An investigation is underway as to why medical malpractice insurance costs keep climbing even though claims against Missouri doctors keep falling. State Insurance Director Scott Lakin has begun holding public hearings on the issue, with one in Jefferson City attracting a huge crowd to the Truman Building. Governor Holden has instructed Lakin to study the issue and consider solutions. The Department of Insurance reports medical malpractice costs have doubled in some instances for some doctors even though the number of claims filed against Missouri doctors has dropped. Lakin has promised insurance company representatives he will gather facts before proposing any legislation in the upcoming session.
Archives for October 2002
The state’s advocate for senior citizens says they need to launch a petition drive to enact reforms in nursing home laws, if the nursing home lobby blocks reforms in the upcoming legislative session. Nursing home reform has failed to pass the legislature the past three years. Lieutenant Governor Joe Maxwell says he decided to seriously consider a petition drive after the third failure to get nursing home reforms through the legislature earlier this year. He says the recent series of articles in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has exposed horror stories that nursing home critics know have existed for some time. Maxwell says good nursing homes should get recognition, but that bad ones should not be able to slip past fines and license losses.
One of the few radio commercials for the state auditor’s race is being aired in Springfield and, for the first time, it’s an ad about Republican candidate Al Hanson, but it’s paid for by Democrats. A Springfield group is running the ad telling Republicans it could be dangerous to vote a straight Republican ticket this year, because that would be a vote for Hanson. Hanson is the candidate the Missouri Republican Party refuses to support, because of the time he did in prison 25 years ago in Minnesota for felony theft. Springfield is considered strongly Republican.
The Missouri Baptist Convention has elected Springfield minister Kenny Qualls as its new president. The vote was unanimous. Several other decisions of the organization are showing sharp divisions. Delegates are divided about the convention’s lawsuit against five separate agencies which have changed their bylaws to elect their own trustees. The agencies have rejected delegates elected by the convention to sit on their boards. The convention also has voted to remove the name of the long-time denomination newspaper, “The Word and Way,” from its bylaws. A new publication is the official one.
State education leaders are assessing the results of the statewide achievement tests, focusing on the gaps that exist between black and white students. The State Education Department says the wide gap in achievement scores has narrowed in the last four years, but progress is slow and the gap is only slightly narrower than it was four years ago with blacks continuing to trail whites. The results come from achievement tests in the third, seventh and eleventh grades in communications arts, health and physical education, mathematics, science, and social studies. Assistant Commissioner Charles Brown says the overall numbers can hide successes some local school districts have had in boosting the test scores of black students. Brown says closer studies of the numbers, especially at the local level, can identify those practices that lead to greater progress. The tests chart the progress of Hispanic students as well. Educators say the figures do show some encouraging signs, that black and Hispanic students at the top are getting better and that the percentage of black and Hispanic students at the bottom is decreasing.
First, a crackdown on work-at-home schemes, then other consumer fraud problems. A special task force has been formed in St. Louis to attack the growing problem of consumer fraud, especially the scams that promise fortunes to those working at home. It uses the Attorney General offices in both Missouri and Illinois as well as the federal prosecutor’s office in St. Louis, the Federal Trade Commission, the US Postal Inspection Service and the Better Business Bureau. St. Louis Better Business Bureau President Michelle Corey says the initial work of the task force will focus on employment opportunity scams, the number one source of consumer complaint to her agency. Corey says all the agencies involved have reported an increased number of complaints about fraudulent employment schemes, especially the get-rich-quick schemes that promise a lot of money without a lot of work.
State officials breathed a sigh of relief when a tractor-trailer truck wreck on a St. Louis interstate was determined to be an accident, not an act of terrorism. Still, they say the wreck of a Federal Express truck on I-270 that scattered packages across the interstate and backed up traffic for hours provided a good test for homeland security efforts. State Homeland Security advisor Tim Daniel says he acted quickly after being notified about the accident that at first appeared to resemble an act of terrorism. He notified the governor’s office, then the White House. Daniel says the biggest problem was losing contact with emergency personnel at the scene who could give him better information. Investigators ruled out terrorism as they determined a guard rail ripped open the gas tank, causing it to catch fire, making it appear the trailer exploded.
The Blues topped the Predators 7-0 to win their 6th straight. Reed Low snapped a scoreless tie at the 8:22 mark of the 2nd period. The Blues led 4-0 before the period was over. They were 3-8 on the power play. Meanwhile, they held Nashville 0-8 on their man-advantage. Al MacInnis, Keith Tkachuk, Pavol Demitra, Petr Cajanek, Shjon Podein, and Dallas Drake also scored. MacInnis, Tkachuk, and Demitra also had an assist. Mike Eastwod, Doug Weight and Tom Koivisto had two helpers apiece. In goal, Fred Brathwaite stopped all 19 shots he saw for the shutout. It was his first game back since injuring his groin. The Blues try to make it seven straight when they visit the Islanders.
One of the biggest challenges the Cardinals will face this off-season is figuring who to keep and who to let go from their pitching staff. The decision-making process has apparently begun. They’ve decided not to exercise the $5.25-million dollar option on reliever Dave Veres contract. They’re expected to do the same with Andy Benes and then try to sign him to a smaller one-year contract. Seven Cardinal pitchers are expected to announce their intention to become free agents. Two of them already have. Yesterday reliever Rick White and Woody Williams filed.
Chiefs linebacker Mike Maslowski accomplished something a lot of people didn’t thinks was possible. He won AFC Defensive Player of the Week award. The Chiefs defense has been the worst in the league this year, but Maslowski’s performance was rather impressive against the Raiders on Sunday. He made seven tackles, but his most important contribution came in the fourth quarter when he caused and recovered Jerry Rice’s fumble. Kansas City topped Oakland 20-10.