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ncore E Wednesday, February 17, 2021

What’s Inside.... B3 — A glimpse into Rich Bosman’s career of service B7 — William O’Shaughnessy uncovers a possible Medicare scam B9 — What to expect from Biden’s “Plan for Older Americans”

A supplement of the Lynden Tribune and Ferndale Record


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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, February 17, 2021 | Ferndale Record

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, February 17, 2021| Ferndale Record

Rich Bosman keeps finding ways to serve

Rich Bosman was working even on the Presidents Day holiday at BosTec, his drug and alcohol testing business to help workplaces. (Calvin Bratt/Lynden Tribune)

He continues as a state chaplain to fire/police, will soon wrap up a master’s degree at age 72 By Elisa Claassen for the Lynden Tribune

   WHATCOM — Rich Bosman, in

his 70s, has a graduation coming up in a few months. He is finishing a master’s degree program he has wanted to do for decades with Dallas Theological Seminary. Most of the classes are done by Zoom. The subject is Biblical and theological studies.    This goes along with being a chaplain working with those in law enforcement. Rich had his own 25-year career with the Washington State Patrol while raising a family. And, well, he also has

operated a business for 20 years and has been a North Whatcom Fire & Rescue commissioner for about 16 years.    Of his involvements, “I’m wired this way,” Rich Bosman says, plain and simple. “People are so different.”    He is wired to work, but he is also wired to serve others, he believes. “My profs have said you just serve people where you are at.”    However, he isn't eager to draw attention to himself. An acquaintance of

Bosman suggested this story on him.   Born one of eight children on a dairy farm north of Lynden, Rich went from Lynden Christian High School to what was then Western Washington State College. “I always loved reading,” he said of his studies.    Soon he was married to wife Linda and they were parents and it was time to earn a living and put additional schoolSee Bosman on B4


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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, February 17, 2021 | Ferndale Record

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Bosman Continued from B3

ing aside. He was interested in law enforcement.    The Washington State Patrol had openings and Rich started in April 1972 with the young family moving to Port Angeles for two years and Snoqualmie Pass for four years before returning to Whatcom County. “It’s a young man’s job,” he said of being a WSP trooper. One of his sons followed in that career path and is also looking at his own retirement years.    For three years Rich had double duty between the final part of his law enforcement career and getting his own Bostec business going in Lynden. His skill at being a state expert witness on the breathalyzer machine provided a start.    “I wanted a business that would provide a service,” he said. “Nothing big, but be able to give a job to two or three people part-time.”    According to its website, Bostec Inc. helps companies in Washington, Ongoing roles for the 72-year-old Bosman are as a North Whatcom Fire & Rescue commissioner and a chaplain with the Washington State Chaplain Foundation serving those in law enforcement. (Courtesy photos)

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Oregon, Idaho and Alaska set up workplace drug and alcohol testing programs including training staff and supplying them with tools. Offices are in Lynden Towne Plaza.    While his wife Linda has not been directly involved in Bostec, she has encouraged him in his endeavors and worked both at Ace Hardware and at Dr. Olson’s chiropractic office.    In the 1960s Rich went on a missions trip into the Amazon jungle. He

started seeing the world from a different perspective. While still wanting that additional degree, he also wanted to “give back ... to show what a Christian life should be.”    He acknowledges he is one of the more senior members in his Dallas seminary classes. He will be 72 on Feb. 19. “I’ve been blessed with good genes.” One of his brothers is also very active at a similar age.    Rich is not called upon often as

a chaplain, but if he is it will be a situation of intense trauma. He knows the mindset of those coming from law enforcement, and they don’t immediately seek help from just anyone. He lets them know he is available after they may have dealt with serious accidents or shootings, for example. “It’s different. Police as a rule don’t open up.” Yet their communication with a chaplain is protected in current Washington state law, a de-

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Continued on next page


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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, February 17, 2021| Ferndale Record

ENCORE velopment he attributes to the chief of the state patrol.    Bosman is open to being of help to others as well with his additional training now being completed. His chaplaincy preparation involved a week at an academy in Spokane, with additional updates.    What’s ahead? Eventually his employees will take over more tasks at Bostec and he and Linda will travel. He works more than 40 hours a week, especially busy during COVID-19, and has been hands-on with testing and training amid additional issues in the workplace. He has chaired the five-member elected fire commission, which directs the sprawling North Whatcom district.    “There is something inside ... we feel useful when helping,” he said.    One dream for him and Linda is to do the pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain, a network of historic pilgrim trails from the Middle Ages along an old Roman trade route. So far, many of their travels have involved service such as going to Mexico and helping feed people.    “I couldn’t do this without Linda. She’s a good support," he said.

The breathalyzer to do on-the-spot checking for drunk driving was a key tool for Bosman in his state patrol days.

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, February 17, 2021 | Ferndale Record

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The state of senior housing in America amid COVID Trends are moving faster in the pandemic    The senior population in the United States is projected to continue to grow, so that by 2050 over one-fifth of the U.S. population will of retirement age. The need for senior housing is increasing, and the ongoing pandemic significantly impacts the senior population.    Adults age 65 and older have accounted for roughly 80% of all COVID-19 deaths, and many of these deaths have been within long-term facilities across the nation. However, as the population continues to age, more seniors will require long-term care.    Overall, occupancy pressures continue for senior living because construction is based on population levels approximately five years out. The longterm implications of the COVID-19 pandemic may affect how seniors choose to live and how senior housing is built. In 2019, occupancy rates fluctuated in the second quarter and then rose again in

Joseph Kertis the third quarter, and experts believe occupancy rates continued to be a pressure point during all of 2020.    Also, there will be a significant increase in the number of middle-income seniors age 75 or over. Creative and alternative solutions will be needed to serve millions of seniors who lack the financial ability for senior care and hous-

ing.    For example, this may involve implementing less costly models of care, more cost-effective construction options, repurposing existing real estate, and introducing the use of technology to drive efficiencies. However, the COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed senior living’s social setting, which could impact how seniors continue to live post-pandemic.    The pandemic has already caused many seniors to consider whether longterm care is too risky. Millions of Americans have purchased insurance to help pay for nursing or home health care and are now facing tough choices as the pandemic continues.    During the summer of 2020, occupancy in senior housing hit a 15-year low. In 2008, the number of assistedliving facilities and independent-living centers grew by 33%. However, occupancy rates slid 2.8% in the second quarter of 2020. Senior living facilities across the country closed their doors to visitors, canceled activities, and quarantined residents in their apartments.

   Concern about the virus persists as case numbers fluctuate across the United States. Older Americans are most likely to see the outbreak as a major threat to their health. Industry strategies have continued to change to ensure residents are kept safe and maintain a high standard of physical and mental health.    There will be significant challenges ahead as many long-term facilities will have to address staff shortages. As the senior population continues to grow, facilities will have to find new and more effective ways to recruit and retain staff to meet the care needs, which have increased during COVID.    And this all means cultivating a healthier work environment. During the pandemic, it has become essential to safeguard staff’s health as they care for sick patients. Moreover, it involves building a workplace culture where the staff is rewarded for their efforts. The COVID-19 pandemic has also brought to light the need for more focus on person-centered care and keeping seniors Continued on next page

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, February 17, 2021| Ferndale Record

ENCORE independent for as long as possible.    Finally, senior housing across the country must continue to embrace new technology such as web-based tools and telehealth to make jobs easier for caregivers and keep seniors connected to loved ones, family members and care providers.    The state of senior housing in America continues to change, and it is doing so rapidly as the pandemic carries on into 2021, forcing the industry to catch up to the growing needs of an aging population.   Author Joseph Kertis is a Pacific Northwest healthcare expert turned journalist. His experience in the field gives unique insight into one of our nation’s most challenging professions.

Getting stuff he didn’t order — and getting no response Birch Bay man tells his story, and Medicare didn’t seem to care much By Calvin Bratt editor@lyndentribune.com

  WHATCOM ­ — William O’Shaughnessy is stuck with a box of back and knee brace equipment he didn’t order and he won’t use.    Fortunately, he isn’t stuck with the pricetag of over $3,000, although Medicare and the secondary insurer apparently are willing to be.   O’Shaughnessy, of Birch Bay, considers everyone involved to be victims of a scam upon seniors that he believes must be pretty common, given how easily it happened to him.    “I’ll bet there are other peoSee Scam on B8

William O'Shaughnessy holds up the paperwork that lists the medical equipment he was sent, even though he didn't request it. (Calvin Bratt/Lynden Tribune)

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, February 17, 2021 | Ferndale Record

Medicare Continued from B3

William O'Shaughnessy received a box of back and knee braces at his Birch Bay address and his insurance paid for it even though he didn't request it all and thinks it is a sham. (Calvin Bratt/Lynden Tribune)

Caption. (Credit)

ple around here that have the same problem,” he said in telling his story.    The sender name on the box is Senior Medical Solutions, of Boca Raton, Florida, although the person on phone calls to O’Shaughnessy identified herself as being with the City of Bellingham Department of Pain Management. Such a department does not exist.    An online check of the Florida address shows a tiny building for lease on a street corner in Boca Raton — not much evidence of a credible business.    From the start, it seemed that this operation had accurate information about O’Shaughnessy or at least about his doctoring for back problems and his insurance coverage. “We understand you have a problem with your back,” he remembers as the opening line to him.    A second call asked for the 85-year-old’s height and weight. “That’s the only thing she asked me. Everything else she knew.”    He surmises that the phone caller was from overseas, although her English was good, O’Shaughnessy said.    He believes he did not actually give assent on the phone for this apparatus to be sent to him, although O’Shaughnessy is honest in saying he can be forgetful enough sometimes that he writes things down to be sure.    There were three phone calls over a few months. When O’Shaughnessy was at a doctor’s appointment along the way, he mentioned the matter of the back braces being sent to him — but the doctor had not given authorization of it.    “I fell for it,” he said.    The big box contained one back brace, two knee braces and two other unlabeled smaller items whose use is unclear. If there had been a back belt in the batch, O’Shaughnessy might have been interested in it. But no such luck. Continued on next page


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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, February 17, 2021| Ferndale Record

ENCORE   When O’Shaughnessy called to Medicare about rectifying the situation, he got the impression they thought it wouldn’t be worth the trouble, so nothing has been done. And secondary insurance takes its cue from Medicare.    He tried calling a number in Bellingham and another number with Medicare. If he left a message to be called back, he heard nothing back. “I said this was a scam,” of his message to the insurers.    O’Shaughnessy is left to wonder if a call to an investigative TV reporter might be more productive in digging out what is going on — all of which he calls “baloney.” He believes he has enough specifics for an investigator to go on.    He questions himself a little because he knows he is older, but yet he thinks he did the right thing. “I didn’t send them anything. Could I have possibly agreed to them on the phone? I don’t believe I did, in all honesty. But,” he says with a laugh, "maybe I did. I’m old.”    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimates $28.9 billion and $25.4 billion in improper payments in those two programs in the federal fiscal years 2019 and 2020, according to the agency’s online Newsroom.

What the Biden presidency means for older Americans    In his run for the presidency, Joe Biden laid out a “Plan for Older Americans” that reflected a Democratic party philosophy that healthcare and living with dignity after retirement are an inalienable right for all.    The Biden-Harris plan addresses long-standing inequities based on age and income when it comes to accessing quality, affordable healthcare and living in a financially secure retirement. This is critical because seniors are among the most vulnerable population in the United States from both a health and financial perspective.    Some of the key points the plan makes that would improve the lives of older American’s and their families include: Prescription drug costs

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   As the plan articulates, Medicare should use its considerable bargaining power to rein in the expensive costs of prescription drugs. Bringing down these costs would have an immediate impact on the pocketbooks of seniors across the United States, many of whom struggle to make ends meet.    Some seniors are forced to choose between their medicine and food. They often address the high costs of prescription drugs by rationing care and dosage. They can’t afford their prescriptions and so either delay or avoid needed care, or they try to stretch out their medications to last longer. This practice is not healthy and actually exacerbates the costs of healthcare because their health declines instead of improving, which is ultimately more expensive for themselves and all Chris Orestis

See Biden on B10

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, February 17, 2021 | Ferndale Record

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Biden Continued from B9

this the "third rail" of politics, but it is the Gordian knot of our era that will require bold action to solve.

of us. Affordable health insurance    Providing affordable health insurance coverage to millions of Americans has been accomplished through the Affordable Care Act. But there is still work to be done. Biden vows to build on the program as it exists, finding ways to improve it and cover more people.    That’s a far better plan than repealing the act and starting over from scratch, as some want to do. Over the last decade the ACA has become embedded into the American healthcare system like Medicare and Medicaid have since the 1960s. Social Security and Medicare    The long-term solvency of Social Security and Medicare must be addressed now before it’s too late. The challenge is how to find revenues and cost savings to extend these programs without lowering benefits. Not only is

Medicaid    Biden also recognizes the importance to seniors of protecting Medicaid.    More and more seniors have come to rely on Medicaid to pay for their longterm costs. As a result, it’s imperative that the federal-state partnership that has funded and administered this program for decades continue to provide critical support for our most vulnerable populations.    It will be important to offer tax incentives to encourage and reward people who seek private pay solutions such as long-term care insurance, life settlements and reverse mortgages as alternative funding vehicles so they don’t have as much need for Medicaid. Retirement savings   Creating greater incentives for people to save for the future with tax-

advantaged retirement vehicles such as 401(k) accounts is necessary as this has become the 21st century pension.    Biden’s plan argues that the current system provides upper-income families a stronger tax break for saving than it does lower-wage earners At this point, it’s a no-brainer to level this playing field so that lower-income workers and seniors who want to continue working and saving are not at a disadvantage. Every opportunity to encourage saving for the future, no matter how far off or how close, should be provided for all Americans.    There is no one magic bullet to address these issues. Access to healthcare and a dignified retirement comes from a mosaic of programs.    The combination of ACA, Medicare and Medicaid are all necessary to provide the broadest possible healthcare safety net for people at all ages and stages of life. The combination of protecting Social Security, tax incentives for retirement savings, and programs designed

to empower workers at all ages and income levels is how people will have the best shot at a financially secure and dignified retirement.    The Plan for Older Americans lays out a blueprint to get there, but doing so will take a rare mix of vision, political will and cooperation from both sides of the aisle.    Chris Orestis, known as the “Retirement Genius” (www.retirementgenius. com), is president of Life-Care Xchange and a nationally recognized healthcare expert and senior advocate. Orestis has 25 years of experience in the insurance and long-term care industries. He is also a former Washington, D.C., lobbyist who has worked in both the White House and on Capitol Hill. He is a columnist and the author of two books. He speaks on senior finance and the secrets to aging with physical and financial health.

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, February 17, 2021| Ferndale Record

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COVID access line for blind and low-vision opens in Washington    VANCOUVER, Washington — Funded by a grant from the Washington State Department of Health, the Washington State School for the Blind began working on ways to increase awareness of accessible resources related to the COVID-19 pandemic through the creation of BLIND COVID.    On Feb. 1, the COVID Access phone line was opened so that blind and low-vision individuals can call to speak with an individual to access resources relating to accessible testing and vaccine information in Washington.    The BLIND COVID Access line will provide broader access to individuals who may not have the technology skills to navigate complex web pages where most critical information is being published. Callers may leave a voicemail and a BLIND COVID representative will return their call during business hours.    Blind and low-vision individuals can call 360-947-3330 to ask questions regarding access to resources related to COVID-19. No medical advice will be given, as the purpose of the access line is to provide access to in-

formation over the phone that may otherwise be difficult to locate through the web or other means.    In recent focus groups conducted by BLIND COVID, blind and low-vision participants shared:    • “It has been so frustrating not being able to reach a real person when I have questions that aren’t answered on the website.”     • “There needs to be a person that can answer questions that I have and that they understand that I am blind.”    • “I don’t have the technology or skills to access testing and vaccinations for COVID-19 and there has been no way to book appointments over the phone. Sadly, that has left me with little chance of getting in for either.”    BLIND COVID’s mission is to empower blind and low-vision individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic. A website is being developed to house the most current resources for walk-up and accessible testing and vaccine sites. In addition, BLINDCOVID.COM will have additional media and a podcast specifically focused at providing information related to navigating daily life throughout the pandemic.    Scott McCallum, behind BLIND COVID, was named by Gov. Jay Inslee in 2016 as superintendent of the Washington State School for the Blind in Vancouver.

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, February 17, 2021 | Ferndale Record

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