Archive for February, 2012

Kingship, Oligarchy or Republic at Alphagraphics?

I am hearing strange stirrings at quick-print chain Alphagraphics. The U.K. holding company of Salt Lake City-based Alphagraphics is beyond bankruptcy. They are actually in receivership.The family company, Pindar, which as I recall is over a century and a half years old, currently owes over $27 million in pension to its workers.

Franchisees buyout franchisor

But here is the really unusual thing: As Pindar liquidates, rumor has it that a few Alphagraphics franchisees are trying to buy out the U.S. franchising company.

The question is what form of franchisee takeover will this be? Using the model of selling franchises and collecting royalties to support franchise operations through hired professionals, Alphagraphics is in the business of franchising. It has no company-owned quick print shops in the United States. In managing the franchise chain, it uses a traditional top-down corporate model.

That creates blind spots.

Several years ago, a franchisee in the United Kingdom, Andrew Pindar, became the chain’s new benign king and chairman. He soon replaced the old CEO, an MBA from the commercial printing giant R.R. Donnelly Sons, with its current chief minister Kevin Cushing, a large Alphagraphics franchisee from the Midwest. Both the chairman and the CEO brought considerable quick printing know-how to the kingdom. They focused keenly on the basics of the quick-print business.

The results?

In this bird’s opinion, the quick printing execution of the brand’s two-hundred plus shops are second to none in the mature, shrinking quick print store segment of the franchise world.

King John is forced to sign the Magna Carta in 1215

Lords and barons

Will this new takeover attempt result in an autocracy, where one franchisee calls the shots? Or will it be a franchise oligarchy, in which a few of the largest and most powerful franchisees protect their own interests by becoming franchisor?

Consider this: Franchisees who are under the Alphagraphics flag pay taxes royalties to the king. They have yet to stop the power of the king by requiring him to sign a Magna Carta, a collective agreement that would provide fundamental rights of  franchise renewal and protection from encroachment by the crown. These lords and barons, that is to say business and property owners, do not have an elected association or parliament. There is no governance structure to look out solely and independently for their interests and liberties. There is only the franchise advisory board, selected by the king. On good days, its board members are listened to so that the monarch can hear what his subjects want. In short, rudimentary governance structures have yet to develop in the chain in which a republic can later emerge. For now, there will be no republic that satisfies the demands and needs of the general population of business owners that hoist the Alphagraphics flag. Those institutions that provide checks and balances — e.g. independent franchisee associations, national franchisee advertising cooperatives, information technology boards, franchisee supply chain cooperatives — take years to erect.

A few of the more powerful franchisee barons, who are in the business of quick printing, can call the shots from which the rest of the stores can benefit. They no doubt will want the same power and mindset that currently pushes franchisees to fall in line. But franchisee oligarchs can help the chain outperform against the competition because of the enlightened quick printing knowledge that operating their own shops demand of them.

Stay tuned.

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Wednesday, February 29th, 2012 Self Employment Ideas Comments Off

One doctor leads largest Medicare fraud

Feds level charges against a Dallas doctor for being part of the largest Medicare scheme.

Feds level charges against a Dallas doctor for being part of the largest Medicare scheme.

New York (CNNMoney) — Dr. Jacques Roy, a Dallas area physician, allegedly led a scheme that bilked Medicare for nearly $375 million over five years, in the largest healthcare fraud committed in the United States, federal authorities announced Tuesday.

Roy, 54, his office manager, and five owners of home health agencies, were arrested and indicted on charges related to their alleged participation in the scheme that involved fraudulent claims for home health services.

According to the authorities, Roy owned and operated Medistat Group Associates, an association of health care providers, in the Dallas area.

Medistat primarily performed patient home visits. Roy allegedly certified more than 11,000 patients with home health services in the past five years.

Authorities said that the volume of certification was more than any other medical practice in the United States. It allegedly resulted in more than $350 million being fraudulently billed to Medicare, and more than $24 million fraudulently billed to Medicaid.

“The conduct charged in this indictment represents the single largest fraud amount orchestrated by one doctor in the history of the Health Care Fraud Prevention Enforcement Action Team and our Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations,” said Deputy Attorney General James Cole in a statement.

Authorities said Roy, who was suspended from the Medicare program last June, allegedly performed unnecessary home visits and ordered unnecessary medical services. He also instructed Medistat employees to complete Medicare billing forms by either signing his name by hand or by using his electronic signature on the documents.

Under the scheme, Roy’s co-conspirators also allegedly used “recruiters” to bring Medicare beneficiaries to him so that he could fraudulently bill for unneeded services.

In one case, authorities said a recruiter paid $50 each to Medicare beneficiaries who were recruited directly from a Dallas homeless shelter.

“When a doctor accounts for one-third of the billing of a home health agency, he is an outlier,” said Daniel Levinson, Inspector General with the Department for Health and Human Services. “We started looking at the evidence closely.”

Roy is being charged with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and nine counts of substantive health care fraud. Each count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Also, 78 home health agencies that allegedly were participating in the scheme have been suspended from the Medicare program, authorities said.

The indictment against Roy seeks forfeiture of the money in his bank accounts, as well as his sailboat, vehicles and multiple pieces of property.

Neither Roy nor his attorney could immediately be reached for comment.  To top of page

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Wednesday, February 29th, 2012 Get Educated! Comments Off

Office Manager

The role

Office Manager


Rushey Green Primary School, Culverly Road, Catford, London, SE6 2LA

What we’re looking for

We require from 16th April 2012 an Office Manager to support the School Business Manager to ensure parents, pupils, staff and visitors are provided with an outstanding customer service. Excellent administrative, financial, customer service and staff supervision skills will be essential as well as the ability to multi-task in our large, multi-cultural school. Experience of working in a school environment and knowledge of RM Finance software an advantage. The ability to use Word and Excel essential. These skills will be tested.

Salary details and further information

Rate of Pay: Scale SO1 Spine point 29-31 (£27,945 -£29,571 per annum) inclusive of London weighting. E.g. 35 hours per week = approx. £1,986 per month (pro rata)

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Wednesday, February 29th, 2012 Employment Opportunities Comments Off