Friday, September 14, 2018

The GA 7th Congressional race: Rep. Rod Woodall (R) and challenger Carolyn Bourdeaux (D) response to my questions about Medicaid

Per my previous item, SNEAK PEEK: My first weekly Q&A with Rep. Rob Woodall (R) & Carolyn Bourdeaux (D), candidates for the Georgia 7th congressional district, today marks the first of a series of what I've called "constituent journalism."

The source of this week's questions is an AARP article published last month

Based on last name alphabetical order, this week Ms. Bourdeaux goes first. Next week Rep. Woodall will lead off.


Will you promise not to cut Medicaid to pay for tax cuts or other spending?

CB: One of my top priorities in Congress is expanding access to quality, affordable health care, not working to take it away. I oppose the GOP tax bill that passed last year, which gave large handouts to big corporations and the wealthy while eventually hurting the middle class. While I am concerned about our rising deficit, I will not cut Medicaid in favor of tax cuts or other handouts to the rich.

Would you oppose making Medicaid a block grant program?

CB: Yes. Making Medicaid a block grant program would hurt Georgians and make it harder for those on Medicaid to get the health care coverage they need.

Would you support Medicaid guaranteeing long-term care services at home?

CB: Having just struggled with health care for both my and my husband’s aging parents, I am deeply sympathetic to the challenge and financial drain of providing long-term care. Neither my parents nor my in-laws wanted to leave their homes, and we were worried about having to put them in a nursing home. If we can promote in-home care as a low-cost alternative to nursing homes, I would certainly support it, but one of the challenges we found, and we face as a society, is that in-home care at a certain stage becomes extremely expensive. I am open to ideas about how to address this issue.

Should Medicaid recipients be subject to work requirements?

CB: No. Placing work requirements on Medicaid recipients would hurt low-income Georgians. In Georgia, for the most part, only children, pregnant women, new mothers and the aged, blind, and disabled receive Medicaid benefits. Work requirements make no sense. Should Georgia expand Medicaid, I would still oppose this provision because health is often a precondition to being able to work.


In response to my invitation to participate in this project, Congressman Rob Woodall's campaign representative Derick Corbett e-mailed me, "I appreciate the generous offer and your zeal to participate in the race. Unfortunately though, as I consider our bandwith and your offer, we have to say no thank you."

I politely replied that the Bourdeaux campaign had agreed to participate; that in the interests of GA 7th District constituents, I hoped he'd reconsider; and that each Monday I'd send him my questions. (The complete correspondence is posted here.)

Re: this week's questions, I sent multiple e-mails and faxed Mr. Corbett (for which I obtained confirmation of receipt), but I didn't receive any further communications. 

Check back next Friday for round 2!

Monday, September 10, 2018

SNEAK PEEK: My first weekly Q&A with Rep. Rob Woodall (R) & Carolyn Bourdeaux (D), candidates for the Georgia 7th congressional district

U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall (R) & his congressional challenger Carolyn Bourdeaux (D)

My wife and I live and vote in Georgia's 7th Congressional District which, according to Wikipedia, "includes portions of the northeast Atlanta metropolitan area, including the cities of Peachtree Corners, Norcross, Cumming, Lawrenceville, Duluth, Suwanee, and Buford."

In what I hope will be an informative and lively foray into "constituent journalism," I've decided to use my blog as a once-a-week Q&A forum for the Republican and Democrat candidates vying for that congressional seat in this year's midterm elections.

As a sneak preview, below the hash marks are the questions I'm sending the candidates this morning along with a recap of the ground rules which I previously covered with their campaign representatives.

Full disclosure, as I informed both campaigns, I'm a registered Democrat, but I'll be maintaining a completely non-partisan stance and the questions I submit to the candidates will reflect that.

My objective is to provide both candidates with an unedited, open-ended opportunity to express themselves on substantive issues that matter to thoughtful citizens. Rest assured I will fiercely avoid political spin.

Thanks for reading and be sure to check back Friday for their responses!


Rep. Rob Woodall
% Derick Corbett
E-mailed to
Faxed to (770)232-2909

Carolyn Bourdeaux
% Jake Best
E-mailed to &

Dear Rep. Woodall & Ms. Bourdeaux:

Per my previous e-mails to Derick Corbett & Jake Best, this is the first of my questions for a weekly Q&A series I'm publishing on my blog, The Sidebar.

To quickly recap, each Monday from today until October 29, I'll be sending you substantive questions re: matters of interest to GA 7th District constituents (of which I'm proud to number myself). You'll have until end of the day Thursday to respond and I'll publish your responses unedited and without comment the next morning (Friday).

For example, for today's questions, your deadline is end of the day Thursday, September 13 and I'll publish your responses the morning of Friday, September 14. Each week I'll alternate whose response is posted first and I plan to forward my items to local mainstream media outlets.

I do not accept posted comments on my blog, but if I receive thoughtful e-mails -- emphasis on thoughtful -- I may publish those on my blog separate from the Q&A items or on my Twitter account. Long story short, I will maintain a fair forum for sound debate.

Okay, on to my questions which are copied verbatim from Midterm Election Winners Could Determine Medicaid’s Future; New lawmakers will decide whether to cut or maintain the safety-net program’s benefits by Dena Bunis, AARP Bulletin, July/August 2018.

1) Will you promise not to cut Medicaid to pay for tax cuts or other spending?

2) Would you oppose making Medicaid a block grant program?

3) Would you support Medicaid guaranteeing long-term care services at home?

4) Should Medicaid recipients be subject to work requirements?

On behalf of GA 7th voters, sincere thanks for your time/consideration and I look forward to receiving and publishing your answers.

Cheers, Peter

Peter M. Heimlich
Peachtree Corners, GA 30096 USA
ph: (208)474-7283
Twitter: @medfraud_pmh

cc: Dena Bunis % Veronica Byrd Director, Media Relations, Health Care, Health Policy, Medicare, Medicaid, AARP

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Last year Louisville, KY home/residential care conglomerate ResCare "purchased and placed" a controversial anti-choking device in over 2,600 of their facilities across the country; I've asked U.S. & KY government agencies to investigate


Below the hash marks is a considerably abbreviated version of an investigations request letter I sent on August 28, 2018 to:
Daniel R. Levinson, Inspector General
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Andy Beshear, Kentucky Attorney General

Steve Davis, Inspector General
Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services
My letter, entirely based on publicly-available information, includes links and quotes from three recent television news investigative reports about an anti-choking device called the Dechoker; a letter from a former executive associated with the device; and a testimonial letter from a ResCare vice president.

Click here to download a copy.

Also see my March 26, 2018 item, "Growing pains" for company selling anti-choking device? NC state "investment scheme" investigation & three debt collection lawsuits, one filed by former top executive.


Dear Mr. Levinson, Mr. Beshear, and Mr. Davis:

Via the web page
(ResCare Inc., founded and headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky is) the largest diversified health and human services provider in the U.S., ResCare* is the largest private provider of services to people with disabilities, the largest privately-owned home care company, the largest provider of specialized high-acuity neuro-rehab in community settings and the largest career center workforce contractor in the U.S.
Based on the following information, ResCare Inc. appears to be using residents at over 2600 of their facilities to test an unapproved, experimental medical device called the Dechoker.

To my knowledge, no research has been published in the literature about the device which is intended for use in life or death choking emergencies.

Further, to my knowledge, the device, which is sold by Dechoker LLC (formerly based in Concord, NC, now in Denver, CO), is not recommended by any medical organizations or by resuscitation experts.

I have no knowledge whether or not residents of ResCare facilities or their legal guardians have been informed about the potential use of the device. However, according to the attached February 20, 2018 testimonial letter signed by a senior ResCare executive, the Dechoker has been employed in at least seven choking emergencies at ResCare facilities.

...This is to request that you obtain and review any relevant information regarding ResCare’s purchase of and placement of the Dechoker “in all 2,600+ ResCare facilities across the country”; that you determine if that purchase and placement complies with all applicable regulations; and that you make public the results.

This is also to request that you investigate the cases in which...the Dechoker has (allegedly) been used to save the lives of seven choking victims in ResCare facilities, and that you make public the results including but not limited to the dates and locations of the cases and the names and job titles of all participating ResCare employees.

Thank you for your time, attention, and I look forward to your reply. Please feel free correspond with me via e-mail and if you have any questions I might be able to answer, please don’t hesitate to ask.


Peter M. Heimlich
Peachtree Corners, GA 30096 USA
ph: (208)474-7283
Twitter: @medfraud_pmh

* According to an August 15. 2018 press release, “BrightSpring Health Services is the new name for Kentucky-based ResCare...”

Saturday, August 25, 2018

My employee misconduct complaint against Chicago Tribune Standards Editor Margaret Holt -- and a related crowd source inquiry


If I come across factual information in mainstream press reports that I know is false, I do what I can to fix it.

In fact, according to Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple, I may hold the record for published corrections for a single news topic.

That's one reason it bugs me when journalists refuse to publish corrections for straightforward factual errors.

And that's one reason why the other day I filed a misconduct complaint against Margaret Holt, Standards Editor at the Chicago Tribune and a prominent figure in the newspaper business.

The tale starts with a July 16, 2018 Tribune story, Family members of Dr. Henry Heimlich say Red Cross guidance on choking victims could end in death by reporter

about a campaign against the American Red Cross (ARC) launched last month by my sister Janet Heimlich, a journalist/author/nonprofit executive in Austin, Texas, and my brother Phil Heimlich, a former elected official in Cincinnati.

They're on the warpath because the ARC recommends performing back blows along with our dad's namesake maneuver (abdominal thrusts) to respond to a choking emergency.

In my opinion, Ms. Olumhense's story has some serious reportorial problems. (Re: the medical issues, visit my web page for links to related published documents.)

For example, the ARC's current protocol has been in place since 2005, a fact that's not mentioned in her article, so it's unclear if Ms. Olumhense was even aware of that.

If she was, presumably she would have asked Janet and Phil why they waited 13 years to voice their concerns.

Moving right along, here's the problem at hand:

From: Margaret C. Holt <>
To: Peter Heimlich <>
Subject: Tribune follow-up
Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2018 16:37:49 +0000

Mr. Heimlich:
Your email was referred to me for response. The story is straightforward in quoting people about the topic, including a reference to a disagreement between some family members and the Red Cross. There is nothing further beyond what is in the published article.
Margaret Holt
Standards Editor
Since I knew the part of the sentence about the AHA was wrong, I realized Ms. Holt didn't know what she was talking about.

And since she didn't ask what my concerns might be, presumably she didn't care, so I same-day replied:

Would you please provide me with your superior's name and e-mail address?

Thank you for your continued attention and I look forward to your reply.

Cheers, Peter
A week later I hadn't received a reply, so on July 23 I sent a friendly "can you help me?" e- mail to Tribune Managing Editor Peter Kendall who some years ago had capably assisted me with an unrelated editorial problem.

He passed the baton back to Ms. Holt:
Mr. Heimlich,
Thank you for your email.
I am copying Margaret on this so you can share any specific questions or concerns about the story.
She is the appropriate person to handle this.
After thanking him, I e-mailed media representatives at the AHA, NSC, and ACEP and asked for their organizations' positions.

An AHA Vice President e-mailed me this, taken from the organization's current guidelines (my emphasis):
“…chest thrusts, back slaps, and abdominal thrusts are feasible and effective for relieving severe FBAO [Foreign Body Airway Obstruction] in conscious (responsive) adults and children over 1 year of age.
The NSC rep replied that their organization adheres to AHA guidelines.

And an ACEP manager in that organization's communications department e-mailed me that their organization "does not have a formal policy on the Heimlich maneuver."

Based on those e-mails, the Tribune's claim that the three organizations "

Along the way I also identified what may be the source of Ms.

article was apparently triggered by a July 10 e-mail and press release snet by a publicist representing Janet and Phil which included this sentence:
The American Heart Association teaches the Heimlich Maneuver as the only method to be used to save a choking victim, as does the National Safety Council and the American College of Emergency Physicians.


Monday, June 25, 2018

Would U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill have been spared a cracked rib if her colleague Joe Manchin had followed American Red Cross choking rescue guidelines?

Via  Sen. Manchin cracks another senator's rib with Heimlich maneuver, Associated Press, June 25, 2018:
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin has cracked a rib of U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill while performing the Heimlich maneuver on the fellow Democrat when she began choking.
A spokesman for Manchin told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that McCaskill began choking during a luncheon for Senate Democrats on Thursday. Manchin used the Heimlich maneuver to dislodge the blockage in McCaskill's throat, but he cracked a rib in the process.
Via Heimlich maneuver saved my child by staff reporter Ian Mitchell, Chicago Tribune, February 28, 2014 (emphasis added):
In a conscious choking emergency, where a person can't cough, speak or breathe, the (American Red Cross) procedure is to ask the person if he or she is choking and get consent to give aid. Then administer five strong back blows between the shoulder blades with the heel of your hand, "as forceful as you deem necessary to save that person's life," (representative Gabriele) Romanucci said.

The back blows are a less-invasive technique that might help clear the airway, so the Red Cross advises trying them first, he said.

"If that technique is not successful, then we would go to the abdominal thrust," he said.


Saturday, June 23, 2018

Via the Cincinnati Enquirer & The Hill, my brother, former elected official Phil Heimlich, now claims to be a defender of democratic values & freedom of the press, so I asked if he's changed any of his past hard right political positions -- and why he allegedly helped kill a Seattle TV news report

From: Peter Heimlich <>
Subject: Re: Questions for an item I'm blogging
To: Phil Heimlich <>
Cc: Justin Wise, Charles W. Guildner MD, [Enquirer opinion editor] Kevin Aldridge, Robert Anglen, Gregory Korte, [Enquirer politics reporter] Jason Williams, [Hamilton County, Ohio, Commissioner] Todd Portune
Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2018 13:20:09 -0400


I didn't receive your reply to my June 15 e-mail re: whether or not you're still doing the Hard Truths With Phil Heimlich podcast. Would you please get back to me on that?

Via Phil's website, apparently his last podcast was last year on 9/11

I'd also appreciate your answers to some other quick questions for the item I'm blogging about your June 14 Enquirer column that was picked up by Justin Wise in The Hill.

1) Based on the commitment to democratic values you expressed in your column, do you have any comments re: any of the information in these Enquirer articles from when you held elected office?

Via (Phil) Heimlich's legacy: 'Across-the-board cheapskate' by Robert Anglen, Cincinnati Enquirer, November 29, 2001:
“It means more of the same and it makes me nervous,” says Jenny Laster, president of the Grass Roots Leadership Academy, which trains community leaders and which recently fell into Mr. Heimlich's sights. “If he becomes a commissioner, I'll be the first person he wants to run out of town on a rail.”

She says Mr. Heimlich is divisive and destructive, and cites his inquiries about the academy as an example. He started by questioning how much the city was paying the academy to train community leaders and then tersely derided the program as being more expensive than Harvard.

“I haven't seen him accomplish anything, other than to further polarize this community,” Ms. Laster says. “There's a way to get information without stripping dignity from people.”

And she says he operates with impunity against minority organizations.

“If that sounds like I'm calling him a racist, well, if the shoe fits, then I'm sorry,” Ms. Laster says.

...Last year, four black civic and business leaders wanted Mr. Heimlich gagged and called for city officials to investigate him.

Representatives of the Urban League, the African American Chamber of Commerce, Genesis Redevelopment and the Riverfront Classic and Jamboree claimed that Mr. Heimlich had used his office as a tool of intimidation by persistently seeking information about groups that serve the black community.

He demanded financial statements, questioned salaries, probed expenses. Black leaders claimed that he unfairly targeted their organizations. While City Council refused to investigate Mr. Heimlich, some members questioned his methods and his manner as rude and unproductive.

“It has been a real problem,” Urban League President Sheila Adams says of Mr. Heimlich. “But I am not going to use his tactics.
Via Gay issue foes' names not listed; Donations not included in finance reports by Gregory Korte, Cincinnati Enquirer, October 28, 2004:
Conservative activists fighting a gay rights ballot measure in Cincinnati bought more than $500,000 worth of television ads on Sept. 30, local stations say.

...The Focus on the Family Cincinnati Committee has bought several full-page ads in Cincinnati newspapers featuring Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich.

...In the ad, Heimlich rebuts claims from repeal supporters that Article XII has cost the city millions in lost convention business.

Heimlich conducted the study while he was a paid consultant to the Citizens for Community Values. CCV paid Heimlich $55,000 in 2002, according to the group's tax return and Heimlich's state ethics disclosure form.
Via Anti-porn crusader takes fight to hotels by Sheila McLaughlin, Cincinnati Enquirer, December 15, 2002:
Incoming Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich has been employed by CCV as a paid consultant for the past year since leaving his Cincinnati City Council seat.

...He says he developed a close relationship with CCV as a city councilman, after Mr. Burress suggested that Cincinnati needed zoning measures to keep sexually-oriented businesses out of the central business district. Mr. Heimlich then successfully spearheaded legislation to do just that in 1996.
2) Re: this screen shot from the website of your 2008 congressional campaign, have you changed positions on any of these issues?

3) Based on the commitment to a free press which you expressed in your column, per my previous e-mail, a source informed me that you helped kill a KING5 News (Seattle) report about a 1976 research study about foreign body airway obstruction by Dr. Charles W. Guildner by threatening executives at the station with legal action. Is that true? If so, why did you do it?

4) Does (your wife and my sister-in-law Rebecca Simpson Heimlich, a longtime Koch brothers employee) plan to join you in voting for Democrats in national races in the upcoming mid-terms? Also, re: the photo of Rebecca and Corey Lewandowski (above), was that taken at the 2016 National Republican Convention? If not, what's the source?

5) Who's your supervising editor at the Enquirer?

Thanks for your continued time/attention and if you intend to respond, would you please get back to me by end of the day tomorrow?

Your brother, Peter

Peter M. Heimlich
Peachtree Corners, GA 30096
ph: (208)474-7283
Twitter: @medfraud_pmh 

I haven't received a reply. Also I left a voice message and sent a couple of e-mails to Kevin Aldridge, the Enquirer's opinion editor, asking for the name of Phil's supervising editor. I haven't received a reply -- PMH


Monday, June 18, 2018

FOX news stations in Oklahoma City & Cleveland aired stories that might seriously injure babies -- one fixed the problem; the other doubled down

How should a mainstream news organization respond after being made aware that a published story contains bad information that may seriously injure babies?

In somewhat identical situations, here's how FOX TV News affiliates in Oklahoma City and Cleveland responded.

One deserves to take a bow.

The other deserves to get sued.


On June 13, FOX25 News in Oklahoma City aired How to help someone who's choking by staff reporter Jordann Lucero.

Here's a screenshot from her story with my highlighting:

Via that part of her story, here's an interview with a member of the Oklahoma City Fire Department:

Here's the problem.

No legitimate medical organization or medical expert recommends performing stomach thrusts (aka abdominal thrusts aka the Heimlich maneuver) on babies.

 As I've reported, executives at the American Heart Association (AHA) and American Red Cross (ARC) wrote me that the treatment "may cause injuries" to babies.

(To my knowledge, the only organization that recommends and teaches the treatment is Cincinnati's Heimlich Heroes program, a dubious operation whose charter is to promote my dad's "legacy.")


After spotting Ms. Lucero's report I e-mailed AHA and ARC guidelines to Oklahoma City Battalion Chief and Public Relations Officer Benny Fulkerson.

A few hours later I received his reply:
Mr. Heimlich,

Sir, we just want to thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. After review, it has been determined that you are absolutely correct. The treatment demonstrated in the video was not in accordance with the AHA [American Heart Association] standard which we operate under. Please know that we feel terrible that this occurred, and we are working with Fox 25 to correct this information for their viewers. As a public safety organization, we take extremely seriously our role as an authority about all things related to fire and life safety. We do have amazing personnel who work very hard every day to serve our citizens. When we make mistakes, we take every measure to correct them and learn from them.

Again, thank you so much for contacting us about this. We are eager to get this information corrected.
I then received a thank-you from FOX25 New Director Adam Pursch who informed me that the story was being re-reported.

The re-reported story got it right:

I sincerely thanked Battalion Chief Fulkerson and Mr. Pursch for their professionalism and commitment to public safety.

I can't say the same re: the following mess.

Here's a transcript at about time stamp :35 from How to save a life: Help someone who is choking by staff reporter Adrienne DiPiazza, FOX8 News Cleveland, February 13, 2018:
DiPiazza: (The Akron Fire Department's Lt. Joe) Shumaker says don’t be afraid of hurting the baby, and forceful motions are the only thing that will help them breathe again.

Shumaker: “Can you cause some injury? Can you break a bone? Can you crack a rib? Perhaps, but in the end run the child will be breathing which is what we want as a result,” he said.
Who'd be irresponsible enough to stand behind the recommendation that first responders shouldn't worry about breaking a baby's bones?

Among others: Akron Mayor Daniel Horrigan, Fire Chief Clarence Tucker, and FOX8 News Director Andy Fishman.

Akron, OH, Mayor Daniel Horrigan & Fire Chief Clarence Tucker (source)

Last February I sent all of them the same information I sent last week to the responsible parties in Oklahoma City

However, rather than fixing the error in order to protect babies from potential injury or worse, they all backed up Lt. Shumaker who, in fact, is certified according to AHA standards:

Here's the grammatically-challenged reply I received from Mr. Fishman at FOX8 which more or less corresponds to the replies I received from the offices of the mayor and the fire department:
From: Fishman, Andy <>
To: Peter M. Heimlich <>
Subject: Re: blogger inquiry
Date: Sun, 18 Feb 2018 14:00:09 +0000

As highly trained first responders, we [sic] trust and stand by the information provided to us by the Akron Fire Department.

Best Andy
I then asked him for the name and e-mail address of his station's general manager to which he responded:
From: Andy Fishman <>
To: Peter M. Heimlich <>
Subject: Re: blogger inquiry
Date: Sun, 18 Feb 2018 14:29:54 +0000


We consider this matter closed

Best Andy
Per the item you're reading, I don't.

After I asked FOX8 Cleveland News Director Andy Fishman to put me in touch with his boss, he Twitter-blocked me