Family planning clinics, home health care providers cry foul over fraud crackdown
Of note: This week we highlight our latest story on the claims of home health care providers and family planning clinics that the push to root out fraud in the Medicaid system has unfairly targeted them. Providers have been ordered to repay as much as $100,000 for services they provided but which the state claims were not properly documented. Family planning clinics say they too have been targeted for what they see as unfair enforcement. “It’s not fraud,” said the past president of the Wisconsin Personal Services Association. “It’s a simple mistake.” The state argues it is making sure taxpayer money is properly spent.
WisconsinWeekly, a collection of stories for people who care deeply about the state, is produced by Dee and Andy Hall, a couple who founded the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. Dee is the managing editor and Andy is the executive director.
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Critics call Wisconsin’s Medicaid fraud crackdown ‘bullying’
Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism — December 9, 2018
Helu Wang and Dee J. Hall investigate claims by home health care providers and family planning clinics that Wisconsin is using clerical errors to unfairly demand they return Medicaid funds. Providers and their advocates say the crackdown could bankrupt providers or push them to leave the business, making it harder for Wisconsinites — especially the elderly and disabled — to get the care they need. The story is part of our Broken Whistle series, which explores Gov. Scott Walker’s attack on waste, fraud and abuse and the dwindling protections and incentives for whistleblowers in Wisconsin. In related news: Supreme Court Ducks Effort To Defund Planned Parenthood
Three years later, Wisconsin hasn’t stopped toxic chemical flow
Wisconsin State Journal — December 9, 2018
Toxic chemicals known by the acronym PFAS have been found in water and fish across the country near sites where the military used heat-resistant firefighting foam or manufacturers applied nonstick coatings to products. The chemicals have been found in heavy concentrations at least six places in Wisconsin, including at Madison’s Air National Guard base. Some government agencies think the levels in other Wisconsin locations could be dangerous, too.
Earth on course to match climate from 3 million years ago by 2030, UW study says
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — December 10, 2018
A new study by researchers at University of Wisconsin-Madison predicts that by 2030 Earth’s climate will resemble that of the mid-Pliocene era, a time when temperatures were 3.2 to 6.5 degrees warmer. By 2150, the planet will resemble the nearly ice-free Earth of 50 million years ago, according to the study. In Wisconsin, the changes could reduce the populations of key species, leading to widespread ecosystem consequences. Scientists say rapid shifts toward clean energy could avert the crisis.
Attorney shortage causing court delays in county, state
Racine Journal Times — December 9, 2018
Court systems across the state are backlogged as defendants sit in jail waiting to be appointed an attorney. The State Public Defender’s Office (SPD) hires private attorneys to take cases when public defenders have full caseloads or conflicts of interest — and with current public defender shortages, more private attorneys are needed. The problem? SPD pays only $40 per hour compared to the $183 per hour such attorneys make on average in private practice. SPD and about 20 Wisconsin counties are seeking ways to increase the rates.
Economic conditions driving farmers to bankruptcy
The Country Today — December 10, 2018
More Midwest farmers are filing for Chapter 12 bankruptcy, according to a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. The number of farm bankruptcy filings was more than double that of four years ago, and about 60 percent of them were for Wisconsin farms, especially dairy farms. Larger herd sizes have protected some dairy farmers — California, for example, has fewer bankruptcies and on average larger herds — but others question “whether the nation should put its food supply into the hands of fewer and fewer people.”