Long Beach Man Shot, Gunman Sought

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A man who was shot and wounded near his Long Beach home rode his bicycle to police headquarters for help on Memorial Day, authorities said.The 36-year-old victim was at the corner of Azalea Court and National Boulevard when a gunman walked up, pulled out a handgun and shot him at 1:15 a.m. Monday, police said.The victim was taken to Nassau University Medical Center for treatment of gunshot wounds to his abdomen, thigh and arm.Long Beach city police detectives are continuing the investigation.last_img

COVID-19 exposes flaws in Indonesia’s health insurance program

first_imgWith the regulation barring the use of JKN funds to treat COVID-19 patients, Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy has instructed BPJS Kesehatan to verify claims of medical bills from hospitals that treat COVID-19 patients and coordinate with the Health Ministry to process the payment of the bills, according to a March 27 letter to BPJS Kesehatan, a copy of which has been obtained by The Jakarta Post.Muhadjir also instructed BPJS Kesehatan to ensure that COVID-19 patients can get access to medical services, given that many hospitals have secured arrangements with BPJS to treat the insurance scheme’s participants, which could further drain valuable resources required for treating infected patients.BPJS Kesehatan spokesperson M. Iqbal Anas Maruf said BPJS Kesehatan stood ready to implement Muhadjir’s instruction to ensure hospitals could continue treating COVID-19 patients.“We’ll obey the Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister’s decision,” Iqbal told the Post over the phone on Monday. He also said BPJS had allowed hospitals that have existing cooperation agreements with them to direct resources toward treating COVID-19 patients. The COVID-19 outbreak has exposed major flaws in Indonesia’s creaking national health insurance program, which has not been able to properly provide services in these desperate times.With an infectious disease spreading fast across the archipelago, the government has been forced to devise a workaround to ensure that the Health Care and Social Security Agency (BPJS Kesehatan), which administers the government’s National Health Insurance (JKN) program, can reassure the public of its role in the pandemic despite coming up against legal barriers.Article 52 of Government Regulation (PP) No. 82/2018 on health insurance stipulates that healthcare services are excluded from BPJS Kesehatan’s premium benefits at a time of emergency and extraordinary circumstances (KLB). The spokesman also pointed to a decree issued by Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto on Feb. 4 requiring that all costs incurred in treating COVID-19 patients would be paid for by the ministry, regional administrations and any other sources allowed by law, which would ensure that the financial burden of treating the respiratory disease would not be borne by patients.BPJS Watch advocacy coordinator Timboel Siregar said the provision was included in the government regulation as a result of a preexisting regulation, namely Law No. 24/2007 on disaster mitigation, which requires the government, using its allocated state budget, to guarantee the rights of disaster-stricken citizens. A pandemic is listed as such a disaster.He said further that BPJS Kesehatan’s hands were tied because of provisions in Law No. 40/2004 on the national healthcare system, which stipulates that the agency can only provide insurance benefits to paying members.As of March 31, BPJS Kesehatan insured some 222.38 million Indonesians, or 85 percent of the 260 million population.Technicalities aside, the government must provide assurances to the public that they will not have to bear the cost of medical bills to treat COVID-19, Timboel said.“We are merely asking BPJS Kesehatan or the government to take responsibility for [COVID-19 patients] who are also participants in [the national insurance scheme],” said Timboel, noting that BPJS participants who were treated as suspected COVID-19 cases but were not yet confirmed cases may find themselves in a gray area when it came to footing the bills.Indonesian Hospital Association (PERSI) secretary general Lia Gardenia Partakusuma said that hospitals were currently prioritizing the treatment of COVID-19 patients, but the association had yet to receive any reports about hospitals processing claims for infected patients’ medical bills.She did, however, note that BPJS Kesehatan could help hospitals by footing the bill for insured patients.“PERSI had received messages from hospitals asking [BPJS] to pay for medical services administered before the COVID-19 outbreak, because they are currently bearing many unexpected expenses,” Lia said.On World Health Day, which fell on Tuesday this year, the absence of Indonesia’s national insurer from the pandemic response presented another challenge to Indonesia’s struggling healthcare system, as the government scrambled to curb the spread of the contagious COVID-19 disease. As of Tuesday, there were 2,738 confirmed infections and 221 deaths, according to an official tally.BPJS Kesehatan has had to contend with bleeding finances since its inception in 2014. This took a turn for the worse after the Supreme Court overturned a premium hike for its nonwage recipients (PBPU) scheme.The PBPU scheme requires workers to independently pay out their monthly fees to the agency, as opposed to the automatic deduction arrangement between workers and employers or direct subsidies from the government.The court ruling meant that Presidential Regulation (Perpres) No. 75/2019, which President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo signed last year and which had come into effect in January this year, will need to be revised.Under the presidential regulation, the government doubled premiums for first-class services to Rp 160,000 (US$9.69) per month per person, while more than doubling the monthly premium for second-class services from Rp 51,000 to Rp 110,000 per person.The premium for third-class services increased by 64 percent from Rp 25,000 to Rp 42,000 per month per person.The Perpres was issued as part of the government’s efforts to address the persistent financial woes suffered by the agency, which was caused by, among other factors, underpriced premiums, according to a Development Finance Comptroller (BPKP) study last year.Iqbal of the BPJS said the insurer was ready to abide by the Supreme Court ruling, adding that the government was in the process of drafting a new regulation to make it legal. He also gave an assurance that the agency would return overpaid fees by deducting them from the next payment period.The government recently unveiled a Rp 405.1 trillion stimulus package to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak and its immediate effects on the country’s economy.Of that amount, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani said Rp 75 trillion had been earmarked for healthcare spending, including additional capital injections to assist BPJS Kesehatan’s finances following the Supreme Court ruling.“We hope BPJS Kesehatan will be able to pay all the outstanding bills to the hospitals,” she said recently.Topics :last_img read more

Uptake of LNG as Fuel Slower than Expected. Will It Finally Pick Up?

first_imgBoxship breakthroughThe concept is increasingly appealing to container lines, with several now giving serious consideration to LNG for their newbuild fleets. Maersk Line raised many eyebrows when it publicly stated it views ‘alternative fuels’ as a better long-term solution to meet tougher environmental regulation than exhaust gas scrubbers in combination with conventional engines running on heavy fuel oil (HFO).In addition, CMA CGM said that it will equip nine 22,000 TEU vessels with engines burning LNG, thereby improving their EEDI by some 20% over comparable HFO fuelled tonnage.Endorsements for LNG by such major operators could serve as the catalyst that triggers a stampede, according to DNV GL.“While speculation about orders for large LNG fuelled container ships on the Far East-Europe route had been mounting, few had expected a breakthrough contract to arrive this year. It marks a significant turning point for LNG as a fuel and the shipping business more generally,” Wold said.SEALNG’s Esau believes there is considerable scope for refinements and improvements to be made.“Advances in dual fuel technology and propulsion, enhanced control systems and future use of gas turbines present further opportunities for greater GHG reductions.”Engine manufacturers have invested huge sums in R&D to improve the efficiency and environmental performance of conventional HFO burning engines, spurred by a combination of regulatory push and demand from end users for better fuel consumption. With a similar level of focus and engineering ingenuity, there is little reason to doubt they could achieve major advancements for engines operating on LNG.In the longer term, the possible addition of renewable natural gas – or biomethane – into the energy mix could offer further benefits. Today, biomethane is only produced in small quantities. However, as the incentives and momentum for reducing GHGs grow, production is likely to grow as well. Notably, the Port of Rotterdam is already exploring its potential. It is too early to say whether enough can be produced to fuel more than a handful of vessels, nonetheless Esau believes this is an opportunity that must be “vigorously pursued”.While conventional LNG alone cannot cut CO2 to the extent required by the COP21 agreement, it remains the best commercially available and proven technology to reduce CO2 emissions for most ship types and trades, says Wold. In 2012, DNV GL predicted that by 2020, the LNG-fuelled fleet would comprise around 1,000 vessels. Three years later, this figure was revised downwards to between 400 and 600 vessels, with low oil price and slower than expected development of bunkering infrastructure cited as key reasons.Today, there are 117 vessels burning LNG, of which more than two-thirds are operating in Europe. A confirmed order book of 111 vessels will see that figure double. In addition, there are 114 vessels that are classified as LNG-ready.This sets the stage for the long-awaited quicker uptake of LNG as a fuel for shipping, according to DNV GL’s Senior Consultant for Environmental Advisory Martin Christian Wold.In particular, bunkering options are expanding on a global scale. Today, there are 60 supply locations worldwide, including Singapore, the Middle East, the Caribbean as well as Europe, according to the latest data in DNV GL’s LNGi business intelligence portal. A further 28 facilities have been decided and at least 36 are under discussion.By the beginning of 2018, six LNG bunker vessels will be in operation globally, and four more projects are confirmed. Major players including Total, Shell, Gas Natural Fenosa, ENN and Statoil have announced plans for new LNG bunker vessels, which, according to Wold, are likely to materialize in the near future at key locations in northern Europe, the Middle East, the Gulf of Mexico, Singapore, and the Mediterranean.“For suppliers, it’s very much a question of timing. They won’t bring these facilities online until they see sufficient confirmed orders for LNG-fuelled tonnage to justify the investment. Yet, they are also jostling to secure an anchor customer and gain first-mover advantage to deter their rivals from setting up nearby,” Wold explains.Shell, for example, has just signed a long-term charter agreement for a 4,000m3 bunker barge to supply LNG bunkers along the U.S. east coast. Meeting growing demand for LNG from cruise lines was cited as the major impetus behind the decision.The regulatory outlook too is now much more certain, thanks to IMO setting 2020 as a fixed date for the introduction of its global cap on fuel sulphur content.“Evaluating whether LNG as a fuel will provide a competitive edge is difficult enough for ship owners. Having to anticipate various regulatory scenarios on top of that complicated matters further. IMO’s decision brings much-needed clarity to owners considering switching to LNG and other alternative fuels,” says Wold.Inflection pointBoth SEALNG, a multi-sector industry coalition working to facilitate and accelerate the widespread adoption of LNG as a marine fuel, and the Society for Gas as a Marine Fuel (SGMF), a non-governmental organisation dedicated to promoting the safe handling of LNG as a fuel, believe that an inflection point for LNG uptake is closer than ever.SEALNG General Manager Steve Esau says that the pivot will hinge on global availability of bunkering infrastructure close to traditional bunkering ports. “Nine of the top ten oil bunkering ports already offer LNG or have firm plans to do so by 2020,” he says.Slicing the statistics another way, there are already large scale terminals nearby 24 of the world’s top 25 ports ranked by trade volume. With a little more investment in the ‘last mile’ to bring LNG from the bulk infrastructure to ships, he believes the foundations are in place for a wider switch to LNG from 2020.“Right now just 0.2% of the addressable global fleet is running on LNG. But with regulatory clarity and established standards for safe handling of gas as a marine fuel, I believe we will see LNG fuel for ships become a mainstream option within the next five to seven years,” SGMF’s General Manager Mark Bell said.last_img read more