Collaboration in Civic Spheres

State issues online guide to appealing health claim denials

by April 29th, 2011

SUMMARY: The Washington state Office of the Insurance Commissioner has published an online consumer guide to appealing denied health insurance claims. It includes sections on how to correctly launch your appeal, traits of successful and unsuccessful appeals, a detailed summary of consumer best practices in appealing denied health care claims, and a templated work sheet for tracking calls, e-mails and step-by-step results.

Sound Transit to pay penalty to state disclosure commission

by April 28th, 2011

SUMMARY: Sound Transit has agreed to a pay a $15,000 civil penalty – with half the amount conditionally suspended – for violating state law requiring timely filing of lobbying expenses. The penalty stems from 21 quarterly reports from Sound Transit to the Washington Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) that were late by as little as 52 days and as much as more than four years. They covered more than $500,000 in contract lobbying expenses that had already been disclosed by vendors, but also included almost $150,000 in employee lobbying and more than $16,000 in related expenses, that had not been previously reported within legal deadlines. Sound Transit says it will ensure no such future oversights occur. The PDC is expected to approve the enforcement agreement at its meeting today.

State: Patient abandoned by home nursing aide, found on floor

by April 27th, 2011

SUMMARY: The Washington state Department of Health last week announced it had filed charges of unprofessional conduct against registered nursing assistant Janice. N. Lorenzana, who allegedly abandoned an elderly patient for whom she was supposed to be caring in his King County home. He was found by his grandchildren on the floor with his briefs soiled by urine and feces and no one else in the house, although Lorenzana had indicated via cell phone clock-in and clock-out to her employer Fedelta Care Solutions, of Seattle, that she was on duty at that time. The state filing says she admitted she left early due to a family emergency, and alleges she got no one to cover her shift. Lorenzana’s license expired several months after the alleged incident in June 2010. The health department reports she did not respond to the recent charges within the required 20 days. The case now moves to the settlement phase, which would include whether, when, and under what conditions her nursing assistant license would be renewed.

Federal Way hospital nurse charged with rape of patient

by April 26th, 2011

SUMMARY: A registered nurse working in the emergency department at St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way, Wash. has had his license suspended and has been charged in King County Superior Court with second-degree rape of a patient seeking treatment for severe back pain. The alleged incident occurred when he performed an unauthorized pelvic examination.

Printing reforms could save Washington state up to $13.6 million per year

by April 25th, 2011

SUMMARY: According to a newly-released state performance audit, Washington could save between $5 million and $13.6 million per year by eliminating duplication in printing operations, controlling costs of printing equipment and supplies, using electronic technologies – more often than now – in place of paper printing, and by clearing obstacles that constrain competitive bidding including private firms.

Mercer Island Urged To Re-Name Community Center

by April 25th, 2011

SUMMARY: The Mercer Island City Council tonight will consider a proposal to change the name of the city’s Community Center at Mercer View to the Mercer Island Community and Event Center. A consultant hired by the city recommends the change, to make more clear to non-local potential renters the facility’s location and its availability for events such as weddings and bar mitzvahs. These play a large role in subsidizing low rental rates of the center for local residents.

Renton Readies Matching Grants To Homeowner Groups

by April 21st, 2011

SUMMARY: The Community Services Department of Renton has recommended the City Council approve nearly $50,000 in matching neighborhood grants for six projects sponsored by homeowners associations. The projects would make home addresses more visible to public and emergency vehicles, improve or establish community gardens, complete a new playground, and add picnic tables, garbage cans and signage about pet waste. Full council approval of the funding recommendations could come as soon as April 25.

“Who Do You Trust?”

by April 19th, 2011

City Club of Seattle’s 2010 Community Matters campaign took a long, hard look at how our community measures trust, and will issue its report this Friday, April 22 at a lunch and informative panel discussion downtown. What can be accomplished by a civil society depends greatly on how deep and wide public trust runs. Questions framing the conversation and the report are ones worth probing.

Who would you call in an emergency – a neighbor or the police? Where do you keep and invest your money? Where do you get your news? How do you evaluate consumer choices and political candidates?

The panel will be comprised of Mike Fancher, former executive editor of The Seattle Times and advisor to the Knight Commissio on Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy; Abdullahi Jama, Board Member, One America; Henk Campher, Senior Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability, Edelman; and Seattle City Council Member Tim Burgess, Chair, Public Safety and Education Committee. The moderator will be C.R. Douglas, Host and Producer, The Seattle Channel. (Registration and map).

Co-presenters of the event are Public Eye Northwest (our parent non-profit), Alliance for Education, Journalism That Matters – Pacific Northwest, Public Health – Seattle and King County, University of Washington Department of Communication, and Washington Lawyers for Sustainability.

RELATED: City Club’s Publications Page, including links to its 2010 Civic Health Index Report, and the 2008 and 2009 Community Matters Campaign final reports.

(Full disclosure: Mike Fancher serves on the advisory board of Public Eye Northwest. I’ve served as a member of the steward’s council of Journalism That Matters – Pacific Northwest.)