Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "Medicare" ...

  • The Cost of Healing

    “The Cost of Healing” examines how Medicare, in setting prices and coverage standards for healthcare, makes billion-dollar mistakes that affect every patient in the nation. While many patients may prefer to think that doctors and hospitals focus solely on their health, the series illustrates how economic incentives comes to bear and how the Medicare program has been tailored to keep money flowing to doctors, hospitals and drug-makers. Based on computer analyses of millions of government health records, documents obtained from sources and other reporting, it shows: that at some hospices, as many as half of patients are released alive, because patients that aren’t actually dying are more profitable; that doctors are choosing a $2000-per-dose eye drug when a nearly identical equivalent is available for $50-per-dose, at an annual cost to Medicare of $1 billion; that the spike in spinal fusion surgery is driven in part by profit-seeking and that many of the surgeries were performed on patients who didn’t need it; that the prices that Medicare sets for doctor’s fees, and which have become the national standard, are based on the recommendations of a secretive AMA committee that used flawed assumptions for how long a procedure takes.
  • The Prescribers

    We found that Medicare’s massive prescription drug program, in its drive to get drugs into patients' hands, failed to properly monitor safety. An analysis of four years of Medicare prescription records shows that some doctors and other health professionals across the country prescribed large quantities of drugs that were potentially harmful, disorienting or addictive. One Florida doctor gave hundreds of dementia patients antipsychotic medications despite a black box warning that it increases the risk of death. And more than half the top prescribers of Oxycontin, the most-abused painkiller, faced criminal charges or discipline against their professional licenses, or had been terminated from state Medicaid programs -- but retained their ability to prescribe in Medicare. Federal officials have done little to detect or deter these hazardous prescribing patterns. A subsequent story found that many of the top prescribers of highly advertised drugs within Medicare’s drug program had financial ties to the makers of the drugs. We also built an interactive news application that lets consumers to look up their physicians and see how their prescribing patterns compare to those of their peers. The news application, which has had more than 800,000 page views, allows users to personalize the story for themselves and see their personal stake in this national story.
  • The Town that Medicare Built

    The waste and scams involving the Medicare system - taxpayer-paid health care for seniors - are estimated to be in the tens of billions of dollars. So the ABC News Investigative Team took their undercover cameras and a producer's 82 year-old grandmother to one of the major hotbeds of Medicare fraud in the country to see firsthand how it can happen. The result was a fascinating glimpse into a world that had, until then, been relegated to government statistics and press releases. Viewers saw how a simple trip to the doctor's office can result in a diagnosis for illnesses that don't exist and expensive treatments that are not needed, all at the expense of taxpayers.
  • Cracking the Codes

    Cracking the Codes documented how thousands of medical professionals have steadily billed Medicare for more complex and costly health care over the past decade – adding $11 billion or more to their fees – despite little evidence elderly patients required more treatment. The series also uncovered a broad range of costly billing errors and abuses that have plagued Medicare for years – from confusion over how to pick proper payment codes to apparent overcharges in medical offices and hospital emergency rooms. The findings strongly suggest these problems, known as “upcoding,” are worsening amid lax federal oversight and the government-sponsored switch from paper to electronic medical records.
  • Health Care Hustle

    It is one of the biggest and most overlooked factors in the rising cost of health care. According to government estimates, fraud in programs like Medicare and Medicaid costs taxpayers $80 billion a year, with some estimates as high as twice that amount. Doctors, pharmacists, home health care providers, and even patients are hustling the system. Who's paying the tab? You Are.
  • Cracking the Codes

    The story documents how thousands of medical professionals have steadily billed Medicare for more complex and costly health acre over the psat decade -- adding $11 billion or more to their fees -- despite little evidence elderly patients required more treatment.
  • Are EMS Companies Taking Medicare For A Ride?

    The Houston Chronicle published stories detailing how Houston was the nation's private ambulance capital and how it was connected to questionable Medicare payments and unregulated for-profit mental health clinics.
  • Home Health Care Fraud

    Exposing how the health care company Maxim Healthcare overbilled their patients, costing the U.S. taxpayers thousands of dollars. Through a whistleblower prosecutors were able to build a case against the firm, resulting in the largest home health care fraud fine ever.
  • Decoding Prime

    "This series investigates how a major California hospital chain boosts it's bottom line through aggressive billing practices"
  • Bankers Life and Casualty

    Bankers Life & Casualty is a 100-year old insurance company based in Chicago that prides itself on serving hte senior citizen community. But Inside Edition exposed a major financial scheme that propted a Senate investigation.