Yellowstone spill contaminates drinking water with carcinogen benzene

By Jim Morris

Authorities found the chemical, a component of crude oil, in drinking water downstream of an oil spill in Montana's Yellowstone River.

Excerpts from this story referencing "United States":

"… that has killed countless workers and contaminated communities around the United States, is back in the news. Authorities found the chemical at elevated levels i …"

Environment stories you may have missed

By The Center for Public Integrity

We spent 2014 combing through legislation, documents and emissions data to investigate how big companies put people at risk.

Health care findings you may have missed in 2014

By The Center for Public Integrity

$70 billion in "improper" Medicare Advantage payments and the problem shared by 80 percent of nursing homes.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicare":

"… ons. Keep reading …"

"… ar. If you weren't aware, you might have missed $70 billion in "improper" Medicare Advantage payments and the problem shared by 80 percent of all nursing hom …"

"…   1. $70 billion in 'improper' payments A Center investigation into Medicare Advantage uncovered how $70 billion in "improper" payments have been made …"

"… vantage uncovered how $70 billion in "improper" payments have been made to Medicare Advantage plans from 2008 to 2013. Most of these improper payments can be …"

High-stakes health care battle in the Green Mountain state

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: fate of Vermont single-payer initiative may depend on financing plan.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… insurance industry’s biggest opportunity to derail the state’s plans. Health insurers have reason to be concerned. Even though Vermont has just 627,000 …"

"… ide their involvement. We probably would never have known that America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s main trade group, funneled more than $10 …"

"… er their strategy, Shumlin last year formed a Business Advisory Council on Health Care Financing. The 21-member council “provides the governor with advice …"

"… chter, president of the nonprofit single-payer advocacy group Vermont Health Care for All, told me. “People need to be reminded that we will pay for …"

A dozen dirty documents

By Kristen Lombardi and Jared Bennett

Twelve documents that stand out from the Center's new archive

Benzene and worker cancers: 'An American tragedy'

By Kristen Lombardi

Previously secret documents illuminate a 10-year effort by petrochemical titans to counteract damning science on the carcinogen benzene.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Shanghai":

"… ffort by five major petrochemical companies to finance benzene research in Shanghai, China, where the pollutant persists in workplaces. Others attest to the i …"

"… ders the petrochemical companies’ study of workers exposed to benzene in Shanghai to be the most expensive and elaborate effort by any industry to try to re …"

"… bil and Shell Chemical — and administered by the powerful API lobby, the Shanghai Health Study purported to examine how benzene exposure affects workers’ …"

"… professor at University of California, Riverside, who has read some of the Shanghai documents. “This does not sound like a scientific inquiry where you’re …"

Exploding the myths about American health care

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: new film takes on 'world's best' medical system.

Excerpts from this story referencing "South America":

"… l of his medical “expeditions,” as he calls them, were to countries in South America, Africa and the Caribbean. While Remote Area Medical (RAM) still conducts …"

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 "Medicare":

"… the annual quality survey. The Center’s probe found that hard-to-locate Medicare cost reports filed by nursing homes show lower daily staffing levels, espe …"

"… n those reflected in Nursing Home Compare. In 2005 the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services cited Medicaid cost reports that contain much of the …"

"… ted Medicaid cost reports that contain much of the same information as the Medicare documents as being a more accurate source than the data collected by state …"

"… level of registered nurse care at those facilities calculated through the Medicare cost reports was just about 20 minutes a day. Medicare cost data was not a …"

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 "Health":

"… air, she'd wheel over to try to help other residents in the Chenal Heights Health and Rehabilitation Center in Little Rock. Irvin had been placed there by …"

"… ior vice president of quality and regulatory affairs for the American Health Care Association, the nursing home industry’s largest professional organ …"

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

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

Methodology for our nursing homes investigation

By Jeff Kelly Lowenstein and Ben Wieder

Center compared self-reported staffing numbers with Medicare data

Excerpts from this story referencing "Center for Public Integrity":

"… eived an earlier loan. …"

Running a five-star nursing home

By Jeff Kelly Lowenstein

Top-rated homes had more nurses, less turnover

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… p; …"

"… omes, the studies said. Jack Wagoner, administrator of the Carlton Shores Health and Rehabilitation Center in Daytona Beach, Florida, said several of the n …"

"… nt, according to a 2012 report by nursing home industry group the American Health Care Association. Buckland estimated that half of the staff at Woodview ha …"

"… as about 55 percent for all of the homes analyzed. Bita Kash, professor of Health Policy and Management at Texas A & M University, said Medicaid’s com …"

Another whistleblower suit alleges Medicare Advantage fraud

By Fred Schulte

California litigation alleges 'house calls" yielded false claims

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… d by a judge late last month. The suit also names four Medicare Advantage insurance plans which, Silingo alleges, “turned a blind eye” to the practices. T …"

"… alth plans, an alternative to standard Medicare, are mostly run by private insurance companies. They serve more than 15 million Americans, or about one in thre …"

GAO takes on Medicare Advantage spending

By Fred Schulte

GAO will investigate program spending.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicare":

"… legations. …"

"… are due next spring. GAO auditors will target efforts by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which runs the senior care program, to ensure …"

"… are paid accurately and that any overpayments are recovered for taxpayers. Medicare Advantage is an alternative to standard Medicare and is mostly run by priv …"

"… recovered for taxpayers. Medicare Advantage is an alternative to standard Medicare and is mostly run by private insurance carriers. “Right now everything …"

Comparison shopping for a health plan

By Wendell Potter

California makes it easy to do your homework.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… plans, you can go to Healthcare.gov, maintained by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or a private online source like Healthinsurance.org, w …"

"… patient experience. They were followed by Blue Shield of California, Sharp Health Plan (in greater San Diego), and Western Health Advantage (in the Sacramen …"

"… hield of California, Sharp Health Plan (in greater San Diego), and Western Health Advantage (in the Sacramento area). All of those plans are also nonprofits …"

"… ts. The plans with the fewest stars were Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross, Cigna, Health Net and UnitedHealthcare of California, all for-profit companies. Convers …"

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 "America’s Health Insurance Plans":

"… sfully lobbied to kill or scale back planned pay cuts to the health plans. America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s primary trade group, spent nearly $5 million lobbying on …"

"… ing to recoup overpayments. Clare Krusing, director of communications for America’s Health Insurance Plans, did not respond directly to a question about the payment controversy. In …"

How a coal miner's autopsy proved a top doctor wrong

By Chris Hamby

When a coal miner's lungs finally gave out, his autopsy proved a top doctor was wrong — giving hope to thousands of other miners.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Paul Wheeler":

"… ings to help defeat a benefits claim. The longtime leader of the unit, Dr. Paul Wheeler, testified against Steve, and the judge determined that his opinion trumpe …"

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. …"

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 "CEO":

"… eal with health insurers at all. I wrote a few months back that my former CEO at Cigna once said that what kept him up at night was the possibility that …"

"… News out of Seattle this summer undoubtedly has caused the big insurance CEOs to lose more than a bit of sleep. Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace …"

"… ecline to 6.4 percent, down from 7.6 percent in 2012. Mark Bertolini, the CEO of one of the other big insurers, Aetna, was quoted in the article as sayi …"

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 "Health":

"… out. To find out if the critics’ were prescient or way off base, Kaiser Health News reporter Phil Galewitz went looking for problems. He didn’t find ma …"

National Academy of Sciences agrees with EPA that formaldehyde causes cancer

By David Heath

To the chemical industry's chagrin, a National Academy of Sciences review found that formaldehyde causes cancer.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environmental Protection Agency":

"… y Council, has persuaded members of Congress that the findings of both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services were wrong and should be r …"

Ten major findings from our investigations so far this year

By Jared Bennett and Sarah Whitmire

Investigations from the first half of 2014

Excerpts from this story referencing "Tennessee":

"… ike truancy, curfew violation, having tobacco This is Judge Tim Irwin of Tennessee. As a juvenile court judge, he is admired for kind gestures like handing o …"

"… that has proved life-changing for some teens, especially when coupled with Tennessee's vigorous pattern of locking up status offenders immediately after procee …"

How Medicare Advantage plans code for cash

By Fred Schulte

Federal study criticizes Medicare Advantage and calls for changes.

Excerpts from this story referencing "diseases":

"… tial health benefits.” In short, the numbers of patients diagnosed with diseases which result in higher payments increased far faster at many Medicare Adva …"

"… imate fate uncertain.   CMS has cut back payments levels for several diseases that appear to have prompted upcoding by Medicare Advantage plans. But the …"

Feds seek new authority to recoup Medicare Advantage overcharges

By Fred Schulte

Impact: Feds act to recoup overcharges following Center investigation.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicare":

"… lic. The case is pending. …"

"… ally, are seeking new power to recover excessive charges. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says its wants to set up “a formal process to reco …"

"… Center for Public Integrity investigation published last month found that Medicare paid the health plans nearly $70 billion in “improper” payments — mo …"

"… verstating the health risks of patients — from 2008 through 2013 alone. Medicare expects to pay more for sicker patients and less for those in good health …"

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 "Environmental Protection Agency":

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

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.

Excerpts from this story referencing "diabetes":

"… e include bladder, lung, liver and skin cancer, heart disease, strokes and diabetes. Recent studies have suggested that arsenic may cause IQ deficits in child …"

Medicare Advantage plans require more scrutiny

By Fred Schulte

Government inspector says private Medicare plans difficult to investigate due to lack of access to data.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicare":

"… ederal officials need to step up efforts to investigate fraud and abuse in Medicare Advantage health plans treating millions of elderly Americans, a top gover …"

"… Commerce. The hearing was called to assess fraud and abuse safeguards in Medicare, which last year covered about 51 million people at a cost to taxpayers of …"

"… $50 billion of that amount was paid improperly, including $11.8 billion to Medicare Advantage plans. A Center for Public Integrity investigation published ea …"

"… ed earlier this month found as much as $70 billion of improper payments to Medicare Advantage plans from 2008 through last year. The Center’s investigation …"

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 "Donald Berwick":

"… a few folks in Washington. …"

Get involved: Help Medicare Advantage investigation go further with donations and news tips

Join us in finding problems with Medicare Advantage billing, “risk scores”, or home visits.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Fred Schulte":

"… t Medicare Advantage billing issues or “risk scores”, please send Fred Schulte an email. If you are a patient in a Medicare Advantage plan and have been …"

"… strict of Columbia in late May. The series is reported by Center reporter Fred Schulte, with data analysis by David Donald and Erin Durkin, and edited by Go …"

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 "cuts":

"… rs, mainly Democrats, have argued for years that CMS needs to make steeper cuts in risk scores to keep Medicare costs in check. Their views are buttressed …"

150 billion reasons Medicare Advantage matters

By Eleanor Bell

Reporter Fred Schulte discusses his investigation into billions of dollars misspent on Medicare Advantage plans.

Excerpts from this story referencing "journalist":

"… nts are.  That's the key finding of a new Center report by journalist Fred Schulte. For more than a year, he’s been investigating Medicare Ad …"

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