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 "Coal":

"… Coal dust to improve miners’ health.” Back in 1969, the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act limited the amount of dust allowed in mine …"

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 "Gary Fox":

"… dence by lawyers. Lu said this was motivated in part by the story of miner Gary Fox, who was featured in the CPI series.   Fox applied for benefits in …"

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 "Securities and Exchange Commission":

"… in additional significant funding declines,” according to a Feb. 24 Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The company heralded home visits as a “critical program.” Spo …"

Health insurers have their way with regulators

By Fred Schulte

Billions in Medicare Advantage overpayments likely gone for good.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… s having serious heart disease.  It took years for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) inspector general to publish those findings, and …"

"… ing errors tied to a complex payment formula known as a “risk score.” Health plans collect medical data that is used to compute the Health risks for ea …"

"… and secretive that it remains unfathomable to many Health professionals. Health plans that cheat can face civil or criminal penalties, but federal officia …"

"… Advantage contracts, records show.  CMS is but one part of the giant Health and Human Services Department. The HHS Office of Inspector General is supp …"

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.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Johns Hopkins University":

"… Labor warned its officials to view with skepticism any X-ray readings by a Johns Hopkins University doctor who virtually never diagnoses black lung, a deadly disease that aff …"

Medicare Advantage made simple: a glossary

By Fred Schulte

Definitions for lesser-known terms relating to Medicare.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicaid":

"… hly premiums average about $35. Other terms The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: Referred to as CMS, this federal agency oversees Medicare and Me …"

"… id Services: Referred to as CMS, this federal agency oversees Medicare and Medicaid, the government health plan for low income people. CMS is part of the Depa …"

"… les: The term refers to people who are eligible both for Medicare and Medicaid because they have low incomes. These patients are generally considered the …"

GAO report again finds black lung proposal supported by science

By Chris Hamby

A new government study supports reducing the dust limit workers encounter in mines; the industry is pushing back against stronger rules.

Excerpts from this story referencing "White House":

"… Mine Safety and Health Administration in 2010, remains under review at the White House’s Office of Management and Budget — with both the industry and miners …"

"… ologically or economically. These groups also have taken their case to the White House’s budget office, meeting with government officials last fall on two occa …"

Sri Lanka bans Monsanto herbicide citing potential link to deadly kidney disease

By Sasha Chavkin

Sri Lanka orders ban on glyphosate, an active ingredient in Roundup, citing kidney disease outbreak; Monsanto said the evidence is unproven.

Excerpts from this story referencing "disease":

"… Dr. Catharina Wesseling. …"

"… reas with heavy metals in the drinking water is causing the chronic kidney disease. Roundup is the top selling herbicide in the world, and Monsanto said the …"

"… tium of Investigative Journalists has examined a mysterious form of kidney disease that has killed tens of thousands of agricultural workers in Central Ameri …"

"… carried out by medical specialists and scientists has revealed that kidney disease was mainly caused by glyphosate,” Special Projects Minister S.M Chandras …"

A century of denial on black lung

By Chris Hamby

A congressman's words 44 years ago, citing the coal industry's efforts to limit its liability for black lung, resonate anew.

Excerpts from this story referencing "diseases":

"… breathing problems. In the 1990s, the industry fought attempts to include diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis in the definition of black lung, …"

Johns Hopkins medical unit rarely finds black lung, helping coal industry defeat miners' claims

By Chris Hamby, Brian Ross and Matthew Mosk

A surprising force has helped industry defeat black lung benefits claims for ailing miners: Johns Hopkins University.

Excerpts from this story referencing "diseases":

"… finding tuberculosis or histoplasmosis more likely. Though tests for both diseases came back negative, Hall lost. Keith Darago initially won twice. Three do …"

"… a reader is supposed to mark their size and shape, and then explain which diseases seem more or less likely. When he reads X-rays for coal companies, howeve …"

"… eaders interpret X-rays the way Wheeler does and that others over-diagnose diseases. “It’s pretty frustrating sometimes when we hear of people that do wel …"

"… uch cases, Wheeler attributed the masses in miners’ lungs to these other diseases on two-thirds of X-rays. Asked if he stood by this record, Wheeler said, …"

Money, research target mystery kidney disease in Americas

By Sasha Chavkin

Escalating a search for the cause of a mysterious kidney disease, health ministers from the Americas target money and research to CKD.

Excerpts from this story referencing "United States":

"… illness and designate it as a top public health priority. At the time, the United States played a key role in blocking the resolution because it did not fit the U. …"

Countries target pesticides as suspected link to rare kidney disease

By Sasha Chavkin

Governments from El Salvador to Sri Lanka explore the role of pesticides in a malady killing laborers, as other scientists eye heat stress.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Pesticides":

"… metal cadmium had entered the food supply and was a leading cause of CKD. Pesticides and fertilizers are believed to be the source of the contamination, and th …"

New urgency targets mysterious kidney disease in Central America

By Sasha Chavkin

In El Salvador, health ministries formally recognize a kidney disease killing laborers — and vow deeper scrutiny of its causes.

Excerpts from this story referencing "El Salvador":

"… Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University. …"

"… ulation of agrochemicals. The declaration represented a major victory for El Salvador and its health minister, Dr. Maria Isabel Rodriguez. Ninety years old and …"

"… isease Control and Prevention, which in 2011 helped beat back an effort by El Salvador to declare the malady a top priority for the Americas. The CDC now says it …"

"… disease in Central America, and pledged to help fund a national survey by El Salvador to measure the prevalence of chronic ailments including CKD. “We have t …"

U.S. report urges deeper look into breast cancer's environmental links

By Jim Morris

A new federal report urges enhanced research into potential environmental triggers of breast cancer.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Cancer":

"… es last year. Compiled by the congressionally mandated Interagency Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Coordinating Committee, the report notes that m …"

"… co-chair of the committee and president of the San Francisco-based Breast Cancer Fund, said in an interview. “There really is a problem, and until we add …"

"… ed by Congress from 1992 through 2012 for the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program, 75 percent went toward “basic biology and treatment re …"

In Sri Lanka, new steps target mysterious kidney disease

By Sasha Chavkin

In Sri Lanka, the president vows controls on chemicals potentially linked to chronic kidney disease, as hospitals take steps for patients.

Excerpts from this story referencing "disease":

"… ern the chemicals are helping fuel a mysterious epidemic of chronic kidney disease devastating its north central region.In September, in Mystery in the Field …"

"… the Center for Public Integrity explored how a rare form of chronic kidney disease is killing agricultural workers in Sri Lanka, India and Central America. S …"

"… pesticides and chemical fertilizer contribute to increase non-communicable diseases,” Rajapaksa said, referring in oblique terms to the politically controv …"

"… factors” for the ailment – which they have named CKDu, chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology. Despite prior warnings from the WHO to reduce farmers …"

Pentagon spending for non-military programs assailed

By R. Jeffrey Smith

How exactly do defense officials spend $629 billion a year, anyhow?

Excerpts from this story referencing "Navy":

"… uring the Cold War. “We almost now have an admiral for every ship in the Navy,” Coburn said.Coburn also said the military is needlessly operating 64 s …"

Study spotlights high breast cancer risk for plastics workers

By Jim Morris

Researchers cite breast cancer risks in Canadian plastic auto parts factories — with potential implications in the U.S. and beyond.

Excerpts from this story referencing "U.S. Environmental Protection Agency":

"… l as ways to respond to the identification of new, emerging hazards.”The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s record on chemicals — like OSHA’s — is thin.Chemicals found in t …"

IMPACT: Administration official asks for Medicare billing review

By Fred Schulte

Administration official wants to know if electronic health records are causing Medicare over-billing

Excerpts from this story referencing "Dave Camp":

"… tests and medical errors.The letter was signed by Ways and Means chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, D-Mich., Ways and Means …"

Top House Republicans demand suspension of electronic medical records program

By Fred Schulte

Top House Republicans want program suspended until government demands that systems communicate

Excerpts from this story referencing "HHS Secretary":

"… services than they actually deliver — a practice known as “upcoding.”HHS Secretary Sebelius and Attorney General Eric Holder on Sept. 24 warned five hospital …"

OPINION: Documentary captures what's wrong with U.S. health care

By Wendell Potter

Documentary 'Escape Fire' captures what's wrong with U.S. health care.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Bethesda":

"… as he is being transported to Germany and then to Walter Reed hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, after being injured in combat in Afghanistan. His journey to re …"

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 "pain":

"… are of the two terminally ill brothers. “The both of us were in a lot of pain and misery,” Prameela said.In 2007, Venkataramana and Rama Rao died less …"

Growth of electronic medical records eases path to inflated bills

By Fred Schulte

Billing software helps medical professionals document higher fees.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Electronic medical record":

"… ht if that whole issue wasn’t factored into the strategy,” Elson said. …"

"… m in 2007, according to hospital CEO Joe Lemaire. Coding ‘Slam Dunk’ Electronic medical records can influence pay scales known as “Evaluation and Management” codes. …"

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 "Sri Lanka":

"… ent Linked to Farm Chemicals" from PRI's "The World."  …"

"… o decades, chronic kidney disease has been a mystery and death sentence in Sri Lanka, striking 15 percent of the residents of its north central region.This sum …"

"… ation announced in June that they identified a key cause of the disease in Sri Lanka: chronic exposure to arsenic and cadmium, likely consumed in food.Yet in a …"

"… tion: the extent fertilizers and pesticides contributed to the outbreak.In Sri Lanka’s lush northern farmlands, the mystery and the death sentences continue. …"

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 "Andhra Pradesh":

"… other sources put the number more than double that. In the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, more than 1,500 have been treated for the ailment since 2007.“There’s …"

"… s than 100 miles, this stretch of villages near the northern border of the Andhra Pradesh state has been suffering for two decades from a mysterious strain of CKD.H …"

"… said Singh, of Harvard. Dr. Ravi Raju Tatapudi, a leading nephrologist in Andhra Pradesh and the other study director, said heavy metals and pesticides running off …"

"… iative called NefroLempa that targets chronic kidney disease, the state of Andhra Pradesh has created a health insurance system for the poor and built new dialysis …"

GAO report supports science behind black lung rule

By Chris Hamby

Research supports proposal to reduce coal miners’ exposure to dust that causes deadly disease, a GAO report found.

Excerpts from this story referencing "disease":

"… ia. A Center for Public Integrity-NPR investigation in July found that the disease has returned amid widespread cheating on required dust sampling by some mi …"

"… ied to stop the mine safety agency from updating its rules to address this disease. The GAO’s report shows that the latest line of attack was groundless an …"

"… f results you’d hope for with this approach,” she said.The increase in disease, the association contends, is confined to pockets of central Appalachia an …"

"… he rock surrounding coal seams that can cause a faster-progressing form of disease.The association has previously criticized some of the coal mine dust studi …"

Traceability elusive in global trade of human parts

By Kate Willson and Mar Cabra

The paper trail following human remains is not foolproof — in some cases, infected tissue can be impossible to track down.

Excerpts from this story referencing "disease":

"… from bone, skin, tendon and other tissues taken from the dead could spread disease to the living — putting patients who receive tissue implants in den …"

GOP seeks to kill black lung reform

By Chris Hamby

House Republicans have inserted language in a budget bill that would kill a proposed rule to protect coal miners from deadly dust.

Excerpts from this story referencing "National Mining Association":

"… hberg nor Rogers responded immediately to requests for comment Tuesday.The National Mining Association said in a statement that it “sympathizes with the chairman’s frustrati …"

Black lung surges back in coal country

By Chris Hamby

Despite decades-old law, cheating, legal loopholes expose miners to deadly dust.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… A Center analysis of databases maintained by the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration found that miners have been breathing too much dust for yea …"

"… n central Appalachia by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, NIOSH, a government research agency. Though levels of disease are still b …"

"… emeritus professor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell’s School of Health and Environment. History may be repeating itself. MSHA proposed a rule in …"

Dust reforms stymied by years of inaction

By Ken Ward Jr.

For more than a quarter-century, government efforts to end black lung have hit brick walls

Excerpts from this story referencing "George W. Bush":

"… union's opposition, the Clinton White House never finalized the rule.After George W. Bush became president in 2001, he appointed longtime coal operator Dave Laurisk …"

Federal panel advises against prostate cancer screen for men

By Gordon Witkin

Panel says prostate cancer screen that was subject of Center probe does more harm than good.

Excerpts from this story referencing "disease":

"… only widely available test for prostate cancer, a potentially devastating disease.”The current debate surrounds the value of the test, but the cost of the …"