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 "Massachusetts":

"… their services as “revenue optimization.” Predilytics, a Burlington, Massachusetts, health information analytics firm, markets software to Medicare Advantage …"

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 "United Mine Workers":

"… ’s given us any reason for that,” said Phil Smith, a spokesman for the United Mine Workers of America. At the heart of the rule are provisions cutting in half the a …"

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 "epidemic":

"… eficial for worker's health, we should not expect that this will solve the epidemic in Central America." Jayasumana’s article contends that glyphosate, whi …"

"… time problem with our hypothesis,” Jayasumana said, in reference to the epidemic’s unusual geography and its surge in all of the affected regions during …"

"… rantes, the director of El Salvador’s national research program into the epidemic, said his team is working on developing a map of areas with hard water wit …"

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 "Johns Hopkins University":

"… m a respected household name: the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. The Johns Hopkins University often receives attention for its medical discoveries and well-regarded sch …"

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 "kidney disease":

"… tems.”      …"

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

"… AHO, which in 2011 rejected a proposal by El Salvador to recognize chronic kidney disease in agricultural workers as a distinct new form of illness and designate it …"

"… , and contended that agrochemicals are the primary culprit. Today, chronic kidney disease is the leading cause of hospital deaths in El Salvador, the PAHO resolutio …"

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 "president":

"… arlier this month on 53 agrochemicals. If the law is signed by Salvadorean president Mauricio Funes, the country will join Sri Lanka as the second nation to ba …"

"… Escobar said at a press conference in San Salvador. “God willing, the president will approve it and it will become the law of the republic.” If El Salv …"

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 "Pesticide":

"… ome the leading cause of hospital deaths among adult men. The Debate over Pesticides Although the declaration reflected broad agreement to take action, the 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 "American Chemistry Council":

"… te sites.” Spokespeople for the Environmental Protection Agency and the American Chemistry Council, the chemical industry’s main trade association, did not respond to requ …"

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 "Pesticides":

"… with recommendations for the regulations, said Sri Lanka’s Registrar of Pesticides, Dr. Anura Wijesekera. Wijesekara, whose office oversees imports and …"

"… lishing limits of detection for nine toxins including cadmium and arsenic. Pesticides and fertilizers containing more than the permitted amounts of these chemic …"

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 "Washington":

"… erefore if we didn’t get the increase in spending, we call that a cut in Washington.”Coburn, interestingly, does not sit on the Senate Armed Services commit …"

"… and experts organized by the Stimson Center, a nonprofit research group in Washington. It concluded that the Pentagon could readily absorb as much as $550 billi …"

"… erved.Protests can be expected soon from the home improvement industry’s Washington trade association, speaking up for caulk-wielding contractors. …"

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 "the University of Pennsylvania":

"… said Finkel, who runs the Penn Program on Regulation, a research center at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.In its statement, OSHA acknowledged, “Many of our current Per …"

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 "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 …"

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 "kidney failure":

"… s the “rice bowl,” in the 1990s. Physicians began noticing clusters of kidney failure in which four or five members of a single household had the disease. Rezvi …"

"… he said, the exposure levels described were “not enough to cause chronic kidney failure.”The results also offered no explanation of how the heavy metals entered …"

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 "dehydration":

"… idney damage, known as tubulo-interstitial disease, consistent with severe dehydration and toxic poisoning.Other common links offer clues to a possible cause. Th …"

"… study.The BU team has pinpointed evidence suggesting that heat stress and dehydration are key contributing factors. Workers who performed strenuous labor in the …"

"… at I would call the second hit, which would be the strenuous labor and the dehydration that may come from this difficult work,” he said.Researchers in El Salva …"

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 "America":

"… althy campaign contributors are more important than the lungs and lives of America’s coal miners. The recent investigative report by several news organizat …"

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 "United Mine Workers":

"… sis of citations, Watzman argued. Dennis O’Dell, safety director for the United Mine Workers of America, said the few problems with the monitors are “little things t …"

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 "United Mine Workers":

"… e right thing to do."A decade earlier, Main was director of safety for the United Mine Workers union when the Clinton administration announced its plan to end black lung …"

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 "Medicine":

"… The task force findings, published Monday online in The Annals of Internal Medicine, follow similar draft guidelines that were issued by the group last fall. …"

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