Brazilian Jiu-jitsu – Workout and Self-Defense

Are you looking for a great way to stay in shape but get bored with traditional weight lifting? Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is the perfect way to get fit while learning self-defense techniques that can save your life. There are thousands of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu gyms across the U.S. and in recent years the sport has grown exponentially. People of all ages, sizes, and backgrounds have come to know and love the sport. Celebrities and athletes including Kelly Slater and Ashton Kutcher are avid practitioners. The late Paul Walker and star of The Fast and The Furious was also one of the sport’s biggest enthusiasts.

This martial art is designed to give a smaller opponent the upper hand in self-defense situations against larger opponents. Brazilian Jiu-jitsu focuses on using the larger individual’s weight and height as leverage against them. The beauty of jiu-jitsu is that the submission techniques are generally able to keep both people from suffering serious injury. A simple choke or shoulder lock, which can be mastered by nearly anyone after a few months of training, is very effective and allows the attacker to suffer minimal injury yet leaves them subdued. Even a basic knowledge of a few various techniques can save your life in a dangerous situation.

Aside from the self-defense aspects of jiu-jitsu, there are many other benefits. When you join a jiu-jitsu gym you are joining a family. You are guaranteed to make friends and have great teammates to push you to be the best you can. The beauty of the sport is that it helps people gain confidence and build work ethic that is reflected in their home lives, jobs, and academics. Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is one of the truest sports, bringing diverse groups of people together and helping them collectively better one another.

Lastly, for those of you who love a good rush, there are tournaments all over the country. Competing is a great way to let some adrenaline loose and test your skills against jiu-jitsu practitioners from all over the world. It is also a proven way to grow your game and get better faster.

Overall, if you need something to take your mind off the everyday hustle and bustle, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is a perfect way to get a great workout and learn lifesaving techniques. There are gyms in nearly every city of every state, so find one near you and see if it can change your life the way it has for many others.

Little Tikes Toddler Swing Recall

Does your child or toddler love to play on swings? If so, you may want to double check that it is not manufactured by Little Tikes™. While this is a normally safe activity, parents should be aware of a very large recall of children’s swings from Little Tikes™.

Recall Notice

The company has recently issued a recall of approximately 540,000 units of their “2-in-1 Snug ’n Secure” pink toddler swings. The company has received over 100 consumer reports of the swing seats breaking. Of these incidents, 39 injuries to children have been reported so far. These injuries include mostly abrasions, cuts, bruises, and bumps to the head. However, hard falls from this defective swing have also caused 2 children to sustain a broken arm. The company attributes these injuries to a defective plastic seat that is susceptible to cracking or breaking, posing a serious falling hazard.

The swings have a pink “T-shaped” restraint in front with a Little Tikes™ logo. The defective units have the model number 615573 molded on the back of the swing seat, along with the manufacturing date code. Per the Consumer Products Safety Commission, swings with manufacturing code numbers 10, 11, 12, or 13 are included in the recall. Swings with the manufacturing date code “9” that also have a molded “43” or higher are also included in this recall.

Little Tikes™ asks that consumers immediately stop using recalled units. The company is offering credit towards the purchase of another Little Tikes™ product as refund. These swings were sold in Walmarts, Toys “R” Us, and many other retailers across the country from November 2009 through May 2014.

If your toddler is a swing enthusiast, be sure to make sure they are not swinging in the Little Tikes™ Snug ‘n Secure. In the unfortunate event that your child is injured due to this defective product be sure to contact the offices of Heintz & Becker at (941) 748-2916 or online at

The Dangers of Riding in Truck Beds

Many people enjoy the thrill of riding in the bed of a pickup truck. Unfortunately, as fun as it may be, it’s also dangerous.

While 30 states, including Florida, have at least some legislation regarding passengers riding in the beds of trucks, some don’t. In fact, there are 20 states that have no laws against riding in the bed of a truck. This has led to hundreds of deaths and thousands more injuries. Continue reading

Insurance Claims – Industry Problem or Provider Calamity (Part 2)

In the first installment of my insurance nightmare blog, I shared how I had paid an estimated out of pocket cost to my children’s surgical provider without questioning the amount. I also shared some tips on things to do before you sign on the dotted line so to speak that may help make you a more informed consumer. Now I’d like to pick up where we left off, nearly three weeks later, and share another leg of my journey.

The Saga Continues

On December 6, I placed a call to the provider’s office to get a status on my anticipated reimbursement. At that time I was told by the billing clerk that neither insurance policy had paid. I promptly reached out to my ex-husband and asked him to look into the insurance claims. He was able to see that claims had either been filed incorrectly and/or incompletely, as well as in the incorrect order (secondary was billed as primary) and therefore denied. I called the provider again and requested copies of what had been submitted in order to further investigate the lack of payments. I was still trying to be helpful and carry the burden of collecting what we pay for from the insurance company. I was faxed claims for both insurances dated November 11. These were the incomplete and incorrect submissions. Again we offered to assist the provider in claim submission. This offer was repeatedly met with arrogance, defensiveness, dismissiveness and flat rejection of the help. On December 13, an email from a representative of the primary insurance company stated that after the file was researched it was determined that as of that day no claims were submitted. In extreme caution and fairness to the doctor’s office, we believe the claims were still being incompletely and/or incorrectly submitted, not that they were not being submitted at all.
Between December 13 and December 27 phone calls and emails were exchanged between my family members, the insurance companies and the provider’s office. On December 20 the secondary insurance received a claim (subsequently rejected) that still did not include the EOB provided by the primary which would then shift the coverage balance to their policy. The primary insurance had an account representative via telephone on or about December 27, walk the provider’s billing clerk through the submission process and on December 29 an EOB and check were processed by them.
I’ll choose to wrap up here on this part of the series. As you can see, the insurance company isn’t the bad guy here. We have all heard horror stories about how an insurance company has denied coverage that should be covered, or they only paid a small part of the claim and a patient received a bill that they believed should have been covered after the fact. Several factors could contribute to receiving a bill that you did not expect, and some of those are considered insurance fraud and should be reported to the Insurance Commissioner. However, you should also make sure that your provider is not only acting in good faith, but that the staff is properly trained. You should be your own best advocate – especially if they take your money upfront.

No Cost Stress Relief- Meditation

Meditation. When many people think of this word they are likely to be skeptical and have difficulty believing that the age old art can derive many mental and physical benefits. Studies have shown that this practice can lead to lower stress, anxiety, and blood pressure, as well as strengthen the immune system. However, cultural and social stereotypes may be keeping this effective and free resource highly underutilized. Despite what many believe, meditation is not only a religious practice; it has a wide variety of applications that can be beneficial to the body as well. Meditation practices can range from simple breathing techniques to advanced visualization or mantra-based techniques.

Can Meditation Relieve Stress?

Stress and anxiety are two inevitable occurrences that many of us suffer from at one point or another throughout life. It is well known both stress and anxiety can lead to mental and physical health complications, ranging from high blood pressure to clinical depression. While medical research has not drawn a definitive correlation between meditation and improved health, studies have shown a strong cause and effect relationship.

According to WebMD, studies show that individuals that habitually meditate have lower blood pressure and stronger immune systems. Doctors attribute this to the stress reduction aspect of the art. Dr. Charles L. Raisin, M.D. of Emory School of Medicine conducted a study that indicated a few minutes of consistent meditation over a six-week period improved physical and emotional health for participants. The overwhelming result was a reduction in stress, which is a known factor in improving immune systems and overall health. Another study by the University of Wisconsin revealed “higher electrical activity in the left frontal lobe of the brain, an area that tends to be more active in optimistic people, after 8 weeks of training in meditation.” Aside from health improvements, meditation even led to higher levels of concentration in daily life.

Improve Your Daily Life With Meditation

If stress or anxiety is taking a toll on your life, meditation is a free and easy way to reduce these ailments while improving cognitive abilities at the same time. The studies make a strong argument that people can improve their daily life and health by meditating. A simple internet search will return nearly all of the information on this topic someone would need to train their mind in the art of meditation.

The Rise of Distracted Walking

More and more people are choosing alternate ways to commute. Some rely on public transportation, some bike, and others walk. There are plenty of advantages of being a pedestrian. It’s cheaper than maintaining a car and improves your health.

The rise in pedestrians has led many cities to make it easier to get around on foot. Unfortunately, many of these walkways are right next to busy streets, creating a new problem: distracted walking accidents. Continue reading

Insurance Claims – Industry Problem or Provider Calamity (Part 1)

Have you spent time reviewing your medical bills, insurance claim forms (like the explanations of benefits), or insurance contracts to know if you are really getting what you pay for?

With the Affordable Healthcare Act (“Obamacare”) passage in 2010 and implementation in 2013, reports show more Americans are using health insurance than ever before. With an uninsured percent of less than 10% of Americans, the number of claims submitted to insurance companies has increased as well.

Wouldn’t it be wise then,  as consumers as well as patients, to make sure that in a paperwork and electronic tangle of co-payments, deductibles, covered services, co-insurances and maximum out of pocket expenses, that we make sure nothing slips through the cracks?

I mean, the AHA has more than 2000 pages, and I’m pretty sure my health insurance plan does too! Recently I experienced a billing and insurance claim nightmare I’d like to share in an effort to encourage once again, for each of you to always be your best healthcare advocate.

The Story Begins…

As a divorced parent, insurance claims can be a bit more complicated.

My children have coverage from their father and their stepmother. While dual insurance has been a tremendous benefit through the years of braces, bronchitis and broken bones; sports accidents and “boys will be boys” injuries, it also adds a layer of confusion.

Which is primary?

What percentage gets paid?

Which contracted rate (assuming a payer contract was signed) and allowable amount apply to the services provided?

It’s overwhelming at best. Suffice it to say, however, that with the kids nearly grown and almost a decade of experience, we have gotten a pretty good handle on this aspect of co-parenting.

One thing insurance companies may provide is online access to benefits; most even offer a “pre-authorization” estimate for your out of pocket costs.

On the day of the procedures, November 7th, I was quoted an out of pocket amount due to the provider and promptly paid that amount (over $1,500.00).  When the children’s father learned the amount, he questioned it; based on his research on the insurance portals, our out of pocket should not have exceeded $250.00.

We were informed that only one of the available insurances would be billed and that was why the amount was so high. Without hesitation we agreed to file the secondary claim ourselves.

Providers are given certain information for the purpose of submitting claims not available to patients. Four days after the procedures, my former spouse went to the office, with the completed paperwork, to get their signature and other information.

After some questions about the billing process, the conversation became less than amicable. The surgeon intervened and offered for his office to complete the billing for both. This seemed to be a good idea and it was left with them to handle.

Life Lessons

This is a good place to push pause. Trusting the professionals is a lesson many of us were provided by parents and well-meaning mentors at a young age, but this might not always be the best advice. I’ve learned to follow a slightly different method – trust, but verify.

On November 11th, we agreed to trust the professional. More than sixty days later, I am still not financially whole, we’ve traveled down a less than pleasant road with our children’s healthcare provider, and now I’m faced with the dilemma of trusting my gut or trusting the professional. All because I have chosen to trust, but verify.

I’d like to offer my take on where I fell short in this process.

First, I should have been prepared with my own copies of the estimated benefits. Knowledge really is power and in this particular instance, the knowledge was available to me and I was not prepared with it.

Second, I should have asked the provider to provide me the information they received estimating benefits payable that was used to calculate my estimated out of pocket. This is when I would have learned about the difference in the amount billed to me, the amount submitted to the insurance company (-nies) and the negotiated and allowed amounts.

Then, I would have been prepared to negotiate what I was made to pay up front. Less money out of pocket may have made this extended timeframe without reimbursement much more palatable.

Next time

In my next installment, you’ll learn about balance billing, incomplete or inaccurate claim submissions and insurance denials. If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of someone else’s neglect or you believe you are a victim of insurance fraud or questionable medical billing practices, we may be able to help. Contact our office immediately at 941-748-2916 for a free attorney analysis of your case.

Cars of Tomorrow and the Tesla Autopilot Crash

In this day and age, technology is ever evolving. We can accomplish nearly anything from the convenience of our smartphone or tablet. People are inventing ways to make things more efficient and safer every day. In regard to driving and vehicles, there is a potentially groundbreaking technology being developed. Just like an airline pilot, the everyday driver may soon have the luxury of autopilot. It is thought that this could make roads much safer by putting much of a driver’s normal responsibilities on the vehicle. However, this hope that an autopilot feature will be more effective than a human driver may be misguided.

Tesla’s highly anticipated Autopilot feature seemingly promises to change the world of motor vehicle safety and technology. Unfortunately, the recent death of Joshua Brown has shown the dangers of this new technology. Mr. Brown was behind the wheel of his Tesla Model S when he collided with the trailer of a semi-truck turning left through an intersection. Neither autopilot nor Mr. Brown applied the brakes before the collision.

The autopilot’s failure to apply the brakes raises many suspicions regarding the effectiveness and safety of this technology. In an article published on Tesla’s website they state that autopilot comes disabled by default until drivers have been made aware that “it is an assist feature that requires you to keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times.” Tesla stated that their vehicles audibly warn drivers to remain alert while using the feature if the car does not detect hands on the wheel. But what happens in the event someone is asleep with a hand on the wheel? This seems potentially counterintuitive for technology referred to as “autopilot.”

Despite the warnings, individuals utilizing their autopilot successfully could very well come under the impression that the vehicle is in fact capable of handling itself without their help. But as we saw in the case of Mr. Brown, autopilot is susceptible to making errors just like humans. In a statement, Tesla claimed that the white semi-trailer combined with a brightly lit sky allowed the semi-truck to go completely unnoticed by autopilot.

In defense to the serious criticism Tesla has received, the company cited some very interesting statistics. Although Tesla’s autopilot has made fatal and serious mistakes, statistically it sees less fatalities than per mile (with autopilot activated) than all cars in the U.S and worldwide. Mr. Brown was the first fatality in 130 million miles of active autopilot driving. Tesla claimed that the scenario was a very rare and unfortunate event and that they were continually working to perfect the technology to stop deadly occurrences such as this. With that being said, it may be some time before we can conclude if autopilot is safer than the average driver. Drive safe and always remain alert behind the wheel, even with autopilot activated!

Who’s Ready For Something More Football and Less Politics?

Are you a Seminoles fan looking for new show to watch? Showtime may be able to perfectly suit your needs. This year the Showtime original series, A Season With, will feature Coach Jimbo Fisher and his Florida State Seminoles. The show’s previous season followed Notre Dame and has now made its way to the sunshine state for the 2016 season.

Classroom to Gridiron

A Season With Florida State Football or (A Season With for short) gives a behind the scenes perspective of the Seminoles from the classroom to the gridiron. The show follows the Seminoles week by week depicting the preparation and hard work of players and coaches leading up to every game. Locker room speeches from Jameis Winston and sideline conversations between players and coaches put viewers in the midst of the action.

a-season-with-photoProviding in-depth scenes of practice and preparation for coaches and players is only one aspect of the show. A Season With also focuses on the personal lives of everyone involved with Florida State football.

The first episode tells of the would-be starting quarterback, Sean Maguire and his broken foot. As a redshirt senior, Maguire’s time to take charge was finally here until his injury put him behind Francois. A Season With gives viewers a personal perspective that allows them to gain a deeper sense of what college athletes overcome and how they handle adversity.

Aside from football, the show includes what players and coaches are doing off the field. Florida State wide receiver, Travis Rudolph, is followed by Showtime to a local Tallahassee school to have lunch with an Autistic child named Bo. Rudolph and Bo quickly hit it off in the first episode and become even closer friends as the weeks go on.

The difference players are making in the community is not normally a high priority for sports broadcasters, but Showtime has created an outlet for viewers to see what an impact FSU and other featured college football programs have off the field.  A Season With covers almost every aspect of the Seminole’s football program. From overcoming adversity to making a difference in a child’s life, this show is definitely a worthwhile watch. New episodes A Season with can be seen on Showtime every Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET and previous episodes can be seen online.

KTM Motorcycle Recall

As advocates of motorcycle safety, we encourage anyone riding on a motorcycle to take all proper precautions to avoid the risk of serious injury. This includes going above and beyond just wearing a helmet. Making sure all equipment is up to industry standards is another essential precaution to take.

Recently, KTM North America recalled their Motocross Competition Off-Road motorcycle due to a crash hazard. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the connecting rod in the crankshaft assembly can break. This hazard can cause the operator to lose control and crash.

Being the outdoor oriented Floridians we are, riding off-road motorcycles is a very common activity or hobby for many. Being informed as to whether or not your equipment is up to industry standards and regulations is crucial for minimizing the risk of serious injury.

Per the CPSC, this recall includes “model year 2016 KTM and Husqvarna Motorcycles brand motocross off-road motorcycles with 250cc, 4 cycle engines.” The recalled KTM models, KTM 250 SX-F and KTM 250 SX-F Factory Edition, are described as orange and black and orange and blue, respectively. The recalled Husqvarna FC 250 models are described as being white with blue and yellow markings.

If you currently own one of these bikes you should immediately stop using the product and contact an authorized KTM or Husqvarna dealer to schedule a repair. Both dealers are offering free repairs for defective models. Currently, only 5 reports of this defect have been reported with no injury.

Despite no reported injuries, this recall still poses a serious threat to owners of the motorcycles. KTM and Husqvarna are brand names in the market of off-road motorcycles and their defective products were sold nationwide for approximately six months.

The CPSC reports that around 920 units were sold before the defect was addressed. This number may be relatively small, but it is important to help avoid every case where a life could be lost.

If you or someone you know owns any of these products, make sure yourself and others are aware of the dangerous crankshaft defect and have it repaired immediately. As always, if you have questions pertaining to any of these products or other recalled products contact the offices of Heintz & Becker at (941) 748-2916 .



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