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  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , healthcare, , , ,   

    Scams that veterans should be aware of 

    Scams that veterans should be aware of

    With today being Veterans Day it only seems fitting that we should look out for those who have given so much for our country. It seems that veterans are often targeted in government impostor scams. Since veterans often have to deal with several government agencies about benefits and services hearing from the government may not seem that out of the ordinary. Scammers will try to take advantage of the frequency that veterans deal with the government in hopes that the victim of their scam will believe that they are calling from the government. However, most of the scams they try to commit are also some of the same scams civilians have to deal with.

    The most common scam reported by veterans is the IRS impersonation scam. This is where scammers will pose as IRS agents and try to persuade their victims into believing that they owe back taxes. The scammers will try to pressure their victims into making a payment as soon as possible either through wire transfer or gift cards. The next common scam for veterans is the grant scam where the victim will receive a message on social media from a friend’s compromised account telling the victim they can get federal grant money. The scammers will then say that in order to get the grant the victim will need to pay a processing fee which will disappear as soon as it’s paid. And lastly, scammers will pose as being from the VA in order to try to get medical and healthcare information from the victim.

    As with most government scams, the ways of prevention remain the same. If the government really needs to get a hold of you they will more than likely contact you by mail. The government will also never ask for payment over the phone through wire transfer or gift cards. Those are tools of choice used in most scams today. And as always, if you receive one of these calls and you may believe that there is an issue with one of these agencies, hang up and call the agency back at their proper phone number.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: back brace, healthcare, ,   

    Are ‘free’ back braces really free? 

    Are 'free' back braces really free?

    Have you ever seen a TV commercial with an offer that you know has to have a catch but can’t quite put your finger on it? For example, there are TV commercials currently airing that offer Medicare recipients a knee or back brace for little to no cost. While the catch may not be targeted directly at consumers there is still a catch. The catch is actually targeted at Medicare which could end up costing individual recipients in the long run. The TV commercials for the back brace usually look something like this.

    The Federal Trade Commission recently released a report calling these offers scams. According to the FTC, the braces are offered to Medicare recipients to obtain your Medicare information so these companies can bill braces you may not need to Medicare. Back in April, Federal Investigators broke up an orthopedic brace scam that was costing Medicare $1.2 billion a year. Shady doctors were said to have written the prescriptions for these braces and then received kickbacks from the company peddling the braces. If a Medicare recipient were to order one of these braces it could affect their benefits. If they needed a better or different brace in the future it could be denied by Medicare due to frequency policies thereby affecting the patient’s potential health issues.

    The FTC advises that under no circumstances should you give out your Medicare information over the phone unless it’s a doctor you’ve seen personally. Also, you shouldn’t accept any medical equipment in the mail unless you or your doctor ordered it. And if you are in need of a back or any kind of brace, only use one that your doctor has prescribed to you as your doctor knows your exact needs, a company on TV does not. Lastly, always check the noticed you receive from Medicare in the mail to make sure that no one else is using your Medicare benefits.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: healthcare, , open enrollment,   

    Medicare fraudsters target seniors during Open Enrollment 

    Medicare fraudsters target seniors during Open Enrollment

    The Open Enrollment period for Medicare subscribers just opened. This is the time of year where Medicare recipients select their health insurance plans for the next benefit year. This process can be extremely stressful and confusing even for insurance industry veterans. With so many options to choose from and so many changes made each year, it can be difficult for seniors to keep up with all the necessary policies and paperwork each year. So it should come as no surprise that fraudsters will be plentiful during the Open Enrollment period.

    Once again the Better Business Bureau is warning Medicare recipients of the various scams that go around this time of year. One of these scams takes the form of receiving a phone call offering you a free back or knee brace, except you’ll have to give up a lot of personal information to receive the item. Another common scam is someone calling you and asking for your Medicare number then telling you that there is a problem with your benefits or some form of fraud has been committed with your coverage. Either way, the scammers will try to tell you that you’re in danger of losing your benefits. The calls can even appear as they’re coming from Medicare’s official phone number.

    Your Medicare plan will only call you if you’re already a member of that plan. If you feel uncomfortable taking the call, you can always call your insurance company’s customer service number back. As a general rule of thumb, you should never give your Medicare or Social Security number to anyone over the phone. Medicare and your insurance company already have your information and don’t need you to repeat it.

     
  • Geebo 8:01 am on October 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: addiction recovery, body brokers, drug rehab, healthcare, opioid crsis, patient brokers,   

    Are opioid addiction centers just a racket? 

    Are opioid addiction centers just a racket?

    If you’ve ever watched daytime TV for any length of time recently, you’ve probably seen commercials for various addiction treatment centers. They seem to make a lot of promises to get you or a loved one off of opioids thanks to the opioid crisis that has plagued our country. Many of them tout the benefits of their treatment programs over others or they try to use scare tactics to get you to use their facility. A number among them even boast their facility by the beach is what’s best for recovering addicts. While drug addiction is one of the hardest personal battles someone can fight, too many of these recovery centers are nothing more than fronts for insurance fraud.

    Many patients are being lured to these facilities with the promises of free airline tickets and money by people called ‘patient brokers’. Instead of receiving treatment, patients will receive little to no treatment while the facilities bill health insurance companies for charges that never occurred. Some patients will even be paid to relapse so the facilities can continue to commit insurance fraud. Florida was a hotspot for this kind of activity until the state passed anti-kickback laws to not only try to prevent this kind of fraud but gave investigators more authority to crack down on these facilities. Florida is just one state as many of these facilities have opened up all over the country.

    A lot of these facilities take advantage of addicts and their families because in many cases the families or patients affected are too embarrassed to go to their doctor for proper rehab recommendations. There is no shame in wanting to recover from addiction. However, if you give in to shame, you or your loved one could end up in a revolving door of addiction thanks to these facilities. That’s the best-case scenario with the worst-case scenarios being that they could end up in prison or the morgue. Like any life-changing decision, take the time to research any facility that you or someone from your family could be housed in.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , healthcare, ,   

    Insulin prices have killed again 

    Insulin prices have killed again

    Previously we’ve discussed how insulin is being priced out of the reach of many people who require the drug to keep their diabetes under control. Without proper medication, diabetes can become very dangerous very quickly. When insulin was first discovered the people who first discovered it refused to commercialize the drug claiming that it was unethical to profit from such a life-saving innovation. In the decades since that kind of altruism seems to have ceased to exist. Sadly, that loss of philanthropy has cost at least one man his life.

    A 27-year-old man from Northern Virginia suffered from Type 1 diabetes. Type 1 the type of diabetes that you’re born with as opposed to Type 2 which develops through obesity. The man in question aged out of his parents’ health insurance and the insurance from his job was limited at best. He could no longer afford the $1,200 a month inulin cost. Instead, he purchased a $25 per vial from insulin that can be bought over the counter. Unfortunately, the over the counter insulin wasn’t effective enough for the man’s Type 1 diabetes and he died from a stroke after falling into a diabetic coma.

    In a country that’s supposed to be a world leader in medicine, we’re punishing people for having illnesses that they have no control of. If they’re not having the price of their medications raised beyond reason, they’re being crippled with debt over the cost of repeated treatments. Then the public is told by politicians that while this kind of treatment is regrettable that’s just the way it is. Until the medical infrastructure in this country is overhauled, we’ll continue to suffer scores of preventable fatalities.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , healthcare, , prescription drugs   

    Will Canadian drugs reduce healthcare costs? 

    Will Canadian drugs reduce healthcare costs?

    If you’ve been following healthcare news for the past few years you’ve no doubt heard the stories of skyrocketing prescription drug costs. Whether it’s the life-saving EpiPen, alleged price-fixing between pharmaceutical manufacturers or exorbitant fees for insulin it hasn’t been the best time for consumers who rely on any kind of prescription medication. The current pharmaceutical market seems to be stifling innovation and competition for the sake of larger and larger profits while many Americans continue to go without their medication. Now the Trump Administration, of all people, is proposing a new way of reducing the cost of prescription drugs.

    President Trump is said to be drafting a proposal that would allow the U.S. to import lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada. As of right now, it’s illegal to import any drugs from foreign countries. Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders also approves of importing prescription drugs from other countries as it would increase competition and lower prices.

    As you might imagine, the pharmaceutical industry opposes this move as they feel it would undermine the safety of US patients. However, it’s not like Canada doesn’t have a world-class healthcare system. Not only that but the drugs that would be imported would be limited to only drugs that are currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The new proposal would also likely face challenges in the court as the pharmaceutical lobby does have deep pockets.

    While this new proposal would be welcome by many Americans struggling to pay for their medications, it unfortunately will not take place overnight. However, it is encouraging to see that in these trying political times that both sides of the aisle are willing to work toward a common cause that could actually benefit the American people.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: alternative medicine, cancer, dementia, , healthcare,   

    Hospitals suing patients over bills and more! 

    Hospitals suing patients over bills and more!

    Today we’re bringing you some healthcare news that could not only affect your wallet but your overall well being too.

    First up is a story from NPR about a number of non-profit hospitals that are taking their patients to court for unpaid bills. In the legal sense, these hospitals do have the right to pursue unpaid medical expenses, however, the majority of people being sued are those who are already struggling to cover expenses as it is. These are the same people who usually only seek medical help if it’s absolutely necessary or life-threatening due to the financial strain of just a routine doctor visit. This practice is said to betray the spirit of many of the early hospitals in our country. Many of those hospitals were opened by churches to provide medical treatment to anyone who needed it regardless of social status. Now, some of these hospitals are just adding to the suffering of many low-income families.

    The Washington Post brings us a report about the misleading health information that can be found on many social media outlets. The article specifically talks about many of the supposed all-natural remedies that claim to cure cancer. One woman who had posted videos on her ‘cures’ later succumbed to cancer, yet her family left the videos up believing in the power of snake oil over medicine. You’ll find this on just about all social networks with claims that everything from baking soda to essential oils, to small doses of bleach, can cure cancer. They can’t. There is no cure for cancer and it can only go into remission with treatment from medical professionals. There are diets that can help fight cancer but they can’t stop cancer alone. If you want good medical advice, turn to your doctor and not social media.

    Lastly is probably the most worrying story for today. The New York Times tells us about a study that claims the use of several well-known medications could lead to dementia in older patients. The most notable of these medications are diphenhydramine, better known as Benadryl, and the antidepressant Paxil. It needs to be mentioned that the study doesn’t claim that these medications and others like them will definitely lead to dementia, however, if you’re 55 or over and take one of the medications mentioned in the study regularly, you may want to consult with your doctor about potential risks and other treatments.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 19, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , healthcare, , Tufts Medical Center   

    Robocalls could be a health hazard! 

    Robocalls could be a health hazard!

    Yesterday, we talked about how robocalls have become such a nuisance in our day to day lives and what the government is doing to try to stop them. Normally, we wouldn’t be talking about them again so soon as we like to give our readers some variety. However, news recently came out about how robocalls could potentially put lives in danger. As we previously stated, many people have taken to ignoring most phone calls if they don’t recognize the number. But what if you weren’t able to ignore any incoming calls? That’s exactly what happened to one prominent hospital last year.

    On April 30th of 2018, Tufts Medical Center in Boston received an onslaught of robocalls to their facility. The hospital received thousands of robocalls that tied up their phone lines for hours. The calls were in Mandarin Chinese threatening deportation if the person receiving the call did not divulge their personal information. This is a common scam perpetrated on new residents of our country and Tufts happens to be in Boston’s Chinatown. As you’ve probably guessed, facilities like Tufts can’t exactly take their phones off the hook or let them go unanswered. To do so would be putting their patients’ lives in jeopardy. Now imagine a busy hospital where not only do the staff have to treat patients but also have to deal with constantly ringing phones that are nothing but scam calls.

    While there has yet to be any evidence that these robocalls to hospitals have impacted anyone’s treatment negatively, they definitely have the potential to cause enough chaos to do so. If a large hospital was responding to a major disaster and came under attack from one of these robocall outbreaks it could seriously hamper their efforts to treat gravely injured patients.

    Unfortunately, most of these robocalls come from overseas where it would be hard to track and prosecute the perpetrators. Hopefully, the government and the phone carriers can come up with a plan to put an end to robocalls once and for all before they become dangerous.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , healthcare,   

    Insulin prices are killing patients! 

    Insulin prices are killing patients!

    We think that it goes without saying that Diabetes is no joke. The metabolic disorder can affect anyone regardless of age, social status, or background. This requires the majority of diabetes patients to be on an insulin regimen for the rest of their lives. When insulin was first discovered the people who first discovered it refused to commercialize the drug claiming that it seemed unethical to profit from such a critical and life-saving drug. However, it seems like today’s pharmaceutical manufacturers have no such qualms about prioritizing profits over treatment.

    Over the past decade or so, prices of insulin have skyrocketed even though there have been no major advancements in the manufacturing process. While there are three companies that make insulin in the US, their prices aren’t what you could consider competitive as they’re all equally expensive pricing insulin out of the reach of many who need the drug to live. This has led many patients to try to ration their insulin supply which isn’t recommended. This can and has led to some patients dying from lack of insulin. This has forced many people seeking treatment to buy their insulin in Canada where not only can you buy insulin over the counter but you can buy it at a tenth of the US price.

    However, this is not a viable option for most diabetes patients. Some can hardly afford to leave their own city let alone travel to Canada. This has led to people forming ‘grey markets’ where they can buy or trade for supplies to help treat their diabetes. In what is supposed to be one of the most medically advanced countries in the world, people are dying because they can’t afford a drug that they need just to survive. Something can be done about this, however, those who control the supply refuse to do anything.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , healthcare, , , quest diagnostics   

    Giant medical lab bleeds patient information! 

    Medical lab bleeds patient information!

    If you’ve ever had a blood test at your doctor’s office that they had to send to a lab, chances are that they may have sent it to Quest Diagnostics. Quest is one of if not the largest medical testing corporation in the country. Due to the sheer amount of testing and processing that Quest does, they must have their logistics down to a T to be able to handle so many patients. However, recent events have shown that even a well-oiled machine is vulnerable to breakdown.

    Within the past few days, it’s been reported that Quest has had a patient data breach on a massive scale. According to reports, close to 12 million patients have had their personal data exposed due to a billing vendor giving unauthorized access to an unidentified person. This information is said to have included financial information such as credit card numbers, medical information, and personal information. Quest claims that the results of any testing have not been exposed but they have also notified law enforcement of the breach.

    Besides being a PR nightmare for Quest, this could end up being very costly for them as well. Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or HIPAA as it’s better known as the government could levy hefty fines against both Quest and their billing vendor for compromising such information. So far the largest HIPAA violation fine has been $5.5 million levied against a hospital that allegedly exposed over 100,000 patients’ information. With Quest and its vendor reportedly exposing the information of 12 million patients we could sadly see a new record being set.

     
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