House ‘Freedom Caucus’ Asks Trump To Undo 232 Rules On Net Neutrality, Tobacco, Nursing Homes & Ceiling Fans

What’s on your wish list this holiday season? For the few dozen members of the House of Representatives Freedom Caucus, the hope to see President-elect Donald Trump undo or revise more than 200 federal rules involving everything from tobacco to food labels to ceiling fans to your constitutional right to bring a lawsuit against your credit card company. [More]


In September, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a new rule that would prevent most nursing homes and other long-term care facilities from using forced arbitration to strip new residents of their right to file lawsuits against these companies. The industry soon fired back by doing the very thing it doesn’t want its customers to do: filing a lawsuit. This morning, the judge in the case granted the industry’s request for a preliminary injunction preventing the new rule from being enforced. [More]

Nursing Home Industry Files Lawsuit To Keep Preventing Patients From Filing Lawsuits

Last month, the federal government issued new rules for nursing homes, barring most long-term care facilities from using forced arbitration agreements to stop new residents from filing lawsuits against the homes. Now nursing home operators and industry trade groups are challenging that rule by doing the one thing they want to prevent their patients from doing: going to court. [More]

Kelcey Perry

Junk Mail Never Stops, Not Even After You Die

Selling health insurance to dead people is not a very profitable business, since they don’t need it. Yet because of bad information in marketing databases, plenty of dead people receive marketing mail… including Medicare supplemental insurance solicitations when they’re about to turn 65. Why do dead people keep getting mail, and is it possible to stop it before it sets off fresh grief? [More]


As we’ve written about previously, some nursing homes and other long-term care facilities use forced arbitration contracts to prevent their residents bringing a legal action against the home in a court of law. Today, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a new rule that will prohibit long-term care facilities that accept Medicare or Medicaid from forcing residents into arbitration. [More]


Woman Loses Hospice Care Because She’s Lived Longer Than Expected

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]


Feds Impose Sanctions On Blood-Testing Startup Theranos And Its Founder

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]

David Blackwell

One Free Meal From A Pharma Sales Rep May Be Enough To Change Doctors’ Prescribing Habits

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]


Drug Companies Subpoenaed Over Questionable Charity Connections

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]

Telemarketers Took Millions From Senior Citizens In Medicare Card Scam

Telemarketers Took Millions From Senior Citizens In Medicare Card Scam

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]

Florida Nursing Home To Pay $17M After Allegedly Using Medicare Money For Doctors’ Kickbacks

Florida Nursing Home To Pay $17M After Allegedly Using Medicare Money For Doctors’ Kickbacks

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]

Anthem Hack Included Personal Information For 78.8 Million Customers & Employees

Anthem Hack Included Personal Information For 78.8 Million Customers & Employees

Nearly three weeks removed from the detection of a massive data breach, health insurer Anthem Inc. is releasing more details about the scope of the hack, including the fact that personal information for about 78.8 million was compromised. [More]

Hospital Chain Inflated Bills, Pressured Doctors Into Generating Admissions, Lawsuits Claim

Hospital Chain Inflated Bills, Pressured Doctors Into Generating Admissions, Lawsuits Claim

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.



Health Dept. Report: Medicare Is Wasting Millions Of Dollars Paying Too Much For Penis Pumps

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]


So The Government Is Shut Down… Do I Still Have To Pay My Taxes?

As the sun rises over Washington, D.C., this morning, huge numbers of federal employees are either not coming in to work or are only coming in to shut down their offices until lawmakers sort this mess out. But just because the wheels of government have come grinding to a halt doesn’t mean everything is put on hold indefinitely. [More]


Scooter Store Files For Bankruptcy After Overbilling Medicare At Least $47 Million

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.



Pharmacists Confirm Pressure From Management To Refill Prescriptions Automatically

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]


CVS Under Investigation For Automatic Prescription Refill Allegations