From the daily archives: Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Better: 32.3%

Worse: 22.9%

No Change: 31.5%

62.6% Say Paying Health Care Costs is Their Biggest Financial Concern

BURLINGAME, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A December 2009 survey of 1,030 Medicare-eligible retirees revealed that 32.3% believe the economy in 2010 will get better, 22.9% believe it will get worse, and 31.5% believe it will stay the same. At the same time, 48.2% rate their personal financial situation as “good” or “excellent,” while 46.5 % say it is “fair.” Just 5.3% say their personal financial situation is “fairly bad” or “terrible.”

“Especially for retirees on fixed incomes, rising health care costs can threaten their peace of mind”

The survey also revealed that paying for health care and medical expenses is the biggest financial concern of retirees by a wide margin – 62.6% compared to 21.6% for saving money and 14.2% for paying everyday bills.

The survey was fielded by Extend Health, Inc., which operates the largest private Medicare Exchange in the country and whose 400+ benefit advisors have helped more than 250,000 Medicare-eligible retirees find and evaluate private Medicare plans that meet their personalized needs since the exchange was launched in 2006.

According to Bryce Williams, President and CEO, the survey results underscore retirees’ concerns about the impact of rising health care costs. “Especially for retirees on fixed incomes, rising health care costs can threaten their peace of mind,” said Williams.

Extend Health surveys its retiree customers frequently on their views of health care, Medicare, and finances, and publishes the results.

Questions and detailed results are as follows:

In 2010, the economy will:

Get better 32.3%

Get worse 22.9%

Stay the same 31.5%

Don’t know 13.4%

Your personal financial situation is:

Excellent 5.3%

Good 42.9%

Fair 46.5%

Fairly bad 4.5%

Terrible 0.8%

Your biggest financial concern is:

Paying your everyday bills 14.2%

Paying for health care and medical expenses 62.6%

Saving money 21.6%

Paying for dinner out or entertainment 1.0%

Buying gifts for your family 0.6%

About Extend Health

Extend Health, Inc. operates the largest private Medicare exchange in the country. Launched in 2006, the Extend Health Medicare Exchange and the company’s licensed and certified benefit advisors have helped more than 250,000 Medicare-eligible retirees nationwide identify and evaluate private Medicare plans that best meet their needs and budgets based on their personal medical and pharmaceutical needs. Based in Burlingame, California, Extend Health also has helped Fortune 500 companies, unions, and municipalities save up to 35% on health care coverage for Medicare-eligible retirees when compared to employer group plans. For more information, visit Extend Health on the web at


By Mario Conde

The Calexico City Council approved a humanitarian donation for Haiti relief efforts to support earthquake victims.

Haiti suffered a 7.0 earthquake last week that destroyed most of the country. It is estimated that there are 200,000 dead because of this earthquake and the number of deaths could go up soon. Because of the lack of infrastructure of the country most of the humanitarian donations for Haiti have not been able arrive. The Haiti government lost control of the national security since their presidential palace was destroyed even when the president and his family survive the earthquake. The City of Calexico held a press conference last week to announce that the City will donate $5,000 to Haiti and invited the residents to join the efforts to help.

Calexico resident Vincent Cuevas questioned the council saying that they have violated the Brown Act by putting this resolution on the agenda and questioned as to why they were giving away city’s money when Calexico is in the red.

The Council voted unanimously approved the $5,000 to Haiti. City Manager Victor Carrillo said that there will be no impact to the city’s finances since all the money was donated by several parties. Carrillo said that since the City could not send firefighters it was easy for them to collect money for Haiti.

Mayor David Ouzan said Calexico would do the same thing for any other county that needed help. Sylvia Preciado from the Red Cross thanked the council for being the first City in the Imperial Valley support Haiti.


By Mario Conde

The Calexico City Council approved a contract with Dynamics Consulting Engineers to provide engineering consultant services for completion of the survey and design of the EDA grant off-site improvements.

With the approval of this agreement the City of Calexico will meet the deadline required by the EDA for the beginning of construction of the subject project by September 10, 2010 and provide infrastructure improvements encourage development of vacant parcels in the project area. This, the RDA believes, will stimulate vertical construction buildings, hiring opportunities, increase property taxes to the city and tax increment to the agency.

The City of Calexico received a $3 million dollar EDA grant from the United States Treasury which has been sign and accepted. The engineering design and bidding of the project must be completed by August 2010 and the City has two years for the completion of the infrastructure improvements that must be finished no later than August 2012.

The City submitted an application to get EDA money in 2007 to fund infrastructure improvements to assist in the creation of new jobs for proposed area of Town Center Plaza, Portico Industrial Park, and the Kloke Tract.

The total estimated cost of improvements to be constructed is estimated to be $6,000,000. There will be no fiscal impact to the General Fund since Measure D funds will be used to pay for subject contract. The Contract amount is $162,320.

In other items, the council approved amending the “removal” of City commissionaires. With this amendment the Mayor will now have the authority to recommend the removal of city commissionaires but it will have to go to Council for a vote. Previously, the Council person that appointed a person to board or commission was the one that removed them as well.

The Council also decided to continue the public hearing that would officially rescind the Mega Park project. The developers requested the City to delay the public hearing until February 2nd, 2010.


By Mario Conde

Calexico Councilman Daniel Romero responds to some allegations that were made against him by local police officer.

A couple of weeks ago Councilman Romero was accused on the Calecia website  by a police officer who identifies himself as “Gyphon1” of going to the Police Chief after being cited during the holiday season. After speaking with his fellow council members, the blogger wrote, it was given direction to police officers not to cite Calexico City Council members because of this incident.

Romero spoke about the situation at Tuesday’s meeting saying that he was in fact cited but denied asking political favors to the Chief or the Council.

“Those that know me well are aware that I would never ask for political favors to skip something like this.” Romero said.

Romero denied talking to the Council about this and agreeing to tell the Chief to exempt council members from the vehicle code. Romero apologized to the Council for being dragged into this situation. Romero is expected to go to court next month.

City Manager Victor Carrillo said no one is above the law and said that if situations like this are real they will take appropriate disciplinary action.

“If the scenario made by the police officer, who wishes to remain anonymous, is true any officer or employee of Calexico that engages in any conduct of malfeasance on duty appropriate disciplinary action will be taken based on the severity of their involvement.” Carrillo said.

“If any Councilmember or City administrator attempts to receive special treatment because of their position, their inappropriate action will be taken care of.” Carrillo said and continued. “No one is above the law and all Council members and employees when they took office or were hired. If we need to remind them again, we will.”


Local Emergency Caregivers Depart for Haiti to Aid in Earthquake Disaster Relief

San Diego-based International Relief Teams (IRT), an international humanitarian and healthcare nonprofit organization, will deploy its initial emergency medical team to Haiti on Saturday, January 16The team will depart the Commuter Terminal at Lindbergh Field on American Airlines flight #3064 at 8:05 PM to Los Angeles on the first leg of 2 week assignment in Haiti.

Nathan Watson, M.D. (La Jolla) is an emergency room doctor at Pioneers Memorial Hospital in Brawley.  Dr. Watson served with International Relief Teams after the Nias Island earthquake and the resultant tsunami.  Rick Goldsberry, R.N. (Brawley) on the staff at PMH and is the Director of Emergency Medical Services Training programs at Imperial Valley College deployed with International Relief Teams following the earthquake in Kobe, Japan in 1995.  Goldsberry has traveled to the countries of Latvia and Lithuania with IRT on 10 occasions since 1994 to help train the doctors and nurses in Advanced Cardiac Care.

The 5 member team of emergency physicians and nurses will be taking medical supplies, as well as tents, sleeping bags and other support items, and will be working under very austere conditions.  IRT selected the team based upon their prior experience in working in disasters, either nationally or internationally.  Three three other physicians, Colleen Buono, M.D. (Pacific Beach), Christian Sloane, M.D. (Del Mar) and Sean-Xavier Neath, M.D. (Mission Hills) are from UCSD Medical Center.  Buono and Sloane had been previously deployed to Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina with CA-4, a Disaster Medical Assistance Team co-sponsored by UCSD Medical Center and International Relief Teams.  Neath has had international experience with the Peace Corps in Haiti.

Personnel from IRT’s international partner, International Medical Corps (IMC) will meet the team in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic where additional medical supplies will be gathered for the final leg into Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

International Relief Teams (IRT), a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, has more than 21 years of experience in assisting victims of disasters, both nationally and internationally.  During its history, IRT has deployed 355 disaster relief teams, and has delivered more than $73 million in emergency medicines and supplies to those in desperate need.  IRT is recognized as a 4-star charity (the highest level) with Charity Navigator, America’s largest charity evaluator (

Donations to support IRT’s relief efforts can be made online at,

by mail:      International Relief Teams

Attn: Haiti Earthquake

4560 Alvarado Canyon Rd, Suite 2G

San Diego, CA 92120

or by phone: (619) 284-7979

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