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Aylmer replaces contractor for bulk waste collection

Aylmer will move forward with the fall bulk waste collection with a different contractor than usual.

Antonissen Trucking Inc., who usually conducts the collection, sent in a request dated Sept. 2 to Aylmer Mayor Mary French to opt out of the event this year due to COVID-19.

“Our company has been very successful of not contracting the virus during this pandemic and would like to keep it this way,” wrote company President Kelly Antonissen.

After receiving the request, the town’s operations director Rob Johnson contacted a subcontractor used by the original contractor, Waterford-based Norfolk Disposal Services Limited, to see if they would be interested in doing the work.

Bernie Debono, general manager of Norfolk Disposal, agreed and sent in an hourly rate per vehicle of $135, and $75 disposal rate per metric tonne at the company’s transfer station in Waterford.

“I’m confident in the pricing they gave back to us that it’s at market value,” said Mr. Johnson to council members during a virtual meeting on Monday, Sept. 21.

In 2019, the contract was paid based on a vehicle hourly rate, rather than a per tonne or per stop price. Tipping fees were paid separately. The hours per vehicle each day range from 7-12 hours, with 9.5 hours per day being the average.

Three trucks were required each day to complete the work. About 80 tonnes was collected in total, generally split 20 tonnes per day.

The other option provided in the report was to cancel the event. Councillor Arthur Oslach and Cr. Pete Barbour praised the decision to move forward with an alternate service provider.

“I’m glad that there’s an alternative rather than the outright cancellation,” said Cr. Pete Barbour. “Many people in town take full advantage of the service.”

The bulk curbside collection is scheduled from Oct. 13

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Kansas replaces troubled Medicaid contractor notorious for backlogs, lost documents

After years of complaints about backlogs and mishandled Medicaid applications, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is parting ways with Maximus, the private for-profit company that administered the KanCare clearinghouse.

One of the firms hired by former Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration to bring lower costs and private sector efficiency to state government, Maximus instead got poor marks for processing applications and operating KanCare’s customer service call center.

Nursing homes, which rely heavily on Medicaid reimbursements, reported financial struggles as the number of seniors covered by the federal-state health insurance program dropped despite an increasing elderly population. In 2019, Governor Laura Kelly announced plans to hire 300 state workers to take the most complex Medicaid applications away from Maximus.

Instead of bringing the entire Medicaid screening operation back in-house, Kansas has hired another private contractor beginning next year. The New Jersey-based Conduent has had its own troubles. Among them was a lawsuit alleging Medicaid fraud for overbilling dentists in Texas. It was settled last year.

Maximus referred all questions to KDHE.

In a statement to The Star, Conduent touted its experience in other states.

“We bring operational excellence and innovative technology solutions, as well as strong nationwide expertise,” the statement said. “We help our state agency partners adapt to challenges such as policy changes and transitions to new capabilities and solutions, while maintaining high-quality customer service.”

Before Maximus was brought to Kansas, Medicaid applications were handled by state employees. A KDHE spokeswoman said the agency considered discontinuing the outsourcing of Medicaid eligibility, but decided it was not financially feasible.

Lawmakers, attorneys and advocates expressed cautious optimism about the change. Though many predicted continued struggles during a transition and a desire to return to the “good old days” before private business was engaged in the Medicaid application process.

“Based

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