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Archive for February 24th, 2011

Attorney General Madigan reaches $25 million settlement with Blue Cross Blue Shield

Posted by Admin On February - 24 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Agreement resolves fraud claims that cost Illinois, Federal Government millions

 

Chicago, IL — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced a $25 million agreement with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois settling allegations the company denied coverage of nursing care needed for sick children and other fragile patients and fraudulently shifted the cost of this expensive care to the state and federal Medicaid program.

The settlement reached by Madigan and U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald resolves their investigation into Blue Cross Blue Shield, a division of Health Care Service Corporation, denying patient claims for in-home, skilled nursing care for complex medical needs.

The Attorney General and Fitzgerald alleged BCBS denied patient claims based on internal, undisclosed guidelines that were more restrictive than the language provided to patients in plan policy materials. As the result of the denials, the cost of the care that should have been covered was shifted to the state and federal Medicaid program, costing it nearly $12 million.

“Blue Cross Blue Shield’s inappropriate denial of legitimate claims placed an undue burden on the state’s finances,” Attorney General Madigan said. “My office is committed to holding health care insurers accountable on behalf of the people of Illinois for this type of deception and fraud.”                    

Madigan and Fitzgerald also alleged instances where BCBS fraudulently contended patients weren’t covered for this care during claims review processes sought after patient denials.

Under the agreement, BCBS will pay $14.25 million to Illinois and $9.5 million to the U.S. Treasury to help fund and reimburse Medicaid programs. The company will also pay $1.25 million that will go to Illinois consumers who were denied by BCBS but did not receive Medicaid coverage.

Handling this case for Madigan’s Office were Public Interest Division Chief Paul Gaynor, Special Litigation Bureau Chief Carl Bergetz, Health Care Bureau Chief Raymond Threlkeld and Assistant Attorneys General Dalila Bentley and Judith Parker.

Rev. Jesse L. Jackson touts the high value of career schools in commencement address at Virginia College of Birmingham

Posted by Admin On February - 24 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

 


Rev. Jackson delivers commencement address at Virginia College of Birmingham.

 

Birmingham, AL (BlackNews.com) — In a commencement address at Virginia College, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson espoused the value of postsecondary education, applauding 387 graduates of the career school that specializes in preparing students for careers in health services, business, information technology, personal care, culinary arts, interior design and other fields.

The winter commencement on Sunday, February 20, was one of two held annually at Virginia College of Birmingham. The career school, which has been serving Birmingham students and employers for nearly 30 years, offers more than 24 academic programs that prepare graduates for jobs in the greatest demand among employers.

“This graduation today is cause for another family celebration, enhanced by the fact that 150 of you have already been placed in jobs,” Rev. Jackson told the graduates, their friends and relatives, and the school’s staff and faculty. “Put your hands together. That’s a big deal. These jobs range from culinary and pastry arts to medical assistance, business administration, master’s degrees, accounting specialists and cosmetology…The range of skills for which you have developed is coming into a growing market.”

“I congratulate you because of your passion for education,” he said. “Many of you finished high school long ago and just wouldn’t give up. Strong minds bring strong change. The great tradition of Tuskegee, the spirit of self-reliance and skill development – Booker Washington argued that you should not starve on the farm because you have a dysfunctional education.”

Tom Moore, CEO of Education Corporation of America, which operates Virginia College campuses around the country, as well as other accredited learning institutions, said he was honored to have Rev. Jackson deliver the commencement address. “He has been a strong and vocal supporter of the kind of practical educational alternatives we provide our students. His appreciation of the diversity of our student body and the catalyst we play in their career development is an important message for our students and this entire community.”

Further, Moore expressed his appreciation for Rev. Jackson’s strong support for career colleges as they seek to amend or stop a series of regulatory changes proposed by the US Department of Education that would make it difficult for some for-profit educational institutions to continue operating.

In his address, Rev. Jackson noted that his mother attended an alternative school to learn a trade when he was a child. “My mom went back to school after 10 years of my birth to become a beautician,” he said. “She just wouldn’t – she just wouldn’t give up.”

Rev. Jackson also recalled the economic struggles that other members of his family overcame, some with the help of alternative education. He said one aunt had five children before she was 20 years old, but had a dream of a college education for herself and her children. She worked at a Veterans Hospital at night and sent all five children to college. At age 53, he said she got her GED, earned a community college associate degree four years later, and then proceeded to get her bachelors and master’s degrees.

Proudly pointing out her accomplishments, Rev. Jackson told the graduates it’s about “learning to use what you got – some beautician, some chef, some computer specialist, using what you got. And don’t cry about what you do not have.”

The civil rights leader, who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., also talked about the social progress in America and the unification that is needed for the nation to continue moving forward.

“It is such a joy to be with you and family today,” Rev. Jackson said. “Congratulations on this graduation day, the end of one journey, the beginning of another. To look at your faces here today, black and white, male and female, Dr. King would rejoice in looking at this graduation in Birmingham, once a steel and coal industry, then the barbaric division and the violence, and now a kind of calm after the storm. We have learned to survive apart, survive as black, survive as white, survive as brown. Now we have a more difficult challenge than surviving apart: learning to live together. We need each other.

“Today, beyond this college experience, you must fight for an even playing field, public rules and clear goals to make this a better state and a better nation.”

Web Site publishes listing of 2011 scholarships for African American students

Posted by Admin On February - 24 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

black_studentNationwide (BlackNews.com) — BlackStudents.com, a popular online resource for African American high school and college students, has published their annual listing of 2011 scholarship opportunities. The scholarships vary in criteria, award amounts, and deadline dates, but are available from over 100 different companies, organizations, and foundations. Combined, the scholarships amount to more than $5 million in funding for minority students. Majors that qualify include science, technology, engineering, communications, journalism, nursing, education (teaching), and more. The money can be used for tuition, books, and residence at most universities, colleges, and even private schools in the United States.

 The published listing includes the following programs: Best Buy Scholarship, Burger King Scholars Program, CIA Undergraduate Scholarship, Dell Scholars Program, Gates Millenium Scholarship, HBCU Study Abroad Scholarship, Joe Francis Haircare Scholarship, National Black Police Association Scholarships, Thurgood Marshall Fund, Tylenol Scholarship, United Negro College Fund, Vanguard Minority Scholarship Fund, Xerox Minority Technical Scholarship, and many more. To see the complete listing of scholarship opportunities and their related application details, visit www.BlackStudents.com

Long Island University announces winners of 13 George Polk Awards in Journalism for 2010

Posted by Admin On February - 24 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

New America Media’s Sandy Close will be presented the George Polk Career Award

 

The New York Times and the independent non-profit news organization ProPublica each earned two Polk Awards, while the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was honored with a Polk Award for the third-straight year. Judges twice awarded the collaborative efforts of multiple news organizations. ProPublica, The Times-Picayune of New Orleans and PBS’ “Frontline” won the George Polk Award for Television Reporting, while ProPublica and National Public Radio joined forces to produce work that garnered them the Polk Award for Radio Reporting.

The George Polk Career Award will be presented to Sandy Close, executive director of New America Media, an alternative news source that supports thousands of ethnic media outlets. For 37 years, Ms. Close has guided the pioneering efforts of New America Media, formerly known as the Pacific News Service. She has mentored many journalists who now work in the mainstream press, including A.C. Thompson, one of this year’s winners of the Polk Award for Television Reporting. In 1995, Ms. Close received a MacArthur Foundation “Genius Award” fellowship; and in 1997, she co-produced the Academy Award-winning short documentary, “Breathing Lessons.” Perhaps her proudest moment in journalism came in 2007, when she organized the Chauncey Bailey Project, a team of reporters whose investigative work led Oakland police to arrest those responsible for killing Mr. Bailey, who was a Polk Award-winning journalist.

The 2010 George Polk Awards will be presented at a luncheon at The Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan on Thursday, April 7, 2011. Associated Press correspondent and former CBS News reporter Kimberly Dozier, who was seriously injured in a 2006 car bombing in Iraq that killed two of her colleagues, will be the citation reader. The program also will include a special presentation to Wilbert Rideau, a former death row inmate who earned the 1979 George Polk Award for Special Interest Reporting while working as the editor of his Louisiana prison’s magazine. The annual George Polk Seminar will take place the preceding evening, Wednesday, April 6, 2011, at the Kumble Theater for Performing Arts on Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus.

The George Polk Awards in Journalism are conferred annually to honor special achievement in journalism, with a premium placed on investigative and enterprise reporting. Ranked among America’s most coveted journalism honors, the George Polk Awards have been administered by Long Island University since 1949. They memorialize CBS correspondent George W. Polk, who was slain covering the civil war in Greece in 1948. A committee of jurors made up of University faculty members and alumni select the winners from entries submitted by journalists and news organizations as well as nominations made by a panel of journalists and editors, including a number of former winners.

For tickets to the George Polk Awards Luncheon, contact Long Island University’s Office of Special Events at 516-299-3298 or e-mail.

State’s Attorney Alvarez celebrates African-American History Month

Posted by Admin On February - 24 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS
 

C.F. Stradford annual awards ceremony honored a judge and leader of iconic civic organization

 

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez along with members of the office’s African-American advisory council presented the C.F. Stradford awards to the Honorable Marcus R. Salone, Cook County Circuit Court Judge and Andrea L. Zopp, President and CEO of the Chicago Urban League during a ceremony in commemoration of African-American History Month at the Little Black Pearl Art & Design Center, 1060 East 47th St.

Judge Marcus R. Salone, a former Chicago police officer, was appointed to the bench as an Associate Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County in 1991. He has served in his present assignment as the Supervising Judge of the Criminal Trial Division since 2008. Later this year he will be sworn in as a Justice of the Illinois Appellate court.

Andrea L. Zopp, a distinguished corporate and civic leader who has lead transformative change in the public and private sectors, was appointed as President and CEO of the Chicago Urban League in September 2010. Zopp a former prosecutor in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, was the first woman and African-American to serve as First Assistant State’s Attorney in the office.

In addition to those awards, scholarships for internships in the State’s Attorney’s office were presented to two local high school students.

The C.F. Stradford Award is named for Cornelius Francis Stradford, a pioneer in the legal comunity and co-founder of the Cook County Bar Association and the National Bar Association. 

Yasmina Reza’s Triple Tony-Award-Winning Broadway sensation God of Carnage tears up the Goodman Stage in its Chicago Premiere, March 5 – April 10

Posted by Admin On February - 24 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Director Rick Snyder orchestrates the hilarious havoc brought on by Mary Beth Fisher, Keith Kupferer, Beth Lacke and David Pasquesi 

 

Chicago, IL - March comes in like a lion at Goodman Theatre when Yasmina Reza’s “savagely entertaining” (Variety),triple Tony-Award-winning God of Carnage, translated by Christopher Hampton, makes its Chicago debut starting March 5, 2011. Chicago Director Rick Snyder stages this searing comic dissection of what is perhaps the most daunting activity on earth: parenting. Acclaimed French Playwright Reza (Art, Conversations After a Burial), known for skillfully turning social tragedies into riotous comedies, rips through the most basic social settings into the heart and soul of two couples dealing with the mayhem of matrimony and parenthood in this “savvy and deliciously caustic new comedy” (Chicago Tribune). Performances are March 5 – April 10, 2011 in the Goodman’s Albert Theatre; tickets are $25 – $78. (Ticket prices are subject to change). Allstate is the Lead Corporate Sponsor for God of Carnage and Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP and Fifth Third Bank are the Corporate Sponsor Partners.

“God of Carnage is a theatrical rarity—a comedy that translates easily to a variety of cultures and countries,” said Goodman Theatre Artistic Director Robert Falls. “Yasmina Reza gives insights into human nature and behavior that are both wise and ruefully true, revealing serious bases that are at the heart of some of our most outlandishly comic responses. I am thrilled to welcome Rick Snyder and some of the finest comic actors who bring these identifiable characters to life.”

The Broadway sensation God of Carnage is a comedy of manners-without the manners-in which “highly skilled stage performers take on roles that allow them to rip the stuffing out of one another, tear up the scenery, stomp on their own vanity and have the time of their lives” (The New York Times). Inspired by a true story, God of Carnage centers around two seemingly different couples—Veronica and Michael Novak and Annette and Alan Raleigh. When Alan (David Pasquesi) and Annette (Beth Lacke)’s son hits Michael (Keith Kupferer) and Veronica (Mary Beth Fisher)’s son with a stick, the two couples meet to discuss the problem over clafouti and coffee. What starts as a civilized gettogether quickly devolves into a laugh-out-loud evening that The New Yorker calls “ninety minutes of sustained mayhem.”

Reza made her directorial debut with the world-premiere of God of Carnage in Paris; the play later went on to receive critical acclaim in London and on Broadway. Earning the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy and three Tony Awards, including Best Play, God of Carnage was hailed as a “first class” play (The New York Times) and the “the best play in town!” (New York Post).

“I am fascinated by the way God of Carnage slowly uncovers a basic truth about human interaction,” said Director Rick Snyder. “We try very hard to do the right, socially acceptable thing, but in reality, our true instincts and feelings are always right beneath the surface, waiting to emerge. The parents in this play try to deal with a child’s very honest, physical human reaction; but in the end it’s the child’s voice that makes the parents see themselves for who they truly are.”

Snyder, who also helmed Reza’s Art at Steppenwolf Theatre (2009), has tapped an award-winning design team to bring this sophisticated home in the Cobble Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY, to life. Set Designer Takeshi Kata (The Seafarer at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, The Adding Machine at Minetta Lane Theatre), makes his Goodman debut and is joined by Costume Designer Birgit Rattenborg Wise (The Good Negro, Death of a Salesman); Lighting Designer Robert Christen (Ain’t Misbehavin’, Talking Pictures) and Sound Designer Richard Woodbury (Candide, A True History of the Johnstown Flood).

Playwright Yasmina Reza is a multi-award-winning French playwright, novelist and memoirist. Her work has been translated into more than 30 languages and produced worldwide, earning critical praise and popular international success. She is the author of seven plays including Conversations After a Burial, Winter Crossing, Art, The Unexpected Man, Life x 3, A Spanish Play and God of Carnage; the novels Desolation, Adam Haberberg and On Arthur Schopenhauer’s Sledge; the memoirs Hammerklavier and Nulle part; and Dawn, Dusk or Night, a nonfiction account of a year she spent trailing French President (then-candidate) Nicolas Sarkozy on the campaign trail. Her film credits include Le Pique-Nique de Lulu Kreutz directed by Didier Martiny, a translation of Kafka’s Metamorphosis for Roman Polanski, and Chicas, which she directed. Reza resides in Paris.

Tickets to God of Carnage ($25 – $78) are currently on sale at GoodmanTheatre.org. Tickets and subscriptions can also be purchased at the box office (170 North Dearborn) or by phone at 312.443.3800. Mezztix are half-price mezzanine tickets available at 12 noon at the box office, and at 10am online (promo code MEZZTIX) day of performance; Mezztix are not available by telephone. 10Tix are $10 rear mezzanine tickets for students available at 12 noon at the box office, and at 10am online on the day of performance; 10Tix are not available by telephone; a valid student I.D. must be presented when picking up the tickets; limit four per student with I.D. All tickets are subject to availability and handling fees apply. Discounted Group Tickets for 10 persons or more are available at 312.443.3820. Purchase Goodman Gift Certificates in any amount at GoodmanTheatre.org. The flexibility of Goodman Gift Certificates allows recipients to choose the production, date and time of their performance. Artists, dates and ticket prices are subject to change.

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