Rutledge Statement on the Nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme CourtWed, Mar 16, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released a statement today in response to President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court to fill the vacancy left by the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia.
“With the unfortunate passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, the future direction of the U.S. Supreme Court is at stake,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Today, President Obama has chosen to nominate Judge Merrick Garland. The President has this right, but the U.S. Senate has an equal right to advise and consent on this nomination and that right includes choosing not to act on the nomination. In the midst of a highly contested presidential election, Americans deserve their chance to weigh in on the appropriate direction for the Court, and I am optimistic that will occur in November.”
Rutledge Applauds CDC for Adopting Guidelines for Prescribing Pain MedicationsWed, Mar 16, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today applauded the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for acting quickly to adopt federal guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain. The adoption comes after Rutledge and 35 other State attorneys general in January urged the CDC to approve the proposed guidelines.
“The CDC has acted quickly so that physicians have the tools and knowledge they need to properly prescribe medication,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “There are serious dangers associated with chronic pain medications, but when prescribed effectively they can be the best treatment. However, the problem of prescription drug abuse cannot be ignored, and I will continue building on the successful State and local partnerships to increase public safety and save lives.”
According to the CDC, the U.S. is currently experiencing an epidemic of prescription opioid misuse and overdose. Increased prescribing and sales of opioids — a quadrupling since 1999 — helped create and fuel this epidemic. The CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, United States, 2016, will help primary care providers ensure the safest and most effective treatment for their patients.
Among the 12 recommendations in the guideline, three principles are key to improving patient care:
- Nonopioid therapy is preferred for chronic pain outside of active cancer, palliative, and end-of-life care.
- When opioids are used, the lowest possible effective dosage should be prescribed to reduce risks of opioid use disorder and overdose.
- Providers should always exercise caution when prescribing opioids and monitor all patients closely.
The CDC developed user-friendly materials to assist providers with implementing the recommendations, including a decision checklist. These materials, as well as information for patients, are available at CDC.gov.
Rutledge has been vocal about the problem of prescription drug abuse in Arkansas. Since taking office, she has partnered with local law enforcement agencies to hold Drug Take Back Days, encouraging Arkansas to clean out their medicine cabinets of unused and expired medications to be properly disposed of by law enforcement and now she offered those same drug take back services at each mobile office held throughout the State. She also partnered with the Arkansas Office of the Drug Director, Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy and the Criminal Justice Institute to host the annual Prescription Drug Abuse Summit last November in which participants learned about more research and strategies to fight prescription drug misuse and abuse.
Rutledge to Host Youth SummitTue, Mar 15, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is continuing her push to raise awareness of dating violence by making it the theme of a Youth Summit for seventh through 12th graders. The Youth Summit will be from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 5 at the Alma Airedale Arena.
Former college football standout and NFL player Keith Davis will be the featured speaker with his “Just Say YES: Youth Equipped to Succeed” message. Davis, an entrepreneur and motivational speaker, graduated from the University of Southern California with his team’s highest grade point average and a degree in business finance. He was the team’s leading tackler, selected to the All-American Strength Team, an All-Conference player and played in the Rose Bowl. After college, Davis signed with the New York Giants.
“I look forward to welcoming young people from all across Arkansas to the Youth Summit,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This will be an interactive, informative event that will help students in junior high and high school understand the dangers and consequences of dating violence and how to have a healthy relationship.”
Partners with the Attorney General’s office in hosting the event are Arkansas Activities Association, Arkansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the Child Advocacy Centers of Arkansas.
For more information and to register for the event, contact Rachel Ellis at Rachel.Ellis@arkansasag.gov or 501-682-3645.
Rutledge Announces Blytheville Woman Sentenced for Medicaid FraudFri, Mar 11, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the conviction of a Mississippi County woman for Medicaid fraud. Lenisha Daniels pleaded guilty in Pulaski County Circuit Court. Daniels will serve three years probation and pay a fine of $3,391.92. She was also ordered to pay $1,130.64 in restitution and paid $780 prior to her guilty plea to the Arkansas Medicaid Program Trust Fund.
“Medicaid fraud investigators and attorneys at the Attorney General’s office work diligently to stop individuals and organizations from scamming the system,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Patients dependent on the Medicaid system deserve safe and effective care, and I will ensure that those attempting to defraud Arkansans will be held accountable.”
Daniels, 32, of Blytheville pleaded guilty to Medicaid fraud, a Class C felony. Daniels billed the Arkansas Medicaid Program for services that were not rendered.
The case was prosecuted in coordination with the 6th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley.
To report Medicaid fraud or abuse or neglect in residential care facilities, contact the Attorney General’s Medicaid fraud hotline at (866) 810-0016 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rutledge Urges U.S. Supreme Court to Allow States to Protect the Health and Safety of WomenWed, Mar 9, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has joined with 23 other states to file a bipartisan amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court urging that states continue the long-standing practice of being able to protect patients and uphold overall public health. The brief is in support of Texas House Bill 2 (HB 2), which seeks to ensure patient safety and raise the standard for care of women.
“States have a responsibility to ensure that all medical procedures, including abortions, are performed with a certain standard of care to protect the health and safety of the patient,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “If the Texas law is struck down, it will put at risk the ability of states to properly protect its citizens. I am hopeful when the Court decides this case later this year it will recognize that Texas, Arkansas and all states have a legitimate interest in protecting the health of women and regulating the medical profession.”
The Texas law is not about overturning Roe v. Wade, nor is it about restricting access to abortions. Instead, it is about ensuring that if women choose to have such a procedure it be done in a safe manner. As the Attorneys General argue, “The entire premise of Petitioners’ undue burden theory is that Texas’s clinic regulations will prevent women from obtaining abortions. Yet, despite decades of those regulations, neither Petitioners nor their supporting amici provide any evidence of such a stark result. The most that they prove is that, in the wake of new state regulations, some abortion clinics close rather than adjust. They recite no evidence that such closures have prevented any women from obtaining a timely abortion.”
According to the Texas Attorney General’s office, in 2013, the Texas Legislature passed HB 2 to provide abortion patients with a higher standard of health care. The common-sense law requires the minimum standards for abortion facilities be equivalent to the minimum standards for general surgery centers (“ambulatory surgical centers”), as the Kermit Gosnell Grand Jury in Pennsylvania recommended. The law requires abortion doctors to have local hospital admitting privileges to ensure continuity of care, as recommended previously by the National Abortion Federation.
The case was argued before the Court last week, and a decision is expected in late June.
Rutledge: D.C. Circuit Grants Stay of Costly FCC OrderMon, Mar 7, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released a statement after the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit granted in part a motion to stay an order of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that effectively limited the amount of money that Arkansas and other local units of government may recover from inmate calling systems (ICS).
“The stay from the D.C. circuit is welcome news for local budgets and law enforcement across Arkansas,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Because of the court’s action, jails and prisons will not be shortchanged during the legal challenge to the FCC’s order. If this costly order had taken effect, the result would have been disastrous for many local communities.”
The court’s decision to stay in part the FCC order comes after Rutledge, along with attorneys general from Wisconsin, Nevada, Arizona, Indiana, Louisiana and Missouri, filed a motion last month seeking to intervene in order to join the lawsuit, State of Oklahoma v. FCC. The court has not acted on the request.
The FCC’s order, which caps rates and limits fees for ICS, ignores significant ICS- and security-related costs borne by the states and their need to recoup these costs from ICS providers.
In the final order, the FCC caps inmate calls at 11 cents per minute for all local and long distance calls from state and federal prisons. In jails, prices will range from 14 cents to 22 cents per minute, depending on the size of the institution. The new cap accounts for a more than 50 percent decrease from previous limits. Additionally the new caps will apply to all intrastate calls, not just interstate calls.