In six months of service to Central Ohio the NBC4 Tipline has produced stories that get results.
Highlights of tip-line generated stories show bureaucracies and government agencies prodded by public pressure to improve performance.
RECORDS DUMPED-IDENTITIES EXPOSED.
In May a tip driven story led us to the personnel files of the Hearts of Hope Institute, as they lay piled in dumpster’s for anyone to see, or take.
Former employees were shocked to see their Social Security numbers and driver’s license information exposed for identity thieves to help themselves.
The exposed records drove NBC4 to uncover a false billing charge at Hearts of Hope Institute and led to other stories on the issue of Medicaid fraud, with state Attorney General Mike DeWine telling NBC4 it’s a huge problem in Ohio.
BATTLE FOR BABY CAMDEN
Also in May, NBC4 had the exclusive story of Dublin Mother Carrie Stearns and her legal battle with Gentle Care Adoption. The mother of five children gave birth to baby Camden following an affair. At birth Stearns signed her son over to Gentle Care for adoption. But within days Stearns changed her mind and asked to have the child returned. The original adoptive parents did return baby Camden to Gentle Care fearing the loss of a child they had formed an emotion bond with, but Gentle Care put Camden into foster care rather than return the infant to his mother. Gentle Care told NBC4 the adoption process would be damaged if potential adoptive parents can’t be sure the placement is firm and final. Carrie Stearns argues she was under emotional duress and under heavy pain medication when she signed adoption papers and that she is a better option for Camden’s best interests than a foster or adoptive family. The custody case will be decided by a Franklin County court.
In July residents in North Linden tipped NBC4 news to a serious and rapidly growing problem in their neighborhood; blight. Vacant homes turned to drug den’s, places for prostitution, storage spots for weapons and stolen goods, with unkempt lawns sheltering rats and feral cats had Linden residents in despair over the crime and chaos they blame on blight. Within a day of our story Columbus Code Enforcement officers were in the neighborhood writing citations that begin the process to raze the blighted property.
BACK PAY FOR CAREGIVERS
In August the NBC4 Tipline uncovered a problem impacting more than 100,000 home health care aids, paid through Medicaid and Medicare as part of the newly created MyCare Ohio. The switch from state payment to third party administrators in the private insurance market, caused a delay in payment to small businesses and individual service providers of six to eight weeks. The medical care of profoundly disabled Ohioans was threatened because the business viability of their home health assistants was in jeopardy. One day after an NBC4 Investigation of the payment problems at MyCare Ohio, the money began to flow to Central Ohio home health care providers. Many of these small business owners credited NBC4 for their financial survival and their ability to continue serving medically fragile Ohioans.
BRING PIPER HOME
Also in August, the NBC4 Tipline directed us to the story of Piper, the grand champion show dog, lost during a visit to Columbus, moved from the Franklin County Animal Shelter to the Central Ohio Sheltie Rescue, but kept away from her owner Veronica Covatch. The sheltie rescue says they are now the legal owner of Piper. Covatch says a microchip she had implanted in Piper clearly establish she is the owner and she is suing in Franklin County Common Pleas court for a return of her prized canine companion. Following the NBC4 story, media from around the world picked up the canine controversy in Columbus.
DUBLIN POLICY CHANGE
In September, fans in the stands alerted NBC4 Investigates to a long delay in transporting an injured Pickerington Football player during a game at Dublin Jerome High School. Morgan Ellison suffered a compound fracture, but he was left on the field for 45 minutes awaiting an ambulance because the unit that had been stationed at the game was called to another incident. NBC4 Investigates not only produced an exclusive report on the Dublin Jerome injury incident, we detailed the policy changes made by the Washington Township Fire Department to make sure high school football games are never left without ambulance cover again.
YOUR TIPS WORK!
If you want to have impact and bring positive change to Central Ohio by weeding out waste, fraud, abuse or corruption, there is no better way to bring these issues to public attention than through the NBC4 Tipline.
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