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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey(or UMDNJ for short). Last week the board of trustees for UMDNJ voted to appoint a federal monitor to oversee the institution. A federal investigation is ongoing because UMDNJ may have committed medicare and medicaid fraud to the tune of tens of millions of dollars.

We here these type of stories all the time. Did you know UMDNJ is the biggest medical school in the country? If this school is doing it, you have to wonder many others are too. How much money is the federal government being defrauded?

The appointment of the monitor was almost forced on UMDNJ's board of trustees.(The school has already returned millions to the govt) Shutting down the school was a threat, and maybe that should have been done to send a clear message to others who want to committ this fraud. The drawback to that was that the school runs a hospital and other facilities. Its the public that would have been hurt by these closings.

For defrauding taxpayers of millions of dollars, The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey is the first Knucklehead of the day for 2006.

Open Post- Bright & Early, Samantha Burns, Point Five,

NEWARK -- Trustees at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New
Jersey appointed a federal monitor today to oversee the institution's
finances amid an ongoing investigation into Medicare and Medicaid fraud possibly involving tens of millions of dollars.

University officials agreed to the federal monitor last week after a threat from U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie to indict the university if it did not accept. Trustees voted 5-0 in favor of appointing the monitor, a former federal prosecutor and judge, to a two-year term.

"Today's agreement is a first step. Hopefully this is what gets the ball rolling for real reform at this university. It will get the university back on its real mission," said acting Gov. Richard J. Codey, who attended the trustees' meeting.

Federal prosecution would have effectively shut down UMDNJ's teaching facility, University Hospital in Newark. An indictment would have cut off Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements to the hospital; hospitals cannot survive without federal reimbursement funds.

UMDNJ has been under federal investigation for months on suspicion that University Hospital improperly billed Medicaid and Medicare. The school, the nation's largest health sciences university, has also come under scrutiny for awarding millions of dollars in no-bid contracts.

Codey has estimated the amount of fraud at the facility in the tens of millions of dollars.

UMDNJ has five regional campuses and more than 4,500 students, about 11,000 full-time faculty and staff, and an annual budget of $1.6 billion. Besides the Newark hospital, it runs medical and dental schools, clinics and affiliated health care groups across the state.

For the job of sorting out the massive institution's finances, Christie has tapped Herb Stern, a former federal prosecutor and judge. The U.S. attorney could add an additional year to Stern's term.

Stern, 69, won convictions against a former Newark mayor and two mayors from Jersey City while serving as a federal prosecutor in the 1970s. As an assistant district attorney in New York, he conducted the grand jury investigation into the killing of Malcolm X, ordering the arrests of three men later convicted of first-degree murder.

UMDNJ President John Petillo has welcomed the federal monitor as a way to push through needed reforms at the university.

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