Priest pleads guilty to stealing $1.9 million

A retired Roman Catholic priest accused of stealing $1.9 million from a southwest Ohio church he led has pleaded guilty to aggravated theft.

The Rev. Earl Simone entered the plea Thursday under an agreement that he’ll be sentenced to five years in prison. It also calls for the 75-year-old to pay restitution for the theft from St. Peter Catholic Church in Huber Heights between 2008 and 2015.

He pastored there for over two decades before retiring last year because of medical problems. He also was the administrator of four other churches in Dayton…

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati announced last year that allegations of financial irregularities at St. Peter were turned over to police after an internal investigation.

Someone is bound to say, “but, he was such a kind man”. He could afford to be.

It also sounds like the Catholic Church in Ohio is as diligent about accounting as they are about pedophiles. No one ever checks up on the folks in charge, do they? Cartainly, not the church. The “financial irregularities” were turned up in an investigation by a local newspaper, the Dayton Daily News.

Paramedics bring back house calls

Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal

Several times a week, Amy Kettleson pulls up to a home in Albuquerque to check in on the resident. Kettleson is a paramedic for Albuquerque Ambulance Service, but she drives a sport utility vehicle, not an ambulance, and instead of taking patients to an emergency room, she’s there to make sure they stay out of one.

Scheduled house calls may seem like a throwback to an earlier era, but they’re an essential part of a small, mobile health care effort called the Community Paramedicine pilot program, which was launched in January by Blue Cross Blue Shield New Mexico. The goal is to reduce use of 911 calls and emergency departments, and foster better care and follow-up for certain patients.

The insurer has contracted with Albuquerque Ambulance and American Medical Response to care for high-utilizing Medicaid patients in their homes as part of an initiative to curb unnecessary hospitalizations and health care costs. About 50 Medicaid recipients received visits from paramedics in the past month, ranging from a person suffering from congestive heart failure to a baby recently discharged from a neonatal intensive care unit…

Dr. Duane Ross would not say how much the program costs or how much it might save but said Blue Cross Blue Shield will evaluate its effectiveness over the next three to six months.

“It’s partnerships like this that will improve health care in the community well into the future,” said Ross.

ER visits have skyrocketed with the expansion of the Medicaid program in New Mexico. “It’s a (bad) habit built up over timeby many Medicaid recipients, especially those with chronic medical problems, Ross said.

The ideal benchmarks for the program will be fewer visits to the ER and hospital readmissions, said Ross. “We’ll know within a few months if we are meeting or falling short” of these goals, he said.

AFAIC, if it works, it’s worth it. The dollars and cents can be worked out. Seems to me a better lifestyle, a longer, happier life has to result from care and contact for housebound folks.

A milestone in regenerative medicine

Cambridge University researchers have made an incredible breakthrough that could one day transform the way the scientific community approaches regenerative medicine. A group of researchers became the first in the world to successfully derive naive pluripotent stem cells from human embryos.

These incredibly early-stage human cells are one of the most flexible of all stem cell types, with the ability to develop into any other form of human tissue.

The team behind the landmark achievement believes it to have potentially significant ramifications for future research into regenerative medicine, along with the treatment/prevention of conditions like Down’s syndrome…

Pluripotent stem cells are obtained in two ways – skin cells that have been induced into becoming stem cells and embryonic stem cells derived from fertilized eggs discarded during IVF procedures – though in both instances the cells’ development has been predetermined.

Naive pluripotent stem cells are different in that their development has not yet been determined, hence the rather unusual name…

Senior study author, Dr. Jenny Nichols, spoke of how the breakthrough could hold real significance in the study and treatment of disorders that arise from cells that contain an abnormal number of chromosomes.

“Even in many ‘normal’ early-stage embryos, we find several cells with an abnormal number of chromosomes,” Dr. Nichols explained.

“Because we can separate the cells and culture them individually, we could potentially generate ‘healthy’ and ‘affected’ cell lines,” she continued. “This would allow us to generate and compare tissues of two models, one ‘healthy’ and one that is genetically-identical other than the surplus chromosome. This could provide new insights into conditions such as Down’s syndrome.”

Bravo! A few more years down the road this might save me the surgery I’m potentially approaching in a few weeks. Seeing the doc on Saint Pat’s Day to determine if it’s finally time to deal with cataracts in my eyes. Just read, this morning, about researchers who have implanted stem cells to regrow the eye’s lens in cataract patients. Something that will be especially beneficial for juvenile patients with genetic disorders causing their cataracts.