Monthly Archives: June 2012

Verizon to Fire Employees Who Save Customers Money?

I sure hope that this isn’t happening in healthcare!           Pat

Verizon To Reprimand, Fire Employees Who Try To Save Customers Money
By CareyGB on June 19, 2010 5:10 PM
Short URL: http://con.st/10007961
VerizonBadMan

Internal Verizon memos reveal that the wireless ogre is eager to reprimand or fire customer service representatives who proactively recommend blocking access to the company’s overpriced data services. The company is also going to be stingier about issuing back credits to customers who spot unnecessary and unwanted services littering their monthly bills. The New York Times asked Verizon to explain itself, and the answer wasn’t all that surprising.

According to the Times’ tipster:

Effective this past month, all CSRs [customer-service reps} were versed on the usage of blocks. A new policy has gone into effect regarding how to handle Escalated Calls regarding data charges. Now, a representative can be reprimanded and even terminated for proactively offering to block any of the following:

Web Access Blocks
Data Blocks
Premium SMS blocking
Application download blocking
Vcast Music or Vcast Video download blocks

Essentially, we are to upsell customers on the $9.99 25mb/month or $29.99 unlimited packages for customers. Customers are not to be credited for charges unless they ask for the credit. And in cases such as data or premium SMS, where the occurrences may have gone months without the consumer noticing, only an initial credit can be issued.

Verizon vehemently denied that they would actually fire CSRs for offering proactively customer service, but they defended ripping off unsuspecting customers. Their reason? “We don’t want customers to go over their usage every month, and then call us looking for credits every month.” Way to trust your loyal and beloved customers, Verizon.

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Carefusion Website Riddled with Viruses

CareFusion respiratory website “riddled” with malware | MassDevice.com On Call
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June 20, 2012 by MassDevice staff

A scan of CareFusion’s respiratory devices software updating website finds it infected with viruses and other malicious code that may have been transmitted to users’ computers.

Updated June 22, 2012, at 6:00 p.m. EST: This brief erroneously stated that viruses were discovered on CareFusion’s respiratory software systems. The malicious code was found on the website that houses the software updates, not in the software itself.
MassDevice On Call

MASSDEVICE ON CALL — Google web services put a block on CareFusion’s (NYSE:CFN) respiratory software delivery website after a scan of the site found viruses and other malicious programs that may have been transmitted to users’ computers.

Trojans and other software exploits that installed on user machines without consent were found on 20 pages of CareFusion’s ViasysHealthcare.com website, according to a Google “safe browsing” report.

CareFusion uses the site to distribute software updates for its Avea line of ventilators, and the site was “listed for suspicious activity” twice in the last 3 months, according to the report.

A CareFusion spokeswoman told ThreatPost that the company was investigating the matter and that the software updates had been removed from the site for the time being.

The malware infection was first uncovered by Kevin Fu, a medical device hacker and researcher who was the 1st to demonstrate that a Medtronic pacemaker was susceptible to malicious hacking.

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Signing a Training Agreement with your Employer

From Imagetalk – December 2011

Our in-house service team has just been asked to sign an agreement every time we get training.  This agreement obligates us to continue our employment for a certain number of years, or pay back the training cost if we leave employment.  I’d like others comment and share their thoughts including any legal issues.

Consider the following;

Cost of Radiology service training (manufacture and third party)

Joint commission competency requirements

Saving associated with lower service coverage after training completed

Who benefits from this training more. Technician or Hospital  Probably the hospital—but then again, only if you actually stick around and work for a significant period following the training, so they realize the intended savings.  They’re footing the bill; they have a right to put enough strings on it to get a fair return on their investment.  On the other hand, the tech gains value in the employment market—the additional skills and knowledge make him/her a more valuable commodity.

Who will be more affected by this agreement, the multi-million dollar hospital or the struggling technician trying to pay the bills.  Worded that way, it’s kind of a loaded question—but as long as you remain where you are, the reimbursement obligation doesn’t kick in and you can keep paying those bills.

Will you even use this training with your next employer Can’t be answered till you know what the next position is, but has a bearing on the next question.  And has no bearing on your current employer’s desire to assure a fair return on investment.

Will the new employer pay this penalty That can be negotiated during salary and compensation negotiations once an offer has been extended.  If the answer to the previous question is “yes,” then it’s more likely that they’ll make you whole on the tuition reimbursement; otherwise, it depends on how badly they want you.  If they say no, then ou have to decide whether the upside of the career move outweighs the resulting tuition reimbursement burden.

What if you refuse to sign Your current employer probably won’t send you to the training

Can you be fired for not signing If you are what is considered an “at-will” employee, your term of employment can be terminated at any time, for any or no reason, by either party.  And most non-union people are.  If there is a union contract involved, then that may have a bearing.

Is this legal In most cases, yes.  If you have serious doubts, contact an attorney that specializes in employment law.  It may not be as expensive as you fear.  And once you describe the situation and the advice you’re seeking, most can give you at least a pretty close estimate of what the advice will cost—and you can decide whether it’s worth that much to you to get a definite read.

If you do sign and you get training once a year, you will never be able to get another job without paying a penalty.  I hesitate to call it a “penalty.”  If you get training, the hospital benefits from lower service costs; you benefit from becoming better skilled and therefore more employable and marketable.  To be perfectly blunt, if both parties benefit, both should share the cost.  If one party shoulders the entire cost burden, then they need some assurance that it will pay off for them.  If the trained party leaves before that happens, in essence benefiting from that increased value (marketability), it is only fair that they pick up the portion of the paying partry’s anticipated benefit that is thus not being realized.

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Verathon Calibration

Excerpts from a thread on Biomedtalk Jan 2011:

– We have sent our BVI3000 out for anual calibration the last two years and each time they tell us that it will cost another ~$500 because of damage to the case and the probe. This year we checked the unit thoroughly before sending it out. The unit is shipped back in Verathon’s case, which the loaner came in.
Has anyone had this same problem?

– Yes, if there’s a scratch on it they’ll tell you it needs a new case.
Unnecessary.

– I have had that happen also. We cured the problem by getting a cheap digital camera and taking pictures of it prior to shipping. When they called and told me there was damage, I told them I had pictures to prove it left here in good condition. Unit came back in the fashion in which it left. It’s a bunch of BS and they are trying to make extra money. They need to be reported if it has happened to this many of us.Jeff

– Shout out to my fellow biomeds.  It’s time to calibrate our 12-month old bladder scanner.  The hospital purchased along with it the Phantom self-calibration kit thinking biomed could save them some $ on annual cals.  Come to find out that the cal procedures specify that to verify that the cal is successful you have to connect online to their proprietary ScanPoint, server based software which is provided for an additional $504.  Or you can just send in the scanner and they will calibrate for you for $575. They say that basically the Phantom self-calibration kit is useless without purchasing annually the ScanPoint. And apparently logging into ScanPoint is serialized because a separate $504 is required for every scanner that you are checking calibration on.  In either case the calibration reference guide specifically states that the unit must be calibrated at a minimum every 12 months; read that word for word.  Am I stuck or what?  I have contacted Customer Service and they tell me that I don’t have to calibrate as all as long as it is working correctly, even though their guide says so.  Well Duh!!  That what I was checking for.  Can I use any other self-test equipment to perform this calibration check?

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Welch Allyn Partnership Program – Description, not Dirt

Welch Allyn Biomedical Partnership Program

On Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 12:10 PM, Paul Kelley wrote:
I had a chance to meet with Welch Allyn at the AAMI show over the
weekend and they helped clarify the concerns I have about charging a
fee for each device to perform service and the need for a “Gold lic”
to perform calibration.
Apparently since this is a new offering some of the information has
not been presented clearly in the field. I am glad that they monitor
BiomedTalk and wanted to discuss and provide clarification.

Here is what I learned:
1. Welch Allyn does not charge a license fee for each device in order
to perform service. In fact, they have designed their products with
Biomed right to repair in mind.
2. Welch Allyn has two programs available to support their CVSM product.
a. Online technical education. This is a one time fee and upon
completion of the class they send a Gold license which is used on the
Welch Allyn service tool to activate the calibration feature. Without
the training and gold license we can still perform service using the
Welch Allyn service tool to conduct calibration checks, leak checks,
pressure checks, review error logs, device usage, assign location,
amongst other things.
b. Biomed partnership program. This is a support agreement that
covers all devices and provides many more features than the warranty.
It includes the education (which gives you the gold license), loaners,
free parts, accessory protection on the temp probe, direct access to
technical support, free shipping on everything. They now offer this
program coverage for 5 years and it can start at the time the device
is purchased or after the warranty expires.

I have set up a meeting with Jason DiFraia (Director of Global
Services
Marketing) who will be traveling to California to visit us in July.
If you are in the area, and would like to join the discussion, please
click here and give me your availability (the majority rules)
http://www.doodle.com/8vk3thnxz8kgippf. I am tentatively holding all
of the room options (10-3 on July 26 & 27), and so the sooner you can
let me know if and when you are available the better. The meeting
will be on our campus (address below) and will be scheduled for 2
hours.

Now, do you think we can get Verathon or others to join the discussion?

Paul Kelley, CBET
Director, Biomedical Engineering and Green Initiative Washington
Hospital – 2000 Mowry Ave – Fremont, CA 94538
510-791-3493 – Paul_kelley@whhs.com

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Neuro Sciences Integras HandPiece Alternative?

Are there 3rd party options to purchase a Neuro Sciences Integra 24 Khz, short neuro hand piece ? Retail price is around $ 20,000 from the OEM.
p/n 1523000M7.

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