In a Medicaid audit closely watched by state clinics, as well as their political allies and opponents, Inspector General Alan White reduced the amount his office is seeking in repayment for birth control by 93 percent and acknowledged the state’s own instructions had “created confusion” for some clinics.
Internal correspondence obtained by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism confirms discussions about the possible dismantling of the bureau and a reorganization that would move researchers into other agency divisions.
Critics, both inside and outside the agency, say such a reorganization would rob the state of impartial science that should guide critical natural resource management decisions.
The Center is known for its comprehensive coverage of frac sand mining. But let’s face it … our stories are long. So in the meantime here’s a quick introduction to the issues, from local control to dusty air.
Despite fish kills, toxic algae blooms, unsafe beaches and an annual dead zone in the Lake Michigan bay sparking concern across the region, the level of phosphorus loading has changed little over the past two decades, and even gone up in the past couple of years. “I’m part of the problem,” said John Pagel of Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy, one of the largest farms in Wisconsin, at a summit hosted by U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble in Green Bay. “But I’m also part of the solution.”
Phosphorus flowing into the bay causes fish kills, toxic algae blooms and an annual dead zone. “I felt it was important to bring the stakeholders together, and see if we could maybe stop pointing fingers at each other, and start pointing fingers at solutions,” Rep. Ribble said about the April 1 event he’s hosting.
It’s part of a national trend. But parents and guardians of patients at Central Wisconsin Center, one of the state’s facilities for the developmentally disabled, are worried that the state’s no-new-admissions policy could endanger people who could benefit from the centers’ services. Now a couple have gone to court to keep their child at the center.
The employees said they acted to protect public safety in restricting the contractor’s ability to service a particular elevator model. But the state Department of Safety and Professional Services, responding to complaints filed with an office created by Gov. Scott Walker to assist small businesses, accused the employees of violating workplace rules and nullified this restriction.
The 32 legislators’ action was prompted by a Center story in November about state auditors alleging that two family planning clinics overbilled Medicaid by $3.5 million, largely for birth control drugs and devices. Family planning providers say the auditors’ stance could force many clinics to close, while the state maintains it is protecting taxpayers.