Posted inGovernment, Health & Welfare

Wisconsin DHS auditor retreats from $3.5 million claim against family planning clinics

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.

Posted inGovernment, Health & Welfare

Family planning clinics say state audits could force many to close

Two family planning clinics serving low-income women say their operations will be at serious financial risk if state auditors stand firm on claims that they overbilled Medicaid by $3.5 million, largely for birth control drugs and devices.

“My hunch is that if any one of us were audited it would come out the same way. We’re all operating the same way,” said Beth Hartung, president of the Wisconsin Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association. “It would mean, quite frankly, that we would all close.”

Posted inGovernment, Health & Welfare, Justice & Safety, Rethinking Sex Offenders

Wisconsin freeing more sex offenders from mental lockup

Wisconsin officials have nearly quadrupled the number of offenders released from state custody after they were committed as sexually violent persons. The risks to residents are reasonable, officials say, because the state’s treatment programs are working and new data suggest these offenders are less likely to reoffend than previously thought.

Posted inEconomy, Frac Sand Rush, Government, Health & Welfare

Frac sand health fears rise as mining booms in Wisconsin

Like some other west-central Wisconsin residents, Frances and Dean Sayles are frustrated with the state Department of Natural Resources’ lack of a comprehensive approach to addressing concerns surrounding potential health problems from crystalline silica dust. Now some residents, academics, local government officials and even a frac sand producer have begun taking action.

Posted inA Frail System, Government, Health & Welfare, Justice & Safety

Wisconsin nursing homes fail to report deaths, injuries

Attorneys for families of residents say that facilities’ failure to report serious injuries or deaths related to abuse or neglect is not uncommon. Far more often, they say, the state health department only learns about a case of alleged neglect or abuse after a family member files a complaint. Advocates for health care providers stress that incidents of neglect and abuse are extremely rare, and can come to regulators’ attention in a variety of ways.

Posted inA Frail System, Government, Health & Welfare

Center’s inquiries prompt state policy changes

In response to the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism’s inquiries into an accident involving a 88-year-old woman at a Milwaukee nursing home, the state Department of Health Services launched an internal review, which concluded that state officials did not properly respond. As a result, the department says it has reviewed its intake procedures and made changes to ensure that complaints against nursing homes are triaged appropriately and investigated in a timely fashion.