Wednesday, February 13, 2013


When I started working with the non-profit world the first thing that jumped out at me was how many of the problems could be traced to unemployment.  Addiction, Haitians, returning troops from Afghanistan, abused women and children, Native American homeless kids the underlying issue would keep returning to unemployment.  

Housing and Employment Key to Beating Addiction for Blacks and Hispanics RWJF 1/10/2013

+Annette Bosworth and I ( Chad Haber ) tried many things to create jobs for Haitians, returning military personnel, Native Americans this had the desired effect.  The job helped erase lots of the back ground noise or static as I  will refer to it from now on.  Once the static was removed the next common problem that was revealed was a below average reading level.

Incarcerated juvenile defenders eighty percent read two reading grades below grade level or a functionally iliterate.
California and Arizona are two of the several states that use early literacy test scores to predict required prison growth.

The data on reading and how to fix it is readily available.  The fMRI made it so that if you treat reading as any other medical condition the problem can be diagnosed and with aide of a doctor working with the team of education specialist a plan can be put in place to treat the underlying disease state.  The fMRI made it so the brain could be watched as the patient read a simple paragraph.  The fMRI results were matched with reading problems.  The good thing was that once a certain reading problem was identified the fMRI didn't have to be given to the next patient that presented with the same symptoms, we just simply didn't have the resources to pay for fMRI for every patient.  The lack of resources in this case was a benefit we had to look for cheap ways to get the results we wanted.

The goal was to get reading scores to grade level as quickly and as cheaply as possible.  

Preventive Health Strategies used a simple six question reading test developed by SAMPSA to flag individuals that had issues with reading.  The next step was to have a specialist do a screening with them to see if they fell into the broad diagnosis of dyslexia.  The Dyslexia diagnosis is enough to trigger most insurance companies to pay for medical treatment.  To date we have had no insurance companies actually pay for any test, diagnosis or treatment of reading disabilities.  

Preventive Health Strategies has to date screened over 1750 South Dakotans for reading deficiencies.  Preventive Health Strategies  found that a large percentage of females could be brought to grade level in reading with simple treatments for malnourishment.  The malnourished female population is well studied nationally no new research was required.  The treatment was cheap and easy to give under the supervision of a doctor.  The treatment had an immediate effect on all cognitive functions including reading, math and improved self self-worth (diagnosis of depression).   

Preventive Health Strategies at the same time took patients that did not have malnourishment issues and using the current research applied what fMRI has have taught PHS about reading disabilities.  The Primary care doctor would develop a plan with a reading specialist and the patient to address the plan.  Preventive Health Strategies found that the for under $10000 and six months total per patient they could be brought up to grade level provided they had an IQ in the normal range.

The results were amazing!  Real household income improved immediately (get and maintain jobs), compliance with other prescribed medications improved (resulting in fewer ER visits) in almost every area the individual reported a better life immediately not in five or ten years.  

 Pulitzer prize winning author Jared Diamond  states that a productive member of society will contribute five million dollars to the economy in their life time while a non-productive institutionalized member will cost the same society around seven million dollars resulting in a twelve-million dollar difference per individual.

Preventive Health Strategies did not understand the risk we put our primary care providers in when we asked them to start screening for literacy.  The power of the bureaucrats was underestimated.  The bureaucrats have the power and ability to gain the system with no real accountability or downside while the citizens of South Dakota pay the price.  

The complex systems (school, prison, health care, legal, mental health, insurance company) are full of interdependencies (hard to detect) in South Dakota.  This interdependence makes it hard to detect the underlying problem, simple problems are misplaced resulting in runaway chain reaction of events.

Preventive Health Strategies has naively acted with the assumption that organizations with mission statement of saving the state money and protect the lives of South Dakotans actually had these goals.  This naivety has resulted in more than one of Preventive Health Strategies primary care providers being investigated by the State of South Dakota.   The State of South Dakota has been ranked as the second most corrupt place in America by Fox News.

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