Sunday, May 28, 2017

What your doctor won’t disclose

What happened when Dr. Leana Wen started a website where doctors could reveal their conflicts of interest? Dr. Wen tells us in a TED Talk.

What your doctor won’t disclose
Leana Wen
TED Talk
Nov 2014

They told me that I'm a traitor to my own profession, that I should be fired, have my medical license taken away, that I should go back to my own country. My email got hacked. In a discussion forum for other doctors, someone took credit for "Twitter-bombing" my account. Now, I didn't know if this was a good or bad thing, but then came the response: "Too bad it wasn't a real bomb."...

Read more (or watch video): What your doctor won’t disclose

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Partners, Brigham pay $10M to settle research fraud probe

Partners, Brigham pay $10M to settle research fraud probe

Partners Healthcare and Brigham and Women’s have agreed to pay $10 million to settle allegations by the federal government that a group of former stem cell researchers at the hospital falsified data to win grant funding from the NIH.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston announced the settlement, which stems from grant applications submitted by a stem cell research lab run by former Harvard Medical School professor Piero Anversa.

According to the government, Anversa and two other researchers, Annarosa Leri and Jan Kajstura, used “manipulated and falsified information” to obtain funding to study whether stem cells can repair cardiovascular damage. The data was published in a 2012 issue of the journal Circulation, but the study was later withdrawn amid allegations that it had been partially fabricated.

Anversa and Leri sued Brigham in 2014, saying the hospital's investigation into their alleged conduct was flawed and marred by conflicts of interest. A judge dismissed that case in 2015.

On Thursday, prosecutors credited Brigham with voluntarily disclosing the possible fraud to the government, and noted that the scientists are no longer affiliated with the hospital.

“Individuals and institutions that receive research funding from NIH have an obligation to conduct their research honestly and not to alter results to conform with unproven hypotheses,” Acting U.S. Attorney William Weinreb said in a statement. “Medical research fraud not only wastes scarce government resources but also undermines the scientific process and the search for better treatments for serious diseases.”

In a statement, a Brigham spokesperson said the hospital ceased drawing funds implicated in the alleged fraud when the claims came to light, and also closed the lab.

"BWH is committed to ensuring that research conducted at the institution is done under the most rigorous scientific standards, and has made significant enhancements to research integrity compliance protocols as a result of this event," the spokesperson said.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Why does the Health Care Industry give so much money to Brian Maienschein?

Sacramento Report: Maienschein’s Mammoth Campaign Cash Haul 
By Sara Libby
Oct 14, 2016

 Assemblyman Brian Maienschein has more campaign cash for his re-election bid than almost any other state lawmaker in California. He’s racked up 441 donations adding up to $692,002, according to recent filings, and has a whopping $1.22 million cash on hand – second only to the speaker of the Assembly.

Todd Gloria, for comparison, is running to represent the Assembly district next door and reported $277,617 on hand.

 Maienschein’s robust fundraising is made all the more unusual because the district he represents, which encompasses Poway, Rancho Santa Fe and the northeastern communities of San Diego, is not considered especially competitive.

Mainschein has defeated his challenger in the last two general elections by over 40 points. He finished first in the June primary by 15 points over Democrat Melinda Vasquez.

It’s possible that Maienschien is stockpiling funds for a run at higher office that requires a bigger spend. Candidates can roll over any excess money that they have at the end of the campaign into the next cycle, and 2020 will be a big year for down-ticket Republicans who usually see electoral gains in presidential election off-years. Perhaps most importantly, in 2020, Republican Sen. Joel Anderson has said he plans to vacate his seat to run for the County Board of Supervisors. Anderson’s district overlaps considerably with Maienschein’s, which would make it a natural target.

 Many of the campaign donations Maienschein’s received come from the health care industry. Of the companies that donated, $228,024.50 came from the health care industry (broadly defined to include insurance companies, pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, and occupational political action committees.) In his time in the Assembly, Maienschein has championed legislation amenable to this cluster of industries, putting forward a number of measures related to health care and mental health facilities in the 2015-2016 legislative session. Health care and life sciences comprise a major portion of the regional economy, bringing more than $38 billion into the region 2014 in wages alone...

Monday, July 11, 2016

Will Kaiser Foundation Health Plan lawsuit against its own investigator reveal more than Kaiser would like?

I'm guessing Quinn told Kaiser what they wanted to hear so they didn't ask questions. I wonder how many Kaiser members were denied health care on the basis of this man's information? How much money did he save Kaiser? I imagine that what Quinn charged Kaiser was a small fraction of the large amount of money he helped Kaiser avoid paying. Will Kaiser reopen those cases and give back to members all such amounts?

Kaiser Foundation Health Plan is not a subsidiary. It's the heart and soul of Kaiser Permanente. It makes about 8 billion tax-free dollars a year. Denying care is a major part of its business plan.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A subsidiary of health care giant Kaiser Permanente has filed a lawsuit in California accusing an employee responsible for investigating insurance fraud claims of embezzling $7 million, a newspaper reported.

The suit by Kaiser Foundation Health Plan accuses Michael Albert Quinn of submitting invoices for investigative services that were not performed or were not justified over a 16-year span after he joined the company in 1998, the San Francisco Chronicle reported ( on Sunday.

Quinn, 45, was responsible for hiring investigators to conduct surveillance on people who were suspected of filing fraudulent claims, He was authorized to approve charges up to $50,000.
The newspaper said Quinn was fired in 2014. Kaiser filed the lawsuit last year...

See more HERE.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

No lateral moves allowed between health systems: an illegal conspiracy in North Carolina--or the future of medicine that UCSD is aggressively seeking in California?

Is this the future in California if UCSD wins its poaching lawsuit against Dr. Paul Aisen regarding Aisen's decision to transfer his Alzheimer's study to USC? Is it unlawful restraint of trade? Science magazine reports on what happens when health systems collude to stop their employees from moving to other institutions.
“[L]ateral moves of faculty between Duke and UNC are not permitted.”
–UNC's chief of cardiothoracic imaging

An academic 'poaching' lawsuit from a scientist who didn’t move
By Beryl Lieff Benderly
September 10, 2015

In August, we reported on the lawsuit brought by the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), against the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, in an effort to stop USC’s alleged attempt to bring a multimillion-dollar Alzheimer’s disease research project along with its new recruit, neuroscientist Paul Aisen, from UCSD to USC. We noted that though some observers view universities’ efforts to bring major researchers to their campuses from elsewhere as effective recruiting, others see it as harmful poaching.

In North Carolina, meanwhile, another scientist’s effort to move from Duke University in Durham to the University of North Carolina (UNC), Chapel Hill, has also resulted in a lawsuit, but for an entirely different reason. Danielle Seaman, an assistant professor of radiology at Duke, claims that “an illegal conspiracy” among Duke, UNC, and the two universities’ health systems not to raid each other’s talent barred her from consideration for an advertised opening at UNC, according to the complaint filed with the court.

Allegedly, the institutions’ goal was to “suppress the compensation of their employees,” according to the complaint. “Without the knowledge or consent of their employees, [Duke’s] senior administrators and deans entered into express agreements [with UNC] to eliminate or reduce competition … for skilled medical labor” by not “hir[ing] or attempt[ing] to hire” from each other. This deal, the complaint argues, constitutes an unlawful restraint of trade...

Read more here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Director of Oregon health care group arrested for sexual assault of dog

Director of Oregon health care group arrested for sexual assault of dog

John Williams Ryan

The executive director of a Bend, Oregon health care organization was arrested on Monday on suspicion of sexual abuse in the first degree, sodomy in the first degree, and sexual assault of a dog.
The Bend Bulletin reported today that John Williams Ryan, 47, was arrested after police investigated a co-defendant, Casie Lynn Nelson, 29, who was arrested on Tuesday. According to investigators, the catalyst behind the arrests was the couple's (still unspecified) illegal computer activity.
Oregon State is particularly strong in its animal welfare laws. According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Oregon ranked #2 for cracking down on animal abuse in 2013.
In 2014, Oregon's Supreme Court ruled that nonhuman animals can be victims - just like humans can. The landmark ruling, which afforded animals the same basic protection as humans, should enable authorities to help animals in need without obtaining a warrant.
Under Oregon State Law 167.333, sexual assault of an animal is a Class A misdemeanor.
Ryan was placed on leave from his position after his arrest by McMinnville Police detectives. RyanThe organization that Ryan directed, which is comprised of 600 providers and physicians, is currently being helmed by interim executive director Stephen Mann, who stated simply:
Effective Monday, February 23rd, COIPA Executive Director, John Ryan, was placed on administrative leave due to events unrelated to Central Oregon IPA."
According to the Yamhill County jail, Ryan was being held in lieu of $517,000 bail yesterday. Nelson is also in Yamhill County jail, in lieu of $142,500 bail.
McMinnville Police Capt. Dennis Marks stated that the Oregon Department of Justice, McMinnville Police Department, and Bend Police Department are all investigating this case. Updates to this story will be posted as they occur.
...You can also follow along on Facebook and Twitter!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Kaiser forces delay for heart attack patients when every minute counts

Delays in Important Treatment?

Paramedics are supposed to take heart attack patients to the closest, medically appropriate, hospital. But, NBC7 Investigates found this is not always happening.

If you're having a heart attack, cardiologists say getting to the right hospital within 90 minutes is key for survival.
“If you are able to open that artery within 90 minutes, the chances of that patient having a good outcome is excellent,” interventional cardiologist Dr. Vimal Nanavati said.
If you're having the most serious kind of heart attack, called an ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), where your heart artery is completely blocked, getting to a STEMI receiving center is critical.
“Every minute counts,” said Nanavati.
Thirteen San Diego County hospitals have STEMI receiving centers with catheterization labs that can unclog the blocked arteries in a patient's heart.
Robert Quittner has been a paramedic for over 10 years with San Diego Rural/Metro. He said a contractual agreement between two local hospitals is making him question the profession he loves.
"We became paramedics to take care of people," he said. "We're delaying their care. We're causing more damage to the heart."
Quittner is referring to a 30-year cardiovascular partnership between Kaiser Hospital in Grantville and Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla.
Kaiser Hospital does not have a STEMI receiving center, so its STEMI patients are transported to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla for treatment.
Seven of the county's 13 STEMI receiving centers are closer to Kaiser Hospital than Scripps La Jolla, including Scripps Mercy, Alvarado, Sharp Memorial and UCSD Medical Center. Naval Medical Center is also included in the 13 facilities and has a STEMI receiving center...

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