• RateFast and Goliath

    30 August 2013 / California Workers Compensation, Medical History, RateFast / Comments Off on RateFast and Goliath

    Everyone recognizes Michelangelo's statue of David, which today stands proud, tall, and butt naked in the Signoria Accademia Gallery. However, not everyone knows that the carving of Michelangelo's David began before Michelangelo was even born.

    1464, Carrara, Italy. The marble quarry is jagged with the cut away chunks of stone. Miners cart a seventeen foot tall chunk of mountain toward Florence. Within this stone, beneath layer after layer, chip after chip, stands a symbol of fierce pride, culture, and strength.

    Photo credit: Hans Thijs

    The artist Agostino was contracted to make the statue of David, but he abandoned the project for unknown reasons. A decade passed, and Antonio Rossellino was brought in to finish Agostino's work. But Rosselino's involvement was also short lived, and the block of marble was left out in the yard of the Florence Cathedral's workshop, where it weathered the elements for 25 years.

    In 1501, nearly half a century after the project began, 26 year old Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni outcompeted Leonardo da Vinci and other more experienced artists for the contract to finish the statue of David. After two years of attending to the stone, Michelangelo succeeded in crafting one of the Western culture's most significant works of art.

    Michelangelo's piece shows David prior to fighting Goliath, unlike Donatello's and Verrocchio's statues of David, which show the biblical figure holding the monster's decapitated head, already victorious. Scholars interpret Michelangelo's David as a snapshot of the moment after David has made the decision to fight Goliath, but before actually defeating him.

    The statue, whose stoic face points towards Rome, announces the change coming to a land, a culture, a time. In the world of California Workers' Compensation, RateFast points toward a new future—a future where the efficiency and accuracy of medical legal reports is prioritized, and where doctors, insurance adjusters, and injured workers can rest easily, knowing that their impairment rating is accurate, and incontestable.

    David's confident expression and relaxed posture symbolize RateFast's approach to the Goliath of today's worker's compensation system. You don't need armor and swords to tackle the rules of the A.M.A. guides—a well placed impairment rating, shot from the sling of RateFast, is all that it takes to bring that giant down, and allows everyone to go home early.

    For more information on Michelangelo, visit Artsy.net's wonderfully helpful page on the artist's life and works.

  • RateFast Rides Against MS

    14 August 2013 / California Workers Compensation, RateFast, Uncategorized / Comments Off on RateFast Rides Against MS

    Multiple sclerosis (MS) is not fun. The chronic and crippling disease attacks the nervous system, and can cause paralysis and blindness. According to a certain pharmacist named Dr. Jamie Tobitt, MS often leads to some form of disability. Thankfully, he is taking action.

    On October 19th, 2013, Dr. Tobitt will ride out with his team against multiple sclerosis in the National MS Society's 31st annual MS Bay to Bay Tour, with the RateFast logo rippling above their speeding wheels.

    He and a few thousand other riders will ride a whopping 100 miles through Southern California's notorious heat and beautiful landscape over the course of two days—a good exercise for both the physical and the figurative heart.

    What motivates Dr. Tobitt to embark on this velocipedic odyssey from Orange County to San Diego's Mission Bay? As it turns out, cycling on behalf of MS patients is something of a habit for Dr. Tobitt—this will be his fifth year riding the Bay to Bay.

    "I worked in the MS area and learned how this disease destroys neurons inside patients' brains in the prime of their lives," Dr. Tobitt says. Even though he no longer works in the MS area, he says that he is "inspired by the stories of the patients and their physicians trying to do whatever they can to slow down the disease and hold off disability." He is co-captain of his team, which is called Team Tiki Ha Ha. Most of the team’s members have friends or family members who suffer from or are affected by MS.

    When he's not riding for MS, Dr. Tobitt spends time with his family, listens to David Bowie and The Black Keys, plays jazz trumpet, and works as a Managed Care Liaison in the Medical Affairs department of Vertex Pharmaceuticals.

    "I enjoyed chemistry in high school," Dr. Tobitt recalls. "But I didn't know what a chemist actually did Monday to Friday." His original conception of a career as a pharmacist was "a corner druggist in a small town... maybe with a soda fountain." While in school, he came to understand that a pharmacist is actually an active part of a medical team.

    RateFast is sponsoring Dr. Tobitt and Team Tiki Ha Ha in part because MS is a disease that may eventually leads to impairment or disability.

    But RateFast co-founder Dr. John Alchemy and Dr. Tobitt have been professional and personal friends ever since Dr. Alchemy's medical training at University of California, San Diego. "I am impressed with the idea of RateFast and how Dr. Alchemy has answered an unmet need with a new, unique, and useful tool," Tobitt says. "We are absolutely thrilled to have a sponsorship from RateFast."

  • In Memory of Wesley Artz

    06 August 2013 / California Workers Compensation, Medical Technology, RateFast, Uncategorized / Comments Off on In Memory of Wesley Artz


    Wesley Artz


    RateFast is proud to announce that its first PR-4 impairment rating report is dedicated on the 3.0 version to the memory of Wesley Artz (October 5, 1918 - December 4, 2002), who worked as a precision toolmaker for General Motors.

    The life of the late Mr. Artz is a study in the ideals of accuracy and integrity in workmanship—values that are central to RateFast's mission of producing accurate workers' compensation impairment ratings.

    Wesley Artz is the father of Dr. Jerry Artz, who is a nuclear physicist, a university professor, a ranked tennis player in the Northern division of the USTA (United States Tennis Association), and the programmer responsible for RateFast's ability to take measurement's of a patient's spine, and use the information to generate a precision California workers' compensation impairment rating.

    Dr. Artz's father, Wesley Artz, was born to a farm family of 17 children in Ohio. "My grandfather didn't really see any need for education beyond the 8th grade," Dr. Artz says. Wesley Artz dropped out of school, but eventually he returned after he convinced his father that a high school education was worth having.

    "My dad went to General Motors, and he really established himself as a tool maker," Dr. Artz says. Wesley Artz was uncommonly skilled at his work, which he performed so carefully that General Motors would bring him all of the jobs that required exact measurements. Mr. Artz was the go-to man for projects that required accuracy to "a tenth of a thousandth of an inch," Dr. Artz recalls. Needless to say, such exactitude is hard won, especially in the days before computers.

    Wesley Artz imparted his personal philosophy that a job is not worth doing unless it is done right upon the young Dr. Jerry Artz, who belongs to the first generation of college students in his family. "If my grandfather didn't think that it was important to go to high school, then you can imagine what he thought about college."

    Dr. Artz obtained his B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Cincinnati, and earned his M.S. from Stanford University in California. After briefly teaching physics at a community college in Washington, he was inspired to pursue his doctoral degree in physics, rather than electrical engineering. He enjoys how physics allows one to delve into pure science and get away from electrical engineering's insistent mantra to "apply, apply, apply." After procuring his Ph.D. in nuclear physics from Florida State University, he did post-doctoral work at the University of Minnesota, and then Notre Dame. Eventually, Dr. Artz returned to Minnesota, and took a tenured teaching position at Hamline University.

    At Hamline, a young man named John Alchemy took Artz's physics class as a Biology major. Years later, John Alchemy became a medical doctor and an impairment rating expert. Dr. Alchemy’s knowledge of the California Workers' Compensation system inspired him to co-create RateFast, the world’s first cloud based comprehensive software impairment reporting platform for the industry’s health professionals.

    Alchemy recalls, “Jerry is one of those rare mentors who teaches content with precision and passion. He gives 200% to his teaching, and is always tireless and patient. He can teach any subject really, it wouldn’t matter. You have no choice but to get excited because he channels so much energy. He is incredibly generous with his most precious resource… time. He does whatever it takes to do the job, a principle underpinning the RateFast design.”

    Remembering his former teacher's penchant for logical challenges and appreciation for precision, Dr. Alchemy called up Dr. Artz in a successful attempt to recruit him for the project of programming software that generates accurate impairment ratings. Alchemy remembers, “I was in a really tough design spot and got Jerry on the phone. I explained to him this incredible challenge and opportunity to put together a program that would create impairment values (AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment i.e. Whole Person Impairments, WPI) for spine injuries. No one had ever done it, or even attempted to do it to my knowledge. I explained the work would be meticulous, frustrating, lonely, and a Pandora type box of nightmare logic algorithms. The up-side was that this project had the potential to touch the lives of thousands of people in a positive way, and improve a failing system. Basically it was an insane proposal. Jerry was probably the only guy on the planet—other than myself—who was crazy enough to actually try it… and he did it. Anyone else would have buckled under the scope of this project, but not Jerry. Watching him write a logic matrix is like watching a master painter work a canvas. Turns out he thrives on this stuff. At 71 years old, this guy just doesn’t run out of energy.”

    There is a clear harmony of values to be found in the triangulation of Dr. Artz's work as a physicist and programmer, the life of Wesley Artz, and the RateFast mission. The California workers' compensation system is currently framed within the ambiguous and convoluted rules of the AMA Guides, and plagued with inaccurate conclusions. RateFast generates reports that are so consistently accurate that they will eventually set the industry standard for impairment rating accuracy. "That's part of the goal," Dr. Artz says.

    At present, standardized cloud based impairment rating is a young science, but when measurements determine the quality of life for people living with injuries, and the spiraling costs of workers’ compensation insurance premiums for employers, they should be accurate within a tenth of a thousandth of an inch. RateFast intends to bring about that accuracy, not only by bringing a nuclear physicist into the arena, but also by infusing Mr. Wesley Artz's DNA and spirit of precision into a process that is thirsty for greater meticulousness. Look out California Workers’ Compensation, because Mr. Wesley Artz’s is still bringing his “A Game” change to the world.


    Wesley Artz (left) and Jerry Artz (right) fishing


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