Dec 18

Employee Spotlight – Kat Korte

Employee Spotlight, Health Care, Insurance, HolidaysWe absolutely love featuring CPH & Associates team members. It gives us a chance to find out more about members of our CPH family, and share with you stories of our different backgrounds, experiences and strengths. This month’s employee spotlight shines on Kat Korte — below is what she shared with us:

 

Why did you choose, and how long have you worked with CPH? I’ve worked for CPH for 9 months. I moved from Seattle to Chicago to work for CPH & Associates because it provided such great potential for growth within the company. The opportunity to move to such a great city was a major plus as well!

 

What is your role at CPH? My role at CPH & associates allows me to do a little bit of everything which I love. I am a licensed insurance agent who works with high risk clients, boards of directors and officers; I also am an underwriter for individual and group social work policies. As well as various administrative tasks.

 

Why would customers need to interact with you?

Customers interact with me regarding: The application process, questions they may have about their policies, changes or upgrades in coverage.

 

How would you describe the company culture?

CPH displays a fast paced business atmosphere as well; the small company culture also allows the office to be a fun and approachable environment to work in.

 

What do you like most about working for CPH?

I like the variety of work and the ability to be challenged and grow within the company. I also value the team orientated atmosphere which makes it easy to work alongside and learn from each other directly in a rapidly evolving company.

 

Thank you for your hard work and dedication, Kim! Happy Holidays!

Dec 16

The Bulgarian Green Cat — Some Fun With Genetics

Green Cat, Evolution, GeneticsA few weeks ago, tourists and residents of Varna, a Bulgarian seaside resort town, spotted an unusual creature: a bright green, almost emerald-furred stray cat. Since the first photos of this freaky-colored feline appeared on the internet, the cat became sort of an internet sensation. Many theories immediately arose:

Some thought the images were simply “Photoshopped” photos of a regular cat. Not a bad guess considering how bizarre the cat’s fur looks. However, as more and more people started noticing the cat wandering the streets of Varna, the Photoshop hypothesis quickly disappeared.

Others had a more sinister theory: some of the local residents had believed that hooligans kidnapped (catnapped?) the cat, and spray-painted the poor feline as a prank. However, in addition to being cruel and traumatizing to the animal, spray paint is also toxic, and would eventually kill the kitty, as cats lick themselves constantly.

The third theory, the one that got our interest was Chernobyl-related. Could nuclear fallout from the 1988 meltdown in Pripiyat, Ukraine have caused strange genetic mutations in creatures living in nearby Bulgaria? No. Quite simply, Bulgaria is a little too far from the ill-fated plant to experience severe nuclear fallout. Additionally, there is no way a cat living today would have experienced the disaster 27 years ago.

Let’s assume for a second, just for the sake of exploring a scientific thought, that the Varna cat’s fur is a result of a random leap in evolution of a genetic mutation. It does not have to be radiation-related. After all, most creatures on Earth including us evolved thanks to random genetic mutations that presented a better adaptation to the environment, and therefore were bred into normalcy.

The bright green fur, in this kitty’s case, would actually be a genetic advantage. The cat would be easier to see at night for motorists, therefore, this cat’s likelihood of survivability as a stray cat would somewhat increase over other cats. Additionally, the unique coloring would make this cat memorable, as it clearly already has. Therefore, this cat would be much less likely to be tormented by hooligans, and much more likely to be fed, or perhaps even sheltered by Varna’s residents and tourists. A healthier, well-fed cat would be more likely to be chosen as a mate, carrying the green fur genes to the next generation, providing a genetic advantage to them over the “normal-colored” cats. Eventually, perhaps in hundreds of years, this genetic mutation will breed out the disadvantageous-colored fur: all stray cats in Varna will be green.

Unfortunately, the real reason for this cat’s green fur is not nearly as romantic, or scientific. It was recently discovered that the cat sleeps in a construction yard, in a pile of discarded non-toxic paint cans. Although this cat seems to be ok, RSPCA warns that painting animals can be dangerous or fatal, so unless your next cat is a natural bright green, keep it the way it is.

Dec 11

Breathing Deep in the Holiday Season

Breath, Breathe Deep, Breathing Deep, Stress, Holiday SeasonFour seconds breathe in, four seconds breathe out. Do you remember when the holiday season wasn’t stressful? Yeah, we don’t either. Maybe as kids, we found the days counting down to Christmas to be exciting, fun and magical. The speculation of what Santa was going to bring, or for the older kids “What we were going to get for Christmas” filled our minds and schoolyard conversations. That was a wonderful time, but it was long ago.

The holiday season for us, adults, is filled with an attempt to balance the holidays with what we do throughout the rest of the year: work, bills, chores, family obligations and did we mention work? As kids, we got holidays off. What’s more is that school around the holidays was filled with snow days, late starts, and just a general “slowing down” as both teachers and students had a hard time keeping a concentrated grasp on learning with all this holiday fun everywhere. As adults, we get no snow days, and the work towards the end of the calendar year seems to get more, not less intense.

“Why can’t Christmas be some other time of year, like June or August?” we find ourselves muttering as we try to balance everything leading up to the new year.

How do you reduce stress? Many ways, but some of the easiest and most accessible ones are deep breathing, and breathing exercises.

Most of us do not breathe correctly. For example, some time ago, one of our co-workers broke two ribs while playing sports. He got in a habit of taking short, shallow breaths while the injury was healing because it hurt to take deep breaths. As a result, even after the ribs healed, he was so used to breathing shallow, his body changed the way he breathes, and to this day continues this breathing pattern.

Being outside, in the cold, or being around objectionable odors are all factors that could lead us to instinctively want to take shorter, shallower breaths. Dry air from indoor heating also dries us out, makes us not want to breathe as deep. Shallow breathing activates our stress hormones; our “fight or flight” response. Prolonged states of “fight or flight” cause us to become perpetually stressed, ruins our mood and skyrockets our blood pressure and resting heart rate.

Whether you are at work, at home, or running errands, take some time to breathe deep, just make sure the air you are breathing is not too cold, because filling your lungs with frigid air could lead to a whole lot of other issues. Take 4 seconds to breathe in, making sure that every nook and cranny of your lungs is filled with air, and take 4 more seconds to breathe out, clearing your lungs out as much as you can. Use your diaphragm/breathe with your chest instead of your stomach — it will ensure a fuller, deeper breath.

Did you start breathing deep while reading this? If you did, you should be feeling less stressed by now. Happy Holidays!

Dec 09

Food For Thought – Better Eating to Protect Your Brain

Brain, Memory, Nutrition, HealthHealthy living through watching what you eat is important, but old news… nobody is going to be surprised with yet another article claiming that maintaining a healthy weight through nutritious, healthy meals and snacks is essential for a healthy you.

What about healthy foods for protecting your brain? Now we got your attention! Across the pond in the “old world,” or Europe for those who do not like quips, they are also apparently concerned with healthy nutrition and snacking. After all, processed foods high in sodium, sugar and saturated fats sell there just as successfully as they do here in the United States. A recent study conducted by Archana Singh-Manoux and colleagues published in the Neurology Magazine analyzed the eating habits of over 6,000 British government workers ages 30 to 60, and studied their changes in health over the 10-year span. Participants were tested not only on their physical health over the 10-year span but also administered reasoning, memory and semantic fluency tests throughout the study to test cognitive function over time.

The study revealed a fascinating correlation between an unhealthy Body Mass Index (BMI) and impaired or worsening cognitive function over time. Results that were even more surprising revealed that individuals with higher BMI with a tendency for even healthy snacking showed a steeper curve of cognitive decline over individuals with a healthy BMI. Of course, individuals who engaged in unhealthy eating habits, and maintained an unhealthy BMI displayed an even steeper curve of curve of cognitive decline.

The simple result? Those who were overweight or obese were more impaired in their cognitive abilities over time than those who maintained a healthy weight. Scientists speculated that weight-related vascular problems as well as fat-related brain secretions may significantly impact the aging brain.

Although cutting down on unhealthy snacks is a great start towards a healthy BMI, the aforementioned study did conclude that individuals who eat healthy foods can also have an unhealthy BMI. Healthy foods is the start, but not the solution. Healthy foods + monitoring calorie intake is.

Start protecting your brain by counting calories. It sounds extremely complex, time-consuming and tedious, but nowadays, it really isn’t. For smartphone users, there are numerous calorie-counting apps out there that have an enormous database of foods and their nutrition facts compiled by fellow users. After a meal, just input the name of the food you ate, and the program will tally your results, letting you know if you are eating too much, too little, or taking in too much sodium or sugar.

Dec 04

Santa’s List Day Wishes – Liability Insurance

Liability Insurance, Coverage, CPH, SantaToday is Santa’s List Day, and what better way to celebrate the day of the most important list of your childhood than to touch on what should be on your adult Santa’s List.

Today is a day to reflect back on our childhood, and the wonderful practice of thinking, wishing and contemplating about what Santa may bring us at the end of the month. For many, it was a day of weighing in on a year’s worth of being naughty or nice, and reflecting on what type of prizes may be in store in respect with their amassed total of behavior. This is the one day of the year when being a brat really, really stung — Santa’s list was a serious matter, and being on the “Nice” side was imperative. It seemed so simple back then: being “Nice” will get your great gifts, being “naughty” may not grant the same result.

For us, adults, over a lifetime of “growing up,” one fact became very clear, especially on a day like this: The difference between childhood and adulthood, is that being “Nice” as an adult does not necessarily guarantee not getting coal in your stalking at the end of the year.

For mental health professionals, this “coal” may come in a way of a liability suit dropped on you right around the holidays, wrapped in a bow and ready to make the next few months of your life a special delight, all of it an ironic “Thank You” for a year’s worth of long hours, hard work and stress.

Yes, hoping that Santa does not bring coal is simply not enough! Medical professionals need protection from coal… Santa needs to bring Liability Insurance!

A CPH application for a policy should fit nicely in the bag. State Licensing Board Defense coverage up to $35,000 per year will be provided for civil investigations and/or licensing board disciplinary proceedings from the rendering of professional services, with options to increase this coverage to $75,000 or $100,000. Deposition Expense Coverage pays up to $10,000 per deposition and $35,000 per policy period for legal fees and expenses. Medical Expense Coverage pays up to $5,000 per incident and $50,000 maximum per policy period regardless of fault for necessary medical expenses incurred within a three year period from the date of an accident resulting from your professional service, including First-Aid coverage of up to $15,000. Last but not least, Defendant’s Reimbursement Coverage pays up to $1,000 per day with a $35,000 maximum for actual loss of earnings you incur for attendance at a trial or hearing as long as the suit or proceedings is a result from an injury covered by the policy.

With a Liability Insurance Coverage from CPH, you avoid a potential unpleasant surprise, and focus on the spirit of the holiday season: pleasant surprises!

Dec 02

Ebola in the Winter Months

Ebola, Cold, Flu, Winter The 2014 Ebola Outbreak is by far the worst Ebola outbreaks in world history, effecting vast regions of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, with isolated cases reported throughout the Western World, including the United States. The latest report from the World Health Organization dated November 28th lists 16,899 reported cases of Ebola resulting 5,987 confirmed deaths. In addition to the thousands of patients, 592 health care workers have contracted Ebola as a direct result of caring for the infected… 333 have died.

Due to the high mortality rate resulting from the symptoms, the high publicity of this disease, coupled with a few cases reported in the United States, the fear of contracting Ebola through everyday interaction and activities has gripped the public. Furthermore, as temperatures are plummeting throughout most of the country as we are getting ready for a long and snowy winter, the fear is exacerbated.

First and foremost, here are the facts: Ebola is a virus that is transmitted through direct contact, blood or any other secreted bodily fluids. Coughing and sneezing has not been proven to be an effective method of spreading the virus, however, in most cases, the Ebola sufferer will secrete copious amounts of bodily fluids via bleeding, projectile vomiting and diarrhea. Coming in contact with any of those fluids risks contamination and contraction of the disease. Ebola’s incubation period is between 3 and 21 days after exposure, making it a relatively difficult disease to diagnose.

Sudden, prolonged exposures to cold temperatures can weaken the immune system, making an individual more likely to contract a cold or flu during the dry, cold winter months. It is always a good idea to take extra care to fortify our immune system with extra vitamins during the winter.

However, as far as the specific increased risk of contracting Ebola during the winter months, the likelihood is fairly unlikely. The truth is, the United States has only had a few cases reported. Most of these cases were a direct result of contact with a patient from the affected African regions, or contact with a medical professional who contracted the disease while in Africa.

The US Center for Disease Control has been keeping a close eye on all of these cases. There have not been any reported cases in the United States since.

Overall, it is highly unlikely to contract Ebola in the United States while going about your regular business. The likelihood of contracting Ebola while going to work, school, gym and participating in social activities in the United States is so slim, the difference between the likelihood in summer versus winter is negligible.

Although Ebola may not be your biggest worry, be sure to take steps to fortify your system during the winter months — there are plenty of less serious, but fairly nasty bugs lurking around, ready to attack a compromised immune system this winter!

 

Nov 27

What We Are Thankful For This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving, Thanks, Employee, CustomerToday, we hope that many of us are not at work. We hope that many of us are instead with our families and friends, enjoying wonderful company and delicious food. For those of us who work on this day, those of us who know that injuries, pain, suffering and patients in need of our care do not take a day off… we appreciate your work ethic, your commitment and your time on this holiday.

This holiday, after all, is not just about family, friends, food and football. It is in the name: “Thanksgiving” is about giving thanks, and today, since we would be hard-pressed to share a juicy turkey with yummy stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy via this online medium, we would like to share what we are thankful for.

We are thankful for our employees. Our company, and any company is only as good as the people who comprise their ranks. We believe that we have an exceptionally talented and hardworking bunch. Over the employee spotlights we’ve shared in the past months, you got to meet some of the people who make up CPH & Associates. Different backgrounds, histories and responsibilities of the various individuals are united by one cause — to help our customers, to create intricate and revolutionary ways to help even further… to make things better. Our team, our family is what makes us strong, our team makes us who we are… on this Thanksgiving day, we are thankful for each and every one of you.

We are also thankful to our customers. We understand that each customer has another choice in the big, powerful companies who flex their multi-billion-dollar muscles in displays of might and intimidation. We are not one of those guys. We are smaller, we are tighter-knit, we are a family, with our employees, and our customers. We are deeply thankful for all those who saw this as an advantage, and chose us as their insurance carrier, stuck with us, and recommended us to others. Our promise is to continue proving to you daily that the choice you made was the right one.

But enough about us. What about you? What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

 

Nov 25

Ebola Liability Claims

Ebola, Liability, InsuranceThe 2014 Ebola outbreak has been by far the deadliest outbreak since the Ebola virus was first diagnosed and recorded. Most of the infection is concentrated in West Africa, however, several cases have been reported in the western world, including the United States. Most cases in the United States have been reported in hospitals or had to do with medical staff who at some point cared for patients in Africa, have since returned. and began experiencing symptoms before any quarantine accommodations could be established..

Ebola is a virus with a very long gestation period — you can be infected anywhere and show symptoms anywhere from 4 to 21 days after exposure. Ebola is not an airborne disease – it can only be picked up via direct contact with bodily fluids from an infected person. Unfortunately, that puts health care workers and medical staff, who care for multiple patients on a daily basis, at an elevated risk for picking up this horrible virus.

One question we’ve gotten frequently from medical professionals of late has been whether or not doctors and nurses can be held liable for patient exposure to Ebola. While there are many shades of gray, the short and very direct answer is: Yes.

We live in an extremely litigious society where the pursuit of damages through legal channels is very common, popular and successful multi-million dollar industry. Even if a claim is outrageous or erroneous, there is a likely chance that at least some attorney is going to pick up and run with it at the chance of collecting millions for the alleged victim.

Due to the long incubation period of Ebola, it is often unclear whether a person is sick with Ebola while they are just experiencing the symptoms of a common cold or flu. This makes it difficult to diagnose whether or not the patient should be immediately quarantined, or simply sent home with a prescription of meds, plenty of fluids and rest. A patient with Ebola left in the waiting room can lead to multiple liability claims against the hospital or private practice staff for “Failing to properly quarantine an Ebola patient, thereby endangering other patients.” Keep in mind that it would be nearly impossible and financially unfeasible for hospitals and private to quarantine every single patient exhibiting flu-like symptoms that could potentially, eventually be Ebola. Where there is a risk of a potential Ebola host being left un-quarantined, there is a risk of a potential liability suit. Likewise, the failure to immediately diagnose Ebola in a patient exhibiting flu-like symptoms can also lead to a potential liability claim from the patient.

In the event of a claim, it is most likely that your hospital carries liability insurance, but keep in mind that it is intended to protect the hospital and not you. In the event that you specifically are named in a medical liability lawsuit, having your own, additional coverage would be extremely helpful in covering the necessary expenses, and ensuring that the litigation and potential lawsuit does not significantly damage your way of life or career.

Nov 18

Employee Spotlight: Faith Frangenberg

Employee SpotlightOur company is a group of talented, dedicated individuals working together to create an atmosphere of professionalism, trust and rapport with our clients. We asked Faith Frangenberg, our Claims Liaison, to talk a little about the company, and herself. Here is our interview:

Why did you choose, and how long have you worked with CPH?

I have worked at CPH for over 4 years now.  I chose to work at CPH because of the small company culture and the dedication demonstrated by the employees and company president, Phil Hodson, and because of the opportunity to move to Chicago!

What is your role at CPH?

Being a small company, my coworkers and I wear many hats, so to speak.  My primary role is as the Claims Liaison. I act as a coordinator between the insured and the claims department at the insurance company to ensure that our insured clients are receiving timely responses when they report claims and that the claims department has information they need from the insured.

Why would customers need to interact with you? Customers can contact me if they need to file a claim or report an incident.  As I am a licensed insurance agent, customers can speak with me regarding the coverage they have under their policy and any servicing requests they may have for their policy.

How would you describe the company culture?

We have a small company culture. Our office is casual and laid-back. My coworkers and I work together as a team and get along very well.

What do you like most about working for CPH?

I love working at a small company where your voice can be heard and where your work has a direct impact on the day-to-day operations. Our company is always growing and changing and there’s never a dull moment!  It’s exciting to be a part of and I feel that I’ve grown as a person from being in an environment that is constantly evolving.

Faith, thank you so much for your hard work and dedication, from everyone in the CPH family!

 

Nov 13

Legal Model for Therapeutic Supervised Parenting Time

Parents, Children, Therapy, PsychologyIn high conflict domestic relations and custody cases, courts often order that a parent may be required to have “therapeutic supervised parenting time”, in order to maintain the safety of a child or children, when they have contact with a parent. Factors which may cause a court to require supervised parenting time may include a history of drug or alcohol problems, allegations of child abuse, or other circumstances which impact a child’s safety while in the parent’s company. Therapeutic supervised parenting time is meant to be a process which will provide clinical services to the child who will be participating in the supervised parenting time process with a parent.

Before beginning a therapeutic process whereby a clinician will be monitoring the time spent by a child in the company of a parent, obtain informed consent from the parent(s) or legal representative for the child who has authority to consent to treatment. If the supervised parenting time will involve a father, for example, then meet first with the child’s mother in order to obtain appropriate history, intake information, and the factors which may have caused the court to order that parenting time be supervised. Discuss the clinical aspect of the supervised parenting time process, including the steps that will be taken to maintain the child’s physical and emotional safety. No doubt, the primary purpose of the court-ordered process will be to improve the child’s relationship with the parent, the child’s comfort level in becoming better acquainted with the parent, as they spend time together, and to provide psychoeducational information to the parent concerning the child’s needs, the child’s emotional safety, and basic parenting tips.

Because of conflicts that have arisen in the past, experience has shown that the child should be the identified client for the clinical aspect of supervised parenting time, so that the parent will be a collateral in the process, who receives feedback and psychoeducational information to better understand the child’s needs and the ways in which the parent can improve his/her parenting practices.

After an initial meeting with the parent who may be providing consent for treatment for the child, but who will not be involved in the supervised parenting time, meet with the parent whose parenting time will be supervised. Establish a good legal and ethical boundary with that individual, informing the parent of the process and its ground rules. Disclose the fact that the parent will be a “collateral” in the child’s treatment process; but will not be a counseling client. Prepare a statement concerning “Policies and Procedures” which will disclose the ground rules, logistics, and the fact that statements made by the parent, as well as your observations of parent-child interactions, may be shared with the other parent, other professionals, or the court (with appropriate consent from the privilege holder for the child). Again, emphasize that a therapist-client relationship with the parent engaged in supervised parenting is not being established; only a therapist-client relationship with the child.

Meet with the child separately, on as many occasions as you may need, until the child is comfortable with the parenting time that will occur. Let the child provide input concerning the ground rules and procedures for the process, especially if the child has been a victim of abuse or neglect in the past committed by the parent whose parenting time is being supervised. Maintain good, thorough notes concerning your process to prepare the child for supervised interactions with the parent.

 

Maintaining Ethical Boundaries

Frequently, the judges who order therapeutic supervised parenting time invite the clinician who will be conducting that process to make recommendations to the court concerning when the parenting time process no longer needs to be supervised. Because the therapist will be conducting a therapeutic process, no forensic recommendations may be made to the court. If you need to frame concerns regarding a child’s safety in having contact with the parent, then address clinical concerns and recommendations carefully, so that you are not committing a boundary violation by making a forensic recommendation to the court, while serving in a clinical role. Because of the fact that you will be providing therapeutic services to the child, designed to accomplish goals for your child client, ensure that you have consent in writing from the child’s legal representative, before providing any reports to the court or testimony in court regarding the process, the parent’s compliance with your program rules, or progress made by the parent and child toward improving their relationship and the child’s comfort level with the parent.

 

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