Extra Extra : Health

Empty beds plague Illinois hospitals

Crain’s Chicago Business conducted an unprecedented examination of state records for every hospital in Illinois and found nearly 4 out of every 10 beds lying vacant. Buffeted by population shifts and changes in health insurance, the hospital industry in Illinois has far more capacity than it needs. Crain’s tells the story behind the numbers in an industry socked by drastic transformation.

California dental board cases are taking longer despite an increase in inspectors

The Dental Board of California aims to close disciplinary cases within a year and a half, but an investigation by U-T San Diego found that it actually takes the board twice as long. The delays allow for injuries and even deaths to occur.

It took the board 13 years to resolve a case involving a meth-using dentist. A review of dental board data found that it takes an average of 1,185 days to complete an investigation.

While the board has hired more investigators, delays occur when the office cannot find qualified dental experts to analyze the board's findings. 

Specialized endoscope linked to deadly superbug

The deadly pattern of illnesses began to emerge in 2012 at hospitals in Seattle, Pittsburgh, Chicago. In each case, the culprit was a bacteria known as CRE, perhaps the most feared of superbugs, because it resists even "last defense" antibiotics — and kills up to 40% of the people it infects.

And in each case, investigators identified the same source of transmission: a specialized endoscope, threaded down the throat of a half-million patients a year to treat gallstones, cancers and other disorders of the digestive system. Yet neither the scopes' manufacturers nor the Food and Drug Administration, which regulates them, have ...

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Extra Extra Roundup: Stolen weapons, wage enforcement and prison inmates

Business tangles with wage enforcement system for decades | Rocky Mountain PBS I-NEWS

More than 30 years of public records and internal documents dealing with Bradley Petroleum, one of Colorado's oldest employers, show the company has repeatedly been investigated for violating federal and state labor law, Rocky Mountain PBS I-News has found. In particular, for a pattern of suspending employees for shortages, reporting them to the police for alleged theft, and then permanently withholding the employee's final check despite a lack of evidence of any wrongdoing

 

No new conviction, but sent back to prison | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

More than ...

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300,000 Oregonians depend on an addiction treatment system that’s broken

More than 300,000 people go untreated for alcohol or drug abuse in a state that has little knowledge about the effectiveness of its treatment clinics, The Oregonian found.

The paper spent months reviewing government records and interviewing officials and recovering addicts in Oregon. It found that while treatment clinics frequently report patient statistics to the state’s Addictions and Mental Health Services Division, the agency never uses the data.

The Oregonian looked at the numbers and found abysmal success rates. The ineffectual system costs nearly $6 billion a year, the paper found.

Some non-profit mental health providers spend heavily on administrative costs despite service cuts

Despite a decline in public funding, many non-profit mental health agencies have continued to hand out six-figure salaries and bonus-and-incentive packages.

The Arizona Republic reviewed financial records for 28 non-profit mental health providers and their clients and found that administrative costs at these underfunded agencies have climbed while services dwindle. Families said they have been denied services or waited months to get them because of the cuts in funding.

Extra Extra Monday: Prenatal screening tests, prison labor programs and nonprofit donations

Oversold and misunderstood: Prenatal screening tests prompt abortions | The New England Center for Investigative Reporting

Sparked by the sequencing of the human genome a decade ago, a new generation of prenatal screening tests, including MaterniT21, has exploded onto the market in the past three years. The unregulated screens claim to detect with near-perfect accuracy the risk that a fetus may have Down or Edwards syndromes, and a growing list of other chromosomal abnormalities.

But a three-month examination by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting has found that companies are overselling the accuracy of their tests and doing little to ...

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Extra Extra Monday: Drug-addicted nurses, police shootings and lottery winners

Addicted nurses steal patients’ drugs | The News Leader (Staunton, VA)

A statewide investigation by The News Leader found about 900 nurses publicly disciplined by the licensing board from 2007 to mid-2013 for drug theft and use at work.

Across Virginia, scores of patients in pain during the last decade were denied necessary medication because a nurse was stealing it.

 

In 179 fatalities involving on-duty NYPD cops in 15 years, only 3 cases led to indictments — and just 1 conviction | New York Daily News

A Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to indict white NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo for the ...

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Extra Extra Monday: Baby boomers, school shootings and health licensing boards

Review shows health licensing boards voted improperly | The Boston Globe

Four Massachusetts health licensing boards met nearly three dozen times over five years without enough members present, casting a legal cloud over numerous votes on disciplinary proceedings, license applications, and investigations, according to an internal audit by the Department of Public Health.

The review, which confirms concerns first raised by the Globe a year ago, found the boards of pharmacy, physician assistants, dentistry, and perfusionists (who operate heart-lung machines during surgery) held 465 votes without a quorum from January 2008 to May 2013. Two observers said they were shocked by ...

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Wounded soldiers allege mistreatment in the Army’s Warrior Transition Units

Hundreds of current and former soldiers based in Texas have filed complaints over the last five years about the Army’s Warrior Transition Units, which were set up to serve soldiers with physical and psychological wounds.

The Dallas Morning News and KXAS-TV used the records, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, to describe and examine "an often challenging regimen of medical treatment and a military culture of order and discipline."

Many of the complaints involve soldiers describing harassment and mistreatment at the WTUs.