Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Local Digest

Health costs to leap

Health care costs are rising in Cincinnati but are expected to remain lower than national averages in 2003, according to a report issued Monday by Hewitt Associates.

The national average health care benefit cost per employee is expected to grow 15.4 percent in 2003 to $6,295 a year after growing 13.7 percent in 2002.

In Cincinnati, employer health costs are projected to rise from $5,187 per employee to $5,982 per employee in 2003, an increase of 15.3 percent after growing 13 percent in 2002.

Hewitt's annual report is based on surveys of large employers. Health costs can vary widely among employers, depending on their size and how much employees use their health benefits.

Suspect sought

MIDDLETOWN - Police on Monday were still looking for a female suspect in the stabbing of another woman in a weekend bar fight.

Lt. Don Owens said police know the suspect's identity but were withholding her name until she is arrested. They plan to charge her with felonious assault for allegedly stabbing 38-year-old Tammy Flack multiple times.

Ms. Flack was found outside the rear door of Jeepies Bar, 1724 Central Ave., late Saturday. Witnesses told police she had been involved in a disturbance with two other females who fled on foot.

Ms. Flack was at Middletown Regional Hospital, where she was listed in stable condition and was well enough to speak with detectives, Lt. Owens said.

Insurance tie cut

Summit Medical Group, a large physician group in Northern Kentucky, has announced it will no longer serve patients covered by Aetna U.S. Healthcare, effective Nov. 18.

The change will affect approximately 10,000 Summit patients with Aetna insurance in Northern Kentucky. Summit Medical Group includes more than 50 physicians in 17 offices.

After Nov. 18, Aetna patients will have to pay doctor bills themselves to remain with a Summit physician unless they have out-of-network benefits. Special arrangements will be made for Aetna patients in the hospital Nov. 18.

Toxic material leaked

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio - A freight train with a leaky car left a trail of hazardous material Sunday between the rails from Dayton to Columbus.

"It was a very minor incident with a very minor release of material," Norfolk Southern spokesman Rudy Husband said Monday. "We are in the process of vacuuming it up."

The material, barium carbonate, is only mildly toxic, and no evacuations were needed, said Mike Doan, Clark County's Haz-Mat coordinator. Mr. Doan said the substance looked like soap powder.

Doctor honored

Dr. David Williams, director of experimental hematology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, has been elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

His five-year term began Oct. 1.

Dr. Williams was one of 70 elected to the prestigious 700-member institute this year. New members are elected by other members based on their professional achievements and their involvement with critical public health issues.

Dr. Williams, who recently came to Cincinnati Children's from Indiana University, is an expert in blood development and gene therapy, and is credited with discovering Interleukin-11, a human growth factor that stimulates platelet production.

Suspect chased down

BLUE ASH - A 28-year-old Newport man wanted for escape from a Kentucky prison was arrested early Monday after a police chase that started in Covington and ended in Warren County.

Blue Ash officers deployed Stop Sticks on northbound Interstate 71 at 2:50 a.m. that deflated the two front tires of the suspect's vehicle, which was eventually stopped on the Jeremiah-Morrow bridge in Warren County.

Robert C. Watrus was charged with felony fleeing and eluding, resisting arrest, driving under the influence, felony receiving stolen property, driving with a suspended license, falsification, possession of drug paraphernalia and illegal conveyance of contraband into a detention facility, police said.

Mr. Watrus was wanted on an escape charge in Kentucky, police said. They said he had escaped from the Bell County Forestry Camp in Pikeville, Ky, where he was serving an 11 -year sentence.

Father arrested

A 42-year-old Cleves man was arrested Monday and charged with sexually assaulting his 12-year-old daughter.

The father was charged with rape for allegedly forcing his daughter to perform oral sex on him at his residence July 4, the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office said.

The Enquirer is not identifying the suspect to protect the identity of the victim.

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