ProfNet Experts Available on Gun Control and the Mentally Ill, Medicare/Medicaid Fraud, More

Also in This Edition: Jobs for Writers, Media Industry Blog Posts

Jan 08, 2016, 08:15 ET from ProfNet

NEW YORK, Jan. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Below are experts from the ProfNet network that are available to discuss timely issues in your coverage area.

You can also submit a query to the hundreds of thousands of experts in our network – it's easy and free! Just fill out the query form to get started:


  • False Medicare/Medicaid Claims Cost Taxpayers Billions
  • New Gun Control Rule Allows Doctors to Report Mentally Ill Patients to FBI
  • Building Awareness of Child Abuse
  • The Philosophy of 'Star Wars'
  • Tips and Advice to Enhance Your Dating Profile


  • Managing Editor – LA Weekly (CA)
  • Public Transportation Writer – Chicago Tribune (IL)
  • Digital Content Producer – FOX31 (CO)
  • Staff Writer/Reporter – Faribault County Register (MN)


  • Top 10 Blog Posts of 2015
  • Developing a Video Strategy for 2016
  • Upcoming Twitter Q&A: How to Push Your Creativity in 2016


False Medicare/Medicaid Claims Cost Taxpayers Billions
David Kwok
Assistant Professor
University of Houston Law Center
The federal government is cracking down on healthcare fraud that annually costs taxpayers billions of dollars in false Medicare and Medicaid claims. The courts, however, have differed on what constitutes fraud under the False Claims Act. It's clear that fraud has been committed when the government is billed for services that have not actually been provided, but what about when a provider knowingly fails to meet certain regulatory standards? Is it legally fraud or simply a matter requiring remediation? Some courts seem concerned that penalties for violations are too high for the apparent harm, while other decisions hinged on whether a medical practitioner's "certification" with regulations was expressed or implied. Kwok can explain the complexities of the "whistleblower" case of Universal Health Services v. United States ex rel. Escobar, for which the Supreme Court granted cert on Dec. 4, and how it might reshape the government's efforts to recover fraudulent payments.
Says Kwok: "My main hope is that the Supreme Court articulates clear reasoning that will help both whistleblowers and companies understand when fraud is being committed. A clear, unified rule that makes it easier for non-attorneys to understand fraud will benefit all parties involved."
Based in Houston, Kwok earned a B.S. from Northwestern University, and M.P.P., J.D., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of California, Berkeley.  He teaches and writes in the areas of white-collar crime, public policy, and law and the social sciences.
Contact: Carrie Criado,

New Gun Control Rule Allows Doctors to Report Mentally Ill Patients to FBI
Dr. Frieda Birnbaum
Research Psychologist, Psychoanalyst
The Obama administration on Monday finalized a rule that enables health care providers to report the names of mentally ill patients to an FBI firearms background check system. The action was one of a series of steps that President Obama had called for in January 2013 in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., shootings to curb gun violence, but the rule was not published until today. Says Birnbaum: "The new gun control rule has forever changed the doctor/patient relationship, as confidentiality will no longer be protected. A positive aspect is that if a psychologist deems an individual to be a physical threat or someone capable of violence towards others, they can report that individual to the FBI. A negative aspect of this rule is that some people may forgo counseling because they fear their doctor will report them to the FBI regardless even if they are non-violent. The definition of someone who is "mentally ill' is so broad and expansive. Most of us probably assume a mentally ill person is a violent person. However, a mentally ill person can also be someone overcome by post-traumatic stress disorder or one who suffers from high anxiety or one who is depressed. Why should these people who show no indication of intent to harm others be discriminated against and lose their right to own a firearm?"
Contact: Ryan McCormick,

Building Awareness of Child Abuse
Michael Ian Bender
The Law Office of Michael Ian Bender
"Whether it's a respected local authority figure or an all-star national athlete being accused of alleged abuse against a child, it's daunting to hear that awareness of this unacceptable behavior is not necessarily leading to its elimination. It's an issue that needs to be discussed openly so that awareness leads to education and ultimately, the end of any type of abuse against children."
With most recent U.S. statistics estimating that close to 700,000 children were victims of abuse and neglect, Bender advocates tirelessly for the rights and well-being of children. He served as Cook County, Ill., Judge in the Domestic Relations Division. He now draws upon his experience to help mothers, fathers, and grandparents confidentially resolve their family related disputes outside of the public courtroom through the mediation process. He welcomes the opportunity to share his insights on this very important and timely topic, the resources that are available to parents who are struggling, and the steps parents can take to stop the abuse from starting.
ProfNet Profile:
Contact: Victoria Walden,

The Philosophy of 'Star Wars'
Steven Scalet
Professor, Division of Legal, Ethical and Historical Studies
University of Baltimore Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences
"'Star Wars' is an adventure in philosophy, alongside its action and adventure. People of all ages can be gripped by the sense of big questions. Writings from the history of philosophy shed light on how to think about the story, its themes, and our enduring fascination with this cultural icon."
Professor Scalet will lead a spring 2016 course, "Philosophy and Star Wars," which will examine the ethical, philosophical and theological ideas raised by the films. Students will learn how the seven movies track themes that are part of the history of philosophy, and how "Star Wars" raises elemental questions that humankind has been asking in one way or another for millennia: Is there anything like "the Force" in reality? Do we have free will or are we destined? How should we resolve conflict? Scalet, who teaches and writes in the University's Division of Legal, Ethical and Historical Studies, will lead students on a tour of fundamental philosophical ideas as they relate to the "Star Wars" epic.
Contact: Chris Hart,

Tips and Advice to Enhance Your Dating Profile
Anita Covic
Communications Specialist
AnastasiaDate and AsianDate
With January the peak month for online dating, Covic offers the following tips for readers to enhance their dating profile: "1) Fill out your profile. It's much easier to match with like-minded members when your interests and hobbies are included on your profile. It may seem tedious while doing it, when you're itching to start meeting new people, but your future self will thank you for taking the time. 2) Embrace the culture. Talking to a man in Greece or a girl in China? Do a little background research on the culture in their part of the world. It will help you to better understand where they're coming from as an individual so you can best connect. 3) Be honest with yourself and the other person. Looking for some someone to talk to? Casual companionship? A legit relationship? Be upfront about your goals in creating an account. Let the other person know. Maybe you're hesitant to risk things with that stunner you just started chatting with, but it will ensure that you both have the same goals in mind -- increasing the chance of a great experience."
Contact: Mark Goldman,



Following are links to job listings for staff and freelance writers, editors and producers. You can view these and more job listings on our Job Board:

  • Managing Editor – LA Weekly (CA)
  • Public Transportation Writer – Chicago Tribune (IL)
  • Digital Content Producer – FOX31 (CO)
  • Staff Writer/Reporter – Faribault County Register (MN)



Following are links to other news and resources we think you might find useful. If you have an item you think other reporters would be interested in and would like us to include in a future alert, please drop us a line.

  • TOP 10 BLOG POSTS OF 2015. We had a lot of fantastic content on ProfNet Connect last year, but we know you're busy and might have missed a few posts here and there. So, to recap the year, here are the top 10 blog posts of 2015:
  • DEVELOPING A VIDEO STRATEGY FOR 2016. If you hope to engage with consumers online, it's important to have a well-documented video strategy -- particularly in an age where mobile has virtually everything caught in its crosshairs. Half of all video views in the year ahead will be on mobile devices, and adults in the U.S. now watch about one-hour and 16-minutes of video on mobile devices. Here are six steps to develop a creative content strategy:
  • UPCOMING TWITTER Q&A: HOW TO PUSH YOUR CREATIVITY IN 2016. In the spirit of the new year, we are kicking off our first #ConnectChat of 2016 with some creative inspiration. Creativity is the cornerstone of problem solving, regardless of whether or not you consider yourself to be the "creative type." It involves taking chances and learning how to get out of your own perspective. As content creators, there's always the pressure to set the bar higher, so we sought the help of Laura Ryan, creativity expert and business consultant at LAMA Innovation, for her advice on how can writers, brands and other innovators can resolve to be more creative in 2016:


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