May 22, 2015

Bill coordinates obesity-related illness treatment for Medicare patients

Two Congressmen from the Midwest want to address the health issues tied to obesity among senior citizens. One of them is 3rd District Wisconsin Democrat Ron Kind, who says more needs to be done in the areas of care coordination and patient education.  “Erik Paulson, he’s a member from the Minnesota delegation, and I teamed up with legislation that would make it easier to coordinate care with seniors in Medicare when it comes to obesity related illnesses and healthy lifestyles.”

Kind told affiliate WSAU chronic disease management is a very important cost in the overall health care system, as well as a person’s quality of life when they have obesity-related illnesses.

The bill Kind and Paulsen introduced is designed to help coordinate care for seniors in the Medicare program when it comes to obesity-related illnesses and healthy lifestyles.  “This would help establish more care coordination system for them and make access to certain forms of treatment, alternative forms of medicine, and prescription medication more available so we can get out ahead of this cost curve, lead to healthier lifestyles, prolong the quality of life that our seniors should enjoy in their retirement and in their golden years.”

Kind says helping people live healthier lives also drives down the cost to the Medicare system, where 5 percent of the Medicare participants are responsible for 50 percent of the Medicare health costs due to chronic diseases, and most of it is tied to obesity.

Kind says his legislation is primarily education and outreach, and does not mandate diets or lifestyle choices in any way for Medicare patients.

Larry Lee, WSAU

Uber to expand in Wisconsin

Uber expected to expand to five more Wisconsin cities today.

Racine, Kenosha, Waukesha, Lake Geneva, and Wisconsin Dells will get the online ride-sharing service — just weeks after statewide standards were approved for Uber and similar companies. Uber’s Wisconsin manager, Adam Dries, says his company wants to be in as many places as possible, and the new state law will make it easy to achieve that.

Traditional taxi services say their new competition does not face as many regulations as they do. Madison Mayor Paul Soglin wanted to regulate the ride-sharing companies in a similar manner as taxis, but the new state law prohibits such local ordinances.

The new law requires ride-sharing firms to buy state licenses, do background checks on their drivers, refuse to discriminate against passengers, and buy liability insurance.

Uber continues to operate in Madison, as well as Milwaukee and Green Bay.

Nitschke gets new charges for cooking new batch of meth

Richard Nitschke

Richard Nitschke

A Rhinelander man with a famous last name has more charges added to his court file after he allegedly violated the terms of his bond. Richard Nitschke, 49, had a bond hearing Monday for making and distributing methamphetamine during April. While out on bond earlier this month, Nitschke and his girlfriend Andrea Healey allegedly were caught cooking up a new batch of the illegal drug.

District Attorney Michael Schiek said officers responding to a warrant allege he engaged in a new production after another session where he was arrested.  “So it’s a new and distinct incident, separate from what happened between April 1 and April 30 that’s alleged in the other complaint. It’s new activity judge and is certainly grounds for new bail jumpings and new charges.”

On Monday, Judge Patrick O’Melia set a $10,000 cash bond on Nitschke for the April offenses. Since authorties allege Nitschke and Healey manufactured another batch after an earlier warrant was served, he was charged with two more counts and given another $5,000 cash bond by Judge O’Melia.

Nitschke is the son of Green Bay Packers legend Ray Nitschke.

by Ken Krall, WXPR

Tomah 30 day reform plan ‘good start’

Tomah VA

Tomah VA

The recently announced 30-day plan to reform procedures at the Tomah VA Medical Center is getting some criticism and some praise from Washington lawmakers.

Congressman Ron Kind (D-La Crosse) likes what he sees in the plan, saying it’s a very good start.  “I think it’s very helpful. It’s an important step in the right direction as far as reforming the practice at Tomah VA. There’s going to be a lot more outreach and engagement, not just with staff there, but with the community, the veterans, the family members themselves.”

The Wisconsin Democrat told WSAU the Tomah 30-day plan is just the beginning, and hopes to see this become an example for improving care at other facilities.  “This is an opportunity for us to establish a model of care that’s not only going to enhance the care that our veterans receive at Tomah, but could become a model of the type of care that our veterans need nationwide, and quite frankly, healthcare system wide.”

U.S. Republican Senator Ron Johnson (R-Oshkosh) is critical of the Tomah 30-day plan, saying it’s not enough. Johnson says there are employees at Tomah that are not being held accountable, and they need to be fired. Johnson is also critical of the VA’s Inspector General for a lack of transparency. Johnson chairs the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and believes these officials should be doing a better job of getting information to them. He also believes the new 30 day plan doesn’t address key issues like helping veterans with post traumatic stress disorder, and it doesn’t fully outline how they intend to manage opiate prescriptions.

Larry Lee, WSAU

Woman injured in Menasha bridge shooting thankful for support

A memorial on the Trestle Trail Bridge. (Photo: Mike Kemmeter)

A memorial on the Trestle Trail Bridge. (Photo: Mike Kemmeter)

A Neenah woman says she’s grateful for the outpouring of support from the community, in the wake of a mass shooting on Menasha’s Trestle Trail bridge last month that killed three people, including her husband and one of her children.

In her first statement since the May 3rd random shooting, 32-year-old Erin Stoffel said she misses her husband and daughter, and her pain is deep. Thirty-three-year-old Jon Stoffel, and 11-year-old Olivia were killed by a gunman on the popular trail. The shooter took his own life.

Erin was shot three times. She continues to recover at Theda Clark Medical Center and said her doctors tell her she’s making progress, but there’s still a long road ahead for her.

Stoffel got her seven-year-old son and five-year-old daughter off of the bridge after she was wounded. She said she cherishes her visits with them, at the hospital, and with the help of God, she will be strong for them.

Stoffel described her husband as incredible, selfless, and funny. She said Olivia was the sweetest, dear daughter, with a heart of gold.