Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, March 20:
- University Hospitals ordered to stop contacting patients affected by fertility clinic equipment failure;
- Cleveland RTA claims it was the victim of a nationwide prescription scam;
- Comprehensive abortion ban introduced in Ohio legislature;
- Akron considers raising age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21;
- No buyers' remorse for Ohio Trump voters, new poll shows;
- Teen who suffered brain injury on Ohio State Fair ride could get $1.8 million settlement;
- Kasich named chairman of Midwestern Governors Association;
- Cavs head coach steps down amid health concerns;
University Hospitals ordered to stop contacting patients affected by fertility clinic equipment failure
A judge has ordered an Ohio fertility clinic that experienced an equipment failure that may have damaged thousands of frozen eggs and embryos to stop reaching out to patients. Cleveland.com reports University Hospitals cannot contact patients who were affected by the March 4 failure at a clinic in suburban Cleveland. UH was offering patients free in vitro fertilization treatments in exchange for an out-of-court settlement. Lawyers for a couple who filed a lawsuit against University Hospitals argue the out-of-court settlement could hurt their chance to participate in a class action case and receive damages for their loss. A spokeswoman for the hospital says its policy is not to comment on pending litigation.
Cleveland RTA claims it was the victim of a nationwide prescription scam
The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, which was facing questions from its auditors over $1.8 million in prescription payments, now says it was the victim of a national health insurance scam. The RTA says an investigation found the scam started in January 2014 and continued through March 2016. The agency says it has fired 10 employees and filed a claim Monday with its insurance company to recoup losses.
Comprehensive abortion ban introduced in Ohio Legislature
Two Republican lawmakers have introduced a bill to ban all abortions in Ohio. It defines a fetus as an unborn human at the point of conception, and the ban would apply in all cases, including rape, incest or when the mother’s life in in danger. Women could be criminally charged with homicide and the bill would allow wrongful death suits. The bill is sponsored by Reps. Ron Hood and Nino Vitale. The bill does provide immunity for physicians who indirectly or unintentionally cause the death of a fetus.
Akron considers raising age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21
Akron City Council took its first look on Monday at a plan to raise the age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21. Mayor Dan Horrigan proposed the change in part to fight the city’s high infant mortality rate. Tamiyka Rose, who was hired to coordinate efforts to lower the rate, says the data show increasing tobacco sales to age 21 could “meaningfully reduce” infant mortality and “improve lifelong health outcomes for today’s youth.” Nearly 300 cities and counties across the nation -- including Cleveland and Columbus -- have adopted the Tobacco 21 Initiative. The movement maintains that increasing the smoking age to 21 can prevent about 90 percent of new smokers from ever starting the habit.
No buyers' remorse for Ohio Trump voters, new poll shows
A new Baldwin Wallace poll shows Donald Trump continues to get strong support from most of the Ohioans who say they voted for him. But it also shows some slippage. Fifty-six percent said Trump still has their full support, and 32 percent say Trump still has some of their support. But 11 percent of Ohioans who voted for Trump say he is losing or has lost their support. Trump won Ohio in 2016 by the largest margin since George H.W. Bush beat Michael Dukakis in 1988. The BW poll also says a generic Republican is beating a generic Democrat in this year’s gubernatorial race, but 40 percent of the likely voters say they’re not sure how they’ll vote. Two Republicans and four Democrats are running in the May primary.
Teen who suffered brain injury on Ohio State Fair ride could get $1.8 million settlement
A woman who suffered a brain injury in a deadly ride accident at the Ohio State Fair would get nearly $1.8 million in a proposed settlement of her claims against the ride operator and companies that inspected it. The Fire Ball ride broke apart last July, killing one person and injuring seven, including 18-year-old Jennifer Lambert. Court documents say Lambert remains in a care facility, with medical expenses that have totaled $455,000. Her settlement would need court approval.
Kasich named chairman of Midwestern Governors Association
Ohio Gov. John Kasich has been named chairman of the Midwestern Governors Association ahead of a September summit in Columbus. Kasich's agenda for the bipartisan group of a dozen governors is focused on how technology is transforming jobs and the workforce and how the region can better prepare in areas such as education, training and infrastructure. Kasich says teamwork and sharing ideas can help the region provide opportunities, attract workers and elevate its resources. The term-limited Republican is in his final year as Ohio governor.
Cavs head coach steps down amid health concerns
Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue released a statement Monday saying he will be stepping away from the team to focus on his health. Lue said he’s been dealing with chest pains, sleep deprivation and other complications over the past year. Despite multiple tests, doctors have been unable to give a diagnosis. Assistant coach Larry Drew will take his place in the meantime.