- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 6, 2008


City settles Medicare dispute

The District reached a settlement Tuesday with the federal government after accusations that St. Elizabeths Hospital submitted false Medicare bills.

The government initially claimed the city’s psychiatric hospital received millions of dollars in overpayments for improper claims submitted in 1997 and 1998.

The investigation was later expanded to include claims submitted since 1993.

The city has agreed to forgo claims that it is owed more than $11 million by the Department of Health and Human Services. The agreement also requires St. Elizabeths to improve its billing methods to ensure future claims are properly documented.

In exchange, the federal government has agreed to end its investigation.



Whistleblower won’t regain job

The first person to win protection under a federal law that shields whistleblowers has lost his bid to get his job back.

A federal appeals court in Richmond ruled Tuesday that David Welch failed to explain how the shoddy accounting practices he attributes to his employer could be considered a violation of federal law.

Mr. Welch was fired as chief financial officer of Cardinal Bankshares Corp. in 2002 after reporting what he said were misclassifications in the bank’s financial reports.

An administrative law judge ruled that Mr. Welch was entitled to reinstatement under the whistleblower law, but that decision was reversed by the Department of Labor’s Administrative Review Board. A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld the board’s ruling.


Perpetual virgin first in diocese

Bernadette Snyder says she grew up in Virginia assuming Catholic girls like her either became nuns or found a man.

At 29, she is still single and assuredly not a nun.

Instead, Miss Snyder chose a little-known third path with a long tradition in Catholicism. She became a consecrated, perpetual virgin - the first in the 188-year history of the Richmond diocese.

In May, Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo laid hands on hers in the rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity of Women Living in the World.

To the Catholic Church, Miss Snyder’s calling is as much a formal vocation as the priesthood or religious orders of nuns.

The U.S. Association of Consecrated Virgins, which formed in 1996, estimates that there are 200 consecrated virgins nationwide.



Company applies for juvenile center

A Nevada company has applied for a license to open a private facility for juvenile offenders on the grounds of the closed Bowling Brook Preparatory School in Carroll County.

Bowling Brook was closed last year after a Baltimore teenager died following a lengthy restraint by staff.

A company called Rite of Passage recently purchased the Bowling Brook grounds. Last week, it submitted its application for a state license to operate a juvenile program. The Governor’s Office of Children has 90 days to review the application.

Some advocates have said a new facility on the Bowling Brook grounds would go against the state’s new plan to treat juvenile delinquents in small, residential settings.

Bowling Brook was previously licensed to house 173 youths. Juvenile Services Secretary Donald DeVore is calling for 48-bed facilities.


Midshipman admits to child porn

A U.S. Naval Academy midshipman has pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography.

Michael Pollard, 23, entered a guilty plea Tuesday as part of an agreement with Navy prosecutors. Midshipman Pollard of Apopka, Fla., also pleaded guilty to giving a false statement.

Midshipman Pollard faces prison time, fines and dismissal from the Navy as potential punishment for possessing the pornography in his Naval Academy dorm room.

The offenses happened between July 2003 and August 2007.

Midshipman Pollard is expected to be sentenced later Tuesday at the Washington Navy Yard.


Lawmakers back Bay program funds

Maryland lawmakers on Tuesday criticized changes in President Bush’s budget that would eliminate funding for the new Chesapeake Bay Watershed program, which is part of the 2008 farm bill.

The farm bill provision supports agricultural conservation practices to reduce pollution from farmland.

Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, a Democrat, spoke out against the president’s updated fiscal 2009 budget request to Congress, which omits funding for the program.

The 87,000 farms in the watershed comprise about 25 percent of the land but contribute about 39 percent of the nitrogen and 42 percent of the phosphorus entering the Bay, Mr. Cardin said. HYATTSVILLE

Police kill man after long standoff

Prince George’s police killed a man with a gun who barricaded himself in an apartment for hours Tuesday.

Genete Brook, 30, was shot at about 5 a.m. after an hours-long standoff in Hyattsville. He died at a nearby hospital.

Police responded to a report of gunshots at about 10:30 p.m. Monday night near the Mall at Prince George’s, authorities said. They found Mr. Brook firing a weapon into the air in the parking lot. He went into a nearby ground-floor apartment and refused to come out.

Mr. Brook fired at police at one point from the apartment, police said. He later climbed out through a window and tried to run.

He was still brandishing the gun and police fired on him, authorities said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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