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 "Congress":

"… an standard Medicare. The industry also enjoys wide bipartisan support in Congress and in recent years has successfully lobbied to kill or scale back planned …"

How Medicare Advantage plans code for cash

By Fred Schulte

Federal study criticizes Medicare Advantage and calls for changes.

Excerpts from this story referencing "America’s Health Insurance Plans":

"… ical conditions can boost payment rates. Clare Krusing, a spokeswoman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s trade group, said the higher billing resulted from healt …"

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.

Excerpts from this story referencing "American Beverage Association":

"… e “opinion” tag, the food and beverage industry responded quickly. The American Beverage Association, for example, dismissed the paper’s findings, arguing that it was “not …"

"… did not mention to viewers that the study was funded entirely by the American Beverage Association and that two of the study’s authors received consulting fees from C …"

"… e associations, including the International Sweeteners Association and the American Beverage Association, the Council does not publicly list its members. Nor does its website reve …"

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 "Arsenic":

"… f other Americans have no idea that they are regularly consuming Arsenic. Arsenic is an element found in the Earth’s crust, and it finds its way into food …"

"… as many as 3 million consume water that wouldn’t meet the EPA standard. Arsenic is especially common throughout the western United States. Some states hav …"

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 "George W. Bush":

"… declined to be interviewed. Thomas A. Scully, who led CMS under President George W. Bush, serves on Matrix’s board and is a general partner in the investment fir …"

Health insurers have their way with regulators

By Fred Schulte

Billions in Medicare Advantage overpayments likely gone for good.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Inspector General":

"… part of the giant Health and Human Services Department. The HHS Office of Inspector General is supposed to backstop CMS and act as a watchdog to make sure that taxpay …"

"… said, adding: “Even when we catch it, nobody gets spanked.”  HHS Inspector General’s Office spokesman Donald White wouldn’t comment on the audits except …"

"… plan attacked the auditors’ methodology in a December 2010 letter to an Inspector General’s Office official. The health plan said the auditors’ finding that it …"

"… Cosgrove said. Sympathetic ear While the industry clashed with the HHS Inspector General’s Office, it found a sympathetic ear at CMS. Rather than hammer the heal …"

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 "Harvard University":

"… s won’t see federal auditors for years. Malcolm Sparrow, a professor at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and health fraud expert, said off …"

Medicare Advantage made simple: a glossary

By Fred Schulte

Definitions for lesser-known terms relating to Medicare.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… rnment Health plan for low income people. CMS is part of the Department of Health and Human Services. Dual Eligibles: The term refers to people who ar …"

"… These patients are generally considered the most costly to treat. In-Home Health Assessments: Medicare Advantage plans tout these free “house calls …"

"… $9,900 per person in 2011. Risk Adjustment Data Validation (RADV) audits: Health plans collect medical data used to calculate patient risk scores. But mist …"

Health care costs will mushroom as injured veterans age

By Jessica Wilde

News21 investigation finds injured veterans returning from Iraq, Afghanistan will need costly care for decades.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Afghanistan":

"… th care for the large number of post-9/11 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with life-lasting wounds. But it is certain to be high, with the veterans …"

"… ing to the VA budget. Like Hancock, many veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have survived multiple combat injuries because of military medicine’s hi …"

"… analyzed the medical costs of war through 2035. More than half of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are between the ages of 18 and 32, according to 2011 American Com …"

"… eir numbers are growing at the fastest rate. Fifty-six percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans use the VA now. and their numbers are expected to grow by 9.6 per …"

OPINION: smoothing out Medicaid's 'churn'

By Wendell Potter

Proposed legislation would protect folks from briefly losing benefits.

Excerpts from this story referencing "diabetes":

"… o significant increases in hospitalization  for chronic diseases like diabetes, asthma and mental disorders. “Churning has a pervasive negative impact …"

In India, verdant terrain conceals clues to a fatal kidney disease

By Sasha Chavkin

How a rare kidney disease is killing laborers and vexing researchers in three countries.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Uddanam":

"… imbing coconut palms to tap into the trunks for wine. The region’s name, Uddanam, comes from a word in Sanskrit that means “Beautiful Garden” or “Par …"

"… rom a word in Sanskrit that means “Beautiful Garden” or “Paradise.”Uddanam’s rich terrain seems an unlikely place for the mysterious strain of illn …"

"… te of chronic kidney deaths among the community’s husbands, residents of Uddanam say they now have trouble getting married at all.“Other people, they don …"

"… Varaka. “They are not giving any bride or bridegroom to this area, this Uddanam area.”Uddanam’s victims have much in common with those of the unexplai …"

In Sri Lanka, breakthroughs, setbacks and a spiritual touch

By Sasha Chavkin and Anna Barry-Jester

How a rare kidney disease is killing laborers and vexing researchers in three countries.

Excerpts from this story referencing "World Health Organization":

"… fficial research, a glimmer of scientific hope emerged. The government and World Health Organization announced in June that they identified a key cause of the disease in Sri L …"

"… in the U.S. and Europe.In 2008, Sri Lanka’s Health Ministry invited the World Health Organization to join a comprehensive study to unravel the disease’s roots.For more th …"

As kidney disease kills thousands across continents, scientists scramble for answers

By Sasha Chavkin

How a rare kidney disease is killing laborers and vexing researchers in three countries.

Excerpts from this story referencing "kidney failure":

"… But the death toll reaches tens of thousands.More than 16,000 men died of kidney failure in Central America from 2005 to 2009, with annual deaths increasing more t …"

"… s along a nearly 700-mile stretch of the Pacific coast. Across the region, kidney failure has killed more than 2,800 men each year from 2005 to 2009, according to a …"

Report: Too little mental health care for boomers

By The Associated Press

Aging boomers to face hard time finding mental health care; report urges geriatric training

Excerpts from this story referencing "president":

"… le better recover from a mental health problem, said Dr. Paul D.S. Kirwin, president of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry. Adding stress may be …"

Health care options for young, healthy and broke

By The Associated Press

Insurance options for those with lots of health, little wealth: Is the cheapest choice best?

Excerpts from this story referencing "diabetes":

"… the 15 percent of young people who have chronic conditions like asthma or diabetes, and the young women looking to have a baby," said Aaron Smith, 30, co-fou …"

ANALYSIS: Why the insurance industry needs Obamacare to stay in business

By Wendell Potter

The insurance industry is banking on the individual mandate.

Excerpts from this story referencing "diabetes":

"… old, the chronically ill, and those with pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes.” And here’s what Larry English, the former president of Cigna He …"

Support our new investigation into a deadly disease killing agricultural workers

By Ellen Weiss

Support our investigation of a disease that is killing workers around the world.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Costa Rica":

"… he Island of the Widows. That first story about the epidemic prompted the Costa Rican government to launch a study and a leading Costa Rica plantation to annou …"

"… idemic prompted the Costa Rican government to launch a study and a leading Costa Rica plantation to announce an overhaul of its worker safety practices. Photogr …"

ANALYSIS: Slogans versus substance in the battle over ObamaCare's future

By Wendell Potter

Tea Party slogans distort the Affordable Care Act.

Excerpts from this story referencing "diabetes":

"… re born with disabilities or who developed life-threatening illnesses like diabetes or cancer. It was perfectly legal for them to refuse to sell coverage to a …"

ANALYSIS: This just in, insurers required to speak plain English

By Wendell Potter

Obamacare rule requires health insurers to speak plain English

Excerpts from this story referencing "diabetes":

"… xamples — like what and how much a particular plan will cover if we have diabetes or if we get pregnant and how much we’ll have to pay out of our own pock …"

Brominated battle: Soda chemical has cloudy health history

By Brett Israel

Experts now urge a closer look at a chemical, banned in other countries, now popping up in U.S. sodas.

Excerpts from this story referencing "energy":

"… 4 to 18, according to a National Cancer Institute study. For adults, soda, energy and sports drinks are the fourth largest source of calories, a federal stu …"

ANALYSIS: Despite GOP claims, U.S. health care nowhere near 'best' in the world

By Wendell Potter

Americans pay more for health care than anyone in the world, but our system is not the best

Excerpts from this story referencing "breast cancer":

"… others.It was not all bad news for us. We’re number one in the five-year breast cancer survival rate and number two (behind Japan) in the five-year colorectal ca …"

ANALYSIS: Losing the public relations war

By Wendell Potter

ObamaCare backers are being outhistled

Excerpts from this story referencing "diabetes":

"… worse than Americans when it comes to surviving cancer, being treated for diabetes, getting a hip replacement when needed and getting an appointment with a s …"

ANALYSIS: Obama plan helping those with pre-existing health conditions

By Wendell Potter

Obama health plan will prevent insurance firm denials for pre-existing conditions

Excerpts from this story referencing "diabetes":

"… .The list for automatic denial is long. It includes heart disease, cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and stroke and even allergies and …"

Podiatrists have their foot in the door

By Josh Israel and Kimberly Leonard

Podiatrists are taking advantage of payments for installing electronic health records

Excerpts from this story referencing "American Academy of Family Physicians":

"… to your demise.”Dr. David Kibbe, a physician and senior adviser for the American Academy of Family Physicians, said the organization of workflows by podiatrists has always impressed hi …"

Doctors skittish about health technology despite promise of big federal bucks

By Susan Jaffe

The federal government is paying physicians billions to adopt electronic health records, but doctors still aren't sure they want the cash

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicaid":

"… patients in Medicare. Or, if she cares for a certain number of low-income Medicaid patients, she could earn as much as an extra $63,750 over six years.The do …"

"… payments to physicians and hospitals nationwide. Another $114.5 million in Medicaid bonuses has been distributed to health care providers through May 31)She …"

"… qualify for the bonus payments under that program. They may be eligible as Medicaid providers for the electronic health record bonus if at least 30 percent of …"

"… ronic health record bonus if at least 30 percent of their patients receive Medicaid. Their portion of Medicaid patients hovers around 26 to 30 percent. After …"

Nursing home patients put at risk by antipsychotic drugs, IG says

By Laurel Adams

Medicare claims for antipsychotic drugs given to nursing home patients in question

Excerpts from this story referencing "diabetes":

"… stem problem; tardive dyskinesia, a movement problem; high blood sugar and diabetes; and very low blood pressure resulting in dizziness and fainting.In 2009, …"

During Mitch Daniels’ decade at Eli Lilly, the drug giant paid billions in fines and settled thousands of lawsuits

By Joanne Kenen and Rochelle Sharpe

Eli Lilly paid billions in fines, settled thousands of lawsuits while Daniels was an executive at the drug giant

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… s the work of person A, B, or C,” said Dr. Sidney Wolfe, director of the Health Research Group at Public Citizen. “It’s industry-wide corporate cultur …"

"… laims in some of its direct-to-consumer advertising about the drug in Health and Prevention magazines.Once a drug is approved by the FDA for a certain …"

Will digital technology reduce gap in health between rich and poor?

By Emma Schwartz

Two years ago, the Ethio American Health Center opened its doors in the nation’s capital, promising the country’s largest community of Ethio

Excerpts from this story referencing "Ethiopia":

"… in the nation’s capital, promising the country’s largest community of Ethiopian immigrants a place where doctors spoke their language and understood thei …"

"… ital. Jimma, 47, moved to the United States ten months ago from his native Ethiopia, leaving behind a wife and five children. “I came to this country and I …"

Are new digital networks part of the cure?

By Emma Schwartz

Targeting the chronically ill, Obama Administration bets millions

Excerpts from this story referencing "the Journal of the American Medical Association":

"… ce” to conclude the programs reduce health spending. And a 2009 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association questioned whether Medicare disease management programs led to fewer hospi …"

Can Cleveland clinic be a model for digital medicine?

By Emma Schwartz

Hospital’s success with electronic records raises hope and caution

Excerpts from this story referencing "Harvard":

"… published in November in the American Journal of Medicine—carried out by Harvard researchers who are some of the most prominent advocates of a single-payer …"

"… ary results from a separate study of 3,000 hospitals by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, who found no evidence of cost savings with electr …"

"… h sailing,” said Catherine DesRoches, a senior research associate at the Harvard School of Public Health and co-author of the forthcoming study. “It’s …"