responsibility involved in paying claims. However, more and more companies with over 200 employees are choosing self-funded healthplans, where carriers simply process claims, and risk and responsibility shift to the fiduciaries of the plan.
In the self-funded arrangement, you and your employees pay for undetected errors.
The insurance company listed on your card may not be finding all the errors on your bills.
Let’s think about it for a minute. Carriers get paid a set fee, so the way for them to make the most money is through efficiency. And let’s face it: questioning a medical bill is anything but efficient. Errors on medical bills themselves are also the types of errors that an employee wouldn’t necessarily find, either. (Visit http://blog.athoshealth.com/set-your-employees-up-for-medical-bill-success/ for an explanation of why.)
The risk to the carrier then, of letting these errors slide, is minimal. In fact, there is a significant financial burden in chasing them down. Because it’s so time consuming and there’s no money in it for them, carriers often don’t look for errors on the bills themselves.
It’s time to take control.
At Athos, we’re on your side. Athos offers two services to reduce healthcare costs: A medical claim review for self-insured employers (Athos Audit) and a medical expense concierge for their employees (Athos Advocacy). These services give visibility into an organization’s healthcare spend, and peace of mind that employees’ healthcare needs are supported. Athos audit fees are 100% contingent on savings, and require minimal effort for employers to set up.
We’d love to have a conversation with you to answer any questions you may have. Learn more by visiting www.athoshealth.com , calling us at 888.304.1458, or talking to us in person at our table at the July Membership Meeting. We’re here for you.