As the nation debates health reform options, Governor Jim Douglas today announced that Vermont was chosen to participate in Transforming Care for Dual Eligibles, a national initiative that will test innovative models for people who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid . Vermont will join six states in developing and implementing strategies to improve care and control costs for dual eligibles, a high-need population with individual health care costs nearly five times those of other Medicare beneficiaries. The program is designed by the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) and supported by The Commonwealth Fund. I m so proud that Vermont is once again leading the nation in its health care reform efforts, said Governor Jim Douglas. Vermont is first in the nation to have a Choices for Care 1115 Long Term Care Waiver program, which equalizes entitlement to nursing home and home/community based services for long term care Medicaid eligible Vermonters. In addition, Vermont developed the Global Commitment 1115 Waiver, a first in the nation Medicaid Waiver wherein the State is the managed care organization. This grant will help us continue to make progress toward lowering the growth in health care costs for Vermonters eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.Under the new grant, Vermont will work with CHCS and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on the authority and process to create a pilot where Vermont would be a Special Needs Plan (SNP). As a SNP, Vermont would work with local providers to serve dually eligible beneficiaries across both of Vermont s waivers. As we look toward reforming our health care system, there are significant opportunities to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of care for people who are eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare coverage, whose needs are often overlooked, said Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis. The work of these seven states in designing patient-centered delivery models, if successful, could help pave the way for other states seeking to improve care for these vulnerable beneficiaries.Nationally, the more than eight million adults who are dually eligible represent approximately 18% of the Medicaid population, but account for 46% of the program s costs due to their complex array of medical, behavioral, and long-term care needs. A majority of dual eligibles are in fragmented fee-for-service systems, with little to no care coordination. Integrating the financing, delivery, and administration of services across Medicaid and Medicare could significantly reduce unnecessary hospitalizations and decrease the use of institutional care over time. This is exactly that type of program integration we need in order to provide better care for our citizens, Douglas continued. Through my work as co-chair of the National Governors Association State Alliance for e-Health, we are pursuing strategies for increased long-term care coordination with electronic medical records to better serve those with chronic conditions. I will continue to lead both nationally and here at home so that we can make important reforms and provide better care to Vermonters.Vermont is joining Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Texas, in seeking to eliminate the barriers to integrating Medicaid- and Medicare-covered services. Through the 18-month program, participating states will receive in-depth technical assistance addressing program design, care models, financing mechanisms, contracting strategies, and working with CMS. With growing momentum, including Congressional interest, for integrating care, it is an ideal time to develop and test new state approaches to improve the quality of care for duals, said Melanie Bella, Senior Vice President at CHCS. We applaud Vermont for its commitment to establish practical and replicable solutions for integrating Medicaid and Medicare and improve care for dual eligibles in the state.The Transforming Care initiative continues the work begun by CMS and five states under CHCS’ earlier Integrated Care Program to address operational hurdles to integrating care by contracting with SNPs. The new program s goal is to develop a range of integrated delivery models for dual eligibles that can be implemented by other states across the country. Lessons from participating states will be disseminated to Medicaid stakeholders throughout the course of the initiative.The Commonwealth Fund is a private foundation supporting independent research on health policy reform and a high performance health system. For more information, visit www.commonwealthfund.org(link is external).The Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) is a nonprofit policy resource center dedicated to improving health care quality for low-income children and adults, people with chronic illnesses and disabilities, frail elders, and racially and ethnically diverse populations experiencing disparities in care. CHCS works with state and federal agencies, health plans, and providers to develop innovative programs that better serve Medicaid beneficiaries. For more information, visit www.chcs.org(link is external).Source: Governor’s officeVermont Resources:For details about the Choices fro Care Waiver, please refer to http://www.ddas.vermont.gov/ddas-programs/programs-cfc/programs-cfc-defa(link is external)…).For details about he Global commitment waiver, please refer to: http://ovha.vermont.gov/administration/2008-global-commitment-to-health-(link is external)…)
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A 92-year-old man was found dead inside a Melville house that caught fire on Sunday night, Suffolk County police said.Officers and firefighters responded to the blaze on New York Avenue where the body was found on the ground floor shortly before 10 p.m.The victim identified as Domenicko Denito, who was pronounced dead at the scene.Melville Fire Department firefighters extinguished the flames. The cause of the fire is under investigation but does not appear to be criminal.
As urged by NAFCU, CFPB on Friday proposed a rule change to codify last year’s Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act revisions on private notice requirements. The GLBA revisions were signed into law by President Barack Obama in December as part of a transportation authorization bill.“We welcome this CFPB proposal to conform its privacy notice rule with last year’s Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act revisions, long sought by NAFCU,” said NAFCU Director of Regulatory Affairs Alexander Monterrubio. “We appreciated CFPB’s assurance in January that it would follow the spirit of this statutory change, but today’s proposal is a step in the right direction toward streamlining and providing credit unions clarity on their privacy notification obligations.“NAFCU will continue to evaluate the proposal and work closely with the bureau during the rulemaking process,” he continued. “We also continue to urge the bureau to more effectively exercise its authority under Section 1022 of the Dodd-Frank Act to exempt credit unions from its rules.” continue reading » 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
continue reading » There’s a decent chance we’ll look back at the first half of 2019 as the period when the US payments landscape changed permanently. The chain of events began in January with Fiserv’s surprise announcement that it was acquiring First Data in a $22 billion merger. Speculation quickly followed on how other leading financial services technology providers would respond. Two months later FIS answered that question with an even bigger combination by purchasing Worldpay, which had recently gained the title of the US’s largest merchant card acquirer in terms of processing volume. Then in May, card processors TSYS and Global Payments announced they would join forces in a “merger of equals.” Our webinar explores the dynamics of these three acquisitions and their various implications for banks and credit unions in greater detail.Taken together, these three deals rolled up the two largest US bank software providers and every top ten player in card acquiring, not already affiliated with a major bank—all within the space of five months. During the same period, the country’s #11 and #12 largest banks announced their own merger of equals—the first major move by a Top 20 bank since the financial crisis. In providing their rationale for the deal to the investment community, the leaders of SunTrust and BB&T cited the need for greater technological scale. If this is the case, what does it imply for the over 11,000 US banks and credit unions smaller than this newly combined entity?Each of these deals has its own unique characteristics—Global Payments/TSYS, for instance, is being touted as the “payments pure play” because its portfolio does not include the software and adjacent banking services offered by FIS and Fiserv. A few unifying themes emerge, however. One is the need for even greater economies of scale in order to preserve operating margins in a competitive payments environment. Another is the continued convergence of various payments models, leading providers to strive to deliver a unified, one-stop-shop experience. The servicing of merchants and card issuers is also moving toward a common set of providers. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
Falkensteiner Hotels & Residences is repositioning itself, aiming to become the leading hotel group in Central and Southern Europe. “The new branding process allows us to redistribute hotels according to four types of holiday motivations – “activity”, “pleasure”, “fun” and “relaxation”. Clear positioning makes it easier for the guest to find a suitable hotel that will suit his wishes and expectations.“Points out Erich Falkensteiner, a member of the society and founder. “We have a clear vision for Falkensteiner Hotels & Residences in the future. Our goal is to become the leading hotel group in the holiday segment in Central and Southern Europe. New projects are already in the pipeline – including two exclusive hotels, in Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy and near Kronplatz in South Tyrol, which will further strengthen Falkensteiner’s leading role as a hotel group in the travel and leisure segment.” concludes Otmar Michaeler, CEO of Falkensteiner Michaeler Tourism Group (FMTG) The basis of the repositioning is primarily the promise to the guests: “For every stage of life, they offer a hotel for ideal moments of rest. ” The offer of the Falkensteiner hotel group includes a total of 26 hotels and three apartment resorts in the four- and five-star categories in seven European countries. Under the Falkensteiner Hotels & Residences brand, this hotel group offers 4.700 rooms and more than 1,7 million overnight stays and has a turnover of 180 million euros. In 2018, Falkensteiner began the process of a comprehensive, strategic repositioning of the brand in order to continue building its position as the leading family group of holiday hotels in Central Europe. To fulfill this promise, they will further adapt their offer and services to the needs of guests, but will also focus all future business processes more strongly on interaction with current and future guests. The new marketing and development strategy of the hotel industry in the holiday segment is the reason for the sale of the hotel in the City Hotel in Vienna’s Margareten district.
The Croatian National Tourist Board presents the Croatian tourist offer at the ITB China business fair, which will be held in Shanghai from 15 to 17 May 2019. The Croatian National Tourist Board together with the Slovenian Tourist Board won the prestigious CTW award for the project “Experience Croatia, Feel Slovenia“ u kategoriji „Internet & Media“ Nagrade se dodjeljuju po 16. put u ukupno pet kategorija: inovacije proizvoda, internet/mediji, kvaliteta usluge, marketing, ukupna izvedba. COTRI će promovirati pobjednike putem vlastitih komunikacijskih kanala i društvenih mreža, a ove je godine zaprimljen rekordan broj kandidatura, odnosno njih 67. COTRI je jedan od vodećih neovisnih istraživačkih instituta na svijetu za savjetovanje, istraživanje, informiranje, obuku i procjenu kvalitete vezano za kinesko tržište odlaznog turizma. As part of the fair, the award ceremony “IT’S MY WORLD Travel Awards 2019” was held, and Croatia won the award in the category “Amazing Travel Experiences of the Year” for the experience of the film tour “Game of Thrones” in Dubrovnik. These are awards given by ITB China and the specialized tourist portal Qyer intended for Chinese tourists. The CNTB points out that the Croatian delegation also met with representatives of the Chinese platform Mafengwo, which is a combination of Facebook and Trip Advisor and with representatives of the agency Travel Link, one of the best marketing agencies in tourism. The possibilities of cooperation were also discussed with the representatives of the agency Tongchengom, treće po veličini online agencije u Kini, ali i sa predstavnicima media buying agencies Hy Link, the first Chinese independent agency to have a U.S. travel brand among its many clients. Two awards for Croatian tourism – an award for the experience of the film tour “Game of Thrones” in Dubrovnik and for cooperation with the Slovenian Tourist Board Photo: HTZ The Croatian offer is presented as part of the large stand of the European Travel Commission (ETC), where 23 European entities present their offer, including the EPK Rijeka 2020 and the Tourist Board of the City of Zagreb. Qyer has positioned itself as an extremely popular Chinese and global platform offering travel services used by over 100 million people worldwide. ITB China is a business fair exclusively focused on the Chinese market, which brings together representatives of international destinations, service providers and technical solutions with the largest Chinese tourism entities and customers, of which there will be more than 850 this year. Photo: ITB China Nastup na sajmu ITB China od velikog je značaja posebice u godini koja je proglašena hrvatsko kineskom godinom kulture i turizma, izjavio je direktor HTZ-a Kristjan Staničić te dodao: “For this reason, we jointly organized a special presentation of Rijeka as the European Capital of Culture in 2020, because cultural tourism is one of the most sought-after products in the large Chinese market. We are also extremely pleased that our key partners report that interest in Croatian destinations is continuously growing, which is confirmed by the tourist traffic generated from the Chinese market so far this year, which is increasing by about 60 percent compared to the same period last year.” CNTB Representation in Shanghai also participated in the ETOA workshop held on the eve of ITB, where the Director of the Representation Franka Gulin met with over 25 tour operators and Chinese media. “Impressions from the workshop are great, we were definitely among the most sought after tourist destinations of the workshop, and everyone is interested in longer tours and extending the number of nights in Croatia. The fact that key Chinese opinion creators have selected us for the Best Travel Experience award speaks volumes about the importance of Croatia as one of the fastest growing markets for Chinese tourists. This award makes us happy because it also indicates that Croatia is becoming a popular destination for Chinese tourists of younger population, which is certainly a departure from the classic type of tourists who visit us and is in line with our strategy aimed at this market., Gulin emphasized. As part of the ITB China fair, an awards ceremony was held “CTW Chinese Welcome Award“, Which has been awarded by the organization since 2004 COTRI – China Outbound Tourism Research Institute.
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The PLSA is now considering advising its members to take a harder line if the current trend of controversial pay awards continues into the AGM season.“Most pension funds,” Hildyard said, “are very concerned with the levels of CEO pay we are seeing, and there is certainly a chance investors may use the binding votes next year to get their message across.”Common-sense checkThe tough stand taken by investors against some of UK’s largest companies comes after a period of turbulence in the financial markets, hit by falling oil and commodity prices resulting in thousands of jobs being axed in that sector.Nearly 60% of BP shareholders voted against a £13.8m (€18.1m) pay deal for boss Bob Dudley. The advisory vote came as BP shed thousands of jobs across the company. Mining company Anglo American also faced a 41.3% of shareholder dissent over its remuneration report, which included a £3.4m pay for its chief executive.Investors are also up in arms over advertising firm WPP chief executive Martin Sorrell’s expected £70m payout. Advisory firms ShareSoc and PIRC have urged shareholders to vote against Sorrell’s proposed pay at the company’s annual general meeting on 8 June. PIRC said in its research report that Sorrel’s variable pay amounted to 58 times his salary of £1.1m.Deborah Gilshan, head of sustainable ownership at Railpen Investments, said companies needed to apply a “common-sense check” to pay policy.“Some of the pay packages we see in the market do worry us,” she said. “Companies need to apply the pay policy investors have voted for, but they also need to apply discretion around the edges to really look at those outcomes.”She added: “There is also the fact these outcomes don’t seem to be aligned with the interest of long-term shareholders and stakeholders like customers and employees.”Railpen Investments is the investment manager for the Railways Pension Scheme, which has around £22bn in assets under management.Another significant investor revolt has been at engineering group Weir, which lost a binding vote on its pay policy, meaning it will now have to go back to the drawing board and come up with an alternative plan.Pharmaceutical company Shire, too, received a bloody nose with its advisory pay policy just squeezing through, with only 50.5% of shareholder approval.Railpen’s Gilshan said: “What you have seen with some of these votes against is perhaps where shareholder patience has run out and where remuneration committees need to listen a bit more to what they are hearing from investors in private dialogues and to what shareholders are signalling through their votes.”Pension funds are still smarting from criticism, following the financial crisis, that they did not demand more accountability, through their fund managers, from the companies in which they invest. New rules, which gave investors a binding vote on pay, were introduced in 2013 by then business secretary Vince Cable.The current shareholder backlash comes a few years after the so-called Shareholder Spring of 2012, which led to some high-profile resignations.‘Acid test’ for investorsDaniel Summerfield, co-head of responsible investment at USS, the UK’s second-largest pension scheme, said the binding vote that many companies faced next year would be the “acid test” for investors.“The last time we had the Shareholder Spring, we didn’t have the binding vote,” he said. “So this is the acid test where, if shareholders are really concerned about the pay structures and pay proposals, the way the vote will be cast will have more bite than previous initiatives. Shareholders can vote against policies they don’t agree with.”Railpen’s Gilshan said the key was for companies to listen to what shareholders were actually telling them and act accordingly.“Shareholders are stepping up, and boards have to step up, too, and listen and apply some of that feedback they are receiving as they go into 2017’s binding votes,” she added.Summerfield agreed: “If companies take note – which they should – of the increasing expectations of shareholders for pay to be aligned with performance, then our hope is that policies will ensure pay is aligned with the accretion of long-term shareholder value.” UK pension funds are planning to take a tougher line with recalcitrant companies that award excessive salaries to their executives, as a raft of blue-chip firms have come under fire in recent weeks over executive pay.As companies such as BP, Anglo American, WPP, Reckitt Benckiser, Weir, Shire and Standard Chartered face a sharp backlash over their pay awards, pension funds are warning of an even fierier AGM season next year as many companies come up for their triennial binding votes on their remuneration policies.While remuneration packages at most companies were advisory this year, many companies face a binding shareholder vote next year that normally takes place once every three years.Luke Hildyard, policy lead for stewardship and corporate governance at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) said: “There is a worry companies are bit tone-deaf to shareholder concerns and, indeed, wider societal concerns.”
“We would argue that this would contravene the EU’s objective of spurring on sustainable investments, without any analysis or reasoning behind such a move.”The legislation should take into account the wide range of approaches used by asset managers to achieve institutional and individual asset owners’ objectives, it added. Sustainable finance proposals tabled by the European Commission could sideline many popular ESG strategies or approaches, investors have warned.The comments were made in feedback on the sustainable finance legislative proposals announced by the Commission in May. The window for feedback closes this week, and submissions have been coming in thick and fast in recent days. The Commission proposed a regulation on reporting requirements related to “sustainable investments and sustainability risks”, but the European Fund and Asset Management Association (EFAMA) said that, as currently drafted, the proposal seemed to equate sustainable investments with impact and thematic investing.“Unless this drafting is changed, this would mean that a large majority of investment approaches and products that today are adopted as ‘sustainable’ on objective and legitimate grounds may no longer be considered so,” the industry association stated. The European Commission announced three legislative proposals on ‘susainable finance’ at the end of MayAccording to UK insurance group Aviva, the way the Commission’s proposed regulation on disclosures was worded “might discourage sustainable investment through proactive stewardship of investments to promote sustainability, for example through company engagement and voting”.It added: “The current wording may also not allow other strategies to integrate ESG factors, for example the integration of ESG risks and opportunities throughout a firm’s investment analysis, or screening out certain types of investments.”It suggested a rewording of the relevant text in the proposed regulation to accommodate not only investments in an economic activity contributing to an environmental, social or corporate governance objective, but “actions in relation to” such activity.This would also align the wording more closely with the approach to integrating sustainability in IORP II, the revised EU pension fund directive, Aviva argued.Taxonomy proposal aim ‘unclear’Investors also expressed concerns about the Commission’s definitions in feedback relating to its proposed system for determining the extent to which a given economic activity is environmentally sustainable. This is also known as the taxonomy proposal and is central to the Commission’s overall plan.The Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry said it was not clear whether the aim was to establish a framework for “a niche” of investment activity – those marketed as sustainable investments or impact investments – or for the purpose of encouraging sustainable investments overall, whether marketed as such or not.Europe’s largest asset manager, Amundi, said the taxonomy should serve investors’ “wide and diverse” needs, rather than restrict them.
Australian government’s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science has revised the forecast for Australian liquefied natural gas earnings. The Resources and Energy Quarterly data shows that the LNG export earnings have been revised up from the March 2019 quarterly report, and are now expected to be $1.1 billion higher in 2019-20, reflecting an upwards revision to the oil price forecast, and the downward revision to the AUD/USD exchange rate assumption.An upward revision to prices has offset the impact of a downward revision to export volumes. ConocoPhillips confirmed in June that it expected the Darwin LNG plant to shut down for 1-2 years, starting between 2021 and 2023, when gas from the Bayu-Undan field is exhausted.While falling output at Darwin LNG was factored into the outlook for the March Resources and Energy Quarterly, production is now expected to decline at a faster rate.The report shows that Australia exported an estimated $50 billion of LNG in 2018–19, up from $31 billion in 2017–18. Higher export earnings have been driven by the recovery in oil prices (relative to 2017–18), and the ramp-up of LNG exports, particularly from the Wheatstone and Ichthys LNG projects.Australia and Qatar continued to jostle for the title of the world’s largest LNG exporter over the first five months of 2019. Australia took the lead in April as Qatar’s exports dipped due to maintenance before Qatar edged back past Australia in May.The value of Australia’s LNG exports is forecast to increase to $54 billion in 2019–20, driven by the ramp-up in export volumes from Prelude and Ichthys. Shell shipped the first LNG cargo from its Prelude project on June 11, and production is expected to ramp up during 2019–20. Train 2 at Ichthys is expected to come online during 2019.In 2020–21, the value of Australia’s LNG exports is expected to fall back to $50 billion, as oil-linked contract prices (at which most Australian LNG is sold) edge down and the exchange rate appreciates. LNG export volumes are expected to remain broadly stable in 2020–21.Australia is forecast to edge past Qatar as the world’s largest LNG exporter (on an annual basis) when exports reach 78 million tonnes in 2019, and extend its lead in 2020 as exports climb to 81 million tonnes.However, the narrow difference between the projected exports of the two nations means that Australia overtaking Qatar is not a certainty. Indeed, that margin is likely to be particularly narrow in 2019.During the mid-2020s, Australia is expected to be surpassed as the world’s largest LNG exporter by both Qatar and the US, as new projects in both countries come online.