Community Health Systems to pay $97 million to whistleblowers, DOJ

Community Health Systems will pay $97,257,000.00 to settle whistleblower lawsuits unsealed in federal courts across the country.

Federal officials alleged CHS routinely admitted Medicare patients who presented at their hospitals’ emergency rooms with conditions that did not require admissions so that it could bill Medicare at higher inpatient rates, rather than less expensive outpatient rates.

To drive these valuable inpatient admissions, CHS established benchmarks for the percentage of patients, particularly those over 65, who should be admitted from the emergency room, in a scheme intended to improve its profitability, and without regard to medical necessity or patient safety.

How did these creeps make employees cooperate with their fraud?

CHS enforced those benchmarks by incentivizing and pressuring emergency department physicians and administrators to meet them. Physicians and administrators who failed to meet CHS’s benchmarks were threatened with termination, and some in fact were fired.

Seven separate whistleblower lawsuits filed against CHS and some of its subsidiaries were resolved with the settlement…

Each of them observed the same practices being directed from CHS’s corporate offices, which practices they felt violated the federal and/or state False Claims…

The whistleblowers brought their claims against CHS under the False Claims Acts, which encourages private citizens to report fraud against the government by allowing them to sue on behalf of the government and receive a share of any recovery.

The False Claims Act also allows the government to join and prosecute such lawsuits, as the Department of Justice did in this case.

We all know how phony most whistleblower “protection” is in practice. More realistic, the False Claims act says – hey – you’re gonna be screwed when you blow the whistle on the crooks you work for. If you have access to real evidence, don’t worry about saving your job. Take a percentage of the settlement with the government and retire!

CHS is one of the largest for‐profit hospital chains in the nation, with 208 hospitals in 29 states.

And, of course, they’re still in business. No one at the top has been indicted for a crime. AFAICS, the Board of Directors hasn’t peeped about the enterprise they oversee being caught defrauding American taxpayers.

Japan, the world, remembers those who died in Hiroshima

Japan marked the 69th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima on Wednesday, with the city’s mayor inviting world leaders to see atomic bomb-scarred cities firsthand to be convinced that nuclear weapons should not exist.

Speaking before a crowd of survivors, their descendants and dignitaries including U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, the mayor urged U.S. President Barack Obama and others to visit, referring to a proposal made at a ministerial meeting in April of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative in Hiroshima.

“President Obama and all leaders of nuclear-armed nations, please respond to that call by visiting the A-bombed cities as soon as possible to see what happened with your own eyes,” Mayor Kazumi Matsui said. “If you do, you will be convinced that nuclear weapons are an absolute evil that must no longer be allowed to exist.”

About 45,000 people stood for a minute of silence at the ceremony in Hiroshima’s peace park near the epicenter of the 1945 bombing that killed up to 140,000 people. The bombing of Nagasaki three days later killed another 70,000, prompting Japan’s surrender in World War II.

I’m enough of a cranky old geek to remember when the cabinet member in charge of killing people in other lands was called the Secretary of War. Was WW2 a war I could support? You betcha. Did we sometimes act like the vicious monsters on the “other side”? You betcha. As an American, therefore, I have a responsibility to fight to keep my nation on a righteous path – opposing the greed and deceit so often prompting war.

Yes, I stood in the street with my family and neighbors and cheered and cried with joy – August 6, 1945 – because the war was over. At that moment we didn’t consider the threat our government had unleashed upon the world.

As for the music up top – Pete Seeger was a freedom fighter for us all. He would never let us forget evils committed in our name. The music was written by James Waters. Pete’s performance.

The lyrics are a poem written by one of my favorites, Nazim Hikmet. Even in exile from his beloved Turkey he, too, was a freedom fighter.

Thanks, Mike – who found something completely different.

Study of rivers and streams in the Midwest finds neonic insecticide runoff

A new study has added to mounting evidence against a class of insecticides called neonicotinoids…linked in numerous studies to bee declines, the new research looks at neonics’ impacts on surface water.

Researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey looked at 9 rivers and streams in the U.S. Midwest—home to vast plantings of corn and soybeans as well as widespread use of neonics—in the 2013 growing season.

The researchers detected neonics in all the waterways, which included the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. One systemic pesticide, clothianidin, was found in 75 percent of the water samples.

“We noticed higher levels of these insecticides after rain storms during crop planting, which is similar to the spring flushing of herbicides that has been documented in Midwestern U.S. rivers and streams,” USGS scientist Michelle Hladick, the report’s lead author, said in a statement.

“In fact, the insecticides also were detected prior to their first use during the growing season, which indicates that they can persist from applications in prior years,” Hladick stated…

“The fact that neonics are pervasively contaminating surface waters should be a wake-up call for state and federal regulators…”

The USGS study comes on the heels of findings by researchers from the Netherlands who noted that concentrations of one neonic called imidacloprid were linked to declines in bird population, suggesting “the impact of neonicotinoids on the natural environment is even more substantial than has recently been reported.”

And a global analysis out last month based on 800 peer-reviewed reports found “clear evidence” that neonics pose threats to bees, other pollinators and terrestrial invertebrates like earthworms, which are exposed to neonics through the soil, the treated plant itself and water.

What does it take to get the liberal flag-wavers inside the Obama administration to live up to the most basic standards of ecology? When domestic and foreign research contradicts the statements of corporate chemical producers, the minimum, the least our government must do is to halt the use of these chemical agents for a period of independent in-depth testing.

Other governments have already done so. All the more reason to act up to a standard supposedly embraced by Democrats and their party. How about deeds instead of words, folks?

Thanks, Mike