General expands thermal-imaging offering
New York City-based General Tools & Instruments’ Predator line of Thermal Imaging Cameras is expanding to include nine extended temperature range models. General’s GTi10, GTi20 and GTi50 are now available in models with temperature measurement ranges up to 600 degrees Celcius, 1,000 degrees Celcius, and 1,500 degrees Celcius.
Designed to detect hidden heat-driven problems, General’s thermal imaging cameras detect very small temperature differences from a distance and convert an object’s invisible infrared radiation to a visible color image. These visual thermal images (called thermograms) with multiple temperature points enable the diagnosis of equipment malfunctions and poor performance far more effectively than single-spot conventional temperature measurement devices, the company said.
The cameras’ manual focus, optional interchangeable lenses and high resolution provide more accurate images and assessments than competitive models. They generate powerful, convincing images (thermograms) and related data that help technicians and contractors document findings, design solutions, and convince customers or managers to authorize recommended repairs.
Lowe’s and Walmart join healthcare alliance
With the implementation of Obamacare mired in controversy, two of the nation’s largest retailers are backing an innovative Employers Centers of Excellence Network that will offer no-cost knee and hip-replacement surgeries at four highly regarded hospitals.
Walmart and Lowe’s issued a joint statement that they and other large employers had joined the Pacific Business Group on Health Negotiating Alliance (PBGH-NA) to launch the national Employer’s Centers of Excellence Network.
“These companies are working to help make sure that their employees get higher quality care and incur lower costs,” said David Lansky, president and chief executive officer of PBGH. “The Employers Centers of Excellence Network is designed to serve as a model for delivering high quality health care with transparent and predictable costs.”
PBGH and health care management company Health Design Plus will oversee the program which includes treatment for knee and hip replacement surgeries for the more than 1.5 million employees and their dependents enrolled in the Walmart, Lowe’s and other employers’ medical plans. The only catch for employees is that they required to obtain care at one of four designated center of excellence health care organizations that include Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, Md.; Kaiser Permanente Orange County Irvine Medical Center in Irvine, Calif.; Mercy Hospital in Springfield, Mo.; and Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, Wash.
Employees will receive consultations and care covered at 100% without deductible or coinsurance, plus travel, lodging and living expenses for the patient and a caregiver. Patients must be healthy enough to travel for the surgeries. The program is voluntary and employees or their covered dependents can still choose to receive care from local providers and incur routine costs, according to program rules.
“This national program is about providing our associates with exceptional care and reducing their medical costs so that they pay nothing out of pocket when they use one of the designated facilities,” said Sally Welborn, SVP of global benefits at Walmart. ”Each of these providers has a proven record of practicing evidence-based medicine with above average positive patient outcomes in knee and hip replacement procedures.”
According to Lowe’s vp of international human resources Randy Moon, “Under this program, employees and their dependents covered under Lowe’s medical plan have access to medical care at renowned medical facilities at no cost. This is especially important for our employees who live in areas underserved by high quality health care providers. The four health care centers are located throughout the U.S., making it easier for employees who wish to use this benefit to travel.”
The national Employers Centers of Excellence Network complements Centers of Excellence programs that Walmart and Lowe’s have and will continue to offer separately from the alliance with PBGH-NA.
In 2013, Walmart expanded its long-standing program covering transplants at the Mayo Clinic to also include treatment for certain heart and spine surgeries at five leading hospital and health systems in the U.S., including ECEN providers Virginia Mason and Mercy Springfield, for associates and their covered dependents enrolled in medical plans.
In 2010, Lowe’s began an alliance with Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, to provide its full-time employees and their covered dependents enrolled in the company’s self-funded medical plans enhanced benefits coverage for qualifying heart surgery procedures.
NLBMDA tackles hazmat rules
With new OSHA hazard communication training requirements taking effect Dec. 1, the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) has planned a series of webinars to help educate dealers.
The new rules regarding global harmonization, pictograms, new MSDS requirements and new container labeling have many in the industry confused, according to the NLBMDA.
“The latest changes to the OSHA HazCom standard, which take effect later this year, can be baffling and overwhelming. LBM dealers have even more responsibility since they are both employers and resellers of covered materials,” reads an NLBMDA announcement for the webinars.
The hour-long webinars are set for Nov. 5, Nov. 7, Nov. 13 and Nov. 15.
Fees are $75 for NLBMDA members or state/regional LBM association members and $125 for non-members.