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  • Health Care Fraud Schemes To Defraud Medicare

    Recent news agencies in the Chicago areas have reported that area physicians and health clinic owners are among defendants charged in health care fraud schemes to defraud the Medicare program and/or private health insurers of millions of dollars. The Medicare Fraud Strike Force, operating in major cities, has charged more than 85 defendants, including doctors, nurses, and other licensed medical professionals, for their alleged participation in Medicare fraud schemes. Medicare fraud is a frequent topic in almost every media but most people have no idea what it is or the role they can play in stemming the almost $50 billion dollars that improper payments cost taxpayers every year. Most Medicare fraud occurs when doctors, hospitals and other health care providers bill for non-existent patients, false diagnoses, unnecessary tests or services that were not provided. In addition, billing errors and improperly coded services add to the dollars that are incorrectly spent. Additionally, many of these same health care providers also violate the anti-kickback statute by offering, paying, soliciting, or receiving payments in exchange for referrals of Medicare patients. The charges most often involve medical treatments and services, as well as durable medical equipment such as home health care equipment. While Medicare provides necessary and much needed access to health care for more than 48 million Americans, The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has identified Medicare as a high-risk federal program because it is vulnerable to waste, fraud and abuse. The majority of the beneficiaries of Medicare are over age 65 or are younger people with permanent disabilities. Government officials and legislators continue to look for new methods of containing and eliminating opportunities for fraud. Decentralization of payments makes health care fraud easier to detect as officials can often see localized patterns or sequences of claims made by a particular provider that triggers additional attention by authorities. There is also a need to provide more oversight to Medicare databases to ensure that provider information is accurate and up to date in order to more easily identify trends in fraud, waste and abuse. Another program, currently being carried out by New Jersey, attempts to prevent individuals who have previously engaged in fraudulent practices from collecting Medicaid in the first place. As a consumer, you should carefully review your bills from hospitals and doctors. If a bill indicates services or tests that you neither requested nor received, ask your health care provider to explain the[READ MORE…]

  • Who’s Insurance Pays If You Fall At A Friends Home?

    It can happen: You are visiting a friend or a relative and you take a nasty fall and hurt yourself. The question of liability arises and you, as the injured party, wonder if you can recover the costs associated with your injuries from the homeowner or renter. You may be hesitant to file a claim for fear of financially hurting your friend or affecting your friendship. The reality is that unless you file a claim, you may be left covering your own expenses such as medical bills, lost wages and future losses related to the accident. It is important to remember that you are not going after the homeowner; you are pursuing their insurance company as they are responsible for handling and paying out the claim. Beyond the possibility of the homeowner’s insurance premiums increasing, there should be very little in terms of financial consequences for them. Below are the general questions that I get when someone injures himself or herself as a guest at somebody’s home. Q. I was at a friend’s house and fell down the stairs and broke my hip. What should I do? A. The first thing, following a fall in someone’s home is to seek medical attention. Not only will seeking immediate medical care increase your chances of a full recovery, but it will also document your injuries. A medical record can later be used to prove the extent of the injuries you have suffered and it will help give credibility to your claim should a dispute arise. Q. How do I discuss my situation and medical expenses with my host? A. It is important to discuss your situation with your host. An understanding individual will recognize the extent of your injuries and the many pending medical bills you will face. Explaining that your claim is against his or her insurance policy and not against them personally will help relieve tension and open the door for a reasonable discussion. Q: I fell inside of a house where I was a guest and broke my leg. Can I recover the costs associated with the injuries including time off of work? A: The recovery depends upon who is negligent for the causing injury. What caused your fall? Was it the result of the homeowner’s negligence (broken steps, no banister on the stairs, unlit stairway, ice on the porch or walkway) or were you doing something inappropriate and[READ MORE…]

  • Tips if You Are Injured on the Job

    If you are physically hurt at work, if you should fall and hurt yourself or have a piece of equipment malfunction and are you injured here are some tips for you. These are important guidelines to follow if you are injured on the job and wish to have your employer compensate you for your injuries. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system of benefits paid by employers to workers who experience job-related injuries. The Illinois Workers Compensation Commission operates the state system for scheduling workers’ compensation cases. An arbitrator first tries a case, and then a panel of three commissioners may review that decision.   Make sure to notify your employer as soon as possible after your accident – Although the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act allows you forty-five days to notify your employer of your accident, the sooner the better. Keep a copy of the accident report form – If your employer requires you to complete an accident report form, keep a copy for your records. NEVER sign a blank accident report form. Obtain the name and contact information of the workers’ compensation insurance carrier from your employer – Your employer is required by law to post the contact information in a prominent area at your place of employment. Seek medical treatment from your own doctor; if necessary seek medical treatment as soon as possible after the accident – Although your employer may direct you to a company clinic or doctor, you DO NOT have to be treated by the company doctor. Give a complete and accurate history of your accident to all of your treating doctors – It is very important to give complete, accurate and consistent histories to all your treating physicians. Any inconsistencies in your histories could raise a red flag and may result in your claim being denied by the insurance company. Make sure to get an “off work” note from your doctor if your doctor feels that you are unable to work because of your injuries – You must be off work pursuant to your doctor’s orders in ordered to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Make sure to give your employer and the insurance company a copy of the off work note – You should keep your employer and the insurance updated on your medical status. Failure to notify the insurance company of your medical status could result in having your benefits interrupted. Make sure to keep all[READ MORE…]

  • What Kind of Auto Insurance Do you Have?

    Most people discover that they have improper insurance coverage when it is too late. You don’t want to be in a situation where you are involved in an accident with someone who is inappropriately insured and find out there is not enough insurance money to cover your expenses. Auto insurance protects some of the most important people in your life, “you and your passengers”. For most people their automobile is one of their most valuable assets, next to their home. Appropriately, having good insurance coverage should be taken very seriously. Some people drive with substandard insurance or low insurance coverage or even illegally drive with no insurance coverage at all. It’s critical to keep in mind that not all policies are alike, so it is essential that you understand the details of what you are protecting, and how coverage options apply (or don’t) to you and your family. Most insurance agents recommend that you carry, at the very least, “Full Coverage.” However, you should consider getting “Complete Coverage” as the price difference is not that much greater and it will give you additional services and peace of mind should you be in an accident. Accidents happen and that is what insurance is for.  If you are concerned about costs, it is important to understand your deductible as that is what your rate is based upon. The lower your deductible, the higher your monthly insurance premium; the higher your deductible, the lower your rate will be. For example, if you  have a $250 deductible, you will pay more for your premium than if you have a $500 dollar deductible. The best advice I was ever given for determining what my deductible should be was to consider what I could afford to pay if  I was in an accident. Below is a table of what you get for Full and Complete Automobile Coverage:  Full Coverage Personal injury liability coverage Uninsured/Underinsured coverage Property damage liability coverage Collision Medical payment coverage or Med Pay Complete Coverage All of the above plus Emergency Road Service Car Rental Death Benefits Loss of Earnings Special Coverage/Umbrella Policies If you own your home out right, have a lot of equity in your home or have a large net worth, then you should make sure that you carry enough coverage to assure that someone can’t sue you for everything that you worked hard to build.   Medical payment coverage[READ MORE…]

  • Chicken Coops are Allowed In Chicago

    While many of us are heading to the neighborhood farmer’s markets this year, others are participating in community gardens or just growing a tomato plant on the balcony of their apartment. It may surprise you that the City of Chicago also allows residents to keep chickens or raise bees within the City limits. The City allows up to five hives or colonies of honey bees but beekeepers must register with the Illinois Department of Agriculture. According to the Illinois Bees and Apiaries Act [510 ILCS 20/1 et seq.], a potential beekeeper must register with Department of Agriculture. The Department will issue a registration certificate which will remain valid unless cancelled when it is determined that a beekeeper is no longer keeping bees or at the beekeeper’s request. All apiaries shall be identified with the State abbreviation of “IL” followed by the beekeeper’s Illinois registration number in weatherproof lettering at least one half inch high and displayed on the front of a hive. The Department also has the right to inspect bee colonies and enter a property to check on beehives during business hours. If bees or colonies not registered with the Department, the State or local governments can declare them a nuisance. Chicago also has a Chicken Ordinance which allows residents to keep an unlimited number of chickens, but only as pets and for eggs. The ordinance spells out the regulations for chicken coops which must be of a “humane” and adequate size for the animals, and must also be kept clean and sanitary. It also mentions that the owners are responsible for making sure that the number of chickens and the coop they are kept in should not become a noise nuisance. Only hens are allowed as roosters do not lay eggs and the ordinance is very clear that chickens, as well as other animals, cannot be kept for the purposes of slaughter for food.  (http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/chicago-illinois-chicken-ordinance) Recent changes in Chicago zoning laws have allowed more community gardens and urban farms than ever before. To learn more about how Chicago is embracing Urban Agriculture you may want to take a look at the web page for the City of Chicago that explains the processes in detail about Urban Farms.    

  • Health Care Fraud Schemes To Defraud Medicare

    Recent news agencies in the Chicago areas have reported that area physicians and health clinic owners are among defendants charged in health care fraud schemes to defraud the Medicare program and/or private health insurers of millions of dollars. The Medicare Fraud Strike Force, operating in major cities, has charged more than 85 defendants, including doctors, nurses, and other licensed medical professionals, for their alleged participation in Medicare fraud schemes. Medicare fraud is a frequent topic in almost every media but most people have no idea what it is or the role they can play in stemming the almost $50 billion dollars that improper payments cost taxpayers every year. Most Medicare fraud occurs when doctors, hospitals and other health care providers bill for non-existent patients, false diagnoses, unnecessary tests or services that were not provided. In addition, billing errors and improperly coded services add to the dollars that are incorrectly spent. Additionally, many of these same health care providers also violate the anti-kickback statute by offering, paying, soliciting, or receiving payments in exchange for referrals of Medicare patients. The charges most often involve medical treatments and services, as well as durable medical equipment such as home health care equipment. While Medicare provides necessary and much needed access to health care for more than 48 million Americans, The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has identified Medicare as a high-risk federal program because it is vulnerable to waste, fraud and abuse. The majority of the beneficiaries of Medicare are over age 65 or are younger people with permanent disabilities. Government officials and legislators continue to look for new methods of containing and eliminating opportunities for fraud. Decentralization of payments makes health care fraud easier to detect as officials can often see localized patterns or sequences of claims made by a particular provider that triggers additional attention by authorities. There is also a need to provide more oversight to Medicare databases to ensure that provider information is accurate and up to date in order to more easily identify trends in fraud, waste and abuse. Another program, currently being carried out by New Jersey, attempts to prevent individuals who have previously engaged in fraudulent practices from collecting Medicaid in the first place. As a consumer, you should carefully review your bills from hospitals and doctors. If a bill indicates services or tests that you neither requested nor received, ask your health care provider to explain the[READ MORE…]

  • Safe Haven For New Mothers

    The first Safe Haven law in Illinois was unanimously passed both the Illinois House and Senate and was signed into Illinois law in August of 2001. Illinois Safe Haven law provides options for mothers and their newborn child. According to the Safe Haven Law, a parent can anonymously take their newborn to a safe haven without fear of prosecution if the baby is thirty days old or younger. The law was created to help a parent who is under severe emotional distress or who might not able to provide the baby with its basic needs. Illinois fire departments, police stations and hospitals have been designated as Safe Havens and will take an infant as long as there is no sign of abuse or neglect. In August of 2012, Governor Quinn expanded Safe Haven locations to include police departments of public or private universities as well as Illinois State Police district headquarters. The addition of these locations offer parents more options for leaving a baby at a safe location rather than abandoning them in a dumpster or in front of a home on a frigid winter night. The law specifically spells out that, as long as the baby has not been harmed, a parent can hand their newborn (30 days old or younger) to personnel at any hospital, police station or staffed fire station in Illinois for adoption with no questions asked. The law instructs police, firefighters and hospital personnel that they cannot ask a parent’s name. In fact, police and fire department personnel receive training regarding the Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act. No criminal investigation can be started just because a newborn infant is relinquished unless there is evidence that the child is older than 30 days or there is evidence of child abuse or neglect. When a newborn infant is received, law enforcement personnel will make a physical appraisal of the baby’s and, if any signs of abuse or neglect are noted, the parent may be held until an investigation into the potential abuse is completed. A parent who makes this heart wrenching decision is able to provide anonymous medical information, so that the baby grows up with a medical history. At a Safe Haven, medical forms will be offered; these can be filled out at the time or returned by mail at a later date. These medical forms are also available on the Illinois adoption web site, the[READ MORE…]

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    ankin law office llc

    162 West Grand Avenue
    Chicago, Illinois 60654
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    Local: 312-346-8780

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    Our firm handles workers' compensation and personal injury claims in Chicago, Berwyn, Joliet, Cicero, Waukegan, Chicago Heights, Elgin, Aurora, Oak Park, Oak Lawn, Schaumburg, Bolingbrook, Glendale Heights, Aurora, Niles, Schaumburg, Arlington Heights, Naperville, Plainfield and all of Cook, DuPage, Lake, Will, McHenry, LaSalle, Kankakee, McLean and Peoria Counties.