When someone is receiving hospice care, it usually means they’re very close to the end of their life. But what happens if that person simply refuses to die? [More]
Lab testing startup Theranos started from a revolutionary idea: performing blood tests quickly and inexpensively using only a drop of blood. The idea may have been more revolutionary if the technology actually worked yet, and if its lab in California had been operating up to current standards. Now the federal government has imposed sanctions on the company, which include being unable to bill Medicare or Medicaid for its services, and its founder and CEO can’t own or run a laboratory for the next two years. [More]
Your physician may have any number of degrees, honors, certifications, and other framed pieces of paper mounted to their office walls, but does any of that make them less susceptible to a glad-handing pharmaceutical sales rep who comes armed with some reading materials, free samples, and a lunch charged to their expense account? [More]
Whenever there is a report of a drug company jacking up the price of a prescription medication, the pharma industry is often quick to point out that there are non-profit charities ready and willing to help patients get these drugs at a more affordable rate. However, those charities may have very close ties to the drug maker that could not only help the company turn a profit, but avoid some tax obligations. In recent months, several large pharmaceutical companies have been subpoenaed as part of an ongoing federal investigation into these connections. [More]
There’s now one less unsavory, immoral, disrespectful group scamming senior citizens of their savings, as federal regulators took action against the operators of a scheme in which telemarketers pretended to be Medicare representatives in order to bilk millions of dollars from older consumers. [More]
When a nursing home receives Medicare funds, it’s supposed to use that money for patient care, and it’s actually a felony offense under the Medicare and Medicaid Patient Protection Act to use that money to pay kickbacks to physicians for referring patients. In a record settlement for this sort of case, a the operator of a network of Florida nursing homes will pay $17 million to close the books on allegations it ran this sort of kickback scheme for seven years. [More]
There are many accusations of money-grubbing in the health care industry. Most of them are subtle: a preferred medication here, a handshake behind closed doors there. But actually hanging a chart on the wall and proudly color-coding your ER doctors like car salesmen based on how high their admission rates are? That’s about as in-your-face as the pursuit of profit gets.
When you hear about government waste, perhaps you have some vague idea of money being spent on things it shouldn’t be, like a new ping pong set for the Capitol game room or free novelty shot glasses at the White House (both are fictional examples, I think). But it’s not that Medicare is spending money on the wrong thing in this case — it’s that it might be paying close to double what it should. For penis pumps. [More]
If you watch daytime TV or have been stuck watching daytime TV while visiting your parents, surely you’re familiar with The Scooter Store. The power wheelchair vendor has had some trouble lately, including accusations of Medicare and Medicaid fraud, a raid by the FBI, and even a lawsuit from the company’s hometown, of New Braunfels, Texas. The company laid off most of its employees, and plans to deal directly with health care providers, rather than blanketing the airwaves and selling directly to consumers.
Since we began following the stories of CVS pharmacists who appear to have been pressured into automatically refilling customers’ prescriptions, regardless of whether or not a refill has been requested, we’ve received enough e-mails from from both customers and pharmacists at a number of companies who say these are not isolated incidents. [More]
After leaked e-mails seemed to indicate that at least some people at CVS have been pressuring pharmacists to refill customers’ prescriptions — without the patient’s consent — in order to meet sales quotas, federal and state regulators have begun investigating the drugstore chain. [More]
While the U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments next week over the constitutionality of the nearly two-year-old health-care reform package, members of Congress have been busy trying to chip away at the legislation.
It’s one thing to sneak a few hundred — or even a few thousand — dollars under the federal government’s radar. But how in the world did a Texas doctor allegedly manage to bilk the feds out of almost $375 million in bogus Medicare claims in only five years?
In order for a hospital to participate in the Medicare program, it must develop and maintain a Quality Assessment and Performance Improvement (QAPI) program to “track medical errors and adverse patient events, analyze their causes, and implement preventive actions and mechanisms that include feedback and learning throughout the hospital.” However, a new study by the Dept. of Health & Human Services found that only a small portion of patient errors are being reported — and that hospitals don’t seem to give a damn about fixing things.
The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs in Michigan has cited two nursing homes for violations after a survey found two elderly women in their care had maggots in their throat and pubic areas. Now a watchdog group is investigating.
Good news for Medicare enrollees who are on fixed incomes and counting pennies as well as pills: The price of prescription drug premiums in the program are expected to slightly dip next year.