Morning Headlines: Mercy Health to Pay $14 million Settlement; Airline Reps to Come to Cleveland

Jun 4, 2018

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, June 4: 

  • Mercy Health in Cincinatti to pay $14 million in a settlement;
  • Representatives from major airlines come to Cleveland this week;
  • Parent sues helmet-making company for death of his son;
  • Ohio House to vote on next speaker Wednesday;
  • Democratic nominee Richard Cordray focuses on opioid epidemic in Ohio;
  • State to announce which locations in Ohio will receive medical marijuana licenses;
  • Before it starts, Ohio's medical marijuana program will collect around $11 million;
  • A Trumbull County school is looking to harvest trees for money;
  • Cuyahoga County's solid waste distrct launches recycling campaign;
  • Gov. John Kasich objects to President Donald Trump's stance on tariffs and immigration;
  • U.S. Coast Guard saves three boaters Saturday in Cleveland Harbor;
  • A bill would make schools start after Labor Day;

Mercy Health in Cincinatti to pay $14 million in a settlement

Mercy Health in Cincinnati will pay over $14 million is a settlement with the feds for alleged improper referrals of patients. WKYC reports Mercy Health is accused of paying six employed-physicians, along with an oncologist and five internal medicine doctors for referring patients to the hospital. Federal law restricts healthcare facilities from that kind of financial relationship since the payment could be viewed as a kickback versus compensation for the services they provided. It settles the False Claims Act, which fines companies for defrauding government programs. Mercy Health Care is one of the largest healthcare systems with over 500 facilities in Ohio and Kentucky.

Representatives from major airlines come to Cleveland this week

Over 200 representatives from the largest airlines nationwide will convene in Cleveland this week for the annual JumpStart event. Cleveland.com reports the representatives will meet with officials from Cleveland Hopkins airport among others to decide what new destinations their planes can fly to next. Major airlines that will be represented include Delta, American and Southwest Airlines.

Parent sues helmet-making company for death of his son

A parent of a former Ohio high school football player is suing two sports companies for the death of his son. The Dayton Daily News reports Cody Hamblin played football at Miamisburg High School in Montgomery County, and died in 2016 when he suffered a seizure from the brain disease CTE. His father Darren Hamblin is now suing Riddell Sports Group and its parent company Schutt Sports for negligence, fraud, wrongful death and product liability since the team used the companies’ helmets while playing.

Ohio House to vote on next speaker Wednesday

The gridlocked Ohio House has set a vote Wednesday to pick its new speaker despite deep uncertainty about the outcome. Republican Rep. Kirk Schuring, the chamber's acting leader, took a straw poll of members. A majority of House Republicans have so far been unable to settle on a speaker candidate to replace Cliff Rosenberger, who resigned last month amid an FBI investigation. That's left the fractured caucus to spar for weeks while legislation languishes. Schuring gave members of both parties until Friday to choose whether to go forward with the vote or to change House rules so he can preside over law-making.

Democratic nominee Richard Cordray focuses on opioid epidemic in Ohio

The Democratic nominee for governor is focusing on Ohio's opioid crisis. Richard Cordray has roundtable discussions today at Springfield Regional Hospital and at the Cincinnati firefighters' union hall. His campaign says he'll hear from addiction treatment providers in Springfield on what is working and what they would do with more government support, then from local leaders and health care providers in Cincinnati on the urban impact. Cordray faults Republicans including opponent Attorney General Mike DeWine for not doing enough, and says he would treat it as a state emergency. DeWine's campaign says he worked aggressively to shut down "pill mills" in southern Ohio, arrest drug traffickers and protect children.

State to announce which locations in Ohio will receive medical marijuana licenses

Ohio officials are ready to announce where the state's 56 medical marijuana dispensaries will be located. The Board of Pharmacy is expected today to name who will get the licenses in 28 geographic districts. The board has been getting background checks and verifying that proposed locations are at least 500 feet from schools and churches. Overall, there were 376 applications for the medical marijuana dispensaries. The sites that are selected will be allowed to sell medical marijuana to qualified and registered patients who have received recommendations from a state-approved list of doctors. The Dayton Daily News reports that two districts in western Ohio won't get dispensaries yet because there were no applicants or no qualified applicants.

Before it starts, Ohio's medical marijuana program will collect around $11 million

A report says Ohio's medical marijuana program will bring in about $11 million in fees even before the system is up and running. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that figure includes about $5.2 million in non-refundable application fees already collected from more than 650 prospective medical marijuana businesses. The state will also collect about $2.6 million in licensing fees from 25 large and small cultivators who received provisional growing license, and another $2.6 million in annual license renewal fees from growers. Ohio officials today will announce where the 56 medical marijuana dispensaries will be located.

A Trumbull County school is looking to harvest trees for money

A Trumbull County school that's short on funds is proposing the harvesting of old-growth trees on school property. Newton Falls Exempted School District is holding a July 3 auction to take timber harvesting bids from interested companies for trees on 42 acres of forest. The district recently cut 15 staff and closed the elementary school as cost-saving measures. Opponents argue the plan will accumulate money temporarily while leaving behind a fragmented forest. Trees in the forest include walnut, beech and oak.

Cuyahoga County's solid waste distrct launches recycling campaign

Cuyahoga County’s solid waste district has launched a campaign to teach residents proper recycling techniques because of a growing amount of contaminated recyclables. The district tells Cleveland.com that people have good intentions but have developed bad habits. The paper says newspapers in plastic bags, greasy pizza boxes and jars still containing some peanut butter are all unacceptable. By some estimates one in four recyclables are rejected due to contamination. The waste district and some waste recyclers in the greater Cleveland area have launched educational programs to explain what materials are acceptable for recycling and what needs to be thrown away.

Gov. John Kasich objects to President Donald Trump's stance on tariffs and immigration

Gov. John Kasich is pushing Republican leadership to stand up to President Donald Trump on tariffs and immigration. In a segment of an interview with CBS' "Face the Nation" over the weekend, Kasich says he is "shocked" that Republican lawmakers feel "they have to ask permission from the president to do anything." Kasich urged Republicans in Congress "to do whatever they can do legislatively" to push back against Trump's decisions to impose tariffs on several ally nations and end an Obama-era program to protect undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children.

U.S. Coast Guard saves three boaters Saturday in Cleveland Harbor

The U.S. Coast Guard rescued three boaters from its Cleveland Harbor station late Saturday. The distress call came from a disabled sailing vessel against the rocks of the Edgewater breakwall. The crew retrieved the person from the water, then had the other two go into the water from the vessel where they were recovered. The two men and one woman were evaluated on shore for mild hypothermia.

A bill would make schools start after Labor Day

State lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow schools to start the academic year after Labor Day. The Ohio House Education Committee recently held a second hearing on the proposal. Under the measure, schools opening before Labor Day would need to hold a public hearing before voting on the matter. Trade groups say the bill would help students with summer jobs and families taking vacations. Proponents say the measure could potentially improve the state's tourism economy. Democratic state Rep. Dan Ramos says the schedule change would push high schools out of alignment with Ohio universities, which could hurt students taking college credit courses. Other critics argue the issue should be left to local school boards.