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 "Health":

"… the researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wrote in a letter …"

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

"… 1, parts of a long-awaited rule from the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration took effect, and regulators say it should close these looph …"

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 "lawyer":

"… more resources to develop medical evidence, and miners often can't find a lawyer willing to take a black lung case.   This February, the department …"

"… edical reports provided by government-paid doctors and to allow department lawyers to intervene in unrepresented miners' cases.   In May, the departm …"

"… it was developing a rule that would address the withholding of evidence by lawyers. Lu said this was motivated in part by the story of miner Gary Fox, who w …"

"… though, both found the samples consistent with complicated black lung. The lawyers did not disclose these reports and instead led their other experts and th …"

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 "Miami":

"… condition alone pays nearly $450 a month for a 75-year-old woman living in Miami-Dade County, Florida, according to the Coleman Consulting Group, based in …"

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":

"… nbsp; It took years for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) inspector general to publish those findings, and government officials have yet to pr …"

"… d.   And despite the bundle of taxpayer dollars on the line, the HHS inspector general didn’t do any more audits, and decided in 2013 to scrap similar …"

"… btain those audits. The CMS policy means that those six audits by the HHS inspector general — which does publish its findings — stand as the only public a …"

"… etailing Medicare Advantage billing practices over the past decade. Those inspector general’s audits began late in 2008. Drafts weren’t presented to the h …"

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 "Medicare":

"… ronic diseases such as diabetes and take other steps to manage their care. …"

"… any doctor they want and buy insurance policies to cover any gaps in what Medicare will pay for. Doctors bill Medicare for each service they provide. Medica …"

"… nce policies to cover any gaps in what Medicare will pay for. Doctors bill Medicare for each service they provide. Medicare Advantage: Nearly 16 million seni …"

"… dicare will pay for. Doctors bill Medicare for each service they provide. Medicare Advantage: Nearly 16 million seniors have joined about 700 insurance plans …"

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 "National Institute":

"… n put the patient at risk, according to the American Lung Association, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the Labor Department, a p …"

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 "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 "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 "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 "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 "American Chemistry Council":

"… may use the findings in protecting workers from hazardous exposures.”The American Chemistry Council, the main chemical industry trade association in the United States, questi …"

"… ing cups. The FDA acted, however, only after receiving a petition from the American Chemistry Council, which said that manufacturers of these products had already abandoned the …"

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 "Medicare":

"… tronic health records are prompting some doctors and hospitals to overbill Medicare.Dr. Farzad Mostashari, the Obama administration’s National Coordinator f …"

"… al professionals have steadily billed higher rates for treating seniors on Medicare over the last decade — adding $11 billion or more to their fees.The Cent …"

"… Center’s year-long investigation, published in September, suggested that Medicare billing errors and abuses are worsening as doctors and hospitals switch to …"

"… re than $10 billion has been spent. Just over half the doctors now billing Medicare are using digital records.In his interview with the Center, Mostashari str …"

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 "Medicare":

"… ers taxpayer dollars and does little, if anything, to improve outcomes for Medicare.” The letter urges Sebelius to suspend payments under the program until …"

"… r more than $10 billion has been spent. About half the doctors now billing Medicare are using digital records.Many medical leaders also hope digital records r …"

"… al revolution has prompted doctors and hospitals to bill higher charges to Medicare.The Center for Public Integrity’s “Cracking the Codes”  series, …"

"… al professionals have steadily billed higher rates for treating seniors on Medicare over the last decade — adding $11 billion or more to their fees.The Cent …"

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 "Medicare":

"… d by a true story Dr. Don Berwick, former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, tells to make the point that solutions to seemingly …"

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 "Medicare":

"… , appear to be prompting some doctors and hospitals to bill higher fees to Medicare for treating seniors. The federal government’s campaign to wire up medi …"

"… sharing that helps cut down on wasteful spending and medical errors. Yet Medicare regulators also acknowledge they are struggling to rein in a surge of aggr …"

"… cently documented how some health professionals have seemingly manipulated Medicare billing codes to gain higher fees. The investigation unmasked thousands of …"

"… s can influence pay scales known as “Evaluation and Management” codes. Medicare spent more than $33.5 billion in 2010 using these numeric codes for servic …"

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 "teacher":

"… sand rupees (roughly $18) each month that Prameela’s son Siva earns as a teacher in a private institute.“I borrowed money thinking that he would survive, …"

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 "World Bank":

"… e company’s pesticides and labor practices caused the disease. After the World Bank provided the Ingenio San Antonio with a $55 million loan in 2006, workers …"

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 "Montana":

"… ue developing the rule, issuing it or enforcing it.Both Denny Rehberg, the Montana Republican who wrote the bill, and Hal Rogers, chairman of the appropriati …"

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 "National Institute":

"… icular concern are “hot spots” identified in central Appalachia by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, NIOSH, a government research agency. 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 "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 "Medicare":

"… the subject of scrutiny. Last fall, the Center reported that 40 percent of Medicare spending on common cancer screening procedures — including the PSA test …"

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