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Health Care Robots: Next Generation Decision-Making Software, Eliminates Manual Systems Labor

PRESS RELEASE:

Cutting costs is key to health care reform. Linnaeus, Inc., a Franklin, Tennessee-based software company, has won Innovator of The Year honors for its healthcare administration automation product, Health Mason. It uses artificial intelligence to replace manual systems labor to result in unprecedented healthcare administration productivity savings.

FRANKLIN, Nov. 16 /PRNewswire/ — With health care reform taking the national spotlight, the sole point of agreement by all parties is that some form of change is necessary. Many health care industry experts believe that now is the worst time for government-mandated change because innovation has already begun to occur organically from within the industry. One Franklin Tennessee-based software company is defining that innovation and garnering attention in the industry.

Health Mason is the solution to the labor intensive, inefficient, and error prone process of health care claim payment. Health Mason is the first product to automate this process from beginning to end and simultaneously accommodate the frequent contract and compliance changes in the industry that has stymied past software solutions. The CEO of Linnaeus and creator of Health Mason, Sal Novin, describes Health Mason as a product that can emulate the work of a human claim examiner. “Health Mason reads a computer screen, it types in data, and decides how to perform a given task with no additional help or tools.” But not only does it replicate the work of a human operator, it performs every process with the same mechanical precision as the last, dramatically decreasing human error and increasing quality.

Still, Health Mason’s most jaw dropping feature is its raw performance, which is the stuff of science fiction. Novin attributes Health Mason’s performance to a technical concept called “multi-threading.” Each thread or instance of the application is like a super-human operator reading, typing and deciding the best way to process a health care claim at 3 to 10 times the speed of an average operator. Each thread works relentlessly 24 hours a day, without the need for breaks, food, or sleep – pausing long enough only for nightly backups and other system related tasks. Multi-threading means that adding “staff” is as easy as adding more items to a shopping cart on Amazon.com – no hiring, no training, and no overhead. Each new thread is a clone that processes as effectively and efficiently as the last.

Novin describes the creation of Health Mason as a case study in good old fashion American ingenuity – having come up with the concept to overcome an unprecedented claim backlog for a health insurer. The conventional solution was to hire temporary staff to clear the work load; however new staff had very little health care experience. The result was the introduction of new errors that were even harder to fix. The result was a solution that Novin had used previously while working in the financial sector, which was to simulate human input into a system. Employing that technique was significantly harder in health care, but the result became the underpinnings for a solution that was able to perform in two weeks what a 30 person department of examiners could not accomplish in a month. Today, the latest version of Health Mason can complete the same task in 50 hours.

The latest advancements in Health Mason’s logic have been to its decision-making capabilities. Health Mason draws much of its capabilities through a proprietary, health care-specific software scripting language. The scripting language codifies common health care decisions to enable rapid automation of manual processes. Most recently, Health Mason was required to audit claims – a significantly more complex task than claim editing or examining. The new scripting language was augmented to handle very sophisticated decisions.

The Linnaeus team has leveraged all these technological advancements to break from convention when it comes to health care technology in general. Novin added, “We set out to change all the negative health care software preconceptions, by making implementation time a few weeks, delivering direct one-to-one savings through a simple transaction model, and make the harder to quantify performance and quality improvements a free value-add.”

Health Mason still must face the uphill battle of broad acceptance. Mr. Novin is confident that the Linnaeus team is up to the challenge. “There are scores of executives and operations teams who have been burned by technology. Our goal is to target the ‘guts’ and not the ‘glory’ of operations and win over new health plans and providers that are in real need of productivity savings.”

If you would like more information about Health Mason, or to schedule an interview with Sal Novin, please call Gail McDuffie at 615-496-2993 or e-mail Gail at gail.mcduffie@linnaeusinc.com

SOURCE: Linnaeus Inc.

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Tennessee Tops States in Activities for Global Entrepreneurship Week

State of Tennessee Press Release, Nov. 12, 2009:

NASHVILLE — The state of Tennessee currently leads the nation in the number of events planned for Global Entrepreneurship Week Nov. 16-22, which celebrates the vital role entrepreneurs play in innovation, job creation and economic recovery. To date, Tennessee has confirmed more than 60 events, leading all other states in the nation by 19 activities. Tennessee also ranks in the top ten for partners, with more than 50 organizations across the state joining in to make 2009’s celebration a success.

“Entrepreneurs provide the foundation that great companies and communities are built upon,” said Matt Kisber, commissioner Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. “To have so many willing participants and activities for Global Entrepreneurship Week is a testament to the passionate, creative individuals we have living in our state. I am proud that Tennessee is standing tall amongst the nation and providing opportunities for entrepreneurs to grow and share their skills.”

Global Entrepreneurship Week is a worldwide event intended to inspire, connect, mentor and engage young people with the desire to change the world. Partners include universities, high schools, non-profit organizations, successful entrepreneurs and government agencies.

Activities across Tennessee range from pitch contests and launch challenges to speaker series’ and panels from various industries. The week officially kicks off tomorrow in Chattanooga with 48Hour Launch, a high-octane event at which entrepreneurs gather and try to launch as many tech companies as possible in a 48-hour period.

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America’s Future Foundation event: Former TennCare director to discuss health care reform

Join America’s Future Foundation in Nashville as Brian Lapps, a former TennCare director, shares his perspective on national healthcare reform.

  • Date: Monday, November 16, 2009
  • Time: Cocktail hour at 6:30 pm, Brian Lapps speaks at 7:30 pm with Q&A immediately following
  • Place: Hampton Inn Green Hills, Belle Meade Room ( 2324 Crestmoor Road, 37215)
  • Hors d’oeuvres, non-alcoholic beverages and alcoholic beverages will be provided.

About Brian Lapps:

As the former director and assistant commissioner of the TennCare Bureau in Nashville, Brian Lapps developed and initiated a comprehensive reform plan for the $4.3 billion program. At the time, TennCare was the most comprehensive and difficult Medicaid Managed Care program in the United States. Mr. Lapps interacted with state and federal officials, nine managed care organizations (HMO’s), providers and multiple constituencies to reign in the program. He has nearly 4 decades of experience in the healthcare industry, including executive positions at several Nashville-area hospitals and healthcare organizations. He is currently a managing director with Harpeth Consulting, a business management consulting firm focused on commercial for-profit and not-for-profit healthcare providers and payers and federal, state and local government healthcare agencies.

Price Rainer (email)

Executive Director — Nashville America’s Future Foundation (Facebook) (Twitter)

http://www.americasfuture.org/nashville-chapter/


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America’s Future Foundation event: Former TennCare director to discuss health care reform

Join America’s Future Foundation as Brian Lapps, a former TennCare director, shares his perspective on national healthcare reform.

  • Date: Monday, November 16, 2009
  • Time: Cocktail hour at 6:30 pm, Brian Lapps speaks at 7:30 pm with Q&A immediately following
  • Place: Hampton Inn Green Hills, Belle Meade Room ( 2324 Crestmoor Road, 37215)
  • Hors d’oeuvres, non-alcoholic beverages and alcoholic beverages will be provided.

About Brian Lapps:

As the former director and assistant commissioner of the TennCare Bureau in Nashville, Brian Lapps developed and initiated a comprehensive reform plan for the $4.3 billion program. At the time, TennCare was the most comprehensive and difficult Medicaid Managed Care program in the United States. Mr. Lapps interacted with state and federal officials, nine managed care organizations (HMO’s), providers and multiple constituencies to reign in the program. He has nearly 4 decades of experience in the healthcare industry, including executive positions at several Nashville-area hospitals and healthcare organizations. He is currently a managing director with Harpeth Consulting, a business management consulting firm focused on commercial for-profit and not-for-profit healthcare providers and payers and federal, state and local government healthcare agencies.

****************************** ****************************

Price Rainer (price@americasfuture.org)
Executive Director — Nashville America’s Future Foundation

http://www.americasfuture.org/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home. php#/group.php?gid=29150358994

Twitter: http://twitter.com/aff_ nashville

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TN Supreme Court opinion: State v. Michael Casper

State of Tennessee v. Michael Casper View

Rutherford County– The defendant was convicted of fifteen counts of willfully selling securities without registering with the state as a broker-dealer or agent in violation of Tennessee Code Annotated section 48-2-109. The trial court imposed concurrent sentences of four years on each count, required eleven months to be served in jail, and ordered twelve years of probation, community service, and the payment of fines and restitution.

The Court of Criminal Appeals reversed and dismissed the convictions on grounds of insufficient evidence, holding that the term “willfully” in the criminal penalties section of the Tennessee Securities Act of 1980 required that the defendant not only had to act deliberately, but also had to be aware that his conduct was prohibited by law. We adopt the majority rule and hold that the statute does not require the state to prove that the defendant knew his or her acts were illegal in order to establish a willful violation of our state securities laws.

The term “willfully” in Tennessee Code Annotated section 48-2-123(a) requires only that the accused acted deliberately and was fully aware of his or her conduct. Because the defendant was aware he was selling securities and knew that he was not registered as a broker-dealer or agent, we reinstate the convictions and the sentences.

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TSEA Calls for Leadership and Initiative on the Hill

Tennessee Service Employee Association Press Release

“Who will provide services to the citizens across the state,” said Almous Austin, acting president of the Tennessee State Employees Association? The Governor announced that layoffs of state employees will be part of the budget cuts coming for 2010, even though employee salaries and benefits are less than one percent of the state budget, “It is time for the Governor and the legislature to look at the other ninety-nine percent of the budget for cuts,” continued Austin.

“How much more can you ask the citizens of our state to do without? Every state job cut equals services to Tennesseans that will no longer be available,” said Austin. It is time for our elected leaders to explore areas within the budget other than personnel to balance the budget. “New challenges caused by the economy demand innovative thinking and initiative on the part of our General Assembly, so Tennessee may continue to be one of the greatest states in which to live and work,” continued Austin.

TSEA holds firm to our belief that layoffs should be a last course of action after all other avenues to balance the budget have been explored. “Services provided by state employees are the reason businesses choose to move into Tennessee. Transportation, corrections, child services, mental health care, park services, the list goes on and all are critical areas that effect each and every citizen of our state,” said Austin

TSEA offered alternatives to layoffs last legislative session and again asks that our legislators look long and hard for ways to keep Tennessee state employees working and participating in our tax structure. Alternatives to layoffs are:

* Contract Freeze (with exceptions for emergencies and immediate needs, as certified by the Fiscal Review Committee) an intense examination of necessity for and operation of contracts presently in existence. (such examination to be conducted by the Fiscal Review Committee and its staff)

* Follow Utah’s lead on a 4-day work week with no change in employee salary or benefits.

* Take necessary monies out of the “Rainy Day” and other surplus funds and save jobs.

* Use the “deferred pay” option. (submitted to the legislature last session)

* Fairly and equitably administer a wide-ranging Voluntary Buyout Plan

* Furloughs as a last resort to prevent layoffs.

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Revenue Commissioners Kisber & Farr Announce TNInvestco Finalists

(State of Tennessee press Release; Thu, Nov 05, 2009)

Will Seek General Assembly Approval to Expand Tax Credit Allocations

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matt Kisber and Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr today announced the names of the six selected venture capital firms and two alternates named to participate in the TNInvestco program.

They are:

  • Tennessee Community Ventures Fund, LLC, Nashville, Tennessee
  • XMi High Growth Development Fund, LLC, Nashville and Chattanooga, Tennessee.
  • Limestone Fund, LLC, Nashville, Tennessee
  • Tri-Star Technology Fund, LLC, Nashville, Tennessee
  • Innova Fund II, LP, Memphis, Tennessee
  • Council & Enhanced Tennessee Fund, LLC, Nashville, Tennessee.

The two alternate funds selected include:

  • Solidus-TNInvestco LLC, Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga and Oak Ridge, Tennessee
  • Tennessee Angel Fund, Nashville, Tennessee.

Each of the six TNInvestco funds will receive an allocation of $20 million dollars in gross premiums tax credits which will be marketed to insurance companies to create a pool of venture capital funds for investment in early- and mid-stage companies in Tennessee. In addition, Commissioners Kisber and Farr also announced their intention to request an additional $40 million dollars in tax credits from the Tennessee General Assembly when it convenes in 2010 in order to allow the two alternate funds to proceed as well.

The goals of TNInvestco as outlined by the commissioners are to develop Tennessee’s entrepreneurial infrastructure, to bring additional capital into the state, to diversify the state’s economy and to create “anchors” or “clusters” of business innovation which can result in new companies being created or spun off and new talent being attracted to Tennessee.

“Each of the funds named today brings a different set of skills and a different area of expertise to the TNInvestco program” said Commissioner Kisber. “I believe each fund has looked closely at Tennessee’s strengths and has developed well reasoned strategies for developing companies with strong prospects for success.”

“The funds we’re naming today are about more than simply providing capital to entrepreneurs, although that’s an important part of what they do,” said Commission Farr. “Each fund has a strong history of also mentoring and advising early stage companies and guiding them from innovation to sustainability and that’s one of the reasons they were chosen.”

The TNInvestco program was created by the Tennessee General Assembly in 2009 as part of a broad strategy to nurture entrepreneurship in the state and to jump start job creation in sectors of the economy with high growth potential.

Commissioner Farr said the funds may begin marketing their allocations and reviewing applications from companies immediately, but the law creating the TNInvestco program specifies allocations will not be received by the venture funds until January 2010.

Individual businesses interested in applying for the program may go to www.tninvestco.gov and complete an application form which will be submitted to each of the TNInvestco funds. In addition, businesses applying for the program will receive information about available help through the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s Business Enterprise Resource Office for small and disadvantaged businesses and the Tennessee Technology Development Corporation.

###

Contact: Mark Drury, ECD

Office: (615) 532-8880

Cell: (615) 330-7587

E-mail: mark.drury@tn.gov

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First Amendment, Second Amendment values jostle

via First Amendment Center

By Allie Diffendal

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — First Amendment and Second Amendment values jostled  yesterday in a First Amendment Center panel discussion on whether state handgun-permit records should be public.

A dispute arose last year when The Commercial Appeal newspaper of Memphis posted the full state database of some 257,000 handgun-permit holders on its Web site.

After many gun owners expressed anger at the inclusion of gun carriers’ addresses and dates of birth, the newspaper took out those parts of the database but kept the rest of the information online. An effort in the Tennessee Senate to close access to the names of people permitted to carry loaded handguns failed in June of this year. A renewed push is expected in 2010.

In yesterday’s 90-minute give-and-take, at the John Seigenthaler Center on the Vanderbilt University campus, Commercial Appeal Editor Chris Peck defended publishing the records as part of an effort to give people accurate information to make informed decisions.

He gave the example of parents who might want to know whether a house their kids visit has a gun in it. Peck also said that his newspaper’s analysis of the data found 70 people in Shelby County, which includes Memphis, who had been issued permits despite being legally prohibited from carrying guns because of their violent records.

But the Second Amendment side of the equation came prepared with its own examples.

John Harris, executive director of the Tennessee Firearms Association, said many permit holders feared that their being identified publicly was an attempt to intimidate them as gun owners. “This is not a gun issue, but a privacy issue,” Harris said.

Harris said many gun-permit holders don’t want their identities known because they have been victims of domestic abuse or stalking.

Permit holder Richard Archie of Bells, Tenn., said making the data public put him and his wife at risk from gun thieves. A public database, he said, created a “menu” for people looking to steal weapons and should be used for law-enforcement purposes only.

Peck said there was no evidence that criminals were using the information to target gun owners at their homes. Gun thefts tend to be “crimes of opportunity” that occur in break-ins by thieves looking for anything valuable, he said.

The purpose of making the permit data available, Peck said, was not to punish or intimidate gun owners, but to satisfy the public’s the right to know information about an important public issue.

“In an open society people take that info and make of it what they will,” he said.

After a reader commented on a Commercial Appeal story about a shooting, asking whether the assailant had a permit, Peck said an editor replied, “I don’t know, but you can go to our database and look.”

“Accountability and transparency in government is the bottom line on this,” Peck said.

Harris said the kind of government information that should be publicly available should help citizens monitor government operations. Voter-registration databases would fit that bill, he said.

Archie said it was fine that the newspaper had exposed the 70 illegal handgun carriers, but it should have confined itself to publishing their names, not those of legal permit holders.

He said he was one of the people who wrote “some pretty striking letters” when he first saw his name, address and birth date on The Commercial Appeal’s Web site.

The outrage directed at the newspaper and Peck personally was unmatched in his 30 years of journalism, the editor said. He said a gun-rights supporter posted online his name, photograph, a map to his house and pictures of all of his children so that he could “see how it feels.” The newspaper asked for police protection because of the level of threats made after the database went online, Peck said.

The larger issue, said First Amendment Center scholar David L. Hudson Jr., involves the long-time clash between privacy and the First Amendment. Public consciousness of topics such as open gun-permit records has been heightened by the Supreme Court’s 2008 ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller, which struck down a broad gun ban as a violation of the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

Allie Diffendal is a senior majoring in political science and American studies at Vanderbilt University.

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Bredesen Proclaims October 30 Weatherization Day in Tennessee

State of Tennessee press Release; Fri, Oct 30, 2009

  • Recovery Act
  • Human Services

Recovery Act Helps Boost Participation In Program

NASHVILLE— Governor Phil Bredesen has proclaimed October 30th Weatherization Day in Tennessee to promote the economic and environmental benefits of this home energy efficiency program.

“The Recovery Act has increased funding and expanded eligibility for this program that previously benefited only a few thousand Tennesseans each year,” said Governor Bredesen. “I’m extremely pleased more families now qualify and encourage all those that do to take advantage of this opportunity to reduce their energy consumption and utility costs.”

Through the Recovery Act, the U.S. Department of Energy is making $99 million available to Tennessee for its weatherization program. Eligibility was expanded by the General Assembly last spring from 125 percent to 200 percent of poverty, ensuring that even more Tennesseans would qualify for the home energy improvement program. Priority is still given to families with small children, the elderly and people with disabilities.

Weatherization can help reduce energy consumption and a home’s utility bills by up to 32 percent through measures that include insulation, weather stripping, installing new energy efficient windows and/or even replacing entire heating and cooling systems. Citizens can apply for the program at their local Weatherization agency, or download an application from the DHS website.

“Citizens in every corner of the state are benefitting from this program,” said DHS Commissioner Gina Lodge. “Once approved, a certified energy auditor will assess the energy improvement needs of the home. Within a few weeks, that job is contracted out and the weatherization work is performed. Thanks to our partnership with 18 local non-profit and government agencies, DHS has been able to aggressively put Recovery dollars to work in Tennessee.”

DHS worked with the Tennessee Valley Authority to increase the pool of certified contractors and auditors over the summer. More than 340 contractors and 240 auditors were trained and certified.

To date, more homes have been pre-audited in the first four months of the year than were weatherized during the entire last full fiscal year. DHS expects to weatherize more than 10,000 by September, 2010.

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Bredesen Announces SBA Declaration Granted for Hamilton and Surrounding Counties

(Oct. 10, 2009) Governor Phil Bredesen today announced the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has granted his request for a disaster declaration for Hamilton and the contiguous counties in Tennessee and Georgia following severe storms and flooding in September.

“This is welcome news for Tennesseans in these counties,” said Bredesen. “The ability to access low-interest loans through SBA will help those impacted by the heavy rains and flooding in September to speed their recovery efforts.”

A preliminary damage survey found that Hamilton County suffered more than $455,000 in damages to homes and businesses throughout the county. There were 90 homes with major damages and 50 homes with minor damages. Also, there were 26 businesses with minor damages and three businesses with major damages. More than 31 homes and businesses experienced uninsured damages in excess of 40 percent or more of their fair replacement value. One person was killed when he was swept away by rushing flood waters.

An SBA disaster declaration makes homeowners and businesses affected by the disaster eligible for low interest loans. In this case, the rate for homeowners will be 2.75 percent or 5.5 percent, depending on whether they can get credit elsewhere, and business rates range from 4 to 6 percent.

SBA declarations make victims in adjacent counties eligible for aid as well, so the declaration includes the Tennessee counties of Bledsoe, Bradley, Marion, Meigs, Rhea and Sequatchie, and the Georgia counties of Catoosa, Dade, Walker and Whitfield. Those affected have until December 21, 2009, to apply for relief from physical damage and until July 21, 2010, to apply for relief from economic injury caused by the September 16 storms and flooding