The Coast Guard has scheduled public hearings and is seeking comments on its draft environmental assessment for raising the Bayonne Bridge to allow larger ships to serve container terminals at the Port of New York and New Jersey.
Public hearings are scheduled Feb. 5 in Bayonne and Feb. 7 in Staten Island on the draft environmental assessment. The Coast Guard is accepting written comments until Feb. 18.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has allocated $1 billion for raising the vertical clearance under the Bayonne Bridge from the current 151 feet to 215 feet.
The existing clearance is too low for large container ships serving terminals in the Port Newark-Elizabeth complex in New Jersey and New York Container Terminal on Staten Island.
Bayonne doctor charged with $900K Medicaid fraud
Dr. Badawy M. Badawy, 50, of Bayonne, a licensed pediatrician who owns and operates Sinai Medical Center of Jersey City LLC, a medical practice focusing primarily on pediatrics and family medicine, billed Medicaid thousands of times for nearly $900,000 worth of wound repairs on children and adolescents. He was charged by complaint with healthcare fraud and was scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor in Newark federal court on Jan. 18.
According to the complaint, from January 2004 through December 2008, Badawy allegedly billed Medicaid, through its managed care companies, for certain wound repairs more frequently than any other service provider in the State of New Jersey. His claims for these supposed treatments represented a strong majority of all such claims submitted to Medicaid by all New Jersey medical providers during this time period, including 99.4 percent of all claims for the suturing or stapling of facial wounds larger than 30 centimeters.
Virtually all of these claims, which were submitted for supposed wound repairs on children, were allegedly fraudulent. Fishman said Badawy’s patient charts for a large sample of these children who supposedly received treatment revealed no entry, notation, or other evidence, such as suturing or other closing methods, to support his claims that these procedures were actually performed.
The complaint also identifies by initials 10 children whom Badawy allegedly claimed to have treated for wound repairs on numerous occasions.
From April 2004 through June 2007, Badawy allegedly treated three children on 28 separate occasions for a total of 49 procedures involving some type of wound repair. According to the children’s mothers, none of these children has ever had a cut that required stitches or other methods of wound closure, the complaint said.
From March 2006 through February 2007, Badawy allegedly submitted eight claims for facial wound repairs, including two 30-centimeter facial wound repairs on a single teenager during four different visits. According to the teenager, he had never seen Badawy for wounds to his face or other body parts, the complaint said.
From July 2005 through July 2007, Dr. Badawy supposedly performed 15 wound repairs, including six 30-centimeter facial wound repairs, on a boy on eight separate occasions. According to the boy, he was never treated for a cut to his face, the complaint said.
The charge of healthcare fraud carries a maximum potential penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss resulting from the crime.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Thomas O’Donnell, and the FBI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge David Velazquez, with the investigation leading to the arrest.
Jail guard arrested in joint sting operation
A joint investigation by the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office and the Internal Affairs Division of the Hudson County Correctional Facility has resulted in the arrest of a correctional officer, who allegedly accepted bribes to bring contraband into the County Jail.
Freeholder Chairman Anthony Romano said the Freeholder Public Safety Committee will be reviewing the matter of Gerald J. Dawson III on charges brought against him this week as a result of a sting operation.
“Investigators for the prosecutor’s office and the jail internal investigation were part of a sting operation and had a meeting with Dawson at the Hudson Mall on Route 440 in Jersey City,” Romano said, noting that his office has already received a copy of the written report on the matter and that the Freeholder’s Public Safety Committee will be meeting with Correctional Facility Director Oscar Aviles prior to the next public meeting to get an oral report.
The arrest came as a result of a sting operation during which Dawson allegedly agreed to smuggle cigarettes and a cellular phone in exchange for a bribe.
Dawson, according to County Spokesperson Jim Kennelly, has been a correctional officer for about five years and earns about $43,000. Kennelly said he has been suspended without pay.
The investigation, according to Romano, came after Dawson was suspended for allegedly smuggling in an iPad to an inmate prior to the current charges.
Romano said Dawson is currently being housed at the Essex County Detention Center.
Last month, Director Aviles said his office worked aggressively to limit the ability for smuggling by controlling access to the facility, one of the reasons his office pushed for purchase or rental of trailers for some personnel after Hurricane Sandy.
Romano said the trailers are already being phased out as damaged facilities at the jail come back online.
“We do not need a new wing at the jail. We just have to repair the modular units,” Romano said.
DWI, unlawful conveyance, defiant trespass, shoplifting on police blotter
William Smiejan, 58, of Bayonne, was charged with driving while intoxicated on Jan. 16 after police responded to a report of a traffic accident near 43rd Street and Broadway at about 2:30 p.m. The police report said three bottles of vodka were found in the car. The police said Smiejan was taken for treatment to Jersey City Medical Center, where a blood test was also completed.
David J. Healy, 35, of Bayonne, was charged with unlawful taking of conveyance after police responded to a traffic accident at 32nd Street and Kennedy Boulevard on Jan. 15 at about 9:10 a.m. Healy, listed as the driver of a Town & Country Chrysler, allegedly struck a parked car and allegedly tried to leave the scene. The police said when the car’s owner was contacted, Healy did not have permission to use the car. He was charged also with obstruction of a governmental function, driving with a suspend driver’s license, and careless driving.
Philip M. Gonzalez, 23, of Bayonne was charged with defiant trespass after police report finding him on public housing property at 42 Lord Avenue on Jan. 14, a house from which he had previously allegedly been evicted.
Michael A. Badger, 51, of Newark was charged on Jan. 15 with allegedly shoplifting soap and body wash valued at $158.79 from the Avenue C CVS.
Marist High School hosts principal’s breakfast
On Jan. 29 from 8 to 9:10 a.m., Marist High School will host its quarterly Principal’s Breakfast. This celebrates those students who are on the Principal’s List, but two students who are preparing to enter the Hudson County Science Fair later in February will be also speaking.
Ray Greaves Association holds quarterly meeting
The Ray Greaves Association has invited all to attend its quarterly meeting, to be held on Jan. 30 at the American Legion Post 19 (683 Broadway) at 7 p.m. Guest speakers will include the 31st Legislative District Assemblyman and Public Safety Director Jason O'Donnell, as well as Bayonne Police Chief Ralph Scianni. The topic will be public safety. Refreshments will be served. New members are always welcome. For more information, call (201) 339-3885.