You probably wouldn’t be surprised to learn that your cable company has perks or discounts it will only reveal when asked, but you’d hope a government agency wouldn’t deliberately hide a program intended to help families struggling to pay off student loan debts of a deceased loved one. [More]
The consolidation of, well, everything in healthcare is kind of par for the course these days, really. Insurance companies, provider networks, and hospitals are constantly merging or buying each other out, all around the nation. Small, independent hospitals in every state are regularly bought by larger chains, and go from being “Smallville General Hospital” to being “HealthCoName Patient Care Center Of Smallville” all the time.
When a college student seeks medical treatment at a campus healthcare facility, they probably expect they will be afforded the same discretion as all consumer are under HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). But thanks to a separate, often conflicting federal law, that isn’t always the case. [More]
While some debt collectors have resorted to questionable and sometimes illegal practices, there are also legal routes to debt collection — like lawsuits and wage garnishment — that can nonetheless have a destructive effect, particularly in low-income, minority neighborhoods. [More]
When a trip to the emergency room is in order, you’re usually in a hurry, because, after all, it’s an emergency. Sitting around waiting to be seen by a doctor can be an agonizing experience for those in need of quick help. While Yelp can’t hurry along those doctors, it can apparently tell you just how long you might expect to be camped out in the hospital E.R. [More]
In July, we told you about USA Discounters, a retailer that took advantage of underpaid soldiers with no credit histories to charge them exorbitant financing fees and then sue them when they couldn’t pay up. Now USA Discounters has changed its name and is promising to change its ways, but it’s really just another case of putting a wig on a pig. [More]
A discount retailer that sells itself as being friendly to military borrowers has been pushed into the spotlight, thanks to a report highlighting questionable lending and marketing tactics that lead some borrowers into lawsuits where they can’t reasonably defend themselves. [More]
Days after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau revealed that is currently investigating the lead-generating practices of MoneyMutual — the company with the Montel Williams ads that puts borrowers in touch with payday lenders — comes news that the Bureau is taking a peek under the hood of World Acceptance Corp. (aka World Finance), one of the country’s largest high-interest installment lenders. [More]
Last summer, a ProPublica/Frontline report put a spotlight on Emeritus Senior Living, one of the country’s largest private operators of assisted living facilities (and soon to be the largest, if a proposed merger goes through), raising questions about the company’s business practices and the general lack of regulation in the industry. Now comes news that Emeritus is under investigation by the federal government. [More]
What Can A Regulator With A Sense Of Ethics Do After Leaving The Feds? Try Not To Become A Lobbyist.
After many years building your career, you’ve reached such a level of good reputation and success that you’ve been tapped to lead a major federal regulatory agency for a few years. Wow! That’s real power. Great job! But your term ends, or the administration changes, and your time in charge of the agency is done. You feel strongly that you’ve got another decade or two in you before retirement, though. So what’s your next move?
Valve on Kids’ Medicine Bottles Could Prevent Overdose Deaths, But Costs Money To Install So Never Mind
When a medical emergency hits, the tendency might be to simply go to the nearest hospital and hope to get seen right away — and if you’re truly in dire shape then this is probably good advice because even if you’re not admittedly immediately, you are surrounded by nurses and doctors. But for people whose medical needs are urgent but not URGENT, there might be a faster-moving emergency room a few miles down the road. [More]
At the intersection of bad marketing, inept regulation, and unwitting consumers, you’ll find the graves of young children, just some of the infants who, according to a new report from ProPublica, have become ill over the decades because Johnson & Johnson and other makers of acetaminophen-based painkillers insisted on selling two youth-targeted varieties of the drug while the FDA did what it does best — nothing. [More]
Several cities in Texas have recently enacted laws intended to drive out or rein in short-term, high-interest lenders offering auto-title loans, in which borrowers put up their cars as collateral for short-term loans averaging around $1,500. But one lender has figured out a way to get around those laws — by giving away free cash and redirecting customers elsewhere when they need to refinance. [More]
The Frontline/ProPublica investigation into assisted living facilities began airing on PBS earlier this week, but PBS stations are not always known for having the easiest to follow schedules, and some folks can’t always catch the show when it airs. Thankfully, there’s embeddable video of the entire show so you can watch the episode online whenever you want. [More]
Emeritus Assisted Living Asks Employees To Do Damage Control After Frontline Exposé, Accidentally CCs Reporters
One day after Emeritus Senior Living, the nation’s largest for-profit assisted living chain, was the subject of a Frontline/ProPublica exposé, the company reached out to its employees, asking them to do damage control. Emeritus also made a classic mistake straight out of the Worst Company In America handbook when it accidentally copied ProPublica on the staff-only e-mail. [More]
Once upon a time, assisted living facilities were created as a happy medium between simple retirement communities and skilled nursing homes. Elderly residents would live largely independent existences but would, as the name implies, receive largely non-medical assistance for things they could no longer do on their own. But that has all changed, as more Americans lived longer and assisted living operators realized they had a virtually unregulated goldmine on their hands. [More]