The iOpener: Ohio AG Wants New Rules for Pharmacy Benefits Middlemen; Missing Autistic Child Found

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost speaks in front of a U.S. flag.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost wants more control over pharmacy benefit managers who he says made hundreds of millions from Ohio taxpayers. [Karen Kasler / Statehouse News Bureau]

Good morning, iOpeners. It's Tuesday, April 23, 2019. 

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost called for reforms that he said would boost transparency and oversight of pharmacy benefits managers, saying they’ve taken advantage of a lack of transparency and no centralization “to the detriment of Ohio taxpayers.” Yost proposed establishing a single master contract for PBMs that would be subject to review by the state auditor.  The Republican said this would eliminate the secrecy that has allowed PBMs to overcharge the state. Investigations showed PBMs serving Ohio Medicaid charged the state $224 million more for drugs in 2017 than they reimbursed pharmacies.

A missing toddler with autism whose disappearance Sunday night prompted the Summit County Sheriff’s Office to launch a large search was found safe in a neighbor’s car in Green. Ken Pownell, who lives next to the family of Kaven Fisher, said he found the boy, barefoot, awake and crying, after checking his garage a second time. The toddler is nonverbal. Authorities had asked neighbors to search their properties in case Kaven was hiding. Authorities said more than 100 people, using drones, ATVs, dogs and helicopters, looked for the boy early Monday.

A federal judge has set a June 24 trial date for the Medina man and ex-convict charged with impersonating a long-missing Illinois child.  Brian Rini pleaded not guilty Friday to two counts of lying to federal agents and one of aggravated identity theft. The 23-year-old has been held without bond since his arrest for claiming to be Timmothy Pitzen, who would now be 14.   

The Mount Carmel Health System has settled the first three of what are now 28 wrongful-death lawsuits filed against it and a former doctor accused of ordering excessive amounts of painkiller. Documents filed Friday show the Columbus-area hospital paid a $250,000 in a suit filed by the family of 78-year-old Lora Stone. Details of the settlements in the deaths of 75-year-old Emma Bogan and 55-year-old Corrinnia Blake were not yet available. The health system has said Dr. William Husel ordered excessive doses of fentanyl and other pain medication to seriously ill ICU patients over approximately four years. 

Federal, state and local governments have spent millions of dollars helping the Cleveland area recover from the 2008 financial crisis. But an investigation by ideastream’s Nick Castele found some of that money underwrote demolitions performed by people who operated a notorious dump in East Cleveland, one of the state’s poorest communities. Catele's reporting found Arco Recycling thrived for years as a result of regulatory loopholes.  The recent cleanup of the dump cost Ohio taxpayers $9.1 million

About 5,200 fans watched the Columbus Blue Jackets practice and scrimmage at Nationwide Arena in Columbus Monday morning.  It was the team’s first public appearance since sweeping the Tampa Bay Lightning in their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series nearly one week ago.  The Jackets still do not know their opponent for their second round series - the Boston Bruins staved off elimination on Sunday and will face the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game Seven in Boston tonight.

Weather forecast: Showers and thunderstorms likely, mainly before 1 p.m.  Cloudy and breezy, with a south wind gusting as high as 26 mph.  High 68.  Tonight, mostly cloudy, then clearing, low 43.

 

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