Medicaid Problem Could Drive Some Colorado Doctors Out Of Business

By Karen Morfitt

DENVER (CBS4) – Doctors across Colorado say they are struggling to get paid for care they’ve already provided. It stems from issues with the state’s new Medicaid payment system that launched in March.

interview2 Medicaid Problem Could Drive Some Colorado Doctors Out Of Business

(credit: CBS)

A spokesperson for the Colorado Hospital Association says they’re in the middle of processing information from their own survey, but that initial data indicates hundreds of millions of dollars is owed to hospitals across the state.

As for private providers, many of them say they can’t pay their own bills and have had to resort to cutting salaries, taking out multiple loans or borrowing from family — all in an effort to keep the doors open.

“They are putting their own personal income on the line waiting for the state to actually pay,” said a local health care provider CBS4 interviewed who wished to remain anonymous in fear of retribution.

“How much does the state owe you?” CBS4’s Karen Morfitt asked.

“Approximately $300,000.”

“They can make life incredibly difficult. They can even shut down agencies, and that would be the last thing we wanted,” the provider said.

The goal of the new payment system was to better track Medicaid dollars and prevent fraud. It’s a program Parrish Steinbrecher with Colorado’s Department of Health Care Policy and Financing oversees.

parrish steinbrecher Medicaid Problem Could Drive Some Colorado Doctors Out Of Business

Parrish Steinbrecher (credit: CBS)

“It’s an Affordable Care Act requirement whether you’ve been a provider for two years or 20 years, you have to re-enroll and re-validate and it’s different now then it was before,” Steinbecher said.

From day one, providers say the system was flawed and their Medicaid bills began piling up ever since.

“It’s incredibly difficult the amount of time and energy that is then focused away from the actual day-to-day operations of the agency. And the actual client care is now focused on getting billing through,” the provider told CBS4.

The state says they have paid $3 billion in claims since March, but acknowledge there are issues. Steinbecher says a lot of the problems they’ve seen are from providers not enrolling properly.

“Sometimes they are so busy, we know that, that the communications we’ve sent out to them they are not always able to get to get that,” Steinbecher said.

medicaid 1 Medicaid Problem Could Drive Some Colorado Doctors Out Of Business

(Photo by Tyler Kaufman/Getty Images for MoveOn)

Some providers say their attempts to contact the agency have gone unanswered.

If the payments are delayed any longer, providers say their biggest fear is having to shut down.

“I was thinking within the first 30 days they should have some of the glitches worked out and it would be back to business as usual, but here we are end of August and we are still struggling,” the anonymous provider said.

Karen Morfitt joined the CBS4 team as a reporter in 2013. She covers a variety of stories in and around the Denver metro area. Connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @karenmorfitt or email her tips.

Mother speaks out after teens fight-off alleged car-jacker


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A mother says her son is receiving threats after he and three other teens fought back after they say a man tried to carjack them after football practice.

That mother doesn’t want to be identified and has asked us not to name her sons’ high school in fear of retaliation.

“These are boys, not men,” she said.

Two weeks ago, the teens left football practice at the Loma Linda Community Center when they said Angelo Martinez, 21, asked for a ride.

According to police, the teens agreed but told officers that’s when Martinez pulled out a gun and ordered them out of the truck.

“One of the little of boys realized that his phone was still in the truck and asked the guy if he can get it,” the mother said.

The teens told police when Martinez reached for the phone, he dropped the gun.

“My son had saw that he dropped the gun so he opened the truck and he just kind of tackled him,” she said.

Martinez ended up with a beat-up face. Some people who spoke to KRQE News 13 said he got what he deserved, but not everyone agrees. The mother of two of the boys said they should not have put up a fight.

“I was mad when when I first found out because the first thing that pops into my head is something bad could have happened to my children and I could be here today without one of them,” she said. “A truck is not worth their lives.”

The story has gone viral and it’s making headlines in other states. Some people are criticizing the teens, saying they took things too far. The mother has gotten messages, too.

“Death threats from the guy’s friends,” she said. “So my kids have to hide. My kids have to watch where they go, who they’re with, and their surroundings at all times.”

When police arrived, Martinez also had a knife on him. Police discovered the gun was fake.

Martinez is charged with four counts of aggravated assault. Court records show he has other car theft related charges. Martinez was released from jail last week.


Filed under: Albuquerque - Metro, Crime, Home, News, SmartTV, Top Stories, Top Video

Trump Commits U.S. To Fight On In Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (AP) — Reversing his past calls for a speedy exit, President Donald Trump recommitted the United States to the 16-year-old war in Afghanistan Monday night, declaring U.S. troops must “fight to win.”

He pointedly declined to disclose how many more troops will be dispatched to wage America’s longest war.

In a prime-time address to unveil his new Afghanistan strategy, Trump said the U.S. would shift away from a “time-based” approach, instead linking its assistance to results and to cooperation from the beleaguered Afghan government, Pakistan and others. He insisted it would be a “regional” strategy that addressed the roles played by other South Asian nations — especially Pakistan’s harboring of elements of the Taliban.

“America will work with the Afghan government as long as we see determination and progress,” Trump said. “However, our commitment is not unlimited, and our support is not a blank check.”

Still, Trump offered few details about how progress would be measured. Nor did he explain how his approach would differ substantively from what two presidents before him tried unsuccessfully over the past 16 years.

Although Trump insisted he would “not talk about numbers of troops” or telegraph military moves in advance, he hinted that he’d embraced the Pentagon’s proposal to boost troop numbers by nearly 4,000, augmenting the roughly 8,400 Americans there now.

Before becoming a candidate, Trump had ardently argued for a quick withdrawal from Afghanistan, calling the war a massive waste of U.S. “blood and treasure” and declaring on Twitter, “Let’s get out!” Seven months into his presidency, he said Monday night that though his “original instinct was to pull out,” he’d since determined that approach could create a vacuum that terrorists including al-Qaida and the Islamic State would “instantly fill.”

“We will ask our NATO allies and global partners to support our new strategy, with additional troop and funding increases in line with our own. We are confident they will,” Trump said in comments echoed by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

Earlier this year, Trump announced he was entrusting Mattis and the military with the decision about how many troops would be needed. In talking points sent Monday to congressional Republicans and supportive groups, the White House affirmed that the troop numbers were up to Mattis and added that the administration wasn’t seeking more money from Congress for the strategy in the current fiscal year, which concludes at the end of next month.

While Trump stressed his strategy was about more than just the military, he was vague on other “instruments of American power” he said would be deployed in full force to lead Afghanistan toward peace, such as economic development or new engagement with Pakistan and India.

Absent military specifics, it was difficult to assess how his plan might dissolve the stalemate between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

On one point — the definition of victory — Trump was unequivocal. He said American troops would “fight to win” by attacking enemies, “crushing” al-Qaida, preventing terror attacks against Americans and “obliterating” the Islamic State group, whose affiliate has gained a foothold in Afghanistan as the U.S. squeezes the extremists in Syria and Iraq.

Trump’s definition of a win notably did not include defeating the Taliban, the group whose harboring of al-Qaida led the U.S. to war in Afghanistan in the days after the 9/11 attacks. Like

President Barack Obama before him, Trump conceded that any solution that brings peace to Afghanistan may well involve the Taliban’s participation.

“Someday, after an effective military effort, perhaps it will be possible to have a political settlement that includes elements of the Taliban in Afghanistan,” Trump said. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in a statement after the speech, said the U.S. was ready to support peace talks with the Taliban “without preconditions.”

Talk of future Taliban reconciliation was one of several echoes of Obama woven into Trump’s plan. Like Trump, Obama insisted near the start of his presidency that the “days of providing a blank check are over,” urged a regional approach and said U.S. assistance would be based on performance.

Still, Trump was intent on differentiating his approach from his predecessors — at least in rhetoric. He emphasized there would be no timelines, no hamstringing of the military and no divorcing of Afghanistan from the region’s broader problems.

One step being considered to further squeeze Pakistan is to cut foreign aid programs unless Islamabad clamps down on the Taliban and an associated group known as the Haqqani network, senior administration officials told reporters ahead of Trump’s speech. Using civilian and military aid as a pressure lever with the Pakistanis has been tried for years.

Trump’s speech concluded a months-long internal debate within his administration over whether to pull back from the Afghanistan conflict, as he and a few advisers were inclined to do, or to embroil the U.S. further in a war that has eluded American solutions for the past 16 years.

Several times, officials predicted he was nearing a decision to adopt his commanders’ recommendations, only to see the final judgment delayed.

And while Trump has pledged to put “America First,” keeping U.S. interests above any others, his national security advisers have warned that the Afghan forces are still far too weak to succeed without help. Even now, Afghan’s government controls just half the country.

In Kabul, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid dismissed Trump’s speech as “old” and his policy as “unclear.” But the plan was cheered by Afghanistan’s government. Ambassador Hamdullah Mohib, the Afghan envoy to Washington, called it a “10 out of 10.”

“We heard exactly what we needed to,” Mohib said in a phone interview. “The focus on the numbers has taken away the real focus on what should have been: what conditions are required and what kind of support is necessary.”

Among U.S. elected officials, the reception was equally mixed, reflecting the deep divisions among Americans about whether to lean into the conflict or pull back.

John McCain, the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman who’d criticized Trump for delays in presenting a plan, said the president was “now moving us well beyond the prior administration’s failed strategy of merely postponing defeat.” House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said the speech was “low on details but raises serious questions.”

“Tonight, the president said he knew what he was getting into and had a plan to go forward. Clearly, he did not,” said Pelosi, D-Calif.

At its peak, the U.S. had roughly 100,000 in Afghanistan, under the Obama administration in 2010-2011. The residual forces have been focused on advising and training Afghan forces and on counterterror operations — missions that aren’t expected to dramatically change under Trump’s plan.

“I share the America people’s frustration,” Trump said. But he insisted, “In the end, we will win.”

TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Man wanted in fatal shooting of woman in Roswell is arrested

ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — A man wanted in connection with the fatal shooting of a woman inside Roswell hotel room has been arrested and police now are searching for another suspect.

Roswell police say 35-year-old Jeremy Hawkins was taken into custody last Saturday in Albuquerque by the U.S. Marshals Service.

He’s being returned to Roswell to face charges of murder, tampering with evidence, intimidation of a witness and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Hawkins is accused in the death of his 31-year-old girlfriend, Ashley Sena.

Her body was found Aug. 4 and police say she had been shot once in the face.

Police have issued an arrest warrant for 29-year-old Frank Moss. He’s wanted for tampering with evidence, intimidation of a witness and being a felon in possession of a firearm.


Filed under: Home, National, World, News

New street lights brighten section of Southern Boulevard

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – On Southern Boulevard between Eubank and Juan Tabo, new street lights are finally brightening up the street that’s been dark for years.

“We’ve just completed the lights along Southern because it was very dark here along the street,” said Albuquerque City Councilor Doug Harris, who represents this district.

The shiny silver poles have officially been on since last week and up until then were in the testing phases. Now, Harris says the city is moving onto phase two of the project.

Phase two will include adding ‘pedestrian lights,’ which focus on lighting sidewalks and walking paths instead of the street. They’ll look similar to the pedestrian lights in Nob Hill but these will not be on the same pole.

“Here the walking path is a little bit too far away from the street so we have to have two different lights actually,” said Harris.

Beyond that addition, Harris says the city will need to change the bulbs in the new street lights to be LED, to match the city’s effort to convert all light poles to LED lights.

“They’re not LED yet but the city has a bill pending and it should pass tonight which will convert all the city’s street lights into LED lights,” said Harris.

People who live off Southern and frequent the Manzano Mesa Multigenerational Center say they support having more lights.

“I would love it. Then I could walk as late as I want to,” said Rosie Salazar.

“There aren’t many lights here and it does get pretty dark,” said Esther Romyns.

In all, this project will cost about $500,000. Harris says it’s set to be complete by the end of 2017.


Filed under: Albuquerque - Metro, Home, News, SmartTV, Top Stories, Top Video

Republican Assembly Leader Survives Challenge Over Cap-And-Trade Vote

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – California Assembly Republican leader Chad Mayes has survived, for now, a challenge to his leadership over his support for extending the state’s signature program aimed at fighting climate change.

A vote of no confidence in Mayes fell three votes short Monday during a roughly two-hour private meeting of Assembly Republicans. But Mayes says the caucus will hold another leadership vote next week.

The California Republican Party’s board has called on Mayes to resign his leadership post after he led a group of seven Republicans in supporting an extension of cap and trade last month.

Mayes has defended his vote, arguing it was good policy for Republicans because it is a market-based alternative to other emission-reduction policies. But many Republicans say the program will raise gas prices and hurt consumers and businesses.

California Republicans must acknowledge climate change if they want to win over voters in a state where many are concerned about environmental issues, he said.

The controversy surrounding his leadership post goes beyond cap and trade to a debate over the future of the California Republican party, Mayes said.

“Californians don’t like Republicans. They don’t like Republicans because they don’t think that we care about them,” he told reporters Monday morning. “Change for us, for California Republicans, is an absolute necessity. … If we don’t, we are going to die.”

A spokesman for Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez of Lake Elsinore said she will run to replace Mayes as Assembly Republican leader in next week’s vote.

As he was leaving the Monday meeting, Assemblyman Matthew Harper of Huntington Beach said he plans to vote for Assemblyman Jay Obernolte of Hesperia as the next leader. A spokeswoman for Obernolte did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.

2 Investigators: Window Maker Baffled By Toxic Smells

(CBS) — For the first time, the owner of a company that made millions making sound-resistant windows for homes around Chicago’s airports is answering his critics.

CBS 2 Investigator Pam Zekman has been reporting that some homeowners are concerned that noxious smells coming from the windows could be making them sick.

“I have absolutely no idea where the smell is coming from,” says Ron Spielman, the owner of Sound Solutions, the now-closed company that made sound insulation windows for thousands of homes around Midway and O’Hare airport.

Spielman agreed to meet Zekman at the home of Barbara and Allen Gabka, who live near Midway and have been complaining about their windows since 2015.

“I came out here in good faith out of curiosity to see what is going on,” Spielman says.

The Gabkas showed him a window frame made of polyvinyl chloride, a known carcinogen that seems damaged and peeling. There are holes between parts of the frame, leaving glass exposed and degraded spacers holding the two glass pieces together.

“You can see all around the seals are bubbling from the heat,” homeowner Barbara Gabka says.

The Gabkas also showed Spielman windows in the bedroom that they say smell the worst.

“It can be very strong throughout the whole house when the sun has been beating on it for a while,” Allen Gabka says.

That wasn’t the case during this visit, but Allen Gabka says: “I can be laying here and wonder what gases am I breathing.”

“I am at a complete loss,” Spielman says about the problem.

He denies his windows are causing the odor. “Certainly nothing that I did, that our company did, as far as manufacturing.”

And the companies that made the frames and spacers  also say their products could not be the cause.

Spielman disagrees there is any danger to the homeowners.

“Well, first of all, they shouldn’t be afraid,” Spielman says. “They should be annoyed at the smell, OK, but there is nothing to be afraid of from a health standpoint, to the best of my knowledge.”

Like others, the Gabkas are not convinced.

“I am worried about the health risk,” Barbara Gabka says. “My daughter has headaches every single day.”

The city has agreed to replace windows where the noxious odor is confirmed. And as a result of the 2 Investigators reports, Chicago has hired a company to test the windows and possibly the air quality in the homes.

This is help the Gabkas have been requesting for years.

“I can only say thank you, thank you for Channel 2 being involved,” Barbara Gabka says.

On Wednesday, the Chicago City Council Aviation and Finance committees will hold a hearing to question the city’s aviation commissioner about the controversy. It’s scheduled for 3 p.m. at the Hale Park Gymnasium, 6258 W. 62nd St.

Homeowners who have similar complaints about the sound insulation windows can file complaints with the city at 773-838-5632 if they live around Midway airport or 773-894-366 if they live around O’Hare airport.