Issaquah senator sponsors bill to reform Medicaid, recover dollars

April 10, 2012

Lawmakers — including local state Sen. Cheryl Pflug — passed legislation to crack down on Medicaid fraud and recover taxpayer funds.

The measure, Senate Bill 5978 or the Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act, aims to create additional tools for the state to pursue Medicaid fraud. Supporters said the effort could raise millions of dollars in fraud recoveries in the years ahead. The legislation is modeled on a longstanding federal program.

The measure relies on whistleblower tips to learn about fraud from health care companies out to defraud the state Medicaid system.

Gov. Chris Gregoire signed the bill into law March 30.

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Technology in emergency vehicles carries risks, rewards

July 6, 2010

State phone ban exempts emergency services agencies

Greg Tryon, Eastside Fire & Rescue battalion chief, describes the laptops, smart phones and other communications equipment used in the agency’s mobile command posts, fire trucks and aid cars. By Greg Farrar

Distractions abound for Eastside Fire & Rescue trucks roaring through downtown Issaquah or down Northwest Gilman Boulevard at rush hour: cars racing to catch a yellow light, cyclists steering through narrow bike lanes and drivers chatting into mobile phones or tapping out text messages.

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Cameras cut speeding, but raise drivers’ ire

April 6, 2010

Cameras installed along Southeast Second Avenue to deter speeders have cut the number of violations since the Issaquah Police Department started issuing citations last April.

The city recorded about 110 violations per day in May 2009 — about a month after speeders started to receive $124 fines for exceeding the 20 mph limit. By January 2010, the number of violations had fallen to about 40 per day — a drop of about 64 percent. The city released the data March 31.

Police issued 4,920 citations for violations caught by the cameras. The devices generated about $360,000 for the city.

Officials said the numbers showed the need for the cameras in a school zone packed with everyone from kindergartners to high-school seniors. Detractors said the cameras catch unknowing motorists and overcharge violators.

The city did not complete a formal cost analysis for the photo-enforcement program, although officials said the effort incurs significant expenses related to Issaquah Municipal Court, and the city finance and police departments. Police officers must review and then approve or reject each violation.

The city did not hire additional workers to handle the increased number of infractions. Read more

City speed cameras cut number of violations

March 31, 2010

NEW — 1:30 p.m. March 31, 2010

Cameras installed along Southeast Second Avenue to deter speeders cut the number of violations during their first year of operation, city data shows.

The city recorded about 110 violations per day in May 2009 — about a month after speeders started to receive $124 fines for exceeding the 20 mph limit. By January 2010, the number of violations had fallen to about 40 per day — a drop of about 64 percent. The city released the data Wednesday.

Workers installed the cameras last March in the school zone near Clark Elementary School, Issaquah Middle School, Issaquah High School and Tiger Mountain Community High School. For several weeks after the installation, speeders received warnings. In mid April of last year, the city started penalizing violators.

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