• Mississippi gets 179 children from border surge

    Updated: Thu, Jul 24, 2014

    JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi has received fewer than 200 of the unaccompanied immigrant children who crossed the U.S. border and were released to sponsors so far this year, but the war of words over such children continues within the state. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families released data Thursday showing that sponsors in Mississippi received 179 of more than 30,000 such children nationwide from January 1 to July 7. California, Florida, New York and Texas received the most children in the past half year, accounting for 46 percent of the children released to sponsors. Gov.

  • Auditor: No federal agency review of alleged fraud

    Updated: Thu, Jul 24, 2014

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A federal Medicaid agency isn't planning to review a decision by Gov. Susana Martinez's administration last year to freeze payments to mental health providers because of alleged fraud, mismanagement and overbillings, State Auditor Hector Balderas said Thursday. In a letter to a legislative panel, Balderas said the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services informed him in March it decided not to review state findings of "credible allegations of fraud" against more than a dozen providers. The administration halted payments to 15 nonprofit mental health providers based on those allegations.

  • Police seek man who refused tuberculosis treatment

    Updated: Thu, Jul 24, 2014

    STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) — Prosecutors in Northern California said Thursday that they have obtained an arrest warrant for a tuberculosis patient who has refused treatment and may be contagious, putting those around him at risk. Eduardo Rosas Cruz, a 25-year-old transient, went to the San Joaquin General Hospital's emergency room in March, complaining of a severe cough. Diagnosed with tuberculosis, medical staff told him to stay in a Stockton motel room, where a health worker would deliver his medication and watch him take it. But officials say he took off. County health officials asked prosecutors to seek the warrant, in part, because Rosas Cruz comes from a part of Mexico known for its drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis.

  • Prison mental health panel gets interim director

    Updated: Thu, Jul 24, 2014

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — An interim director has been appointed to help guide the work of a council that advises California agencies on mental health treatment for residents at risk of incarceration. Nathan Stanley was named to the post Thursday after the members of the Council on Mentally Ill Offenders told The Associated Press they couldn't meet the council's legal obligations without staff help. Most of the 12 volunteer members work fulltime professional jobs. Stanley doubles as associate director of field operations for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. He will do both jobs while officials search for a permanent executive director.

  • Corbett to keep health care program for disabled

    Updated: Thu, Jul 24, 2014

    HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Gov. Tom Corbett's administration has changed its stance on another element of his plan to use federal Medicaid expansion dollars to subsidize private health insurance plans, saying Thursday it will keep a health care program for the disabled. Public Welfare Secretary Beverly Mackereth made the announcement to a Medicaid advisory group meeting after the idea of ending the Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities program had come under fire from advocates. They had worried that shifting those clients into private insurance plans would make health care too expensive for their low-income jobs. It would give them the incentive to stop working or to work less so that they would qualify for free health ca

  • Report: Adding vision, dental would cost $43M

    Updated: Thu, Jul 24, 2014

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Adding dental and vision coverage to Arkansas' compromise Medicaid expansion would cost nearly $43 million, according to a report released Thursday, but state officials said they're not looking at expanding the program's benefits. A report commissioned by the state Insurance Department projected that adding the coverage to the state's "private option," would cost about $20 a month per person in the program. More than 170,000 people are enrolled in the private option, which is using federal funds to purchase insurance for the poor. The report, released to a legislative panel, projected the cost of adding that coverage to the program would be $42.6 million.

  • House, Senate chairs offer competing bills on VA

    Updated: Thu, Jul 24, 2014

    WASHINGTON (AP) — With Congress scheduled to recess in a week, the chairmen of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs committees offered competing proposals Thursday to fix a veterans' health care program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records covering up the delays. Both proposals would scale back separate House- and Senate-passed bills after lawmakers in both parties expressed shock at price tags totaling more than $35 billion. The new proposals would still allow veterans to go to private doctors if they face long waits for appointments at VA hospitals and clinics, or if they live more than 40 miles from a VA site. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

  • Feds plan review of FSSA over Medicaid backlog

    Updated: Thu, Jul 24, 2014

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Federal officials are reviewing Indiana's procedures for enrolling residents in Medicaid after finding the state had 80,000 low-income residents awaiting approval in May. Cindy Mann, director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, notified Indiana Medicaid Director Joe Moser on July 9 that the federal government would begin reviewing the state's procedures for enrolling residents immediately. "The primary purpose of the review will be to gather additional information to determine the reasons for the backlog of applications, at a level of detail that would allow CMS to discern what numbers of people are being impacted, for what length of time, and by what operational or technical challenges or

  • Dallas-area doctor convicted of health care fraud

    Updated: Thu, Jul 24, 2014

    TYLER, Texas (AP) — A North Texas physician who ran a now-closed hospital near Dallas has been convicted of conspiracy, identity theft and health care fraud. A federal jury in Tyler found Dr. Tariq Mahmood guilty Thursday of more than $1 million in fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid claims. The Cedar Hill physician faces up to 10 years imprisonment for the conspiracy conviction, 10 years for each fraud count and two years for each identity theft count. No sentencing date has been set. He owned the Renaissance Terrell (TEHR'-ruhl) Hospital, which closed in February 2013 after a federal agency halted funding.

  • Feds cap fines for not buying health insurance

    Updated: Thu, Jul 24, 2014

    MIAMI (AP) — Federal officials have capped the amount of money scofflaws will be forced to pay if they don't buy insurance this year under the new health care law. The caps are $2,448 per person and $12,240 for a family of five. The amount is equal to the national average annual premium for a bronze-level health plan. The penalty for the first year starts at $95 per person and can rise to as much as 1 percent of annual income. The latest figure limits what the government can charge people using the personal income computation. The penalty is due when people file their 2014 taxes.

  • Feds cap maximum fine this year for not buying health insurance at $2,448 per person

    Updated: Thu, Jul 24, 2014

    MIAMI (AP) — Feds cap maximum fine this year for not buying health insurance at $2,448 per person.

  • FDA reviewing what could be first biosimilar drug

    Updated: Thu, Jul 24, 2014

    WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing research data on what could become the first U.S.-approved "biosimilar" drug, a cheaper, sort-of generic version of a biologic drug. Nearly five years after Congress passed a law enabling future approval of biosimilars, for the first time the FDA has accepted an application to sell a similar, but not identical, version of a biologic drug. The FDA is evaluating Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG's application to sell a biosimilar version of Neupogen, which brought maker Amgen Inc. $1.4 billion in sales last year. Neupogen, known chemically as filgrastim, treats a dangerous decrease in infection-fighting white blood cells, common in cancer patients getting certain

  • Obama wants limits on US company mergers abroad

    Updated: Thu, Jul 24, 2014

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Staking out a populist stand ahead of the midterm elections, President Barack Obama on Thursday demanded "economic patriotism" from U.S. corporations that use legal means to avoid U.S. taxes through overseas mergers. "I don't care if it's legal," Obama declared. "It's wrong." Obama and congressional Democrats are pushing to severely limit such deals, a move resisted by Republicans who argue the entire corporate tax code needs an overhaul. At issue are companies that enter into arrangements with foreign companies, shifting their tax addresses overseas while retaining their U.S. headquarters. "They're technically renouncing their U.S. citizenship.

  • Formerly conjoined twins celebrate first birthday

    Updated: Thu, Jul 24, 2014

    DALLAS (AP) — Formerly conjoined twin boys celebrated their first birthday Thursday with those who helped care for them at the Dallas hospital where they were separated. Emmett and Owen Ezell, who turned 1 last week, returned to Medical City Children's Hospital where they were separated last August. The twins, who shared a liver and intestines when born, left the hospital for inpatient rehabilitation in April and finally were able to go home in June. "We dreamed of this day and this moment and them reaching this milestone but it wasn't a reality," said their mother, Jenni Ezell. "And we've made it through and we're looking forward to many, many more birthdays." The boys breathe on their own but still rely on feeding t

  • Tornado slams Virginia campground; 2 dead

    Updated: Thu, Jul 24, 2014

    CAPE CHARLES, Va. (AP) — The sky turned black and cellphones pinged with emergency messages. Moments later, a tornado ripped through a sprawling, carnival-like campground Thursday, snapping dozens of trees and flipping over RVs. A tree fell on a New Jersey couple's tent, killing them, and their 13-year-old son in a tent next to them suffered life-threatening injuries. About three dozen other people were hurt, with injuries ranging from cuts to broken bones to more serious, Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said. "All hell broke loose," said Joe Colony, who has been coming to Cherrystone Family Camping & RV Resort campground along the Chesapeake Bay for 30 years.

  • Fires not hurting recreation pot growers

    Updated: Thu, Jul 24, 2014

    SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The numerous wildfires burning across north-central Washington have so far not damaged any businesses growing marijuana for recreational use. But some places growing medical marijuana have been damaged. Mikhail Carpenter of the state Liquor Control Board said Thursday that no licensed recreational pot growers have reported fire damage, so the already-short supply of recreational marijuana is not hurt by the wildfires. But The Seattle Times reported Thursday that a medical marijuana grower in Douglas County lost some plants to the flames on July 10. The newspaper says marijuana producers have struggled to keep their businesses afloat amid the wildfires.

  • Alabama man claims penis mistakenly amputated

    Updated: Thu, Jul 24, 2014

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama man who went into surgery for what was supposed to be a routine circumcision filed a lawsuit contending doctors mistakenly amputated his penis, but a hospital said Thursday the claims were without merit. The lawsuit, filed in state court on Tuesday, says Johnny Lee Banks Jr. went to Princeton Baptist Medical Center last month for a circumcision that went horribly wrong. Banks' penis was gone when he awoke after surgery, according to the suit, yet no one ever warned that amputation could result from the procedure. Banks and his wife, Zelda Banks, are seeking an unspecified amount of money in the complaint. The suit accuses the defendants of medical malpractice, negligence and other wr

  • 3 Wichita Falls workers stung by swarm of bees

    Updated: Thu, Jul 24, 2014

    WICHITA FALLS, Texas (AP) — A North Texas street department worker has been stung about 1,000 times by aggressive bees that also attacked two co-workers who tried to help him. Wichita Falls officials blamed Thursday's attack on Africanized honey bees. Spokesman Barry Levy (LEE'-vee) says a swarm attacked a worker mowing grass along culverts near the Weeks Park Tennis Center. He says the man was hospitalized in good condition. Levy says two co-workers also were stung when they came to the man's aid. One was also hospitalized in good condition, while the other was treated and discharged. One worker fled into a nearby tennis center, bringing the swarm with him.

  • Massachusetts agencies to address problem gambling

    Updated: Thu, Jul 24, 2014

    BOSTON (AP) — Three-quarters the annual spending of a public health fund aimed at gambling addiction will go to initiatives backed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health under an agreement signed Thursday by state gambling regulators. The agreement, which state officials called unique, requires the state Gaming Commission and the state's Executive Office of Health and Human Services to work jointly to ensure the fund created by the state's 2011 casino law is properly used. Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz said the partnership will ultimately benefit state residents as it will support research into intervention, treatment and prevention of the "unintended consequences" of casino gambling.

  • Baldwin introduces bill to create more VA doctors

    Updated: Thu, Jul 24, 2014

    MILWAUKEE (AP) — Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin has introduced legislation aimed at increasing the number of doctors at Veterans Affairs medical centers and reducing wait times. Baldwin, a Democrat, said in a statement Thursday that the bill would create 2,000 residency positions over five years at Veterans Affairs hospitals nationwide. Residency is the next step in doctors' training following medical school. The bill also would require the VA to allocate the residency positions based on doctor shortages at its facilities and to prioritize training for specialists who are needed. The legislation introduced Tuesday has support from the Medical College of Wisconsin and the medical school at University of Wisconsin-Madison