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With the Ravens coming off a 10-6 season that included a return to the playoffs after a one-year absence, the job this winter will be to augment a roster that has plenty of talent but clear deficiencies at several spots.However, with a poor salary-cap situation and only so many holes that can be filled through the draft, the Ravens will lean on a handful of young players already on the roster to emerge and make a difference with another year of experience under their belts.Below are five young players the Ravens will need more from in order to build on their 2014 campaign:1. S Matt ElamThrough two years, it’s no secret that Elam has looked like the worst defensive first-round pick in franchise history, but the Ravens aren’t going to give up on the University of Florida product as quickly as many fans would like. In fairness, the 5-foot-10 safety was asked to play out of position for a second straight year — playing extensively at the nickel due to injuries — but leading the team in missed tackles doesn’t make a good argument for him to be the starting strong safety, either. Elam needs to take advantage of this offseason to improve after admitting he didn’t handle his demotion well in terms of putting in good effort during practices. Baltimore won’t pencil him in as a starter, so Elam needs to take advantage of his opportunities this summer.2. TE Crockett GillmoreThe 2014 third-round pick had a solid rookie campaign considering he was supposed to be the No. 3 tight end entering the year, but the Ravens hope the signs he showed as a receiver late in the year will translate to more production in 2015. With Dennis Pitta’s future unclear and Owen Daniels scheduled to become a free agent, Gillmore is the most reliable option the Ravens currently have at the position. Even if those veterans return, Gillmore will be counted on more in the passing game after proving himself as a capable blocker. General manager Ozzie Newsome will likely look to address the tight end position this offseason, but Gillmore’s continued development would go a long way in helping quarterback Joe Flacco next season.3. DE Brent UrbanNormally, it’d be unfair to include a player on this list who’s coming off a season-ending knee injury suffered in his first training camp, but veteran Chris Canty may retire or be released and reserve Lawrence Guy is a free agent, meaning the Ravens will hope the fourth-round pick can be a factor at the 5-technique defensive end position in 2015. The organization loved Urban’s 6-foot-7, 295-pound frame coming out of Virginia, and the timing of his injury last summer would presumably allow him to be a full participant in training camp this summer. It’s unlikely that Urban will simply be penciled in as the starter with veteran DeAngelo Tyson still on the roster, but the Ravens drafted him last May with visions of him eventually replacing Canty.4. S Terrence BrooksThe season-ending knee injury the 2014 third-round pick suffered in December ended a disappointing first year for the Florida State product, who often looked unsure of himself in coverage and gave up big plays at a few critical junctures. The emergence of Will Hill in the second half of the season brought some stability to the position, but Hill’s off-field baggage is good reason for Brooks to be ready to seize opportunities when he’s healthy enough to get back on the field. Last May, the Ravens had to be hoping that Brooks and Elam would be their starting safety tandem for years to come, but both have much to prove going into the 2015 season. Unfortunately, getting healthy is the first item on the offseason agenda for the athletic Brooks.5. LB Arthur BrownWhen you’re active for only four games and can’t even get on the field as a special-teams contributor, what else needs to be said for a second-round pick after two seasons? It wasn’t surprising to see Brown’s defensive role diminish — he saw time as a nickel linebacker as a rookie — after C.J. Mosley was selected in the first round, but the Ravens regularly going with undrafted rookie Zachary Orr for special teams on game days didn’t speak well for Brown’s athleticism. So, why not simply admit he was a bust and move on? Mosley and Daryl Smith remained healthy enough to play over 1,000 snaps each in 2014. The odds suggest that’s unlikely to happen again, so it’d be nice to see Brown improve enough to at least become a solid backup in his third year.
WASHINGTON | Call it drugs for the departed: Medicare’s prescription program kept paying for costly medications even after patients were dead.The problem was traced back to a head-scratching bureaucratic rule that’s now getting a second look.A report coming out Friday from the Health and Human Services Department’s inspector general says the Medicare rule allows payment for prescriptions filled up to 32 days after a patient’s death — at odds with the program’s basic principles, not to mention common sense.“Drugs for deceased beneficiaries are clearly not medically indicated, which is a requirement for (Medicare) coverage,” the IG report said. It urged immediate changes to eliminate or restrict the payment policy.Medicare said it’s working on a fix.Investigators examined claims from 2012 for a tiny sliver of Medicare drugs — medications to treat HIV, the virus that causes AIDS — and then cross-referenced them with death records. They found that the program paid for drugs for 158 beneficiaries after they were already dead. The cost to taxpayers: $292,381, an average of $1,850 for each beneficiary.Medicare’s “current practices allowed most of these payments to occur,” the report said.Of 348 prescriptions dispensed for the dead beneficiaries, nearly half were filled more than a week after the patient died. Sometimes multiple prescriptions were filled on behalf of a single dead person.Investigators don’t know what happened to the medications obtained on behalf of dead people, but some may have been diverted to the underground market for prescription medicines. The report said HIV drugs can be targets for fraud since they can be very expensive; one common HIV drug costs about $1,700 for a month’s supply, it said.Medicare is the government’s premier health insurance program, providing coverage to about 55 million seniors and disabled people. Prescription coverage delivered through private insurance plans began in 2006 as a major expansion of the program. But it’s also been a target for scams.The report did not estimate the potential financial impact across the $85 billion-a-year Medicare prescription program known as Part D. But investigators believe the waste may add up to millions of dollars.“The exposure for the entire Part D program could be significant,” said Miriam Anderson, team leader on the report. “The payment policy is the same for all drugs, whether they are $2,000 drugs to treat HIV or $4 generic drugs.”In a formal response, Medicare agreed with the investigators’ recommendations.“After reviewing this report, (Medicare) has had preliminary discussions with the industry to revisit the need for a 32-day window,” wrote Marilyn Tavenner, the Obama administration’s Medicare chief.Medicare had originally maintained that the date of service listed in the billing records could instead reflect when a pharmacy submitted bills for payment. That billing date might have actually occurred after a prescription was filled, since some nursing home and institutional pharmacies submit their bills in monthly bundles.However, the inspector general’s investigators found that about 80 percent of the prescriptions for dead beneficiaries were filled at neighborhood pharmacies, undercutting Medicare’s first explanation. As for the remainder, the investigators said they didn’t see any reason pharmacies can’t report an accurate date of service.Investigators said they stumbled on the problem during an examination of coverage for AIDS drugs dispensed to Medicare beneficiaries. Sexually transmitted diseases are an increasingly recognized problem among older people.That earlier investigation raised questions about expensive medications billed on behalf of nearly 1,600 Medicare recipients.Some had no HIV diagnosis in their records, but they were prescribed the drugs anyway. Others were receiving excessively large supplies of medications. Several were getting prescriptions filled from an unusually large number of pharmacies.Prescription drug fraud has many angles. When the high price of a drug puts it out of reach for certain patients, it can create an underground market. And some medications, like painkillers and anti-anxiety pills, are constantly sought after by people with substance-abuse issues.___
The Constitution is clear on dissolution of Parliament and elections. There are three scenarios. First, Parliament stands dissolved on the last day of a full five-year term and elections must be held within three months. Second, Parliament stands dissolved on a date named by the President before the full five-year and elections are required within three months. Third, Parliament stands dissolved upon a successful No-Confidence Motion (NCM) and elections are due within three months. There is nothing ambiguous in any of these circumstances. Guyana’s constitution also provides for a full-time elections commission, the purpose of which is continuous elections-readiness to cater for the above circumstances.No amount of double-speak by Guyana’s Attorney General (AG) can change any of these scenario provided for by the Constitution. Unfortunately, on the AG’s advice and his strategising, the Government has rendered the constitution nothing more than a piece of paper, held up the judiciary as a toothless poodle and shamelessly uses GECOM as a party instrument.On Monday, August 5, 2019, the AG told an audience, including prominent professionals, business people and diplomats from the ABCE countries, the David Granger-led APNU+AFC will abide by the decision of GECOM, if GECOM says elections before September 18.Outside of the political sycophants, not a soul believe the AG. APNU+AFC has already set the condition, defying the September 18th timeframe, by demanding an illegal house-to-house registration. The AG did not say they will give up this demand. Whenever in a situation demanding reasonableness, they setup a mine field to blowup all reasonableness.The AG’s minefield insists GECOM must set the time for elections. The constitution says the President chooses a specific election date. But the constitution does not permit either the President or GECOM, nor does the constitution allows anyone else to determine the timeline for an election. The dates for an election are always determined by a timeline established by the constitution. It is always within three-months of the dissolution of Parliament which happens automatically on the last day of a full five-year term, or on a date chosen by the President anytime before the last day of a full-five-year term or automatically upon a successful NCM.On a successful NCM, Parliament stands dissolved on the date of the NCM and elections MUST be held within three-months. For those who have not read or refuse to understand the constitution, the CCJ affirms this fact. On December 21, 2018, this is exactly what happened in Guyana and, therefore, elections were due on or before March 21st, 2019. The date had to be chosen by the President, but not any date, at his whims and fancies, it had to be a date on or before March 21st. While he could have sought advice from GECOM, GECOM was bound to be prepared for elections and advice on a date within that timeframe. It is now water under the bridge, elections were not held and, because of the involvement of the judiciary, a pause was enforced. The CCJ made it clear, however, the three-month timeline is the law and, in effect, restarted a new countdown, beginning June 18th and ending September 18. The President had to choose a date within that timeframe, not any date he wants. Seeking GECOM’s advice is legitimate, but whatever date GECOM proffered to the President, it had to be within that timeframe.Recklessly, in promising APNU+AFC will accept GECOM’s advice, the AG also insists GECOM is not constrained by the three-month deadline. In fact, the constitution is not ambiguous, it does not subscribe to the double-speak of the AG, it is clear as crystal. The constitution demands the President chooses a date within the strict timeline. Which date within that strict deadline he chooses could be informed by GECOM’s advice, but GECOM does not have any role or any power to change the timeframe, nor does anyone else.GECOM, in fact, stated categorically on December 27th it was prepared to conduct elections within the three-month timeframe that ended on March 21st. GECOM has also stated it can refresh the electoral list available under the mandatory claims and objections process for elections to be held by September 18th. Nothing can change that date, unless the President, with assurances, obtain the agreement of the Leader of the Opposition to extend the date. While we await the ruling of the Chief Justice next Wednesday, the new Chair of GECOM should proceed with an election preparation that adheres to the constitutional timeline. i.e., on or before September 18th. The clock is ticking and there is no room for dilly-dallying.