GovWatch: Mold fears lead to courthouse square protest

Half a dozen residents of a downtown public housing high-rise investigated by the I-Team last week took to the streets toting signs Friday, demanding that something be done.

“Fix it and fix it right,” demanded Wilkinson Plaza resident Darshawn Romine.

Romine was addressing Greater Dayton Premier Management, the Dayton region’s housing authority and the building’s landlord, which residents say have ignored complaints about mold in the building.

“My health has deteriorated. I have seizures and they have become worse,” said resident Pamela Moss.

The I-Team reported last week that many residents in the 14-story building have started heating their apartments by opening their stoves and running them at 300 degrees day and night because they are concerned about stirring up mold with their heaters.

GDPM officials said they spent in the ballpark of $1 million to fix problems including mold after a pipe burst in 2011.

GDPM on Friday provided the I-Team documents showing they have done $350 in testing. The agency has yet to announce a course of action but the agency’s new director, Danyelle S.T. Wright, promised any problems will be fixed.

Building residents vocalized frustration toward the agency.

“Everybody’s living their lives and trying to do better and you’re making people sick and worse,” said resident Dennis Boddie.

Cincy drug company accused of kickbacks

Cincinnati-based pharmacy company Omnicare Inc. agreed last week to pay the government $4.2 million to settle allegations that it took kickbacks from a drug company in exchange for putting Medicaid recipients on its drugs.

The government alleged that drug manufacturer Amgen Inc. gave rebates, grants, speaker fees, consulting services, data fees, dinners and travel to Omnicare in exchange for Omnicare switching Medicaid beneficiaries to its drug Aranesp from a competitor’s drug.

Omnicare specializes in providing drugs and services to long-term care facilities and other senior populations.

“Americans who rely on federal healthcare programs, particularly vulnerable patients in skilled nursing facilities, are entitled to feel confident that decisions about their medical care are not tainted by improper financial arrangements,” said Stuart F. Delery, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division.

The civil action was taken under the federal false claims act. The whistleblower in the case received $397,925.

OIG rats on rat house

The University of Cincinnati fell short of filing requirements for millions of dollars it received under the federal stimulus act, according to a report from the Ohio Inspector General.

The report didn’t allege wrongdoing, but said the OIG found “a variety of reporting and compliance issues.” In other words: paperwork snafus.

UC received funding for several projects. The largest was a $8.4 million National Institutes of Health grant to upgrade the university’s animal labs to improve rodent-related research.

Also last week, the OIG released its annual report, which said it received a total of 389 complaints in 2013, leading to 100 new open cases. It closed 114 cases, though some were opened in previous years.

Two of the cases opened last year had to do with the federal stimulus act. The report didn’t say how many others had to do with rodents.

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