A physicians group is raising concerns about a planned Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi policy change it says could lead to less care being covered when a patient comes into the emergency room.
The Mississippi chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians said it's worried about a change where the insurer will review ER bills so "level of care" charges more closely align with the patient's diagnosis and not their symptoms.
The group is concerned the policy set to take effect next year means tests and treatments related to the "ruling out" process would no longer be covered. But Mississippi's insurance commissioner said the move is meant only to stop hospitals from over-billing related to the severity and complexity of an ER visit.
"A patient experiencing chest pain who fears that he or she may be experiencing a heart attack should be covered for his or her visit, even if the condition turns out to be a non-urgent medical condition, such as a hiatal hernia," the ER doctors wrote in a recently distributed letter, which has not been sent to the insurance company.
Read more: https://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/politics/2018/12/28/blue-cross-blue-shield-insurance-change-limit-coverage-ms-er-mississippi/2387867002/
Former Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore responded to reports that Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall was looking into media reports that a group used potentially illegal social media tactics to influence the 2017 special election, in which former Democratic candidate Doug Jones defeated Moore to win the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions.
Marshall told reporters with the Washington Post that the disinformation campaign targeting Roy Moores Senate bid may have violated law. The news of the influence campaign was first reported by the New York Times earlier this month.
Its about time that state and federal authorities, as well as the general public, are becoming aware of the false and deceptive tactics used by the Democrat party and political operatives to influence the Alabama Senate election in 2017, former Chief Justice Moore said in a statement. It is curious that my former opponent Doug Jones, Now pretends to be Outraged and calls for an investigation after the election, and Facebook suspends 5 accounts for bad behavior.'
Jones has said he was shocked when he read the report and has himself called for an investigation.
Read more: http://www.alreporter.com/2018/12/28/moore-its-about-time-the-2017-special-election-is-investigated/
Secretary of State John Merrill is taking legal action against nine noncompliant campaigns who have unpaid campaign finance fines from the last election cycle.
Merrill initiated legal action in Montgomery County Circuit Court against eight Democratic candidates and one Republican candidate. New campaign finance laws passed in 2015 went into effect with the start of the 2018 election cycle, and the laws authorize the secretary of state to initiate legal action against candidates and their principal campaign committees that have unpaid fines.
The candidates and the committees failed to file campaign finance reports on time, resulting in fines, which havent been paid, the secretary of states office says.
There are 24 unpaid penalties among nine noncompliant committees.
Burton Leflore, Democrat
Diedra Willis, Democrat
Franklin Edwards, Democrat
John Moton, Jr, Democrat
Richard Dickerson, Democrat
Roderick Clark, Democrat
Terrence Johnson, Democrat
Veronica Johnson, Democrat
William Hobbs, Republican
Read more: http://www.alreporter.com/2018/12/28/secretary-of-state-takes-legal-action-against-nine-campaigns-for-campaign-finance-violations/
A Montgomery judge has moved the jury trial in Spencer Colliers defamation lawsuit against former Gov. Robert Bentley from March to September of next year.
Bentley attorney Mark Foley filed a motion asking Montgomery County Circuit Judge Greg Griffin to move the case to December. Foley said the lawyers needed more time to conduct discovery and take depositions from witnesses, among other reasons.
Kenny Mendelsohn, Colliers attorney, opposed the move to December. Mendelsohn said the judge asked the litigants to work out their differences on the schedule. The result was a compromise on the September date, Mendelsohn said. Foley said he thinks the September trial date makes sense.
Collier served as secretary of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency under Bentley for three years until Bentley fired him in March 2016. Colliers lawsuit concerns the circumstances of the firing and the aftermath.
Read more: https://www.al.com/news/2018/12/judge-reschedules-trial-in-spencer-collier-lawsuit-against-robert-bentley.html
Following former Birmingham mayor Larry Langfords sentence reduction and release Friday, one man remains in federal prison for the Jefferson County sewer bribery scandals that landed 17 contractors and county officials being sentenced to federal prison.
Gary White, 71, a former Jefferson County Commissioner, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his 2008 conviction on charges he accepted bribes from a county sewer contractor. He is serving his sentence at the federal prison camp in Montgomery.
At his July 2010 sentencing, U.S. District Judge Scott Coogler also ordered White to serve two years of supervised probation after his release, pay $22,000 in restitution to Jefferson County, forfeit another $22,000 to the federal government and pay a $900 fee -- $100 for each bribery count for which he was convicted.
White is set to be released from federal prison on Aug. 1, 2019. But inmates are usually put into one of the BOPs reentry programs as their release date nears.
Read more: https://www.al.com/news/2018/12/after-langford-white-remains-the-last-in-prison-for-jefferson-county-sewer-scandal.html
Towering high above the streets of Gadsden, the Etowah County Detention Center is an outsized presence in the small northeast Alabama town.
As one of the largest buildings downtown, the facility seems too big to house only the countys thieves, drug dealers and other accused and convicted criminals.
Indeed, the jail serves an additional purpose.
The detention center has a federal contract to incarcerate hundreds of undocumented immigrants who face lengthy legal battles over their immigration status and alleged crimes.
Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin runs that jail. And he makes a lot of money doing it.
Read more: https://www.al.com/news/2018/12/heres-how-federal-inmates-made-an-alabama-sheriff-15-million.html
The Census Bureaus newest population estimates claim that the number of residents in Puerto Rico fell by nearly 130,000 between July 2017 and July 2018.
This comes to a 3.9% drop in population in a single year.
Puerto Rico had a population of 3,726,157 in 2010. The current population stands at 3,195,153. This is a total loss of more than five hundred thousand people.
Puerto Ricos population has been dwindling for at least a decade as people move to states for better job opportunities, healthcare, and most recently as a response to the devastation of Hurricane Maria.
Read more: https://www.puertoricoreport.com/puerto-rico-lost-nearly-130000-residents-after-hurricane-maria/#.XCmwyVVKjRY
The PROMESA oversight board has written to Puerto Rico Family Department Secretary Glorimar Andújar Matos calling for a work requirement to be tied to the Puerto Rico Nutrition Assistance Program (NAP). The certified commonwealth fiscal plan includes such a requirement.
The letter was preceded by publication of an opinion piece in the Washington Post by José Carrión and Andrew Biggs, both members of the Board. The column mentions the NAP work requirement but focuses more broadly on the problem of low labor force participation in Puerto Rico.
Puerto Ricos 40 percent labor force participation rate falls short not only of every mainland state and every other Caribbean island, which average in the low 60 percent range, but also of 97 percent of the more than 200 countries and territories surveyed by the World Bank, the authors point out. If Puerto Rico boosted labor force participation even to West Virginias mainland-low 54 percent, the economy would increase by nearly 11 percent, tax revenue would rise, and the 44 percent poverty rate would plummet. But if labor force participation remains low, Puerto Rico will be forever poor.
The article goes on to say that labor requirements Christmas bonuses, generous sick leave and vacation, and job protections and a culture of patronage discourage employers from creating jobs. It calls for an Earned Income Tax Credit and for NAP work requirements.
Read more: https://www.puertoricoreport.com/promesa-board-wants-food-stamp-work-requirement-for-puerto-rico/#.XCmgXVVKjRY
ST. THOMAS Senator Positive Nelsons medicinal marijuana bill, after being introduced in the 31st Legislature and facing seemingly insurmountable odds, was voted favorably on Friday during the 32nd bodys last session a landmark win for the outgoing senator, who over the years has championed the legalization of medicinal marijuana as well as its recreational use.
Voting in favor of the bill were Senators Tregenza Roach, Sammuel Sanes, Janelle Sarauw, Myron Jackson, Dwayne DeGraff, Bryan Smith and Marvin Blyden. Voting against the bill were Senators Nereida Rivera-OReilly, Kurt Vialet and Novelle Francis. Senators Alicia Hansen and Janette Millin Young were absent.
Mrs. Rivera-OReillys stance on marijuana, which has been consistent from the beginning of hearings, did not change. She said the real intent of the bill was to legalize marijuana altogether. She also contended that the bill violates the Organic Act, which forbids the U.S. Virgin Islands from creating law that contravenes the U.S. Constitution. And responding to proponents who said the ship had already sailed, referring to marijuana legalization, the senator said it was not a ship she would board because it was headed straight to hell. Mrs. Rivera-OReilly cited Colorado statistics gathered after the drug was legalized in the state in 2012, which showed an increase in the arrest of Latino and Black men, she said.
Even proponents of the measure supported the bill with reservations, with all agreeing that it has problems that must be addressed.
Read more: https://viconsortium.com/breaking-news/medicinal-marijuana-bill-passes-legislature-is-now-one-signature-away-form-being-legal-in-usvi/
Free college tuition in the U.S. Virgin Islands will soon be law, after the 32nd Legislature during its last Senate session held on Friday voted unanimously in favor of Bill No. 32-0328, sponsored by Senator Tregenza Roach.
Mr. Roach, who will start his tenure as lieutenant governor on January 7, thanked Governor Kenneth Mapp for a funding source that made the legislation viable. Mr. Roach is the original sponsor of tuition aid in the USVI; he first introduced the bill in the 30th Legislature, and resubmitted it in the 31st and 32nd. Yet though lawmakers over the years supported the idea, without a funding source, it never gained traction.
Then, on September 11, Mr. Mapp announced his own free college tuition bill, crafted by UVI, that included a funding source. Interest in the idea grew quickly, and it became abundantly clear that free college tuition was on the horizon in the USVI.
Because Mr. Roach held the authorship of the bill, though Mr. Mapps measure came with a funding source, it could not be moved through the Senate unless Mr. Roach allowed it. But instead of allowing the governors measure to go through, the senator said he would take the best ideas of each bill to create something that benefited students. Contents of Mr. Roachs bill are here. Details of the UVI measure introduced to the public by Mapp are here.
Read more: https://viconsortium.com/virgin-islands-2/free-college-tuition-in-usvi-closer-to-reality-following-bills-passage-in-senate/
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