Plaza Health Network cited repeatedly by feds, state for nursing home violations

Plaza Health Network President and CEO Elaine Bloom and Chairman Ronald Lowy Photo: NBC 6

By Francisco Alvarado
Plaza Health Network, the embattled nursing home chain that six months ago agreed to pay $21.5 million to settle federal civil charges that it defrauded Medicare and Medicaid, has habitually violated state and federal healthcare regulations by providing inadequate, and at times negligent, care to residents at its facilities.

New union deal at Miami-Dade Schools to begin push toward $15 hourly minimum wage


By William Gjebre
A tentative agreement between Miami-Dade Public Schools and the union representing its general employees raises the minimum pay for some of district’s lowest paid workers to $10 an hour, marking what a top union official says is the start of a drive to obtain a minimum hourly wage of $15.

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Billboard industry touts discredited research to support safety claims for electronic signs

By Myron Levin
Fair Warning
A Swedish study has found that drivers take long gazes at electronic billboards, possibly raising the risk of highway crashes.
The new research has put the U.S. billboard industry into a defensive mode.

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Home builders lobby weakens drywall legislation

By Joaquin Sapien
Last week, federal lawmakers trumpeted the passage of the Drywall Safety Act of 2012 as a bipartisan victory for thousands of homeowners harmed by contaminated drywall.
But the bill doesn’t actually set preventative standards.

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Broward Health believes whistleblower is behind anti-kickback probe; Justice Department involved

By Karla Bowsher
A whistleblower apparently sparked the ongoing federal anti-kickback inquiry into allegations of false Medicare and Medicaid claims at Broward Health.

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States have subsidized makers of assault weapons to tune of $19 million

By John Christie, Naomi Schalit, Theresa Sullivan Barger and Nathaniel Herz
Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting
Taxpayers across the country are subsidizing the manufacturers of assault rifles used in multiple mass killings, including the massacre of 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. last month.

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Broward Inspector General looks ready to ask prosecutors to investigate Hallandale grants

By William Gjebre
The Broward Inspector General’s Office is poised to ask Broward prosecutors to investigate a Hallandale Beach group that received at least $25,000 in city funds, according to the attorney for the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency.

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Broward Health’s assets at “distressed” levels, “below book value” without tax levy, study says

By Karla Bowsher
A new state-ordered study compares the value of Broward Health’s operating assets to those of a “distressed hospital” worth “significantly below book value.”

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Hallandale commission fires CRA boss; abrupt move avoids airing “dirty laundry,” mayor says

By William Gjebre
Hallandale Beach city commissioners last night fired the executive director of the city’s embattled Community Redevelopment Agency after just two years on the job.

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After Sandy Hook shootings, NRA campaign clout still formidable

By Joe Eaton
The Center for Public Integrity
The National Rifle Association is keeping silent in response to calls for gun control measures in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Yet the massive trail of political money spent by the group shows the potent force any proposals for new restrictions will likely face when the anger and dismay over Sandy Hook recedes.

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More judges may have violated rules by working with company overseeing public health funds

By Dan Christensen
Two more South Florida judges may have violated ethics rules by serving on the board of a private company that controls public health care spending.

Those Miami-Dade judges sit on the board of a nonprofit corporation that is paid by the Department of Children and Families to administer tens of millions of behavioral healthcare dollars.

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