Roadblocks at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, in Gov. Mike DeWine’s office and elsewhere could make it harder to prevent future corruption. This article is provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism in partnership with the nonprofit Energy News Network. Please join the free mailing lists for Eye on Ohio or the Energy News Network, as this helps provide more public service reporting. Advocates, lawmakers, regulators and the public still can’t get all documents relevant to the state’s $60 million House Bill 6 scandal involving ousted Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder, FirstEnergy and others. Barriers include protective orders, privilege and confidentiality claims, delays and other roadblocks.
This story is from the Investigative Reporting Workshop in collaboration with Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join Eye on Ohio’s free mailing list or follow IRW on Facebook as this helps us provide more public service reporting. Ohio nursing homes reported more shortages of nursing assistants than any other state during the pandemic, highlighting a problem that has been festering for decades.
An Eye on Ohio and Investigative Reporting Workshop analysis of weekly reported data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found that Ohio reported the the highest number of shortages in the country for State Tested Nursing Assistants (STNA) in 2020 and through the first half of 2021, leaving critical care positions open and shifting work to other positions suffering shortages of their own.
Ohio has the third highest number of nursing homes behind Texas and California, and tallied STNA shortages in 26% of reports to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services (CMS). That makes Ohio the 14th worst nationwide for the percentage of nursing homes reporting too few STNAs that same year. “We just have probably the worst shortage that we've had at least in my 35 years of doing this,” said Robert Applebaum, director of the Ohio Long-Term Care Research Project at Miami University’s Scripps Gerontology Center.
This story is from the Investigative Reporting Workshop in collaboration with Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join Eye on Ohio’s free mailing list as this helps us provide more public service reporting. As Ohio grapples with the highest number of State Tested Nursing Assistant (STNAs) shortages in the country and decades-long issues of pay and work conditions, legislation over nursing homes has become a lucrative battleground both nationally and in the state.
The industry’s primary trade group representing two-thirds of nursing homes has spent more than $30 million on lobbying to Congress since 2010. The state affiliate, Ohio Health Care Association (OHCA), and its related entities have contributed millions of dollars in recent years to political groups that have supported various campaigns, including Gov. Mike DeWine’s.
Unlike other states, Ohio legislators — not the state’s department of Medicaid — determine the funding formula for nursing homes. Federal legislation from 1987 mandated only that nursing homes provide “sufficient staffing” of nursing assistants.
The company’s revelations about Ohio’s largest corruption case raise questions about the integrity of the regulatory process and its piecemeal approach to reviewing utility spending. This story is from the Energy News Network in collaboration with Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join Eye on Ohio’s free mailing list or the mailing list for the Energy News Network as this helps us provide more public service reporting. The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio should conduct a big-picture, in-depth review of FirstEnergy’s spending and governance in light of the company’s admissions last month about former PUCO Chair Sam Randazzo, critics say. “It’s not a debate anymore whether the company engaged in corruption,” said Howard Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center.
Officials say approvals will be ‘later this summer’; reaching a customer service rep still an exhaustive process
This article provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join their free mailing list as this helps them provide more public service reporting. Maggie Rose applied for pandemic unemployment assistance in April 2020 after the restaurant she was working in shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She was quickly approved.
Then a couple weeks ago, she received an email from the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family services telling her to pay the balance owed on her account.
Rose was overpaid $12,000 – something she said was extremely scary “for someone who’s just gone through a move, hasn’t gotten a job yet, I’m using the little bit of money I have left to bring my car here.”
Rose recently moved to Atlanta, Georgia, and because she can’t afford to pay back the balance, she appealed.
In April, nearly 1 in 5 PUA recipients got an anxiety-inducing letter in the mail: the state requesting money back. For many who needed pandemic unemployment assistance to tide them over in the first place, finding the time or money to appeal has been a struggle.
When James Burris was sent to quarantine in a solitary confinement cell, the doctor wouldn’t tell him who allegedly exposed him to the coronavirus, citing laws protecting personal medical information. Burris said he and the four other men sent off to quarantine with him deduced who might have exposed them by comparing notes.
“None of us knew each other,” Burris says. “The only thing we had in common was we all had been in [remote] contact with the Global Tel Link lady.”
Global Tel Link, or GTL, provides digital tablets inmates can use to buy music and rent movies. Burris’ signed up to see the GTL worker because his tablet was broken, but he said he hadn’t even met with her that day because he had been in dialysis. No one in the quarantine group caught COVID-19.
Early statistics from Cleveland's Right to Counsel program show promising results - but what will happen when that moratorium ends? East Side Cleveland resident Dennis Eads ran into some trouble paying rent last year. Eads, a father of five, said he was thankful to have kept his job at a warehouse in the Cleveland area despite the pandemic. But, some of his children got sick, which meant he couldn’t go to work. “I had to quarantine at the house; I couldn’t go outside, couldn’t go to work, couldn’t get paid,” he said.
A plan to end Ohio’s long-criticized Electric Security Plans comes from a primary sponsor of HB 6, the 2019 law at the heart of a $60 million corruption case. This story is from the Energy News Network in collaboration with Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join Eye on Ohio’s free mailing list or the mailing list for the Energy News Network as this helps us provide more public service reporting. A new plan is on the table to phase out rate programs that have let Ohio’s electric utilities collect billions in subsidies over the past dozen years. But the bill aims to continue coal plant subsidies and cuts authority for utility energy efficiency programs.
Critics also worry that vague wording will continue cross-subsidies in another guise.
State made $1.2 billion in accidental payments, which could be forgiven
This article is from Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join their free mailing list, as this helps provide more public service reporting. When Matthew Bishop started getting Pandemic Unemployment Assistance a year ago, it pulled him out of a tight spot. Bishop, who runs a small company called Gutenberg Author Services, lost all his customers when the economy imploded in March, and had moved out of his group house and in with his parents because he couldn’t make rent. PUA was a lifeline.
ByLucia Walinchus, Marisa Twigg and Jaelynn Grisso |
Almost a year later police still won’t identify officer who attacked journalists; Reporters say they mostly work without incident but face an increase in online threats
This article provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism in partnership with the nonprofit Matter News. Please join Eye on Ohio’s free mailing list and follow Matter News as this helps us provide more public service reporting. Who is this person? Nearly a year after Columbus police officers pepper sprayed journalists covering protests against police brutality, The Columbus Division Police still have not named the officer shouting “I don’t care!” and turning eyes into agony, as those reporters shouted, “We are members of the news media!” and held up their badges.
A police spokesman said the incident is still “under investigation” but, contrary to previous precedent, declined to name the officer involved. In public records requests, Police said no officer on that crowded street had body cam video of the incident, and no officer has faced discipline, though the inquiry is still ongoing.