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About AHCJ: General News

Chicago chapter's kickoff meeting yields scoop Date: 05/23/07

April 23, 2007

CHICAGO - The kickoff meeting of the Chicago chapter of AHCJ drew about 20 people who got a scoop: the first word of a report on Medicare-funded hospices by the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. An OIG staff member gave a summary, highlighting findings on Illinois hospices - all in advance of the report's official release.

HHS Inspector General Daniel Levinson, the featured speaker, brought along several staff members who talked about their work. In his remarks, Levinson said news coverage of investigations, audits and recommendations help his office establish the respect of lawmakers.

"The power of our office is captured in the term 'credibility,'" Levinson said. "The press, the media plays such an important role."

Looking ahead, Levinson said the Medicare drug benefit will generate fraud investigations of drug plan sponsors, marketing agencies and pharmacies. He advised reporters to watch for those stories on the horizon.

Levinson and his colleagues joined the journalists for a reception following the meeting. Columbia College generously donated use of a classroom and reception area for the April 23 event.

Participants will help plan future Chicago chapter events with help from steering committee members.

The Chicago chapter steering committee:
Carla K. Johnson, The Associated Press
Mark Taylor, Modern Healthcare
Len Strazewski, Columbia College
Mary Chris Jaklevic, freelance writer, Northwestern University
Duncan Moore, Bloomberg News

To get involved, contact Carla K. Johnson.