Monday, August 24, 2015

Changes Coming

Our gig here is a temporary one, and we’ll be rolling out the gate October 1.  We have been working with the security company since 2010, really the entire 5.5 years we have been full-timers. We like everything about the work – the people, the work itself and the income. In view of my body’s “new normal” following my surgeries in 2012, we are thankful for the nature of the work, the conditions, lack of stress, everything about these assignments. We would like nothing better than to have another following this one; however, we are realists and will be pleasantly surprised if that develops. Whatever happens, we are grateful for the time we have had with this company and its owner.

Back in July my Little Voice whispered, “Medical transcription.”  I was a home-based MT for several years with a bit of time before that in the 1980s in-house at a hospital, was good at it and made a decent living when I was on my own. I continued in the profession after Dave and I married in 2006, up until the time we relocated from Minnesota back to Texas.  When I first had the dream of becoming a solo full-timer back in 2003, I planned to take that job with me on the road. Dave and I talked about my getting back into it. It will give us a source of income that will allow us to be independent and one that we can take with us when the time comes that we want to hang up the keys and come off the road. (We talk about returning to northern Minnesota at some point in the future, but not living in our RV.) Even if we happen to get another security gig, I can do the MT work part-time, as I am currently with my virtual assistant job. I reactivated my professional organization membership and am making my way through an acute care (hospital dictation) self-paced online course through the continuing education branch of that organization to refresh my skills. I always enjoyed being an MT. I find it fascinating. It’s fun! I’m quite pleased that the “lingo” is returning easier than anticipated. Apparently MT work imprints repressed memories. Teehee!

Workstation 08112015

Ergonomics are essential in MT work. Dave added on a keyboard shelf to my wee workstation. The black ergonomic keyboard sits on the shelf; it’s just off in the photo to show the extension. My new work area will go in the rig where our dining table currently sits. Maybe that will happen this week?

I can do the job, but the trick will be finding the desired opportunity. I have been away from the profession for a few years and its nature has changed somewhat; however, I have solid experience in acute care (which is a higher level of technical expertise). I also performed QA and mentored new MTs in my final position. These are all factors in my favor.

Turns out my Little Voice was prophetic yet once again, as Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Texas recently announced it will not offer individual PPO health insurance plans in 2016. Only HMO plans will be available. Since BCBSTX is the only carrier available in our zip code (Livingston / Escapees), we are once again losing good (although significantly inferior to the insurance we had prior to the enactment of the ACA) insurance. Our PPO covers us out of Texas. The HMO will not. BCBSTX currently has an add-on option called Away from Home Care; however, under one HMO network it covers emergencies only for a period of less than 90 days out of Texas and provides no coverage at all under the other HMO network.

Well.  #*()#& <--- insert your favorite expletive deleted. I once worked for a minor league baseball club, so I have several choice ones in case you need suggestions.

I have avoided HMOs my entire life and am now forced into one. Okay. I’m not going down the road of talking about this. I fought the good fight when the ACA was coming with letters, emails and phone conversations with my legislators, all to no avail. The things I predicted with the ACA are coming to pass. At this point, I am simply focusing on survival for us.

Even Warriors get tired.

So.

More information will be available from BCBSTX in October (supposedly), so we’ll know more (hopefully) and can make definitive plans at that time.  Plans set in Jell-O, of course.

Everything is happening in October.

That in itself is a source of stress these days. We roll out of here October 1. We originally planned on landing somewhere in The South (probably GA or AL) for the winter, hopefully with Dave working for our site and my getting into MT work. That idea is history. We won’t know anything about health insurance until October or November. Somewhere in that time frame I need to start applying for MT positions.

Right now the probability is that we will be returning to Texas for the long term. I have been researching the availability of healthcare services in different areas based on current available information, the towns and areas in general and different options regarding long-term RV sites.

Again I say, “So.”

Timing will be the tricky part, and we are still grappling with that. Head straight to Texas? Sit elsewhere for the winter months? Don’t really want to start a new MT job and then have to take a break to travel. Same thing goes for Dave landing a workamping gig. Oh well. I have to trust The Universe that all will work out as it should.

The ideal scenario would be another security assignment in Texas and I could work part-time as an MT, setting us up for the long term and our dream of eventual return to Minnesota.

If that does not develop, what I envision is making a sustainable living as an MT, our home set up in a comfortable park, Dave finding activities to keep him occupied and fulfilled, perhaps even hanging out my virtual “open for business” sign to The Universe and teaching Reiki again, being able to move with the seasons within Texas (i.e., down to the beach for winter) or maybe even a bit into Arkansas where it might be a tad cooler during the heat of the summer months and . . . well, simply comfortably enjoying ourselves.

It has the potential to be a totally groovy existence!

In Other News

We have started playing chess again on the weekends.  Yay us!

The ants are still with us and will be until we leave here. It’s just a fact of life at this location. I have felt better about our intruders after seeing this news article about seed bugs in California. One woman says in the article the only light she has on in her home at night is the television. Yikes!

Dave was run off the road today when he was cycling. Thank goodness he is a very proficient and talented cyclist. He managed to stay upright as he went off the road into a ditch to avoid being struck by a car. A woman out in her yard called over to make sure he was okay.

I’ve been listening to quite a bit of Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins, Willie Nelson and others on Pandroa lately when I work at night. I remember my parents playing a record of El Paso by Marty Robbins. What I never realized until recently is he has another song about that cowboy’s love Faleena. Crazy. Me? Listening to that? Yeah. Well . . .

If you’ve made it this far, all I can say is I do appreciate you taking the time to read what’s going on. Lots happening, eh?

Thanks so much for stopping by!

8 comments:

  1. Wow, you were a medical transcriptionist too? I was an MT for 15 years and was President of the Portland, Oregon chapter of AAMT for a year. I worked in a trauma center hospital in Portland where I typed H&Ps, Consultations, Operations, Discharge Summaries. Also worked part time for a neurologist doing MT in his office (x-rays, exams, etc.). I LOVE medical transcription, but from the hospital I went to work for a private company, Dictation West. At Dictation West, we got a lot of work from southern California, so I typed lots of psychological examinations which were fascinating. Dictation West also flew me to southern California a couple of times to work in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. We got paid for what we typed, so I would type nonstop, i.e., very short breaks, ate lunch at my desk, and developed writer's cramp (segmental dystonia). I had to stop doing MT work as my left hand, to this day, cramps up when I type. So no more speed typing for me.

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    1. Susan, I've worked a variety of office and administrative positions in the medical field. Being an MT has been my absolute favorite. I did VA hospital accounts, which were all acute care, and I was the "go to" MT for operative notes. Love, love those! I've been fortunate with no hand/wrist issues, but I do make sure my workstation is ergonomic, use an ergonomic keyboard and wearing typing gloves that give support to the wrists. I also take a short break anywhere from every 1-2 hours, just to get up and walk away from the computer for a few minutes. For a variety of reasons! Teehee!

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  2. Hey!
    Hope you are doing fine. :) I moved my blog ak-ou-stik.blogspot.in to WordPress. Would love it if you could follow me again!

    Cheers,
    Anjali :)

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    1. Anjali! Good to hear from you! I'll check out your new blog soon. I also publish this blog on WordPress at https://txyellowrose.wordpress.com/

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  3. Are you not able to get group insurance as part of your temp work? I do IT contract work and any temp firm with more than 50 employees has to provide medical insurance under the ACA. So all my temp gigs offer medical insurance and I can carry COBRA if the gig ends before the calendar year. BCBS will still offer PPO insurance in TX next year but only for employer sponsored plans, not on the individual market.

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    1. SWPM, I work through Upwork (formerly oDesk). Upwork offers insurance if one has full-time status. It is not available for part-time contractors. Currently I am part-time; however, if I ended up adding clients, I might be at full-time hours. I will be going the route of medical transcription first with Upwork as an alternative. Thanks for your input. Yes, as I wrote in this blog post, BCBSTX will only offer PPO through employers in 2016. Individual plans are being discontinued. We have individual coverage; hence, the problem.

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  4. My favorite Marty Robbins hit is My Woman, My Wife. So glad I got to see him in concert. saw Johnny Cash with June Carter too.

    You have lots of decisions on the horizon. All will work out.

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  5. Wow. So happy Dave is such an excellent bike handler. Glad he wasn't hurt and that he stayed upright. That is such a bummer about BCBSTX, that's going to impact a lot of people. Good luck with your decision making.

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