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December 2006
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Medicare Lien Contact Information

When an attorney is requesting a lien from Medicare, it is important to request the lien amount as soon as possible.  I suggest that when you first "take in" a case you set up the Medicare lien request so that you don't have to wait too long on the "back end".  Don't worry if the client is still treating, by the time Medicare processes the lien request, your client will probably be fully recovered.

To start a Medicare claim, you must "set up" the file with the New York Office:

Medicare-COB
MSP Claims Investigation Unit
P. O. Box 5041
New York, NY  10274-0125
Phone: (800) 999-1118, 8 am - 8 pm, EST.

Once you get the claim/lien request set up with Medicare, you will deal with a different office:

MSPRC Liability  
PO   Box 33828
Detroit, MI  48232-3828

The Detroit office is new, so I'm still waiting to see how they are doing in terms of responding to requests.  I can't imagine t could be slower than it has been in the past (1-2 years) but we'll just have to see.  If you have had a good or bad experience, post it as a comment below.

-Chris Nichols
Nichols Law Firm
www.NicholsTrialLaw.com 1.800.906.5984

Business Community says Too Much "Tort Reform" not so good

My friend Roy Harmon from South Carolina (Health Plan Law Blog)posted an interesting article today about how "tort reform" has been successful in many states but now even businesses are beginning to feel the negative effects.  Of course, those of us who practice trial law have know for years that it is easy to find yourself on either side of the "v" as we say.  (In other words, if you pass laws that limit Plaintiff's ability to seek redress, you may very well find that if YOU have been wronged, your rights have been limited).

In the ultimate "what comes around goes around,"  lawyers who represent business interests are griping about how tough it is to get justice in business versus business cases.  The article also cites how, despite massive reforms, Medical Malpractice Insurance companies keep rasing rates, despite paying out fewer claims.  This once again proves the folly of limiting rights based upon political motivations.

Read Roy's Post "The Trouncing of Trial Lawyers"

Chris Nichols
Nichols Law Firm

www.NicholsTrialLaw.com 1.800.906.5984

Updated Sex Offender Site for NC

This seems like a lot of money to spend on a website revamping, though I suppose the data base work is complicated, especially since most of the state's databases are unique and require special programming.

As the article suggests, a database is only as good as the data, and there is only so much law enforcement can do to make sure that offenders keep their status updated.  The "cell phone" tracking will be interesting to watch and will require some good technology to see where the offenders are going and whether that is in violation of the terms of probation.  Of course, statistically, most offenders are molesting children of family and friends, and not hanging out at elementary schools, but it's a start.

- Convicted sex offenders will have fewer places to hide from authorities in 2007, say state officials who on Monday unveiled an updated registry Web site and satellite tracking system for the worst offenders

"The ultimate goal is to pull all of our resources together to help protect our kids," Attorney General Roy Cooper said after demonstrating to a House committee a new Web site touted as more friendly to citizens looking to monitor the state's roughly 9,900 registered offenders.

   Legislators over the summer agreed to pay $200,000 for the upgraded Web site and passed a sweeping sex offender law. The law, effective Dec. 1, bars registered offenders from living close to schools or daycare centers or volunteering where they would interact from minors.

   Cooper asked the committee to spend an additional $304,000 next year to pay for the mapping software and hire two workers to operate it.

   Since 1996, people convicted of various sex-related crimes have had to register with their local sheriff.

   The new law also orders the Department of Correction to create a program by Jan. 1 in which up to 300 of the worst offending registrants are monitored electronically for life. The monitoring involves ankle bracelets and other technology that tracks their positions by satellite.

   Down the street from the committee meeting at the Legislative Building, a few hundred Correction Department probation officers learned about the new tracking law during a training session at a Raleigh hotel.

   Robert Lee Guy, director of the Division of Community Corrections, told probation managers that the efforts will help the state keep a better eye on sex offenders out in the community. And unlike current electronic house arrest efforts, he said, the satellite monitoring isn't optional for a judge to order.

   "We've got to pay attention," Guy said. "We can't leave any loopholes or cracks in sex offender management."

   Registered criminals classified as sexual predators or repeat or violent offenders will have to carry a 15-ounce tracking device if they leave their home. A satellite tracks the person's location and alerts probation officers when they travel too close to a victim's residence or office.

   Cell phone towers transmit the real-time information to probation officers. In the mountains, where cell phone service is tricky, the offender's movement will be downloaded daily when they come home and recharge the unit.

   Guy said he knew of only six registered sex offenders that will be equipped with the device.

Chris Nichols Nichols Law Firm

www.NicholsTrialLaw.com 1.800.906.5984