Private Accreditors Are Under No Obligation to Release Their Hospital Inspection Reports
Reversing course, federal health officials withdrew a proposal that would have required private accrediting organizations to publicly release reports of problems they found in health-care facilities.
New Report Finds Medicare Is Plagued by 'Extreme' Use of Painkillers
Some Medicare beneficiaries are being prescribed opioids by 10 or more doctors, or are filling prescriptions for more than 1,000 pills a month.
Key Veterans Affairs Official Downplays the Risks of Agent Orange
At a meeting in March, a lead analyst in the VA's compensation service was critical of the media, scientists, and the VA's own administrative tribunal for taking positions that differ from his.
The Trend of Blocking Constituents on Twitter Goes Beyond Trump
As elected officials increasingly turn to social media to communicate with constituents, some are blocking those who disagree with them.
Tracking the Disingenuous Tactics Republicans Are Using to Defend the GOP Health Bill
Since the passage of the American Health Care Act, Republican members of Congress have tried to swing public opinion to their side.
Privacy Not Included: Federal Law Lags Way Behind New Health-Care Technology
The federal privacy law known as HIPAA doesn’t cover home paternity tests, fitness trackers, or health apps. When a Florida woman complained after seeing the paternity test results of thousands of people online, federal regulators told her they didn’t have jurisdiction.
Brand-Name Drugs Increase Cost, but That May Be All They Do
As presidential candidates focus more on drug prices, new data from the website Iodine shows that generics scored highest among users in three popular drug categories.
'I Don't Blame the University for a Rape. I Blame Them for How They Responded to It.'
Laura Hanson says University of Oregon attorneys obtained her counseling records without her permission. The university says it did nothing wrong, but has since changed its policy.
We Can Finally Cure Hepatitis C, but It's Costing Taxpayers a Fortune
The cost of drugs for the liver disease in the first half of 2015 almost matches the total for all of 2014.
A Push for Greater Transparency on Big Pharma Payouts
Drugmakers disclose their payments to doctors, dentists, even chiropractors. But spending on nurse practitioners and physician assistants is excluded. Legislation in the Senate would change that.
Blue Water Navy Veterans Are Still Fighting for Agent Orange Compensation
Though most didn’t step foot in Vietnam, some 90,000 Navy vets who served offshore may have been exposed to the chemical brew and seek benefits. The battle is playing out in the courts and in Congress. It boils down to a comma.
The Abortion Clinic Dumpster Dive
Garbage has become an unlikely battleground in the abortion debate, as anti-abortion groups seek evidence of privacy violations in clinics’ trash. “Is it a little bit on the sketchy side?” one activist said of such tactics. “Yeah, maybe.”
How Private Is Sensitive Abortion Information?
Across the country, those who support abortion rights and those who oppose them are feuding in court over how much information should be disclosed about women undergoing abortions. Supporters say there’s no margin for error. Opponents say it’s about ensuring quality care.
'Stay Far, Far Away' and Other Things Gleaned From Yelp Health Reviews
In a new partnership with Yelp, ProPublica has been given unprecedented access to the rating site’s 1.3 million reviews of health-care providers. One dental chain attracted 3,000 reviews, the vast majority bad.
The Popular Blood Thinner That's Causing Deaths and Injuries at Nursing Homes
Some facilities fail to properly oversee Coumadin. Too much can cause bleeding; too little, clots. Nursing homes are “a perfect set-up for bad things happening,” one expert says.
Agent Orange Act Was Supposed to Help Vietnam Veterans—But Many Still Don't Qualify
The 1991 law presumes veterans were exposed to the defoliant if they have certain diseases and “set foot” in Vietnam, but Navy vets and Air Force vets in Thailand say they were also exposed. Here’s our guide to groups seeking Agent Orange benefits.
A Major Loophole in the Health-Care Transparency Law
New data on drug and device company payments to doctors largely excludes nurse practitioners and physician assistants, though they play an ever-larger role in health care. One advanced-practice nurse pleaded guilty last month to taking drug company kickbacks.
Fraud Still Plagues Medicare's Prescription Drug Program
Medicare has increased oversight of its prescription drug program but many holes remain, allowing fraud and abuse to proliferate. Questionable practices were found at 1,400 pharmacies, which collectively billed Medicare $2.3 billion in 2014.
'Kiss Everybody': Parents' Voicemails Preserve Their Memory in Death
One reporter marvels over how the things he cherishes most about his parents aren’t those that he would have ever imagined.
The Federal Government Finally Releases Data on Doctors’ Prescribing Patterns
The move follows an investigation showing that Medicare did little to find dangerous prescribing by doctors to seniors and the disabled. It is also part of the government’s new push to bring transparency to taxpayer-supported medical care.
Frustrated by the Theft of Your Health Care Data? You're Not Alone
One consumer was the victim of hacking attacks on two different health insurers; a company’s privacy officer didn’t realize that health insurer Anthem even had her data. “It gives you a new perspective when you’re actually one of the folks whose data is disclosed.”
Patient Privacy Isn't Dead
Yet another health insurer recently reported a massive data breach, affecting the financial and medical information of 11 million people. We asked the head of the federal agency tasked with investigating these issues whether the notion of patient privacy was outmoded.
Should It Be a Felony for Doctors and Hospitals to Film Patients Without Prior Consent?
A bill has been filed in New York that would make it one. State Assemblyman Ed Braunstein was inspired by a story about a man whose death was recorded by the real-life medical series NY Med without permission. His widow recognized her husband while watching the show on TV.
When a Patient's Health Problems Are Used as Hospital PR
In a recently filed lawsuit, Ebola-infected nurse Nina Pham says that a colleague videotaped her without her permission and then the hospital she was treated in released the tape to the media, violating her privacy.
Why Isn't the Department of Health and Human Services Penalizing More Hospitals for Failing to Protect Medical Records?
Federal health watchdogs say they are cracking down on organizations that don’t protect the privacy and security of patient records, but data suggests otherwise.
When a Patient's Death Is Broadcast Without Permission
The ABC television show NY Med filmed Mark Chanko’s final moments without the approval of his family. Even though his face was blurred, his wife recognized him. “I saw my husband die before my eyes.”
Government’s Doctor Payments Website Worthy of a Recall
Charles Ornstein takes a test drive using the federal government’s new website for drug and device payments and finds it virtually unusable.
More Data to Be Withheld From Physician Payments Database
The federal government won’t release data this month on some research payments to doctors. Health officials had acknowledged previously that the database wouldn’t include one-third of payments made by pharmaceutical and medical device companies.
Medicare Spending on Suspicious HIV Prescriptions
The inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services finds Medicare spent tens of millions of dollars in 2012 for HIV drugs there’s little evidence patients needed. A 77-year-old woman with no record of HIV got $33,500 of medication.
The Federal Health Insurance Exchange Remains Active
New federal data, obtained by ProPublica under the Freedom of Information Act, shows nearly one million insurance transactions since mid-April.
Obstetricians Among the Top Billers for Psychotherapy
Illinois leads the country in group psychotherapy sessions in Medicare, and some top billers aren’t mental health specialists. The state’s Medicaid program has cracked down, but federal officials have not.
A Fanny Pack Mix-Up Unraveled a Medicare Fraud Scheme
Two secretaries in a doctor’s office have pleaded guilty and a pharmacy owner faces charges in a scam that Medicare allowed to thrive for more than two years.
Why Is Medicare Paying for Visits and Patient Evaluations?
The findings by the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services complement a recent review that found many doctors bill for services very differently than their peers.