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 "California":

"… irginia, along with Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa and U.S. Rep. George Miller of California. A bill might be ready before the August recess, a Casey staffer said. &n …"

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 "California":

"… that?’’ said Sy Zahedi, president and CEO of MedXm, in Santa Ana, California, which does home assessments. ‘Paucity of evidence’ The downside, fed …"

"… led with no admission of fault. In a third case — against SCAN, a major California health plan — a whistleblower alleged that the company hired reviewers t …"

"… ael Curran, chief operating officer of Health Data Vision Inc. in Burbank, California. Dollar signs Some experts believe that Medicare’s difficulties taming …"

Health insurers have their way with regulators

By Fred Schulte

Billions in Medicare Advantage overpayments likely gone for good.

Excerpts from this story referencing "California":

"… icare Advantage contractor, hotly disputed audit findings for its plans in California and Texas.   Auditors had deemed the risk scores for 45 of 100 …"

"… and Texas.   Auditors had deemed the risk scores for 45 of 100 California patients “invalid” because medical records didn’t verify they had be …"

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 "disease":

"… pkins University doctor who virtually never diagnoses black lung, a deadly disease that afflicts coal miners. The news organizations reported last fall that …"

"… claims for federal benefits, had never found the most severe form of the disease among more than 1,500 claims. Johns Hopkins suspended its black lung X-ray …"

Medicare Advantage made simple: a glossary

By Fred Schulte

Definitions for lesser-known terms relating to Medicare.

Excerpts from this story referencing "disease":

"… e visits also can be profitable for the health plans when they uncover new diseases that raise a patient’s risk score— even if the health plan provides n …"

"… In other words, a health plan cannot just write down that a patient has a disease and seek extra payments from Medicare. The plan must also show that its do …"

"… ulation that would have banned home health assessments which uncovered new diseases but didn’t lead to any more treatment. Retrospective Chart Reviews:&nb …"

"… s” electronic patient medical files looking for evidence of unrecognized diseases that could boost risk scores and Medicare payments. CMS has proposed that …"

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 "disease":

"… sal to lower coal miners’ exposure to the dust that can cause black lung disease is supported by substantial scientific evidence. That’s the conclusion …"

"… on the status of the rule, but noted, “Miners continue to get black lung disease.” A 2012 Center for Public Integrity-NPR investigation detailed how, af …"

"… Integrity-NPR investigation detailed how, after years of steady decline in disease rates following landmark 1969 legislation, the prevalence of black lung ha …"

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 "disease":

"… a century ago and continues today. Despite widespread reports of a unique disease afflicting coal miners dating to the 19th Century, the industry and the do …"

"… til 1969. Much the same approach that hampered initial recognition of the disease has been used more recently to limit the range of illnesses that fall unde …"

"… the toxic mineral present in much rock in mines — was the sole cause of disease, making it almost impossible for most coal miners to prove their claims of …"

"… nd 1960s, when compelling evidence emerged that coal dust also could cause disease, the industry argued that only the most advanced form — complicated coal …"

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 "disease":

"… and CT images of his chest agree he has the most severe form of black lung disease. Yet his claim for benefits was denied in 2011, leaving him and his family …"

"… heeler read at least one X-ray, he never once found the severe form of the disease, complicated coal workers’ pneumoconiosis. Other doctors looking at the …"

"… Other doctors looking at the same X-rays found this advanced stage of the disease in 390 of these cases. Since 2000, miners have lost more than 800 cases a …"

"… This includes 160 cases in which doctors found the complicated form of the disease. When Wheeler weighed in, miners lost nearly 70 percent of the time before …"

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 "disease":

"…      …"

"… across the Americas passed a resolution last week formally recognizing the disease as a serious threat to public health. For more than two years, the Intern …"

"… f Investigative Journalists has examined how a rare type of chronic kidney disease is afflicting agricultural workers along Central America’s Pac …"

"… (PAHO) called on member states to conduct research and surveillance of the disease, and to strengthen their occupational and environmental health programs.&n …"

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 "disease":

"… ing down on pesticides as a potential cause of a mysterious form of kidney disease killing agricultural workers. In El Salvador, the congress approved a ban …"

"… second nation to ban top-selling pesticides for a potential link to kidney disease. Meanwhile, in India, new research from Harvard University and the state …"

"… f Investigative Journalists has examined how a rare type of chronic kidney disease, CKD, is afflicting agricultural workers along Central America’s Pa …"

"… ause of the parallel epidemics. Following its emergence in the 1990s, the disease was widely ignored by authorities even as it devastated impoverished rural …"

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 "disease":

"… …"

"… Center for Public Integrity has examined how a rare type of chronic kidney disease (CKD) is killing thousands of agricultural workers along Central America …"

"… an Salvador declaration — for the first time — formally recognized the disease and its unique characteristics. “This disease fundamentally affects soc …"

"… formally recognized the disease and its unique characteristics. “This disease fundamentally affects socially vulnerable groups of agricultural communiti …"

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 "disease":

"… — broadly defined — must play a major role in the etiology of the disease.” Yet only a fraction of federal research funding has gone toward exami …"

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 "disease":

"… n sense,” with no connection to national security.Coburn also noted that disease victims and medical specialists have pressured the Pentagon into spending …"

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 "disease":

"… usually in private, about what seemed to be an excess of cancer and other diseases in the factories across the river from Detroit. “People were getting si …"

"… tories of 1,006 women from Ontario’s Essex and Kent counties who had the disease and 1,146 who didn’t. Adjustments were made for smoking, weight, alcohol …"

"… 10 years of hormonal treatment, is in remission.Asked if she believed her disease was work-related, Knight said, “I’m suspicious of it because of all th …"

"… ed group that has pressed for more research into environmental causes of a disease that claimed nearly 40,000 lives in the United States last year, called th …"

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 "disease":

"… from millions of patients in the hope of discovering better ways to treat disease and cut costs.But the push for better quality medicine is facing off again …"

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 "disease":

"… le to mine data from millions of patients to discover better ways to treat disease and improve the nation’s overall health, which requires computers to lin …"

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 "disease":

"… hat address only the symptoms but not the underlying causes of illness and disease, and not paying for prevention. Because of those perverse incentives, we h …"

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 "disease":

"… le to mine data from millions of patients to discover better ways to treat disease and improve the nation’s overall health. The initiative continues to pi …"

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 "disease":

"… ness tormenting the area. For more than a decade, a rash of chronic kidney disease has been striking down the villagers of this remote agricultural belt in t …"

"… cultural belt in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. In some villages, the disease has impacted from 24 to 37 percent of the population, two to three times h …"

"… e. This type of damage accounts for less than 4 percent of end-stage renal disease in the United States, and is consistent with severe dehydration and toxic …"

"… .Yet in other ways Uddanam is different. The research to date suggests the disease is confined to a single belt of villages that spans less than 100 miles. D …"

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 "disease":

"… World."  …"

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

"… chronic exposure to arsenic and cadmium, likely consumed in food.Yet in a disease that has confounded experts across continents, even potential breakthrough …"

"… kidney damage so severe it had reached its terminal phase: end stage renal disease. Healthy his entire life, he suddenly became feverish and too sick to work …"

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 "disease":

"… neys are failing, and no one knows why.A mysterious form of chronic kidney disease — CKD — is afflicting thousands of people in rural, agricultural commu …"

"… er from diabetes and high blood pressure, the usual risk factors for renal disease. They experience a rare form of kidney damage, known as tubulo-interstitia …"

"… They experience a rare form of kidney damage, known as tubulo-interstitial disease, consistent with severe dehydration and toxic poisoning.Other common links …"

"… e used heavily, and communities drink local groundwater. In each case, the disease began surging in the 1990s.Despite a decade of research in each affected r …"

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 "disease":

"… lic Integrity has highlighted the need for more effective ‘black lung’ disease prevention efforts as there has been a resurgence of the disease among coa …"

"… k lung’ disease prevention efforts as there has been a resurgence of the disease among coal miners.”The Center-NPR investigation found that, after decade …"

"… flicting younger miners with a more severe, faster-progressing form of the disease. The system for monitoring miners’ exposure to dust is riddled with loop …"

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 "disease":

"… the past 30 years, he’s gotten a monthly check to compensate him for the disease that steals his breath — the old bane of miners known as black lung. In …"

"… trolled. Almost half of miners who worked at least 25 years contracted the disease. Amid strikes throughout the West Virginia coalfields, Congress made a pro …"

"… their 30s. Donald now has the most severe, fastest-progressing form of the disease, known as complicated coal workers’ pneumoconiosis. James and the oldest …"

"… d-won 1969 law, Congress demanded that dust be controlled and new cases of disease be prevented. The idea was that, even if black lung didn’t disappear, th …"

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 "disease":

"… r more than a quarter-century, government efforts to end deadly black lung disease have hit various brick walls, built by opposition from one side or the oth …"

"… rcement scheme, were to change over time as experts learned more about the disease and how to prevent it.But the intent was clear: Congress wanted black lung …"

"… curring any disability from pneumoconiosis or any other occupation-related disease during or at the end of such period."By the early 1990s, one problem becam …"

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 …"

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 "disease":

"… have more details on the investigation's next steps soon.  A deadly disease is killing thousands of the world's poorest laborers — and no one knows …"

"… grity published an investigation about this deadly mystery, chronic kidney disease. In the United States, chronic kidney disease is a manageable illness tha …"

"… dly mystery, chronic kidney disease. In the United States, chronic kidney disease is a manageable illness that mostly affects older people with diabetes and …"

"… and as young as their 20s — are dying of a new strain of chronic kidney disease that has baffled scientists for more than a decade. The disease has so dec …"

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