Kristina's Feed
Oct 10, 2015

California governor approves bill to help immigrant crime victims

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill designed to help undocumented immigrants who are victims of violent crime, by introducing time limits on law enforcement’s response to their U.S. visa applications in an attempt to standardize police forces’ uneven treatment of applicants.

The federal government grants visas to undocumented immigrants who help law enforcement try to catch criminals. The so-called U visa allows the recipient to live and work in the United States for four years, but to apply, a victim must first ask local law enforcement to verify their cooperation.

Sep 22, 2015

Special Report: Elected judges more likely to affirm death sentences, analysis finds

By Dan Levine and Kristina Cooke

(Reuters) – SAN FRANCISCO – When Ohio’s Supreme Court last October backed the death penalty for Ashford Thompson, the ruling was close. Three of the seven justices felt that Thompson, convicted of killing a cop during a traffic stop, should have received life without parole. One called the shooting a tragic misunderstanding.

Two of the four judges who voted to uphold the death penalty were also in the middle of an election campaign to keep their seats. The same month the ruling was published, television ads lauded one of them, Justice Judith French, for one of her previous votes in favor of death.

Sep 4, 2015

California passes bill to help immigrant crime victim visa applicants

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – California legislators have voted to help undocumented immigrants who are victims of violent crime by introducing time limits on law enforcement’s response to their U.S. visa applications, in an attempt to standardize police forces’ uneven treatment of applicants.

The federal government grants visas to undocumented immigrants who help law enforcement try to catch criminals. The so-called U visa allows the recipient to live and work in the United States for four years, but to apply, a victim must first ask local law enforcement to verify their cooperation.

Sep 2, 2015

Special Report: Renowned U.S. drug-rehab program spun out of control

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Martin Szczupak had already been in and out of rehab when, for a misdemeanor possession charge, a judge sent the 21-year-old heroin addict to a century-old estate in the wooded hills of upstate New York for another chance to clean up.

Belle Terre, the former home of a 19th-century copper baron, housed the 168-bed Phoenix House Delaware County Center, a private, nonprofit residential drug treatment facility. When Szczupak arrived in June 2012, all was not well behind Belle Terre’s stately walls.

Aug 5, 2015

Banned Medicaid providers still participate in some states, report says

By Kristina Cooke and M.B. Pell

(Reuters) – Hundreds of medical providers banned from a Medicaid program in one state are able to take part in another state’s program despite regulations designed to stop them, according to a report by an independent federal auditor to be released on Wednesday.

The continued participation of banned providers leaves state Medicaid programs for the poor and disabled vulnerable to fraud, waste and abuse, according to the study, which says the problem reflects a struggle by states to communicate with one another.

Jul 24, 2015

Special Report: How Sony sanitized Adam Sandler movie to please Chinese censors

HONG KONG/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – In a 2013 script for the movie “Pixels,” intergalactic aliens blast a hole in one of China’s national treasures – the Great Wall.

That scene is gone from the final version of the sci-fi comedy, starring Adam Sandler and released by Sony Pictures Entertainment this week in the United States. The aliens strike iconic sites elsewhere, smashing the Taj Mahal in India, the Washington Monument and parts of Manhattan.

Jul 24, 2015

How Sony sanitized Adam Sandler movie to please Chinese censors

HONG KONG/LOS ANGELES, July 24 (Reuters) – In a 2013 script
for the movie “Pixels,” intergalactic aliens blast a hole in one
of China’s national treasures – the Great Wall.

That scene is gone from the final version of the sci-fi
comedy, starring Adam Sandler and released by Sony Pictures
Entertainment this week in the United States. The aliens strike
iconic sites elsewhere, smashing the Taj Mahal in India, the
Washington Monument and parts of Manhattan.

Apr 29, 2015

Special Report: Banned from Medicare, still billing Medicaid

NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – A doctor who took kickbacks from a Pennsylvania hospice involved in a multimillion-dollar fraud. An Ohio psychiatrist who billed for treating no-show patients. A Georgia optometrist who claimed he conducted 177 eye exams in one day.

Their transgressions vary. What these doctors have in common is that each was paid by a state Medicaid health insurance program after being kicked out of another state’s Medicaid system or the federal Medicare program.

Apr 29, 2015

Figuring out who can bill Medicare and Medicaid, and who can’t

By M.B. Pell and Kristina Cooke

(Reuters) – To determine how many healthcare providers were banned from Medicare or a state Medicaid program while still allowed to bill Medicaid in another state, Reuters compared states’ lists of approved providers against lists of providers terminated by other states or Medicare on a specific date in 2014.

In response to open-records requests, all states and the District of Columbia supplied approved-provider lists. Only 23 states supplied terminated-provider lists, as did the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency that administers Medicare, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General.

Apr 29, 2015

Banned from Medicare, still billing Medicaid

NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO, April 29 (Reuters) – A doctor who
took kickbacks from a Pennsylvania hospice involved in a
multimillion-dollar fraud. An Ohio psychiatrist who billed for
treating no-show patients. A Georgia optometrist who claimed he
conducted 177 eye exams in one day.

Their transgressions vary. What these doctors have in common
is that each was paid by a state Medicaid health insurance
program after being kicked out of another state’s Medicaid
system or the federal Medicare program.

    • About Kristina

      "Kristina Cooke is an investigative reporter based in San Francisco. Before joining Reuters, she worked at CNN International and The Economist's "World In" journal. She studied International Relations and History at the London School of Economics and grew up in Karlsruhe, Germany. Write to Kristina: kristina.cooke@thomsonreuters.com Follow her on Twitter: @kristinacooke"
      Joined Reuters:
      2005
      Languages:
      English, German, Spanish, Japanese
      Awards:
      Deadline Club, 2010
      Front Page Award, 2011
      New York Press Club, 2013
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