Hospital: 5 patients given overdoses may have been treatable
By KANTELE FRANKO
Friday, February 22
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Five hospital patients who died after getting potentially fatal doses of pain medication may have been given those drugs when there still was a chance to improve their conditions with treatment, an Ohio health system said Friday as its investigation continued.
The Columbus-area Mount Carmel Health System said it is notifying families of those five people, who were among dozens of patients that received excessive doses ordered by one of its doctors.
It also found one more patient who received a potentially fatal dose, bringing that total to at least 29 patients over several years, mostly at Mount Carmel West Hospital in Columbus. It has said six other patients received doses but that the medication wasn’t likely the cause of those deaths.
The findings have raised questions about whether hospital staff wrongly used drugs to hasten deaths intentionally or possibly illegally without the patients’ families knowing.
“These events are heartbreaking, unacceptable and inconsistent with the values and care processes of Mount Carmel,” CEO Ed Lamb said in a statement Friday that echoed the hospital’s previous apologies and pledges to ensure the situation doesn’t occur again.
The hospital said the overdoses were ordered by critical-care doctor William Husel, who was fired in December after Mount Carmel received reports of concerns and began investigating.
Husel and the hospital now face at least 19 related wrongful-death lawsuits alleging patients were negligently or intentionally killed. Some families also question whether they were misled by hospital employees about the graveness of the patients’ conditions.
Mount Carmel said it put 23 other employees on leave , including nurses and pharmacists who administered and approved medications. It also said it has changed its medication protocols to prevent similar situations.
Husel had worked at Mount Carmel for five years.
His lawyers have declined to comment on the allegations, and they’re seeking to halt proceedings in some of the lawsuits against him pending the ongoing investigation by local authorities.
The State Medical Board has suspended his license, but no criminal charges have been announced. Records show the board hasn’t previously disciplined Husel.
He invoked his right against self-incrimination when he was questioned for the board, including when asked if he purposefully ordered excessive doses to end patients’ lives, according to a board notification.
The affected patients identified by relatives or in litigation so far include men and women who were treated for various ailments. They ranged in age from 39 to 85.
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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine promises funding to fight lake algae
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said this week that he plans to increase state funding in his upcoming budget proposal to fight algae growth in Lake Erie.
The Republican governor told the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation in Columbus on Wednesday the effort is “going to take real money” and that his administration is determining what the funding amount will be.
DeWine previously voiced support for a measure proposed by state lawmakers to ask voters to approve borrowing $1 billion over 10 years to help farmers reduce fertilizer runoff while providing funding for monitoring and research. Phosphorous-based fertilizers are the primary cause of algae blooms that spread across Lake Erie’s western basin each summer.
DeWine’s predecessor, John Kasich, signed an executive order last year to have the Maumee watershed, which drains into the western basin, declared distressed to allow for increased state enforcement of farmers’ fertilizer use.
Agricultural groups like the farm bureau opposed the order. Kasich later fired Ohio Department of Agriculture Director David Daniels.
DeWine has not rescinded the order, but has placed it on hold for at least three months while his new agricultural director considers potential solutions.
DeWine said his budget proposal will broadly target water quality in the state, including the Ohio River watershed.
The governor’s budget is scheduled to be released March 15.
Analysis: Accenture’s Spotty Record Imposes Heavy Cost on Taxpayers
By Shawn McCoy
This month, the U.S. government’s public debt, for the first time, surpassed $22 trillion. Despite one of the longest economic expansions in modern history, economists project annual deficits will continue with no end in sight.
While most budget watchdogs say austerity measures will eventually be needed to bring runaway spending under control, many observers say there are common-sense steps that can be taken now to curb wasteful spending. They point to colossal, multinational consulting firms that rake in tens of billions of dollars for services, often failing to deliver adequate value in return.
“The outsourcing of government services to private firms can be more efficient and effective for taxpayers, but consistent oversight and corrective action are vital. Otherwise the government and its contractors just keep repeating the same mistakes,” says Pete Sepp, president of the National Taxpayers Union.
Sepp points to a number of contracting difficulties, particularly with the Department of Homeland Security. The National Taxpayers Union has advocated for legislation to provide better oversight and transparency of contractors.
“While contractors can and do provide an important role working with the federal government, there is still too much taxpayer money lost to waste and failure,” Sepp said.
Accenture is one of dozens of massive management consulting firms that provide local, state and federal government agencies with critical subject matter expertise and critical scale needed to implement complex public programs. But this know-how comes at a cost, and when the high fees yield empty promises, it’s the taxpayers that are forced to absorb the costs.
Last year, the Office of Inspector General — an independent government watchdog housed within the Department of Homeland Security — released findings of a months’ long investigation into reported performance shortcomings stemming from a $297 million Customs and Border Protection (CBP) contract with Accenture. The jaw-dropping report made national headlines.
Accenture had been hired to identify 7,500 new agents for CBP, but after 10 months and $13.6 million, the consulting firm had managed to recruit only two potential employees, according to the inspector general’s searing report.
The consulting firm secured the contract, in part, by convincing CBP its proprietary technology could greatly reduce the time needed to identify, recruit and vet applicants, but according to the audit, none of those promised technologies ever materialized because Accenture’s software was plagued with “functionality issues, including high error rates and multiple software bugs.”
Worse, the inspector general found that for the better part of a year, Accenture had been systematically shifting its contractual obligations back to CBP. In effect, concluded the inspector general, Accenture was cashing the checks while saddling career government staff with the work.
“The CBP debacle is one of the most incomprehensible cases of consulting malpractice I’ve witnessed in 30 years,” says one management consultant who has done business with the federal agencies. “It causes indiscriminate damage to everyone in the industry — the good players and the bad alike.”
To be sure, Accenture’s top talent — often recruited from Ivy League schools and some of the world’s most successful companies — has helped deliver badly needed improvements and efficiencies to the government sector by solving difficult challenges. Some of the company’s defenders say it is unfair to focus only on its failures, while ignoring its success stories.
Eight years ago, the Justice Department issued a scathing report on abuses by the Seattle Police Department after the department’s Civil Rights Division uncovered a systemic pattern of discriminatory policing and excessive use of force.
SPD turned to Accenture for help. Leveraging data, the consulting firm helped build a state-of-the-art analytics platform that, among other things, provided department leaders with actionable feedback relating to community complaints. The insight-led policing solutions provided by Accenture were broadly credited for helping restore public trust in the department.
Still, many observers say taxpayers have every right to expect the kind of achievements that occurred in Washington state, given how lucrative consulting agreements are. Last year, Accenture reported $41 billion in revenue.
When Accenture fails to deliver on its contractual obligations, the costs to taxpayers are often measured in hundreds of millions of dollars. Critics say the company’s record of failure is particularly pronounced at the state level, where far too many big-ticket projects have failed to meet expectations.
For example in Ohio, last month The Columbus Dispatch reported that a multi-year effort to modernize the state’s public benefits program may have actually made the process of applying for aid worse, despite a price tag that is expected to exceed a half-billion dollars. Accenture was hired to consolidate food- and cash-assistance programs under a new processing system, but the Dispatch’s investigation found it resulted in widespread confusion and benefit delays, punctuated by telephone wait-times that routinely extend to 90, even 120 minutes.
Similar horror stories of missed deadlines and avoidable cost overruns have been documented in other states including New York, North Carolina and Oregon.
“This stewardship failure is exactly what gives government contractors such a bad reputation,” said another veteran management consultant. “Rather than protecting taxpayers, the procurement process has created a cottage industry of Beltway Bandits obsessed with winning contracts, and far less concerned with making their client successful.”
ABOUT THE WRITER
Shawn McCoy is the publisher of InsideSources.com.
Gap Inc. Expands in Groveport, Ohio, Creating 600 New Jobs
Columbus, Ohio – Gap Inc., a leading global retailer offering clothing, accessories and personal care products, has announced plans to expand its operations in Groveport, Ohio, investing approximately $100 million and creating 600 new jobs. Hiring for merchandise handlers and management positions will begin in Q1 and Q2 of 2020.
Gap Inc. will construct a new 420,000-square-foot warehouse adjacent to its existing 950,000-square-foot facility at 6001 Green Point Drive in Groveport. This additional space will allow the company to significantly increase daily output to support its growing online business.
“For nearly two decades, the Columbus Region has offered us a strong talent pool and high quality of life for our employees,” said Shawn Curran, executive vice president of global supply chain & product operations at Gap Inc. “As we continue to elevate our logistics network to meet our growing online sales, we look forward to expanding our presence in the community.”
Created in 1969, Gap Inc.’s products are available in more than 90 countries worldwide. The company offers customers a range of brands, each with a unique style, including Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, Athleta, Hill City and Intermix brands.
“Gap Inc. is an important employer for the Groveport community, and we’re thrilled that the company’s global success will bring 600 new jobs to the Region,” said Jeff Green, assistant city administrator at City of Groveport. “Groveport provides the right business environment and talent pool to assist in the company’s continued growth.”
Some of the world’s most recognizable apparel, lifestyle and home goods brands have a strong presence in the Columbus Region. In addition to housing one of Gap Inc.’s fulfillment centers, Victoria’s Secret, Express, Abercrombie & Fitch, Lane Bryant and DSW are all headquartered in the Columbus Region. These brands operate alongside top retail-related service providers to create a retail innovation ecosystem in the Columbus Region that drives worldwide innovation. Groveport is located in Franklin County, which is home to an estimated 1,291,981 residents and several Fortune 500 companies.
“The Columbus Region has been a strategic part of Gap Inc.’s global operations for nearly twenty years,” said Ted Griffith, managing director for logistics and distribution at JobsOhio. “The company’s expansion demonstrates its confidence in the Columbus Region to advance its growth while bringing 600 new jobs to Groveport.”
About Gap Inc.
Gap Inc. is a leading global retailer offering clothing, accessories, and personal care products for men, women, and children under the Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, Athleta, Hill City and Intermix brands. Fiscal year 2017 net sales were $15.9 billion. Gap Inc. products are available for purchase in more than 90 countries worldwide through company-operated stores, franchise stores, and e-commerce sites. For more information, please visit GapInc.com.
About Columbus 2020
As the economic development organization for the Columbus Region, Columbus 2020’s mission is to generate opportunity and build capacity for economic growth across 11 Central Ohio counties. In 2010, hundreds of business and community leaders developed the Columbus 2020 Regional Growth Strategy, and the Columbus Region is now experiencing the strongest decade of growth in its history. The Columbus 2020 team conducts business outreach, promotes the Columbus
Region to market-leading companies around the world, conducts customized research to better understand the Columbus Region’s competitiveness, and works to leverage public, private and institutional partnerships. Funding is received from more than 300 private organizations, local governments, academic institutions and JobsOhio. Learn more at ColumbusRegion.com.
Healthcare AI Leader, Olive, Expands in Columbus, Adds 100 New Jobs
Columbus, Ohio – Olive, a healthcare-specific artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation company, announced plans to expand its presence in the Columbus Region, more than doubling its workforce with 100 new jobs. Olive recently evolved its core business to focus on one of the most promising areas in healthcare: artificial intelligence technology that helps healthcare organizations reduce administrative costs and reduce errors.
The potential for AI technology in healthcare is enormous. In fact, the surging healthcare AI market is expected to exceed $34 billion within the next five years. With that backdrop, Olive is poised to help solve some of the greatest challenges facing healthcare today. After raising $32.8 million in Series D funding last year, the company has added new customers and talent. With this latest commitment to Columbus, Olive will immediately begin hiring across a range of positions, including engineering, product management, marketing, sales and support positions.
“Olive’s expansion further proves that Columbus is a growing center for healthcare innovation, and we’re proud that the company continues to invest in the community that helped build it,” said Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. “We’re known for our collaborative business community, and the marrying of healthcare and technology in the Columbus Region helps advance both industries.”
Headquartered in Columbus, Olive provides AI solutions to healthcare organizations across the U.S., including hospitals, laboratories and the nation’s leading healthcare management systems. Olive acts as a digital workforce by automating repetitive, high volume tasks and workflows. As a result, Olive helps healthcare organizations improve efficiency and patient care, while reducing expensive administrative errors, improving cash collections and eliminating denials for no coverage.
“Since 2013, Olive has been proud to call Columbus home. As we continue our mission to carve a trillion dollars out of the cost of healthcare through artificial intelligence, we look forward to adding many talented humans from across the country to our growing team” said Olive CEO Sean Lane.
The Columbus Region is home to a robust healthcare innovation ecosystem, with more than 45,000 employees working in the industry. Columbus provides a competitive pool of healthcare IT talent, thanks to the more than 50 colleges and universities in the Region. The Region’s large pool of IT talent, combined with its well-established healthcare sector, makes it a hotbed for innovation.
“In Ohio, Olive is applying deep artificial intelligence technologies to improve the accuracy, speed and compliance of healthcare operations,” said JobsOhio Managing Director for Technology Ted Griffith. “The Columbus Region has an exceptional combination of young tech talent and a strong healthcare presence in place for Olive to grow its operations and create new jobs here.”
Olive is a healthcare-specific artificial intelligence and process automation company that empowers healthcare organizations to improve efficiency and patient care while reducing costly administrative errors. Olive acts as the intelligent router between systems and data by automating repetitive, high-volume tasks and workflows, providing true interoperability. Olive is helping some of the nation’s top healthcare and hospital organizations reduce data and billing errors, eliminate denials for no coverage, improve cash collections and more. To learn more, visit oliveai.com.
About the City of Columbus, Ohio
The City of Columbus is the 14th largest city in the United States with a population of 879,170 residents. The Columbus economy is balanced with a combination of education, technology, government, research, insurance and health care entities as major employers within the City. Columbus is gaining nationwide recognition for its booming downtown, historic neighborhoods, arts and sporting districts, open attitude and a noticeably affordable quality of life. Learn more about the City of Columbus at columbus.gov/development/Economic-Development.
FEB. 25, 2019
Rep. Brown reintroduces bipartisan school bus safety bill
COLUMBUS—State Rep. Richard Brown (D-Canal Winchester) today introduced bipartisan legislation alongside Rep. Gary Scherer (R-Circleville) to increase safety for Ohio students by cracking down on motorists with multiple violations of passing a school bus with its stop arm activated.
“This commonsense legislation will increase fines and penalties for motorists who recklessly choose to pass a stopped school bus,” said Rep. Brown. “Rep. Scherer and I are proud to reintroduce this important bipartisan legislation to keep Ohio’s schoolchildren safe.”
Under Ohio law, reckless drivers currently face a $500 fine and a class-seven suspension for passing a stopped school bus, with no increased penalty for a second offense.
The bill would put Ohio on par with other states by allowing judges to impose a $1,000 fine and/or a class-five suspension of the violator’s license for any additional offense over a period of five years.
Brown introduced similar legislation during the 132nd General Assembly.
State Superintendent Celebrates Career Tech in Ohio with School Visits
Columbus, OHIO – Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria toured three career-technical centers to celebrate how career-tech programs across Ohio prepare students for bright futures.
DeMaria met with students and staff at Swiss Hills Career Center in Woodsfield, Belmont-Harrison in St. Clairsville and the Career and Technology Education Centers (C-TEC) of Licking County in Newark to celebrate Career-Technical Education Month.
“A career-technical education is a win-win-win. Students win because they have an engaging learning experience that leads to knowledge and skills that will support their success in a career and in college, if they choose to attend. Schools win because engaged students are more likely to reach higher levels of learning as they see how concepts apply in the real world. Businesses win because career-tech programs contribute to improving the talent pool that supports their success.”
Nationally, 75 percent of career-technical students move on to postsecondary education programs.
The first stop on DeMaria’s school tour was Swiss Hills Career Center, which offers programs ranging from business administration and management to cosmetology and a recently expanded construction trades program. The construction trades program will provide students with a new specialization in heavy equipment operating beginning in fall 2019.
DeMaria also visited Belmont-Harrison Career Center, where 23 programs are offered across two campuses. The center focuses on academic and career-technical programs that prepare students for postsecondary education and opportunities to earn state and national industry credentials. Qualified seniors are eligible for early job placement during school hours.
Wrapping up his career-tech tour, DeMaria toured C-TEC of Licking County, which serves 11 school districts with 20 innovative programs for high school students. C-TEC partners with Ariel Corporation, a Mount Vernon manufacturer of high-speed gas reciprocating compressors, to train students to fill entry-level and skilled positions.
A livestream panel discussion celebrating Career-Technical Education Month featured DeMaria and C-TEC students and staff and highlighted the success of career-technical education across Ohio. You can watch the video on the Department’s Facebook and Twitter channels.
About the Ohio Department of Education
The Ohio Department of Education oversees the state’s public education system, which includes public school districts, joint vocational school districts and charter schools. The Department also monitors educational service centers, other regional education providers, early learning and child care programs, and private schools. The Department’s tasks include administering the school funding system, collecting school fiscal and performance data, developing academic standards and model curricula, administering the state achievement tests, issuing district and school report cards, administering Ohio’s voucher programs, providing professional development, and licensing teachers, administrators, treasurers, superintendents and other education personnel. The Department is governed by the State Board of Education with administration of the Department the responsibility of the superintendent of public instruction.