Sun National Bank Center Fri, 11 Jun 2021 22:44:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Sun National Bank Center 32 32 Former Lloyds boss knighted after spilling bank fortunes Fri, 11 Jun 2021 21:35:34 +0000

The former Lloyds Banking Group boss who brought the credit giant back to private ownership after his financial crisis bailout has been given a knight on the Queen’s Birthday Honors List.

Antonio Horta-Osorio is recognized for his services to the financial sector, as well as his volunteer work for mental health and culture.

The Portuguese banker, who left Lloyds in April to join Swiss giant Credit Suisse as new chairman, has received widespread praise for his handling of Lloyds, from near collapse to poor health.

Annual dinner for bankers and traders
Former Bank of England Governor Lord Mervyn King praised Mr Horta-Osorio for relaunching Lloyds (Lewis Whyld / PA)

When Mr Horta-Osorio took over at Lloyds in early 2011 after leading the UK branch of Santander, the bank was on its knees after its £ 20.3 billion taxpayer bailout at the height of the crisis financial following the unsuccessful rescue of its rival HBOS. .

He also had to deal with the payment protection insurance (PPI) sell-off scandal, which ended up costing Lloyds £ 22 billion.

But during his decade at the helm, he helped the government unwind its stake in Lloyds during the financial crisis, while returning the group to healthy earnings growth.

The 57-year-old Lisbon-born man, who has British nationality, withdrew from Lloyds in April with a profit of £ 2.1 billion in the first quarter.

It came after a 72% drop in profits in 2020 after investing huge sums for loans that could turn sour during the pandemic, but first quarter figures showed the bank is already recovering from the crisis.

Once Britain’s highest paid banking boss, Mr Horta-Osorio has also been knighted for his work highlighting mental health issues.

He became a mental health advocate in the workplace after suffering stress exhaustion himself just six months after holding the most senior position at Lloyds, which saw him sent to the Priory to recuperate and take several months off.

He said on leaving Lloyds last month that “these were very difficult times” but returned with renewed vigor to turn the tide of the bank and said one of the biggest highlights of his tenure was when the Treasury sold its last stake in the bank in 2017.

Under his leadership, Lloyds now supports the charity Mental Health UK, while ensuring that help is available for staff suffering from stress and anxiety.

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Federal judge suspends loan forgiveness program for farmers of color Fri, 11 Jun 2021 20:20:25 +0000

A federal judge suspended a loan license program for farmers of color in response to a lawsuit alleging the program discriminated against white farmers.

Milwaukee U.S. District Court Judge William Griesbach on Thursday issued a temporary restraining order to suspend programs for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. ..

The program provides up to 120% of direct or guaranteed farm loan balances to Black, Native American, Hispanic, Asian American, or Pacific Islander farmers. Covid-19 pandemic Backup plan.

“It’s a big deal for us,” said John Boyd, Jr., president. National Association of Black Farmers, CBS MoneyWatch told CBS in March when the federal spending program was approved. “I think this is a great opportunity to help thousands of people.”

Black-owned farms in decline in the United States


White farmers ‘can’t even apply’

Conservative Wisconsin Method and Independent Study Procedure In April, white farmers claimed they were not eligible for the program and violated their constitutional rights. The company has filed lawsuits on behalf of 12 farmers in Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Missouri, Iowa, Arkansas, Oregon and Kentucky.

“If plaintiffs are eligible for loan exemption, they will make additional investments in their property, expand their farms, purchase equipment and supplies, or otherwise support their families and communities. You will have the opportunity to do so, ”said the instance. “Complainants are not even eligible to apply to the program purely on the basis of race, so they have been denied equal protection of the law and therefore suffered prejudice.”

The request seeks a court order prohibiting the USDA from applying a racial classification to determine loan changes and payment eligibility under the stimulus. We are also asking for unspecified damages.

History of injustice

Minority farmers have claimed for decades that they have been unfairly denied agricultural loans and other government assistance. Federal farm authorities in 1999 and 2010 settled cases against black farmers and accused them of discriminating against them.

According to Modern Farmer, the history of discrimination against black farmers in the United States dates back to 1920. In that year, there were nearly a million black farmers in the United States, but now there are. 45,000. The publication also indicates that black farmers tend to earn less and own less land than white farmers. Government reports have long made it more difficult for black farmers to obtain loans and grants than for whites.

Almost all of the $ 9.2 billion bailout the Trump administration provided to farmers last year, according to the Environmental Working Group, went to white farmers. White farmers received $ 6.7 billion in payments for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, black farmers received $ 15 million, and Latin farmers received $ 100 million, according to EWG calculations based on the USDA data. It was.

Stimulus Fund to Support Black Farmers


Shine a light on USDA lending practices

Meanwhile, some lawmakers are calling for greater transparency from the USDA as a way to root out discriminatory practices.

Senator Bobby Rush of Illinois and Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey are asking the USDA this week to track and publish information on the race and sex of all recipients of Department of Agriculture Aid. Agriculture. Introduced the law. The bill, called the Farm Subsidies Transparency Act, also requires disclosure of farm subsidies, farm loans, crop insurance, disaster relief, funding for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, and the assistance provided through conservation and forestry programs. ..

“It is very important to stop the discriminatory lending behavior remaining at the USDA,” said Rush, who was born on the farm, in a press release. “To do this, we need to shed light on USDA lending practices so that we can clearly see, understand and address existing inequalities.”

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Household, education levels, insurance factor in the vaccination rate, according to a study Fri, 11 Jun 2021 20:00:31 +0000

(Getty Images)
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(Getty Images)

Across the country, people of color are contracting and dying from COVID-19 in higher rates than whites throughout the pandemic. As the country enters its fifth month of vaccine deployment, data shows racial disparities in vaccinations are a problem.

New research from GoodRX suggests other models of iniquity: among single-parent households, education levels, insurance status and households without Internet access.

Low income communities delay in vaccination, according to federal data from the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey.

Adults with household income below $ 50,000 continued to have immunization rates below the national average, while adults with household income above $ 50,000 have immunization rates above the national average. national average.

Households with incomes of $ 100,000 or more had vaccination rates nearly double those of adults with incomes below $ 25,000 in the first half of March.

States with higher median household income tended to have higher vaccination rates overall, according to GoodRX analysis.

For example, in Nevada, where the median household income hovers around $ 60,365, only about 43% of the total population has been fully immunized. In contrast, the median household income in Maryland, Connecticut, and New Jersey is over $ 70,000 and vaccination rates are high.

GoodRX research indicated other disparities for people without access to a reliable Internet, the support of a partner or the privilege of having access to higher education.

“Many focus on the vaccine reluctance and the political factors behind the reluctance, but we also need to pay attention to the privilege of accessing a vaccine,” writes Tori Marsh, GoodRX drug pricing researcher.

States with a higher proportion of single-parent households have lower immunization rates, including Nevada, according to GoodRX.

“Whether it’s having someone to help with child care, the complexities of balancing a family and a job plus other challenges in life, raising a child as a single parent. can make life more difficult. And these challenges can extend to finding time to enroll in a vaccine niche or queue at a mass vaccination site, ”Marsh writes.

States have relied on Internet access to schedule appointments and refer patients to vaccination centers. GoodRX found that states with a higher proportion of households without Internet access have lower immunization rates. In Nevada, about 16% of the population does not have access to a reliable Internet.

There are also disparities according to the level of education. Adults with a bachelor’s degree or above have the highest vaccination rate – 45% nationally. Adults without a high school diploma have the lowest vaccination rates at nearly 19%, according to census data.

States with a higher proportion of residents with a bachelor’s degree generally have higher vaccination rates, according to research from GoodRX. Vaccination rates in Massachusetts are one of the highest in the country at 57 percent and about 24 percent of residents have a bachelor’s degree. Nevada, on the other hand, has an overall vaccination rate of 43% and about 16% of residents have a bachelor’s degree.

Nevada has one of the highest uninsured rates in the country: 11% of residents are uninsured. Having medical insurance is a big factor in the state’s lower immunization rates, according to GoodRX. Conversely, in Massachusetts, about 3% of households are uninsured. lowest in the country while vaccination rates remain high at 57 percent.

“While residents without insurance have access to the COVID-19 vaccine, the lack of insurance status is a barrier that is bound to reducing preventive care in general, ”writes Marsh.

Vaccination rate data for the study used the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker. State-level percentages for single-family households, people with a bachelor’s degree, households without Internet, and uninsured rates used by the study were collected from the 2019 American Community Survey five-year estimates. .

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Why Wealthy Second Home Owners Buy on Maryland’s East Coast Fri, 11 Jun 2021 17:33:00 +0000

This article is reproduced with permission from The escape house, a newsletter for secondary owners and those who want to be. Subscribe here. © 2021. All rights reserved.

Maryland’s east coast has long been viewed as an economic and social backwater. Nowadays, this is proving to be an attractive feature for families looking for vacation homes in secluded locations. Constance Mitchell Ford of The Escape Home has the scoop.

The east coast is on a peninsula between Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The bay and its tributaries have over 11,000 miles of shoreline, about half of which is in the state of Maryland while the other half is in Virginia. Maryland’s east coast consists of nine counties that are largely agricultural and generally have higher poverty rates than the state as a whole.

While vacationers have long flocked to the hunting country and riverside communities on the east coast, the area is best known for harvesting shellfish and raising chickens. (Perdue Farms is one of the area’s largest employers.)

As an increasing number of wealthy second home owners settle in the area, the east coast is starting to acquire a slightly more upscale vibe as new shops, arts events, and hospitality services sprout to cater for newcomers. But don’t expect the east coast to stray too far from its agricultural roots, as many cities are determined to maintain a rural and outdoor atmosphere where fishing, hunting, sailing and bird watching remain popular activities.

“If you are a boater, you will love it here. If you are an outdoor enthusiast, you will love it here. If you’re the type who wants to shop at Nordstrom, this isn’t the place for you, ”said Stacy Kendall, co-owner of Cross Street Realtors in Chestertown, Maryland, located in Kent County. She said most of the stores are owned by small traders, not national retailers.

The east coast was hit hard by the 2007-2009 recession and took longer than the rest of the country to recover. As late as 2019, home values ​​in some east coast counties were still declining and a large percentage of homeowners struggled with underwater mortgages. “For reasons unknown, we have never bounced back like the rest of the riverside markets. We stayed artificially depressed – until the pandemic, ”said Coard Benson, real estate agent at in Easton, Md., Located in Talbot County. “Once word got out that Talbot is a place card for the wealthy second home owner… they came running,” he said.

Growing demand, of course, has led to bidding wars and rapid increases in prices. Here’s a look at three counties on the east coast that are experiencing strong buying activity. Housing markets in all three counties are relatively small with limited stocks, which means prices are unlikely to drop in the near future.


Talbot County boasts of having 600 miles of shoreline on the Chesapeake Bay and has become an increasingly popular vacation home market for residents of Washington, DC and Baltimore. Both towns are 90 minutes away by car, but their atmosphere is very different. Benson describes the affluent residents of Talbot as “straight out of an Orvis catalog,” referring to the retailer aimed at fishing, hunting and boating enthusiasts. Models in an Orvis catalog are often pictured with a Labrador Retriever by their side, a common sighting in Talbot.

In April, the number of homes sold in Talbot increased 33% from the same month a year ago, and about half were purchased as second homes. Prices, meanwhile, jumped 46% to $ 695,600, according to data from the Maryland Association of Realtors Inc. Average prices in Talbot are now the highest in the state.

According to Benson, the average is skewed up by escalating prices on a dwindling supply of waterfront vacation properties, which has led to bidding wars. “Before the pandemic, we would have around 175 waterfront listings, but in the past eight months we’ve had 35-40 listings,” he said, adding that the cheapest listing prices at the water’s edge have doubled in the past year, from $ 500,000. to $ 1 million.


For centuries, fox hunting (or fox chase away as some prefer to call it) has been associated with the East Coast in general and Dorchester in particular. But the biggest attraction for real hunters are waterfowl and sika deer, which have drawn vacation home buyers as far as New York City, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Known as the “Heart of Chesapeake Country,” Dorchester is less than four hours from Manhattan by car and has become particularly popular with Wall Street bankers and real estate executives.

Dan Shoemaker, owner of Exit on the Bay Realty in Cambridge, Maryland, said some of his New York clients transfer money “from the stock exchange to (Dorchester) real estate”. Some, he said, buy expensive waterfront properties for second homes while others buy hunting properties, including farms, marshes and swamps.

Dorchester has one of the cheapest housing markets in the state. In April, sales were up 45% from the previous year, while average prices rose 11% to $ 254,500. Land prices vary greatly depending on the type and location. A real estate website recently listed a 233-acre hunting property in Cambridge with a list price of $ 460,000, approximately $ 1,974 an acre, and a 60-acre property was listed for $ 345,000, or approximately 5 $ 750 per acre.


Located on the upper east coast, Kent is known for its historic waterfront towns, rolling farmland, numerous marinas, and many outdoor activities such as fishing, boating, biking and hiking. bird watching. Some sailing enthusiasts believe that picturesque Kent County has one of the best sails in the world.

One particularly popular spot is Rock Hall, a quaint fishing, sailing, and boating town that has water on three sides and is sometimes compared to Key West, Florida, due to its arts and entertainment scene. .

Although a farm was recently sold in Kent for $ 4.5 million, average prices in April were $ 371,200, up 30% from a year earlier.

This article is reproduced with permission from The escape house, a newsletter for secondary owners and those who want to be. Subscribe here. © 2021. All rights reserved.

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Success TMS turns tragedy into hope for those struggling with depression Fri, 11 Jun 2021 12:12:00 +0000

WEST PALM BEACH, Florida, June 11, 2021 / PRNewswire / – Success TMS, a leading provider of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) treatments, continues to open new locations across the country, further expanding the reach of its depression treatment centers. Founding partner Jonathan Michel started the business following the loss of her sister to illness and has dedicated her life to helping others cope with her challenges. Michel remembers the company’s rapid growth over just 3 short years and is optimistic about the future of this non-invasive, FDA cleared process that is covered by major insurers.

Advanced treatment of depression with TMS has proven to be an ideal alternative to medication and has quickly become a preferred alternative for their patients with depression. Success TMS is now the 2nd largest TMS provider in the country, having grown at an impressive rate to 32 offices in 6 states, including Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, New Jersey and Nevada. Success TMS covers current patients and potentially millions more with insurers such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Cigna, Humana, Medicare and more. This revolutionary therapy treats the symptoms of depression by stimulating areas of the brain that cause depression. The safe, FDA-approved treatment is drug-free and has no systemic side effects, and is often more effective than drugs.

Michel and Syrop founded the company just 3 years ago after the tragic loss of Jonathan’s sister Alex, who struggled for years with depression and committed suicide after trying other options and treatments. conventional. Jonathan comments “While overall mental health is often a case-by-case scenario, the treatment of depression in particular has been widely advertised as being best supported by medication, and that’s unfortunate. There are simply better alternatives that don’t involve prescription drugs and potentially dangerous methods like electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). ”Success TMS was born in Alex’s honor, and as new locations grew. open, Michel’s mission is to raise awareness, to break the stigma surrounding depression and subsequently its method of treatment. promote clarity around TMS technology, its benefits and ultimately the life-changing results.

In as little as 8 weeks and with approximately 20 minutes per session, TMS therapy has helped thousands of patients get back to life without the side effects of drugs and other dangerous technologies. Learn more about Success TMS and their regional offices at –

“My sister Alex committed suicide because the system failed her. That’s why we are providing the right care at the right time to our patients across the country. – Jonathan Michel, Founder of Success TMS

About Success TMS:
Success TMS is one of the largest and fastest growing providers of transcranial magnetic stimulation in the country, having helped thousands of people in their fight against depression. The process is FDA approved and is covered by major insurers. Their team is also available to answer any questions about the process and can help confirm insurance coverage. Learn more about Success TMS and their regional offices at –

Media contact:
Tammy Petersen
Wellness Marketing Ltd
[email protected]


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NJ blood donations desperately needed after COVID restrictions lifted Fri, 11 Jun 2021 09:02:50 +0000

TOWNHOLD FREEHOLD – Alicia Scardigno almost died during childbirth in 2006. But because she received blood transfusions, she survived.

“If someone didn’t donate, I wouldn’t be here today,” Scardigno said.

Due to his experience, Scardigno wanted to donate blood. But she was nervous about returning to donate blood during the COVID-19 pandemic. After the restrictions were lifted and after receiving numerous urgent emails from New Jersey blood services announcing their low supply, Scardigno decided to donate blood again, doing so on Thursday at the Freehold Raceway Mall.

Alicia Scardigno donates blood to a New Jersey Blood Services pop-up.

In a normal year, blood banks would expect a summer crisis and stock up on blood donations in the spring. But the past year has been anything but normal.

How we got here: Blood donations continue to decline as COVID-19 cases rise and hospitals increase demand

On Wednesday, the New Jersey Blood Services division of the New York Blood Center announced a blood emergency. They had a three day supply.

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Can student loan repayment still occur? | Personal finance Thu, 10 Jun 2021 23:54:10 +0000

Democratic lawmakers, meanwhile, introduced a pair of resolutions in February to both houses of Congress calling on the president to write off $ 50,000 in student debt. Democratic lawmakers, progressive activists, and even cities like Washington, DC and Philadelphia routinely voice support for debt cancellation, but there is no active legislation to that effect.

Some student loan experts are skeptical about the possibility of passing legislation in a politically polarized Congress. Cody Hounanian, program director at Student Debt Crisis, an organization that advocates for student borrowers, said pushing forgiveness through Congress will be “an uphill battle” that will take time borrowers no longer have. “But executive action is something we know can be done immediately; he will bypass Congress, and [Biden] has the power to do it, ”adds Hounanian.

The conversation about canceling the loan is unlikely to end anytime soon, says Megan Coval, vice president of policy and federal relations at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. Coval says forgiveness could still happen, and borrowers may see more targeted forgiveness due to factors like debt amount or income – although there has been no suggestion of this. nature so far.

Changes to current forgiveness plans

While a blanket remission is not ruled out, there are still targeted debt cancellation programs available to borrowers. However, these programs are underperforming and need reform, experts and lawmakers say.

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Avis Budget Group to Pay $ 10.1 Million to Settle False US Car Rental Surcharge Claims | USAO-NJ Thu, 10 Jun 2021 18:49:55 +0000

NEWARK, NJ – Avis Budget Group Inc. (Avis Budget), which includes its wholly-owned brands Avis Car Rental, Budget Car Rental and Payless Car Rental, will pay $ 10.1 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by overcharging in the United States for rental vehicles, acting U.S. lawyer Rachael A. Honig announced today.

According to the United States’ assertions in the settlement agreement:

Avis Budget has made false claims regarding obtaining payments under an agreement with the United States administered by the Department of Defense Travel Management Office. From January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2019, Avis Budget submitted false claims and received payment from the United States for additional ineligible car rental charges, including collision damage waiver / damage waiver; additional liability cover / additional liability insurance; personal accident insurance; personal belongings coverage / personal belongings protection; and late fees. In addition to being ineligible, some of the fees charged by Avis Budget were already included in the government rental rate.

Acting US Attorney Honig credited US Department of Defense Special Agents, Defense Criminal Investigation Service, Northeast Field Office, under the leadership of Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Hegarty; the regional agent in charge of the New Jersey residents’ agency, Richard Monticello; Mitch Berry, regional officer responsible for the St. Louis Residents and Department of Defense Staff Agency, Defense Travel Management Office, under the direction of Director William R. Mansell Jr., with the investigation leading to the settlement.

The United States is represented by Assistant United States Attorney Mark C. Orlowski of the United States Attorney’s Government Anti-Fraud Unit in Newark.

The claims settled by this agreement are only allegations, and there has been no determination of liability.

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Smith: a free Russian family imprisoned in Guatemala Thu, 10 Jun 2021 15:44:23 +0000

Representative Chris Smith (R-Hamilton) called on the Guatemalan government to release a Russian family on Thursday who fled to South America to escape political persecution by Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin.

Irina and Igor Bitkov, along with their daughter fled to Guatemala in 2009 after two Russian banks, including one mainly owned by the Federation government, attempted to take over a stationery business they owned and afterwards that their daughter was allegedly kidnapped and raped in St Petersburg.

The banks pushed the Guatemalan government to sue the family in 2014, and the Bitkovs were accused of allegedly obtaining fraudulent passports.

“It’s shocking,” Smith said. “For fleeing Russia and using false travel documents to survive, Igor was sentenced to 19 years in prison and has already been in jail for three and a half years. Irina and Anastasia were both sentenced to 14 years each and have already served a year and a half in prison – another blatantly unfair and unfair sentence that was upheld by a Guatemalan appeals court last July.

Irina Bitkov, who is currently being held in her home under house arrest, testified before a hearing at the US Congressional Human Rights Commission on Wednesday, urging outside powers to intercede.

“We came to Guatemala hoping to survive, but the Kremlin caught up with us and used its influence to encourage prosecutors, judges and even Guatemalan magistrates to build a case against me and my family,” he said. she declared. “They not only imprisoned and tortured us, but put our 3-year-old son Vladimir in an orphanage.”

The family’s arrest caught the attention of the United Nations International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), a multinational effort to stem corruption in the South American country.

Smith and others said Russian banks worked with CICIG to arrest the family.

“The Bitkovs should have been granted political asylum in Guatemala, not unfairly imprisoned,” Smith said. “Free the Bitkovs now and investigate the corrupt officials of the late CICIG.”

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The new emergency policy of the insurance giant described as “dangerous” by critics. It indicates that up to 1 in 10 complaints could be rejected. Thu, 10 Jun 2021 00:56:15 +0000

Insurance giant UnitedHealthcare is cracking down on emergency room visits with a new policy effective July 1 that the American Hospital Association says will put patients’ health at risk and threaten them with financial penalties.

The American College of Emergency Physicians said it fears the change will prevent patients from using emergency rooms because they will be responsible for their hospital bills when UnitedHealthcare rejects them.

UnitedHealthcare this month told its network hospitals in 34 states, including Florida, that it would assess hospitalization requests to determine whether the visits were indeed medical emergencies.

Claims that are not related to emergencies will not be subject to any coverage or limited coverage based on the patient’s insurance plan, depending on the insurer’s notice sent to hospitals. Up to 1 in 10 claims could be dismissed, said Tracey Lempner, spokesperson for the Minnesota-based insurer.

UnitedHealthcare’s policy affects commercially insured patients with employer-sponsored plans and does not apply to patients on Medicare Advantage or who have Medicaid coverage with UnitedHealthcare, Lempner said.

Health Info: Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine protects against viral variants, study finds

UnitedHealthcare in 2018 said it had more than 30 million Americans with business or employer-sponsored plans.

“If it is determined that the event is not an emergency, the claim will be paid based on the member’s benefits,” Lempner said, adding, “We estimate that nationally, less than 10% complaints (from the emergency department) will be classified as non-emerging through this program.

The policy will go into effect in 34 states and the District of Columbia, Lempner said. They are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Washington, DC, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey , New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Medicare giant UnitedHealthcare is launching a project in Ohio that would pay pharmacists as healthcare providers – not just to dispense drugs.

National groups oppose

The policy applies to the hospital portion of emergency room care, so patients could be billed when the request is denied, said Laura Wooster, associate executive director of public affairs for the physicians’ organization. emergency based in Washington, DC

“If United don’t cover it then the patient will be hooked,” she said. “Looks like they’re not about to pay the (emergency doctor’s bill). We are trying to get more information on this.

She couldn’t say if other insurers would adopt a similar policy.

“I’m sure they’ll keep an eye on it,” she said.

This isn’t the first time insurers have adopted policies to deny claims from emergency rooms, often the most expensive source of medical care.

Indianapolis-based Anthem adopted a similar policy in 2018, which is on trial by the Emergency Physician Panel, she said. And UnitedHealthcare in 2018 began reducing ER claims when it determined the coding was inappropriate.

The American Hospital Association is calling on UnitedHealthcare to immediately reverse the new policy, President and CEO Richard Pollack said in a June 8 letter to the insurer.

The insurer’s parent company, UnitedHealth Group, earned $ 6.7 billion in the first quarter of the year, according to the hospital association.

“Patients are not medical experts and should not expect to be self-diagnosing during what they believe to be a medical emergency,” Pollack said in his letter. “Threatening patients with a financial penalty for making the wrong decision could have a deterrent effect on seeking emergency care.

Checking the facts: COVID-19 vaccine won’t jeopardize your life insurance coverage

“It is dangerous to the health of patients at all times, but it is particularly dangerous in the midst of a public health emergency,” he said, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The UHC may think that inappropriate use of the emergency room is a widespread problem; however, there is limited evidence to support this view,” Pollack said.

UnitedHealthcare defends its policy

Lempner said unnecessary use of emergency rooms costs $ 32 billion a year and increases healthcare costs for everyone.

“We are taking steps to make care more affordable, encouraging people who do not have a medical emergency to seek treatment in a more appropriate setting, such as an emergency care center,” she said. declared.

“If one of our members receives emergency room care for a non-urgent problem, such as pink eye, we will reimburse the emergency facility according to the member’s benefit plan,” he said. she declared.

In the Notice to Hospitals, UnitedHealthcare states that emergency department claims will be assessed based on the problem presented by the patient, the intensity of diagnostic services performed, and other patient complicating factors and external causes.

“Lawmakers are feeling the pressure”: States push public health insurance to cut costs and improve access

When claims are denied, hospitals can present evidence that an emergency room visit meets the definition of an emergency that meets the layman’s prudent standard, in the opinion of the insurer.

The National Emergency Physicians Group believes the new policy is in direct violation of the federal layman standard, according to a June 8 statement on UnitedHealthcare’s new policy.

Federal policy requires insurance companies to provide emergency room care coverage based on the symptoms that brought the patient to the emergency room and not the final diagnosis, according to the group of doctors.

“While we are appalled by United’s move, we are sadly not surprised that an insurance company is once again trying to cut costs at the expense of necessary patient care,” said Dr Mark Rosenberg, chairman of the group of emergency physicians, said in a statement.

“UnitedHealthcare expects patients to self-diagnose a potential medical emergency before seeing a doctor, and then punish them financially if they are wrong,” Rosenberg said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3% of emergency room visits are not urgent, the group of emergency doctors said.

Dr. Leon L. Haley Jr., Certified Emergency Physician, CEO of UF Health Jacksonville and Dean of UF College of Medicine & # x002013;  Jacksonville, is among the first in Florida to be vaccinated on Monday.

Dr. Leon L. Haley Jr., a certified emergency physician, CEO of UF Health Jacksonville and dean of UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville, is among the first in Florida to be vaccinated on Monday.

With 90% of symptoms overlapping between non-urgent and emerging conditions, in many cases even doctors can’t tell if a patient’s symptoms require emergency treatment without performing a full medical examination, said the group of doctors.

Lempner of UnitedHealthcare said the policy was in line with federal regulations and the layman’s standard.

UnitedHealthcare’s new policy is more damaging to patients than the one Anthem adopted in 2018 in many states, which has led the group of emergency physicians to take legal action against Anthem, which is still pending, said Wooster from the Doctors Group.

Anthem began denying payment for emergency services in a handful of states when the insurer decided the member was not facing an emergency. As a result, patients got stuck with the bills.

“They largely canceled it,” Wooster said. “They don’t apply it.”

This article originally appeared on Naples Daily News: UnitedHealthcare to assess emergency requests, stick patients with bills

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