Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Bangladesh Begins A Michigan Based Child Welfare Model

This article is of interest to me as the City of Hamtramck, Michigan has a large population of residents who hail from Bangladesh.

I also know that many Bangla families hide the fact their children have developmental disabilities, or rather the old school, religious conservatives.

Reasons for this have been shared with me that, under hard, right wing religious belief of those who are Muslim, a disabled child is considered a curse from God.

The progressive Banglas are more in tune with services and autism.

I speculate the Government of Bangladesh is developing a system, based off the U.S. Michigan model, to snatch and hide the unwanted of society.

In Michigan, the unwanted are the poor and disabled...and the old school christian conservatives snatch, hide and bill in the name of God, too.

Bangladesh government to develop foster care system for children with autism

indian children 300x200 Bangladesh government to develop foster care system for children with autismDhaka, Bangladesh — The Bangladesh government is planning to develop a foster care system for children with autism in the country, as well as those with other neurodevelopmental disabilities, according to health ministry sources.
According to reports, the government’s plan of organizing the foster care system is in line with its goal of helping children with disabilities contribute to the country’s socio-economic status.
The government’s ambitious plan aims to involve ‘wards’, group homes, ‘private homes’, and state-certified caregivers as ‘foster parents’ in the care of children with developmental disabilities who no longer have families.
The plan puts the Bangladesh government— through its family courts and child protection agency— in loco parentis to the children involved in the program, with it being responsible for all legal decisions involving the children; while the ‘foster parents’ are expected to take charge of the children’s day to day care. Institutions and individuals who stand as ‘foster parents’ to the children in the program will be compensated by the government for the expenses involved in caring for the children.
The health ministry source also added that along with its grand plan for a foster care system, the Bangladesh government also plans to provide schools for children on the autism spectrum, which they hope to integrate in over 100 of its disabled service and help centers located in every district across the country.
The Bangladesh government still has no data on the number of individuals with autism in the country, but is said to have already started a survey to obtain an estimate.
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From National Model to Crisis In 4 Short Years: Maine's Child Welfare System Want's You!!!

From National Model to Crisis In 4 Short Years: Maine's Child Welfare System Want's You!!!

In just a couple days, we begin what is known as National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and Maine should be celebrating their successes at keeping kids safe and preserving families like they were back in January of 2011...
Logan died Jan. 31, 2001 — 10 years ago Monday — after her foster mother, Sally Schofield, confined her to a highchair in the basement of her Chelsea home and wrapped layers of duct tape around her head, mouth and chest. Logan suffocated, and Schofield is serving a 17-year sentence after her conviction for manslaughter. 
In the years since, the number of children in foster care in Maine has been cut in half. Those who are in the foster care system are three times more likely to be placed with family members than with strangers. Caseworkers now visit foster children at least once a month, rather than the three-month standard back then. 
10 years after Logan’s death, Maine foster care is US model
But instead, Maine will be celebrating by pushing a foster parent recruitment campaign...
The number of foster children in Maine has outgrown the number of available foster homes, and the state needs 100 families to sign up to care for older children, the commissioner of Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services said Monday. 
Facing shortage, Maine DHHS calls on families to take in foster kids
As well as looking for more homes for the "Parent-less" children of Maine.
 Here are the sobering statistics: There are 1,990 children in foster care. Of those, 502 are seeking adoption. If you think about it, 500 kids out there wondering if they’ll ever have a family of their own is about as sad as it gets. 
DHHS: More than 500 parent-less Maine kids looking for ‘forever homes’
Now how do we go from a National Model Child Welfare system to a Crisis Level Shortage?  It's simple.  You get a governor who claims to hate child abuse so much that he thinks...
The department has been criticized in the past for being too quick to remove a child, LePage said, but now, “sometimes we’re putting them back too quickly and sometimes we’re not taking them out fast enough.”  
DHHS won’t release information on dead baby
And then you take more kids, blame it all on drug abuse, and ask the legislature for an additional $4.2 million dollars to cover the cost.
Legislators and others say factors such as poor planning and cuts in other social services likely contributed to the crisis, adding as many as 500 unanticipated children to the foster care system and leaving child welfare officials $4.2 million short in the fiscal year ending June 30. A supplemental budget put a Band-Aid on the problem in February.
Poor planning adds to Maine’s foster care crisis
And there you have it.  How Maine went from a National Model child welfare system to having a crisis level and desperate need for more foster and adoptive homes in just four short years and they need you to bail them out.

DHHS in need of families to take in foster kids - And Foster Parents Warn Against It!
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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Bathroom Spy Cams for the Foster Home - Baby LK Report For March 29th 2015

Baby LK recaps the week in news in the child protection industry. Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Feds Combating Health Care Fraud on Multiple Fronts...Except Medicaid Fraud in Child Welfare

Michigan FBI and HHS forgot about Medicaid fraud in child welfare.

Yes, that is correct.  The U.S. Department of Justice and the Office of Inspector General of Health and Human Services, still, to this day, as witnessed, or rather omitted, from this press release, refuse to deal with health care fraud in children's programming.

Why, you may ask?  Allow me.

It is political.  It is too big to fail.  There is too much money.

But for the final reason the feds will do nothing about Medicaid fraud in child welfare is because you cannot audit God.

Yes, that is correct.  There are many child welfare agencies which provide health care services to children and youth that are classified as non-profit.  As a matter of fact, the majority are non-profits, with a growing number of these social welfare organizations claiming the animated status of a corporate person, enforcing religious beliefs in the commission of Medicaid fraud.

Patrick Miles needs to look into Catholic Charities in his backyard.  Trust me, you will find an entire treasure trove of Medicaid fraud.

#DOJ #HHSOIG #DanielLevinson #MedicaidFraud #ChildWelfare #EricHolder #Time2AuditGod

Civil, Criminal, and Administrative Sanctions Combined with Outreach to Professionals Netting Positive Results and Millions in Recoveries

GRAND RAPIDS, MI—United States Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Patrick Miles, Jr. announced this week that the multi-prong approach to combat health care fraud his office uses has achieved unprecedented results for the Western District. Miles said his office seeks to pursue criminal charges, civil penalties and administrative exclusions in health care fraud cases as well as educate health care providers and the public about detecting and avoiding health care fraud practices. “We made addressing financial frauds, such as a health care fraud, one of our top U.S. Attorney’s Office priorities,” U.S. Attorney Miles said. “We put additional resources into prosecuting health care fraud cases and warning practitioners of our emphasis on pursuing both health care fraud prosecutions and civil remedies. We hold corporations and individuals accountable for wrongdoing. Consequently, we are seeing very positive results.”

Specifically, U.S. Attorney Miles noted that over the past two years his U.S. Attorney’s Office has obtained 20 criminal convictions in cases involving health care fraud or health care practitioners, negotiated over $5,500,000 in civil health care fraud settlements, caused mandatory or voluntary federal health care program exclusions of doctors and other practitioners totaling over 50 years, and seen a $100,000,000 decrease in Medicare home health care expenditures in the Western District of Michigan largely due to federal investigations, prosecutions, and educational outreach efforts focused on home health care and home health care kickback payments.

U.S. Attorney Miles praised the collaborative efforts of the federal prosecutors in his office working along with law enforcement investigative partners such as the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG). In the Western District of Michigan veteran Federal prosecutor Ray Beckering is the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Health Care Fraud Coordinator and the Civil Health Care Fraud Coordinator is Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Townshend. Miles stated, “AUSA Beckering, AUSA Townshend, and other AUSAs engage various Michigan health care communities through outreach efforts including speaking at annual conference sessions for the Michigan Academy of Physician Assistants, the Michigan Council of Nurse Practitioners, and physician groups to educate practitioners on illegal kickback schemes and diverting prescription drugs.”

“The partnership between the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the HHS-Office of Inspector General is very strong”, stated Lamont Pugh III, Special Agent in Charge, DHHS-OIG-OI-Chicago Region. “A significant part of the OIG’s mission is to protect the integrity of the Medicare and Medicaid programs and the health and welfare of the people they serve. The OIG continues to work diligently to identify, investigate, and seek the indictment and conviction of those who would attack these programs. We will continue to work in concert with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and other law enforcement agencies to hold wrongdoers accountable”.

U.S. Attorney Miles said that many health care frauds involve unnecessary procedures and tests. “Law enforcement and our Office continue to focus on unnecessary laboratory testing, including unnecessary blood, urine, and drug testing. We will also address improper relationships between practitioners and laboratory testing companies,” Miles said.

It is illegal to offer or request, or pay or receive, money or anything of value in exchange for referring Medicare and Medicaid patients for health care services. U.S. Attorney Miles observed that “kickbacks and other suspect arrangements are saturating the Western District of Michigan, particularly in the areas of home health care, diagnostic testing, and laboratory testing. Kickbacks also distort the competitive playing field, taking business away from providers who play by the rules.”

U.S. Attorney Miles says patients and health care consumers can help stop frauds by looking out for the following “Red Flags”:

Benefit Statements:
  • Check for services and procedures not rendered
  • Cost of procedures disproportionate with time or complexity
Waivers of Co-Payments:
  • Blanket waivers of copays are generally not permitted
  • Good indication of fraud schemes because if patients are notpaying, they are unlikely to scrutinize insurance billings
The following are some recent health care fraud case highlights from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Michigan:

Civil Case Settlements
United States, et al., ex rel. Jahn, et al. v. Agility Health, Inc., et al.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office recovered $1,000,000 in a whistleblower lawsuit involving allegations of false claims to Medicare for skilled therapy services that were not provided or provided to beneficiaries who were incapable of participating in therapy programs. The whistleblowers recovered more than $200,000.

United States v. Portage Hospital LLC
The U.S. Attorney’s Office recovered $4,446,392.43 in a voluntary disclosure by Portage Hospital in Hancock, Michigan stemming from billings by the hospital’s home health care agency for physical therapy services—purportedly performed by a single staff physical therapist—that were medically unnecessary and/or lacked adequate documentation.

United States ex rel. Morgan v. Advanced Professional Home Health Care
The U.S. Attorney’s Office recovered $57,000 in an action brought by a whistleblower, and the home health care agency agreed to implement a compliance program to resolve allegations that the agency illegally altered physicians’ signature dates and other information on physician orders in order to bill home health care services to Medicare.

Criminal Convictions
United States v. Kim Mulder, et al.
Initiated by reports from former employees, the execution of federal search warrants and a DEA Immediate Suspension Order resulted in the cessation of operations and the subsequent filing of criminal charges against eighteen Kentwood Pharmacy officers and employees related to the dispensing and billing for adulterated and misbranded drugs to nursing homes and adult foster care homes. The convictions included felony charges for six licensed pharmacists and prison sentences of six years for the head pharmacist and fourteen years for the Vice President of Sales. The CEO Kim Mulder and one other pharmacist are pending sentencing. The district court found a Medicare fraud loss of over $80,000,000 stemming from payments for the recycled drugs and ordered over $8,000,000 in restitution.

United States v. Chyawan Bansil, Shannon Wiggins, Mohamad Abduljaber
Reports concerning the diversion of prescription drugs led to an investigation of the Lansing medical practice of Dr. Shannon Wiggins. Undercover patient visits revealed an illegal kickback scheme where Dr. Wiggins and her husband/ officer manager Mohamad Abduljaber were paid to refer patients for purported EMG and nerve conduction testing that was not necessary and often not performed. Dr. Wiggins also charged cash payments for medical marijuana certifications. The investigation exposed that Dr. Wiggins and Mr. Abduljaber did not report the cash income to the IRS. Global resolutions of civil claims and criminal kickback and tax charges resulted in: felony convictions and prison sentences for all three defendants; collection from Mr. Bansil of $2,250,000 in civil treble damages on behalf of Medicare and $350,000 in restitution paid to BCBSM; $150,000 in forfeiture from Mr. Bansil; and court-ordered restitution from Dr. Wiggins and Mr. Abduljaber of $285,781 to Medicaid and forfeiture of $550,000, including automobiles and real property. The pattern of Dr. Wiggins’ referrals demonstrates the costly impact of unnecessary testing as a result of illegal kickback payments.

United States v. Babubhai Rathod et al.
In an ongoing civil case and parallel criminal investigation stemming from the filing of a whistleblower lawsuit, the U.S Attorney’s Office has convicted nine individuals on felony kickback and health care fraud charges and reached civil settlements with an additional six practitioners that total over $1,200,000 and involve 25 years of individual exclusions from federal health care programs. To date, the whistleblower has received more than $200,000.

The lead defendant, Babubhai Rathod of Okemos, Michigan, was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment for coordinating illegal referral payments to physician assistants and doctors to refer patients to his physical therapy clinics and a home health care agency. Rathod lost his physical therapy license as a result of a criminal conviction and allegations of patient assaults, but he was able to open a home health agency based on the fact that there are no licensing or certificate of need requirements to opening a home health company in Michigan. The government collected $900,000 in a related civil False Claims Act settlement.

United States v. Anthony Kirk
United States v. Martin Hoffmeister
As part of a state-wide initiative, HHS-OIG separately investigated Grand Rapids podiatrists Anthony Kirk and Martin Hoffmeister for the billing of nail avulsions. Dr. Kirk pled guilty to felony health care fraud, was sentenced to six months in prison, and was ordered to pay $65,110 in restitution and a $15,000 fine. Dr. Hoffmeister pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge and was ordered to pay over $50,000. Both podiatrists were excluded from participation with Medicare and Medicaid for at least five years. The prosecution of these cases and others in the Eastern District of Michigan has resulted in an annual reduction of almost 30%, or $3,000,000, in nail avulsion payments by Medicare.
To report any kind of Health Care Fraud, people are encouraged to contact HHS through their tip line—1-800-HHS-TIPS.

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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Michigan Legal Community Against Children Hate Legislation

The Family Law Section of the Michigan Bar opposes legislation allowing child placing agencies to deny services in child welfare based on religious belief on the position that the State will be severely financially penalized with reductions in its federal participation rates.

I consider the legislation to be purely cruel and of moral turpitude but the best part is the State Bar has recognized the potential federal funding issue of violating civil rights.

What happens to these State laws when SCOTUS upholds gay marriage?

There is more to this than gay marriage. This is about getting their hands on child welfare money.

I am putting my money on the Governor doing a veto.


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Friday, March 27, 2015

Will Michigan Attorney General Let CPS Over Rule Them?

I seem to have a serious problem with the position of Livingston County CPS.

If the County Prosecutor has decided not to pursue termination of parental rights, then how is it that Livingston County CPS has the authority to take up the pursuit?

Let's begin with the authority of CPS.

CPS is supposed to be considered as a fact finding entity which provides services.  In this instance it has now transformed itself into a self-governing entity with usurpation powers.

Where is it written that CPS can, against the authority of the State, hire an external prosecutor?

I would like to know the legal authority on this because I am quite sure it does not exist.

With that being said, CPS would have to take its request, for budgetary and representative reasons, to a public body for approval.

If the County Prosecutor is under the authority of the Attorney General would that not mean that CPS would have to formally request some kind of grant of leave from the State in order for approval to budget and pay for an external prosecutor who would than be granted subpoena powers of the State, including powers to represent the State of Michigan in a court of law?

Were there any federal funding appropriation in the grants and cost reimbursements to allow for external prosecution outside the purview of the Attorney General?

Someone in the Burns camp needs to FOIA these concerns of representational and funding authority to the State.

I would even strongly encourage contacting the HHS OIG and DOJ as a whistleblower and request investigation into the issues of independent prosecution.

Prosecutors won't seek to terminate father's parental rights in controversial Baby Naomi abuse case


HOWELL, Mich. (WXYZ) - Prosecutors in Livingston County are now saying they won’t try to terminate the parental rights of a father who’s at the center of a case that involved a controversial child abuse conviction.
The Burns family has maintained from the start that they were being unfairly accused of child abuse. Now there’s a sudden shift in the mood in Livingston County, as the prosecutor is backing down on some aspects of this case.
Last week, a Livingston County Judge cited the growing community support for the Burns family when she went against state guidelines and only sentenced Josh Burns to one year in the county jail.
The 38-year-old Brighton father was convicted of second degree child abuse, a 10-year felony.
Josh Burns says that when his daughter Naomi was 2-months-old, she slipped off his lap, and he caught her by the face to keep her from hitting the floor. 
Both Josh and his wife Brenda say it was an accident, and Josh passed a polygraph examination.
 "It’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever been through in my life,” Burns told 7 Investigator Heather Catallo during an exclusive interview in January.
Later, doctors discovered bleeding between the baby’s skull and brain and they found retinal hemorrhages. Both parents and some medical experts say that Naomi’s injuries were largely caused by birth trauma and illness. 
But prosecutors say it was abuse.
Last year, Brenda was cleared of all abuse allegations, and now has custody of Naomi.
But as the 7 Investigators have reported, she had to go into hiding recently when Child Protective Services started coming after her again – even bringing five Brighton cops into her home one night.
“I am in fear. I have nightmares at night,” said Brenda Burns during the January interview.
Earlier this month, both Livingston County Prosecutors and CPS filed a petition against Brenda Burns – demanding to see Naomi.
Now prosecutors have dropped that. They’re also dropping their bid to terminate the parental rights of Josh Burns.
Prosecutor Bill Vailliencourt tells the 7 Investigators that because Burns is locked up in jail – and then has to face 2 more years of probation – prosecutors no longer have concerns that he would have contact with the baby.
Now they say, the termination of his parental rights is “no longer a viable option.”
So far, CPS caseworkers are moving forward with both the termination hearing and with their petition against Brenda Burns. But they have to hire a new lawyer to do that; Livingston County prosecutors will not be on the case.
“I will pursue justice for families for the rest of my life,” said Josh Burns, shortly before his sentencing last week. “We plan to start a foundation to educate folks around the country about CPS abuses and prosecutorial misconduct.”
Legal experts tell the 7 Investigators, these moves by the prosecutor’s office could signal that this family could be reunified at some point.
That’s what the Burns want.
Now they just have to wait to see if CPS will agree with them, and allow that to happen.
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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. Opening Statement on Net Neutrality

WASHINGTON - Today, during a full House Judiciary Committee hearing on “Wrecking the Internet to Save It? The FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules,” Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) delivered the following opening statement:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“The Judiciary Committee has a central role in studying the issue of net neutrality and, more generally, competition on the Internet. As the Committee considers today the specific question of what impact the Federal Communications Commission’s latest Open Internet Order has on competition and innovation, we should keep several factors in mind.

“To begin with, whatever approach one uses to ensuring an open Internet, inaction is not an option.  There are real threats to net neutrality.
           
“As I have previously observed at hearings held on the issue of net neutrality in 2008, 2011, and 2014, there are many areas in the United States where consumers have the choice of only one or two broadband Internet service providers.  As a result, these broadband providers effectively function as monopolies or duopolies.  In turn, their control over the broadband access market can result in differential treatment of content depending on how much a content provider pays, whether the broadband provider also offers competing content, or if any other the financial incentives for discriminating for or against given content were present.

“The concerns that I have previously expressed have only become more problematic since then particularly in light of further acquisitions by broadband providers that may result in even less consumer choice, less innovation, higher costs, andmore power in the hands of fewer broadband providers.

“In light of this threat, I commend the Federal Communications Commission for its work in crafting a strong set of rules for ensuring an open Internet. Congress created the FCC to develop the specialized expertise to properly regulate the complex telecommunications industry in service of the public interest.  And, after a lengthy rulemaking period during which almost 4 million Americans and all industry stakeholders made their voices heard on this issue, the FCC has fulfilled that mandate with respect to preserving and promoting an open Internet. Rules to address net neutrality have the benefit of addressing potential threats to an open Internet before they fully materialize.

“Additionally, having a set of best practices enshrined in rules would provide certainty for industry.  The FCC’s net neutrality rules, therefore, must be given the opportunity to take root.

“I am particularly pleased that the FCC’s Open Internet Order contains key provisions that I and many others have long called for and that will help protect competition.  These include –

●          a rule preventing broadband providers from blocking or throttling Internet access or from imposing paid prioritization of Internet traffic;

●          a restriction prohibiting any other practices that unreasonably interfere with or disadvantage users’ ability to access broadband service or lawful content applications, or services; and

●          a requirement mandating disclosure to users of information concerning network management practices and any terms, conditions, or limitations on the broadband service.

“These measures are critical to protecting the virtuous cycle of innovation which net neutrality fosters, and which ensures both competition and innovation among broadband and content providers, to the ultimate benefit of consumers.

“Finally, enforcement of existing antitrust law as the exclusive or primary means of ensuring an open Internet would be insufficient. Under current antitrust law, there is relatively little that regulators can do outside the merger review context to address the conduct of a regulated industry such as broadband Internet service with respect to enforcing net neutrality principles.

“Through a series of decisions, the Supreme Court has limited the potential to successfully pursue claims under the Sherman Antitrust Act with respect to net neutrality.

“Moreover, exclusive reliance on antitrust enforcement is simply insufficient.  While having the benefit of a more nuanced and fact-specific approach to the problem, antitrust enforcement alone would also be a cumbersome, more limited, more resource-intensive, and after-the-fact way to develop a regulatory regime for net neutrality.

“Another potential approach would be for the Federal Trade Commission to use its authority under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act to stop “unfair methods of competition.”

“Although I hold an expansive view of Section 5, to the extent that this approach goes beyond the scope of the Sherman Act or other antitrust laws it would be very controversial, as my friends on the other side of the aisle would be the first to note.

“Moreover, antitrust law is not sufficiently broad in scope as it fails to address the non-economic goals of net neutrality, including the promotion of innovation and the protection of free speech and political debate. This is why Former Chairman James Sensenbrenner, Representative Zoe Lofgren and I introduced bipartisan legislation back in 2006 to strengthen antitrust law to address net neutrality, in part because the FCC was doing too little at that time, in my view.

“I do not have that concern with the FCC’s latest Open Internet Order.  Rather, I congratulate them on their good work and welcome the Order’s full implementation.”


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House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. Opening Statement on Patent Reform


WASHINGTON - Today, during a House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet hearing on “Patent Reform: Protecting American Innovators and Job Creators from Abusive Patent Litigation,” Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) issued the following opening statement:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“Today’s hearing provides yet another opportunity to examine the issue of abusive patent litigation and why a targeted legislative approach is necessary.

“One of the first issues we must consider is how legislative proposals to stop abusive patent litigation can impact small businesses, the start-up ecosystem, and innovators. Small businesses and others who rely on patents require strong intellectual property protections. We must not weaken those rights.

“Our innovators – whether they create their inventions in their garages or basements or as a group in an incubation hub – recognize that their patents and the ability to protect them through enforcement in the courts is a critical factor in whether their businesses will be a success or a failure. Indeed, some angel investors and venture capitalists require ideas to be patented before investing.  But, they may very well be dissuaded from investing if there is a risk that a court will not uphold the validity of those patents or, at a minimum, there will be substantial litigation costs entailed.

“This means that fledgling entrepreneurs will never get off the ground and become a flourishing business employing thousands of Americans, such as Overstock, which is one of our witnesses today.

“Overly broad legislation could engender more rather than less litigation and weaken patent enforcement protections, thus discouraging investments in innovation.

“Instead, we should take a cautious approach and not push solutions – such as H.R. 9, the ‘Innovation Act’ – that may end up doing more harm than good to our start-up ecosystem. One way to stop abusive patent litigation is to address the problem of the extortionist use of demand letters.  So, I want the witnesses to discuss how we can curb the abusive problem of demand letters.

“Patent litigation opportunists exploit the patent process and patent litigation system.  In particular, they attack patents of weak quality in order to obtain quick settlements or to bleed the alleged infringers. Individual inventors and small businesses have to decide whether to risk incurring potentially overwhelming costs of litigation or enter into a settlement which could make them liable to attack by other abusive patent litigants.  We must find a way to stop this insidious problem that threatens the strong culture of innovation in our Nation.

“Finally, the Committee needs to conduct further hearings on the changing landscape affecting patents before we take any congressional action.

“While I applaud the Chair for holding a hearing last month on recent Supreme Court decisions in the patent arena, the Committee should also hold additional hearings on what actions other government stakeholders are taking in the patent arena.

“For instance, we should hear from Michelle Lee, the newly appointed Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office to hear her views about how we should address abusive patent litigation. In addition, Director Lee could enlighten us about the conclusions from the Patent Quality Summit that her Office is hosting today and tomorrow. The Director could also update us on how her Office is implementing the America Invents Act.

“We should also hear an update from the Federal Trade Commission about its efforts to combat abusive patent litigation behavior.

“Further, the Judicial Conference could share its expertise at a hearing on the effectiveness of lower courts recently adopting model discovery orders or discovery guidelines that limit discovery in patent lawsuits.  The Conference could also inform us of the actions the Supreme Court is taking to eliminate Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 84 and its Form 18, which will lead to the higher pleading requirements of Twombly and Iqbal. It could also update us on other proposed amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure aimed at achieving proportionality in discovery and promoting early and active judicial case management.

“These efforts may better address abusive patent litigation in a more targeted approach than the overly broad approach taken by the Innovation Act. Congress must respond to the problem of abusive patent litigation, but it should do so in a more balanced and effective approach that protects our Nation’s entrepreneurs and innovators.”
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Maine Launches Medicaid Fraud in Child Welfare Awareness Campaign

Maine did not accept the Medicaid Expansion of the Affordable Care Act.

In order to qualify for the Medicaid Expansion, which would have provided funding for services to families with children who need assistance, Maine would have been mandated to come into compliance in dealing with Medicaid fraud.

Instead of complying to stop Medicaid fraud in child welfare, it becomes fiscally beneficial to allow fraud to flourish through billing of reactionary programs.

This has nothing to do with child abuse prevention.  It is a marketing campaign about profiting from poverty at the expense of the most vulnerable of society.

Poverty is the crime of child abuse.

It goes hand in hand with his push to repeal child labor laws for cheap labor, reimbursed through Medicaid.

Maine to Launch Child Abuse Prevention Effort - A Mary Mayhew Photo Opportunity

Attn World!!!  Gov. LePage declares April Child Abuse and Neglect Awareness Month

Ever notice that the one department in DHHS that never gets the proper conservative criticism regarding cost or efficiency is The Department of Children and Families, AKA Child Protective Services and Maine's Foster Care System?

Sure, they'll take away your drug treatment, cut off your food stamps, and even put thousands at risk of loosing their psych meds by pulling their health care out from under them...  But God forbid you say anything about the cruel and sadistic frauds who are supposed to protect Maine's most vulnerable children from abuse or neglect and instead bounce them from home to home; dope them up on psych meds and cut them off from any and all contact with their friends and families, and in some cases abuse them so that they end up in the teen shelters and on the streets of Portland just to avoid being in the system.  Nope, these are wonderful people deserving of our love and respect.  They should be placed on the highest of pedestals and we should give them raises and glorify their names!
In ceremonies kicking off Child Abuse Awareness Month, Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew said that DHHS plans to launch a new initiative next year aimed at reducing child abuse. 
Maine to Launch Child Abuse Prevention Effort
New initiative?  What is that supposed to mean?
Next year, Mayhew said, DHHS will launch a new initiative that will seek to prevent child abuse by setting up a new unit of specially trained staff that will review all reported cases of abuse and neglect and assess all of the cases, with a mandate to establish specific action plans to address each case on an individual basis.
Didn't we already have that?  The workers who answer the phones at the Child Abuse Hotline perhaps?   Are they not specially trained to determine whether or not a report merits further investigation and are very liberal in that regard already?  Are their supervisors not trained to review these decisions?  Now they're going to set up a specific action plan based on every single call to the Child Abuse Hotline?

Okay so let me get this straight, so a call comes into the child abuse hotline, it is a self-righteous helicopter-parent who is concerned about their neighbors neglect because their kid stepped out onto the front porch without a jacket, now what do you do?  Do you send a social worker out there to do a state sponsored anal probe of the family?  Do you send them to Coats for Kids or even Goodwill with a voucher... oh wait never mind that's welfare.   No!  You add a whole new level of bureaucracy to create an action plan just because somebody made a phone call when just a few short years ago the state was bragging about being anational model child welfare system who excelled at keeping kids safe while in the home by setting up an individual safety plan specifically designed for every family based on the needs of that child and family when in many cases the best that could be done was to leave the family alone and focus on the kids who really are abused and neglected so that they don't fall through the cracks while social workers are off chasing shadows.

When did this all change so that they gotta address the problems now?  And how is it that Mary Mayhew can turn this all into a photo opportunity by suddenly deciding that this is necessary when the state has already increased the number of kids they snatch, and that we should now spend what will most likely be an awful lot of money to implement such a program and create action plans for every case?   

Considering the fact that teachers and health care providers are mandated to report every little scrape on the knee, they're bound to be busy.

What a pathetic waste of time and money by the utterly clueless who should learn to leave well enough alone or let those with the right expertise to handle it.  But hey, if you can convince them that it will keep kids safe, the legislature will overwhelmingly vote for it because they will otherwise be chastised as being anti-child or pro-child abuse for voting against it.
Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Conyers: Five Years Later, The Affordable Care Act is Saving Lives and Taxpayer Dollars


Washington, D.C. – Congressman John Conyers, Jr. issued the following statement on the fifth anniversary of the enactment of the Affordable Care Act:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“Five years ago, President Obama signed into law one of the most important pieces of legislation in a generation: the Affordable Care Act.  Along with some of our most historic legislative achievements, including Social Security and Medicare, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) stands as a central pillar of America’s social safety net and a key step toward realizing the universal right to health care."
  
“Thanks to the ACA, more than 16 million previously uninsured Americans now have access to affordable high-quality coverage.  At least 105 million Americans have been relieved of the threat of an annual or lifetime limit on care.  More than 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied coverage and women can no longer be charged higher premiums than men for the same plan."

“The ACA has not only been essential for Americans’ health—it’s also been crucial for slowing the growth of healthcare costs.  After more than a decade of runaway cost increases, the growth in health care costs has slowed to the lowest level in 50 years.  The Medicare Trust Fund is more solvent than it has been in a decade. "

“The evidence is clear: the ACA works.  It means greater coverage, better care, stronger consumer protections, and lower overall costs.  I am proud to salute this landmark legislative achievement and look forward to the additional progress that will come of it.”

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Monday, March 23, 2015

FEDERAL AUDITORS RELEASE REPORT ON MUNICIPALITIES IN FISCAL CRISIS IN RESPONSE TO CONYERS AND PETERS REQUEST

Report Finds Significant Loss Of Federal Grant Funding Due To Reduced Personnel Levels

DETROIT –On March 20, 2015, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report in response to a request from Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) and Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) to analyze the impact of financial distress on the ability of municipalities, such as Detroit, to obtain and manage federal grant programs.  The study focused multiple cities undergoing bankruptcy, including Detroit and Flint in Michigan, as well as Camden, NJ and Stockton, CA.  The GAO found that budget cuts forced reductions in personnel which led to loss of skilled and experienced staff in Detroit.  In turn, this significantly undermined the City’s ability to effectively obtain and manage federal grants and “caused some [federal] grant funds to remain unspent.”  

Federal grant programs are used by cities across the United States to fund vital services, such as public health and safety, police and firefighting services, education, health care, job training and environmental protection.  These programs, however, are typically subject to extensive accountability requirements that must be satisfied prior to funding distribution to municipalities. 

Among its other findings, the GAO cited a “decrease in state revenue” as one of the “key” sources of Detroit’s fiscal crisis.  As Rep. Conyers previously observed, the failure of the State of Michigan to honor its revenue sharing commitment with municipalities caused cities such as Detroit and Flint to lose millions of dollars in state funding that they could have used to retain critical personnel necessary to manage federal funding programs for the benefit of our citizens. 

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
The GAO also found that the White House Working Group on Detroit, an interagency group comprised of staff from multiple federal agencies, provided important assistance to Detroit.  The Working Group helped to facilitate better coordination between federal agencies and Detroit officials to enable the city to address its fiscal issues by meeting with senior city leaders to learn their priorities and then connecting these officials with available resources and experts.  For example, the Working Group helped to redirect $100 million in federal grant funds to address urban blight in the City of Detroit.

“I applaud the invaluable assistance that the White House Working Group on Detroit provided to the City.  And, it is my hope, that the Administration will document good practices derived from these efforts so other municipalities that encounter fiscal distress in the future will benefit from lessons learned, as recommended by the Government Accountability Office in the report it issued today,” said Rep. Conyers.

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Michigan House Passes Medicaid Fraud Bills

Here is my question:

If the 17 christian (non-capitalization is intentional) child placing agencies can turn away prospective
adoptive persons based on sexual orientation, does it also mean these agencies can deny services to foster children based on sexual orientation also?

These faith-based, nonprofit corporations are exempt from any oversight and typically will proceed with recommendations of extended stays in foster care and termination of parental rights on the premise of whatever they consider to be moral turpitude.

What is next?  Denial based on the color of one's skin?  It could be.

Michigan Children's Institute Superintendent Bruce Hoffman, groomed by Bill Johnson, already makes such decisions when considering adoption.  Based on the Cotton doctrine, the decision to deny adoption must be proved to have been "arbitrary and capricious", not that the decision was wrong or discriminating.

No where in these Bills is there mention of the decision process.  The Bills are severely flawed because they contain prejudicial decision making, or rather, the Bills legislate the courts via prejudice.

Adoption of foster children is a federally funded service.  To deny anyone services based on a questionable internal policy is nothing short of being unlawfully discriminating.

There is no due process in child welfare.

I hope HHS financially penalizes the State, again.

Why would anyone want to "preserve" such a corrupt system which was designed as a predatory aggressor to the poor?

It is because they want the money, Medicaid dollars.  Today, it is child placing agencies, tomorrow it is Social Security.

All policies begin with children.

The faith-based angle using the Religious Freedom Restoration Act began years ago and started out of Michigan.  It failed to succeed in ratifying the Constitution.  Now, they have revamped to diffuse it State by State.

These Bills are the beginning of the dismantling of civil rights through privatization.

Pay close attention to these names:

George Darany, of Dearborn,
Robert Kosowski of Westland,
Sam Singh if Lansing, the Representative who offered amendment of 90 effectuation, and,
Harvey Santana of Detroit,the Representative who introduced the Bill.

What gets me the most is there is language to ban the state departments from regulating these agencies.

These Bills are nothing but legislated Medicaid fraud in child welfare.

Michigan House OKs bills on faith-based adoption refusal

LANSING — Faith-based adoption agencies could refuse to serve prospective parents based on their religious beliefs under a package of bills that passed the state House of Representatives Wednesday.

The bills, which would allow the agencies to refuse service to same-sex or unmarried couples if that goes against their religious beliefs, are moving as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments next month on whether same-sex marriage should be legal in Michigan and several other states in the region.

All three bills passed on 65-44 votes, with Democratic Reps. George Darany, of Dearborn, Robert Kosowski of Westland and Harvey Santana of Detroit, joining all but one Republican in voting for the package. State Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville, voted against the bills.

The votes came after passionate debate in the House with supporters saying the bills ensured that the state continue to offer as many adoption options as possible.

"These bills simply preserve the system we use today," said Rep. Andrea LaFontaine, R-Columbus.

"This bill is not about who can and who cannot adopt a child . it's about ensuring the most alternatives for people wanting to adopt a child." Tom Hickson, vice president for public policy at the Michigan Catholic Conference, said the bills were an important tool for finding loving homes for all children.

"Securing diversity in child placement and protecting religious liberty rights for faith based agencies will move children out of the foster care system," he said in a statement.

"Without this legislation there will likely be fewer providers, which means fewer opportunities to find homes for kids that need them."

Opponents, said the bills simply allow state-sanctioned discrimination.

"It's not just discrimination. It's writing a check for discrimination. It's state-funded discrimination," said Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor.

"The only reason you're voting for this bill is that you're blinded by your own faith." Rep. Jon Hoadley, D-Kalamazoo, one of two openly gay members of the House, said it's scary to be gay in Michigan and the adoption agency bills only contribute to that fear.

"These bills put the best interest of the agency over the best interest of the child," he said. "And it violates the constitution because it elevate some religious beliefs over others.

"Rep. Marcia Hovey-Wright, D-Muskegon, said the bills come as the nation is experiencing a sea change in attitudes toward same sex marriage and the legal rights that are afforded to newly married couples.

The state should look at how it spends its money for adoption services, she added. "The state needs to reevaluate this discriminatory policy," she said.

"I truly value what they provide in our commuities, but I disagree with them imposing their religious beliefs on everyone else."

In the 2014-15 budget year, $19.9 million in state and federal funds went toward supporting adoption agencies for adoption and foster care services, according to the state DHS. Nearly $10 million of that total went to faith-based agencies that would be covered under the religious objection bills.

The bills — HB 4188, 4189 and 4190 — now move to the state Senate for consideration. The same package of bills stalled in the Senate last year and Amber McCann, spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, said the subject hasn't been addressed by the GOP caucus yet.

Gov. Rick Snyder said last week during a call-in radio show with Michigan Public Radio that he had reservations about the bills and the impact it could have on children getting adopted.

Later in the week, he told reporters, He was in favor of children being adopted by "loving families" and "loving parents."

He didn't specify if that included same sex couples.

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Friday, March 20, 2015

Rep. Conyers & Sen. Cardin Reintroduce Legislation To Restore Ex-Offenders’ Voting Rights

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. House Judiciary Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) reintroduced H.R. 1459, the “Democracy Restoration Act of 2015.”  Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) yesterday introduced its Senate companion, S. 772.  The bill would create uniform federal standards for returning the voting rights of ex-offenders to vote in federal elections.  The legislation could result in returning the right to vote for millions of Americans with a prior conviction who served their time and paid their debt to society. 

The Democracy Restoration Act is a narrowly crafted effort to expand voting rights for people with felony convictions, while protecting state prerogatives to generally establish voting qualifications.  The legislation would only apply to persons who are not in prison, and would only apply to federal elections.


Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“The denial of voting rights by many states to ex-offenders represents a vestige from a time when suffrage was denied to whole classes of our population based on race, gender, religion, national origin and property.  This goes against the very fundamental principles of our Democracy,” said Rep. John Conyers.  

“Just as poll taxes and literacy tests prevented an entire class of citizens, namely African Americans, from integrating into society after centuries of slavery, ex-offender disenfranchisement laws prevent people from reintegrating into society after they have paid their debt by serving time in prison.  Disenfranchisement laws isolate and alienate ex-offenders, and serve as one more obstacle in their attempt to successfully reintegrate into society.”

According to The Sentencing Project, since 1997, 23 states have amended felony disenfranchisement policies in an effort to reduce their restrictiveness and expand voter eligibility.  These reforms have resulted in an estimated 800,000 citizens regaining their voting rights.  Despite these reforms, over 5.8 million citizens continue to be ineligible to vote in Federal elections.  More than 4 million of the disqualified voters are not in prison, but are on probation, parole, or have completed their sentence.  Nearly 3 million of the disenfranchised have completed their entire sentence, including probation and parole. 

“The United States is one of the few Western democracies that allows the permanent denial of voting rights for individuals with felony convictions.  State disenfranchisement laws deny citizens participation in our democracy and the patchwork of laws leads to an unfair disparity and unequal participation in Federal elections based solely on where an individual lives, in addition to the racial disparities inherent in our judicial system,” said Senator Cardin.  “Congress has a responsibility to remedy these problems and enact a nationwide standard for the restoration of voting rights.”

The current patchwork of state laws creates widespread confusion among election officials throughout the country.  For example, in Ohio, an erroneous interpretation of state law deprived thousands of people with felony convictions of the opportunity to register.  Only federal law can conclusively resolve the ambiguities in this area plaguing our voting system.

H.R. 1459 was introduced with the support of the following original cosponsors: Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), Rep. Cicilline (D-RI), Rep. Ellison (D-MN), Rep. Jackson Lee (D-TX), Rep. Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Cohen (D-TN), Rep. Cummings (D-MD), Rep. Hastings (D-FL), Rep. Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Grijalva (D-AZ), Rep. Gutierrez (D-IL), Rep. Kaptur (D-OH), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Rep. Moore (D-WI), Rep. Serrano (D-NY), Rep. Wilson (D-FL), Rep. McGovern (D-MA), Rep. Sewell (D-AL), Rep. Chu (D-CA), Rep. Richmond (D-LA), Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Rep. Honda (D-CA). Democracy Restoration Act of 2015

Section-By-Section of HR 1459 the Democracy Restoration Act

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