Newark Doctor and West New York Man Charged with $3.four Million Well being Care and Wire Fraud Conspiracy, Cash Laundering, and Making False Statements | USAO-NJ

CAMDEN, NJ – A Newark physician and West New York man are scheduled to make their initial appearances today on charges of defrauding New Jersey state and local health benefits programs and other insurers out of more than $3.4 million by submitting fraudulent claims for medically unnecessary prescriptions, US Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Kaival Patel, 53, of West New York, New Jersey, and Saurabh Patel, MD, 51, a Woodbridge, New Jersey resident, are charged in a 12-count indictment with conspiracy to commit health care fraud, and wire fraud and four counts of health care fraud. Kaival Patel is also charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, substantive counts of money laundering, and making false statements to federal agents. The defendants appeared today by videoconference before US Magistrate Judge Sharon A. King and were released on $250,000 each unsecured bond.

According to the indication:

Kaival Patel and his wife – referred to in the indictment as “Individual 1” – operated a company called ABC Healthy Living LLC (ABC) to market medical products and services, including compound prescription medications. Saurabh Patel is a medical doctor who owns and operates a clinic – referred to in the indictment as “Medical Practice 1” – in Newark. Saurabh Patel is related to Kaival Patel and Individual 1. Paul Camarda, a pharmaceutical sales representative who is listed as a conspirator, pleaded guilty before Judge Kugler in Camden federal court on July 6, 2021, to health care conspiracy and conspiring to commit money laundering and obstruct justice and is awaiting sentencing.

Compounded medications are specialty medications mixed by a pharmacist to meet the specific medical needs of an individual patient. Although compounded drugs are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they are properly prescribed when a physician determines that an FDA-approved medication does not meet the health needs of a particular patient, such as if a patient is allergic to a dye or other ingredient.

Kaival Patel, Saurabh Patel, Camarda, and others learned that certain state and local government employees had insurance that would reimburse up to thousands of dollars for a one-month supply of certain compounded medications. The defendants submitted fraudulent insurance claims for prescription compounded medications to a pharmacy benefits administrator, which provided management services for certain insurance plans that covered state and local government employees. The defendants steered individuals recruited to receive medications from the compounding pharmacies to Saurabh Patel’s medical practice, which enabled him to fraudulently receive insurance payments for those patient visits and procedures. The conduct caused the benefits administrator to pay out $3.4 million in fraudulent claims.

The health care fraud and wire fraud conspiracy count carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison; the health care fraud charges carry a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison; the false statement count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison – all of these counts are also punishable by a fine of $250,000, or twice the gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greatest. The money laundering charges carry a maximum term of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense or not more than twice the amount of the criminally derived property involved in the transactions.

US Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the IRS – Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael Montanez in Newark; special agents of the FBI’s Atlantic City Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark; and the US Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, New York Region, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan Mellone, with the investigation leading to the indictment.

The government is represented by Assistant US Attorneys Christina O. Hud and R. David Walk Jr. of the Criminal Division in Camden.

The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Measure A cash to fund psychological well being program for Metropolis workers

Over $400,000 of Measure A will be used to help City of Turlock employees take care of their mental well-being after council members approved a contract on Tuesday.

In a 4-1 vote against Deputy Mayor Pam Franco, the city council approved a service agreement between the city and Florida-based company Performance on Purpose during its first meeting of the new year. Responding to a call for proposals prepared at the request of the council, Performance on Purpose is asking for $417,994 to implement a voluntary mental wellbeing program for city employees.

According to the company’s website, Performance on Purpose’s mission is to “equip leaders and their teams with the tools to reach their highest potential by providing science-based behavior change solutions to improve well-being and performance.”

“People understand that mental health is a business-critical conversation that needs to be had, and that people cannot do their jobs unless they are supported by the resources they need,” said Lauren Hodges, co-founder of Performance on Purpose , to the Council. “And that often has to come from the workplace.”

Two other companies also responded to the bid with cost estimates of $293,235 and $197,700 for the mental wellbeing program, but Performance on Purpose was rejected by City employees for its “strong strategy” and use of “the latest science and research to… human performance” recommended. according to the staff report.

Through the program, city tours and staff have the opportunity to participate in a variety of offerings, including live, in-person retreats (guided only), biometric screenings, performance coaching, and a variety of virtual programs on topics such as nutrition, stress management, and meditation, to name a few to name.

The nearly $420,000 bill will be funded with money from Measure A, a citywide sales tax approved by Turlock voters in the November 2020 election that is expected to generate $11 million in annual revenue.

Eight areas were listed in the Measure A Order – “Protecting Turlock’s long-term financial stability, maintaining and restoring public safety services, prompt emergency and medical assistance to 911, fire safety, repairing roads and potholes, supporting local businesses, Addressing challenges of homelessness and vagrancy and protecting Turlock’s ability to respond to emergencies and natural disasters.”

The program was originally intended to be funded by COVID relief funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, but Council Member Andrew Nosrati requested use of Measure A funds instead as the council continues to explore the best ways to use relief funds. In addition, business owners and community members called to express their dissatisfaction with the use of ARPA funds for the program.

“I’m not judging this presentation; It sounds like it could be a good thing,” said Lori Smith, owner of Main Street Antiques. “…But from what I’ve read, it looks to me like this could probably be about 300 people, and so much of it is voluntary…You have no way of knowing how many people it actually is will use… Can we use it? $400,000 so the public can benefit a little more?”

Councilor Nicole Larson expressed hesitation in approving such an agreement without a city manager selected, after which Mayor Amy Bublak assured her that one would be selected in two to four weeks. The original point has also been changed to say that the program will not begin until the new city manager is in place and the new leader will be the one who will work with Performance on Purpose to implement it.

“My values ​​are that as leaders we have a responsibility to ensure our employees are physically and mentally healthy and capable of providing the best service to our constituents,” Bublak said. “…We sit in a time where we are losing a lot of people who no longer want to work because of the things that have happened in COVID… This is our way of showing them our appreciation. ”

Former physician for John Muir Well being says hospitals put cash forward of affected person security, cites baby’s loss of life

A former John Muir Health doctor alleges in a lawsuit that the nonprofit group, which operates hospitals in Walnut Creek and Concord, put money ahead of patient safety and ignored her warnings about surgical hazards that have resulted in illness and death.

Hospital officials dismissed the claims made by Dr. Alicia Kalamas in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Contra Costa County Superior Court.

Kalamas, who worked at John Muir Health for eight years, said she has repeatedly raised red flags at executives about improper surgical practices, only to be ignored because she was viewed as a woman with “sharp elbows” or because officials feared that Changes that would signal past practices were dangerous.

In one example, she said she warned officials not to authorize complicated surgery on a child and told them other regional hospitals were better prepared to perform the surgery. But because the hospital group’s executives wanted to build a children’s brand, they ignored her concerns, she claims in the lawsuit. Surgeons from John Muir Health performed the surgery and the child died.

In their response to that claim, John Muir Health officials said Kalamas was not directly involved in the case and could not assess the “significant risks” of continuing or not having the surgery.

Kalamas, 50, of Piedmont, sued the nonprofit and its two top executives, Cal Knight, CEO of John Muir Health, and Taejoon Ahn, president and CEO of John Muir Medical Group, alleging the group violated its contract and forced her out of her position after labeling her a troublemaker.

“People at the top of the organization have lost their way,” Kalamas told The Chronicle. “They care more about the bottom line than patient safety.”

John Muir Medical Center on Wednesday, January 12, 2022 in Walnut Creek, California.

Santiago Mejia / The Chronicle

dr Russell Rodriguez, chief medical officer at John Muir Health, said that any feedback from employees is appreciated and that before executives decided not to renew Kalamas’ contract, they decided to restructure the program she administered to include “the better meet today’s patient needs”.

“The fact that the clinical consensus can differ from an individual physician’s views does not mean that he or she has been ignored,” Rodriguez said in a statement to The Chronicle. “Despite efforts to offer coaching and other support, Dr. Kalama’s reality and something she found difficult to understand and accept.”

He said that senior executives make patient safety their number one priority, noting that all the money John Muir Health makes is reinvested in the healthcare system.

Kalamas specializes in anesthesiology with a focus on perioperative medicine, which ensures that the many factors that influence surgical success – before, during and after an operation – are properly managed. In 2013, Kalamas was recruited from UCSF to join John Muir Health as medical director of the perioperative medicine program.

She quickly sought to fix the hospitals’ readmission rate for the highest-volume surgeries, which the lawsuit said was higher than the region’s 6.9% rate.

Her research found a simple problem, she says. When prescribing opiates as pain relievers after surgery, particularly for knee and hip replacements, there was no protocol to educate and provide medication to prevent constipation, resulting in patients returning to the hospital for a variety of issues.

“Millions of dollars were paid to JMH for failing to provide their patients with a 50-cent over-the-counter stool softener, a glass of water, and some basic advice,” Kalamas alleges in her lawsuit.

After her changes were implemented, the hospital saw a 27% decrease in readmissions for joint replacements, reducing costs for medical providers and taxpayers, she says.

Kalamas dealt with postoperative wound infections. Patients who have developed such infections are 60% more likely to be admitted to the ICU and five times more likely to be readmitted research. Yearly such problems costs the US health care system $3.5 to $10 billion.

In the past, John Muir Health has earned revenue from such complications and billed patients for the additional treatment, the lawsuit says. However, the federal government began to force the hospital to pay millions of dollars Punish, says Kalamas, eventually forcing it to improve. Still, Kalamas says executives and others ignored numerous emails she sent warning them that the lack of pre- and post-surgery blood glucose monitors was harming and killing patients.

The lawsuit cites an example of a diabetic who required a second operation after an infection. His heart wasn’t strong enough and he suffered a massive heart attack at home in front of his wife on the first day and later died, according to the lawsuit. Another young patient with kidney failure and diabetes did not have her blood sugar controlled and died shortly after receiving anesthesia; Her blood sugar was high when she coded, Kalamas says.

Rodriguez, John Muir’s chief medical officer, said eliminating postoperative wound infection is a “critical focus” and that restructuring the perioperative program will further reduce infections.

“Peroperative services needed to be made available to a larger proportion of the operated population, and care needed to be extended beyond the clinical setting,” he said.

Kalamas said her whistleblowing and criticism as a woman was bothersome or, as one manager told her, developed a reputation for “sharp elbows”.

“I’ve been in other institutions … and I’ve never felt dismissed,” Kalamas told The Chronicle. “I felt like at John Muir Health I was warning of very serious health and safety concerns and no one was paying attention.”

When she found out about the young child’s planned surgery, it fell outside of her area of ​​responsibility at the hospital, but she felt compelled to speak out, she says. Due to medical privacy laws, neither Kalamas nor her attorney, Dan Horowitz, could provide details about the child and the procedure.

“The case should have been referred to a qualified medical center, which Dr. Kalamas strongly encouraged her,” the lawsuit reads. “In particular, Dr. Kalamas told medical leadership that she had extensive experience with similar cases at UCSF and that JMH was massively underprepared.”

She said she told John Muir Health executives if they did the surgery it would be a “clean kill.”

After the child died, Kalamas requested a review of the case by the Medical Executive Committee, which could result in disciplinary action for those involved, disclosure to parents, and other safeguards. In a 2021 email shared with The Chronicle, Kalamas was informed that the case never went to the committee.

She recalled her earlier concerns about the surgery in an email, explaining how liver transplant and anesthesia experts agreed with her reservations.

“I was angry that JMH misrepresented the capabilities of their clinicians and the institutions’ ability to provide parents (redacted) with safe care given that UCSF, Stanford and Oakland Childrens’ are all much better equipped to to handle cases of this complexity,” she wrote. She added that she was told that John Muir health officials wanted their new pediatric center and needed to avoid disruption.

Horowitz said the child’s parents are still unaware of Kalamas’ concerns to this day.

In response to the pediatric death, Rodriguez said some cases had “extremely advanced life-threatening conditions for which any intervention is a high risk and not having an intervention is also a high risk.” He said all options were discussed with the family before the operation and since Kalamas is not part of the treatment team she would not know all the details.

He said a post-case review was conducted through the peer review process, but Kalamas would not be aware of any assessment as it is confidential.

As of May 31, 2021, Kalamas said her contract was allowed to expire. Since then she has not returned to a hospital.

Matthias Gafni is a contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle. E-mail: matthias.gafni@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @mgafni

Vegan Kitchen: Lower your expenses, save your well being, save the world, eat vegan!

With food prices rising rapidly, more than ever want to find ways to save money on our grocery bills. I’ve always believed that eating plant-based foods is an important way to control costs, and a recent study from the UK confirms that calculating that vegan meals can cut food bills by up to a third.

the Pricing model studyconducted by researchers from Oxford University and published in The Lancet Planetary Health, examined food costs in 150 countries. Based on 2017 prices released by the World Bank’s International Comparative Program, the study found that replacing plant-based foods with animal-based foods could lower food bills in rich countries, including the United States.

In particular, the study found that vegan diets are the most economical and can cut food bills by up to 34 percent compared to the food costs of a typical Western diet. In terms of budget-friendliness, the vegan diet was followed by the vegetarian diet, with the potential to cut food costs by 31 percent; flexitarian diets that could cut costs by 14 percent; and veggie-heavy Pescatarian diets that could actually add 2 percent to the cost.

The study looked at two types of vegan diets – one with more grains and one with more vegetables – and found that while both saved money, the grain-based vegan diet was the cheapest of all the diets analyzed. According to the study’s authors, fruits and vegetables cost more than grains and legumes worldwide. None of the diets modeled by the researchers contained ultra-processed foods.

“We believe that the fact that vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian diets can save you big bucks will surprise people,” said author Marco Springmann, a senior researcher on population health at Oxford Martin School, in a university report on the learning . “When scientists like me advocate healthy and environmentally friendly nutrition, it is often said that we are sitting in our ivory towers promoting something that most people cannot financially achieve. This study shows that the opposite is true. These diets could be better for your bank balance as well as your health and … the planet. “

The idea that vegan food is more expensive has been regularly criticized for a plant-based diet for years.

Before conducting the price comparison study, researchers at Oxford University noted a growing scientific understanding of the health and climate costs of animal foods. However, they found less research (and what there was was contradicting) on ​​the cost to consumers of animal vs. plant-based foods.

The Oxford study went beyond bills at the supermarket checkout. The study found that taking into account a range of nutritional costs that are not currently included in food prices, the price of plant-based foods would drop even further. These external costs included diet-related health expenditure and greenhouse gas emissions caused by the cultivation and transportation of food.

According to the study, including climate costs in food prices would increase the cost savings potential of a vegan diet to 45 percent compared to a conventional diet, while if health costs were included, a vegan diet plan would reduce food costs by 47 percent. If both types of costs were taken into account, a vegan diet would save 53 percent of food bills, according to the researchers.

“There are many other effects of the food system that are not currently reflected in food prices, including effects on biodiversity and air and water pollution,” the study authors noted.

One significant health expense that could decrease as more people in the US eat vegan is the cost of treating moderate to severe COVID-19 infections. During 2021, a trickle of medical research began to uncover a link between a plant-heavy diet and milder COVID infections.

In June, a to learn published in BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health Journal, found that among 2,884 frontline healthcare workers in six countries including the United States, those who followed a plant-based diet had a 73 percent lower risk of moderate to severe COVID than employees in health care had to eat more animal foods.

In September, the medical journal Gut a to learn from Massachusetts General Hospital, which analyzed data from 592,571 participants in a smartphone-based study of COVID symptoms and found that those who ate the most plant-based foods had a 9 percent lower risk of developing COVID, and develop a 41 percent lower risk of severe COVID. Study participants came from the USA and Great Britain

For decades, there has been a surge in medical studies showing that plant-based diets protect against many of the leading causes of death in the U.S. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020 (the last year for which statistics are available) is the front runner two Causes of death Heart disease remained followed by cancer, both related to the high consumption of animal foods. The number of deaths from heart disease saw the largest increase since 2012, increasing 4.2 percent in 2020. COVID was the third leading cause of death in 2020.

The deaths from diabetes and Alzheimer’s, two diseases associated with an animal diet, rose 15.4 percent and 9.8 percent, respectively, in 2020. Of the eleven leading causes of death in the US in 2020, only two (accidental injury and suicide) have no known association with dieting. The potential association between developing severe influenza and pneumonia (the ninth leading cause of death) has not been well studied. All others – stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases, and kidney disease – correlate with animal-based consumption, and all showed improvement or reversal in patients who switched to plant-based meals.

But health care costs aren’t the only burden that current food prices don’t account for. The US meat subsidies also distort prices at the supermarket checkout and around the world.

after a Paper published Last year, the U.S. spent nearly $ 38 billion annually on agricultural subsidies in the Columbia Journal of International Affairs, less than one percent of which went to vegetable and fruit growers. Instead, the lion’s share of government support goes to ranchers and farmers who grow crops that are used to feed cattle or produce highly processed foods. The same paper noted that these US subsidies not only distort food prices in the US, but also depress international market prices for crops, causing many farmers in poor countries to give up farming and forcing their governments to import food, which could be grown locally if the economy was different.

This brings us back to the study by the University of Oxford, which also examined food prices in poor countries. While vegan food in affluent countries can save money for consumers according to the researchers, it is different in developing countries. The current diet there is often nutritionally inadequate. Because the researchers assessed the cost of following a nutritionally appropriate vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian, pescatarian, and western standard diet, residents of poor countries would have to pay more to meet this standard regardless of what type of diet they followed.

After all, while the Oxford University study brings high-quality, much-needed data into the political debates about food costs, vegan and vegetarian shoppers have known about these savings for generations. For the past few months, I’ve spent time in the Portland Room of the Portland Public Library, where, with the help of archivist Abraham Alain Schechter, I’ve found historical evidence of the affordability of vegetarian foods.

For example, half a century ago the Maine Sunday Telegram ran a story entitled “How to Cut Your Grocery Bill 25%”. The article published on August 20, 1972 reports on the frugality of vegetarian food. Reporter Lloyd Ferris compared the price his family of four paid for groceries, an average of $ 25 a week, to that of meat-eaters in a University of Maine history class he was taking; they were spending an average of $ 35 to $ 50 a week.

“After a year of vegetarian life,” wrote Ferris, “I sometimes believe – perhaps a little complacent – that my carnivorous friends are suffering unnecessarily.”

I don’t feel complacent at all. I am sad to find that this unnecessary suffering drags on for much more than 50 years.

Go back even further, for example 169 years to October 6, 1853, when Jeremiah Hacker‘s alternative newspaper, the Portland Pleasure Boat, printed an article from the American Vegetarian Society. “As much food for the body can be obtained for three cents from floury or plant-based foods as can be obtained from animal food for thirty cents,” the article says.

Recent research from Oxford University adds scientific confirmation to anecdotal information known for more than a century. Eating vegan and vegetarian options has long been the thrifty choice in Maine.

Avery Yale Kamila is a food writer who lives in Portland. She can be reached at [email protected] Twitter: @AveryYaleKamila

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Grant cash will broaden well being entry in Indianapolis’ Burmese neighborhood – WISH-TV | Indianapolis Information | Indiana Climate

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – New grant funds will help improve the health outcomes of the growing Burmese population in Indianapolis.

Franciscan Health says it has worked with the community for more than 10 years. The new funding will enable better individual support.

Around 25,000 Burmese refugees live in the Indianapolis area. According to Franciscan Health, Burmese have some of the highest poverty rates and lowest rates in English proficiency at the national level, and both are often incorporated into medical access. Removing these barriers, the organizers hope, will result in longer and healthier lives.

Burmese refugees made their way to Indianapolis in large numbers about 10 years ago. Many chose to live on the south side of Indianapolis. But coming from Burma, health care was often not a priority or easily accessible.

“Back in Burma there was no health care. In general, medical care was not available. So there is no annual or just general screening, ”said Burmese health advocate Nancy Sui.

Sui is from Burma. She said that access to health care can be difficult for everyone, but especially the elderly.

“Of course there is definitely a language barrier in the community because many older generations don’t speak.”

At the start of the new year, Franciscan Health received nearly $ 185,000 to improve health care. The money will provide culturally appropriate personal support by helping patients gain access to health and human services. Support will also come from Burmese health workers and other agencies, including the Burmese American Community Institute and the Indiana Chin Community.

“Like many Catholic hospitals, Franciscan Health is truly committed to the health of the most vulnerable in all of our communities,” said Kate Hill-Johnson, administrative director for community health improvement at Franciscan Health.

Representatives said the hospital has served the Burmese community since the arrival of the largest groups of refugees about 10 years ago, and needs have changed over time.

“Now let’s look at these traditional chronic diseases that occur in old age,” said Hill-Johnson.

With the list of asylum seekers, the Burmese population should continue to grow. Lawyers said the time has come to strengthen health systems.

Mental health, like some other communities, remains a taboo subject. In addition to the grants, Burmese advocates will increase mental health support.

Group Golf Remedy artwork sequence raises cash for psychological well being

Group golf therapy is a team of developers dedicated to uncovering the link between golf and mental health.

The founders of GGT are former college golfers, Bradford Wilson, Connor Laubenstein and Drew Westphal. Each of them are on individual journeys to redefine their relationship with the game and have deeper golf conversations.

Group Golf Therapy has partnered with three artists to raise funds for various mental health organizations. You named this art series Mind Your Golf. Every piece is abstract, playful and all wins come from that National Queer & Trans Therapists of Color Network, that Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, and Courage Milwaukee. Each piece is priced at $ 36.

GGT Mind Your Golf by Tony Knapton. (Tony Knapton)

GGT Mind Your Golf by Luke Schaffner. (Lukas Schaffner)

the Group golf therapy podcast is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and Podbean. You will have great discussions with current and former professional golfers, golf industry professionals, golf enthusiasts and mental health experts.

Occasionally we recommend interesting products, services and play opportunities. When you make a purchase by clicking on any of the links we can earn an affiliate fee. However, Golfweek operates independently and this does not affect our reporting.

New 12 months meal Black-eyed peas, collards, pork;Luck, cash, well being

KENTUCKY, USA – New Years Day in the South is all about what you eat, what they say is set up for a successful year. Your New Year’s Day meal should include kale, black-eyed peas, pork, and cornbread. They are said to bring health, wealth and happiness.

It’s not entirely clear when or why these foods became the New Year’s staples, but according to Southern Food by southern food researcher John Egerton: At home, on the go, in history black-eyed peas have been associated with a “mystical and mythical.” Power to bring luck. ”

The legume comes from West Africa and is often included in meals on special occasions. Many believe that the swelling of the cooked bean symbolizes the increase in happiness.

Here are the New Years classics and what they’re supposed to represent:

No CARES COVID-19 cash for Vigo Well being Dept? | Native Information

The Vigo County Ministry of Health does not have the resources to continue its COVID-19 response after December 31, according to a notice sent to county officials.

Funding from the CARES act was used for contact tracing and contract nurses to administer the COVID vaccine. It has also been used to house COVID-positive homeless people in motels and to provide food to people in quarantine.



No CARES money for Vigo Health?

Joni way



In a letter received by the Tribune-Star, Vigo County’s Department of Health Administrator Joni Wise wrote to the County Council and Board of Commissioners saying the funding process has changed for 2022 but the Department of Health has not been informed. Way wrote:

• The VCHD was not directed to ask the District Council for additional funding for COVID-19 related expenses in 2020.

• The Department of Health was not directed to ask for funds from the Council when preparing its 2021 budget for expenditure related to COVID-19.

• Health Department has not been directed to ask the Council for additional funding when preparing its 2022 budget for expenditure related to COVID-19.

• All applications related to COVID in 2020 and 2021 were sent to the auditor’s office, marked as such and paid from the CARES law fund for the county, not the general health fund.

• It wasn’t until December 16 that the public health department learned that the manner in which claims were filed in 2020 and 2021 for Covid-19-related expenses would not continue in 2022.



No CARES money for Vigo Health?

Mike Morris



Mike Morris, President of the Commissioners, said Tuesday that “there is currently no funding. It will stop on December 31st … It has not been funded.”

When asked why, he replied, “I don’t know.”

When asked if something can be done, he said, “Well, they are doing something. They (the health department) go to the council and try to get money for it,” he said.

Before January 1, according to other district officials, the district commissioners had control over how funds from the CARES law were spent.

That won’t be the case after December 31, Morris said. “Not after the first of the year. It was all going to the general fund … from the council,” he said.

Morris noted that several surrounding counties are not conducting contact tracing.

“You (Ministry of Health) did not apply for funding and found out about 10 days ago. This is not my fault. So I’m supposed to correct your mistake – I don’t understand, ”he said.

Commissioner Brendan Kearns, who is in Hawaii, said the CARES law funds are under the control of the commissioners. Much of this was used to cover overtime for health department workers and to hire contact tracers.



No CARES money for Vigo Health?

Brendan Kearns

However, the question arose as to who is now in control of the CARES Act dollars, and that has not yet been resolved, he said. By mid-December, he believed the county commissioners had full control over those dollars, but other commissioners suggested otherwise.

“I asked my commissioners for a 45 day extension (from CARES Act-Dollar) … after Jan 1st and then we will use that period to figure out where we need to be to make sure the contact tracing is done properly” said Kearns.

Kearns said he spoke with Council President Aaron Loudermilk about a possible 45-day extension of funding for the CARES bill for the public health department.

Given the surge in COVID cases and the surge in local hospitals, Kearns considers it a public health emergency to continue with the Department of Health’s COVID response funding.

“The time is not to stop funding,” said Kearns. “It is the right time to find out what we need to do over the next few months and then create a backup plan in case we see (COVID) spikes again and contact tracing is required.”

Kearns believes there is still a “substantial balance” of funding from the CARES Act that could cover contact tracing for 45 days.

Kearns also said, “There are people in the annex who want the contact tracing to end. I’m not one of them. I will support the end as soon as Dr. (Darren) Brucken says so.” Bridges is the district health officer.

Whose problem is it?

Loudermilk said the district council could not act until there was a request from a department or from elected officials, and in this case none was made.



No CARES money for Vigo Health?

Aaron Loudermilk

The council supported the requested funds for contact tracing, he said. He only knew in mid-December that the funds for the health department would not be there.

“I think it is a function of the Commissioner. They have made these requests in the past to fund this. I think it is up to them to keep doing this,” said Loudermilk. “I don’t know how that has changed. I wasn’t aware that there would be a change. “

The money from the CARES bill “was usually controlled by commissioners,” he said. “In my opinion it still is.” Applications then go to the council, which applies funds.

He was talking to the police station and bridges, he said. He said he hoped something could be worked out this week so that funding “doesn’t die on January 1st”.

Loudermilk advocates continued funding for perhaps 30 to 60 days “until a solution can be developed for how to proceed,” he said.

There is nothing the Council can do this week. “I believe there is an opportunity for commissioners to debit funds and use them maybe next month for contact tracing,” he said.

Commissioner Chris Switzer said there was a COVID-related item in the general fund.



No CARES money for Vigo Health?

Chris Switzerland

Anything over $ 500 should be submitted to commissioners for approval, he said. “I don’t know if a lot of it happened because I’m only finding out about it today,” he said.

But on December 31st: “That line dies even if there’s still money in it. So if someone wants to say it’s still CARES money, that’s just not true.”

As of January 1, there will be no more funds for this money, but the health department will use it to pay for contact tracers, contract vaccines and other items related to COVID.

“I’m not going to say it was bad planning by Joni and the health department, but that should have been found out sooner,” he said. “They should have included it in their budget during budgetary time or they should have … asked for additional funding” from the Council.

Switzer, a freshman commissioner, said, “Maybe it’s my fault for not being educated enough to know I need to keep these funds going through to 2022, not for the Vigo County Health Department.”

The commissioners have no say in approving rewards that would be paid out to county employees in CARES dollars, he said.

He added, “I think there is a lot of misinformation out there.”

About the contact tracing, he said, “I certainly do not want to stop contact tracing. I think it can be turned back quite a bit. We spend a lot of money on contact tracing. I’d rather see it spent on vaccines. “Education or something so that people get vaccinated more.”

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or at sue.loughlin@tribstar.com Follow Sue on Twitter @TribStarSue.

State lawmakers urge Ohio Medicaid director to designate Summa Well being a ‘distressed hospital’ and supply cash for hiring extra workers

CLEVELAND, Ohio – A group of state lawmakers sent a letter on Wednesday asking the Ohio Department of Medicaid for more resources for Summa Health to hire more nurses to alleviate care bottlenecks caused by a surge in coronavirus cases Omicron variant were caused.

The letter to Ohio Medicaid director Maureen Corcoran said Summa Health, which operates two hospitals in Akron and Barberton, should be viewed as a “distressed hospital” eligible for more state and federal aid to help more nurses to adjust. The hospital system manages nearly 60% of all emergency rooms in Summit, Stark, Portage, and Medina counties.

The eleven lawmakers, seven Republicans and four Democrats, urged Corcoran to allocate money from the US dollars passed by lawmakers that year to help coronavirus.

“The Summa health system is in a state of crisis,” the letter said. “We urge you to use the resources that we supported in HB 169 to create the necessary state labor incentives so that our region can cope with this crisis.”

Summa Health President and CEO Cliff Deveny said he was aware of the letter and was in regular contact with four counties’ lawmakers and state officials. The strain on Summa Health’s ability to care for patients – both with and without coronavirus – has been caused by two main factors.

“It really is a function of the exposure to the number of COVID patients,” he said. “They stay about twice as long as a typical patient, so they use up a lot more resources. Since everyone has a problem with staffing, we spend a lot more on bonuses, overtime and temporary work. “

In the letter from the legislature, the fluctuation rate in the care sector was highlighted, which is almost 15.6% and is thus well above the fluctuation rate of 9.4% in 2019 before the start of the pandemic.

HB 169 provided US $ 124 million for “hospitals with critical access, rural hospitals, or hospitals in distress,” according to Corcoran. Summa Health manages more than 68% of all inpatient care for Medicaid recipients in the four counties.

The hospital system is also so overloaded that 30% of inpatient beds are occupied by coronavirus patients. The hospital system paused dialing operations December 6, redirecting its staff to emergency, surgical and critical care. Emergency room patients wait an average of 48 hours before bed.

According to the letter, the hospital system also manages 35% of positive coronavirus cases in hospitals across the region, 49% of patients in intensive care units, and 58% of patients who require a ventilator.

“You are essentially at a turning point,” said US State Representative Casey Weinstein, a Hudson Democrat. “It’s a combination of a surge in COVID patients, the vast majority of whom are unvaccinated, which honestly means that I am close to tending to my constituents.”

State Rep. Bill Roemer, a Republican from Richfield, said he hoped the letter would convince Corcoran to send additional money to offset Summa’s cost of hiring temporary nurses.

“We need the right funding,” he said. “Summa spends $ 180 an hour on visiting nurses. That’s the problem. We want to make sure that we can attract, retain, and adequately pay the current workforce we have so that we can address the problem. “

Deveny didn’t speculate on what could happen without help, but said Summa would expect even more hospitalizations, the peaks of which tend to lag behind the daily case numbers. The state reported more than 12,800 newly confirmed coronavirus cases on Wednesday, beating the daily record of 12,500 set on Tuesday. The hospital brought refrigerated trucks in case they needed extra space in the morgue.

“We are anticipating a larger wave of patients than we have now,” said Deveny.

Cleveland.com/The Plain Dealer has contacted Corcoran and the Department of Medicaid for comment.

Read the letter:

Continue reading:

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“Overwhelmed” and “Exhausted” ERs – Cleveland Clinic University Hospitals provide an insight into the state of hospitals during the COVID-19 surge

How easy is it to find COVID-19 tests to use at home? Holidays are expected to increase the demand for home testing

Zimmerman: San Jose’s timber enhance human well being and get monetary savings

Anyone who has ever read Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree knows that people take the benefits and gifts of the trees around us for granted. We underestimate how they affect our lives and how difficult it is to protect them.

It seems like we are finally learning the importance of trees not only to the health of the planet, but also to the health and wellbeing of people in particular.

The right trees in the right place

The main pledge from the COP 26 climate summit was the pledge by countries representing 85% of the world’s forests to stop or reverse deforestation by 2030. The United States, as well as other large forest countries such as Brazil, Canada, and Indonesia have all signed this agreement. President Joe Biden also pledged that the US would lead by example, announcing that it would spend $ 9 billion on forest conservation and restoration.

That promise, and the money to keep it, is a significant step forward. Individual countries need to get creative in dealing with climate change as an international agreement becomes increasingly unlikely. Forests and trees and are an excellent option.

Woods absorb around a third of the CO2 produced worldwide every year. Deforestation has made a major contribution to climate change.

The battle for California’s trees

California has 33 million hectares of forest, and we are rightly proud to encourage visitors to see places like the Redwoods. We conveniently forget or don’t even know that since the 1850s, 95% of the California original old sequoia forests were logged.

California can use its forests in two ways. Reforestation is an option, although it can be full of difficulties such as location problems, water availability and loss of biological diversity. It is much better to focus on protecting the trees and forests that we have and letting those areas expand naturally.

“California’s ancient sequoia trees, the tallest and oldest trees on earth, store more carbon per hectare of forest than any other forest in the world – by far,” said Sam Hodder, CEO of Save the Redwood League. “More than the Amazon rainforest or the coniferous forests of the Pacific Northwest.”

Save the Redwoods League is currently raising funds for the purchase of five miles of undeveloped coastal forest in Mendocino County. the Lost coastal property is a second growth forest between 80 and 100 years and is threatened by accelerated harvest or development. Saving such existing areas and having them expanded and connected to other protected areas is far better, cheaper and requires less maintenance than replanting.

Hodder noted that through accelerated protection and good management in collaboration with tribes, local communities and public institutions, the sequoia landscape can become old again and be a vital part of the fight against climate change.

San Jose trees

Trees in our communities are just as important to human health as large areas of forest hours away. The sheer visibility of green spaces is linked to improved mental health, less stress, and better work and school performance. Put simply, humans need nature, such as trees, in order to thrive.

San Jose’s revised design Community forest management plan cites research that even found that tree-lined streets contribute to healthier lifestyles. Unexpectedly, there are also fewer car accidents. There is even evidence that well-managed vegetation deter crime.

Money doesn’t grow on trees, but trees are rare commodities that become more valuable with age. In fact, every street tree brings nearly six dollars in utility for every dollar invested.

San Joses 2007 Green vision plan had the goal of planting 100,000 trees. Until 2014, the city planted forest in collaboration with Our City 12,289 trees in total which sequestered approximately 479.3 MT CO2 equivalent. The city’s goal was to have all trees planted by 2022; however, an apparent lack of resources has resulted in only 15,000-20,000 trees being planted to date.

Unfortunately, the management plan has also been found The canopy cover of San Jose has fallen nearly 2%, which equates to an area of ​​about 2.7 miles. The main findings of the document are instructive. First and foremost, the city needs to act quickly to meet the trend towards decreasing roofing. The biggest obstacle to this, besides the broken cooperation between the parties involved, is the ubiquitous money problem. The means for planting and cultivating trees are far below requirements.

Maybe we haven’t learned anything from “The Giving Tree” after all.

San José Spotlight columnist Erin Zimmerman is a Climate Reality Director for the Silicon Valley Chapter of the Climate Reality Project. Erin, a longtime environmental and political activist, holds a PhD in political science. Your column appears every third Wednesday of the month. Contact Erin at [email protected].