Judge OKs deferred prosecution in WakeMed case (Modern Healthcare)


February 8, 2013 – A federal judge is allowing North Carolina’s WakeMed Health and Hospitals (A1 / 65821DCR0) to take an unusual deal to avoid a criminal trial because the risk of closing down a Raleigh, N.C., hospital is too perilous for patients and workers. The not-for-profit WakeMed corporation was charged in December with one count of making materially false statements in order to increase Medicare reimbursements—an unprecedented criminal charge for a community hospital, according to prosecutors and numerous legal experts. Hospital officials admitted in court records that staff members in the Wake Heart Center on the system’s Raleigh campus routinely ignored or even fabricated physician orders, and as a result billed Medicare for inpatient care when cardiac patients didn’t stay overnight in the hospital.

Link to Full Article: http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20130208/NEWS/302089948/breaking-judge-oks-deferred-prosecution-in-wakemed-case

Link to Court Order: http://www.modernhealthcare.com/assets/pdf/CH8549828.PDF

Link to WakeMed / OIG Corporate Integrity Agreement: https://oig.hhs.gov/fraud/cia/agreements/Wakemed_Raleigh_Campus_12192012.pdf


SUNY votes to close Brooklyn hospital (Crain’s NY Business)


February 8, 2013 – The State University of New York Board of Trustees voted unanimously Friday to shutter money-losing Long Island College Hospital. But Brooklyn’s hospital crisis and questions about the future of parent organization, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, are far from resolved. The closure, which must first be approved by the state Health Department, could lead to the sale of the five-building campus just south of Atlantic Avenue and west of Hicks Street in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. SUNY Downstate purchased the complex in 2011. It was worth $143 million. If it were sold today, it could fetch more than $500 million, according to brokers who say it would be most valuable if redeveloped for residential use.

Reports and Studies Worth Reading – January 21, 2013

Reports and Studies Worth Reading – January 21, 2013:


Detroit Future City: Detroit Strategic Framework PlanDetroit Works Project Long Term Planning Steering Committee

“In 2010 an ambitious effort to re-imagine a better future for one of the world’s most important and storied cities was launched. The project has been both an exciting and, at times, challenging journey. It has also been a collective journey,  inviting diverse input from technical experts within Detroit and around the world and, most importantly, the community experts and everyday citizens who would be most affected by its recommendations. Each has played a critical role in forming what we hope will become a living framework for change and development in Detroit.”

$3 billion General Obligation Bond Proposal: Los Angeles Emergency Local Street Safety and Traffic Improvement MeasureLA City Council members Mitch Englander and Joe Buscaino

“Street repair in Los Angeles was underfunded from the 1950’s to 1990’s, allowing many streets to deteriorate.  Funding of pavement preservation was steadily increased from 2005 to present, preventing further decline in road system quality.  Annual funding focuses on streets in A, B, and C condition.  The Los Angeles Emergency Local Street Safety and Traffic Improvement Measure is needed to finance repair of streets in D and Failed condition.”

Economic Outlook and Revenue Estimates for Michigan FY 2012/13 through FY 2014/15Michigan House Fiscal Agency

“This report includes a national and State economic forecast for calendar year 2012 through calendar year 2015.  It also presents preliminary final General Fund/General Purpose (GF/GP) and School Aid Fund (SAF) revenue for FY 2011-12., revised revenue estimates for FY 2012/13 and FY 2013/14 and initial estimates for FY 2014/15. Estimates reported herein will be presented to the Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference on January 11, 2013 and will be used to facilitate the consensus estimating process.”

ASPE Issue Brief: Growth in Medicare Spending per Beneficiary Continues to Hit Historic LowsUS Department of Health and Human Services

“Medicare spending per beneficiary grew just 0.4% per capita in fiscal year 2012, continuing a pattern of very low growth in 2010 and 2011. Together with historically low projections of per capita growth from both the Congressional Budget Office and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of the Actuary, these statistics show that the Affordable Care Act has helped to set Medicare on a more sustainable path to keep its commitment to seniors and persons with disabilities today and well into the future.”

NY Rising: 2013 State of the State  – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

“Two years ago, I said we were at a crossroads; that New York needed to chart a new course and begin a journey to rebuild our state. It was imperative that we restore the public trust and renew the dream and reverse decades of decline. We started a New York comeback. The core elements of a New NY are: attract good jobs and economic growth; create a world-class education system that prepares the next generation for the future; establish fiscal integrity and discipline; and restore New York as the progressive capital of the nation.”

2013 is a Good Year to Repair State Rainy Day FundsCenter on Budget and Policy Priorities

“The last decade’s roller-coaster economy has highlighted the importance of state “rainy day funds” — budget reserves for when recessions or other unexpected events cause revenue declines or spending increases. States with rainy day funds were able to avert over $20 billion in cuts to services and/or tax increases in the recession of the early 2000s. Rainy day funds also helped states avoid service cuts and tax increases in the most recent recession.”

Financial Challenges Facing Local Governments: Federal and State Aid Shrink as a Share of Revenues NY State Office of the Comptroller

“From 2001 to 2011, total federal and state aid combined, grew at an average rate of 2.2 percent annually, slower than the rate of inflation (2.4 percent). To cover expenses, local governments have been forced to rely more heavily on revenues generated through sales taxes and real property taxes, which grew at annual rates of 5.9 percent and 4.2 percent, respectively. Federal aid to local governments grew by $932 million from 2001 to 2011, or by 3.5 percent annually on average. However, this increase is largely attributable to the infusion of temporary funds from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) of 2009.”

2013-14 California Governor’s Budget SummaryGovernor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.

“California today is poised to achieve something that has eluded us for more than a decade — a budget that lives within its means, now and for many years to come. We are in this favorable position both because of the huge budget reductions that you have made in the last two years, and because the people voted for Proposition 30. Under this budget, K‑12 school districts will see an increase in funds. School districts serving those students who have the greatest challenges will receive more generous increases — so that all students in California have the opportunity to succeed. This budget also focuses more responsibility and accountability on those who are closest to our students.”

Governor Brown Proposes Balanced Budget Highlighted by New Revenues, Investments in Education, and Expanded Health CoverageCalifornia Budget Project

“The Governor proposes to increase General Fund spending by 5 percent, from $93 billion in 2012-13 to $97.7 billion in 2013-14. The Governor’s proposed budget includes increased funding levels for K-12 schools and higher education and calls for the expansion of Medi-Cal, the state’s health care program for low-income families, as part of the state’s implementation of federal health care reform. The Governor’s proposal also includes a $1 billion reserve and pays down $4.2 billion in budget-related debt.”


Arizona Gov. Brewer begins Medicaid push, seeks support to extend coverage for 300,000 (Arizona Republic)


January 16, 2013 – Gov. Jan Brewer launched a campaign to expand Medicaid, appearing at Maricopa County’s safety-net hospital with health-care and business leaders to tout a federal law she once hoped to repeal. Brewer’s plan, if she can get reluctant Republican legislative leaders to go along, would extend health coverage to roughly 300,000 uninsured Arizonans by 2016. The federal law boosts funding for states that expand Medicaid to anyone earning up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, which is $14,856 for an individual. To protect the state budget, the governor’s plan would pay for the state’s share of Medicaid through hospital assessments, or “bed taxes,” that would in turn draw down more federal funding.

Link to Full Article: http://www.azcentral.com/news/politics/articles/20130116arizona-brewer-begins-medicaid-push.html


Opinion: Texas budget process is about as clear as mud (SA Express-News)


January 21, 2013 – State leaders are proclaiming their dedication to a clearer, more honest budgeting process, but their starting-point spending plans show they’ve got a long way to go. House and Senate leaders noted their respective plans show an overall spending decrease from the current two-year budget, once they pay this fiscal cycle’s lingering IOUs. But that’s only because they are moving $6 billion off the books. For more than two decades, patient payments to higher education institutions that provide medical care have been included in the Texas budget’s bottom line. This time, those payments won’t be included. There are reasons for the change: state officials don’t control the money, and other local university income is also off the books.

Link to Full Article: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/news_columnists/peggy_fikac/article/Budget-process-is-about-as-clear-as-mud-4209620.php


The Flu Sucks, Unless you are a Hospital…

Flu in N.J.: Somerset Medical Center’s critical-care unit reached max capacity Monday night (NJ . com)

January 15, 2013Due to the influx of patients suffering from flu-like symptoms, Somerset Medical Center’s (Ba2 / 64579E8G4) critical-care unit reached maximum capacity Monday night, and area rescue squads were asked to take patients requiring critical care to another hospital, according to hospital spokeswoman Kathleen Roberts. From about 8 p.m. Monday night to 8 a.m. Tuesday, Somerset Medical Center’s 28 critical-care beds were at full capacity. “Like hospitals throughout New Jersey, Somerset Medical Center has been seeing increasing numbers of patients with flu-like symptoms over the past few weeks, including any who are critically ill due to complications from the flu,” she said.

Link to Full Article: http://www.nj.com/somerset/index.ssf/2013/01/after_overbooked_with_patients.html

Many Southern California hospitals rebuff government over disaster plans (Daily News)


January 12, 2013 – In early 2011, federal and state officials asked 200 Southern California hospitals to provide information about their ability to survive a catastrophic earthquake along the southern San Andreas Fault. But nearly two years later, almost half of the hospitals still have not responded, leaving some disaster officials frustrated over their inability to help the hospitals plan for the worst. The survey was aimed at speeding post-earthquake recovery efforts, such as rushing backup power generators, fuel and water to damaged hospitals struggling to care for patients. But only 50 percent to 60 percent of hospitals in the eight-county region returned the survey.

Link to Full Article: http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_22363223/many-socal-hospitals-rebuff-government-over-disaster-plans