The Centers for Disease Control said more than 1.5 million people get infections while they are in the hospital. As part of a program through the Affordable Care Act, hospitals that receive Medicare money will be hit with a penalty if they have too many people get sick while seeking treatment. A re ... More >>
We've only known of nurse help lines as part of a fancy insurance plan. But did you know that thanks to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, there's a free non-emergency you can call? It's basically an advice and evaluation hotline staffed 24 hours a day, all week. "The Nurse Health Line ... More >>
The Affordable Care Act could offer a path to health care for struggling artists.
January 1, 2014 saw most of the final stages of President Barack Obama's signature legislation, the health-care reform initiative known as both the official title of the Affordable Care Act and more derisively as Obamacare, start to be implemented. The individual mandate that requires every able per ... More >>
There's a lurching feeling that comes when you realize you don't have any health insurance. You'll be walking along, a swing in your step, a grin on your face, when it hits you: Anything could happen. You just walked under a ladder. Fool! You just felt like you had to sneeze. It's pneumonia! That ... More >>
If you have Texas Blue Cross Blue Shield, the odds are good you have sat on the phone enjoying their hold music recently. Cat Jeanes, of Austin, has definitely gotten an earful of that happy snappy guitar that plays on the automated system, and she isn't alone, judging by the other complaints surf ... More >>
Texas Blue Cross Blue Shield has lovely hold music. Just ask Fred Rhodes. He and his wife have taken turns listening to it since they found out that, despite having enrolled and paid for their new health insurance in December, they still aren't in the system. With the advent of the Affordable Care ... More >>
Even after the Affordable Care Act, tens of thousands of Texans have no medical coverage. That is why the San Jose Clinic in Midtown still exists.
Gov. Rick Perry has a hatred for the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) that comes as natural as breathing to him, but it seems hate only goes so far when there's $100 million in federal funding on the table. When U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius came to Texas a few weeks ... More >>
Memorial Hermann treats patients without insurance, tells them not to worry about the cost and then sues them for thousands of dollars.
As Igancio Alaniz lay beneath his ancient white Buick, trying to get his car restarted one evening in January 2012, he heard a click as his car popped into gear. A split-second before more than 3,000 pounds of metal smashed over his chest, Alaniz realized he was about to be run over by his own car. ... More >>
Now that state Attorney General Greg Abbott has thrown his hat in the gubernatorial ring, the Texas Organizing Project, an advocacy group for low- and middle-income families, is worried that many families will still lack access to affordable health care. Abbott has "led the charge against the Affor ... More >>
Hospitals, doctors and dealers have made Medicare the nation's sweetest crime. The feds are now trying to shutter the door.
Advocates of Medicaid expansion -- part of Obama's Affordable Care Act -- continue to ply Texas lawmakers with economic numbers, making the point that the expansion of the program is not a cost, but a benefit, to taxpayers. Like Sisyphus eternally pushing his boulder up the hill, advocates for Medi ... More >>
The man who exposed a drug maker's fraudulent marketing of an antipsychotic drug that is still given to Texas's foster care children has won the Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund's Whistleblower of the Year Award. Allen Jones was forced out of his job at the Pennsylvania Office of Inspector G ... More >>
For a moment, let's talk fantasy. Let's say Mitt Romney somehow overcomes all of his apparent weakness -- Bain Capital rapaciousness, tax-record speculation, rich-guy aloofness -- and somehow ekes past President Obama in November in one of the narrowest victories in recent American politics. Democra ... More >>
Today is officially Lyndon Baines Johnson Day here in the state of Texas. The late 36th president's birthday was hallowed in his home state after he died in 1973 of a massive heart attack at the age of 64. He would have been 104 today. Johnson ascended to the presidency from the vice-presidency aft ... More >>
A man described by prosecutors as "a prominent Houston radiologist" has agreed to pay $650,000 to settle claims that he provided kickbacks to get physicians to refer business his way. Jack L. Baker of the Fairmount Diagnostic Center in Pasadena entered into the agreement today, settling claims file ... More >>
Governor Rick Perry has confirmed in a letter today to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that he's no pal of socialism and as such, must reject two key measures of Obamacare - a state insurance exchange and expanding Medicaid. To embrace a state exchange would mean playing ... More >>
Aghaegbuna "Ike" Odelugo of Sugar Land is a concert promoter, we're told, but that can be a rough business to make a buck in these days. Ripping off Medicare, however, can be a breeze -- until you get caught. Odelugo, 39, was sentenced to six years in federal prison today on health care fraud and ... More >>
A drug company accused of fraudulently promoting the antipsychotic Risperdal for use in Texas's Medicaid system has settled a state Attorney General's lawsuit for $158 million. The AG's office, one of several across the country to sue Janssen Pharmaceuticals (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson) for ... More >>
David Clyde: $10k richer but still no MLB retirement benefits for the HoustonianSpecific Major League Baseball retirees are getting the shaft, according to the author of the controversial A Bitter Cup of Coffee: How MLB and the Players Association Threw 874 Retirees a Curve. The crux of Dou ... More >>
Houston makes the fraud lineup.If you're going to defraud the U.S. government, go big. It's not like they're going to miss a stray $62 million or so. Thus was the thinking of Houstonian Jodi Leonore Latson, 45, who -- unfortunately for her -- ended up as one of the bigger fish caught in a na ... More >>
Christina Clardy among those convicted.Christina Clardy, a 61-year-old West U doctor, was convicted with two other people of running a massive Medicaid-and-money-laundering scam that somehow involved Nigerian tankers, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced today. Kenneth Anokam, 56, and Niger ... More >>
Calling all "patients"How lucrative can ripping off Medicare be? Lucrative enough that one scamster was offering up to $1,000 a patient to "recruiters" who sent customers her way. Doris Vinitski, 46, the owner of Onward Medical Supply, signed up the patients and then started billing Medicare ... More >>
More bad news for women who rely on Planned Parenthood.A Texas Senate subcommittee wrangled the vulvas of Texas women into a chokehold yesterday with its latest assault on Planned Parenthood. Republican Senator Robert Deuell, who is a physician, introduced a bill to a three-member subcommitte ... More >>
In this family, missy, we scam the government with adult diapers!!!Keeping things in the family, passing knowledge from one generation to the next: It's a heartwarming American tradition, especially when it involves ripping off Medicaid for more than a million dollars with an adult-diaper sca ... More >>
"I fantasize sometimes that my musical career would hit gold and help us escape these grim realities, but it's not something I really expect to happen." There are few issues in the current political climate more fraught with contention than whether or not the U.S. government will take a more ... More >>
Like combining chocolate and peanut butterIn the Southern District of Texas, U.S. Attorneys often deal with two kinds of fraud: scams involving a) Medicare, or b) Hurricanes Katrina or Rita. It takes a special genius to combine the two, and apparently Patrick Ita is that man. Prosecutors un ... More >>
Research done without consent, suit saysA former doctor and faculty member at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston claims that she was fired because she blew the whistle on other doctors who used mental health patients as research guinea pigs without proper or legal consent. ... More >>
The "Jazzy" model, no kiddingSandra Thurman Patino, 46, had a pretty good deal going with a Medicare scam involving motorized wheelchairs, but now she's headed to federal prison for four years.Plus she's giving up the $1.1 million she had in the bank, and a Cadillac, to the feds.Patino was senten ... More >>
If you like the idea of lower health care costs and are not one of the twisted few who are philosophically opposed to breathing cleaner air, there's a good chance you'll be excited to know that there's an effort underway to update the federal policies which govern toxic chemicals.Earlier today, t ... More >>
Photo by That Other PaperIrate progressives are calling for a boycott of Whole Foods after the health food store chain's founder John Mackey came out against Obama's efforts at reforming health care in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece last week. After stating his fears about socialized med ... More >>
Houston is at the center of a big sweep against Medicare fraud announced today by the feds. A grand jury here issued indictments involving more than $16 million in fraud, and agents went out today and arrested 32 people in Houston, New York, Boston and Louisiana.Sayeth the feds: The Strike Force ... More >>
Usually when the Justice Department announces the settlement of a Medicaid-fraud case, it's a small-time operation dealing with wheelchairs or even adult diapers.Not today.Today they've nabbed a nearly-$10 million settlement out of Methodist Hospital here for defrauding the federal program.The US At ... More >>
If you're going to try to defraud the government, please -- for your own self-esteem -- choose a more glamorous plan than one involving adult diapers.When the announcement came in from the US Attorney's Office headlined that a local company owner had been "INDICTED IN ADULT DIAPER FRAUD CASE," we co ... More >>
There are two solutions to help the population of uninsured children in Texas, according to a Houston pediatrician: Pray for change or move to Canada. That's overstating it a bit, but Dr. Ana Malinow, a pediatrician and co-founder of the advocacy group Healthcare for All Texas, tells Hair Balls that ... More >>
The author of How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else tells all
Texas is at the top of the heap again – this time we are the most uninsured state, health care-wise, in the country. Woo hoo! Oh, snap, wait, that’s not a good thing, is it? The U.S. Census Bureau released a report today stating that the number of uninsured in America was down to just 15.3% in ... More >>
A contained experiment in Medicaid finally gets uncovered
Fed Up with Feds, Still Reeling, Diabolical Docs
Hospital district officials wanted a simple one-sentence policy on immigrant health care. What they got instead was a criminal probe and plenty of politics.
MHMRA restricts Medicaid services at mental health clinic pharmacies
Dr. Amos and Cecilia Ozumba ran Houston Maintenance Clinic for four years. Have they finally run it into the ground?
She got into a suspect nursing home. And the probate system got most of her money.
Mental health cuts may come back to haunt the public
Some ex-patients credit the mind-body therapy of New Age healer JoAnne Mandel with saving their lives. Others say her compassion stopped at the bottom line.
How slow turnings of tiny bureaucratic gears grind up real Texans