Hatem Kaisi of Louisville, Ky., was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison plus three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to one count of health care fraud and three counts of filing false federal income tax returns for 2012 to 2014. Authorities said Kaisi concealed his income to fraudulently qualify his family for Medicaid benefits from 2008 to 2014, among other offenses.
Cara Kirk-Connell of Menifee, Calif., was sentenced to 37 months in prison after pleading guilty to use of an unauthorized access device. Authorities said Kirk-Connell used the stolen personal information of dozens of people obtained from the darknet in order to fraudulently acquire over $500,000 in COVID-19 unemployment benefits.
Massachusetts residents Lilly Nguyen and Daniel Maleus were arrested and charged with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and identity theft, while Nguyen was also accused of bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and lying to a federal agent. Authorities said the defendants conspired to use the personally identifiable information of other individuals in the filing fraudulent claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, allowing them to receive over $400,000 in unemployment claims between April 2020 and March 2021.
Francis Joseph, a physician from Colorado, was charged with making a false statement in connection with a bankruptcy proceeding, wire fraud, theft of government property and theft in connection with health care fraud. Court documents showed Joseph fraudulently obtained almost $300,000 in COVID relief from three separate programs.
The number of elementary- and middle-school-age children who have gone to emergency departments or had inpatient visits with thoughts of suicide or self-harm has doubled over the past five years, according to data from the Children's Hospital Association, and mental health experts say not enough attention is paid to this age group. Losses from the pandemic could worsen mental health for children who were experiencing difficulties before the pandemic, says Jonathan Singer, an associate professor of social work.
A study in JAMA Network Open found 11% of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 died during the start of the pandemic in March 2020, compared with almost 20% in April, before declining to about 9% in November. The findings, based on data from over 500,000 cases from 209 US hospitals, suggest introduction of treatments and management protocols have improved outcomes, researchers said.
At least three people needed hospitalization in February after taking veterinary-strength ivermectin, which has been touted -- without clinical evidence -- as a COVID-19 preventive, according to the FDA. The NIH is planning a randomized clinical trial to see if drugs approved for other uses can reduce COVID-19 symptoms, and ivermectin, fluvoxamine and famotidine are top candidates.
Australia, Belgium, the Philippines, the UK and other nations have limited use of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine after the European Medicines Agency announced that there may be a link between rare blood clots and the vaccine. The EU regulator said a rare combination of the blood clots and low platelet counts should be considered a possible side effect of the vaccine, though it said the vaccine's benefits outweigh its risks.
The CMS has proposed a rule that would increase Medicare payments to skilled nursing facilities by about 1%, or $444 million, for fiscal 2022. The agency also proposed increasing payments by 2.2% for rehabilitation facilities and 2.3% for inpatient psychiatric facilities.
A bill passed this week in the Missouri Senate would establish a statewide prescription drug monitoring program and establish a prescription drug monitoring task force with members drawn from state pharmacy, nursing and dental boards and the Board of Registration of the Healing Arts. The bill was advanced to the state House for consideration.