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Leaked Documents Reveal VA’s Ratings System for Hospitals

Legal Help for Veterans is a law firm helping veterans get the benefits they deserve.

Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) January 11, 2017 – Leaked internal documents published for the first time by USA Today reveal that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) uses a secret ratings system to evaluate its medical facilities. The VA has never released the ratings for public viewing, claiming they are only for the agency’s internal use.

They show dozens of VA medical centers are performing at below-average levels. For years, the VA has assigned between one to five star ratings to hospitals, with five being the best. The ratings depend on factors such as the quality of care provided, appointment wait times and death rates.

“The lack of transparency over the ratings system is worrying. Veterans seeking health care at VA facilities have a right to know exactly what sort of standards they should expect from the hospital,” said Jim Fausone, a Michigan veterans attorney. “Patients and their families deserve to know how their local VA medical centers are performing and whether they are meeting expectations.”

Around 45 medical centers were rated above average with five stars. Many of the highest-rated facilities are located in Massachusetts, New York, Minnesota, South Dakota and other parts of the Upper Midwest and Northeast. VA hospitals in Tennessee and Texas are among the lowest performing with only one star out of five.

The documents also indicate that several lower-ranking facilities have failed to improve despite triggering nationwide scandals. The most notable is the Phoenix VA, which had just one star in 2014 when reports broke of veterans dying while awaiting care and staff manipulating data about appointment wait times.

VA Undersecretary for Health David Shulkin expressed uneasiness about the ratings system becoming public. “It is essentially a system within VA to see who’s improving, who’s getting worse, so we can identify both,” he explained. “My concern is that veterans are going to see that their hospital is a ‘one’ in our star system, assume that’s bad quality, and veterans that need care are not going to get care.”

According to Shulkin, the VA medical center in Detroit, Michigan, is the only one-star medical center that has failed to show improvement and deteriorated in overall quality. He said low-performing facilities are getting extra help from VA officials. Lack of progress could lead to hospital management being replaced.

Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC
41700 West Six Mile Road, Suite 101
Northville, MI 48168
Toll Free Phone: 800.693.4800

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18-Wheeler T-Bones SUV – Law Firm Newswire

Southfield, MI (Law Firm Newswire) January 10, 2017 – Three people in an SUV were T-boned by a big rig. None of them made it out of the wreck alive.

The accident, involving a semi and an SUV, happened on the intersection of Minnesota County Road 47 and Goodwin Avenue. The crash occurred as the SUV was slowing down to execute a wide U-turn. The heavily loaded 18-wheeler, hauling beer at the time, slammed into the side of the SUV, causing it to roll into a roadside ditch.

All three occupants of the SUV were declared dead at the scene. The trucker was not seriously injured in the crash.

An investigation into the cause of the crash is underway, focusing on identifying what happened just prior to the crash. Specifically, law enforcement would be looking for evidence of DWI, distracted driving, bad road conditions, poor truck maintenance, speeding, driving while fatigued or using e-devices while driving.

“Trucking accidents such as this one involve an extensive litigation process. During that time, the victims may find themselves buried by expenses relating to the accident, items such as loss of wages, medical bills, household expenses and possibly funeral and burial costs,” said Litigation Funding Corporation representative Daren Monroe.

Under such tough financial circumstances, plaintiffs may be interested in filling out an application online or over the phone for a lawsuit loan, also referred to as a lawsuit cash advance, pre-settlement funding and litigation funding.

Approval is contingent on the likelihood of a successful outcome of the case. “A lawsuit cash advance is not a loan where you pay accrued interest whether you win your lawsuit or not,” added Monroe. “It is lawsuit funding to aid the plaintiff deal with pressing bills and expenses.”

There are no monthly payments or application fees involved in applying for pre-settlement funding and the only collateral required is a pending lawsuit being handled by an attorney. Once the lawyer submits the required documents for a lawsuit loan, funding may arrive within 24 – 48 hours. If the case is lost, repayment is excused. If the plaintiff wins, repayment is made at that time.

“If you are not certain your case would be eligible for litigation funding, contact us, Litigation Funding Corporation, for a complimentary case evaluation,” said Monroe.

Litigation Funding Corporation
7115 Orchard Lake Rd, Ste 320
West Bloomfield, MI 48322
Call: 1.866.LIT.FUND

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New Regulations Affecting Highly Skilled Workers: An Overview

Dallas immigration lawyers

Dallas immigration lawyers – Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C.

Dallas, TX (Law Firm Newswire) January 9, 2017 – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has published a long-awaited final rule that will benefit many nonimmigrant foreign employees who are highly skilled, and employment-based immigrant workers, as well as their employers. The rule takes effect January 17, 2017.

“After more than a decade, USCIS has finally issued regulations interpreting legislation passed in 2001 which assist both highly skilled immigrants and nonimmigrants in a comprehensive way,” said Stewart Rabinowitz, a Dallas immigration attorney with Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. “It is a welcome change basing practice advice to clients on regulations, and not on USCIS issued memoranda, or other less reliable sources.”

The new regulation is intended to streamline employer sponsorship of nonimmigrant workers for lawful permanent resident status, increase job portability for such workers, and provide more consistency and transparency in the application of DHS policies to these programs.

Among other things, the rule creates 10-day grace periods for a number of temporary work visa categories and formalizes a grace period of 60 days for employees who become unemployed while under temporary work visa status, giving them the opportunity to file a new visa petition with another company instead of being immediately deemed out of status.

The rule clarifies several policies affecting H-1B employment, including the codification of H-1B portability requirements. The final rule also incorporates modifications in green card portability that allow highly skilled workers with employment-based immigrant visa petitions to accept new positions with different employers or change positions with their present employer, as long as the new job is in a similar field.

DHS said the goal of the new regulation was to assist U.S. firms in employing and retaining highly skilled workers with employment-based visa petitions, while helping these workers further their careers.

By Appointment Only
Three Galleria Tower
13155 Noel Road, Suite 900
Dallas, TX 75240

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Texas I-35 Deadly for Pedestrians

Austin Personal Injury Lawyers

Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC

Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) January 9, 2017 – Crossing the road in Texas can be a deadly endeavor. Pedestrian fatalities have been on the rise for a number of years.

Texas holds the record for: the highest number of DWI deaths in the country and a shocking number of pedestrian deaths. California, Florida, Texas and New York accounted for 42 percent of pedestrian deaths between January and June of 2015. Other states with the highest rate of pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 residents were Florida, 1.35; Arizona, 1.27; Delaware, 1.27; South Carolina, 1.12; Mississippi, 1.07; Oregon, 1.04, District of Columbia, 1.04 and New Mexico, 1.01.

Why are pedestrians killed at such an alarming rate? Many safety pundits point to distracted walking and driving. In addition, driving while intoxicated and walking under the influence are other reasons for a rise in pedestrian deaths.

Consider the case of a man who recently died on I-35 while attempting to cross the road. In Texas, it is illegal to cross a highway on foot. In this particular case, it appears the deceased may have been inebriated. Many pedestrians, faced with long hikes to a crosswalk or a designated crossing, opt for a shortcut across a busy highway. Some make it across. Others do not.

The recent death occurred on the 2200 block of S. I-35; police shut down the northbound lanes for two hours to investigate how the pedestrian died. He was struck by a pickup truck hauling a trailer. Eyewitnesses indicated he had been attempting to cross from the east to the west side of the road.

“Regardless of the reason for attempting to cross a busy interstate highway, the fact remains that pedestrian deaths are steadily increasing,” said Austin auto accident lawyer, Brooks Schuelke. “Is there a solution to the rising number of deaths? Would passing laws in relation to distracted walking prevent any further deaths?”

If someone is going to drive or walk while under the influence or while distracted, accidents are going to keep happening. The human factor is the most difficult to control in any attempt to keep people safe. “And while laws can be passed banning this and that behavior, if people choose not to follow them, then the consequences for not following them may result in serious injuries or death.”

Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC
206 East 9th Street, Ste. 1511
Austin, TX 78701
Call (512) 476-4944

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