Latest News

FLSA compliance creates difficulties for Annapolis school secretaries

The Capital, a newspaper serving the Annapolis, Maryland area, recently ran an interesting article explaining how the Annapolis County school board has been violating the Fair Labor Standards Act for 30 years because it averaged pay for school secretaries rather than pay them specific hourly wages. The violation was discovered last year when school officials installed a new payroll system. According to the FLSA, workers such as the school secretaries must be paid for the number of hours they work each week. Because some secretaries work fewer hours in the summer months, the county averaged their pay so that they ... Read More

4,000 gallons of coal ash pour into Potomac River

Washington lawmakers are now more in touch with the coal ash spill travesty that dumped more than a billion gallons of toxic material on to 300 acres of residential property in east Tennessee last December. Sunday night, a pipeline at a Maryland coal-burning power plant ruptured and leaked about 4,000 gallons of coal ash sludge into the Potomac River, according to the Boston Herald. The spill originated from a small hole in one of NewPage Corp.’s pipelines that cross the Potomac. The leak began about 8 p.m. Sunday night and continued to leak until 6 a.m. Monday morning. The spill ... Read More

Bill protects nursing home residents from signing arbitration clauses

Lawmakers are considering a bill that would protect nursing home residents and their families from losing their right to hold long-term care facilities accountable for negligent and abusive care. The bipartisan Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act of 2009 “prevents nursing homes from deliberately hiding clauses within the fine print of contracts that force seniors to surrender their right to trial by jury and enter an unfair and one-sided mandatory binding arbitration process,” according to the American Association for Justice. This is good news for the thousands of nursing home residents and their families, many of whom have already signed these ... Read More

Lawmakers debate safety of importing drugs

Congress continues to debate the notion of allowing people to buy inexpensive drug from other countries, as the Obama administration is encouraging, but the stickler seems to be ensuring the safety of those imported drugs, according to Portfolio. Even on the campaign trail, Obama’s camp said it would support the plan but that there would have to be measures in place to ensure the FDA was properly inspecting the plants where drugs are being manufactured. After all, it was just one year ago that hundreds of people became ill and more than 80 died after receiving injections of the blood ... Read More

Aide arrested for wrong death of nursing home patient

The secret of Robert Young’s death was almost buried forever with the nursing home resident who suffered from cerebral palsy. But his family kept asking questions. A year later, Young’s body was exhumed from his pauper’s grave and an autopsy was performed, revealing that the man’s death was the result of blunt force trauma to the head, according to the Chattanooga (Tennessee) Times Free Press. Former nursing home worker Walter Small was arrested and charged with homicide in connection with Young’s death, and released Friday on a $5,000 bond. No court date has yet been set. Young’s family has since ... Read More

Illinois nursing home advocates fight proposed bill to refund fines

State Sen. Dan Kotowski said he had good intentions when he sponsored a bill in the Illinois General Assembly that would refund fines paid by nursing homes that promised to use the money to improve care at their facilities. But opponents of the bill say it is faulty and would only “eliminate the financial disincentive for bad behavior,” according to the State Journal-Register. Sen. Kotowski says the basis of the bill is to ensure that problems at nursing homes get fixed. The Illinois Department of Public Health would be charged with overseeing the system and deciding if homes were using ... Read More

Leaking underground tank funds used for other purposes in Illinois

An Illinois newspaper reports that former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich skimmed millions of dollars off his state’s motor fuel taxes fund to pay for his health care program. According to one local businessman whose company, United Science Industries, removed leaking underground storage tanks for the state, Illinois owes him nearly $20 million for tank cleanup work already performed. But the money isn’t there. “I feel very strongly that dedicated funds should be left alone so they can serve the purpose they were meant to serve,” John Cavaletto (R-Salem) told the House Government Committee, according to a report in the Mt. ... Read More

Those suing for Digitek injury must fill out lengthy fact sheets

Individuals suing manufacturers of Digitek heart medicine must fill out lengthy and detailed fact sheets on their medical history and allow no secrets from their past, according to The West Virginia Record. The fact sheets will be used in court to determine whether Mylan Pharmaceuticals of West Virginia, Actavis US and DUL Laboratories misrepresented Digitek as safe and whether physicians and patients relied on those “misrepresentations and deceptions” in choosing to use the heart medicine. Digitek is used in the treatment of various heart conditions such as atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter and heart failure. In 2008, the FDA issued an ... Read More

Staffers leave nursing home residents unattended

The elderly man at a Nova Scotia nursing home had fallen to the floor in his bathroom during the overnight hours of May 5-6. No one knows how long he had been lying there, but the light from the bathroom prompted his roommate to ring the call bell to have staff turn off the light. The three staff members in charge of the 39-bed home that night had been enjoying a 7- to 15-minute smoke break when they entered the facility and heard the bell. They went to the men’s room and found the one man on the floor of ... Read More

Obama administration vows to propose regulations for coal ash

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has promised to make good on a promise it made nine years ago to issue regulations for coal ash storage. The announcement comes more than two months after a Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) impoundment pond failed and dumped more than a billion gallons of toxic coal ash on to 300 acres of east Tennessee property, destroying homes and damaging land in its wake. The Obama administration backed up the promise by vowing to propose new regulations governing coal combustion waste by the end of the year and acting immediately to ensure more dangerous spills do ... Read More