Archive for March, 2010

DMV Misinforms About Right to Hearing

March 15, 2010

A prospective client called today about a DUI case. The client had gone to the Wilson Boulevard DMV office to apply for an administrative hearing on his license suspension, only to be told that he was not eligible for a hearing because he had refused the breath test. WRONG! I can’t imagine why anyone at DMV would misinform someone about his rights under the law. I hope that this was just a mistake by someone new who misunderstood the rules and that a supervisor intervenes before anyone else is turned away.

If, heaven forbid, this were to happen to you, cite the statute,  http://tinyurl.com/yefudgq, and hold your ground! Better yet, call an experienced DUI lawyer before your 10 days runs out! 

Skeeball: My First Love

March 11, 2010

NPR recently aired a story about a Skeeball tournament in Brooklyn, NY.  http://bit.ly/c25y6n

I listen to NPR all the time, so I can’t believe that of all stories, I missed this one! You see, I have Skeeball in my blood.  I was so excited to read about this tournament, and so disappointed that I didn’t get to participate!

I grew up in a Skeeball arcade—literally. My grandfather was in the “amusement” business in Rockaway Beach, Missouri (the now-famous Branson area), and he and my grandmother moved to Panama City Beach in the early 1950s, opening a Skeeball arcade along with baseball batting cages.  My parents moved to the World’s Most Beautiful Beaches in the ‘60s and took over the operation when my grandparents died, and I lived the first six years of my life in a small apartment in the back of this Skeeball arcade on Long Beach.

My brother and I went to sleep each night with Skeeballs rolling against the wall on the other side of our beds, the ringing bells, the click-clack of the Rolodex-style metal scoreboard, and the grind of the lever that was pulled back to release the balls after inserting the nickel (yes, nickel!) into the coin slot serving as our good-night lullaby. These are happy memories.

Eventually we moved to a “real” house, but I still spent a lot of time at Skeeball until I moved away to college (and even after that). And I could still roll those balls up the alley for hours on end.  It’s addicting! Video game, X-Box, Game Boy, Wii?  Not for me. I like my games the old-fashioned way.  Skeeball will never go out of style!

Look for me at the tournament in Brooklyn next year. I can roll a mean 450!

Hospitals Give to Charity Too

March 11, 2010

The Florida Times-Union recently ran a story about how much Jacksonville-area hospitals write off in “charity care” every year.    http://bit.ly/av7Qbf

Not surprisingly, the amount increased dramatically last year over 2008.  St. Vincent’s had the biggest increase at almost 30%.  Orange Park saw a 19% increase, while Memorial soaked up more than a 15% increase ($133 million).

“Charity care” simply means the cost of treating uninsured patients who come to the emergency room and can’t pay their bills.  The hospitals are required by law to treat these patients, but I suspect that a good portion of them don’t really have emergencies in the traditional sense of the term; they have emergencies in the sense that they are desperate for medical care but can’t afford to see a doctor.

Some of these people have lost their job and the health insurance that went along with it. With no income, they can’t afford to pay the premium to extend their coverage through COBRA, even with the government subsidy.  Some of them have a job that doesn’t provide health insurance, and yet they don’t qualify for Medicaid.  Some of them are unable to work because of their health problems, and they’re in the midst of the excruciatingly long application process for Social Security disability benefits or SSI.

We see people like this in our office every day.  In Duval County, we are lucky to have the indigent care program at Shands, which covers many low-income people who don’t have insurance.  This is a taxpayer-funded program that fills in the gaps in the health insurance system for people who live in Jacksonville.  For people who live in the surrounding counties, the resources are far more limited, making it impossible for many to get any kind of treatment.

Our patchwork health care system leaves a lot of people out, and the numbers are growing every day with the downturn in the economy. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I see the problems in my office every day.  The status quo just doesn’t seem to be working for everyone.