‘One of the largest cases of its kind’: Feds indict 80 people in $6 million fraud, money laundering scheme

first_imgRawf8/iStock(LOS ANGELES) — U.S. federal prosecutors have announced a 252-count indictment charging 80 people, mostly Nigerian nationals, with being part of a widespread conspiracy to steal millions of dollars through a variety of scams and then launder the money.The federal grand jury indictment was unsealed Thursday after authorities arrested 14 defendants across the United States, including 11 in the Los Angeles area, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. Three other defendants were already in federal custody. Six defendants believed to be in the country are fugitives, while the dozens of remaining defendants live in other nations, mainly Nigeria.U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said the defendants allegedly used various “sophisticated” online fraud schemes to prey upon businesses, elderly individuals and people who may have been susceptible to a romance-related scam.“We believe this is one of the largest cases of its kind in U.S. history,” Hanna told reporters at a press conference Thursday. “We are taking a major step to disrupt these criminal networks.”Paul Delacourt, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, said the defendants defrauded victims out of around $10 million and attempted to steal at least another $40 million.Billions of dollars are lost each year through these types of frauds, according to Delacourt. In the first seven months of 2019, more than 14,000 people filed complaints with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center alleging they were victims of business email compromise, or BEC, scams, reporting total losses of almost $1.1 billion“This crime is growing exponentially in terms of losses and victims,” Delacourt told reporters at Thursday’s press conference. “While we are happy to announce these charges today, we are not going to arrest our way out of this problem, and so we continue to educate potential victims.”The lead defendants named in the 145-page indictment are Valentine Iro, 31, and Chukwudi Christogunus Igbokwe, 38, both Nigerian citizens who live in California and were among those arrested Thursday morning. Prosecutors allege that the pair essentially operated as “brokers of fraudulent bank accounts.”Co-conspirators based in Nigeria, the United States and other nations contacted Iro and Igbokwe for bank and money-service accounts that could receive funds fraudulently obtained from victims. Once co-conspirators convinced victims to send money under false pretenses, Iro and Igbokwe allegedly coordinated the receipt of funds and oversaw an extensive money-laundering network based out of Los Angeles, according to the indictment.Prosecutors allege Iro and Igbokwe did all this in exchange for a cut of the stolen money.The indictment stems from a yearslong investigation led by the FBI. Iro, Igbokwe and another Nigerian defendant named in the indictment, 39-year-old Chuks Eroha, face additional charges for attempting to destroy their cellphones when the FBI executed a search warrant in 2017 at Iro’s apartment in Carson, California. Iro allegedly broke his phone in half while Igbokwe and Eroha allegedly threw their phones out a window seconds after FBI agents knocked on the apartment door. Eroha is believed to have fled to Nigeria shortly after the search.“In the days ahead,” Delacourt said, “we will be working with our foreign counterparts in nine countries to apprehend 57 additional defendants.”Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Hand it all over

first_img Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Hand it all overOn 1 Jun 2001 in Personnel Today Peopletasks have been passed down to line managers in recent years, but withoperations spreading across the world, HR increasingly relies on technology tospread the workload, says Sally O’Reilly It’sa truism that global HR managers need to think strategically, rather than spendtheir time on routine administration. But achieving that goal isn’t alwayseasy. And while devolving some of the day-to-day responsibility to linemanagers has, for some years, been seen as one of the solutions, increasing workpressures have made it difficult for line managers to take on additional peoplemanagement roles. Forglobal firms, this has been further complicated by the sheer scale of theiroperation, and the legal and cultural variations in different countries. Now,however, technology seems to be unblocking the log jam, and global IT companiessuch as Cisco Systems and Oracle are leading by example. “Technologyis the enabler to provide the type of information in real time which gives linemanagers the ability to take on more HR responsibilities,” says PetraElliott, managing consultant with Chicago-based management consultancy HewittAssociates, which works in 40 countries across the world. “Prior to theexistence of portals, it was difficult to give line managers this type ofinformation.” Forinstance, while line managers could be given relatively static informationabout the pay received by an individual employee, they couldn’t be given themeans to look at different pay options for that person. For global firms, therewas the additional difficulty of maintaining consistency and control across theorganisation. Elliotbelieves there is an obvious reason why technology firms have now taken thelead in this area. “IT companies have more consistent technology platformsto base this on,” she says. “To work effectively, the softwareproducts need to be flexible enough to host the appropriate content, and toallow flexibility to evolve over time. Any firm with a devolved HR system inplace needs to keep up with corporate change caused by mergers and acquisitionsor developments in business strategy and hiring profile.”Areasthat can be most effectively devolved using IT include performance management,career development, e-learning and salary review. Line managers can also haveinstant access to information about HR functions which have been outsourced –such as pensions, flexible benefits and induction processes. In companiesoperating globally, a unified system for storing and retrieving information isan essential tool for HR departments. KevinDelany, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, says that this is another field inwhich the US leads the way. “There are different markets and differentfactors across the world, but this approach to devolving HR is mostly happeningin the US and Europe. For instance, General Electric has devolved peoplemanagement down the line.”CiscoSystems is another major US firm that has used IT to devolve HR. The company,which employs over 43,000 staff worldwide, provides computing devices andcomputer networks to client companies, which allow them to access or transferinformation across the globe, and sells its products in around 115 countries.It also uses the Internet to streamline nearly every aspect of its own internalbusiness – a method of working known in the US technology industry as”eating your own dog food”. Employeesarrange benefits, file expense forms and complete training programmes on-line,while managers use it to monitor staff performance. A typical Cisco employee isestimated to tap into the company intranet more than 30 times a day. Prospectiveemployees are also encouraged to apply on-line – and more than 80% use thismethod. Much of the company’s training also takes place on the Web – forinstance, the company posts audio-visual presentations about new acquisitions,products and technology. YochananAltman, professor of international HRM at the University of North London and anindependent consultant who has worked in France, Austria, Hungary, Israel,Australia and Hong Kong, warns that the Anglo-Saxon background of thisIT-enabled trend could cause global firms to overlook national differences.Technology makes the process more efficient, but not less complicated. “Youhave to be cautious about delegating too much to the line without taking intoaccount the legal framework in the country you are operating in – for instance,Marks & Spencer made this mistake in France when it tried to close down anoperation without going through a 30-day consultation period,” he says. “Often,you have to have staff of a certain position in the hierarchy to make decisions– in Belgium, which has the highest union density of any country in Europe,there are certain matters which have to be dealt with by staff at board level.”So,whatever system is used to streamline and focus global HR policy, there aresome areas of responsibility that senior personnel managers will need toretain. But Vance Kearney, European HR director with Oracle (see case study),says that if IT systems are thought through by HR managers strategically enoughat the outset, such considerations can be built into the overall strategy. Andit is possible to create a new way of operating a personnel strategy which canreact to changes and developments as they occur. “WhereHR involvement is key, is in drawing up the right system in the firstplace,” he stresses. “You have to have a common language, by which Idon’t mean English, but an agreed way of defining such things as jobs, skillsand staff turnover. Everything needs to be standardised across thecompany.” That means acknowledging national differences and the need forregional flexibility while still building a consistent system. “If thereis too much compromise across international borders, then everybody will bedoing everything slightly differently – and that is a recipe fordisaster,” he asserts. “Andyou won’t be able to take advantage of new technologies as they arise, becauseit won’t be a case of switching off the old way, and turning on the new, but oftrying to switch off 200 old ways – which could literally take years. You haveto take a very strong leadership position and be determined to fix it once –for everybody.”PetraElliott of Hewitt Associates agrees, and says that this calls for improved linksbetween IT and HR staff at senior level. “There has to be a strong bridgebetween HR and IT,” she says. “Both sides need to consider thepotential of the other when developing new products or introducing newpolicies.”Shesees IT staff as offering not only the means for personnel strategies to bedevolved to the line, but also as role models for HR managers who are seekinggreater corporate influence. “IT has really risen in importance in thepast five or six years – the CIO is now one of the most important people on theboard,” she points out. “And HR is going down the same route.”Tipsfor devolving HRDevolvingHR has enormous implications for an organisation, says Adrian Hobbs, COO of HRPayroll at Microsoft Great Plains Business Solutions. He offers somefundamental points to help ensure successful implementation and fullorganisational support:–Know your people. Understand how employees adapt to new working processes andwhether they adopt new technology easily; what will help them to work with thesystem?–Involve key colleagues at the start. Getting “buy-in” fromstakeholders can make or break the process. These could be the IT department,senior executives, line managers or even “evangelists” who willpromote the system down the line.–Create a clear business plan with defined goals. The plan should be allencompassing, but goals can focus on particular organisational areas that needimprovement – this will also provide a clear measurement tool afterimplementation.–Ask for expert advice about the solutions available to implement the right onefor your organisational needs.–Create a rollout schedule that fits your organisation. Once the human resourcemanagement system (HRMS) is up and running, create small steps to helpencourage employees and managers to take part. Show how easy the system is touse – and, importantly, why it eases their workload or benefits them.–Support the employees; support the new system. Show the organisation that you are on hand to answer questions and helpwith dilemmas. Deal with employee questions straight away to help get themonside. Always remember that some people take longer to adapt to new processes.–You may want to use the marketing department to promote the system, explain whyit is being implemented and raise its profile with success stories. Consider”launching” it by showing it in the office reception or anothervisible employee meeting place; hold breakfast meetings or seminars;communicate via the company intranet or newsletter. It may also be worthregularly researching how the system is working by holding focus groups orissuing surveys.Foryour copy of the Microsoft Great Plains Business Solutions white paper on thefull implications and strategies surrounding e-HR, contact +44 (0)1628 404505or visit www.greatplains.com/europe/hrpCasestudy: OracleInEurope, the Middle East and Africa, Oracle has 14,000 employees in 32countries, whose needs are met by an HR department of around 140 people. Forthe past four years, the HR department has been devolving certain HR functionsto the line, using its own Oracle HR system. “Westarted with pay slips on the Web, instead of having hard copy pay slips,”says Vance Kearney, European HR director. “Then we enabled employees toaccess and update their own data, and since then we have introduced more andmore Internet-based processes.” The full range of HR activities nowavailable on the Internet includes: –employee data– pay slips– salary reviews– flexible benefits – management of purchasing of products and services bought from internaldepartments of the company.”Ithas given us far more flexibility,” says Kearney. “And it has endedthe linear relationship between the number of people in the HR department andthe number of people in the organisation as a whole. We could probably increaseoverall staffing levels by 50% without adding more HR people.”Towork effectively, stresses Kearney, a devolved HR system needs to be thoughtthrough in detail before implementation starts. It will need to be updated andadded to over the years, but getting the system right in the first instance isessential if the organic process is to work properly. “Youneed to work out what needs to be different and what needs to bestandardised,” he warns. “It doesn’t make sense to have 32 differentsystems to do one thing. But there will be a slight difference in the way thatthings are done in each country. For instance, when we started, we had 32different telephone systems in operation, and now we have one global system.That is a process that can be standardised.”Otherfunctions need more careful handling as well. Kearney cites the example ofupdating records – a simple process in the UK, but in Switzerland, wherecitizens are taxed according to the canton in which they live, the line managermust inform the tax authorities if an employee has moved from one canton toanother. Asfar as the role of HR is concerned, Kearney says staff at all levels have benefited.”Admin staff have been trained in dealing with people, rather thankeyboards – they come in when there are specific problems to be dealtwith,” he says. “Beforethis system was set up, we couldn’t answer a simple question like ‘What is thestaff turnover across the company?’ because each country had a different way ofdeciding what this meant. It only took one computer to blow up in Kazakhstanfor the whole thing to be out. Now we have one system which works across theworld.”Furtherinformation…–Cisco Systems: www.cisco.com– PriceWaterhouse Coopers: www.pwcglobal.com– Oracle: www.oracle.com– Hewitt Associates: www.hewitt.comlast_img read more

Working together is the best way to keep out of the courts

Previous Article Next Article Working together is the best way to keep out of the courtsOn 8 Jul 2003 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Ifrecruitment firms took responsibility for their agency workers there would beno need to go to tribunal when a client company restructures and leaves itstemporary workforce out in the coldWhenis a temp not a temp? When you end up in an employment tribunal, it wouldappear.Therecent ruling in Frank v Reuters  hasreceived a great deal of attention, highlighting the need for organisations toreview the way in which they use agency workers. The anticipated EU AgencyWorkers Directive will add to the pressure for change.Butsurely, the key to this problem lies in the forging of closer relationshipsbetween the recruitment agency and the client.Manyagencies, although sadly not all, want to take responsibility for our temps.After all, we recruit them, we pay them, they are contracted to us, they arehow we make money.Thedifficulty arises as a result of the way employment tribunals are interpretingthe situation. Frankv Reuters was not the first case to decide the client was the employer, orthat, as in other cases, the agency and client were equally responsible. Nomatter what we want to happen – and no agency wants its client to have to facea tribunal as a result of using one of its temps – the decision as to who theemployer is, is largely out of our hands.Clientsand agencies need to work together if they are to avoid going to tribunal inthe first place, which has to be our ultimate goal. Thatis not always as easy as it might sound. Iwas recently involved in a case with a temp who had been working in a clientorganisation for six years – longer than any of their contracted employees.This was complicated by the fact this temp was ‘TUPEd’ to us from the outgoingagency. Wewere aware that the client, who was re-organising, would be relocating thedepartment outside of London. The client had no intention of taking the tempwith them, and we knew the temp would not want to go. The difficulty lay in thefact the client had decided not to tell any employee about the move until thelast minute. We felt very strongly that the temp deserved at least six weeks’notice of their contract ending, even though our contract with the clientallowed for only one week. They had after all been there for six years.Ourclient’s initial position was that it was our problem, not theirs, and onpaper, it probably was. Weworked closely with the client over the months leading up to the relocation andeventually agreed that we could give the temp the six weeks’ notice we feltthey were entitled to. There was no difference in cost to the client as thetemp continued to work as normal during the notice period. During that time, wewere able to place her in another assignment.Theclients’ original position was that we were the employer and it was ourproblem. Carefulexplanation of the fact that tribunals are choosing to interpret the factsdifferently and our joint desire to treat the temp fairly meant that apotentially litigious situation was avoided.Thesesorts of relationships between agencies and clients don’t happen overnight.They need both parties to work together, to communicate regularly andeffectively and to share their responsibilities. Goodindicators of those agencies who will be prepared to work in this way are thosewho train their consultants to understand the legal pitfalls, who provide themanagement expertise and back-up to support their clients in managing temps,and who share information openly. Somerun briefing sessions for their clients on changes in legislation and therights of temporary workers, which include open discussions about how they canwork effectively together in the future.Wewant organisations to be able to continue to enjoy the flexibility andcompetitive edge the UK’s way of working with temps offers, without fear ofredress at tribunals.Wecan’t predict the way in which tribunals will decide individual cases, or whothe employer will be, but we can work together to avoid going to a tribunal inthe first place.ByHeather Salway, HR director, Eden Brown read more

Sediment subduction, subduction erosion, and strain regime in the northern South Sandwich forearc

first_imgThe first swath bathymetry and side-scan sonar imagery from the South Sandwich forearc reveals detailed seafloor morphology, tectonic fabric, and sedimentary features in an area where plate convergence is approximately normal to the trench. Simultaneously collected seismic reflection, gravity, and magnetic data provide information about the structure and composition of the forearc crust. Interpretation of these data together with the marine magnetic record of seafloor spreading in the east Scotia Sea back arc basin since 15 Ma has enabled quantitative estimation of sediment subduction and subduction erosion rates. Any accretionary prism present is constrained to be very small, extending 6 km or less from the trench. The contrast between this result and a time-integrated estimate of potential accretionary prism volume suggests that >95% of the sediment which has entered the trench since 15 Ma has been subducted. The position of the South Sandwich island arc in relation to back arc magnetic lineations implies that the arc has migrated ∼70 km westward relative to the Sandwich plate since 15 Ma. Taking account of published observations concerning the typical geometric evolution of arc-trench systems, the average rate of forearc slope retreat during this interval is inferred to be 3.1–4.7 km Myr−1. Gravity modeling suggests that the forearc crust averages ≤10 km in thickness within 110 km of the trench. For 10-km-thick forearc crust the rate of slope retreat implies an average rate of subduction erosion of forearc crust of 31–47 km3 km−1 Myr−1. At the present convergence rate of 74 km Myr−1 this erosion rate requires a 420–635 m thick layer of subducting material derived from the forearc crust. A time-integrated estimate of the potential volume of forearc-derived trench fill sediments subducted since 15 Ma implies that frontal erosion can only account for <40% of total subduction erosion. Therefore basal erosion must significantly exceed frontal erosion. The new data also provide insights concerning forearc strain regime and forearc basin evolution in the area studied. Extensional faulting near the trench slope break is probably caused by gravitational instability of the steep lower forearc slope. A lack of extensional strain indicators in the upper forearc and arc may be a consequence of the fact that the east Scotia Sea is a mature back arc basin contributing significant “ridge push” in the vicinity of the arc. The data reveal no evidence of arc-parallel extension or of large serpentinite seamounts, as found in the Mariana forearc, and a causal link between these two observations is proposed. Seismic profiles across the forearc basin suggest that the balance between sediment accumulation and erosion is sensitive to changes in the elevation of the trench slope break. It is hypothesized that the basin is a dynamic feature which goes through repeated cycles of growth and destruction controlled by cyclic uplift and collapse of the trench slope break.last_img read more

One in six Oxbridge applicants use company for help

first_imgCherwell can reveal that nearly one in six Oxbridge applicants register for the services of Oxbridge Applications, an independent profit driven company which sells university admission advice.On average, between 5,000 and 6,000 students contact Oxbridge Applications each year, while the overall number applying to Oxbridge is around 34,000 and growing each year.Founded in 1999, Oxbridge Applications is fast growing. The profits of the parent company, Application Research Limited, have increased by over 150% in the last year, from £67, 115 in 2010 to £110, 552 in 2011.The company offer Admissions Tests Seminars for £185, Private Consultations for £240, Interview Preparation Days from £220, and an Interview & Admissions Test Weekend for £1500.Oxbridge Applications claim that an average of 53% of those accepted for the Premier Service, which costs up to several thousand pounds, gain offers to Oxford or Cambridge, compared with an average of just 21% for Oxbridge applicants overall.Oxford University was quick to distance itself from the company. A University spokesperson said, “We do not endorse any commercial operations or publications offering advice or training on our admissions process.”Academic staff were also sceptical. Dr Peter Bull, Tutor for Admissions at Hertford, said, “Colleges will be happy to give advice free of charge. Why be charged by a consultant when you can ask the person who selects the candidates, at no cost?”Rachel Spedding, Executive Director of Oxbridge Applications and a former student at Worcester College, told Cherwell that the company work with current and former students.Dr Lucinda Rumsey, Admissions Tutor at Mansfield, said, “Students are not necessarily clearly informed about what tutors are looking for in the interview and other parts of the process. I am really disappointed that students get involved in this.”Alex Bulfin, OUSU VP for Access and Academic Affairs, said, “This sends a message to prospective students that there is a ‘secret’ to winning a place here and that if you haven’t been coached in ‘the right way’ then you won’t stand a chance.”However, not all students were as damning of the company. Thomas O’Brien, a first-year PPE student who attended an Oxbridge Applications preparation day said, “It would probably have been useful to people who, unlike me, didn’t get much help from their schools.”A third year History student who used the company’s Access Scheme said, “My school did not have a history of sending people to Oxbridge, so it was really good to meet people who’d been through the admissions process and could tell me what it was like.”Spedding highlighted the access schemes which the company runs. She said, “We are not helping people get in ‘through the back door’. It’s people’s choice if they want to use our services.”The University urged that, “The best advice is to work hard, and make full use of the many free and authoritative sources of guidance and information the University itself provides.”last_img read more

LEARNING ABOUT FIRE SAFETY (Midtown Community School)

first_imgLEARNING ABOUT FIRE SAFETY — Mrs. Lomuscio’s second grade class at Midtown Community School is loving their fire fighter hats, coloring books and crayons. They had a great week learning about fire safety. ×last_img

The City of Bayonne says thank you to the hospital staff…

first_imgThe gift bag contents were made possible through donations from Tic Tac, Ferrero Rocher, Kinder and community members. The City of Bayonne recently donated a total of 1,000 gift bags to the hospital staff of Bayonne Medical Center and RWJBarnabas Bayonne as a token of appreciation for their heroic work on the frontline during the Covid19 pandemic.“This community is grateful for the incredibly difficult work being put forward by hospital staff,” Bayonne Business Administrator Melissa Mathews said. “We appreciate their sacrifices and dedication during a very challenging time.” ×  1 / 2  Pictured at Bayonne Medical Center LR: Chief Hospital Executive Vijayant Singh, MD, Melissa Mathews and City of Bayonne workers Bridget Sweeney and Desiree Kraszyk.  2 / 2  Pictured at RWJBarnabas is Celina Pollard and Aaron Darby. Not pictured: organizer Gail Godesky. ❮ ❯center_img 1 / 2  Pictured at Bayonne Medical Center LR: Chief Hospital Executive Vijayant Singh, MD, Melissa Mathews and City of Bayonne workers Bridget Sweeney and Desiree Kraszyk.  2 / 2  Pictured at RWJBarnabas is Celina Pollard and Aaron Darby. Not pictured: organizer Gail Godesky. ❮ ❯last_img read more

Weekend Poll: Which Presidential TV Series Should Become a Broadway Show?

first_imgPresidents’ Day is just around the corner, and the Broadway.com staff will celebrate by sleeping late, ordering Thai food on Seamless and catching up on the binge-watching House of Cards. In fact, a lot of our favorite TV shows from past and present take place on Capitol Hill—The West Wing, Scandal, Veep and Political Animals, just to name a few. Performances are officially underway for the new bio-play All the Way, starring Bryan Cranston as President Lyndon B. Johnson, but we think there’s more than enough room for a few more presidents (even fictional ones!) to join him on the Great White Way. So, we need to know: Which series about presidential politics do you want to see jump from your TV screen to the Broadway stage? Cast your vote below! View Commentslast_img read more

Insulation Benefits

first_imgPeople wear additional clothing in the winter to keep their bodies warm. We insulate ourselves to slow down the transfer of our body heat to the atmosphere. Building insulation does the same thing for our homes. Insulation keeps valuable heat in during the winter season and keeps heat out in the summer. Insulation also helps maintain an indoor climate that is livable without excessive heating and cooling costs.Helps in winter and summerHouse insulation provides resistance to the flow of heat – whether it’s heat escaping from a house in the winter or entering the house in the summer. Fuel savings of around one-third in the winter and summer can be obtained by properly insulating your home.Smaller heating and cooling systems can be installed in an insulated home because less heat is lost in the winter and less heat is gained in the summer. Smaller systems can mean a large savings in the initial equipment investment and reduced utility bills throughout the year.Another benefit to an insulated house is evenly maintained temperatures. Cold floors and chilly drafts are eliminated when insulation is combined with an adequate conditioning system.Reduces condensation, tooCondensation, or sweating, on walls can be reduced to a minimum by the use of insulation and proper ventilation. For complete control of condensation, a moisture barrier on the air-conditioned side of the wall is needed. Insulated walls are much warmer in winter and cooler in summer. Insulation results in a smaller temperature difference between the inside wall surface and the room temperature. The best and least expensive time to insulate is when a home is being built. There is a limit to materials that can be satisfactorily used after construction is completed. For instance, it is impossible to install batt insulation into an existing wall without removing the interior finish material. Blown-in insulation could work if a moisture barrier is provided. However, in most cases, a moisture barrier does not exist. Without some type of moisture barrier, blown-in insulation could cause serious moisture problems. It is also difficult to insulate around heating ducts, plumbing, windows and doors in existing walls.University of Georgia Extension experts say the easiest and most affordable place to add insulation to an existing home is in the attic. To determine if there is enough insulation in your home’s attic, measure the thickness of the insulation. In Georgia, the typical recommended thickness if R-49 for attics, R-18 for walls and R-25 for floors, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. To maximize the benefit of attic insulation, seal any potential attic air leaks such as areas around lights and fans, electrical and plumbing entryways, knee walls, and open stud cavities.last_img read more

Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Mayo Clinic join group to study quality and cost of health care

first_imgSix of the nation’s leading health care systems today announced a first-of-its-kind collaboration to improve health care quality while reducing costs.Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Cleveland Clinic, Denver Health, Geisinger Health System, Intermountain Healthcare, and Mayo Clinic will join The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice to share data on outcomes, quality, and costs across a range of common and costly conditions and treatments. The group will determine best practices for delivering care for these conditions and will rapidly disseminate actionable recommendations to providers and health systems across the United States. In addition to achieving better quality and outcomes, the Collaborative intends to improve the efficiency of standard clinical care delivery to reduce the per capita cost in these conditions and to keep costs in pace with the consumer price index.The Collaborative will initially focus on eight conditions and treatments for which costs have been increasing rapidly in recent years and for which there are wide variations in quality and outcomes across the country. The conditions and treatments will be: knee replacement, diabetes, heart failure, asthma, weight loss surgery, labor and delivery, spine surgery, and depression, which together amount to hundreds of billions of dollars in direct medical costs each year.‘Increasing the value of the health care we receive, by improving the measurable outcomes and reducing the cost for delivery, is the goal of accountable health care organizations,’ said Thomas A. Colacchio, MD, president of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health and a member of the executive committee of the new collaborative. ‘While a number of different collaborations between our institutions have been in place for some time, this particular initiative is an important step in generating and sharing quality and cost information at a sufficient level to more rapidly produce a significant impact on the lives of many patients as we work to achieve the healthiest population possible.’The six health care systems, with a combined patient population of more than 10 million people, will share data on outcomes and clinical protocols for the selected conditions and treatments to arrive at optimal care models which can then be implemented by many other health care systems. The Collaborative aims to see these best practices replicated across the country. The Dartmouth Institute will coordinate data sharing and analysis, and report results back to the Collaborative members to inform development of best practices. The Dartmouth Institute has twenty years of experience analyzing Medicare claims data and disseminating the findings. This same expertise will be applied to the work of the Collaborative.‘There is broad support from other health care systems across the country who want to participate in the work of the Collaborative,’ said Dr. James Weinstein, Director of The Dartmouth Institute. ‘It would be enormously valuable to have the broadest geographic and demographic representation in the sharing of outcomes and experience.’The Collaborative will first analyze Total Knee Replacement, a procedure that is performed more than 300,000 times a year in the U.S., with a cost that ranges on average from $16,000 to $24,000 per surgery. Simultaneously, Collaborative partners will build the metrics to study the care of the other selected conditions at their centers and arrive at best practices. Work to define best practices in diabetes and heart failure care will begin early in 2011.‘If we know that the treatment path for diabetes at one institution results in better clinical outcomes, higher patient satisfaction, and lower overall costs, then there is knowledge to be shared and replicated in other institutions’ said Dr. Robert Nesse, Chief Executive Officer of Mayo Clinic Health System and member of Mayo Clinic’s Board of Trustees. ‘We need to learn from each other and put systems in place that ensure that every patient gets the very best, most appropriate care, every time.’Developing models to reduce cost, while improving quality, is only part of the equation. An equally important goal is to impact the clinical care of patients across the country by disseminating these models quickly and working with providers and health systems to adapt them to local conditions. ‘In my view, the most critical piece of this initiative is the transfer of knowledge to other health systems,’ said Dr. Glenn Steele, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Geisinger Health System. ‘We need to aggressively implement a rapid learning network to disseminate our work and assist other systems in implementing these best practices, especially the highest cost systems.’Through The Dartmouth Institute, the Collaborative will also draw on the work of the Center for Health Care Delivery Science, established at Dartmouth College in May, 2010 and dedicated to research, education, collaboration, implementation, and public outreach to improve health and health care for patients, their families, providers, and populations.Source: Dartmouth-Hitchcock. 12.15.2010###last_img read more