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Tacoma 54 articles

150 Train Crashes, Hundreds of Deaths Preventable With Speed Control

Railroad data obtained by the Associated Press shows that nearly 300 people have been killed and several thousand maimed in 150 U.S. train crashes that could have been prevented had rail companies installed the speed-control technology that federal safety investigators have been advocating for decades. According to the AP, National Transportation Board (NTSB) investigators first pushed for “automatic train control” in 1969, after two Penn Central commuter trains crashed into each other in Darien, Connecticut, killing four people and injuring 43. Since that crash, there have been 298 deaths, 6,763 injuries, and $385 million in property damages in train crashes ... Read More

Amtrak Train Derails in Savannah Station

An Amtrak train hauling more than 300 passengers and crew from Miami to New York City derailed at the Savannah, Georgia, station Wednesday night. Amtrak spokesman Jason Abrams told the Associated Press that the derailment occurred as the Silver Meteor train #98 was backing into the Savannah station. The last three cars of the train – a baggage car and two sleeper cars – left the tracks but remained fully upright. No injuries were reported. The derailment occurred as a historic snowstorm was pummeling the Savannah area and other parts of the Eastern Seaboard. Passenger Joel Potischman, who was traveling ... Read More

Amtrak Sped Excessively Before Deadly Washington Derailment

The Amtrak train that derailed south of Tacoma, Washington, Monday morning, killing three people and injuring dozens of others, was traveling nearly three times the speed limit, federal investigators said. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said that Amtrak’s Cascade Train 501 was speeding at 80 mph in a 30 mph zone as it entered an overpass in DuPont, where all but one of the train’s 14 cars careened off the tracks. At a news conference late Monday, NTSB board member Bella Dinh-Zarr said that investigators had retrieved the train’s event data recorder from the rear locomotive and are using ... Read More

Multiple Deaths, Injuries in Washington Amtrak Derailment

An Amtrak derailment in DuPont, Washington, Monday morning has resulted in multiple deaths and injuries. Authorities say at least three people are dead after part of Amtrak’s newly opened Cascades 501 line careened off an overpass near Mounts Road in Dupont and landing on the southbound lanes of Interstate 5 below. Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma is serving as the main hospital receiving casualties from the train crash, but the hospital did not disclose how many patients it has seen. A spokesman for Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia told The Seattle Times that it had received about a ... Read More

Benzene Concerns Prompt Tacoma Community To Buy Air Monitors

Concerned about benzene emissions and other airborne pollutants, some Tacoma, Washington, communities are self-monitoring air quality as two Tacoma Tideflats companies dealing in high volumes of fossil fuels seek to expand their operations. According to The (Tacoma) News Tribune, Targa Sound Terminal, a lessor of petroleum and biofuel storage tanks, plans to add natural gasoline to the fuels it receives by rail, stores, and ships out from its Port of Tacoma location. Meanwhile, Emerald Services, which treats and stores waste and operates a used motor oil refinery, seeks to expand its operations by 10 percent. The Puget Sound Clean Air ... Read More

Washington Governor Signs Bill Preserving State’s Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act

Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill to preserve the state’s Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act, enacted in 2012, before its automatic June 30 expiration date. Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson had requested the a bill to preserve the False Claims Act, saying it had become one of the state’s best fraud-busting weapons in recent years. The Act authorizes the attorney general to file civil suits against health care providers that defraud the Medicaid program. “Thanks to action by the governor and the Legislature, my Medicaid Fraud Control Unit can continue recovering stolen dollars lost to fraud, deterring misuse of ... Read More

Dozens More Hospitals Settle Medicare Fraud Allegations With U.S.

Thirty-two hospitals located throughout 15 states will pay the U.S. more than $28 million collectively to settle allegations that they routinely overbilled Medicare for minimally invasive kyphoplasty spinal procedures, the Justice Department announced today, adding that it has now reached settlements with more than 130 hospitals totaling approximately $105 million to resolve allegations that they mischarged Medicare the procedure. Kyphoplasty is a procedure performed to treat certain spinal fractures that are caused by osteoporosis in most cases. Usually kyphoplasty can be performed safely and effectively as an outpatient procedure without any need for a more costly inpatient hospital admission. All but ... Read More

NTSB Points To Faulty Axle In Report On Deadly Seattle Duck Bus Crash

The collision of two buses, including a popular tourist Duck Bus, on a bridge in Washington State that killed five people and injured 62 others in September was likely caused by a defective left front axle assembly, according to a preliminary report issued by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). According to the report, the vehicle at fault was an amphibious military vehicle built in 1945 and modified to serve as a tour bus capable of operating on land and in water. The so-called “Duck Bus” had undergone an earlier modification to the left front axle but may not have been included in ... Read More

Railroad industry under fire for repeated whistleblower retaliation charges

In order to ensure a safe workplace, employees must be able to report potential dangers. It seems like employers would be grateful to have feedback that would prevent on-the-job injuries or worker deaths. However, plaintiffs’ lawyers, union officials and analysts say complaints of illegal whistleblower retaliation in the railroad industry are rampant. Whistleblower protections are included in 22 federal laws established by the U.S. Department of Labor through the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). These laws are designed to shield American workers from retaliation by their employer if they report workplace hazards, expose fraud, waste and abuse; or refuse ... Read More

Medical billing manager gets $1.4 million in whistleblower retaliation case

A federal jury in Tacoma, Wash., has ordered a Washington State hospital chain to pay a former billing manager nearly $1.4 million, finding the plaintiff in the whistleblower retailiation case was fired for reporting Medicare billing irregularities. Lori Cook, a billing supervisor with nearly four decades of experience at other hospitals, took a job in 2011 as billing manager for Harrison Home Care, a division of Harrison Medical Center and Franciscan Health, where she inherited a large backlog of Medicare billing. She was working to resolve the billing issue when she discovered “irregularities in Harrison’s billing which could have Medicare ... Read More