Not yet sworn in, Curbelo facing FEC’s questions about campaign finances

Miami Congressman-Elect Carlos Curbelo

By Francisco Alvarado
BrowardBulldog.org
After running a campaign promising to restore public trust and integrity to the seat he won on Election Day this month, Congressman-elect Carlos Curbelo is already drawing scrutiny from federal regulators.

FBI probes whistleblower claim of $130 million scam; Plaza Health Network under scrutiny

Plaza Health Network's headquarters at 1800 NE 168th St., North Miami Beach. Witnesses saw FBI agents carting off computers and boxes of patient records there for several days last year.

By Francisco Alvarado
BrowardBulldog.org
Since being founded 64 years ago as a convalescent home for elderly Jewish people and war veterans, Plaza Health Network has nurtured a reputation for providing top-notch services to senior citizens of all denominations. But a little-noticed whistleblower’s lawsuit by an ex-Plaza executive alleges the non-profit company scammed the federal government for $130 million.

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Years later, Water District eyes suing Hollywood pump maker to recover lost taxpayer dollars

By Dan Christensen
BrowardBulldog.org
Five years ago, the South Florida Water Management District took a $1.5 million bath when a Hollywood company sold it 15 large electric pumps that quickly failed, then refused to honor its warranty. Now, the top lawyer for the budget-challenged independent taxing district is recommending it sue the Hollywood company that manufactured the pumps.

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Butterworth skirts state lobbying laws to land $44 million-a-year contract in Broward

By Dan Christensen
BrowardBulldog.org
Ex-Department of Children and Families Secretary Bob Butterworth lobbied heavily this year to convince his former agency to award his nonprofit company – and its for profit partner – a $44 million-a-year state management contract.
Butterworth, however, is not registered to lobby.

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What we still don’t know about Mitt Romney’s taxes

By Theodoric Meyer
ProPublica
With the documents MittRomney released recently, we know a bit more about his taxes. We know, for instance, that Romney paid a rate of 14.1 percent on $13.7 million in income on his 2011 tax return, which he achieved by purposely overpaying.

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Feds indict pair in $164 million ‘Ponzi’ scheme tied to South Florida

By Dan Christensen
BrowardBulldog.org
Two figures at the center of an alleged $164 million real estate scam marketed out of South Florida have been indicted by a federal grand jury in San Francisco on mail fraud and conspiracy charges.

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$44 million state contract handed to Butterworth’s group despite lack of rules for public scrutiny

By Dan Christensen
BrowardBulldog.org
Florida’s Department of Children and Families awarded a $44 million-a-year contract to privatize the management of mental health services in Broward without required rules in place to promote public scrutiny.

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Cabinet officials signal crackdown on Medicare billing abuse

By Fred Schulte and Joe Eaton
The Center for Public Integrity
Top federal officials are stepping up scrutiny for doctors and hospitals that may be cheating Medicare by using electronic health records to improperly bill the health plan for more complex and costly services than they deliver.

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Growth of electronic medical records eases path to inflated bills

By Fred Schulte
The Center for Public Integrity
Electronic medical records, long touted by government officials as a critical tool for cutting health care costs, appear to be prompting some doctors and hospitals to bill higher fees to Medicare for treating seniors.

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Hospitals grab at least $1 billion in extra fees for emergency room visits

By Joe Eaton and David Donald
The Center for Public Integrity
Judging by their bills, it would appear that elderly patients treated in the emergency room at Baylor Medical Center in Irving, Texas, are among the sickest in the country — far sicker than patients at most other hospitals.
In 2008, the hospital billed Medicare for the two most expensive levels of care for eight of every 10 patients it treated and released from its emergency room — almost twice the national average. But the charges may have more to do with billing practices than sicker patients.

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How doctors and hospitals have collected billions in questionable Medicare fees

By Fred Schulte and David Donald
The Center for Public Integrity
Thousands of doctors and other medical professionals have steadily billed higher rates for treating elderly patients on Medicare over the last decade — adding $11 billion or more to their fees and signaling a possible rise in medical billing abuse, an investigation by the Center for Public Integrity has found.

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