More ICD-10 follies: Animal-drawn vehicle collides with train

The switch to the ICD-10 billing system may have been pushed back at least a year by Congress, but MedPage Today still thinks it’s worthwhile to spotlight some of those thousands of new codes that might just be getting a bit too granular.

Today’s code:

V80.62XA: Occupant of animal-drawn vehicle injured in collision with railway train or railway vehicle, initial encounter (Hat tip to reader Debra Fischer for this one.)

There must be a special room for demented bureaucrats selected to produce some of these new – and soon-to-be required – medical codes used by Medicare, Medicaid.

Here are a few more:

V95.42XA: Forced landing of spacecraft injuring occupant, initial encounter

Fear of Easter Bunny
F40.218: Fear of the Easter Bunny

V96.1: Hang-glider accident injuring occupant

W21.11XA: Struck by baseball bat, initial encounter…

V96.03XA: Balloon collision injuring occupant, initial encounter

This last category not so unusual in New Mexico.

A penny of progress in Florida tomato fields makes a world of difference to field workers

By enlisting the might of major restaurant chains and retailers — including Walmart, which signed on this year — the Coalition of Immokalee Workers has pressured growers that produce 90 percent of Florida’s tomatoes to increase wages for their 30,000 workers and follow strict standards that mandate rest breaks and forbid sexual harassment and verbal abuse.

The incentive for growers to comply with what’s called the Fair Food Program is economically stark: The big companies have pledged to buy only from growers who follow the new standards, paying them an extra penny a pound, which goes to the pickers. The companies have also pledged to drop any suppliers that violate the standards.

So far, the agreements between retailers and growers are limited to Florida’s tomato fields, which in itself is no small feat considering that the state produces 90 percent of the country’s winter tomatoes.

But gaining the heft and reach of Walmart — which sells 20 percent of the nation’s fresh tomatoes year-round — may prove far more influential. To the applause of farmworkers’ advocates, the retailer has agreed to extend the program’s standards and monitoring to its tomato suppliers in Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia and elsewhere on the Eastern Seaboard. Walmart officials say they also hope to apply the standards to apple orchards in Michigan and Washington and strawberry fields in many states…

Since the program’s inception, its system of inspections and decisions issued by a former judge has resulted in suspensions for several growers, including one that failed to adopt a payroll system to ensure pickers were paid for all the time they worked.

Amassing all these company partnerships took time. The workers’ coalition organized a four-year boycott of Taco Bell to get its parent company, Yum Brands, to agree in 2005 to pay an extra penny a pound for tomatoes, helping increase workers’ wages. In 2007 the coalition sponsored a march to Burger King’s headquarters in Miami, pushing that company to join the effort. Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Chipotle and Subway have also signed on.

Perhaps the coalition’s biggest success is luring Walmart, which joined the program in January without a fight. Walmart officials said they were looking for ethically sourced produce as well as a steady supply of tomatoes. The giant company’s decision coincides with its major inroads into organic foods and fresh fruits and vegetables.

RTFA. It’s about a victory, serious victory inside one of the greediest segments of American capitalism. A penny a pound may not seem like a lot to urban and urbane workers and professional; but, for a field hand it’s a world of difference. And the most reactionary elements of American agribusiness think it’s the end of the world.

Kudos to the organizers and field hands together who joined this fight and won. And special thanks to the restauranteurs and retailers who supported this struggle.

Our courts think we should be the cops of the world, too

Internet service providers must turn over customer emails and other digital content sought by U.S. government search warrants even when the information is stored overseas, a federal judge has ruled…

In what appears to be the first court decision addressing the issue, U.S. Magistrate Judge James Francis in New York said Internet service providers such as Microsoft or Google cannot refuse to turn over customer information and emails stored in other countries when issued a valid search warrant from U.S. law enforcement agencies.

If U.S. agencies were required to coordinate efforts with foreign governments to secure such information, Francis said, “the burden on the government would be substantial, and law enforcement efforts would be seriously impeded.”

The ruling underscores the debate over privacy and technology that has intensified since the disclosures by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden about secret U.S. government efforts to collect huge amounts of consumer data around the world…

The decision addressed a search warrant served on Microsoft for one of its customers whose emails are stored on a server in Dublin, Ireland.

In a statement, Microsoft said it challenged the warrant because the U.S. government should not be able to search the content of email held overseas.

“A U.S. prosecutor cannot obtain a U.S. warrant to search someone’s home located in another country, just as another country’s prosecutor cannot obtain a court order in her home country to conduct a search in the United States,” the company said. “We think the same rules should apply in the online world, but the government disagrees…”

The search warrant in question was approved by Francis in December and sought information associated with an email account for a Microsoft customer, including the customer’s name, contents of all emails received and sent by the account, online session times and durations and any credit card number or bank account used for payment.

It is unclear which agency issued the warrant, and it and all related documents remain under seal.

Yes, transparency of our elected officials continues to match their honesty and integrity. Or lack thereof.

Elizabeth Warren and her peers Occupy Amazon

Elizabeth Warren
No, she’s not describing the size of Mitch McConnell’s brain

As of Thursday evening, Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s new memoir, A Fighting Chance, is the number two best-selling book on Amazon, trailing only Thomas Piketty’s Capital In The Twenty-First Century. Michael Lewis’ Flash Boys, which exposes the world of high-frequency traders, is number five. Both Capital and A Fighting Chance are also among Barnes & Noble’s top five sellers…

While the three works come at the issue from different vantage points, they all arrive at essentially the same conclusion: the game is rigged against the middle class.

Warren’s book, released Tuesday, traces the Massachusetts Democrat’s journey from law professor to U.S. senator. The book details how the struggles Warren’s middle class parents faced motivated her to work toward remedying income inequality — most notably, in her role in the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

This book is about how Washington is rigged to work for those who can hire armies of lobbyists and lawyers and make sure that everything that they want gets done in Washington,” Warren told ABC News earlier this week. “The game is rigged to work for those who already have money and power. I wrote this book because the way I see it, working families, they’re not looking for a handout. They’re not looking for some special deal. They just want a level playing field. They just want a fighting chance.”

RTFA, read about all three books, read the books! Figure out how to explain all this to your friends, family and peers who don’t read.

Yes, I know the electoral system sucks, a lot of it is as close to rigged as High Frequency Trading is for the Big Boys. But, unless those of us who are pissed off and know why – get off our rusty dusties – it ain’t going to get any better here in the Free World.