Monday, February 4, 2008

CA physician pleads guilty to elder abuse

A urologist who performed a painful cancer treatment on a patient who didn't have the disease has pleaded guilty to felony charges of elder abuse and insurance fraud.  Ali Moayed, 41, of Monte Sereno is facing up to one year in jail under a plea agreement with Santa Clara County prosecutors. Moayed - who entered the guilty plea Friday - will be formally sentenced March 7. He has already surrendered his medical license.  Moayed created fake lab reports indicating that three of his patients suffered from prostate cancer, which they didn't have, according to court documents.  Another doctor reviewing Moayed's files in 2005 noticed that a pathology report - the document that would contain the cancer diagnosis - was missing from the file for a patient about to undergo treatment. When radiation oncologist Abhinand Peddada finally got the report, he saw that the report from the lab said something different than the document from Moayed's Los Gatos office.  The lab said the patient never had prostate cancer.  Peddada canceled a painful procedure, called brachytherapy, for the patient and a second man. But the conflicting reports weren't discovered until 87-year-old Dung Le had already undergone the procedure, which involves sedating the patient and inserting radioactive seeds the size of a rice grains into the prostate gland.

Source:  San Jose Mercury-News,  http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_8126625?nclick_check=1

February 4, 2008 in Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Benefits issues in the campaign? Just the fact, ma'am

Get answers (not spin) to your burning questions on health care, social security, and private pension benefits issues from the Employee Benefits Research Institute.

February 3, 2008 in Health Care/Long Term Care, Retirement, Social Security, Statistics | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

OECD advises Netherlands to raise pension age

In a report on the Netherlands, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) says that the Netherlands should soften its redundancy laws and raise its pension age. Both measures are intended to keep more people in work.  The OECD points out that while pension age in the Netherlands has been the same for 50 years, life expectancy during the sameperiod has increased by more than six years.  The Dutch government is not in favour of raising pension age, but the OECD rEdit HTMLecommends increasing it gradually to 67.  The organisation also thinks that job protection laws hamper the flow of workers in the labour market. The relatively strong position of employees means that job seekers have a harder time finding work.

Source/more:  http://www.radionetherlands.nl/news/international/5623098/OECD-report-advises-raising-Dutch-pension-age

February 3, 2008 in Social Security | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Robert Ball, Grand Poobah of Social Security, dead at age 93

Ball Robert M. Ball, an indefatigable champion of Social Security who was present practically at its creation in 1935 and rose in the bureaucracy to become its commissioner under three presidents, has died. He was 93.  Ball, a resident of suburban Maryland, died Tuesday night after a brief illness, according to the National Academy of Social Insurance. Ball was the founding chairman of the organization.  Active virtually until his death, Ball was a key player on a package that rescued Social Security from financial ruin in 1983 and as recently as last year was writing alternatives to President Bush's proposal to privatize the program, an approach that Ball abhorred.  "No individual has done more to advance American social insurance programs than Robert M. Ball," said Lawrence Thompson, chairman of the National Academy of Social Insurance.  "He led the Social Security program for more than 20 years, and he has been its most influential and articulate advocate, architect and philosopher." 

Source/more:  LA Times.

February 3, 2008 in Social Security | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, February 2, 2008

NSCLC posts CMS letter re 2008 Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidy Income and Resource Standards

Get it here: 

http://tinyurl.com/32kelf

February 2, 2008 in Medicare | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 1, 2008

CMA issues report and recommendations aimed at protecting members of Medicare private "Special Need Plans."

In fulfillment of a grant from The Commonwealth Fund, the Center for Medicare Advocacy recently issued a report and recommendations aimed at protecting members of Medicare private plans known as "Special Need Plans."  The documents are available from the Center’s website at http://www.medicareadvocacy.org/SNP%20Conference/Home.htm.

According to the Center's recommendations, all Medicare Special Needs Plan (SNP) enrollees must be assured that their special needs are actually met by SNPs. To that end, the Center recommends that these plans guarantee SNP-specific beneficiary protections, standards for care, and coverage. Further, all of these SNP-specific protections must be enforceable, and actively enforced, by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Created by the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA), Special Needs Plans (SNPs) have proliferated since 2004, the first year of operation, due in part to the revenue they generate for plans. In 2004, 11 SNPs were approved by CMS. In 2007, 477 SNPs were approved, enrolling over 800,000 beneficiaries.  As of November 2007, CMS has approved 775 plans to be SNPs in 2008, with enrollment now exceeding 1 million beneficiaries.  On December 29, 2007, President Bush signed a law  which placed a moratorium on new SNPs through December 31, 2009.

In marked contrast with "regular" Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, which are prohibited from discriminating among Medicare beneficiaries in their enrollment, SNPs are designed to serve, either exclusively or disproportionately, specific Medicare subpopulations. SNPs must be coordinated care plans and they must offer all benefits of Medicare Parts A, B and D. Aside from these two conditions, SNPs operate with few requirements from either the law or implementing regulations and with little oversight of how or whether they deliver what they promise.

We hope that you will find the Center’s recommendations useful and that you will share this information broadly

February 1, 2008 in Medicare | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

GAO reports on problems facing elderly voters

Ensuring that older voters or other individuals with disabilities successfully cast their votes in an election requires that policymakers think broadly about access. This includes access with respect to transportation, polling places, voting equipment, and alternative voting methods. During the 2000 election, most polling places we inspected had one or more potential impediments that might prevent older voters and voters with disabilities from reaching voting rooms, although curbside voting accommodations were often made available. Additionally, our 2000 review of state provisions and practices related to accessible voting systems and accommodations in the voting room revealed that provisions to accommodate individuals with disabilities varied from state to state and may vary widely in their implementation. A 2004 GAO report also found transportation gaps in meeting the needs of seniors, which may create a barrier to voting for many elderly voters, and a lack of data on the extent of unmet needs.

Since the passage of HAVA and the subsequent 2004 election, we have identified a number of reported efforts taken to improve voting access for people with disabilities. In particular, our 2006 report on election systems shows a marked increase in state provisions addressing the accessibility of polling places, voting systems, and alternative voting methods. However, the degree of change in accessibility is difficult to determine, in part because thousands of jurisdictions have primary responsibility for managing elections and ensuring an accurate vote count, and the complexity of the election system does not ensure that these provisions and reported practices are reflective of what occurs at polling places on election day.

Understanding and addressing accessibility gaps represent enormous tasks for state and local election officials who are challenged by the multiplicity of responsibilities and requirements they must attend to within resource constraints. At the same time, as the population ages and the percentage of voters with disabilities expands, the expectation of accommodation and assistance to participate in this basic civic exercise will grow, making accessibility a key performance goal for our election community.

http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d08442t.pdf?source=ra

February 1, 2008 in Discrimination | Permalink | TrackBack (0)