From: Caesar Rodney Institute
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From: Caesar Rodney Institute
If you’re unsure who’s running in your district — or even what district you’re in — you’ve come to the right place.
The primary election will be held Tuesday, Sept. 13.
The 151st General Assembly comes to an end in November, meaning all 21 Senate seats and 41 House seats are up for grabs. The deadline to file for election has passed.
Three of the state’s executive offices — attorney general, treasurer and auditor of accounts — will also be on the ballot. Each office’s incumbent is running for re-election, including embattled State Auditor Kathy McGuiness, who is the only one with a primary challenger.
Six state representatives and senators are not seeking re-election: Sens. Ernie Lopez and Bruce Ennis, and Reps. David Bentz, John Kowalko, Andria Bennett and Steve Smyk, who is running for state Senate.
The House district previously represented by Gerald Brady, who resigned in Feb. 2022, will no longer exist after November. During redistricting, a new district was created in the Long Neck and Oak Orchard area of Sussex County to reflect population growth there.
The general election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Some candidates have been running for months while others were only nominated by their party last week.
Those include: Justin Brant, R-RD 30, Brent Burge, R-RD 10, Chris Dalton, L-SD 21, Joan Godwin, R-RD 24, Benjamin Gregg, R-RD 12, Alexander Homich, R-RD 5, Ade Kuforiji, D-RD 34, Mark Parks, N-RD 5, Brittany Ramone-Gomez, R-RD 23, Daniel Schmick, R-SD 5, Jason Stewart, R-RD 31, and Shane Stoneman, R-RD 7.
Below is a list of each statewide seat, Senate and House seat, and county office along with the candidates who have filed and the voter registration totals by political party. Click a candidate’s name to view their campaign website. If you’re not able to click a candidate’s name, they don’t have a campaign website listed with the Department of Elections.
Also listed are voter registration totals by political party. The first figure represents the number of Democrats registered in the district, the second figure shows the number of Republicans and the third figure represents voters belonging to a third party or no party.
An asterisk (*) indicates a candidate is an incumbent. If there is more than one candidate listed for a given party, there will be a primary election for that seat. If there isn’t, that candidate will advance directly to the general election. Voter registration totals are not available for county races.
Not sure what district you’re in? Click here to find out.
* Indicates the candidate is the incumbent
This report will be updated following the Sept. 13 primary election.
From: Townsquare Live!
As the academic year gears up, Delaware schools still have more than 500 teacher vacancies to fill.
“We think about it as a perfect storm of conditions,” said Stephanie Ingram, president of the Delaware State Education Association.
Schools expected to have a higher than normal number of retirements, partly because of the stresses of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year, that’s been coupled with an increase in student enrollment of more than 7%, Ingram said.
At the same time, “We have fewer graduates from the educator programs than our surrounding states, which leads to the teacher shortage in our schools,” she said.
Some education officials believe that schools themselves — and even the media — are to blame for the teacher shortage.
“As an administrator, I think that we bear some of this in how we treat our teachers and how we support our teachers to then support students,” he said.
Kendall Massett, executive director of Delaware Charter Schools Network, said more attention should be paid to the teachers who do decide to work in the First State.
“While of course we need to get more teachers in and we want to bring more teachers to Delaware … I really wish we weren’t talking about that,” she said. “We need to talk about the fact that we have so many amazing educators that are staying. We are not talking about them.”
Massett said the perception that there is a teacher shortage is caused, in large part, by how the media talks about it.
“When you focus on the bad and when you focus on the challenges, that’s what you’re going to get,” she said.
The situation frustrates districts in many ways.
“As a superintendent, we’re promising and guaranteeing that children are getting a quality education, and you’re doing everything you can to provide the best quality education you can,” said Jeff Menzer, superintendent of Colonial School District.
“The more you string out these vacancies and the longer these vacancies appear and occur, the harder it is to say that to the public,” he said. “That’s really going to be the struggle over the next several years.”
Delaware isn’t alone in grappling with a teacher shortage. States across the country are experiencing the same thing.
The teacher shortage has been building for a decade, Menzer said.
“There’s really not a lot of teachers that are coming out of school with those certification areas or that are out there working right now in those fields,” he said.
A list of Delaware’s vacancies shows that teachers are needed for every grade level, particularly in math, science, special education and world languages.
Charter schools aren’t experiencing as many vacancies as district schools, Massett said, in part because charters have more flexibility and fewer layers of bureaucracy than traditional public schools.
For example, she said, some charters have a co-teaching model where two teachers are present in the classroom, which allows charters to make a flex schedule and have some of the co-teachers cover other classes.
Districts are coping with the shortages in different ways, Menzer said.
A shortage doesn’t necessarily have to result in teachers taking on additional students, he said.
The state has in recent years increased the number of grow-your-own teacher residency programs and alternative routes to certification to help prospective teachers get experience at a young age or obtain their certifications in a nontraditional way.
The state has also established a 15-member Education Compensation Committee to look at how teachers are paid, partly because surrounding states are significantly increasing teacher pay, and Delaware doesn’t want its teachers poached.
In 2020, Delaware teachers earned a mean salary of $64,853, which ranked 20th in the nation.
The compensation committee and the teacher academy pathways programs are an important step toward solving the problem, Layfield said.
But “there are many things we can do and it’s not all about pay,” he said. “It’s about making teachers feel supported.”
Layfield said many teachers have told him they choose where to work based on the level of administrative support.
Menzer said a major challenge for superintendents is finding creative ways to meet the demand without burdening teachers with more students.
Some districts with vacancies distribute students to different teachers while they wait to fill positions, but Menzer said Colonial didn’t want to do that.
“You leave those classes in the schedule, and as a superintendent, you find creative ways to fill the positions and get students in front of qualified educators in a qualified educational program,” Menzer said, “and the class size won’t change a bit.”
The majority of Colonial’s vacancies are at William Penn High School.
However, Colonial’s “bench” is all dried up, Menzer said. It doesn’t have the normal pool of candidates waiting months or years for a spot to open up to get into the district.
Layfield and Menzer said more teachers are earning their certifications in nontraditional ways in recent years.
“We’ve gotten some very good teachers in the last couple of years that have come to us from the private business world that can bring that real world experience,” Layfield said.
“Now we need people in those programs,” Menzer said.
Massett said charters are able to offer a variety of teacher residency programs and also can be flexible with employees’ availability.
“Sometimes you have somebody that doesn’t want to work full time,” she said. “Schools can flex the schedule to allow that person to be part-time and they fill in the gaps in other ways.”
DSEA’s Ingram said there are lower retention rates for educators in urban schools, “which is a huge contributing factor to some of the shortages we’re seeing.”
The real impact of the unfilled positions will be felt by other teachers, she said.
“If we had the adequate staff then we can have smaller class sizes which we know is a definite leading factor in the success of our students,” she said. “We also know that it’s very difficult for an individual teacher who has a larger class to make sure that they’re providing the individual attention each student needs.”
Having additional students in every class means a teacher will need to spend more time grading papers and tests, coming up with lesson plan materials, spending individual time with students who need academic or emotional help, and other daily responsibilities.
“It is a trickle-down effect into every aspect of the school system,” Ingram said. “When you have these vacancies, everyone has to do more, which puts more on their plate, which overloads a system that’s already stressed out.”
In addition to a teacher shortage, many schools still need a deeper pool of substitute teachers.
Red Clay, for example, said it needs an additional 18, the most of any district.
Many people might be qualified to substitute and just don’t know it, Menzer said.
Menzer suggested that concerned citizens approach their local district and see if they have, or can earn, the certifications to teach.
All open positions in Delaware schools can be found through a portal published on the state’s website, which is updated daily.
Here is a roundup of vacancies in Delaware school districts and charter schools. Each district classifies their needs differently. Some filter the openings by grade level, some do it by subject, and some do a combination of the two.
Appoquinimink, 62 openings
Appo’s vacancies include two math teachers, an English teacher, two social studies teachers, three science teachers, four psychologists, a world language teacher, and seven special education workers.
Brandywine, 25 openings
Brandywine’s openings include six student supporters, two elementary school teachers, a middle and high school teacher, four subs, and two paraeducators.
Caesar Rodney, 63 openings
Caesar Rodney needs 14 elementary school teachers, seven middle school teachers, five student support workers, 23 athletic coaches, and three paraprofessionals.
Cape Henlopen, 58 openings
Cape Henlopen’s vacancies include an elementary school teacher, two paraeducators, nine substitute teachers, and three special support workers.
Capital, 131 openings
Capital’s openings include 20 elementary school teachers, 21 middle school teachers, 23 high school teachers, 27 student support workers, and 20 paraeducators.
Christina, 120 openings
Christina’s vacancies include 18 elementary school teachers, 15 middle school teachers, 23 high school teachers, 27 student support workers, seven school nutrition workers, and six paraeducators.
Colonial, 38 openings
Colonial needs three elementary school teachers, five middle school teachers, nine high school teachers, seven paraprofessionals, and four student service workers.
Delmar, 28 openings
Delmar’s vacancies include seven middle school teachers, 10 high school teachers, seven substitute teachers, and two school nutrition workers.
Indian River, 37 openings
Indian River’s openings include one elementary school teacher, two middle school teachers, two high school teachers, four paraeducators, nine special support workers, and five substitutes.
Lake Forest, 38 openings
Lake forest needs six early childhood workers, three middle school teachers, eight high school teachers, five student support workers, and a substitute teacher.
Laurel, 72 openings
Laurel needs four elementary school teachers, seven middle school teachers, eight high school teachers, 11 student support workers, and six substitutes.
Milford, 19 openings
Milford’s vacancies include four elementary school teachers, three high school teachers, three subs, and five student support workers.
New Castle VoTech, 12 openings
New Castle VoTech needs a sub, a school nutrition workers, three paraeducators, six high school teachers, and a custodian.
POLYTECH, 7 openings
POLYTECH needs a high school teacher, a substitute teacher, a child nutrition workers, an administrative supervisor, an athletic trainer, a custodian, and a tech worker.
Red Clay, 84 openings
Red Clay needs 11 elementary school teachers, 15 middle school teachers, 10 high school teachers, 11 student support workers, 18 subs, and a bus driver.
Seaford, 36 openings
Seaford’s vacancies include three elementary school teachers, three middle school teachers, nine high school teachers, four paraeducators, six subs, and a school constable.
Smyrna, 15 openings
Smyrna needs two elementary school teachers, four high school teachers, four subs, a school nutrition worker, a secretary, and three custodians
Sussex Tech, 7 openings
Sussex Tech needs a custodian, a tech worker, three substitute teachers, a student support worker, and a high school teacher.
Woodbridge, 30 openings
Woodbridge’s openings include two elementary school teachers, four middle school teachers, eight high school teachers, three paraeducators, three school nutrition workers, and a substitute teacher.
Academia Antonia Alonso, 11 openings
Academia Antonia Alonso’s vacancies include two elementary school teachers, two middle school teachers, two school nutrition workers, a custodian, and a bus driver.
Academy of Dover, 4 openings
Academy of Dover Charter School needs a paraprofessional, a middle school teacher, an elementary school teacher, and a cafeteria worker.
Campus Community, 9 openings
Campus Community needs two elementary school teachers, two middle school teachers, a sub, three paraeducators, and a custodian.
Charter School of New Castle, 12 openings
Charter School of New Castle needs three elementary school teachers, seven middle school teachers, a sub, and a student support worker.
Charter School of Wilmington, 8 openings
Charter School of Wilmington needs three high school teachers, a substitute, a secretary, a girls volleyball coach, and two administrative workers.
Delaware Military Academy, 3 openings
Delaware Military Academy needs a boys lacrosse coach, an ROTC instructor, and a science substitute teacher.
Early College High School at Delaware State University, 1 opening
Early College High School at Delaware State University needs a high school math teacher.
EastSide Charter, 13 openings
East Side Charter is fully staffed but is looking to deepen their workforce by hiring five elementary school teachers and eight middle school teachers.
First State Military Academy, 2 openings
First State Military Academy needs a boys soccer coach and a math teacher.
First State Montessori Academy, 1 opening
First State Montessori Academy needs an elementary school teacher
Freire Charter School Wilmington, 2 openings
Freire Charter School Wilmington needs a high school Spanish and high school special education
Gateway Lab School, 2 openings
Gateway Lab School needs a paraprofessional and a substitute teacher.
Great Oaks, 9 openings
Great Oaks needs four high school teachers, two middle school teachers, a paraeducator, a student support worker, and an administrative worker.
Kuumba Academy, 11 openings
Kuumba Academy needs six elementary school teachers, four middle school teachers, and a student support worker.
Las Americas Aspira Academy, 3 openings
Las Americas Aspira Academy needs two special education paraprofessionals and a high school nurse.
MOT Charter, 11 openings
MOT Charter needs one middle school teacher, two high school teachers, four subs, a school nutrition worker, and three athletic coaches.
Newark Charter, 4 openings
Newark Charter needs three long-term subs and a school psychologist.
Odyssey Charter, 17 openings
Odyssey’s vacancies include an elementary school teacher, two high school teachers, three subs, three school nutrition workers, and a custodian.
Positive Outcomes Charter, 0 openings
Providence Creek Academy, 15 openings
Providence Creek Academy’s openings include two elementary school teachers, a middle school teacher, and two subs.
Sussex Academy, 7 openings
Sussex Academy needs a high school teacher, two subs, and four athletic coaches.
Sussex Montessori, 7 openings
Sussex Montessori needs four elementary school teachers, a paraeducator, a student support worker, and a reading specialist.
Thomas A. Edison Charter, 9 openings
Thomas A. Edison Charter needs six elementary school teachers, two middle school teachers, and a student support worker.
NORFOLK, Va. — Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration is aiming to withdraw the state from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) by the end of 2023 without legislative action from state lawmakers.
Travis Voyles, the acting Virginia secretary of natural and historic resources, presented the withdrawal plans to the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board during its Wednesday meeting.
Voyles’ presentation lines up with Youngkin’s ninth executive order, which ordered administration officials to propose a regulation that would repeal the state’s participation in RGGI.
“RGGI is a bad deal for Virginia,” Voyles told board members. “Whether you agree with the framework and principles of the cap and trade system, the way RGGI has been implemented in Virginia does not work as an effective means for greenhouse gas reductions.”
Voyles opened his presentation by arguing that RGGI passes costs onto Virginia consumers “as a tax” without incentivizing any change in behavior from electricity providers because of the way it was set up.
He also claimed that Virginia’s participation allows northeastern states to dictate the state’s energy policies, as opposed to Virginians and elected officials.
Voyles concluded his opening argument by saying Virginians don’t need “a regressive energy tax through RGGI” to fund programs that address climate resiliency and energy efficiency.
After explaining where the administration stands on RGGI, Voyles said officials will soon introduce a notice of intended regulatory action repealing the state’s participation.
Under Virginia law, those notices should describe the planned regulation and allow at least 30 days for the public to comment.
Voyles said the regulation would allow the state to leave RGGI by the end of 2023, coinciding with the end of the program’s three-year compliance period and contract with the organization that manages the program. He added that waiting to withdraw would provide regulatory certainty.
Despite these steps, it’s legally ambiguous if Virginia can leave the program without new legislation because of provisions in the Clean Energy and Community Flood Preparedness Act.
Following Voyles’ presentation, the Southern Environmental Law Center said the action taken by the Youngkin administration wasn’t legal, and the program is beneficial for Virginians.
“RGGI has already proven it reduces pollution at the same time that it brings in desperately needed resources,” SELC Senior Attorney Nate Benforado said in a statement. “But instead of supporting this popular program to reduce carbon pollution, the Youngkin administration has consistently sought to take unlawful action to end Virginia’s participation in RGGI — despite the fact that neither the governor nor regulators have the authority to do so.”
Benforado attended the presentation and spoke to the board following Voyles’ presentation, saying it doesn’t matter what he, board members or Youngkin think about RGGI.
“The General Assembly decided this policy for us in 2020,” Benforado told board members. “They wrote a law that mandates we participate in RGGI.”
RGGI is comprised of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia. These states have a regional cap that limits carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, a limit that will get stricter over time.
Within the program, regulated power plants have to acquire carbon dioxide emission allowances for every short ton they emit, which are distributed at quarterly actions.
The idea behind a cap-and-trade program, such as RGGI, is to encourage power plants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change and invest in clean energy production.
From: The Caesar Rodney Institute NEWARK, DE – The Caesar Rodney Institute (CRI), with its Energy Expert David T. Stevenson, has spearheaded the fight against offshore wind turbines since 2017 to protect Delaware Beaches. Today, CRI announces the release of a shocking video that depicts and uncovers the truth behind how the wind turbines will look off Delaware beaches after construction, who will benefit (not Delawareans), and the marine life it will forever harm.
“There are better clean energy solutions than placing a highly visible industrial park off our Delaware beaches. Offshore wind costs four times more than other options, causes great environmental damage, and threatens our beach economy.” -David T. Stevenson, Director Center for Energy & Environmental Policy
The short & shocking video of what the wind turbines will look like (once constructed) can be viewed by CLICKING HERE.
“The video details why visible wind turbines pose many serious and avoidable risks. Ocean turbines are not needed to reach renewable energy goals, which are better and safer met by land-based turbines.” -John Toedtman, Executive Director
In 2018 Save Our Beach View (www.SaveOurBeachView.com) was formed to educate Delaware beach property residents about the state of Maryland’s plans to construct offshore wind turbines off the coast of Delaware beaches, but the energy produced by these wind turbines is for Maryland residents and not Delaware. Save our Beach View is a project of the Caesar Rodney Institute and is a member of the American Coalition for Ocean Protection (ACOP).
DELMARVA – Just days ago, the world’s largest offshore wind farm became fully operational off the coast of Yorkshire, England. Meanwhile, Ørsted and U.S. Wind are preparing to build offshore wind farms here at home, near Ocean City, Maryland and Delaware’s coastal beaches.
Ørsted plans to build their Skipjack Wind project, which includes approximately 70 wind turbines. At its closest point, Skipjack Wind will be 15.5 miles from shore, says Ørsted. U.S. Wind is working on two offshore wind projects: its MarWind and Momentum Wind projects.
However, some are raising concerns about various issues relating to the projects: how they will impact local tourism, wildlife, and job creation. The Caesar Rodney Institute (CRI), a non-profit affiliate of the State Policy Network of conservative and libertarian think tanks, say the projects will only negatively impact Delmarva.
David Stevenson, Director of CRI’s Center for Energy and Environment, cites a study out of North Carolina State University when it comes to potential impacts on tourism. The study asked respondents how likely they would be to visit beach towns if there were wind turbines visibly towering over the water.
“38% of those renters would not come back to a beach with visible turbines during the daylight. Even worse, when they saw visualizations of what it looks like at night with the red flashing lights, 54% wouldn’t come back,” said Stevenson. “If we see that kind of economic damage to our beach communities, it means jobs, it means the payroll that you get – you may get a smaller paycheck. It means property values may fall.”
U.S. Wind and Ørsted cite a different study, refuting that wind turbines drive away tourists and their dollars. The study, out of the University of Rhode Island, looked at vacation rental numbers on Block Island, Rhode Island after a wind farm was constructed just three miles from the coast. Despite the visible wind turbines, tourism numbers spiked.
“There is a curiosity effect to offshore wind development. People want to see these majestic machines out on the horizon that are creating massive amounts of clean energy,” said Nancy Sopko, Senior Director of External Affairs for U.S. Wind. “People wanted to rent houses and other vacation rentals, condos, etc. to see these turbines.”
Meanwhile, Stevenson says tourists and locals don’t want wind turbines built near their homes, and neither does the local wildlife.
“Each one of these turbines, if you look at the blades, sweep out an area of eight to ten football fields,” said Stevenson. “The wingtips of the blades are moving at 180 miles per hour and higher. They are definitely going to kill migratory birds, such as the Red Knot, which is an endangered species.”
Stevenson also worries about any potential impact on horseshoe crabs, which feed the Red Knots when they stop during their migration on Delaware’s beaches. He says not enough information is available yet to tell if the animals will be safe from harm.
“The federal agencies that have approved this say they don’t have the data. In our view, get the data first before these things. Don’t build them and then figure out what the damage is,” said Stevenson.
U.S. Wind also refutes these claims. Sopko says U.S. Wind has done their due diligence in planning for any environmental impact.
“We are seeking to avoid any impact. What we cannot avoid, we are significantly minimizing, and also mitigating any impact to the environment,” said Sopko. “U.S. Wind, as with all offshore wind developers, have to go through a multiyear process with several federal agencies and state agencies that are really digging into the contents of our permitting applications and our plans.”
Ørsted adds that National Audubon Society studies indicate that the areas where the wind farms will be constructed are far enough offshore that they will not affect the birds. Plus, Ørsted says impact on horseshoe crabs and other marine animals will be minimal. The company says that’s because if animals like a whale, for example, are detected during construction, work will stop. And, construction will take place outside of horseshoe crab breeding season. Ørsted says horseshoe crabs might even use the base of the wind turbines as a habitat.
U.S. Wind has been touting how many local, permanent jobs will be created through their projects. Sopko says the company is working with the Sparrow Point steel mill in Baltimore, Maryland. She says workers there will be responsible for building the monopile foundations that secure the wind turbines into the earth.
Sopko says the MarWin project is estimated to create 1,500 jobs, the Momentum Wind project will employ 3,500 people, and the Sparrow Point collaboration will create 500 jobs. Operations and maintenance on the coast will bring 100 jobs, says Sopko.
“You put all that together, and that’s thousands and thousands of jobs for our first two projects,” said Sopko. “What we have said has been backed up by the independent consultants that have looked at these job numbers, that applications that we have put forward to the states.”
Ørsted is also pledging to boost job creation on Delmarva. The company has committed to creating 780 permanent local jobs, plus thousands of local construction jobs during its Skipjack Wind project. The company also claims it will invest a minimum of $735 million in capital spending over 30 years in the region as it builds Skipjack Wind.
CRI, however, isn’t confident that all of those jobs will go to locals.
“There’s definitely going to be some jobs created during the 12 to 18 months when they construct these things. But, a lot of those jobs will go to folks in Europe,” said Stevenson. “The turbines are built in Europe, the crews that bring them over here are European vessels with European installation crews. So, even though there’s some jobs created, they may not be in the U.S.”
Despite the opposition, Ørsted and U.S. Wind are on track to continue with their respective projects. Sopko says the work is crucial, given the worsening climate crisis.
“Offshore wind in general can bring massive amounts of clean energy to the grid at a time when it is most needed. We see the world burning and drowning all at the same time,” said Sopko. “We are very excited about the opportunities that exist for Marylanders, for Delaware, and we want everyone to be a part of it that wants to be a part of it.”
Stevenson hopes that the companies will consider moving their projects further offshore, or out of the region altogether.
“If you’re worried about climate change, this isn’t going to solve it. It’s just replacing other things that work better, have less environmental damage, and have less threats to our economy,” said Stevenson. “People have got to wake up to what’s going on here, and we do have a way to stop these or get changes made.”
From: Beacon Center of Tennessee
Since its establishment, TriStar Horizon Medical Center in Dickson, Tennessee has acquired a less-than-favorable reputation in the minds of Dickson County residents. According to a 2018 study reported by the Tennessean, 60 percent of potential patients in Dickson County are leaving the area for medical care provided in Davidson County. For any serious health incident or concern, the hospital is often bypassed in favor of more respected healthcare facilities in Nashville (looking at you, Vanderbilt). The lack of available services and equipment at hospitals such as the TriStar Horizon Medical Center has become a real problem for those seeking the necessary medical attention.
Luckily, TriStar Horizon Medical Center has begun to implement over 30 million dollars worth of expansion and renovation projects over the last few years. Most importantly, they began construction of a brand-new 17 million dollar intensive care unit, which should be finished by the end of this year. With the addition of an ICU and a newly renovated cardiac catheterization unit, along with the expansion of their oncology office and imaging services, access to top-of-the-line healthcare services will no longer cost residents of Dickson a trip out of the county. These improvements come only after thousands of dollars in filing fees and countless hours spent submitting Certificate of Need applications to the Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency.
Unfortunately, this ‘happy ending’ is often not the case for many Tennessee citizens. This is where certificates of need come into play. Certificate of Need (CON) laws require healthcare providers to seek permission and prove there is a shortage of some medical services in the area in order to change, add, or reduce the services they provide. Intended to regulate healthcare costs and competition, the unintended consequences of CONs often make it difficult for Tennesseans to access adequate healthcare services. Currently, 22 counties in the state of Tennessee do not have hospitals, and 17 counties do not have emergency departments. Research shows that states that have CON requirements have fewer rural hospitals and rural ambulatory surgical centers. Eliminating these onerous regulations would make it easier for more providers like TriStar to further invest in underserved communities.
Tennessee has made progress in repealing and reforming its CON requirements. For example, legislation enacted in 2021 now exempts healthcare services and facilities from CON requirements in economically distressed counties without an existing hospital and allows previously licensed hospitals to open up opioid addiction treatment centers without obtaining an additional CON. However, there is still much work to be done. CON laws in Tennessee are still much more stringent compared to other states. Tennessee still requires a CON for nearly 20 different services by the state, while 15 states don’t require a CON at all and many other states’ CON regulations can at least be counted on one hand.
Tennessee must continue to take action to ensure that every citizen can access and receive the medical care that they deserve by continuing to reform and repeal CON laws. While those in Dickson County are fortunate enough to benefit from an approved Certificate of Need application, there are still many Tennesseeans that deserve increased access to healthcare and further investments in their health. This is unlikely without additional CON reform that permits more straightforward implementation of necessary healthcare services.
From: Delaware Business Times WILMINGTON — ChristianaCare has ended its bid to buy Crozer Health this morning, concluding its efforts to aggressively expand in southern Pennsylvania and settling for a smaller share of the market for now.
Delaware’s largest health care system signed a letter of intent with Crozer’s parent company, Prospect Medical Holdings Inc., in February. The goal was to finalize the sale in the fourth quarter of 2022, pending a due diligence period and negotiations.
In a joint statement, both ChristianaCare and Prospect Medical Holdings said Thursday that “the economic landscape has significantly changed, impacting the ability of the sale to move forward.”
“We worked hard to reach an agreement for the purchase of Crozer Health, and we are disappointed in this outcome,” ChristianaCare Chief Strategy Officer and General Counsel Jennifer Schwartz said in a statement. “ChristianaCare very much wants to be a strong partner in Delaware County and in other communities throughout southeastern Pennsylvania. We will continue to explore opportunities to serve the needs of our neighbors.”
ChristianaCare, a not-for-profit that breaks its organization into several tax-exempt organizations, produced revenue of more than $2.5 billion in Fiscal Year 2020 and held more than $2.8 billion in net assets. The FY 2020 tax returns for the nonprofit are the last publicly available documents at this time.
Crozer Health, established in 1990 by the merger of Crozer-Chester Medical Center and Delaware County Memorial Hospital, was acquired by Prospect in 2016 after no local nonprofit organizations were willing to take over the beleaguered system. Prospect, a for-profit company, has laid off employees and closed hospital units in the past year.
The deal, if completed, would have transferred four hospitals as well as Crozer Health Medical Group’s primary care and specialist practices, as well as other assets. ChristianaCare would have also gained roughly 3,800 employees.
However, in the weeks after the prospective deal was announced, Crozer Health continued to lay off more staff. Departures eventually included Crozer CEO Kevin Spiegel, who held the job for five months. In July, he was replaced with Anthony Esposito, who served as the chief financial officer at Drexel University College of Medicine.
Crozer also weighed closing several wards and services, including substance abuse clinics and services at three hospitals and a crisis center at Crozer-Chester Medical Center, according to WHYY.
In April, Crozer was looking to quietly receive additional payment from seven Pennsylvania townships to continue offering paramedic services. Then-Crozer CEO Kevin Spiegel wrote a letter to municipal leaders that the paramedic service operated at a $336,000 annual loss, and would be ending service by the end of the month if a new funding agreement could not be reached.
Amid closing or reevaluating many of its assets, another factor complicating the deal with ChristianaCare was that Crozer no longer owns its facilities. In 2019, Prospect sold the property it owned in Pennsylvania, California and Connecticut to Medical Properties Trust for $1.55 billion, with Crozer leasing back its facilities and adding to operational costs.
Crozer pays between $30 million and $35 million in annual rent to Medical Properties Trust, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Earlier this month, Prospect Medical Holdings signed its first contract with a union of more than 80 technical specialists at Delaware County Memorial Hospital (DCMH) and Taylor Hospital. The contract was signed after 14 months of negotiations.
ChristianaCare declined to comment in detail about ending the deal, citing the confidentiality of negotiations.
In the past year, ChristianaCare has proven to be an aggressive agent in health care expansion in the past year. After acquiring the former Union Hospital in nearby Elkton, Md., ChristianaCare was relatively quiet in terms of expanding beyond its footprint, until the potential deal with Crozer was announced.
Since then, ChristianaCare has moved forward with primary care offices in Rehoboth Beach and Milford, as well as a spinal surgery center in Wilmington. Around the same time talks were beginning for the Crozer deal, the health care system announced it would buy two primary care offices in Jennersville and West Grove. It also bought the Jennersville Hospital from Tower Health for $8 million this summer.
From: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General Our case file reviews determined that MAOs sometimes delayed or denied Medicare Advantage beneficiaries’ access to services, even though the requests met Medicare coverage rules. MAOs also denied payments to providers for some services that met both Medicare coverage rules and MAO billing rules. Denying requests that meet Medicare coverage rules may prevent or delay beneficiaries from receiving medically necessary care and can burden providers.
Although some of the denials that we reviewed were ultimately reversed by the MAOs, avoidable delays and extra steps create friction in the program and may create an administrative burden for beneficiaries, providers, and MAOs. Examples of health care services involved in denials that met Medicare coverage rules included advanced imaging services (e.g., MRIs) and stays in post-acute facilities (e.g., inpatient rehabilitation facilities).
Prior authorization requests. We found that among the prior
authorization requests that MAOs denied, 13 percent met Medicare
coverage rules—in other words, these services likely would have been
approved for these beneficiaries under original Medicare (also known as
Medicare fee-for-service). We identified two common causes of these
denials. First, MAOs used clinical criteria that are not contained in
Medicare coverage rules (e.g., requiring an x-ray before approving more
advanced imaging), which led them to deny requests for services that our
physician reviewers determined were medically necessary. Although our
review determined that the requests in these cases did meet Medicare
coverage rules, CMS guidance is not sufficiently detailed to determine
whether MAOs may deny authorization based on internal MAO clinical
criteria that go beyond Medicare coverage rules. For the full report read more here.
From: Beacon Center of Tennessee
Last week, the Tennessee General Assembly adjourned for the year. In one of their final actions, legislators passed Gov. Bill Lee’s Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement Act, or TISA. The proposal completely overhauls our state’s education funding formula for the first time in three decades. I was honored to be part of the effort, having chaired one of the subcommittees created to study the issue and offer recommendations, and having testified in support of the bill on behalf of our advocacy partner Beacon Impact.
TISA replaces what was possibly the nation’s most convoluted funding formula with a student-based approach. In short, going forward, Tennessee will begin to fund students, not systems. This alone is a huge improvement over the way we’ve funded education in Tennessee for generations. It means more money will make its way into the classroom where it belongs, something that’s sorely needed. Our research shows that just 53% of education funding makes it into the classroom now, far less than the national average.
There are other key benefits to a student-based funding formula. Here are three in particular:
It will bring increased transparency for taxpayers and parents. By simplifying the formula, parents can better understand how much we spend on their child, why their child generated that amount, and what that money is spent on. Beacon has in past years attempted to make education spending understandable, pulling all the available data together from dozens of Excel spreadsheets. It takes us—a think tank with full-time employees—months to do this. Now it will virtually be at everyone’s fingertips.
This increased transparency alone will lead to greater accountability, the second benefit of a student-based formula. By tying results to dollars spent, we can more easily draw a line when it comes to the effective use of those dollars. TISA also adds outcomes-based funding to the mix, rewarding districts that boost student achievement, incentivizing them to invest tax dollars in the right way to get results.
It will give school-level leadership greater flexibility. On average, individual principals across the state currently have control over just 8% of their budgets. The rest is already claimed by the time the money gets to the school level. Local leaders can use the flexibility provided by TISA to innovate and structure an education that reflects the needs and opportunities of their own students. We can then see what works and what doesn’t; just like federalism makes states the laboratories of democracy, a student-funding approach allows individual schools and districts to be laboratories of education.
We applaud Gov. Lee for championing funding students and not systems. Every single public school student in Tennessee will benefit from this much-needed reform.