CLEVELAND, Tenn. (AP) — Federal prosecutors claim a Medicare fraud scheme at Cleveland-based Life Care Centers of America was cooked up and enforced by management.
According to recently unsealed court records obtained by the Chattanooga Times Free Press (http://bit.ly/TkQ7wF) managers are accused of instructing therapists to assign patients to the highest level of therapy regardless of whether it was needed.
The “Ultra High” level and can pay a provider as much as $564, while the lowest rate of therapy pays $231.
The whistleblower lawsuits claim that employees who questioned the policies were often fired within weeks.
Company representatives declined comment to the newspaper, referring reporters to a letter stating that Life Care’s therapy programs improve patients’ conditions and quality of life.
If found guilty, Life Care could face hundreds of millions in fines.
Tennessee Right To Life’s political action committee gave incumbent state Rep. Tony Shipley a 100 percent grade on its 2012 scorecard but did not endorse him in his 2nd House District re-election bid. Further from Hank Hayes:
TRL’s PAC, the pro-life group’s political action arm, endorsed no one in the Aug. 2 Republican primary race between GOP challenger Ben Mallicote and Shipley, R-Kingsport.
In an e-mail, TRL President Brian Harris said the lack of an endorsement should not be interpreted as opposing Shipley’s re-election but simply a position of neutrality.
Harris explained by pointing out a strategic priority for Planned Parenthood nationally has been mainstreaming the practice of dispensing RU-486 pills via telemedicine.
“Planned Parenthood’s intent is to make chemical abortions more available, especially in ‘underserved’ rural communities,” Harris said.
Last year, Shipley introduced a House resolution promoting the use of telemedicine in Tennessee. TRL, said Harris, expressed “profound concern” at the possibility Planned Parenthood would seize the opportunity to expand the prescription of RU-486 in rural areas of Tennessee.
Tennessee Right to Life, the state’s largest organization devoted to opposing abortion, endorses mostly incumbents and mostly Republicans in a list of candidates for the state Legislature that was released recently.
The list includes only two Democrats – Reps. Charles Curtiss of Sparta and John Mark Windle of Livingston. Neither has an opponent in the primary, but both will have Republican opponents in November. (Full list HERE)
There is no endorsement of any candidate opposing a sitting Republican legislator, though more than a score of incumbent Republicans face opposition in the Aug. 2 primary. There are endorsements in GOP primaries for seats where there is no Republican.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A proposal that puts new restrictions on doctors who perform abortions is headed to the governor for his consideration.
The measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Mae Beavers of Mt. Juliet was approved 27-5 in the Senate on Tuesday. The companion bill passed the House 72-24 last month.
The legislation would require physicians performing abortions to hold hospital privileges in either the home or adjacent county of the woman seeking an abortion.
Opponents questioned why abortion doctors were being singled out when other procedures performed at surgical centers don’t have to meet such requirements.
Beavers’ responded that medical procedures don’t always go as planned and that such problems require the resources of a hospital for the patient to receive the best care.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A measure that would require “family life education” curricula taught in schools to be abstinence-centered has passed the Senate.
The measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Jack Johnson of Franklin was approved 28-1 on Thursday. The companion bill is awaiting a vote in the House Education Committee.
The legislation has become an alternative to a proposal that seeks to ban the teaching of gay issues to elementary and middle school students.
Johnson’s legislation would allow the teaching of safe sex, but the curriculum would have to be “abstinence-centered,” emphasizing that abstinence is withholding from “any kind of sexual contact.”
Sen. Beverly Marrero cast the only dissenting vote. The Memphis Democrat called the proposal intrusive and said the issue should be “left to parents and school boards.”
Sponsors of the proposal say it’s also a tool to address the state’s high teen pregnancy rate.
By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A proposal that would require “family life education” curricula taught in schools to be abstinence-centered advanced in the House on Wednesday despite criticism that it’s unnecessary.
The measure sponsored by Republican Rep. Jim Gotto of Hermitage passed the House Education Subcommittee on a voice vote. The legislation has become an alternative to a proposal that seeks to ban the teaching of gay issues to elementary and middle school students.
That proposal, known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, seeks to limit all sexually related instruction to “natural human reproduction science” in kindergarten through eighth grade. It was considered in the House Education Committee last week, but its sponsor delayed it to allow lawmakers to consider Gotto’s more comprehensive proposal.
The bill would allow the teaching of safe sex, but the curriculum would have to be “abstinence-centered,” emphasizing that abstinence is withholding from “any kind of sexual contact.”
By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The House sponsor of a proposal to ban the teaching of gay issues to elementary and middle school students delayed the measure on Tuesday to allow lawmakers to consider a more comprehensive bill.
The legislation, known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, was up in the House Education Committee. It seeks to limit all sexually related instruction to “natural human reproduction science” in kindergarten through eighth grade.
Republican Rep. Joey Hensley of Hohenwald acknowledged there are problems with the measure and once again delayed it so lawmakers can review another proposal (HB3621) that would place restrictions on “family life education” curricula taught in schools.
(Inserted Note: ‘Don’t Say Gay’ was rolled to the last calendar of the Education Committee, often a signal that a bill is all but dead. HB3621, in fact, repeals the section of current state law that would be only amended by DSG. And HB3621, which emphasizes abstinence in sex education, does not mention the word homosexual.)
Under that proposal, a family life education curriculum would “encourage students to communicate with a parent, guardian, or other trusted adult about sex or other risk behaviors.”
A parent or guardian can file a complaint with the director of schools if there’s speculation that “a teacher, instructor, or representative of an organization has not complied with the requirements of this bill,” according to the legislation.
State Rep. Joanne Favors says she was “stunned” to learn that state Rep. Tony Shipley had been legislatively honored for “heroic actions” in helping a man suffering a seizure at a Nashville hotel.
Favors, D-Chattanooga, a nurse by profession, said she was one of the first to rush to the aid of the man at a downtown Nashville hotel after “I heard the sound of an airway obstruction” and turned to see a man “obviously having a generalized seizure.”
Favors said she had a bystander call 911 while she helped turn the man on his side to facilitate breathing and checked to see that there was no obstruction in his mouth. Shipley came up later, she said, and “stood around.”
“I didn’t do it expecting any recognition,” she said, adding that the Nashville Fire Department paramedics who arrived quickly on the scene deserved any credit for saving the man’s life.
Shipley, R-Kingsport, seemed taken aback when told that Favors said he did little, if anything, to help the stricken man.
“My goodness,” he said. “That’s not correct.”
Shipley, a retired Air Force veteran who has paramedic training, said he administered a “jaw thrust,” a maneuver to assure that a person’s throat is clear for breathing, and was otherwise actively engaged.
“I was working with the guy on the floor. She was there, talking to people,” he said. “I think she left before I did.”
The resolution, HJR644, was sponsored by Rep. Julia Hurley, R-Lenoir City, and approved 98-0 on Thursday. The Legislature’s website shows Favors among those voting for it.
“Be it resolved,” the resolution says, “that we honor and commend Representative Tony Shipley for his outstanding demonstration of skill, courage, resourcefulness, and presence of mind, as we join with the citizens of Tennessee in expressing our admiration and appreciation for his heroic actions in saving the life of another.”
The preamble section of the resolution says, “at a time when many health care professionals are afraid to assist in similar situations due to fear of lawsuits, Representative Shipley cast aside all concerns over personal reprisal and quickly maneuvered his way through the panicked crowd; and … with great presence of mind, Tony Shipley kept the young man’s airway open until the seizure was over and the Nashville Fire Department had arrived.”
The Feb. 1 incident was initially reported by the Tennessean, which quoted Max Carter, a vice president of Franklin-based Passport Health Communications Inc., as crediting Shipley with saving the 34-year-old Passport employee. Carter said he and two other Passport employees caught their co-worker as he fell, but they were uncertain what else to do until Shipley arrived.
“As a result of Representative Shipley’s quick action what could have been a truly horrible situation was averted,” Carter wrote in an email that also hailed the lawmaker for disregarding the fear of lawsuits.
When a Dallas man who was in town for his company’s national sales meeting had a seizure at a downtown hotel Wednesday evening, a state legislator took charge of the situation until the Nashville Fire Department arrived, reports the Kingsport Times-News. Max Carter, a vice president of Franklin-based Passport Health Communications Inc., said state Rep. Tony Shipley, a Kingsport Republican with training as a paramedic, may have saved the life of a 34-year-old Passport employee.
Carter wrote in an email that he and two other employees managed to catch their co-worker before he hit the ground, but they weren’t sure what else to do besides calling 911 and turning him on his side so he wouldn’t choke.
“As a result of Representative Shipley’s quick action what could have been a truly horrible situation was averted,” Carter wrote.
“Moreover, in a time when many healthcare professionals, and just people in general, are afraid to assist in similar situations due to fear of lawsuits, etc, I thought Mr. Shipley’s actions should be noted. I have no idea what his training or background is but he was relaying vitals to 911 like a pro and telling us exactly what to do.”
County government leaders have decided not to contract with the local Planned Parenthood organization to provide family planning services for low-income people, reports the Commercial Appeal. Instead, Christ Community Health Services has been chosen for the $397,900 contract, Shelby County Health Department director Yvonne Madlock confirmed Tuesday.
“The bid was awarded, and it was not Planned Parenthood,” Madlock said, adding that this ends any local contracts with that organization.
The contract must still be approved by the County Commission. Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell hopes to have it before that board by the end of September.
Tennessee Right to Life, not surprisingly, has hailed this development via news release. It’s below