Monthly Archives: April 2013

Athletic Trainer Contract Continued….with correction

In yesterday’s post I said Northeast Rehabilitation Hospital Network had a hospital in Salem, NH and indicated nothing more. This was an error from looking too quickly at their website.  I missed a left hand banner that listed many multiple locations.  My apologies.  Both bidders for Timberlane’s athletic trainer service have offices in Plaistow.

This is what NRH lists on its website as its “services offered” in its Plaistow office:

  • Hand Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Speech
  • Vestibular Treatment
  • Work Conditioning

Elsewhere on the site it says:  Northeast Rehab has been involved in athletic training at many area sporting events since 1987. Our in clinic sports medicine rehabilitation services are spread over our many separate satellite locations. Sport specific rehab for a return to activities ranging from little league to dance, can be carried out at any of our outpatient locations.

This is what Access says on its website about its services at its Plaistow clinic (which I confirmed by a call to their office today):

Our sports medicine team consists of fellowship-trained and Board-Certified sports medicine orthopedic surgeons, a primary care sports medicine physician, sports specific physical therapists, and experienced athletic trainers. Our experts are skilled in sports injury prevention and treatment with the goal to get you back on the field or doing what you love to do safely and as quickly as possible.

Sports Medicine is the field of medicine defined by injuries sustained in athletic endeavors, including their prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Access Sports Medicine & Orthopaedics has developed the services needed to deliver highly efficient and integrated care for athletes from the professional to the amateur level.

Specialties Include:

We use the most innovative sports medicine procedures and therapies available including musculoskeletal ultrasound, platelet-rich plasma therapy, and minimally invasive surgical procedures to help you recover more quickly and minimize downtime.

——————-

Now I don’t want to be swept up by a flashy website, but one office seems to offer occupational and physical therapy only while another office offers sophisticated physician services.  Both companies do sports medicine. Dr. Metzler has visited both Plaistow facilities. He reports that both companies’ services meet our stated requirements.  A $6,000 difference in contract bid is significant especially given the modest overall cost of the contracts.  A 28 year history with the district is also significant, but when no documentation can be found in evidence of when this contract was last bid, it is significantly long enough.

For the purposes of full disclosure, I have no personal interest in the outcome of this contract award.  I do not have children in school; I am not associated with any of the companies or their employees; I do not have friends in the athletic department.  I’d just like to see taxpayer money and the bidding process respected – and I feel bad that this decision has landed on Dr. Matzler’s lap when it should be made by the school board.

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Athletic Trainer Contract: Relationships vs. Money?

Timberlane’s athletic trainer services were put out to bid this year.  Just two companies bid on the contract for TRHS and TRMS: Northeast Rehabilitation Hospital Network (NRH), and Access Sports Medicine and Orthopedics (ACCESS).  At the Timberlane School Board meeting on April 4th, , Dr. Metzler said this:

“…[B]oth of these companies meet all their obligations in that bid…  …[T]he decision, in my opinion, is really now: one bid is lower than the other bid, and one company we’ve had a longstanding relationship with.  That’s really what it comes down to.”   (2hrs., 11 minutes on VIMEO)

I’m not an expert on contracts nor do I know anything about sports medicine and athletic trainers, but to my eyes, there is a lot to distinguish these two bids apart from money and relationships. You’ll find both the bidding contracts below so you can see for yourself.  In the meantime, here’s my take.

MONEY:  NRH :  $35,750         ACCESS:  $29,320

ACCESS is more than $6,000 less and I do not see in their contract where any ancillary charges would be incurred above those that NRH would also additionally charge.  (In the video you’ll see that ACCESS says their quote was consistent with what they charge many other schools in NH and was not a low introductory offer, so to speak.)

RELATIONSHIP:  NRH has been serving Timberlane for 28 years.  There is no record of when the contract was last put out to bid, according to School Board Chairman, Rob Collins.  ACCESS provides services for many high schools in New Hampshire, including Phillips Exeter Academy. Presumably they’ve been actively bidding their services to gain these contracts.

PROVIDERS:   Both companies provide nationally certified athletic trainers.  Only ACCESS:  ” Included in this proposal, Access Will provide Physician coverage (when available) for all home football games.”

SERVICES:   ACCESS’ concussion service is broader than that offered by NRH. ACCESS will do a free baseline ImPact concussion test every two years on all participant athletes ages 11 and older. NRH will do this baseline only on athletes in contact sports but it seems that they will do it annually. ACCESS says explicitly that they will “provide verification of ImPACT Baseline Testing by a Credentialed ImPACT Consultant (CIC) Physician and identification of any flagged or abnormal tests. Tests may be sent for review by a neuropsychologist if deemed necessary by CIC Physician.” NRH’s contract is silent on this. ACCESS also offers free physician injury clinics at the schools as well as free pre-participation physicals at their offices for athletes.

OFFICES:  NRH has a hospital in Salem [Correction: and hospitals in Nashua and Portsmouth, as well as multiple locations elsewhere including Plaistow.]  ACCESS has offices [correction: clinics] in Plaistow, Raymond, Exeter and Portsmouth with [a walk-in] clinic in Exeter. [corrections 4/10.  See follow up blog posting of April 10.]

Even if you don’t agree with me that the differences are compelling in these bids,  surely respecting the competitive bidding process and awarding to a competent lower bidder is what is expected.

I hope this is the beginning of putting all Timberlane’s personal services contracts out to bid because the process has been most enlightening.  If the right decision is made, it should also be financially beneficial.

NRH High School

NRH Middle School

ACCESS

P.S.  Decision #2 your  school board has differed to Dr. Metzler (since the count started in 3/13).

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District Report Card Arrives: Student Needs Extra Help

The Timberlane School Board released its district report card on Friday, April 5.   The 89 page document is a good look in the mirror.  Let’s hope it is the start of meaningful improvement.  Currently Timberlane taxpayers are paying the state average per pupil but getting significantly less than the state average in educational outcomes.  Although I urge all my readers to take a look at the document, here are some points I found particularly interesting:

  • Average cost per pupil in the district (2011-2012):  $13,005, almost exactly the state average of $13,159.
  • As the NECAP results show,  Timberlane achievement seems to peak in middle school. Through high school, students become less proficient in math, science, reading and writing.*
  • AP (Advanced Placement) test results in Timberlane are in serious need of improvement and hugely below the state level (page 75)
  • SAT scores are significantly below state average (For the report, the state average has been stripped of private school SAT results.) (page 82)
  • Alarmingly few 2012 graduates were accepted to top tier post-secondary institutions – not one Ivy League school.  3 to Northeastern, 1 to BU, 1 to Texas A&M, 1 to West Point – The 2012 class was 331 students. (pages 83-89)

The report card has one omission that I hope someone at the school board will explain.  Although the 2011/2012 SAT scores have been out for a very long time, they are not included in this report.

Seeing ourselves clearly is the first step in improving.  Poor schools cheat students of the productive future we all want for our children and the skills and talent the country desperately needs. We must do better.*

*UPDATE (April 9, 2012):  There is cause for some guarded optimism. Dr. Metzler kindly forwarded me  NECAP 2013 rankings for reading writing and math.  Timberlane is above the state average and in some cases well above it.  Science rankings are not available as the tests have not yet been conducted.

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