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15 posts from October 9, 2013

October 09, 2013

Audit: University of Miami Hospital overbilled Medicare $3.7 million


The University of Miami Hospital will have to refund $3.7 million to Medicare after a federal audit of the hospital’s billing practices found the hospital overbilled in 2009 and 2010, according to a report released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.

UM issued a statement Tuesday saying the university is working “with the relevant federal agencies to determine the correct amount owed for billing inaccuracies.”

In July, UMH Chief Financial Officer Darryl Caulton filed a letter contesting the inspector general’s method for calculating the refund to Medicare, saying the hospital “disagrees” with the way the figure was determined.

The federal audit covered $22.8 million in Medicare payments to the hospital for 2,194 claims that HHS officials considered “at risk’’ for billing errors. From that pool of claims, investigators randomly selected for review a sample of 200 inpatient claims for services between April 2009 and December 2010 that totaled $2.9 million in payments.

Investigators found that although the hospital complied with Medicare billing requirements for the majority of the 200 claims reviewed, 68 claims — representing $524,009 in overpayments — did not comply with agency rules.

Based on those findings, investigators extrapolated the total amount of overpayments to be approximately $3.7 million.

More here.

Donald Trump takes FPL feud to Twitter

@hannahbsampson @doug_hanks

Florida Power & Light has one unhappy and very famous customer.

Donald Trump excoriated the for-profit utility on his popular Twitter feed Tuesday, writing: “In my opinion, one of the worst utility companies in the country is Florida Power and Light.”

Trump’s complaint? He explained in a subsequent tweet — and telephone interview with Miami Herald — that he was displeased with the condition of the utility poles around the Doral golf resort he bought for $150 million last year, especially near a stately new sign. The resort is in the midst of a significant upgrade, and Trump threatened to sue FPL if the poles outside don’t get better, too.

“Florida Power & Light has disgusting rotting utility poles outside Doral in Miami,’’ Trump, an avid and outspoken user of social media, wrote to the 2.3 million followers of @realDonaldTrump. “They should put in new ones or be sued.”

Dozens of followers retweeted Trump. Among the best known: Ingrid Casares, South Beach nightlife maven and Madonna friend.

“Agreed wait till a storm hits,” Casares tweeted to her 18,900 followers.

FPL spokesman Greg Brostowicz said in an email FPL has inspected more than 130,000 poles a year since 2006 and, as a result, replaced more than 50,000 poles and strengthened about 30,000.

More here.

Doral City Hall feud escalates with arrest

@joeflech @msanchezMIA

The drama at Doral City Hall has turned from soap opera to searing reality.

Two weeks after a tussle between a developer and City Manager Joe Carollo made headlines, an old charge of Carollo’s who is now the city’s police chief, ordered Juan Carlos Tovar to turn himself in for allegedly faslifying a police report.

In the report, Tovar claimed that Carollo grabbed him and called him, in Spanish, a “Venezuelan piece of sh--,” an exchange captured on surveillance video.

Mayor Luigi Boria called it “silly.”

Doral Police Chief Richard Blom doesn’t think it’s funny.

And Tovar surrendered around 8:40 a.m. Wednesday. He walked into the front door with his attorney and processed inside the police station. He was handcuffed, taken to the back of the station and driven away in a Doral police cruiser.

“I trust he’ll be at the station at 10 a.m.,” said Blom, who was hired by Carollo in February after having had a long working relationship with him from their days with the city of Miami. Blom said Tuesday he contacted Tovar’s attorney, and they agreed to have Tovar surrender Wednesday.

Tovar’s attorney, Jesus Suarez, confirmed this — and called the police actions an abuse of power.

More here.

More good news for Rick Scott: FL ranks 5th in tax climate


The economy is improving. Jobs are increasing. The state's budget deficits are gone and debt has decreases. And now another piece of good news comes for Gov. Rick Scott: Florida is the fifth-best state when it comes to low taxes, according to a conservative group.

Here's the Tax Foundation's press release:

Continue reading "More good news for Rick Scott: FL ranks 5th in tax climate" »

Gov. Scott gets new signage: 'Open for Business'

Gov. Rick Scott's pro-business message is now part of the state's official welcome message to millions of motorists.

After Scott took office in 2011, state road crews touted the achievement by affixing his name to about three dozen "Welcome to Florida" signs on major highways. Now the DOT has gone a step further, with newly-installed signs right below Scott's name that announce that the state is "open for business."

The 35 new signs cost nearly $9,000, Department of Transportation Dick Kane said. They went up in the past few weeks.

The governor's office signed off on the pro-business message, but Kane said it was DOT Secretary Ananth Prasad's idea to "enhance the experience" of motorists who drive into the state. Improved landscaping also will spruce up the border locations, too.

"This is a very business-oriented secretary," Kane said, "and he wants the department to be bold and innovative."

Prasad understands the importance of a good transportation system to the economy, and with an estimated 50 percent of all Florida visitors arriving by car, "that's a lot of impact," Kane said.

-- Steve Bousquet