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People in Georgia tend to have mixed opinions on polygraph tests-if they even have an opinion at all. One camp purports that the tests are unreliable and easy to beat. Another camp recognizes potential flaws while still understanding that these tests have a lot to offer.

The reality is that they do provide tremendous value in many cases. In fact, they have helped criminal suspects in Georgia avoid charges or have led to charges being dropped.

Official use

Public attitudes towards marijuana in Georgia are becoming far more relaxed, especially as other states, such as Colorado and California, begin legalizing recreational use of the drug. However, while Georgians may no longer think that offenders of marijuana crimes deserve the heavy handed sentences they have been subject to for decades, the fact remains that state law concerning marijuana remains very tough. While it can be easy to think that marijuana is no longer a “big deal,” the penalties that offenders face can still be surprisingly extreme.

Getting mixed messages?

Navigating what is legal and not legal concerning marijuana in Georgia can be difficult. As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution points out, while Georgia has made medical marijuana legal in the state, growing it or importing it remains illegal. As a result, people who grow even small amounts of the plant for their own medicinal purposes can find themselves suddenly facing accusation of drug dealing and years in prison.

In 2019, the nonprofit news service, ProPublica, published a story about health care fraud. The story, which included reporting about a Texas-based personal trainer, shows how easy it can be to bill health insurance providers for services despite lacking any legal basis for doing so.

Unfortunately, as the ProPublica report points out, there are some problems with the current health care billing system. The Medical License Verification Act would change that.

Obtaining a National Provider Identifier number

If you are facing criminal charges, you are naturally concerned about the potential legal and financial consequences of a conviction. However, as a nurse, even a charge of certain offenses may lead to professional consequences as well.

The state requires that licensed nurses report any convictions that involve a felony offense, controlled substances or irresponsible use of alcohol or drugs to the Georgia Board of Nursing. If charged with such a crime, the board may suspend or revoke your professional license.

1. Felony offenses

News stories continue to pour in about Paycheck Protection Program loan fraud (see

https://www.nbcnews.com/business/economy/congressional-investigation-finds-over-1-billion-ppp-fraud-n1239001).  The Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) was authorized as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act to provide forgivable loans to eligible small businesses. Under the PPP, small businesses can apply for loans that must be used for payroll expenses, interest on mortgage, rent, and/or utilities only. The amount of a PPP loan that a business could receive is generally 2.5 times (or 250%) the business’s average monthly payroll cost.  The United States Small Business Administration oversees the PPP, but individual PPP loans are issued by private, approved lenders and banks, which are federally insured financial institutions.

How does the government identify potential fraud?  They review the following, among other things:

In Operation Brace Yourself, DME and medical brace manufacturers were alleged to have paid “kickbacks” and “bribes” to doctors and nurse practitioners working with telemedicine companies for exchange for Medicare patient referrals for medically unnecessary braces.

In Operation Double Helix, patients nationwide were allegedly lured into providing their DNA for testing in a widespread genetic testing fraud scheme powered by a large telemarketing network. The doctors and nurse practitioners involved were paid to write orders prescribing the testing without any patient interaction or with only a brief telephone conversation.

Healthcare fraud remains a key target of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). The DOJ uses civil penalties, as well as criminal charges, to punish healthcare fraud. The DOJ views healthcare fraud as a major issue.

When you think of drug crimes, you may picture college kids getting caught with marijuana, or dealers on the street corner with pockets full of methamphetamines. However, police sometimes charge respected professionals with drug crimes.

It has been a year since a high-profile opioid sting resulted in the federal prosecutors charging dozens of medical professionals with drug crimes. Most charges centered on prescribing opioids unnecessarily. Lately, an increasing number of health professionals are seeking treatment for using the substances themselves. If you are a doctor or nurse charged with a drug offense of any kind, you may have questions.

Should I talk to police?

Meg Strickler, a chair of the ABA section of International Law, Government and Public Interest Committee, is hosting a webinar tomorrow.

The US has recently authorized economic and travel sanctions against the members of the International Criminal Court who are investigating war crimes committed in Afghanistan. Are these sanctions lawful and justified? Should the US fear the jurisdiction of international courts? Our panelists will discuss these recent developments in the sphere of US foreign policy and international law.

Click the link for more details or to register. Discussion begins Friday, August 7, 2020 at 1:30pm EST:

Federal agencies can use the “national security” exception to avoid search warrants and use unobtrusive stingrays and dirtboxes to obtain cell phone numbers, owners’ names, and owners’ addresses. Without targeting a suspect, they can access large swaths of data by using this technology in crowds. They can even use that data after participants leave a gathering to track and investigate the people in attendance.

What are Stingrays and Dirtboxes?

https://theintercept.com/2020/07/31/protests-surveillance-stingrays-dirtboxes-phone-tracking/

When a nurse struggles with substance use, he or she may worry that seeking help will result in career damage. In fact, self-reporting a problem with drugs or alcohol can help protect your ability to practice as a nurse.

Learn how a DUI or drug diversion arrest could impact your Georgia nursing license.

Understanding mandatory reporting requirements

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