Evicted and nowhere to go: Single mom struggling to make ends meet faces an uncertain reality

Evicted and nowhere to go: Single mom struggling to make ends meet faces an uncertain reality

Right now, people across our area face a sad reality: Eviction.
In Ohio, a landlord must file a complaint against a tenant, go to court, and be granted a judgment in their favor for an eviction to be legal.
This is a legal eviction that was ordered by Cleveland Housing Court.
“Everything clear upstairs,” Russell asked his partner.
Russell said the bailiffs for Cleveland Housing Court oversee five to 10 set outs a day.
The woman being evicted said this was her first eviction.
Fewer than 1,600 ended in a set out.
Most of the time people move out on their own before it gets to that point.
The main reason an eviction is filed is because a tenant fails to pay rent.
Renters can call the 216-861-5955 during business hours for information about their rights and responsibilities.

California’s dip in independent medical reviews may be temporary

California’s dip in independent medical reviews may be temporary

The first-ever decline in the number of independent medical reviews in California since it enacted workers compensation reforms might not be the start of a downward trend, but rather an anomaly as providers and injured workers get used to the state’s newly enacted closed drug formulary and medical treatment utilization schedule, experts say.
The volume of independent medical reviews declined by 2.2% in 2017 for the first time since the state adopted its practice of reviewing medical claims for injured workers in 2012, according to a report released March 15 by the Oakland-based California Workers’ Compensation Institute.
“It was a modest decline.
The new figures arrived a month and a half into the state’s inception of a closed drug formulary, which limits new opioid prescriptions for injured workers to four days and calls for a utilization review for refills, among other regulations.
In 2017, 29.1% of requests for independent medical reviews were for opioids, accounting for the largest share of the review requests.
Given that opioids are limited under the formulary, experts predict an increase in reviews.
Doctors and attorneys representing injured workers will have to get used to the new parameters for such prescriptions and medical services to ensure a steady decline in reviews, according to Eddy Canavan, Orange, California-based vice president of the workers compensation practice and compliance for Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc. “If physicians do not adopt and adhere to the formulary, I don’t see (the number of independent medical reviews) dipping again,” said Mr. Canavan.
“We will not see an initial decrease in anything until the physicians can reset.” “Because California just implemented the closed formulary (the number of independent medical reviews) could kick up again as the treating providers try to get used to the closed formulary along with the changes to the MTUS guidelines,” said Mike Lemrick, Dallas-based vice president of operations, independent medical evaluations and utilization review, for Coventry Workers’ Comp Services.
That’s a sign that doctors and attorneys representing injured workers could continue to back off from requesting the follow-up reviews when the chance of a utilization review decision getting overturned is slight, Mr. Canavan said, adding that he thinks the number of independent reviews could dip again, but not right away.
Mr. Swedlow said the state will not know until the third or fourth quarter whether there’s an uptick in independent medical reviews for 2018.

Workers comp provider acquires insurer

Workers comp provider acquires insurer

To expand its geographic reach, privately held Service Insurance Holdings Inc., parent of Texas-based Service Lloyds Insurance Co., is acquiring Oklahoma City-based American Healthcare Indemnity Co., the Austin-based company announced Tuesday.
The new entity will be rebranded as Service American Indemnity Co., according to a press release.
The acquisition will allow Service American Indemnity Co. to write workers compensation insurance in up to 48 states.
The new entity will also identify and introduce new programs that will create significant opportunities for growth and profitability, according to the release.
Specifics on the acquisition were not available.
“The launch of Service American Indemnity Co., integrated with Service Lloyds, represents one of the first steps in our strategy to execute measured, organic growth into targeted areas over the next few years,” said J. Kelly Gray, CEO of Service Insurance Holdings Inc., in a press statement.
“It will allow us to continue our tradition of unparalleled service in the workers compensation market as well as be responsive to the growing needs of customers and stakeholders.” The acquisition will result in a planned pooling and reinsurance agreement under Service Insurance Holdings, whose business will remain headquartered in Austin.

HURT TO HOPE: Teens of addicted parents feel inclusion, reclaim voices through group

HURT TO HOPE: Teens of addicted parents feel inclusion, reclaim voices through group

John Kasich who mentioned them during his final State of the State address this month.
Maybe for the first time in some of their lives, the girls feel powerful. “I hope no other kids have to deal with what we have to, that they have people to talk to,” said Faith Butler, 15.
A lot of these kids are dealing with adult situations as kids,” Gillott said.
He had known Rodgers and some of her peers because he’d been arresting their parents for years but hadn’t really thought of what the impact was on them.
Crabtree also spoke to the high school students to let them know, “I didn’t care about their parents anymore.
The teens began supporting each other.
The YMCA began piloting Hurt to Hope Jan. 15 and while they haven’t received any funding from the state yet, there is funding available now through the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, said Kim Conley, Pike County YMCA director.
On a state level, the teens also have been cited as the impetus for the OhioCorps bill introduced last month.
The bill aims to create a mentoring programs between college students and teens impacted by poverty and the opiate epidemic.

Comp insurer not liable for death benefits for out-of-state driver: Judge

Comp insurer not liable for death benefits for out-of-state driver: Judge

A U.S. District judge ruled in favor of an insurer who filed a summary judgment on a claim involving an Iowa workers compensation policy for a company that hired an Illinois truck driver who only worked in his home state before dying from a work-related injury, according to the ruling issued in U.S. District Court in Chicago on Friday.
Eldridge, Iowa-based Worldwide Transportation Shipping Co. hired the driver, who worked in Illinois 100% of the time, in August 2014.
The trucking company had workers compensation only for drivers in Iowa, according to documents in Hartford Underwriters Insurance Co. v. Worldwide Transportation Shipping Co.
In October 2014, the insurer was notified that the driver had been involved in a fatal accident in Illinois in September 2014.
In 2015, the driver’s widow filed an Application for Adjustment of Claim against Worldwide, seeking benefits under the Illinois Workers Compensation Act.
“Worldwide hired an Illinois resident for Illinois work in August 2014, but it was not until Jan. 7, 2015, that Worldwide first requested (its insurer) to add coverage in Illinois.
… For a company with mostly out-of-state operations, Worldwide took a risk by only applying for coverage in Iowa, and none of Hartford’s conduct suggested that Worldwide would be protected in taking that risk.
Therefore, Hartford’s Motion for Summary Judgment on the affirmative defenses is granted,” the ruling states.

Dreamers no longer banned from 70 occupations under bill Holcomb expected to sign

Dreamers no longer banned from 70 occupations under bill Holcomb expected to sign

Various local religious and labor leaders, along with other community members, form a human chain during a DACA protest spanning diagonally across the intersection of East Ohio and North Pennsylvania Streets in Indianapolis on Tuesday, March 6, 2018.
Eric Holcomb is expected to sign the measure after lawmakers gave it final approval Wednesday.
DACA recipients, often called Dreamers, would no longer be shut out of more than 70 occupations in Indiana under legislation headed to Gov.
Indiana lawmakers gave final approval Wednesday to a bill that would change the citizenship verification requirements for obtaining professional licenses to include the roughly 9,000 young immigrants in Indiana who were brought to the United States illegally as children but granted legal work status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Controversy erupted when the Holcomb administration recently began screening out DACA recipients through a change in the application forms used by the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency, which coordinates licensing for nearly one in seven Indiana workers.
Holcomb has expressed support for the new legislation while defending the licensing agency’s actions.
The change to the license applications was necessary to comply with a 2011 state immigration law, the agency has said.
But any such effort will have to wait until next year.
It’s not even clear, though, whether the DACA program will be in effect then.
In the meantime, the fate of the nation’s nearly 700,000 DACA recipients has been a source of tense negotiations in Congress, leading to a three-day government shutdown in January as Democrats briefly demanded a DACA solution as part of a spending bill.

Delaware’s former deputy treasurer Erika Benner facing drug charges in New England

Delaware’s former deputy treasurer Erika Benner facing drug charges in New England

Here are some of the top stories we’re following for today.
3/15/18 Damian Giletto/The News Journal A once high-ranking Delaware official at the center of former state treasurer Chip Flowers’ retreat from local politics is facing drug charges in Massachusetts, along with her two sons.
The drug exchange was witnessed by police in Haverhill, Massachusetts, and led to a search of her parents’ home, where both her sons reside, according to court records.
That search uncovered hundreds of Xanax pills, THC oil and other drugs used as to make the psychoactive methamphetamine MDMA, along with guns and other evidence of what police describe as “a lucrative joint drug enterprise” run by Benner’s children, court documents show.
When police informed Benner that her sons were selling narcotics, she responded, “I know, but one of them has ADHD,” police said.
The Eagle-Tribune newspaper reported last month that Benner was ordered to be held without bail pending her commitment to a 28-day drug detox program.
Messages left at Benner’s home were not returned Friday.
That’s a far cry from the six-figure-a-year job Benner held in Delaware before resigning after racking up $6,400 worth of personal charges on her state credit card for meals, gas and an extended hotel stay after a treasurer’s conference in Alaska.
Flowers claimed he was the subject of a coordinated smear campaign initiated by his political foes.
Although Benner now lives about 30 miles north of Boston, Flowers on Friday said he has not had any contact with his former deputy for years.

Reduced comp rates in store for Vermont businesses

Reduced comp rates in store for Vermont businesses

Vermont employers will save a total of $10 million under lower workers compensation insurance rates this spring, according to Gov.
Phil Scott’s office.
There will be overall reductions of 3.7% in voluntary lost costs and 7.6% in assigned risk rates starting April 1, the governor’s office said Wednesday in a statement.
This is the second consecutive year both loss costs and assigned risk rates have been reduced, with aggregate reductions of 11.6% and 15.6% respectively over the last two years, according to the statement.
The reduction in comp costs were driven by several factors including reductions in the frequency of claims, down 11.5% over the past three years.
The severity of indemnity and medical treatment claims have also declined, down 4.6% over the past five years, according to the statement.
Reductions also came as the result of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation directing the National Council on Compensation Insurance Inc. to remove a surcharge applied to the assigned risk market — as recent experience no longer justified the expense — resulting in additional premium relief of 6.7%for Vermont employers in the assigned risk market.
Vermont’s log hauling industry will receive the greatest benefit from this year’s filing, as the department also directed NCCI to combine the log hauling employer class with the contract trucking class, resulting in a 24% rate reduction for log haulers while having no impact on the contract trucking industry, according to the statement.
“This is good news for Vermont employers and the overall Vermont job market,” Gov.
Scott said in the statement.

Independent medical reviews dip in California: Study

Independent medical reviews dip in California: Study

The volume of independent medical reviews in California declined in 2017 for the first time since the state adopted its practice of reviewing medical claims for injured workers, according to a report released Thursday by the Oakland, California-based California Workers Compensation Institute.
The Division of Workers Compensation data show 3,808 fewer cases in 2017 than in 2016, which translates to a 2.2% decline, the institute announced in its study.
State lawmakers adopted review standards in 2012, anticipating that once doctors, attorneys and others came to know which services could be approved as meeting evidence-based medicine standards the process would reduce treatment disputes, but 2017 marks the first time in the five years since its inception that IMR volume has declined, the institute stated in the report.
Further study of 648,450 IMR decision letters issued from 2014 to 2017 found that outcomes were unchanged as reviewing physicians again upheld 91.2% of modified or denied medical service requests that they reviewed, the institute revealed.
The figure remained unchanged since 2014.
The mix of service requests reviewed by IMR physicians in 2017 showed only minor changes from 2016.
Prescription drug requests — 29.1% of which were for opioids — again accounted for the largest share of the review requests at 46.0%, down from 47.9% in 2016, the study showed.

Some people already get food in a box from the government

Some people already get food in a box from the government

Providing food in a box to needy Americans is nothing new for the federal government.
That initiative is only a small part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s commodity food program, which distributes a total of nearly 2.4 billion pounds of items to schools, food banks and other locations annually.
The idea of the government providing actual food to those in need was thrust into the spotlight this week after the Trump administration floated a radical overhaul of the nation’s food stamp program as part of its fiscal 2019 budget.
The Harvest Box concept was widely panned by consumer advocates and food retailers and is considered dead-on-arrival in Congress, which rarely adopts initiatives outlined in presidents’ budgets.
Through the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, seniors with incomes at or below 130% of the federal poverty line — or about $16,000 a year — receive a monthly box of food worth roughly $50.
It would be very difficult to scale up the senior food program to more than 38 million food stamp recipients.
The non-profit provides enough food to make 62 million meals for 1.5 million New Yorkers each year through a network of food pantries and soup kitchens.
The USDA food distribution program is so important because it provides schools, food banks and other organizations with nutritious food that they might not otherwise be able to buy.
For instance, schools can get a case of whole grain spaghetti for less than $10 from the government, said Chris Facha, president of the American Commodity Distribution Association, an industry group whose members distribute federal food.
Child nutrition initiatives, such as the school lunch program, receive the largest share of federal food — about 1.4 billion pounds of items valued at $1.6 billion annually.