Source: By LEE WILLIAMS and ESTEBAN PARRA, The News Journal (DE), 03/08/2006
Federal civil rights regulators will enter Delaware prisons within days with the authority to assume control of operations and health care if the state refuses to allow a U.S. Justice Department examination of inmate medical care and prison management, which could take years to complete. The announcement came today, on the heels of a five-month preliminary inquiry by the Justice Department during which federal regulators interviewed the same medical experts, inmates and families of dead inmates who spoke to The News Journal late last year during the newspaper’s six-month investigation of prison health care. …… During the course of the newspaper’s investigation, reporters discovered that Gov. Ruth Ann Minner and Correction Commissioner Stan Taylor awarded a $25.9 million, no-bid contract for inmate health care to Correctional Medical Services — a private medical contractor with a history of litigation over how the company provides medical care. Minner and Taylor also refused to release — publicly or to lawmakers — an audit of prison health care they say prompted the emergency hiring of Correctional Medical Services.
Source: By Susan Snyder, Philadelphia Inquirer (PA), Wed, Mar. 08, 2006
At 22 Philadelphia public schools run by the for-profit Edison Schools Inc., teachers aren’t the only ones grading. Parents get a shot, too. And results show that a smaller percentage of parents are satisfied with its schools in the City of Brotherly Love than at Edison-run schools nationwide. …. Student and staff satisfaction levels in the city also fell below company averages nationwide. In Philadelphia, 69 percent of students and 74 percent of staff members gave A’s or B’s, compared with 78 percent of students and 86 percent of staff overall.
Source: ASSOCIATED PRESS (TX), Sunday, March 05, 2006
Thousands of children who lost health benefits through the state’s insurance program because of a contractor’s error will have their coverage restored, officials said. About 6,000 children who were dropped from the Children’s Health Insurance Program last month because their families weren’t told about a new enrollment fee will be reinstated, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission announced late Friday.
Source: San Antonio Express-News (TX), 03/05/2006
….. Enrollment in the Child Health Insurance Program that once covered more than 500,000 children of working poor parents dropped below 300,000 for the first time since the program was established. And in the three months since Accenture — which got the $899 million call-center contract — started fulfilling the eligibility functions, CHIP enrollment dropped an astounding 9 percent. ….. Last month, HHSC officials were still saying that privatization was working well, even though the evidence to the contrary was widespread. Clearly, they must have known because on Feb. 8 one regional manager e-mailed his underlings to warn them “not to denigrate the call center process, their staff, or their levels of customer service to our clients or to the public in general. If call center staff are doing something inappropriate, we need to manage that in-house, not air our laundry in public.”
Source: By Ann Imse, Rocky Mountain News (CO), March 6, 2006
Eighteen months ago, inmates rioted at a private prison in Crowley County, setting fires, smashing everything in two cell houses and seriously damaging another three. More than 100 officers were needed to stop the violence, which injured 13. A state investigation blamed the riot on mismanagement by Corrections Corp. of America, the prison’s owner. The company had 33 guards overseeing 1,122 inmates when the riot began. The state Department of Corrections tightened its contract with CCA to require more and better trained staff. Now, the company has a major advantage in bidding for 2,250 new private prison beds that Colorado urgently needs for its soaring number of convicts.
Source: By KELLY MELHART, STAR-TELEGRAM (TX), Wed, Mar. 01, 2006
Managing the Keller school district’s maintenance department is proving to be difficult, expensive and a source of frustration for some trustees and administrators. In September, trustees fired the district’s maintenance contractor, Aramark School Services, after learning of missing records, broken equipment and financial mismanagement. Now a new company that trustees hired to move the maintenance department under district control says it expects the district to pay $285,170, almost twice as much as the $164,000 that the company and district officials originally agreed to. ….. Trustees learned of the cost overruns Feb. 10 in an informal report. The overruns were never mentioned in periodic maintenance reports that were shared with the school board. According to the original contract, The School Business Group was to receive $84,000 for temporarily overseeing the maintenance department, which includes custodians, and grounds and maintenance workers.
Source: By Jim McElhatton, THE WASHINGTON TIMES, February 22, 2006
A Reston-based company said it has spent $500,000 in legal costs for an internal review of its handling of Medicaid claims for the D.C. government in the face of an investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Maximus Inc. said the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice sought company records pertaining to the company’s work for the District, “primarily relating to the preparation and submission of federal Medicaid claims,” according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. ….. The company first disclosed the investigation in 2004, saying in an SEC filing that it was confident the company had not broken any health care laws. ….. Maximus has contracted with the D.C. government for years. The company recently has won contracts to handle the District’s welfare-to-work program and to provide Medicaid billing services for the city’s public school system.
Source: By KAREN KELLER, HERALD NEWS (NJ), Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Passaic County Jail inmate prayers — and stomach rumblings — have been heard. Sheriff Jerry Speziale is firing the jail’s meal provider, Aramark, and inmates will take charge of the kitchen come May, Speziale spokesman Bill Maer said. “We can do it as well as them at this point,” he said. The company’s $1.7 million annual contract is being terminated based on poor “quality, service, attentiveness,” Maer said. Jail officials haven’t estimated how much they will save by cooking in-house, but the financial aspect is secondary, Maer said. Inmates said the food is cold, measly in portion size, not varied enough and served on dirty trays, forcing some to pay as much as $200 a month on prepackaged food from the jail’s commissary.
Source: By JAMES GLANZ, New York Times, February 17, 2006
An executive for a company that was hired by Kellogg, Brown & Root, the Halliburton subsidiary, to fly cargo into Iraq for the war effort has pleaded guilty to inflating invoices by $1.14 million to cover fraudulent “war risk surcharges,” a federal district court in Illinois announced Thursday. Charges against the executive, Christopher Joseph Cahill, 51, of Katy, Tex., had been sealed pending his plea agreement, said a spokeswoman for the court, in Rock Island, Ill., where the Army Field Support Command, which administers the Kellogg, Brown & Root contract, is situated. Mr. Cahill served as a regional vice president in Dubai for Eagle Global Logistics, a Houston-based company that won the contract from Kellogg, Brown & Root in 2002, court papers say.
Source: By Michele R. Marcucci, Mercury Register, 02/13/2006 03:10:42 AM
…… In December, Alameda County rolled out a new computer system to manage public assistance cases. County officials said the rollout has been a huge success, avoiding many of the pitfalls that have plagued other counties’ rollouts. But advocates and some people affected by the new system beg to differ……. But the new system — CalWIN — which, when fully implemented, will be used by 18 counties, does much of the work that county welfare workers had done by hand. It determines how much assistance a family is eligible for and sends out notices when someone is to be cut off, without a caseworker’s OK. The system, which cost $744 million (including at least $321 million for Electronic Data Systems Corp., which designed it) works well if it has all the information it needs, when it needs it. But if it’s missing information, or if paperwork is input late — due to either a client or worker error — it could cut off a family’s aid.