December 4, 2021

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Former East Tennessee Clinic Owner Convicted of Unlawful Opioid Distribution

12 min read
<div>A federal jury in the Eastern District of Tennessee convicted a former nurse practitioner yesterday of unlawfully distributing prescription opioids to patients at a clinic he owned in Manchester, Tennessee.</div>
A federal jury in the Eastern District of Tennessee convicted a former nurse practitioner yesterday of unlawfully distributing prescription opioids to patients at a clinic he owned in Manchester, Tennessee.

More from: September 2, 2021

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  • Military Personnel: DOD Actions Needed to Improve the Efficiency of Mobilizations for Reserve Forces
    In U.S GAO News
    On September 14, 2001, President Bush proclaimed that a national emergency existed by reason of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Under section 12302 of title 10, United States Code, the President is allowed to call up to 1 million National Guard and Reserve members to active duty for up to 2 years. GAO was asked to review issues related to the call-up of reservists following September 11, 2001. GAO examined (1) whether the Department of Defense (DOD) followed existing operation plans when mobilizing forces, (2) the extent to which responsible officials had visibility over the mobilization process, and (3) approaches the services have taken to provide predictability to reservists. GAO also determined the extent to which the Ready Reserve forces, which make up over 98 percent of nonretired reservists, were available.About 300,000 of the 1.2 million National Guard and Reserve personnel have been called to active duty since September 11, 2001. They fought on the front lines in Iraq; tracked terrorists throughout Asia and Africa; maintained the peace in the Balkans, Afghanistan, and now Iraq; and participated in a wide range of domestic missions. However, DOD's process to mobilize reservists after September 11 had to be modified and contained numerous inefficiencies. Existing operation plans did not fully address the mobilization requirements needed to deal with the terrorist attacks or uncertain overseas requirements. For example, no previous requirements called for the extended use of National Guard and Reserve members to fly combat air patrols over the nation's capital and major cities. Because DOD could not rely on existing operation plans to guide its mobilizations, it used a modified process that relied on additional management oversight and multiple layers of coordination, which resulted in a process that was slower and less efficient than the traditional process. Under the modified process, the Secretary of Defense signed 246 deployment orders to mobilize over 280,000 reservists compared to the less than 10 deployment orders needed to mobilize over 220,000 reservists during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. DOD did not have visibility over the entire mobilization process primarily because it lacked adequate systems for tracking personnel and other resources. DOD's primary automated readiness reporting system could not adequately track the personnel and other resources within the small units that were frequently needed. Also, visibility was lost because some services' active and reserve systems for tracking personnel were incompatible, resulting in ad hoc coordination between active and reserve officials. Both groups often resorted to tracking mobilizations with computer spreadsheets. In addition, some reservists were deployed beyond dates specified in their orders or stayed on alert for more than a year and never mobilized because officials lost visibility. The services have used two primary approaches--predictable operating cycles and advance notification--to provide time for units and personnel to prepare for mobilizations. All the services provide predictability to portions of their forces through some type of standard operating cycle, but only the Air Force has a standard operating cycle that brings predictability to both its active and reserve forces. The Army prioritizes its units, and lower-priority units generally need extra training and preparation time before deploying. Yet, since September 11, a number of lower-priority units have been mobilized with relatively little advance notice. Despite the large number of lower-priority units within the Army Guard and Reserve, the Army does not have a standard operating cycle to provide predictability to its reserves. Without such a concept, the Army's opportunities to provide extra training and preparation time to its reserve forces are limited. Mobilizations were hampered because one-quarter of the Ready Reserve was not readily available for mobilization. Over 70,000 reservists could not be mobilized because they had not completed their training requirements, and the services lacked information needed to fully use the 300,000 pretrained IRR members.
    [Read More…]
  • Security Force Assistance: U.S. Advising of Afghan National Army Has Expanded since 2015, and the U.S. Army Has Deployed a New Advising Unit
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The Department of Defense (DOD) has used a variety of approaches to provide advisors in Afghanistan. For example, the United States has often relied on individual personnel drawn from across the military services to advise Afghan security forces. In 2012, the Army began pulling senior leaders and other personnel with specific ranks and skills from active-duty brigades to form advisor teams. In October 2016, the U.S. Army approved the development of a new force structure to use in advising foreign security forces--the Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB). GAO found that the U.S. advising approach for the Afghan National Army (ANA) under the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) mission to train, advise, and assist Afghan security forces--known as Resolute Support--has evolved since 2015 from advising the ANA primarily at the corps level, ministries, and institutions to include tactical-level advising with the ability to accompany the ANA on combat operations with certain limitations. This evolution of the advising approach since 2015 has included three key changes over time: 1. A geographic expansion of advising, and adjustment to originally planned force reductions. 2. Expansion of expeditionary advising and a related increase of U.S. forces. 3. A shift in strategy to allow U.S. forces to accompany and enable ANA tactical units. To support this expanded mission, the military services provided advisors and other personnel, with the Army providing the largest increases. For example, the U.S. Air Force continued to provide advisors from the ministerial down to the tactical level, and the U.S. Marine Corps returned to an advising role in Afghanistan in April 2017, from which it had previously departed in late 2014. The U.S. Army also provided additional personnel as part of an increase in forces approved in 2017, and in early 2018 deployed the first of its new Security Force Assistance Brigades--the 1st SFAB--as part of the over 1,700 Army personnel provided during the year to bolster the advisory mission. DOD's decision to deploy the 1st SFAB resulted in an acceleration of the new unit's planned deployment timelines by at least 8 months, which, combined with other decisions, resulted in several challenges. These challenges included issues related to manning and training the SFAB and providing sufficient enabling forces to support the SFAB's mission in Afghanistan. According to Army officials, the Army is collecting lessons learned from experiences manning, training, and deploying the 1st SFAB to inform the continued development and institutionalization of the SFAB. Why GAO Did This Study Senate Report 115-125 included a provision for GAO to review U.S. advising efforts. This report describes (1) the evolution of the U.S. approach for advising in Afghanistan under Resolute Support, and (2) actions the U.S. military services have taken and plan to take to meet the additional advisor requirements for Afghanistan, and any challenges they may be experiencing. The scope of this work focuses on U.S. efforts to train, advise, and assist the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces under Resolute Support--particularly ANA conventional ground forces. GAO reviewed and analyzed military plans, guidance, and other documents; interviewed officials from DOD and across the military services; and reviewed documentation and other information pertaining to the development, training, and deployment of the SFAB.
    [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken at Virtual Meet and Greet with Mission Republic of Korea Staff and Family Members
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Researcher Pleaded Guilty to Conspiring to Steal Scientific Trade Secrets from Ohio Children’s Hospital to Sell in China
    In Crime News
    Former Ohio woman Li Chen, 46, pleaded guilty today via video conference in U.S. District Court today to conspiring to steal scientific trade secrets and conspiring to commit wire fraud concerning the research, identification and treatment of a range of pediatric medical conditions.
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  • Northern Alabama Doctor and Practice Manager Convicted for Conspiring to Unlawfully Distribute Opioids
    In Crime News
    A Northern Alabama doctor and her husband, who also served as her practice manager, pleaded guilty today for their roles in unlawfully distributing opioids and other controlled substances while the doctor was absent from the clinic.
    [Read More…]
  • Department of State Offers Reward for Information to Bring Mexican Transnational Criminal to Justice
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
  • New Jury Instructions Strengthen Social Media Cautions
    In U.S Courts
    A federal Judiciary committee has issued a new set of model jury instructions that federal judges may use to deter jurors from using social media to research or communicate about cases.
    [Read More…]
  • Social Security Disability: Ticket to Work Helped Some Participants, but Overpayments Increased Program Costs
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found Disability beneficiaries participate in the Social Security Administration's (SSA) Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency program (Ticket to Work) by assigning a "ticket" to service providers who, in turn, provide help with employment. SSA compensates the service providers when Ticket to Work participants achieve designated levels of work and earnings. Using SSA data from 2002, when the program began, through 2018, the most recent year available, GAO estimated that 5 years after starting Ticket to Work, participants' average earnings were $2,451 more per year than that of similar nonparticipants. However, the majority of participants remained unemployed 5 years after starting Ticket to Work. Based on GAO's analysis, the costs of Ticket to Work exceeded the savings in disability benefits to SSA by an estimated $806 million from 2002 through 2015, the most recent year with reliable savings data. Savings accrue when Ticket to Work participants receive lower benefits or leave the disability rolls due to earnings from work. GAO estimates that participants were slightly more likely to leave the rolls (9.7 percent) than nonparticipants who are similar across a range of characteristics such as age, gender, disability type, and education level (8.6 percent). A greater percentage of participants left the disability rolls due to work rather than for other reasons, such as medical improvement (see figure). Percentage of Beneficiaries Who Left SSA's Disability Rolls 5 Years after Starting Ticket to Work versus Similar Nonparticipants, By Reason, 2002-2015 Note: Percentages were computed for Ticket to Work participants who began the program from 2002 through 2010 at 5 years after they started Ticket to Work and for a sample of similar nonparticipants. Parts may not sum to total because of rounding. GAO estimates that SSA incurred an additional $133 million to $169 million in costs (above the $806 million) from disability benefit overpayments to Ticket to Work participants. Overpayments can occur when beneficiaries who work do not report earnings to SSA or SSA delays in adjusting their benefit amounts. SSA incurs costs when it allows a beneficiary to keep overpayments or expends resources to recover them. GAO estimates that Ticket to Work participants were more than twice as likely to receive overpayments 5 years after starting the program than nonparticipants. While SSA is investigating the root causes of overpayments across its benefit programs, it has not focused on overpayments among Ticket to Work participants, who face unique circumstances due to their ties to service providers. For example, participants may mistakenly think that service providers report their earnings to SSA. Addressing the root causes of overpayments among Ticket to Work participants would reduce repayment burdens on affected participants and increase savings for SSA and taxpayers. Why GAO Did This Study SSA pays billions of dollars in Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income benefits to people with disabilities. To help beneficiaries obtain employment and reduce dependence on disability benefits, Ticket to Work was established in 1999. The Explanatory Statement accompanying the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 contains a provision for GAO to study the effects of the program. This report examines, among other things, the extent to which Ticket to Work has led to increased earnings and other benefits for participants, and how the costs and savings from Ticket to Work compared over time. GAO conducted statistical analyses of SSA beneficiary data, analysis of Ticket to Work costs, a literature review, and interviews with program officials, service provider representatives, and disability policy experts.
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  • Deputy Secretary of State Sherman’s Meeting with Lithuanian Foreign Minister Landsbergis
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken to Embassy Copenhagen Staff
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Justice Department Announces $1.2 Million Dollar Settlement of Title VII Intentional Race Discrimination and Retaliation Lawsuit Involving Law Enforcement Victims in Maryland
    In Crime News
    The Justice Department announced today that it has reached a settlement with the Worcester County Sheriff, in his official capacity (currently Matthew Crisafulli, formerly Reggie Mason), and the state of Maryland, resolving allegations that a former staff member was subjected to a racially hostile work environment and that he and others who supported him were retaliated against after he complained about the racial discrimination. The Justice Department also announced the settlement of related retaliation claims filed against Pocomoke City, Maryland that were resolved on Dec. 4, 2019.
    [Read More…]
  • Medicare Durable Medical Equipment: Effect of New Bid Surety Bond Requirement on Small Supplier Participation in the Competitive Bidding Program
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) administers a competitive bidding program (CBP) to determine which suppliers may furnish certain durable medical equipment (DME) to Medicare beneficiaries in designated geographical areas. Specifically, suppliers submit bids to provide specified categories of DME items; CMS determines winning bids based on several factors, including the bid amount, and whether the estimated capacity of suppliers would meet the projected demand for those DME items in each area. Historically, winning suppliers could reject any contract offer to furnish CBP-covered items without penalty. This allowed them to help set CBP payment amounts without being held accountable for furnishing items at those amounts. However, beginning with round 2021—the most recent round of the CBP—bidding suppliers were required by law to obtain a $50,000 bid surety bond for each CBP area in which they submitted a bid. These bonds require a supplier to accept a contract offer when its bid amount is at or below the median of the winning suppliers' bids used to calculate the CBP payment amount offered for each product category. If it does not, the supplier forfeits the bond. GAO found that small suppliers successfully obtained contracts in CBP round 2021. For example, small suppliers accounted for 58 percent of the suppliers awarded contracts in round 2021. Slightly more than half of the bids small suppliers submitted resulted in contracts. Contract Awards by Supplier Size for the Round 2021 Competitions   Suppliers that bid Suppliers awarded contracts Size of bidders Number Percent Number Percent Small suppliers 383 60 207 58 Large suppliers 231 36 148 42 Unknown suppliers 24 4 0 0 Total 638 100 355 100 Source: GAO analysis of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) data. I GAO-21-602 Notes: CMS defines small suppliers bidding as those generating $3.5 million or less in total gross Medicare and non-Medicare revenue annually, large suppliers as those generating more than that amount of revenue, and unknown suppliers as those whose entire bid was disqualified for a missing financial document and, therefore, did not advance to the evaluation process where a supplier's size is determined. CMS data suggest that bid surety bonds did not negatively affect small supplier participation in CBP round 2021. Specifically, the data show that the small supplier participation rate in round 2021 was comparable to that of the five prior CBP rounds. The data also indicated that only about 5 percent of small suppliers' bids were disqualified due to submission of invalid bid surety bonds. Representatives from two national DME industry trade organizations, as well as six of their small supplier members, told GAO that the new bid surety bond requirement did not create a barrier for small suppliers, as bid surety bonds were accessible to small suppliers and reasonably priced. However, some of these representatives reported other factors may affect small suppliers' future participation in CBP rounds, such as concerns related to small suppliers' ability to provide items at rates that are competitive with larger suppliers. Why GAO Did This Study To achieve Medicare savings and address fraud concerns, Congress required that CMS, in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), phase in a CBP for certain DME product categories in designated geographical (or CBP) areas. CBP Round 2021 began on January 1, 2021, and included two product categories (off-the-shelf knee braces and off-the-shelf back braces) in a total of 235 CBP area and product category combinations (known as competitions). CMS estimated that round 2021 will save Medicare more than $600 million over the 3-year contract period. The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 included a provision for GAO to evaluate the effect of the new bid surety bond requirement on small supplier participation in the CBP. CMS defines small suppliers as those generating $3.5 million or less in total gross Medicare and non-Medicare revenue annually. This report describes 1) the extent to which small suppliers participated in CBP round 2021 and 2) what is known about how the bid surety bond requirement and other factors affected or may affect small supplier participation in the CBP. GAO reviewed bidding process and contract award data; interviewed CMS officials; and interviewed representatives from two national DME industry trade organizations, including six of their small DME supplier members, that GAO selected based on their familiarity with the CBP and the new bid surety bond requirement. HHS provided technical comments on a draft of this report, which GAO incorporated as appropriate. For more information, contact Michelle B. Rosenberg at (202) 512-7114 or rosenbergm@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken And Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Readout of The Department of Justice’s Efforts to Combat Hate Crimes Against Asian American and Pacific Island Communities
    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice today held a listening session with more than a dozen Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community groups as part of its continuing efforts to deter hate crimes and other unlawful acts against the AAPI community.
    [Read More…]
  • Deputy Secretary Sherman’s Trilateral Meeting with Republic of Korea First Vice Foreign Minister Choi and Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Mori
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Statement on Misinformation on Social Media Regarding the Office of the Pardon Attorney
    In Crime News
    “Please be advised that the information circulating on social media claiming to be from Acting Pardon Attorney Rosalind Sargent-Burns is inauthentic and should not be taken seriously.  "The Justice Department’s Office of the Pardon Attorney does not have a social media presence and is not involved in any efforts to pardon individuals or groups involved with the heinous acts that took place this week in and around the U.S. Capitol."
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  • Justice Department Announces Funding to Promote Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness
    In Crime News
    Today, at a roundtable with state and local law enforcement, Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco and Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta announced alongside Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) Acting Director Rob Chapman $7 million in grants for the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act (LEMHWA) Program.
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  • The United States Impedes Hizballah Financing by Sanctioning Seven Individuals
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Oil Trader Indicted in International Bribery and Money Laundering Conspiracy Involving Corrupt Payments to Ecuadorian Officials
    In Crime News
    A federal grand jury in [Read More…]
  • California University To Pay $225,000 For Allegedly Violating Ban On Incentive Compensation
    In Crime News
    San Diego Christian College (SDCC), based in Santee, California, will pay $225,000 to resolve allegations under the False Claims Act for submitting false claims to the U.S. Department of Education in violation of the federal ban on incentive-based compensation, the Justice Department announced today.
    [Read More…]

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