Medical Billing – NSF or UB-92

It is no longer a question in the medical billing community of what the best method of sending claims is. Electronic billing has numerous advantages over sending paper claims including ease of transmission, lower cost, faster turnaround time and a number of other advantages. But what about the type of electronic format? The main ones today are NSF 3.01 and UB-92. So what's the difference and is one better than another? Which one should you use? Does it make a difference? Will using one format over another give you more headaches in the long run? In this installment, we're going to discuss the basic differences between NSF 3.01 and UB-92, including the pluses and minuses of each.

The first thing that you need to know is that NSF 3.01 has been around a lot longer than UB-92. Back in the early days of electronic billing, it was the only option. Therefore, software manufacturers had to include it with their product if they were going to compete in the marketplace. Because of this and because everybody was creating their own NSF 3.01 package, each software manufacturer had to do the best job they possibly could. Because of this, NSF 3.01 was pretty much perfected. The only differences between the software packages was the interface for transmission. The specifications themselves were pretty solid.

Today, with the two formats available and NSF 3.01 no longer being the only choice, for a medical billing agency to switch over to UB-92, there had to be a good reason. Well, there were several.

For starters, because it was a relatively new format, the software was a lot cheaper than the software to send NSF 3.01 claims. For small medical billing agencies, this was a big plus, especially if they did not have a large client base. Also, the cost to process these claims was cheaper because the format itself was not as popular and agencies were trying to get companies to use it. But there was a downside to all this.

Because UB-92 was new, there were not as many pieces of software to choose from. Most of them were also untested. The early failure rate of UB-92 transmission was great. The specifications were confusing and finding good programmers to create the code was not an easy task. So finding good software was very hard.

Another problem was that because UB-92 was new, not every carrier accepted claims in this format. In the early days only private carriers accepted claims in this format. Even today, not every carrier accepts UB-92 format as a transmission method. So if you are thinking of going with UB-92, you first better check to make sure that the insurance carrier you want to bill accepts claims in that format.

Today, the differences between NSF 3.01 and UB-92 are not quite as great. Yes, there are still insurance carriers that do not accept UB-92 claims. But more carriers are taking them. The downside is that because UB-92 is becoming more popular, the cost has gone up since the early days. So the difference in cost between NSF 3.01 and UB-92 are not as great.

In the final analysis, it all comes down to what your budget is and who you want to send your bills to. In most cases, either NSF 3.01 or UB-92 will get the job done nicely.

Human Resource Planning for Healthcare

The WHO defines HRH (Human resource for health) planning as "the process of estimating the number of persons & the kinds of knowledge, skills, & attitudes they need to achieve predetermined health targets & ultimately health status objectives".

HR planning is a dynamic process, involves 3 stages; stocktaking, forecasting, & designing temporary workforce. In the first stage of stocktaking, recruitment & selection of key types of employees align with strategic business plan to achieve specific targets. The second stage of forecasting is subdivided into two phases, forecasting future people needs (demand forecasting) & forecasting availability of people (supply forecasting). The third & final phase involves flexible strategy to recruit temporary employees as per need assessment & cost-effective benefits.

1. Stock-taking: – The principle is to identify how many people are needed at every level of the organization to achieve business objectives- in line with overall strategic plans – & what kind of knowledge, skills, abilities & other characteristics these people need .

The optimal staffing of modern health services requires many different types of staff. These include; –

1. Clinical workers – doctors & nurses.

2. Technical staff for diagnostic services, such as laboratory & radiology, pharmacy staff.

3. Environment health workers, such as health inspectors.

4. Preventive & promotive staff, such as community health workers, administrative staff, etc.

In a healthcare organization, traditional quantitative approach are used to make enumerative judgments based on subjective managers prediction to allocate certain budgets for employee's payroll expenditure & need assessment of key employee potentiating responsive to organizational system & design. Resource allocations are best executed with the help of activity based cost management, that controls cost & labor required for specific job / event & reduce wastage.

For example: Comparative rates of healthcare activity: –

Inpatient care bed days per capita

Acute care bed days per capita

Acute care staff ratio – staff per bed

Acute care nurses ratio – staff per bed

Inpatient admissions per 1000 population

Acute care admissions per 1000 population

Doctors consultation's per capita.

The types of health staff in a particular country are dictated by the kinds of health services provided & level of technology available.

For example: –

Nature of health organization: primary, secondary, & tertiary.

Types of sector: public, private, non-profit funded organization.

Infrastructure: size of the hospital (200 beds, 400 beds, 1000 beds).

General (multispecialty) or specific care providers (cardiovascular, cancer).

2. Forecasting: –

Demand forecasting: – Planning for the medical workforce is complex & determined by relatively mechanistic estimates of demand for medical care. Dr. Thomas L. Hall (1991) proposed 5 generic methods for estimating demand for health care, such as

1. Personnel to population ratio method: – This method calculates ratio of number of health

Personnel as compared with the population count. However, with inappropriate data available, it has serious limitations, such as it is only applicable with acceptable health conditions, a stable health sector, & a limited capacity for planning.

2. The health-needs method: -This method requires & translates expert opinion about people's health needs to staff requirements. Health needs are derived from the determination of disease specific mortality & morbidity rates. The staff requirements are evaluated from the norms for the number, kind, frequency, & quality of services, & staffing standards that convert the services into time requirements by a certain category of health workers to perform the services. This method initiates the need for sophisticated data system & survey capabilities, & a high level of planning expertise which are not readily available.

3. The service -demands method: -This method accounts the numbers & kinds of health services people will use at an anticipated cost of obtaining them, rather than their professionally determined need for such services. This specifically provides data about economical regression pertaining to utilization of private healthcare sector as compared to government funded health sector.

4. The managed healthcare system's method: – The managed health care system's entails a known client population who would have reasonably good access to health amenities. But flexible socio-political trends & economical recession influence healthcare reform policies.

Supply forecasting: –

Forecasting HR supply involves using information from the internal & external labor market. The calculation of staff turnover & workforce stability indices measures internal supply for HR Planning. External labor market gives detailed spectrum on tightness of supply, demographic factors, & social / geographic aspects.

Internal supply: – The evaluation of the gross number of people needed for a specific job & arrange for other provisions of HR processes, such as training & developmental programs, transfer & promotion policies, retirement, career planning, & others have crucial importance in maintaining constant supply of HR in an organization.

1. Stock & flow model: – This model follow the employee's path through the organization over time, & attempt to predict how many employees are needed & in which part of the organization.

a) Wastage analysis; – This analysis refers to the rate at which people leave the organization, or represents the turnover index.

The number of people leaving in a specific period

Wastage analysis = x 100

The average number employed in the same period

b) Stability analysis (Bowey, 1974): – This method is useful in analyzing the extent of wastage in terms of length of service.

Total length of service of manpower employed at the time of analysis

Stability analysis = x 100

Total possible length of service had there been no manpower wastage

2. Replacement Charts: – Replacement chart is a list of employee's for promotion, selected upon the opinions & recommendations of higher ranking people (Mello, 2005). Some replacement charts are more systematic showing skills, abilities, competences, & experience levels of an employee.

3. Succession Planning: – An aging workforce & an emerging "Baby boom" retirement waves are driving the need for new management process known as succession planning that involves analyzing & forecasting the talent potentials to execute business strategy.

Will Powley, senior consulting manager for GE Healthcare's performance solutions group says, that the first step in effective succession planning is a quarterly talent review that begins with an examination of the hospital or health system's organizational chart.

In a 2008 White Paper on succession planning, GE Healthcare identified a few best practices for healthcare for succession planning:

1. Identify & develop talent at all levels

2. Assess top performer's talent rigorously & repeatedly

3. Link talent management closely with external recruiting

4. Keep senior management actively involved

5. Emphasize on-the-job leadership & customized employee development

6. Create systematic talent reviews & follow-up plans

7. Maintain dialogue with potential future leaders.

External supply: – HR managers use outside information, such as statistics concerning the labor market from the organization & external labor market, in other words external & internal statistics.

External statistics: – Graduate profile

Unemployment rates

Skill levels

Age profile

Graduate profile: – There is substantial public sector regulation of all health care markets, & entry to labor market is highly constrained by licensing & professional regulations.

Unemployment rates: – There is lack of economic principles, the role of incentives is largely ignored & supply elasticity in the labor market is mostly unknown & poorly researched.

Skill levels: – Higher education (specialization & super-specialization) are proportionally restricted to limited seats of admission governed by medical regulatory bodies.

Age profile: – The organizational charts of recruitment gives details of rates of recruitment, retention, return & early retirement of employee's, which helps to enumerate future vacancy rates, shortages, & need for replacement.

Internal statistics: – Demographic profile

Geographic distribution

Demographic profile: – Demographic changes (eg the number of young people entering the labor force) affect the external supply of labor. Age composition of workforce will force to review recruitment policies. The trend of increasing proportion of women in employment has lead to progressive development of both organization & country.

Geographic distribution: – The attraction of workforce to urban areas are influence by following reasons; employment opportunity, access to facilities – transportation & technology, & others.

3. Temporary workforce planning: –

Herer & Harel (1998) classifies temporary workers as: temporary employee's, contract employees, consultants, leased employees, & outsourcing.

High social costs has initiated work sharing strategy which are flexible & provides more benefits, such as

1. Part- time temporary workers numbers & hours can be adapted easily with low maintenance cost to meet organizational needs,

2. Employees possessing appropriate / specialized skills benefits functional areas within & outside the organization.

3. No responsibility for exclusive benefit enrollments, such as job security, pension plan, insurance coverage, etc.

In today's work environment, outsourcing can be added as a temporary worker planning technique. Outsourcing requirement is assessed & evaluated on cost & benefit decision. Ambulatory services, pathological or diagnostic testing services, laundry, catering, billing, medical transcription, & others are most commonly outsourcing services promoted in healthcare organization.

Can You Sue a Car Dealer For Excessive Hard Credit Inquiries?

I came across this question, "Can I sue a car dealer for excessive hard credit inquiries?" when reviewing search terms on my blog and thought this is a good topic for further discussion.

First Of All, What Is A Hard Inquiry?

There are two types of credit inquiries, hard and soft.

A hard inquiry is a credit inquiry pulled for the purpose of obtaining credit. These types of inquiries are usually pulled for things such as a home, auto or personal loan. Landlords and tenant screen services credit inquiries are also considered hard inquiries.

A soft inquiry is a credit inquiry requested for informational purposes. If you request your own credit through a site such as AnnualCreditReport.com, this is considered a soft inquiry and does not deduct points off your score. Additionally, creditors whom you currently do business with can pull a soft inquiry to do an account review and evaluate your current credit worthiness. Offers for "pre-approved credit are not counted as hard inquiries. Credit inquiries for insurance and employment also fall into this category, as they are not made for the purpose of granting you credit.

How Many Points Can Be Deducted For A Credit Inquiry?

o Each "hard" credit inquiry (meaning the consumer has applied for some form of credit, prompting the creditor to check the credit report or score) that is counted normally subtracts no more than five points from a person's score.

Auto Loan Inquiries

Auto loan and home loan inquiries are treated a little differently since 2004. Due to the fact that most folks like to shop around for both home and auto loans, the credit bureaus recognized the fact that each inquiry was having a negative impact on credit scores because of the multiple pulls. This practice was hurting the consumer's credit score and not allowing the consumer to shop around for the best rates and terms.
So, Fair Isaac changed the rules a bit for Auto and Home Loan credit inquiries:

o The credit-scoring model recognizes that many consumers shop around for the best interest rates before buying a car or home and that their searching may cause multiple lenders to request their credit report. To compensate for this, multiple auto or mortgage inquiries in any 14-day period are counted as one inquiry.

o In the newest formula used to calculate FICO scores, that 14-day period has been expanded to any 45-day period. This means consumers can shop around for an auto loan for up to 45 days without affecting their scores. But the old 14-day rule might still apply at some lenders that are not using the new version.

o The newest FICO version went online at all three credit agencies – TransUnion, Equifax and Experian – in 2004, Typically it takes lenders months to adjust their processes so they can accommodate revised formulas – and some lenders never adjust.

o The FICO score ignores all mortgage and auto inquiries made in the 30 days before scoring. If you find a loan within 30 days, the inquiries will not affect your score while you're rate-shopping.

How To Avoid Multiple Hard Auto Inquiries

If you want to avoid multiple hits to your credit while you're shopping for an auto loan, you'll need to set aside a two week period to completely concentrate on getting your financing in place.

o Find Out What Your Credit Score Is :

In order to shop for a loan without being dinged for multiple credit inquiries, you'll need to know what your credit scores are. This will also help you to determine whether you are "bankable" or if you're going to have some difficulty getting financing.

You can get an estimate of your FICO Score to give you an idea of ​​the current range of your scores, or you can purchase a 3-in-1 Report with FICO in one easy to read report for just $ 39.95 so you'll know exactly what your credit scores are.

o Get Pre-Approved At A Bank :

Now that you know what your credit scores are, call around to local banks in your area and ask, "What is the minimum credit score one needs to have to be pre-approved for an auto loan?"

If you know that your credit scores fall into their "approval guidelines", then ask what are their interest rates and terms, such as how much down payment are they going to require.

Once you've determined the lender with the most favorable terms, go into that bank and apply. Some banks even have an 800 Phone Loan Center or on-line application process available so you do not have to go anywhere.

Once you have been pre-approved by the lender of your choice, you normally have 30 days before the pre-approval expires.

If you decide to go this route, not only are you getting the best interest rate around without generating multiple credit inquiries, but you'll also find out how much you're approved for, which will make shopping for an auto easier in the long run.

o Getting Auto Financing If You're Not "Bankable"

If your credit scores fall below what you've found to be "bankable", you're going to need to find financing elsewhere. There are several ways you can do this.

1. You can go through an on-line Vehicle Financing Network. These networks have access to multiple lenders and their guidelines. They will have to pull your credit in order to find out what your scores are themselves, but then they have access to many auto loan financing companies specializing in consumers with "less than perfect credit". Once they've determined which lender you have the greatest chance of being approved with, they'll forward your application along.

2. Go auto shopping and when you find the car you want, the dealership will be more than happy to submit your loan application to multiple lenders. Remember, if you decide to go this route, you have 14 days of unlimited credit pulls to count as 1 pull.

If you continue to do this month after month, you're going to see about 5 points deducted off your score every time your credit is pulled.

The Answer To The Original Question – " Can You Sue A Car Dealer For Excessive Hard Inquiries?"

Civil liability for knowing noncompliance: "Any person who obtains a consumer report from a consumer reporting agency under false pretenses or knowingly without a permissible purpose shall be liable to the consumer reporting agency for actual damages sustained by the consumer reporting agency or $ 1,000, whichever is greater. "

What this boils down to is ….. READ WHAT YOU SIGN! If you applied for financing with a car dealership, then you must have filled out a loan application. Did the paperwork that you signed say that they would submit your application to multiple lenders?

If you did not grant them permission to pull your credit, then you may have a case to sue for $ 1,000, but in my view, it's going to be way more hassle than it's worth. The easiest way to handle the situation to your benefit, is to dispute the inquiries with the credit bureaus that are reporting them.

If the creditors that pulled your credit can not prove "permissible purpose", then the credit reporting agencies will remove these inquiries. If the creditors come back stating they had permissible purpose, you have every right to ask them for the documentation to prove it. Again, if they can not come up with that documentation, the credit reporting agencies will have to remove the inquiry.

Once the inquiry or multiple inquiries are removed, you should see an increase in your credit scores. It's a tiny bit of work on your part, but way easier than trying to sue for $ 1000.00.

Inspect, Expect and Respect

There's an old mantra in regards to management that I believe originated at 3M. It's quite simple and really sheds a good light on how to lead. Or rather what you should deem important in your engagement with the team. It goes like this:

Inspect what you expect them to respect – and in turn, they will respect what they expect you to inspect.

Do not care if your team shows up on time or leaves early? Do not inspect it, and they will fail to respect it.

Do not care about the abandoned call rates in your service center? Do not make the information visible or accountable, and they will fail to respect it.

On the other hand, if your close rates are critical to your company's success then inspect them and, in turn, the team will respect them.

It's a very simple process and one that can help you to be a better leader and lead your organization or industry across important benchmarking categories and enhanced sales success results.

I'd like to share a quick story to highlight this. And who knows, perhaps this classic originated at 3M:

Years ago, OK decades ago, a company was trying to sell new lighting to a manufacturing plant. They wanted to convince the plant owners that new lighting would make the plant more productive. So they decided to test and measure it. Portions of the plant were provided the bright new lights, and others were not. They monitored and measured the results.

Do you know what they found? Their results were not so much about the new lighting as they were about management and leadership and inspecting what you expect them to respect. You see, they discovered that employees are much more productive when they are watched. When the management team cares enough to keep an eye on the business operations, the employees sit up and pay notice and become more productive.

Inspect what you expect them to respect and in turn, they will respect what they expect you to inspect.

And remember, if you need help 'inspecting' to get the respect you expect, take time out to invest in sales management training, sales training seminars or an innovative leadership training workshop.

Obtaining the extra tools you need to efficiently inspect to find the respect your business requires will save you time and money. Eventually, the sales team will bring in larger returns as they begin to respect what you inspect and expect!

A Review of the Limitations of the Grandfathering Clause For Zoning Compliance

The term 'grandfathering' is commonly used in many different circumstances when dealing with a possible exemption to a rule, requirement, or change to any existing conditions or standards that apply to a variety of situations such as businesses activities or occupational requirement. Often employees or tradepersons find themselves in a situation where they may become exempt to a new professional requirement by the act of being grandfathered-in by means of previously acceptable conditions. In fact, there are a wide variety of circumstances where the grandfathering of a pre-existing condition or requirement is applicable. However for the purposes of this article, a common situation where the application of a grandfathering-in of a structure, use or occupancy when dealing with zoning codes, land development regulations, and permit requirements will be reviewed. The term grandfathering is often applied to address uses, activities, and structures that may be adversely affected by the adoption of new restrictive ordinances, land-use designations, or code requirements.

Historical Perspective

The term grandfathering or grandfather clause has been cited as having its origins in the amendments to constitutional provisions of many southern US states around the late nineteenth century. Black's Law Dictionary and West's Encyclopedia of American Law explains that the original purpose of the 'Grandfather Clause' was to keep newly freed African-Americans and certain groups of people from voting, mainly in the southern US states. Theses clauses denied voter registration to people who did not meet certain requirements unless their grandfathers had served in the Confederate Army therefore if a person's grandfather could vote, so could they. In 1915 the US Supreme Court declared these types of clauses unconstitutional; however, the term grandfathering is still a commonly accepted term when addressing exemption provisions for zoning regulations. Today, grandfathering of a structure, business activity or use provides an exemption from current codes or other newly adopted regulations that would make it otherwise prohibited or fail to meet current codes because it was lawfully in place prior to any change or requirement affecting its existence, use or lawfulness. When a property or use is grandfathered-in, it is said to be non-conforming to any current codes or requirements. There is often a misconception that just the prior existence of a structure or activity or other use is okay if built or in place prior to the adoption of a related code or ordinance, however, the key to grandfathering is that the affected area or item of concern must have been lawfully in place prior to any change or prohibition. Additionally, there are laws that can be adopted for life-safety reasons that would not allow the continuance of any use or structure that is determined to be dangerous just because it has always been so or an new law may contain an amortization period where affected persons are put on noticed of a certain time-frame for when a use must conform to current codes or otherwise be ceased to exist.

Concerns for existing structures

It is important for owners of older properties to check with their local building and zoning departments prior to pursuing any construction or repair activities, not only to ensure what permit requirements may be necessary, if any, but also to obtain knowledge of any pre-existing conditions or new requirements that may affect the project or use. Any use or structure that does not conform to current codes or requirements for similar uses or structures would be considered non-conforming or that which does not conform. For example, in Florida, there are windstorm requirements for the installation of shutters or safety approved windows for new construction due to the changes in the Florida building code due to need for building safety from hurricane force winds and related effects of these storms. For an existing structure with older windows that do not conform to the latest safety standards, if the replacement of these windows becomes necessary, in order to meet this requirement, it may be required to upgrade all the windows or provide proper window safety coverings installed over the windows on the entire structure. Because of the life-safety and property protection nature of this requirement the existing windows on your property may not be grandfathered-in due to this requirement. However, the local building department would be able to advise if an exemption to this requirement would be allowed for only minor repairs for broken window panes or a replacement of only one window is needed.

Further considerations

Another scenario could involve the repair of an existing accessory structure, such as a fence, where there has been a change in permit requirements or new restrictions limiting size or location of new fences, the grandfathering provision may also not apply. Just because the fence may already be in existence and previously permitted, modifications or major repair may constitute adherence to any new regulations or requirements adopted by a local jurisdiction, change in building or zoning code or sometimes even a local neighborhood restriction as an architectural guideline or neighborhood enhancement standard. Often when existing structures are not in conformance with current code, such as one that may restrict the location of new fences in front yards, when an existing fences that are located in front yard need to be replaced, this may cause this existing fences to now be required to conform to the current neighborhood standards. Unless there is a minor repair provision, usually repairs to an existing structure that exceeds a preset percentage of the structure, such as a certain value of the work such as exceeding 50% or more or the area of ​​the structure or value of the work or if a new building or zoning permit is required will require the structure to now be brought into conformance with current code requirements. This is how a neighborhood progresses towards all properties conforming to current neighborhood standards by requiring adherence to current codes when it makes sense and only exempting those properties that truly remain grandfathered-in by maintaining their nonconforming status either because no major repair or modifications requiring permits where necessary or changes to the a structure or use have remained within prescribed limitations. Be very wary of any contractor that tells you that a project does not require obtaining any permits or local jurisdiction approvals or homeowner association reviews unless it is for minor repairs or you are absolutely sure that it does not because if it does or it may affect a grandfathering status, it may cost you more money and headache in the long run if it is to be corrected after the fact.

Scenario of a common dilemma

A common area of ​​concern occurs when a new property owner is faced with the dilemma of dealing with work that was previously done without permits to a property that they now own. When parts of real property such as an accessory structure like a shed or a property addition has been constructed without permits and required inspections it can be a real headache, especially if the work does not meet current code requirements or even worse, if it is not allowed or in the wrong place. This often occurs because the previous owner or owner at the time that the work was performed failed to obtain permits for the work and therefore the construction was never reviewed by all applicable agencies such as building, zoning, environmental, and engineering. Even though the work was done prior to a new or current owners awareness, it would not be grandfathered in because it was not originally done lawfully. Often property owners who find themselves in this type of situation may feel that the lack of a permit should be overlooked because whatever was done may not be thought to bother anyone else or that it does not serve any substantial purpose or protection of the general welfare to require a permit be obtained after the fact or if a long period of time has passed. However, the fact that a previous owner overlooked the responsibility to obtain a permit and required inspections does not negate the responsibility of the jurisdiction to enforce the codes once it has been made aware of the violation. To do so would be neglectful and the problem would not go away but would remain to be dealt with by a future unsuspecting purchaser or if something terrible were to happen because of poor workmanship or the unearthing of unknown consequences. In some cases, the building or zoning official may be able to provide alternative options towards bringing the property into compliance or obtaining an exception to the code requirements if a variance is sought and certain conditions are met. This is important if the problem was not self-created such as in this scenario.

The Quest for the Grandfathering Status

The need for the application of a grandfather status to a particular situation often arises when a new owner who is unaware of any problems or limitations on a property begins a home improvement project and either clears away obstructions that have concealed the construction from view, such as with overgrown landscaping or vegetation or upon the review of property survey or construction plans for the application of a new permit. Another common situation is when a change to an existing use of a property that is no longer allowed by the zoning code occurs or a new property owner applies for a use that is determined to have been previously discontinued and can no longer occur. The discovery of an existing problem may even occur upon property visits by a code inspector for other violations, when inspections are performed for the permit for new home improvement work or even by obvious visual reasons where a seasoned inspector can easily see that work was done without permits. This often occurs because since un-permitted work has not been reviewed by building and zoning officials, the awareness of code requirements or zoning limitations, such as setbacks from property lines, can be easily violated without being aware. Unless a new property owner can address this issue with the previous owner or through some type of title insurance claim, they are usually faced with the unfortunate responsibility and costs of trying to correct any problems un-permitted work may cause or address an expected use of a property that will not be allowed by the zoning department. Some jurisdictions may require that any property owner who is aware of work done without permits or if a violation has already been issued be responsible to disclose same to any future or prospective purchaser of the property. For example, in the State of Florida, Chapter 162.06 of the State Statutes requires the following:

"If the owner of property that is subject to an enforcement proceeding before an enforcement board, special magistrate, or court transfers ownership of such property between the time the initial pleading was served and the time of the hearing, such owner shall (a) Disclose , in writing, the existence and the nature of the proceeding to the prospective transferee; (b) Deliver to the prospective transferee a copy of the pleadings, notices, and other materials relating to the code enforcement proceeding received by the transferor: (c) Disclose, in writing, to the prospective transferee that the new owner will be responsible for compliance with the applicable code and with orders issued in the code enforcement proceeding; (d) File a notice with the code enforcement official of the transfer of the property, with the identity and address of the new owner and copies of the disclosures made to the new owner, within 5 days after the date of the transfer. A failure to make the disclosures described in paragraphs (a), (b), and (c ) before the transfer creates a rebuttable presumption of fraud. If the property is transferred before the hearing, the proceeding shall not be dismissed, but the new owner shall be provided a reasonable period of time to correct the violation before the hearing is held. "

Certain state constitutions or statues may allow for a use or structure to continue if it has been in existence over a certain period of time depending on the law. An example of this would be if a state provides a statute of limitations whereby if a building code permit provision has not been enforced for the construction of a structure for more than twenty-years then a local jurisdiction can not require the structure to be brought into current code conformance unless the jurisdiction is able to meet certain requirements that warrant such action. However, because the building codes are usually considered specifically dealing with life-safety, most work done without permits unless specifically exempt by code or statue would not be allowed to exist once discovered. The codes are not only designed to prevent harm and property damage to the general public but also to protect each and every individual from harm to themselves, family, tenants, or guests by occupying or utilizing unsafe structures.

Conclusion

Although code enforcement officials and inspectors are tasked with the responsibility to address possible violations for losses of nonconformance or items that are not in conformance with current codes, every situation encountered should be treated as an individual case and handled based upon its own history, facts and records. Code officials can assist with researching records, such as building permits, zoning approvals, certificates of uses or other prior board determinations to make a determination if something is or is not grandfathered-in. If a property was lawfully existing or a use was already established before a change was made to prohibit such use or construction, certain evidence such as photos, plans, and even testimonial affidavits may become very useful in assisting the local building and zoning departments to establish a legal nonconforming use or structure. Additionally, because there are always other factors, circumstances or applicable laws that may affect a determination of grandfathering, any concerns regarding the application of grandfathering should be discussed with your code enforcement official, local building and zoning department officials, municipal or county attorney and other qualified professional or counsel. There may be numerous procedural steps, exemptions, and laws that may apply to your particular situation so be sure and get all the assistance and information that you can, especially when dealing with any legal concern. It is often recommended that before the purchase of any property, that buyers obtain the services of a reliable and reputable inspection service, as well as, paying a visit to your local building and zoning departments. Some jurisdictions may offer a prospective property buyer to obtain a pre-purchase or pre-occupancy inspection for a property to determine if there are any existing liens, encumbrances, outstanding permits, violations or limitations on proposed uses.

How to Get a Highly Paid Nursing Assistant Salary

While there is unfortunately not a list of higher paying nursing assistant salary jobs for you to aspire to, there are several options available to you to gain the most out of your CNA employment. These options are detailed below.

Obtain Your CNA II

Obtaining your CNA II will give you a bump in nursing assistant salary by as much as an extra dollar per hour or more depending on your facility. While this may not sound like much, over the years as a CNA employee it will add up. Plus if you add this to more certifications like Basic Life Support certification and a Certified Nursing Administration course. These will aid you in getting higher pay or promotions within the CNA field of employment. Phlebotomy training to give you extra certification and experience. However, if you become a phlebotomist full-time although the average wage is higher as a phlebotomist than a CNA. You will lose your extra shifts, double shifts, night shift and weekend work that you will get with CNA employment which pushes your pay higher than that of a phlebotomist.

You need to keep in mind before you attend an interview that you can negotiate a higher starting CNA salary if you have experience / qualifications in an area with serious nursing assistant shortages. So doing a little homework on the shortage in your area can pay dividends in your negotiations in your starting nursing assistant salary. You obviously will not mention the shortages at the interview, you just keep it in mind when negotiating your starting nursing assistant salary with the employer.

Generally speaking the higher paid certified nursing assistant jobs will be those in a hospital, in a major city or urban area. And the highest pay will be in the specialized units that require extra training such as emergency room, intensive care ward etc.

Get a higher nursing assistant salary by working for an agency

If you are prepared to travel between jobs and can handle the temporary nature of a contract offered by a nursing agency, then a much higher nursing assistant salary can be achieved. Then agencies like ARC healthcare or Medical Staffing Network to name just two of the many agencies across the country can offer you these higher paying certified nursing assistant temporary jobs. Then they will usually place you at a medical facility that requires nursing assistants at a short notice. The pay will be higher than say a long term contract in a nursing home, but you will not have the reassurance of long term employment.

These companies / medical facilities that need staff in a pinch and recruit through an agency often have double shift options. Which will usually have a bonus on top for the inconvenience. Also in a lot of these temporary roles your traveling expenses will be covered if they are in remote locations.

Agency certified nurse assistant salary is usually much higher than the average at $ 15 around – $ 20 per hour, whereas for the same job in hospital may only pay you between $ 9 and $ 12 depending on experience, location and medical facility. You need to bear in mind though that these agencies often do not include medical insurance as part of their contract terms. You should also know that in order to get on these agencies books you will need a minimum of 6 months CNA experience, with many requiring 1 years experience at least before they can offer to find employment through their agency.

Private duty cases obtained through these agencies often provide much higher CNA pay than the norm. You will find a website called healthcareerweb.com often provides private duty case jobs on their website.

You could also consider studying for a nursing degree which will open many more opportunities for advancement in the nursing profession which includes much higher pay. Some of the top nursing jobs like Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA), earn on $ average 100k per year and often much more. Now obviously for this level of nursing pay there will be several years of hard studying to do, but the rewards can be well worth it in the end.

Hopefully this has given you a few pointers in getting the most out of a nursing assistant salary that you are looking for as you journey through your medical career.

Investment Properties – Loan-to-Value (LTV) Vs Debt-Credit-Ratio (DCR) And What Has Changed?

We are seeing signs that the commercial real estate market has bottomed out as users and investors cautiously begin buying value added commercial / industrial properties. However, lenders are taking a very conservative approach in underwriting these deals in today's volatile real estate market.

Loan-to-Value (LTV) continues to play an important role in determining the loan amount and down payment required for the purchase. The appraiser plays a key role in assessing the value of the property and ultimately the loan amount. Traditionally, users / companies can expect to buy a property with as little at 10% down or a 90% LTV and investors can expect to put down 25 – 30% or a 70 – 85% LTV. This has not changed and is still the case today.

Users / Companies continue to gravitate towards SBA financing (Small Business Administration loans) which allows them to obtain a conventional loan at an 80% LTV with the SBA loaning 10% in a second position and the borrower having to put down only 10%. Obviously the company's financials are heavily scrutinized and anyone owning more than 20% of the company must personally guarantee the loan. This has been and is still the case today.

Investors are having a much more difficult time obtaining loans to purchase income producing properties. Lenders do factor in the Loan to Value (LTV's) on these loans as well as the investor's financial wherewithal, but the biggest concern is with the property's ability (income) to afford the loan payments. Debt Coverage Ratios (DCR's) are now at the forefront in determining how much the lender will loan on the property.

In the past DCR's were used to determine the loan amount for income producing properties but lenders were less stringent in allowing investors / borrowers to make an argument for future income (actual rents vs. market rents) in determining NOI (Net Operating Income). This, coupled with rising property value, had both appraisers and lenders being overly aggressive in projecting a property's market value in which to base the LTV and that is what ultimately resulted in a lot of nonperforming loans you see today.

Case Study:

Earlier this year we recently represented an investment group buying an industrial building leased to a food processing company in the Vernon, California market. This is a single tenant building with a ten year NNN lease. The annual NOI (net operating income) was $ 141,000 with fixed rental increases every 12 months. The property was showing an 8% return based on a $ 1.74 million purchase price. The investment group had budgeted 25% down or 85% LTV.

The Lender analyzed the property in the following manner to determine the loan amount:

Gross Rents of $ 141,000
Less Vacancy of 10% or ($ 14,100)
Less Reserves of 3% or ($ 4,230)
Less Management of 3% of ($ 4,230)
Property Taxes to be paid by tenant
Property Insurance to be paid by tenant
Total Expenses ($ 22,560)
NOI was now calculated to $ 118,440 be
A Debt Coverage Ratio (DCR) of 1.2 was applied to the NOI
Calculated Debt Service NOI / DCR = $ 98,700

The lender told us this property would support $ 98,700 or $ 8,225 / mo in debt service. With interest rates near 6% and a 25 year amortization this translates into a loan amount of $ 1.27 million. When subtracted from the $ 1.74 million purchase price the investor can expect to put down $ 470,000 or 27% of the loan amount.

When the real estate market was at or near its peak in 2007, we were seeing capitalization rates (return on investment) hovering around 5.75 – 6%. It's easy to understand why lenders had to circumvent the DCR method in calculating the loan amount in order for a property to achieve a 75% LTV:

If you take this same property at a 6% return (or $ 104,400 NOI) and applied the same underwriting criteria you would have the following:

Gross Rents of $ 104,400
Less Vacancy of 10% or ($ 10,440)
Less Reserves of 3% or ($ 3,132)
Less Management of 3% of ($ 3,132)
Property Taxes to be paid by tenant
Property Insurance to be paid by tenant
Total Expenses ($ 16,704)
NOI was now calculated to $ 87,696 be
A Debt Coverage Ratio (DCR) of 1.2 was applied to the NOI
Calculated Debt Service NOI / DCR = $ 73,080

At $ 73,080 ($ 6,090 / mo) or in debt service based on a 6% return and a loan amortized over 25 years, it equates to a $ 945,209 loan amount. This would require the investor to put down $ 794,790 which is a 46% LTV.

In this instance, investors were unwilling to put 46% down and would make the argument that in the near future the $ 118,440 NOI (as stated above) was achievable. Lenders wanting to make the loan would buy into this argument allowing in part the DCR to be applied to the increased rents. The appraisal report would support this amount by using comparable sales to users, not investors to support an 85% LTV. Lenders would make the loan with an investor allowing them to only put 25% down when in reality they should have put 46% down as stated above. As lease rates and property values ​​continued to plummet, these same properties no longer cash-flowed. With only 25% invested in a property that lost as much as 50% of its value we can see why so many investors walked away from their loan commitments.

Importance Of Data Mining In Today's Business World

What is Data Mining? Well, it can be defined as the process of getting hidden information from the piles of databases for analysis purposes. Data Mining is also known as Knowledge Discovery in Databases (KDD). It is nothing but extraction of data from large databases for some specialized work.

Data Mining is largely used in several applications such as understanding consumer research marketing, product analysis, demand and supply analysis, e-commerce, investment trend in stocks & real estates, telecommunications and so on. Data Mining is based on mathematical algorithm and analytical skills to drive the desired results from the huge database collection.

Data Mining has great importance in today's highly competitive business environment. A new concept of Business Intelligence data mining has evolved now, which is widely used by leading corporate houses to stay ahead of their competitors. Business Intelligence (BI) can help in providing latest information and used for competition analysis, market research, economical trends, consume behavior, industry research, geographical information analysis and so on. Business Intelligence Data Mining helps in decision-making.

Data Mining applications are widely used in direct marketing, health industry, e-commerce, customer relationship management (CRM), FMCG industry, telecommunication industry and financial sector. Data mining is available in various forms like text mining, web mining, audio & video data mining, pictorial data mining, relational databases, and social networks data mining.

Data mining, however, is a crucial process and requires lots of time and patience in collecting desired data due to complexity and of the databases. This could also be possible that you need to look for help from outsourcing companies. These outsourcing companies are specialized in extracting or mining the data, filtering it and then keeping them in order for analysis. Data Mining has been used in different context but is being commonly used for business and organizational needs for analytical purposes

Usually data mining requires lots of manual job such as collecting information, assessing data, using internet to look for more details etc. The second option is to make software that will scan the internet to find relevant details and information. Software option could be the best for data mining as this will save tremendous amount of time and labor. Some of the popular data mining software programs available are Connexor Machines, Free Text Software Technologies, Megaputer Text Analyst, SAS Text Miner, LexiQuest, WordStat, Lextek Profiling Engine.

However, this could be possible that you will not get appropriate software which will be suitable for your work or finding the suitable programmer would also be difficult or they may charge hefty amount for their services. Even if you are using the best software, you will still need human help in completion of projects. In that case, outsourcing data mining job will be advisable.

Offshore Employee Leasing: A Strategic Management Option

Business outsourcing is a widely known compelling strategic management option several companies are adopting nowadays. From small to large scale establishments, they have been using it to continually maintain their stable status in today's overly competitive market. Its emerging power as a business tool is undoubted.

Offshore Outsourcing is a program in which non-core operations are delegated from a company's internal unit to an overseas external supplier. This set-up enables you to focus on your business core competencies. Companies in various parts of the word deploy this program in the purpose of obtaining better profit margins and decreasing overhead costs.

Through the business outsourcing model, you'll be relieved of the usual burdens accompanying the implementation of traditional recruitment processes and staff maintenance.

Having an outsourcing company to rely on gives you the benefit of deferment from several human resources related fees such as non productive administrative costs, government taxes, levies, unemployment insurance costs, in-house training expenses, etc.

There would be no further need to worry about the equipments needed before an employee could begin. Every leased employee has their own table, comfortable working area, computer, efficient internet access, and everything they could possibly need. With just a go signal from you, they could begin right away.

Outsourcing offshore gives you an extended resource pool of skilled personnel. Moreover, you can take advantage of the value of less than par foreign currencies. You will only be paying us a fraction of the cost in comparison to the actual charges of using local manpower resources in your area.

This program enables your company to function more efficiently by having all manpower services you need without worrying about manpower related fees.

Employees' regular in-house trainings and constant progress check are also conducted upon job placement to continually enhance their skills.

Prime Outsourcing, a trustworthy supplier of offshore leased employees and IT related outsourcing services, offers you the best cost and quality edge in today's overly competitive market. Our company currently has a very stable and credible status in the industry, proving it worthy to invest your money and trust unto.

Our objective is to assist several local and multinational enterprises attain their full potential as well as increase their ability to compete.

Our company has the perfect Asian location- Manila, Philippines- the heart of the largest English speaking country in Asia. With this strategic location, you surely will be encountering no difficulties in communicating with our employees. Our people have excellent English verbal and written skills.

Our services have already been globally proven reliable and easily available. You definitely will experience no difficulties in choosing the best employee that will most certainly suit your needs and meet up with your qualifications. Our company features an integrated team of marketing and IT professionals who understand and practice the latest in Information technology. All of them are college graduates with several years of experience in their respective fields. These individuals exhibit professionalism, high competence, flexibility and dedication to excellence.

We will also take the responsibility of recruiting and sourcing highly qualified applicants, in accordance to the requirements that you had specified, that will comprise your staff overseas.

In short, we will be handling almost all of the routine maintenance and development tasks for you. Due to the improved organizational efficiency, you can now give your sole concentration to your company's strategic growth and development.

We have two types of solutions that you could try, depending on the package that would suit your needs most.

The first one is the "dedicated staff package". In this set-up, your leased employee will work for you full time- eight hours a day, six days a week, four weeks a month. There would be no need to worry about conflicting schedules since every employee is flexible to your prescribed time frame.

The other one is the "per project package". Provide us the specific requirements then we'll do the rest for you. We will be arriving at a fixed price after estimating the amount of time and resources involved in your project. Afterwards, a project plan would be presented to you for your approval.

These service packages are available in reasonably low prices, promising you of enormous savings without sacrificing quality.

Services and solutions offered by the company:

oData entry, processing and conversion

oData capture and image scanning

oForms processing services

oTyping and word processing

oWeb research services

oOnline research, survey and catalogs

oMedical transcription

oDocuments and record management

oProgramming

oCreative writing

oAnd much more!

Outsourcing human resources to us gives you all the cost, quality, and time advantages that only Prime Outsourcing could provide. Give us a try and experience our prime quality services. Here at Prime Outsourcing, our primary goal is to provide ultimate customer satisfaction. <br> Free to visit feel View our website at: Http://www.primeoutsourcing.com/

You absolutely have high dreams for your company, come and make it happen with us!

The Owosso Sugar Company – A History

No sooner had Saginaw's lumber tycoon, Wellington R. Burt, celebrated his 70th birthday on August 26, 1901 than did he set out to employ a portion of his lumber wealth in the awakening beet sugar industry.

The mantra of real estate agents everywhere is "location, location, location." However, in the business world in general it should be, "timing, timing, timing." Wellington Burt's timing so far as his interest in sugar was concerned, was poor.

Like others who had filled their days in the once fast-paced but now moribund lumber industry, he had time on his hands and money in the bank. At first, also as had others, he devoted some years to politics. He had served a term in the state senate (1893-1894) then sought a US Congressional seat but had the ill fortune to run as a Democrat in 1900, the year the Republican star was rising. Ranked as one of America's wealthiest men, Burt cast about for new investment ideas and then homed in on the sugar industry. His set his eyes on Owosso, Michigan, a village situated some thirty miles southwest of Saginaw where several holdovers from the lumber industry resided in mansions arrayed along Washington Avenue. Among Owosso's many attributes was the influence of Joseph Kohn, a sugarbeet technologist residing in Bay City, Michigan. Kohn presided over the Michigan Chemical Company which had been put in place to purchase and then process molasses generated by that city's growing number of sugar beet factories. His success at Michigan Chemical encouraged investors to draw close when he spoke of investing in beet sugar factories.

For Kohn it was simple, the more sugar beet factories the more molasses for Michigan Chemical, which could be distilled into alcohol, a circumstance that built enthusiasm for the construction of another factory. Fat with profits, Michigan Chemical and its parent, Pittsburgh Plate Glass, sought to build a factory in Owosso on its own and did not need the interference of another millionaire with time on his hands and money in his pocket. Wellington R. Burt was not invited to join in a venture with Michigan Chemical and his ambitions to go on his own languished behind a curtain of international events

The United States had agreed upon the conclusion of the Spanish-American War to reduce the import duty on Philippine sugar 75 percent of the general rate and to allow the importation of sugar from Puerto Rico, a US possession, entirely free of duty. The Philippines had the additional advantage of shipping up to 300,000 tons duty free and Congress was dithering with proposed legislation that if passed, would approve a treaty of reciprocity with Cuba. The agreement would grant that country a 20 percent tariff preferential.

The nation's newspapers devoted considerable space to the plan, dampening the spirits of those who had at first shown much excitement about Burt's proposed factory. He could find few others to join him in a venture in Owosso, although he pledged $ 200,000 of his personal fortune and claimed others had subscribed another $ 50,000 in stock. He had convinced farmers to sign up to grow sugarbeets on three thousand acres and contracted with the experienced firm of Fuehrman and Hapke to begin construction when it fell apart because investors had not come forth with the balance of the required investment – about $ 600,000.

Michigan Chemical Company waited in the wings while additional investors failed to materialize. Elsewhere, excitement for beet sugar factories hardly slowed. Sixteen were built in the United States between 1900 and 1902, eight in Michigan. Burt's attention turned to Alma, Michigan where he met more success by combining his money and talents with those of Aimee Wright, another Saginaw industrialist.

Owosso, in 1902, was as good a candidate for a beet factory as any town in Michigan, perhaps better. It had rail lines, established industry, a managerial class and trained workers in addition to an excellent farming region. Burt stepped aside, allowing the project to die stillborn. Fuehrman and Hapke went on to construct the Sebewaing factory in the next year, creating one of the most successful beet factories of the era. Michigan Chemical emerged from the shadows and picked up the reins.

Owosso was home to two families with notable achievements in American politics. Both would play various roles in the establishment of a beet sugar factory in Owosso. The Bentley family, headed by Alvin Bentley, whose grandson, also named Alvin, achieved fame at great personal expense in 1954 when as a junior Congressman, he became the most seriously injured of five victims of an armed assault on Congress while it was in session . Four Puerto Rican terrorists discharged thirty rounds from the visitor's gallery of the US House of Representatives to the floor of that chamber while the Representatives were debating an immigration bill.

The Dewey family had been engaged in Republican politics since the party's formation in nearby Jackson, Michigan in 1854. In Owosso, in accordance with tradition, a leading representative of the political party then in power held the postmaster's position. Edmund O. Dewey, uncle to Thomas Edmund Dewey, a future New York governor and twice an unsuccessful candidate for the US presidency, held that position beginning with the presidency of William McKinley and ending with the presidency of Woodrow Wilson. His brother George, the father of Thomas Edmund Dewey, secured the appointment in 1921.

Edmund Dewey, in 1902, revived Wellington Burt's plan for a beet sugar factory in Owosso. He arranged the purchase of a suitable 40-acre site at the west end of Oliver Street, raised $ 10,000 and urged the county board of commissioners to pass a bond issue sufficient to meet the cost of the land. The county denied the bond, causing the idea to fail for a second time and for the same reason – a lack of enthusiasm.

Joseph Kohn stepped forward and in doing so introduced into Michigan's fired up sugar industry one the nation's wealthiest families, the Pitcairn family of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Pitcairn family controlled the Pittsburg Plate Glass Company (today known as PPG Industries) headquartered in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. The glass company had all but ended America's dependence on Europe for large sheets of glass suitable for storefronts, display cases and mirrors. During the opening days of the 20th century, the company produced 20-million square feet of glass annually.

In seeking a source of potash for its glassworks, Pittsburgh Plate Glass turned to Kohn who made an effort to extract it from beet sugar molasses and instead found he could earn assured profits by converting molasses into alcohol. He had also served the German-American Sugar Company (later named Monitor Sugar Company) as a consultant and before that held a similar position with Kilby Manufacturing who was much involved in turnkey beet sugar factory construction projects. Kohn's Bay City distillery, owing to the large volume of molasses emerging from three sugar factories and more promised from the German-American Sugar Company's factory then under construction, was turning over substantial profits to Pittsburgh Plate Glass.

John Pitcairn saw America's shores first as five-year old immigrant brought to America by his parents John and Agnes along with two sisters and a brother. Pitcairn accumulated a personal fortune in railroads, coalmines, oil, and in the founding of the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company in partnership with John Ford. He was sixty-years old when Kohn drew his attention to the potential in Owosso and the failed effort of first Wellington Burt, then Edmund Dewey to form a beet sugar company.

Three's the charm for Owosso. On October 29, 1902, the Owosso Sugar Company came into existence, capitalized at one million dollars. More than 75 percent of the shares were owned by members of the Pitcairn family and friends. John Pitcairn owned 62,500 of the outstanding shares outright. A handful of Owosso residents added their names to the shareholder list, including the aforementioned Alvin Bentley and the brothers Edmund and George Dewey. George Dewey's son, Tom, the future presidential candidate, would one day spend school vacations working in the new sugar company's packaging room.

The company presidency was turned over to Charles W. Brown, the owner of newly minted 5,600 shares of stock. Brown was also the president of Pittsburgh Plate Glass. Day to day financial duties went to 36-year old Edward Pitcairn, one of John Pitcairn's many nephews. Edward would, by 1910, become treasurer of Pittsburgh Plate Glass, a position he would hold for the balance of his career. Carmen Smith, an attorney with a long association with Charles Brown, stemming from a period when the pair resided in Minneapolis, assumed responsibility for the general management of the new firm. In addition, he assumed the title of Secretary-Treasurer. He had recently moved his wife Isabella and three children, Margaret, Carmen, and Cedric to Bay City where he served as the treasurer of Michigan Chemical Company. Joseph Kohn accepted the role of general factory superintendent.

Educated at the Prague Institute of Technology, Kohn graduated in 1883 with degrees in mechanical and chemical engineering. Following his schooling, he was employed at Breitfeld-Danek of Prague and later gained experience at a sugar factory in Moravia, a region in what is now the Czech Republic but was then a part of the Austrian-Hungary empire, and also worked with the evaporator designer, Hugo Jelenik. In Moravia, he worked with Carl Steffen, the inventor of the molasses desugarization process that carries his name. While employed by Kilby Manufacturing Company, Kohn developed the Kilby standard factory arrangement.

Kilby Manufacturing won contracts to construct two 1,000-ton factories in Michigan; one at Owosso and another at Menominee. The two would hold the record as the largest beet factories built in Michigan until a 1,200-ton factory was built at Mount Pleasant in 1920. In addition to the two 1,000-ton factories, Kilby had an order for a standard 600-ton factory for East Tawas. It would be a busy year for Kilby who had also received orders for three factories in Colorado, one each for Fort Collins, Longmont, and Windsor with Fort Collins gaining the largest factory built by Kilby-1,200 tons a day slicing capacity. The price for the Owosso factory, at $ 675,000, on a per ton of sugarbeets sliced ​​basis, was low at $ 675 compared $ 1,197 at East Tawas and $ 785 at Menominee. In fact, the Owosso factory cost less per ton of slice than any factory built in Michigan.

The Owosso factory came to life on December 9, 1903 without the usual fanfare assigned to new beet sugar factories which usually included marching bands, parades, and much merriment followed by speaking opportunities for local luminaries and politicians. In a quieter fashion, Charles W. Brown, arrived from Pittsburgh and brought with him as an honored guest, James Wilson, the Secretary of Agriculture. He rose to national prominence when President William McKinley appointed him Secretary of Agriculture in 1897. His stature was such that presidents Roosevelt and Taft retained him as secretary, and it was only when in 1912 in a move to sweep Republican appointees from office, Woodrow Wilson He ended his tenure. He had served as Secretary of Agriculture from March 4, 1897 to March 3, 1913, the longest duration served by any American cabinet official.

After a brief ceremony, Secretary Wilson pulled the whistle cord that called forth the beets from the flumes. Unlike many of the beet factories built in Michigan, there was no central local figure that had put his money and reputation on the line for the factory. The majority ownership was far away in Pennsylvania, its officers and guiding management lived elsewhere, Bay City in the case of Joseph Kohn and Carmen Smith and the environs of Pittsburgh for Brown and Pitcairn. It was not unusual for absentee owners to overlook the obvious – input from farmers. When a lack of farmer interest made itself known, it caused no palpitations in the boardroom of Pittsburgh Plate Glass. After all, twenty years earlier John Pitcairn had forged a new American industry out of the rubble of similar but failed efforts when he wrestled the plate glass market away from the Europeans and developed one of the world's largest and most modern factories of its kind.
Farmer apathy was a mild inconvenience, not a crushing blow to someone who had turned the making of plate glass into a unique American industry. The answer lay near at hand and Carmen Smith, his appointed emissary, had probed the possibilities even as the factory walls reached toward the sky to the amazement of Owossians who had gathered on weekends throughout the summer of 1903 to take in the breadth and dimensions of the industrial goliath growing in their midst. Clearly, the Pittsburgh Plate Glass people thought big. They thought even bigger than the factory's sidewalk superintendents imagined, bigger than had any beet factory organizer up until that time. Not only were they building a beet factory destined to be twice the size of nearly all the sugar factories in the United States, they were at the same time on the verge of establishing the largest sugarbeet farm in the United States and the largest single farm operation east of the Mississippi River.

South and west of Saginaw, Michigan lay a vast marsh formed during the last ice age. The marsh adjoined the convergence of several large river systems that became the Saginaw River that then and now flows 22 miles northward to Lake Huron. The eighteen thousand acre marsh served as an important stopover point and brooding ground for migrating waterfowl, ducks, geese, swans. It was the largest natural wildlife habitat in the American Midwest. It was protected by characteristics that made it unappealing to farmers – frequent flooding. But that changed when Harlan B. Smith, a Saginaw buggy manufacturer who also speculated in real estate, entered into a partnership with two attorneys Charles H. Camp and George B. Brooks, to acquire and then develop approximately 10,000 acres of the marsh. Their efforts, spanning fifteen years, resulted in a large drainage ditch that extended nearly two miles across the prairie, permitting them to convert hundreds of acres of marsh into farmland.

When Carmen Smith searched for a large tract in which to install a demonstration sugarbeet farm while at the same time assuring the Owosso factory would have all the beets it would want, he quickly targeted the Prairie Farm. Smith completed the purchase on February 22, 1903 and soon, a steam-powered dredge, a monster designed for digging into mucky earth, was soon barged down the Saginaw River to the prairie. It bit into the earth in the front, forming a 20-foot high dike and creating a canal, which it used to transport itself until acre-by acre, it claimed land that had waited a half a million years for the arrival of the mechanical behemoth.

Eventually, Owosso Sugar Company created thirty-six miles of dikes, some of them eighty feet wide at the bottom, forty at the top and twenty feet high. Others were of lesser dimensions but all designed for the same purpose – draining and then keeping the land dry. Roads crowned the tops of the dikes and the sides turned to grass for use as a sheep pasture. Half the land was drained via open ditches and half was drained with the aid of large pumps that sent their burden to the nearby Flint River. Once it was dry, the reclaimed land was laid out much like a giant checkerboard in twelve lines of sixteen forty-acre parcels. Almost overnight, for a capital outlay of $ 400,000, Smith transformed the Prairie Farm from a losing proposition into the largest beet sugar estate in Michigan, and probably in the United States, if not the world – ten thousand acres. The new factory could now set aside worry about an adequate supply of beets.

Owosso Sugar Company's First Campaign

The first operating campaign for the Owosso Sugar Company, as was customary with Kilby designed turnkey factories, achieved the guaranteed slice rate of 1,000 tons of sliced ​​beets each twenty-four hours. Construction contracts typically required that a new factory meet its guaranteed rate for a specified period of time, set by negotiation, at between one and ten days and usually occurred under the supervision of Kilby's engineers some days after the startup. The same engineers would withdraw once the new owner signed the certificate of completion, handing the factory over to the company's management staff. The slice rate at Owosso declined after the factory reached the guaranteed rate most likely for the same reasons slice rates in most new beet factories declined – inexperienced operators.

Because the Prairie Farm was yet in its infancy, it produced fewer beets than it would in the following years causing the processing period, referred to as a "campaign" by the industry, to last only 48 days, ending on January 26, 1904. During its maiden run the new factory sliced ​​an average of 542 tons, well short of the scheduled 1,000 tons per day. The second campaign was five days shorter but the slice rate nearly doubled, reaching 930 tons per day for 43 days.

While the Owosso factory was under construction, the Lansing beet factory, built by Benjamin Boutell, a major investor in several Michigan beet sugar factories, and others two years earlier, suffered from a lack of managerial oversight. Diagnosed with cancer early in 1902, Boutell's wife, Amelia died on November 27 at the age of 52 despite his best efforts to discover a cure. Having no heart for his business interests, he sold the Lansing factory to the Owosso Sugar Company.

Kohn and Smith now had four major operations: two sugar factories, the Prairie Farm, and Bay City's Michigan Chemical Company under their control whereas one year earlier they had only the chemical company to occupy their time and thoughts. The Prairie Farm employed 160 workers and 58 teams of draft horses and each of the two beet factories employed hundreds more in addition to workers at the chemical factory and in the Bay City headquarters. The two managers, each 45 years old, were in constant motion, visiting the properties, the corporate office in Pittsburgh, and attending industry conventions in addition to meeting with members of Congress and the Department of Agriculture. In 1910, Joseph Kohn was the first to reckon the cost of such a pace. He suffered a heart attack and died at the age of 52.

In the year preceding Kohn's death, 8,500 Prairie Farm acres had been diked and equipped with gravity drainage and pumping systems and for the first time, grew a square mile of sugarbeets. Peppermint provided additional revenue (35,000 pounds of peppermint oil in 1909) while cabbage followed in importance behind sugarbeets.

For the six years following Kohn's death, Carmen Smith continued on as before, shouldering Kohn's responsibilities in addition to his own, until 1916 when he placed the two sugar factories under the supervision of Charles D. Bell who had served as the factory manager at Alma before joining the Owosso staff in 1907. Bell remained at Owosso for sixteen years, leaving only after Michigan Sugar Company acquired the Owosso and Lansing factories in 1924 whereupon he returned to the family ranch in Los Alamos, California where he promptly discovered oil and retired in wealth.

In 1920, at age 62, Carmen Smith, much like his friend and associate, Joseph Kohn, succumbed suddenly to a heart attack while traveling home by train from Chicago. With Carmen Smith passed a pioneering era. Joseph Kohn in 1910, Joseph Kilby in 1914, John Pitcairn in 1916, and Carmen Smith in 1920 – those who had lived the dream of building one of the world's largest and most modern beet sugar factories and then topping it with the country's single largest beet farm, had passed from the scene. Sadly, what they had wrought would not last.

According to Daniel Gutleben's history of the Michigan beet sugar industry (The Sugar Tramp -1954), Pittsburgh Plate Glass, likely concerned that Michigan's beet factories, built too small to compete with major refineries designed to process raw sugar imported in quantity, could not compete against the volume of duty-free sugar entering the country. It opted to sell both the Owosso and Lansing factories to Michigan Sugar Company at a price reported in the press at $ 2,000,000 plus preferred stock. The Prairie Farm remained in the hands of John Pitcairn's heirs.

Michigan Sugar Company operated Owosso for the next four years until diminishing interest on the part of farmers combined with the flood of imported sugar caused the factory to close in 1928. Michigan Sugar lacked the chief advantage once held by the former owners – the Prairie Farm thus could not command farmers to grow beets when other crops, corn and soybeans attracted favorable prices for less investment and less work. It re-opened again for one year in 1933, then shut down but was kept in hopeful readiness. Hope finally surrendered to reality that the farmers would not return. The factory and buildings were sold in 1948. Proof that the eventual failure of the Owosso Sugar Company did not rest upon the shoulders of management lay in the appointment of Owosso's secretary, Edward Bostock, to the chairmanship of the board of directors of Michigan Sugar Company .

Sources:

DENSLOW, William R, and TRUMAN, Harry S., 10,000 Famous Freemasons from A to J Part One (in reference to Charles W. Brown career with Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company)

MILLER, Ed, and BEACH, Jean R .., The Saginaw Hall of Fame, Published by the Saginaw Hall of Fame, 2000. (In reference to Wellington R. Burt)

GUTTLEBEN, Daniel, The Sugar Tramp – 1954 printed by Bay Cities Duplicating Company, San Francisco, California

LE CUREUX, KEITH, Albee Township History, Saginaw, County, Michigan, Chapter V, Prairie Farm.

BETZOLD, Michael, Detroit Free Press Magazine, December 26, 1993, Utopia Revisited – an article describing the history of the Prairie Farm.

Copyright, 2009, Thomas Mahar – All Rights Reserved

About the Author: Thomas Mahar served as Executive Vice President of Monitor Sugar Company between 1984 and 1999 and as President of Gala Food Processing, a sugar packaging company, from 1993-1998. He retired in 1999 and now devotes his free time to writing about the history of the sugar industry. He authored, Sweet Energy, The Story of Monitor Sugar Company in 2001, and Michigan's Beet Sugar History (Newsbeet, Fall, 2006) .Contact: Thomas Mahar E-mail