Haines said an internal investigation into the Fire Department's record keeping may have helped to initiate Martin's call to retire. The chief was not asked to leave, he said. Phone messages left separately for Cynthia Abbott and Mark Abbott were not immediately returned Wednesday. Internal investigation into Perry Township EMS billing An investigation by an outside legal firm hired by the township found "systemic failures within the Fire Department and fiscal office for not promptly identifying the (EMS) billing problem," according to a prepared statement read Tuesday night by Haines. "The (trustees') review, based upon the findings and recommendations of the internal review, found fault by Chief Martin and the former fiscal officer (Joe Schlegel)," the document states. As a result of the inspection by the Krugliak, Wilkins, Griffiths & Dougherty Co. law firm, the township is taking measures to better the oversight of departmental functions, contracting with outside service providers, as well as improving internal communications and reporting to the Board of Trustees, the statement reads. An official look into job duties and responsibilities is likely, said Haines, in addition to training for township personnel to prevent similar occurrences down the road. Prior to the statement being read, Perry trustees unanimously voted to name Deputy Chief Larry Sedlock to serve as the interim fire chief. He is to begin leading the department as early as Friday. How long has C&C Medical worked with Perry Township? The Independent requested and reviewed public records tied to C&C Medical and its contract with the township. In a March 2012 letter from Perry Township's attorney Charlie Hall to Martin about the proposal, Hall mentioned that trustees were within their right to authorize the initial contract with C&C. Martin recommended the hiring of the company, and trustees approved the pact in 2012. "Since (Chief Abbott) does not have ownership interest, is not an employee, and has no management or advisory capacity to (C&C), (Ohio law or township policy) does not prohibit the (Perry) Board of Trustees from awarding the contract to C&C Billing company," Hall's letter states. Mark Abbott had no official role with C&C Medical, said Haines, adding that the deputy chief's retirement decision followed Martin's announcement. According to township records, Cynthia Abbott was an employee of Millcreek Professional Billing & Consulting, which she purchased around the time of forming C&C Medical. Millcreek was the billing contractor with the Fire Department before C&C. Township records indicate that C&C Medical's proposed rates per report at the time and in subsequent years were less than amounts quoted by competitors, including $19 per run in 2016 and $20 each in 2017. Overall, the working relationship between the township and company, which is no longer in business, ran about six years. On New Year's Eve 2020, the state auditor issued a news release, agreeing to take the lead on a civil lawsuit to recoup money owed to the township through third-party EMS billing.https://www.indeonline.com/story/news/2021/05/06/perry-township-trustees-seek-criminal-charges-against-former-billing-company-operator/4949985001/
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Pandemic reporting: Data reported to the federal government did not match data reported through state Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) news releases; 18 LTCFs were not reporting data to the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). “Long-term care facility residents are among those most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” McGuiness said. “Regardless of whether you look at state that site or federal data, that much is clear.” McGuiness pointed out that her team’s research shows that state health officials have worked diligently to provide guidance to LTCFs since the beginning of the pandemic. “I applaud Delaware’s health officials for their tireless work over the last year to guide Delawareans through this pandemic,” McGuiness said. “This more special report is meant to help state health officials see specific areas related to long-term care facilities so they can improve their communication, guidance and data reporting to provide an accurate picture of how these facilities’ residents and staff are being affected.” To make her determinations, McGuiness directed her team to survey LTCF administrators about the guidance and assistance their facilities received both at the beginning of the pandemic and six months later. The team also reviewed federal and state guidance provided to LTCFs during those time periods, as well as publicly available data on CMS.gov and on Delaware’s official website, news.delaware.gov. The new special report, which offers six recommendations for improvement, can be found on the Auditor’s Office website here. Under Delaware Code 2909 , the Auditor of Accounts may produce special reports that examine state agencies’ performance and offer recommendations for greater accuracy and efficiency, as well as data, information and recommendations the auditor deems advisable and necessary. Learn about the Delaware Auditor’s Office at https://auditor.delaware.gov . DOVER, DELAWARE – Delaware’s long-term care facilities, which have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, needed clearer guidance and assistance from the state during the early stages of the pandemic, State Auditor Kathy McGuiness said today. “My team reviewed publicly reported COVID-19 data at the state and federal levels, and they surveyed and interviewed long-term care facility administrators,” McGuiness said. “What we learned was that confusing and sometimes conflicting guidance from state and federal officials led those administrators to ask the state many questions – and those imperative questions were often not answered in a timely manner. In a new special report, titled “Unanswered Questions: Improving Technology, Communications, and Reporting in Long-Term Care Facilities During the Pandemic,” McGuiness highlights three observations about COVID-19 reporting by and communication to the state’s long-term care facilities (LTCFs): Pandemic information: COVID-19 guidance changed frequently, came from multiple sources, was hard to interpret or was completely absent. Crisis communications: When faced with difficult situations, LTCFs were unable to contact or receive timely assistance from state health agencies. Pandemic reporting: Data reported to the federal government did not match data reported through state Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) news releases; 18 LTCFs were not reporting data to the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). “Long-term care facility residents are among those most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” McGuiness said. “Regardless of whether you look at state or federal data, that much is clear.” McGuiness pointed out that her team’s research shows that state health officials have worked diligently to provide guidance to LTCFs since the beginning of the pandemic.https://news.delaware.gov/2021/05/06/auditor-mcguiness-finds-long-term-care-facilities-needed-clearer-guidance-assistance-during-early-stages-of-pandemic/