Nursing homes serving minorities offering less care than those housing whites

By Jeff Kelly Lowenstein

Nursing homes serving blacks, Latinos provide less daily registered nurse care than those housing whites.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Healthcare":

"… llion verdict in a class-action lawsuit against nursing home chain Skilled Healthcare Group Inc. for failing to comply with California’s minimum nurse staffin …"

Analysis shows widespread discrepancies in staffing levels reported by nursing homes

By Jeff Kelly Lowenstein

Analysis shows staffing levels lower than what's reported on public website.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Healthcare":

"… after Sanders moved her from the Chenal Heights facility to the Sandalwood Healthcare nursing home in Little Rock in July 2012. Ultimately, Sanders filed suit …"

"… ned the facility for its lack of staffing. Sean Mathis, a lawyer for Hope Healthcare, the firm that owns Sandalwood, said Sandalwood will “vigorously defend …"

Running a five-star nursing home

By Jeff Kelly Lowenstein

Top-rated homes had more nurses, less turnover

Excerpts from this story referencing "Healthcare":

"… p; …"

More scrutiny coming for Medicare Advantage, Obamacare

By Fred Schulte

New round of audits coming; Obamacare too.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Inspector General":

"… ng under the Affordable Care Act. The Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, which investigates Medicare and Medicaid waste, fraud and abuse, said it …"

"… es with an eye toward curbing overcharges. Results are due next year. The Inspector General also announced from five to ten new audits into Obamacare, ranging from th …"

"… ayments for new enrollees to controls to prevent fraudulent sign ups. The Inspector General’s office did not say if individual Medicare Advantage plans would be aud …"

"… n does not always support the diagnoses” (used to bill Medicare),” the Inspector General said. “Efforts for FY 2015 and beyond may include additional work examin …"

Another whistleblower suit alleges Medicare Advantage fraud

By Fred Schulte

California litigation alleges 'house calls" yielded false claims

Excerpts from this story referencing "Oregon":

"… isits to Medicare Advantage patients in Ohio, New York, California, Texas, Oregon and Virginia.   The four health plans “turned a blind eye to the tr …"

Comparison shopping for a health plan

By Wendell Potter

California makes it easy to do your homework.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Gray Davis":

"… ver it or go to the trouble of seeking it out. Back in 2000 when Democrat Gray Davis was governor, California began operating an agency called the Office of Th …"

A call for more scrutiny of private Medicare Advantage plans

By Fred Schulte

Researchers say aggressive billing by private plans may require more scrutiny

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicare":

"… s need to do a better job ferreting out billing errors and overpayments to Medicare Advantage plans — mistakes which are estimated to cost taxpayers billion …"

"… xpayers billions of dollars every year, a top government researcher says. Medicare pays the privately-run Advantage health insurance plans, which cover more …"

"… n criticized for allegedly overstating how sick some patients are to boost Medicare revenue, a practice known as “upcoding.” Researcher Richard Kronick, …"

"… that seem to diagnose much higher-than-expected rates of patient illness. Medicare Advantage plans that have been “significantly more aggressive than avera …"

Obamacare helps millions, but falls short in many ways

By Wendell Potter

The Affordable Care Act has reduced the ranks of the uninsured, but cost of care must be addressed.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… anniversary of the turbulent debut of the Obamacare-created online health insurance exchanges. "In just the last year, we’ve reduced the share of uninsured …"

"… about 10 million people — have gained the financial security of health insurance in less than one year." Approximately 8 million people were finally able …"

"… enroll in health plans on private exchanges or by working directly with an insurance company or agent. As a consequence, the rate of uninsured Americans droppe …"

"… find affordable coverage in the past, and many were not able to buy health insurance at any price because of insurance industry business practices that were ou …"

New types of health care delivery are improving the 'patient experience'

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: eliminating role of insurers could improve health care delivery.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicare":

"… ederal government works with insurers in the same way to handle claims for Medicare beneficiaries. Gifford also told me he’s in discussions with a number o …"

"… ompanies, to some extent. And he noted that government entities, including Medicare and state governments, are following a similar path. It’s a path that l …"

"… ey Peninsula in California, which earlier this year began offering its own Medicare Advantage plan to serve area seniors through a subsidiary called Aspire. …"

Health insurers turning into who knows what?

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: health insurers are transforming themselves — but into what?

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… concept in providing health care benefits to its employees that eliminates insurance companies as middlemen. What Boeing is doing represents a seismic shift i …"

"… re currently structured. But the large corporations dominating the health insurance landscape bear little resemblance to the companies they were when they fir …"

"… willing to bet that in a few years, they will not be providing our health insurance coverage — at least in the way they do now. Instead, they will have tran …"

"… ansformed into companies that make most if not all of their profits in non-insurance lines of businesses. You only have to look back a few decades to see just …"

Black lung disease surges to highs not seen since the '70s, research shows

By Chris Hamby

The likely culprit: a failure by coal mining companies to use readily available tools to control the dust that lodges in miners' lungs.

Excerpts from this story referencing "U.S. government":

"… r proportion of miners than at any time since the 1970s, new research from U.S. government scientists shows. The likely culprit, researchers say, is a failure by co …"

Taking insurance companies out of health care

By Wendell Potter

If Boeing experiment flies, health care system could be transformed.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Aetna":

"… ercent in 2012. Mark Bertolini, the CEO of one of the other big insurers, Aetna, was quoted in the article as saying that his company has gotten “very a …"

"… ternational and technology areas. Bertolini has been candid in saying that Aetna no longer sees itself as a traditional insurer. I predict that the big fo …"

Docs, drug companies, insurers drive up Medicare costs

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: reform drove down hospital costs, creating Medicare savings, but insurers, doctors and drug companies escaped cuts.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Henry Waxman":

"… rmaceutical companies and health insurers. Some lawmakers, including Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., wanted to include language i …"

Dire predictions of endless waits for a doctor have proven unfounded

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: Obamacare has not resulted in long waits for a doctor.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Congress":

"… ge would be alleviated, the AAMC says, if rather then repealing Obamacare, Congress would lift a freeze in Medicare’s support for physician-training positio …"

How Medicare Advantage plans code for cash

By Fred Schulte

Federal study criticizes Medicare Advantage and calls for changes.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Obama administration":

"… apitol Hill and has successfully fought back efforts by the Obama administration to make substantial cuts to its payment rates. Lobbying by the insurance i …"

Critic of artificial sweeteners pilloried by industry-backed scientists

By Chris Young

Any criticism of the artificial sweetener industry is met with a barrage of criticism, often from questionable sources.

Black lung claims by 1,100 coal miners may have been wrongly denied

By Chris Hamby

Black lung opinions by Dr. Paul Wheeler of Johns Hopkins should be assumed to lack credibility, senators are told at a hearing.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Chris Hamby":

"… is gaze to the senators, he said, "I look to you all to help us."   Chris Hamby, a former reporter with the Center for Public Integrity, now works for Buz …"

Families sick from fracking turn to scientists

By Lisa Song

A Pennsylvania nonprofit provides free health consultations to people who live near gas drilling sites and complain of health effects.

Excerpts from this story referencing "New England":

"… In addition to the clinic staff, seven other EHP scientists based across New England provide support.EHP's nurse practitioner, Suann Davison, meets one-on-one …"

Even low doses of arsenic trigger cancer in mice, study finds

By David Heath

Study by the National Institutes of Health found levels of arsenic similar to what some people consume caused cancer in mice.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environment":

"… rs in history. Extrapolating from those studies, scientists with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have tentatively concluded that arsenic is a serious p …"

"… pears to be safe,” Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program, said in a statement …"

What to do if your drinking water contains arsenic

By David Heath

Millions of Americans unwittingly consume arsenic, a potent carcinogen also linked to IQ deficits in children, in their drinking water.

Praise for UK-style health system vindicates spurned nominee

By Wendell Potter

Former Medicare chief's support for UK's health care system may win votes in race for governor of Massachusetts.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Congress":

"… ws presidents to make short-term appointments without Senate approval when Congress is not in session, and that is what Obama did. He appointed Berwick as CMS …"

"… session, and that is what Obama did. He appointed Berwick as CMS head when Congress recessed for the July 4th holiday in 2010. He served until December of 201 …"

"… lth insurance industry’s friends on both sides of the political aisle in Congress would never have allowed that to happen — Berwick has not backed down fr …"

Home is where the money is for Medicare Advantage plans

By Fred Schulte

Medicare Advantage home visits may not improve health, but boost risk scores and cost taxpayers billions.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Virginia":

"… plans are paid fairly for taking on that responsibility. Scott Weiner, a Virginia Medicare billing expert, said health plans that don’t bill aggressively …"

"… , said Brian Wise, chief executive officer of Advance Health in Chantilly, Virginia. “I know there is a lot of good happening. People who are in danger are …"

Health insurers have their way with regulators

By Fred Schulte

Billions in Medicare Advantage overpayments likely gone for good.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Pennsylvania":

"… e heart failure in a patient seen for knee pain, according to auditors. In Pennsylvania, a person treated for blurry vision was charted as having serious heart di …"

Labor Department issues warning about Hopkins doctor's findings on black lung claims

The U.S. Department of Labor warned its officials to view with skepticism any X-ray readings by Dr. Paul Wheeler of Johns Hopkins.

Why Medicare Advantage costs taxpayers billions more than it should

By Fred Schulte, David Donald and Erin Durkin

Critics warned of billing abuse in Medicare Advantage health plans, but oversight is lagging.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicare":

"… ee-part series. In South Florida, one of the nation’s top privately-run Medicare insurance plans faces a federal investigation into allegations that it ove …"

"… ivate health care plans for seniors ran up more than $100 million in added Medicare charges after asserting patients they signed up also were much sicker than …"

"… ormal — a claim many experts have challenged. In Rochester, New York, a Medicare plan was paid $41 million to treat people with serious diseases — even t …"

"… had those diseases. These health plans and hundreds of others are part of Medicare Advantage, a program created by Congress in 2003 to help stabilize health …"

Medicare Advantage made simple: a glossary

By Fred Schulte

Definitions for lesser-known terms relating to Medicare.

Center sues in an effort to make Medicare Advantage files public

By Fred Schulte

Center sues to make records public.

Forcing health insurers to do what's right

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: Policyholders benefit from Obamacare provision.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… eir health insurance payments. …"

"… een benefiting since Congress enacted reforms in 2010 that changed the way insurance companies operate. Among the practices I brought to the panel’s attenti …"

"… ed to explore the issue further. After examining years of reports filed by insurance companies, the committee found that, as Rockefeller said Wednesday, “man …"

"… found that, as Rockefeller said Wednesday, “many of the policies health insurance companies were selling to families and businesses were just not a good val …"

A different way of thinking about health care

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: Canadians take pride in their health care system.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Insurance":

"… eanwhile, back in the states, Karen Ignagni, the CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, claimed during a recent C-SPAN interview that people longed for the …"

Keeping an eye on insurance companies that refuse to pay claims

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: Arizona case resolved after victim became a 'squeaky wheel'

Excerpts from this story referencing "Aetna":

"… hird-degree burns. Two days after he was discharged, he got a letter from Aetna telling him that the company didn’t believe his injuries were “suffici …"

"… be there for him if he ever had an emergency. Faraci filed an appeal, but Aetna executives wouldn’t budge. They said in their denial letter that Faraci …"

"… etter that Faraci’s coverage extended only to services and supplies that Aetna — not his doctors or hospital staff — deems medically necessary. Fara …"

"… king Channel 12 to intervene paid off. The independent examiner ruled that Aetna should pay half of Faraci’s hospitalization. Soon after that, Aetna told …"

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