1. Ohio Medicaid to be a stand-alone agencyGovernor John Kasich’s administration plans to make the Office of Health Plans (Ohio Medicaid) a stand-alone cabinet level agency effective July 1, 2014. The office is currently under a division of the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS). The administration said the change is the next step in a series of Kasich reforms to improve the performance of Ohio’s $18.8 billion Medicaid program.
“Transforming the Office of Ohio Health Plans into its own department will help streamline administrative processes and allow ODJFS to focus more singularly on employment services, family assistance, child welfare, and child support,” said ODJFS Director Michael Colbert.
The administration said the move will be unveiled early next year in the FY 2014-2015 budget. No layoffs are expected as a result of the change. Ohio Medicaid/ODJFS is currently the single state agency responsible to the federal government for the administration of the state’s Medicaid program, though five other state agencies also administer Medicaid-funded programs, with cross-agency coordination provided by the Office of Health Transformation.
“A multi-agency team will begin working immediately, and in collaboration with the legislature and affected stakeholders, to lay the groundwork for creating a stand-alone Medicaid department,” said Greg Moody, director of the Governor’s Office of Health Transformation.
2. Local Government Innovation Fund application available The application for Round 3 of the Local Government Innovation Fund (LGIF) program is now available and can be found at this link: http://development.ohio.gov/Urban/LGIF.htm. The LGIF was established by the legislature to provide financial assistance to Ohio political subdivisions for planning and implementing projects that promote efficiency, collaboration, merger, and shared services among local governments. Projects should also facilitate improved business environments and promote community attraction.
The LGIF program will award up to $100,000 in grant funds per feasibility study, up to $100,000 in loan assistance per entity for demonstration projects and up to $500,000 in loan assistance for collaborative demonstration projects. Both grants and loans will be available during Round 3. All applications are due to the Office of Redevelopment by 5:00 p.m. on September 4, 2012.
3. PUCO authorizes fuel costs recovery for AEP Ohio The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has authorized AEP Ohio to begin collection of fuel costs incurred from 2009-2011. The utility had previously deferred fuel costs as directed by the commission in its 2009 electric security plan (ESP).
“Today’s decision allows AEP-Ohio to begin recovery of fuel costs going forward using the long-term debt rate spread over a seven-year period lessening the impact of carrying costs on customers,” said PUCO Chairman Todd A. Snitchler.
The chairman encouraged AEP Ohio to take advantage of the securitization mechanism made available to electric distribution utilities (EDU) through passage of House Bill 364 last year. The bill permits an EDU to apply to the PUCO for a financing order authorizing the issuance of bonds to recover uncollected phase-in costs authorized by the commission for securitization.
AEP will collect the costs on a non-bypassable basis through the end of 2018. The new rates will take effect upon the completion of AEP Ohio’s pending ESP case. The utility will notify customers of the changes to the tariff within 30 days of the effective date.
4. Manufacturing task force to meet State Representative Kirk Schuring (R-Canton), chair of the 21st Century Manufacturing Task Force, has announced a hearing schedule designed to facilitate discussion and interaction between Ohio’s manufacturing community, public policy makers and interested parties regarding strategies to improve Ohio’s manufacturing competitiveness.
Hearings will begin at 1:30 p.m. on the following dates:
- Thursday, August 9 at Timken Company (Canton)
- Thursday, September 27 at Owens Illinois (Maumee)
- Thursday, October 11 at Pentaflex (Springfield)
- Thursday, October 18 at DuPont (Circleville)
- Thursday, November 15 at Worthington Industries (Columbus)
In addition to Chairman Schuring, the task force will consist of Vice Chairman Ross McGregor (R-Springfield), Representative Christina Hagan (R-Alliance), Representative Anne Gonzales (R-Westerville), Representative Barbara Sears (R-Monclova Twp.), Representative Denise Driehaus (D-Cincinnati), Representative Jack Cera (D-Bellaire), Representative Sean O’Brien (D-Brookfield), and Representative Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood).
The task force will make recommendations to the Speaker of the House no later than December 31, 2012.
5. Nominations being accepted to honor Lake Erie advocates The Ohio Lake Erie Commission (OLEC) is accepting nominations for the 2012 Ohio Lake Erie Award, which will recognize individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to enhance Ohio’s Great Lake.
OLEC annually honors one person and one organization that have worked to protect and restore Lake Erie and its watershed. Nominating a person or organization for the award gives special recognition to people who work to improve the lake's watershed and support the goals of the Lake Erie Protection and Restoration Plan.
Nomination forms are available at www.lakeerie.ohio.gov. Completed forms must be returned to the OLEC office by 4:00 p.m. on August 15, 2012. Winners will be announced at OLEC’s annual meeting on September 19, 2012 at the Liberty Aviation Museum.
For more information, please contact:
Michael Caputo (non-attorney professional)
Rebecca M. Kuhns (non-attorney professional)
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