WVAS Local News

Mar 20, 2013

A proposal to revamp Alabama's Medicaid program was met with no outright opposition and even some praise at a joint legislative hearing Tuesday in the House.  Acting Medicaid Commissioner Dr. Don Williamson presented the plan, which would separate the state into eight or less regional care organizations.  Those so-called RCOs would then be responsible for Medicaid delivery.  The bill, by Republican Senator Greg Reed of Jasper, follows the recommendations of Governor Robert Bentley's Alabama Medicaid Advisory Commission and gradually transfers compensation for providers from a fee-for-service model to a "capitation" model, which pays providers on health outcomes. 

Alabama Power

The state's utility regulatory board has scheduled three meetings focusing on the rates of Alabama Power Company.  The Public Service Commission says the public meetings will be May 8th, June 18th, and July 17th in Montgomery.  Each meeting will start at 8:30 a.m. at the PSC's headquarters.  The PSC says the structure of each meeting will be announced later.  The PSC's rate stabilization plan for Alabama Power has provided the state's largest electric utility with a rate of return on common equity of 13 percent to 14.5 percent since 1982. 

Cemetery Ordinance

The Montgomery City Council want to give funeral homes and cemetery owners a chance to voice their opinions on a proposed ordinance, so a vote on it has been delayed.  The ordinance would require local cemeteries to have a business license and a permit for each burial.  City officials hope the measure will encourage better management of the properties.  Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange says the ordinance has been in the works for a couple of years.  Strange says there are 19 cemeteries in the city and only half are complying with already existing regulations.  A public hearing on the matter will be held during the council's next meeting April 2nd. 

New Trial?

Attorneys for former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy told a three judge panel of the 11th U.S. Court of Appeals their client should get a new trial on government corruption charges.  Scrushy and former Alabama Governor Don Sigelman  were found guilty in a 2006 trial in federal court in Montgomery.  Scrushy's attorney Art Leach told Al.com his client is entitled to a new trial.  Scrushy's has completed his prison sentence and is now living in Houston.  Siegelman is serving a prison term in Louisiana.  Prosecutors alleged that Scrushy bought a seat on a state hospital regulatory board by arranging $500,000 dollars in donation to Siegelman's campaign for a statewide lottery.  Scrushy's lawyers say the trial judge erred in denying Scrushy's motions and related discovery requests.