NEWS STORIES

Rising hospice care concerns?Submitted: 02/19/2014

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WOODRUFF - By 2015, 3 out of 10 people in Wisconsin will be considered part of the aging population.

But the issue of whether or not hospice facilities are draining Medicare for a profit is a nationwide issue.

“When those articles came out, those national articles, we were upset and hurt," said Leslie Schmidt, admissions coordinator at Seasons of Life Hospice Care. Unfortunately, our agency gets lumped into and we are very proud of what we do here at Ministry [Health Care]."

Schmidt is talking about a recent Wsshington Post article that states, “the number of “hospice survivors” in the United States has risen dramatically, in part because hospice companies earn more by recruiting patients who aren’t actually dying.”

Schmidt believes that accusation spoils the benefit of hospice care.

"It creates an inherit distrust for the services that are provided, that are legitimate, caring services that are provided by people who do good work, said Schmidt.”

Some hospice patients are sent home because their Medicare benefits are revoked.

“That’s why Medicare has very clearly defined guidelines of what the last six months of someone’s life looks like.”

Schmidt doesn’t deny that Medicare fraud in the hospice care industry exists, but she doesn’t want that to take away from good work that hospice care providers do.

“[Those] kinds of stories in particular are stories of interest. In that story, the people and the agencies that do good work, which are following the rules of Medicare, and other insurance programs get lost.”

It’s possible that the meaning of hospice is changing. Fewer people are dying in hospice care, but more people are relying on it.

“The biggest misconception is that hospice is a place that people go to at the end of life," said Melissa Salaam, who is the patience care supervisor at Ministry. Really, what it is, is the hospice teams comes to them, wherever they call home.”

For registered nurse Chris Reed-Roeser, being a hospice caregiver is a dignified job to have.

“There are two things that I feel are the best part of my job. One being; that I work with an awesome group of people. I work with people who feel the same passion about end of life care as I do," said Reed-Roeser. "Secondly, going home at night and just knowing that you made a difference.”








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 IN OTHER NEWS
Correction: Northwoods man initially charged with attempted homicide, takes plea deal Submitted: 04/23/2014

LAC DU FLAMBEAU - We want to correct a mistake we made in our Newscasts at ten last night and again this morning.

The story was about 31-year old James Peterson of Lac du Flambeau, who accepted a plea deal.

We wrongly said he had originally been charged with first degree intentional homicide.

He actually had been charged with attempted first degree intentional homicide, and was convicted of reduced charges.

We apologize for that error.

Witnesses told police Peterson showed up to a party with a knife and drunkenly started a fight.

Other witnesses say Peterson was attacked.

This week he accepted a plea deal.

Peterson pleaded no contest to hurting someone by carelessly using a weapon.

He was also found guilty of a second O-W-I.

Peterson will find out his sentence in August.

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Home sales down in Wisconsin for MarchSubmitted: 04/23/2014

MADISON - Home sales in Wisconsin fell 11 percent in March compared to the same period a year ago.

The chilly winter might be part of the reason.

The Wisconsin Realtors Association says the spring selling season got off to a slow start.

Things might improve along with the weather.

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Sen. Tammy Baldwin talking politics at Marquette University Submitted: 04/23/2014

MILWAUKEE - Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin is scheduled to talk politics during an hour-long forum at Marquette University in Milwaukee.

Baldwin's office says she'll discuss health care reform, immigration, minimum wage and Washington's political divide at Wednesday's event.

The 52-year-old was elected to the Senate in 2012. She previously spent 14 years in Congress, and before that was in the state Assembly for six years.

She serves on the Senate's budget committee, as well as committees involving homeland security, health, aging and natural resources.

A Marquette Law School poll last month said her favorable and unfavorable ratings were both 35 percent. Another 27 percent said they didn't know enough about her to form an opinion.

The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

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Wisconsin DNR to hand out turkey certificatesSubmitted: 04/22/2014

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MADISON - Wisconsin wildlife officials say they're going to hand out personalized certificates to successful first-time turkey hunters this year.

The Department of Natural Resources says hunters can fill out information about when and where they killed the bird as well as information on its weight and spur length on the agency's website. Hunters also can submit a photo of themselves with their turkeys.

The agency will send the certificates out electronically within a few weeks of receiving the information.

The certificate program will run during both the spring and fall hunts.

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Father facing charges connected to false cancer claims from daughterSubmitted: 04/22/2014

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MERRILL - A Merrill man will face charges in connection to his daughter’s false cancer claim.

Police believe 57-year-old Edmund Winchell took advantage of businesses by asking for donations and putting out collection containers at their stores.

His daughter 19-year-old Celina Winchell posted statuses on Facebook late last year saying she had cancer.

A pizzeria employee in Wausau saw the post and offered to put a donation jar at the store. The problem is Winchell never had cancer. She faces two charges in Marathon County.

Her father Edmund Winchell now faces 18 charges including obstructing an officer and false representation.

The criminal complaint shows the family was having financial problems.

Edmund Winchell will be back in court in May.

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2 fined for mistreating dairy cowsSubmitted: 04/22/2014

GREEN BAY - Two people convicted of mistreating cows at a Brown County dairy farm have been fined hundreds of dollars.

Lucia Martinez pleaded no contest Tuesday to two counts of mistreating animals, and Abelardo Jaimes pleaded no contest to one count. As part of a plea deal the charge was downgraded from a misdemeanor to a forfeiture.

Prosecutor David Lasee says with fines and court costs, Martinez will owe about $1,100, while Jaimes will have to pay $600 to $700.

Martinez, Jaimes and two others were charged after Mercy for Animals, an animal-rights group, secretly recorded workers beating injured cows.

Jaimes' attorney, Luca Lopes Fagundes, says workers were told they needed to make sure sick cows didn't remain down because they could die.

A message left with Martinez's attorney wasn't immediately returned.

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Rhinelander receives award to upgrade sewersSubmitted: 04/22/2014

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RHINELANDER - Leaders in a Northwoods community want to make sure that their untreated waste water doesn't get into lakes and rivers.

That's why they applied for an award that will help them upgrade the sewers.

The city of Rhinelander won the award today.

The city got $3,754,000 in grants and loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to improve its downtown sewers.

Leaders say a flood with the current system could hurt local waterways.

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