Health

The Two-Way
2:14 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Top VA Health Official Resigns Amid Scandal Over Treatment Delays

Veterans Affairs Undersecretary Robert Petzel testifies Thursday on Capitol Hill. Petzel tendered his resignation from the VA on Friday.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 4:49 pm

This post was updated at 5:45 p.m. ET.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki says he has accepted the resignation of the department's undersecretary for health, a day after both men testified before Congress about a growing controversy over delays in treatment.

"Today, I accepted the resignation of Dr. Robert Petzel, undersecretary for health in the Department of Veterans Affairs," Shinseki said in a statement cited by Reuters.

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:25 am
Fri May 16, 2014

When Numbers Bleed, Freeze, Starve And Die On A Battlefield: The Dark Poetry Of Data

Roger Viollet Collection Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 3:43 pm

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Shots - Health News
11:02 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Medicare Eases Restrictions On Pricey Hepatitis C Treatment

Walter Bianco's liver is severely damaged by hepatitis C, but insurers had refused to pay for the medications that could cure him.
Alexandra Olgin for NPR

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 12:27 pm

Federal Medicare officials are embracing medical guidelines for the treatment of hepatitis C that could result in tens of thousands of older Americans getting access to expensive new drugs that can cure the deadly infection.

This policy change would pay for treatment with a combination of new, expensive drugs for patients who haven't responded to older treatment regimens and are approaching or have cirrhosis of the liver.

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NPR Story
3:58 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Propublica: Doctors Overcharge Medicare For Office Visit

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 11:07 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep. Medicare pays for more than 200 million office visits each year. Most visits require only a modest amount of time and expertise. But a new investigation by the nonprofit news organization ProPublica suggests that hundreds of health professionals are overcharging Medicare for office visits. ProPublica senior reporter Charles Ornstein tells us what he found.

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Shots - Health News
2:44 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Corruption In Ukraine Robs HIV Patients Of Crucial Medicine

The mask of this Kiev protester (at a 2012 demonstration demanding more funding for HIV treatment) reads "quarantine." There are enough drugs to treat only half the HIV patients in Ukraine.
Sergei Supinsky AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 11:07 am

I recently took a Ukrainian taxi from the airport to my hotel. The fare should have been $20. The cab driver was adamant that I pay $30. When I finally paid him $30, the driver gave me a receipt with a wink. He'd made it out for $40.

The driver got a cut by overcharging me, and assumed that I would take a cut by overcharging NPR (which I did not).

In Ukraine, corruption is a daily fact of life. It reaches into big business, law enforcement, education and even the smallest transactions between people on the street.

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The Two-Way
6:59 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Minnesota's Legislature OKs Medical Marijuana

Minnesota has approved the sale and use of medical marijuana and Gov. Mark Dayton has said he will sign the legislation.

The state is poised to become the 22nd to legalize the drug for medical purposes.

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Shots - Health News
3:37 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Medicare Backs Down On Denying Treatment For Hepatitis Patient

Walter Bianco's liver is severely damaged by hepatitis C, but insurers had refused to pay for the medications that could cure him.
Alexandra Olgin for NPR

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 11:07 am

Walter Bianco, an Arizona man denied access to new drugs to cure his hepatitis C infection, will get the costly medications after all.

After NPR and Kaiser Health News reported his plight on Monday, federal Medicare officials said they would investigate. Bianco's appeal of an earlier denial had been rejected by WellCare, a private insurer that contracts with the federal program to provide drug coverage.

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Shots - Health News
1:18 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Medicine Needs More Research On Female Animals, NIH Says

Sex can matter, whether you're looking at drug side effects, the response to treatment, or the progression of a disease.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 2:22 pm

Many potential new drugs look like they could be big winners — at least when judged by how well they work in mice or other lab animals. Over the years, there have been a number of promising cancer "cures," possible Alzheimer's treatments, and candidate drugs for holding back the ravages of various degenerative diseases.

But, time after time, these great promises fade away once the potential treatments are tried in people. There are lots of reasons for that. Humans aren't rodents, for starters.

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Shots - Health News
11:15 am
Thu May 15, 2014

For Some Doctors, Almost All Medicare Patients Are Above Average

Tom Hoyle ProPublica

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 8:47 am

Office visits are the bread and butter of many physicians' practices. Medicare pays for more than 200 million of them a year, often to deal with routine problems like colds or high blood pressure. Most require relatively modest amounts of a doctor's time or medical know-how.

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Around the Nation
10:34 am
Thu May 15, 2014

The Pact That Turned A Juvenile Delinquent Into A Medical Doctor

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 11:37 am

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Our friends at All Things Considered have been collecting stories of moments when people's careers took off. It's called My Big Break.

They recently spoke to Dr. Sampson Davis who grew up in the rough parts of Newark, N.J. He talked about how doing a stint in juvie put his life in perspective.

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