May 22nd, 2013
Heath, OH – Comfort Dental opened its newest Ohio office in Heath this week. The office is located in the Southgate Corners Shopping Center at 613 Hebron Road. Dentists Brandon Canfield DDS, Samir Merchant DDS and Mark Halverson DDS are ready to welcome new patients. The Heath location is Comfort Dental’s ninth in Central Ohio.
Comfort Dental’s core mission is to expand access to quality dental care by making it affordable and convenient. The new Heath office maintains extended regular office hours Monday-Friday 7:30 AM to 7:30 PM, Saturdays 7:30 AM to 1:30 PM, and 24-hour emergency access.
New patients pay $19 which includes exam and x-rays with payment required at time of service. Comfort Dental’s fees are 40% to 50% less with the Gold Plan when compared to other dentists. Without the Gold Plan, they’re about 25%-30% less. Comfort Dental accepts all patients – insured, uninsured and Medicaid.
Founded in 1977 by Dr. Rick Kushner, D.D.S., Comfort Dental has pioneered the concept of fair pricing dentistry. Today it is the largest dental franchise in America. Every office is independently owned by the dentists.
To set up an appointment at the new Heath Comfort Dental please call (740) 788-8084.
Heath Mayor Mark D. Johns cuts the ribbon to open Comfort Dental’s newest location in the Southgate Corners Shopping Center. Joining him are Drs. Eric Morrison, Samir Merchant, Brandon Canfield and Todd Beckman.
March 17th, 2013
Re-Print of column by Brent Larkin, The Plain Dealer
Published March 16, 2013
Columbus — The circus comes to town May 8.
But whatever acts Ringling Bros. brings to Value City Arena for its weeklong engagement here won’t hold a candle to what’s going on around Capitol Square.
No need to send in the clowns. They’re already here.
In the midst of what are supposed to be serious budget deliberations about the course of Ohio’s future, this place has become Rebellions R Us.
No other state government can possibly have as many simultaneous sideshows going on as this one. Let’s take a peek at what’s happening under the big tent:
• Gov. John Kasich’s budget is toast.
Republicans have 60 seats in the 99-member House and 23 of the 33 in the Senate. Yet the Republican governor and Republican legislative leaders can’t find the votes to pass Kasich’s budget. The spending plan that will pass in late June will be unrecognizable from the one the governor sent them in early February.
Kasich wants to run for re-election next near armed with a 30-second television commercial that boasts of adding jobs and cutting taxes. So his only escape from this budget chaos is an end product that includes the sizable income tax cut he’s been touting for three years.
Anything less makes him look weak and ineffective.
• Following a catastrophic 2012, the Tea Party’s back, threatening to field candidates against the governor and Republican legislators next year.
The Tea Party vehemently opposes Kasich’s budget provision that would accept federal dollars to expand Ohio’s Medicaid program.
Neither is it wild about Kasich’s idea to tax fracking, a form of drilling to pump out oil and natural gas.
Callow GOP legislators apparently quiver at this opposition.
But anyone intimidated by a group of losers who last year tanked in 12 of 16 U.S. Senate races and who contributed mightily to the Republican presidential candidate’s crushing defeat doesn’t belong in public office.
• The Tea Party’s ringmaster, i.e., shill, in Ohio seems to be state Treasurer Josh Mandel. First, Mandel sent a letter to legislators urging them to reject Kasich’s Medicaid expansion. Then he reiterated his opposition to Kasich’s fracking tax.
This prompted a spokesman for the governor to imply that Mandel has become a shill for Big Oil.
Mandel wants to run again for the Senate in 2018. At this point, that’s almost laughable. He’s well on his way toward destroying a once-promising career.
• With his budget on the ropes, Kasich desperately needs leadership from House Speaker Bill Batchelder and Senate President Keith Faber.
Here’s what leadership doesn’t look like:
On Dec. 19, Batchelder said of Kasich’s proposed fracking tax, “I don’t think there’s any question we will support it.”
On March 7, he told members of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association the governor’s idea is”a big mistake” and “we’re not going to be doing the kind of things to damage an industry that are among the proposals that have been made.”
Imposing a tiny tax on people who want to suck billions of dollars worth of oil and gas from the ground makes sense. And anyone who claims the tax would drive businesses from the state is lying.
• What’s happening with the budget is embarrassing to Kasich. But it’s his dispute with yet another Republican (anyone else notice a pattern here?) that has the potential to inflict lasting damage.
State Auditor Dave Yost wants to review the financial records of JobsOhio, an economic development entity established by Kasich and the legislature that’s designed to be free of the public scrutiny traditionally required of public agencies. When Kasich balked, Yost subpoenaed the records.
As Tuesday’s deadline for complying with Yost’s subpoena nears, talks aimed at a compromise are under way.
But a governor has enormous power. And Yost is feeling it.
“The pressure is tremendous,” he said Tuesday, during an interview in his office across the street from the Statehouse. “I’ve got people in the legislature threatening to bar the authority of this office. . . . And we’ve got the Capitol Square crowd explaining to me how unhelpful this all is.”
But Yost seems to sense that an all-out retreat would permanently scar his reputation.
“The means are always open to discussion in any situation,” he said. “The ends are not. Here, the end is transparency sufficient to support a confidence the quasi-private money is being properly controlled and spent and that the actions of JobsOhio are ethical.”
If Kasich and Yost can’t cut a deal, the dispute heads to court.
But the court of public opinion has already ruled in this case.
And everyone in town knows the governor lost it.
Link to this article here.
January 30th, 2013
Lexington Companies’ Kevin Coughlin was the featured speaker this morning at the Stow Rotary Club. Coughlin spoke on the impact on the 2012 election on business and how social and demographic trends are changing politics in America.
Coughlin outlined his thoughts on how both major political parties are failing to recognize and respond to these changes, and how the parties have lost sight of the need to help people achieve social mobility. He made a call for sensible leadership in government and urged the audience to participate in primary elections, saying that is the only way the people can push back against the few who dictate our ballot choices.
To book Kevin Coughlin as a speaker for your event contact us at email@example.com
January 14th, 2013
By Sarah Jane Tribble, The Plain Dealer
on January 13, 2013
For Ohio’s health care industry and patient advocates, all eyes are on Gov. John Kasich and the two-year state budget he’s expected to propose on Feb. 4.
Will the Republican state leader expand Medicaid and offer government-supported health insurance to an estimated additional 600,000 of the state’s poorest?
“We will all know together,” said Greg Moody, the leader of Kasich’s office of health transformation, which is charged with revamping the state’s Medicaid program.
Moody declined on January 9 to provide any hint as to the administration’s decision, but he did say an answer will be in the budget. If the expansion is in the proposed budget, the plan will still have to be approved by state legislators. If it is not included in the budget, political experts say expansion would be very unlikely.
“We want to be clear: This is too important to leave hanging,” Moody said. “One way or the other, if it’s an expansion, we need to plan. If it’s not an expansion, we need to plan.”
If Ohio expands Medicaid, the state will fulfill an option under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to provide coverage to adults living at up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level — about $32,000 per year for a family of four and $15,400 per year for an individual.
Currently, Ohio covers adults with dependents at up to 90 percent of the federal poverty level and doesn’t cover childless adults. A family of four earning $20,745 or less qualifies for current coverage.
If Ohio expands Medicaid, the federal government would pay the full tab, 100 percent, for three years for the newly qualified individuals. After that, the federal government would cover 95 percent and phase down to 90 percent.
Less than two dozen states offer the expanded coverage or have agreed to offer it since federal reform passed.
Kasich’s decision is “a very important point in time for the state of Ohio,” said Oliver “Pudge” Henkel, chief external affairs officer at the Cleveland Clinic, which is a proponent of expansion.
Ohio’s Medicaid program currently has 2.2 million people enrolled, which costs the state $18.8 billion. Hospitals often pick up the tab and pay for free or discounted care for those who don’t qualify for Medicaid but can’t afford private insurance.
If Ohio does not expand Medicaid, the estimated 600,000 residents currently without insurance are expected to continue seeking free and discounted care at clinics and hospitals. Under an expansion, hospitals will begin to be reimbursed through Medicaid for that care.
“A positive decision on Medicaid expansion will be a real shot in the arm for those who are really concerned about providing access to everyone,” Henkel said.
Hopes are high
On a recent sunny morning, a small group of advocates gathered at the century-old Trinity Cathedral near downtown Cleveland to talk about Medicaid. The advocates represented the 18-month old Greater Cleveland Congregations group and included The Very Rev. Tracey Lind of Trinity Cathedral. Lind was upbeat about the chances of Ohio expanding its Medicaid guidelines, but careful not to predict.
“Relationships are being built that have never been built before,” Lind said, describing the group’s lobbying efforts.
The Greater Cleveland Congregations, which includes more than 20,000 members of 40 churches, synagogues and mosques, won their first big advocacy victory in November when they helped the Cleveland Metropolitan School District gain approval for a taxpayer-approved levy. Now, they are working for the passage of Medicaid expansion.
If Kasich puts Medicaid expansion in the proposed budget, they will begin lobbying state legislators to keep it in the budget for approval in June.
They have also joined with the region’s hospitals, free-care clinics, and patient advocates to create the Northeast Ohio Medicaid Expansion Coalition.
“From our perspective, this is not a partisan issue. It’s a moral issue,” Lind said. “We all know that politicians respond to community voices.”
Several long-time lobbyists and former Medicaid officials said they had never seen anything like this group. John Corlett, a former state Medicaid director who is now government relations director of MetroHealth System, said the group has “some additional clout,” as most lobbyists aren’t from faith-based organizations.
The coalition has met with Moody’s office and been in conversations in recent weeks, telling the stories of what they see and the people they meet.
Lind said every Sunday for the past five years, a nurse has come to Trinity Cathedral to provide free care for those in need. Lind shared a story of one family whose child was covered by Medicaid but the parents earned $1,000 too much the previous year to qualify and had no health care.
Across the table, Louise McKinney from Cleveland’s St. John African Methodist Episcopal Church and Donna Weinberger from Kol Halev congregation spoke of suburban families and high school graduates without insurance. They provided examples of part-time workers who needed coverage. And they talked of members who were doctors or nurses that had expressed a desire for the expansion.
“When we sat down with Moody,” recalled Weinberger, “our voices describing our congregations, well, you could tell it really made an impression on him.”
Possibly as early as Tuesday, a new report done jointly by Ohio State University, the Health Policy Institute of Ohio and others is expected to be released. That report will likely differ from the estimates that Kasich’s administration has put forth on Medicaid expansion.
Many expect expansion to cost less than previously predicted.
“It will show that it will be strongly in our financial best interest to do this,” the Clinic’s Henkel said.
Moody conceded that the numbers could be lower: “They have shifted,” Moody said. “We had some early criticism that our numbers were too high.”
The state released estimates in June, predicting 1.1 million more people would enroll in Medicaid because there are many who are already eligible but have not signed up for various reasons.
The Affordable Care Act requires that all individuals have health insurance and Kasich’s administration predicted in April 2011 that those eligible will cost the state an additional $2.3 billion by 2018.
The report out this week is expected to change the price-tag connected to paying for those who already qualify for Medicaid because it will be based on more recent population data, Moody said.
“It will have an effect on our numbers,” Moody said.
Nick Wiselogel, communications manager for the Policy Institute, said the report will include statewide estimates on how much it will cost to cover people who already qualify for Medicaid. It’s also expected to include information on the economic impact of a potential expansion, such as how much local governments may save when Medicaid covers the individuals that cities and counties currently cover through mental health services or prison services.
If Ohio’s estimates change, the state won’t be alone. On January 10, Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott issued a new and lower cost estimate on how much it will cost the state to expand Medicaid.
Instead of $26 billion over a decade, it will cost the state $3 billion to expand Medicaid, according to news reports.
Such a lowering of estimates could make it easier for Kasich to include the expansion in his budget proposal, said Bill Ryan, president and chief executive of the Northeast Ohio hospital group Center for Health Affairs.
“If you are looking for something rosy to hang your hat on, that may give them a little bit of comfort that it’s not as big a bite to take as they thought,” Ryan said.
To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:firstname.lastname@example.org, 216-999-4255
Link to this Plain Dealer story here.
September 25th, 2012
Lexington Companies works with Ameresco (NYSE:AMRC) to find project opportunities and match it with customers who are looking for energy efficiency solutions.
Ameresco works with its customers to reduce operating expenses, upgrade and maintain facilities, stabilize energy costs, improve occupancy comfort levels, increase energy reliability and enhance the environment. Over 20 years, the company has implemented over $5 billion in successful energy projects.
A sampling of some of Ameresco’s Ohio projects illustrates their work and benefits:
City of Cincinnati - Annual savings of $474,102 with lighting system upgrades, automation control system improvements, mechanical renovations, cooling tower replacement, fluid cooler replacement, programmable thermostats.
Franklin County – Annual savings of $750,683 with boiler replacement, water heater replacement, HVAC equipment, boiler combustion analysis, ozone laundry equipment, air handler unit replacement, water cooler compressor replacement, solar PV installation, lighting retrofit, water conservation measures, etc
Scioto County Courthouse and JFS Building - Annual savings of $148,581 with lighting retrofit, new boilers and chillers, new rooftop units, new controls package.
City of Gallipolis - Annual savings of $357,516 with water meter replacement, water collection system, lighting program, swimming pool program, heating and air conditioning program, automation and control program, waste water treatment plant improvements, domestic water conservation program.
Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority - Annual savings of $568,035 with water conservation upgrades, high efficiency lighting, boiler and hot water replacements, limiting heating thermostats, window replacements, attic and wall insulation.
For more information and case studies visit Ameresco’s website. To inquire about whether Ameresco can help you reduce costs and improve energy efficiency contact Kevin Coughlin at email@example.com or call (330) 920-6225.
September 1st, 2012
Lexington Companies is proud to provide state government affairs representation in Ohio for Comfort Dental. With seven clinics in the state and more on the way Comfort Dental’s unique business model provides quality dental care to thousands of patients.
Comfort Dental’s physician-owned clinics typically are staffed by four dentists. They are open for extended hours and Saturdays to allow working families greater access to dental services. And their affordable pricing puts dental care within reach of more people.
Comfort Dental takes Medicaid patients, out-of-pocket payers, and patients with third party coverage. They are always ready and equipped to handle walk-in urgent cases, saving the taxpayers and health care system money by avoiding costly emergency room visits.
Patients can receive general dentistry, braces, endodontal care, periodontal care, oral surgery, implants, pediatrics and $10 oral cancer screening at any of these locations: Whitehall, Gahanna, North Columbus, Dublin, Marion, Springfield and Delaware.
Learn more about Comfort Dental by visiting their website.
August 5th, 2012
Ohio is one of only two states that still allow mayor’s courts, often criticized for being used as revenue generators for local governments. Lexington Companies’ Kevin Coughlin was interviewed for several of last week’s media pieces spotlighting these outdated courts, calling them “backwoods Boss Hogg justice.”
Click the headlines to go to the full stories:
Columbus Dispatch: Ohio’s mayor’s courts, big business Ohio is one of only two states with mayor’s courts. They rake in millions in fines to support their communities but have little oversight from state authorities. And some are not following the law.
Columbus Dispatch: Editorial – Questionable justice Ohio’s mayor’s courts operate with lots of power, make lots of money and have little or no accountability. This situation is a recipe for abuse, and one that the General Assembly should act to end.
WKSU: Audio – Speedtraps and mayor’s courts: The debate continues Annual Supreme Court numbers list a tiny town of 179 people as the most active mayor’s court in the state
July 21st, 2012
Coughlin will fill-in for the late Howie Chizek Thursday July 26 from 10am-3pm. 100.1 WNIR is Akron’s talk radio leader where Howie Chizek broadcasted middays for thirty-eight years. Chizek died suddenly in June and the station is undergoing a search for a permanent replacement. The station has rotated guest hosts and regular fill-ins since Howie’s tragic loss.
WNIR is a locally-owned independent radio station that provides no-guest programming and open phone lines for engaging discussion on the topics of our times.
In Northeast Ohio you can tune into the show Thursday on your radio at 100.1 FM. Or you can listen online anywhere in the world at WNIR.com.
July 11th, 2012
Photo: Eric Mull, Eric Mull Photography
This weekend, state and provincial legislators from America’s Midwest and Canada will converge on Cleveland for the annual Midwestern Legislative Conference. With so many friends traveling to America’s north coast, I thought I’d jot down a few things any Cleveland visitor should try to squeeze in during their stay.
The West Side Market
I’ve been coming here to shop since I was little kid. Celebrating 100 years, this is America’s oldest operating public market. Stroll through for a flavor of ethnic Cleveland. Grab a brat or gyro then head up to the balcony and enjoy your food while looking out over the whole scene. Finish with a crepe.
Sokolowski’s University Inn
You want a taste of old world Cleveland? Get here. Everything is good. But load up on pierogies. No one – and I mean no one – does them better. Yes, I love the brats and the salisbury steaks the size of my head, but give me a plate of a dozen pierogies and I’m a happy happy man.
Cleveland Botanical Gardens
A relatively new addition to Cleveland, this was an unexpected hit with my family. Great indoor and outdoor gardens for adults and kids alike to enjoy.
Cleveland Museum of Art
Great art museum with new additions to display sculptures and impressionist paintings. And all free.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Lucky you. Sunday’s welcome event is at the Rock Hall. Take your time, watch the movies, drink it in. It’s really well done.
The Cleveland Orchestra
To say Cleveland is proud of its orchestra is an understatement. The Cleveland Orchestra ranks as one of the world’s finest. Newly restored Severance Hall is worth a duck-in. MLC attendees will have a chance to hear the orchestra Saturday evening at its summer home, Blossom Music Center.
East 4th Street
Two blocks from the conference hotel you’ll find a cluster of great dining and nightlife. My favorites include:
The Greenhouse Tavern, chef Jonathon Sawyer uses locally-sourced ingredients
Lola, Food TV chef Michael Symon’s signature restaurant
Noodlecat, Noodles, steamed buns, and sake, oh my.
The Warehouse District
Just a couple blocks in the other direction, this is home to plenty of dining and nightlife. A few favorites:
XO Prime Steaks, It’s just always good. Great and inventive steak and fish plates.
Mallorca, Spanish and Portuguese food served by flamboyant waiters. Great lunch specials of well prepared food for $14.
Blue Pointe Grille Classic seafood joint.
When presidents come to town, they stop the motorcade here for the best corned beef and pastrami in town. It’s that good.
I’ve become addicted to this stuff. Pho is my new-found friend and this place does it right. Don’t be confused by their better-labeled competitor next door. This is the place.
Great Lakes Brewing Company
I’ll put their line of beers against Sam Adams any day. Ohio goes absolutely crazy every year for the seasonal Christmas Ale. You won’t find it now, so come back in December.
The Old Arcade
Right across from the entrance to East 4th Street, this is worth walking into for a few pictures and a look at what one of America’s first malls (1890) looked like. Absolutely beautiful.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Believe it or not, between Cleveland and my home twenty-fives miles to the south lies a national park. If you’re a runner or a bicycler this is your playground.
Velvet Tango Room
The king of cocktail joints in Cleveland, operated by a guy who could pass as the most interesting man in the world.
Enjoy Cleveland – we’ll see you here!
July 2nd, 2012
Charged with administering and enforcing the Dental Practice Act, the Board handles licensing and regulation in the dental profession. To protect patient safety the Board also handles complaints filed with the Board against licensees, and it may impose discipline against those who are found to have violated the Dental Practice Act.
Lexington Companies advises the Board and its staff on public policy and communications. For more information on the Ohio State Dental Board, visit its website here.