August 2, 2017

Prescription Probe, Offshore Wind, Opioids – Wednesday’s Roundup

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Hammonton Lake Park via @darleenstamps on Instagram.

Prescription Probe
There are a couple of new details on the federal – and now state – investigation into the cost of public employees’ prescriptions in Margate, Ventnor and Atlantic City. Lynda Cohen of BreakingAC reported that state grand jury subpoenas issued yesterday likely mean that alleged lower-level suspects in the case would be charged by the state and not federal prosecutors. Meanwhile, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner said hundreds could be charged in a late Sunday interview with NBC’s Ted Greenberg. Tyner also said the investigation involves anyone “who played a role in deceiving the insurance companies.”

The insurance companies have fraud detection units. They’re supposed to be on top of this stuff. And then the state is supposed to be on top of them if they’re not. Remember the state shut down in July? It was because of a weird Trenton fight over Horizon, the state’s largest insurer, that no one really understood. At one point, though, Christie announced $15.5 million in fines for Horizon for incorrectly processing Medicaid claims. There were multiple levels of oversight that appear to have failed in this prescription fraud probe. Are the insurance companies out of the spotlight in this investigation? And, if so, why?

Offshore Wind
Congress is considering bipartisan legislation that would extend tax credits to investments in renewable energy in coastal and other waters across the United States, potentially a boon for New Jersey, NJSpotlight reports. Federal support for offshore wind could be big for South Jersey in particular, since a project just 10 miles from the Atlantic City coastline has been in development for a while now. The developers for that project are currently conducting site assessments that may not be completed until May next year (NJSpotlight reported earlier this year).

Hammonton Lake Park via @darleenstamps on Instagram.

Opioids
The Federal Commission headed by Gov. Chris Christie recommends declaring opioid addiction a national emergency. The commission also recommends other measures that would increase treatment options and boosting efforts to share data on prescriptions and addicts across state borders, NJTV reports. You can read the commission’s interim report to the president here.

In the rest of the day’s news, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is starting to pump the Margate/Christie lake back into the ocean (beaches closed from Ventnor border to the end of the lake), there’s been a lot of GOP fundraising in Salem and Gloucester counties, someone stole over $4,000 in tools from Habitat for Humanity in Salem County, read this long (but worth it) feature from SNJ Today on how local barbershops are surviving as other small businesses close, another Portuguese Man O’War washed ashore in New Jersey over the weekend, and a victim’s call to Atlantic City police sparked an investigation into human trafficking and prostitution and two arrests last week. All that and more below.

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