June 11, 2013 |
In politics, we often skip the simple questions. This is why inquiries about the fundamentals can catch everyone short. The independent-minded scholar Michael Lind posed one such question last week about libertarianism. I'll get to it in a moment. It's important because many in the new generation of conservative politicians declare libertarianism as their core political philosophy. Libertarians have the virtue, in principle at least, of a very clear creed: They believe in the smallest government possible, or what the philosopher Robert Nozick called the "night-watchman state.
June 5, 2013
A Philadelphia doctor was convicted Monday of taking more than $260,000 in illegal Medicare or Medicaid kickbacks, federal prosecutors said. After a two-week trial, a jury convicted Eugene Goldman, 55, of conspiracy and violations of the federal antikickback statute, according to the office of U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger. Goldman took the money between 2000 and 2011 for referring Medicare and Medicaid patients to Home Care Hospice Inc., a for-profit hospice provider in Northeast Philadelphia, even if they were not eligible or appropriate candidates for hospice.
May 27, 2013 |
The patient was on a ventilator at Cooper University Hospital, and his head was positioned so that saliva dribbled down one side of his neck - a common result of having a breathing tube in your mouth. But intensive-care nurse Karen Fluehr-Heinkel noticed a problem: the saliva was landing right where a catheter had been inserted into the man's jugular vein. So she did something that once would have been unheard of: she immediately got a doctor to fix it. "We've been empowered to speak up," said the nurse, a 25-year veteran of the Camden hospital.
May 15, 2013 |
Medicare scams come in varied sizes, but William Hlushmanuk's was one of the more industrious. The Northeast Philadelphia man had little training when he launched an ambulance service and went to dialysis centers to recruit passengers, sometimes right in the waiting rooms. Most weren't medically eligible for a ride - they were able to walk or drive - but no one really checked. Three times a week, Hlushmanuk's staff would shuttle patients for treatment, then bill the government. In five years, he soaked Medicare for $5.4 million, spending it on motorcycles, drugs, a house, a souped-up Hummer, and trips to Las Vegas and Florida.
May 10, 2013 |
Bills for knee replacements in the Philadelphia region in 2011 ranged from $30,386 at Chester County Hospital to $202,777 at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden, federal data released Wednesday showed. But Medicare paid both hospitals just a fraction of those billed charges. When a patient receives his statement, it usually indicates the inflated billed charges as well as the lower figure actually paid by the insurer. Medicare paid Lourdes an average of $15,681 for 31 knee replacements in 2011.
May 4, 2013 |
Chemed Corp., the largest for-profit provider of hospice care in the United States, was accused by the U.S. government Friday of false billing for Medicare services. Based in Cincinnati, Chemed is a holding company that also owns Roto-Rooter plumbing services. The U.S. filed a lawsuit in federal court in Missouri, claiming Chemed's Vitas Hospice units knowingly billed the government's Medicare program for crisis-care services that were not necessary, were not provided, or were not performed as required, the Justice Department said.
April 22, 2013 |
A former head of operations for Vanguard, Vincent McCormack is a brusque New York native who values results. So when asked to evaluate his 2011 treatment for heart failure at Lankenau Medical Center, he zeroed in on the most fundamental kind of outcome. The fact that he lived to tell the tale. "I haven't felt this good in 20 years," said McCormack, 75, whose case was so severe he had a heart pump implanted in his stomach. The government began publicly reporting death rates in 2007 for heart failure and heart attacks, and Lankenau, a member of the Main Line Health system, has been a perennial standout.
April 18, 2013
EVEN ON our better days, we have a hard time figuring out how Gov. Corbett's brain works - although not for lack of trying. We get that one of his big ideas is that bigger government is bad, and that free markets are better. That probably explains his resistance to allowing more federal dollars to flow into the state under an expansion of the Medicaid program. But Corbett is the governor of an entire state, not just a single party, so when economic benefits outweigh ideological beliefs, it's his job to make the decision that will help as many residents as possible.
April 14, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - President Obama's plan to raise Medicare premiums for upper-income seniors would create five new income brackets to squeeze more revenue for the government from the top tiers of retirees, the administration revealed Friday. First details of the plan emerged after Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testified to Congress on the president's budget. As released two days earlier, the budget included only a vague description of a controversial proposal that has grown more ambitious since Obama last floated it. "Means testing" has been part of Medicare since the George W. Bush administration, but ramping it up is bound to stir controversy.
April 11, 2013 |
Federal prosecutors in Philadelphia on Wednesday accused the owner of an ambulance company that operated in Philadelphia Huntingdon Valley, and Camp Hill, Pa., of submitting $3.6 million in fraudulent bills to Medicare for the ambulance transport of dialysis patients who didn't need it. The loss to the government was $1.5 million, the indictment said. In addition to the owner, Anna Mudrova, the indictment also named the company, Penn Choice Ambulance Inc., and six operators. Individuals who answered the phone in Huntingdon Valley and Camp Hill said the company had no comment.