Posts Tagged ‘Healthcare’

Opioid lawsuit targets rich family behind drug that fueled US crisis Sackler family, which owns Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, accused of fueling addiction while boosting profits

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The Guardian:
Joanna Walters and agencies
Tue 12 Jun 2018

 

The prescription painkiller OxyContin at a pharmacy. The lawsuit takes the unusual step of personally naming the company executives.
The prescription painkiller OxyContin at a pharmacy. The lawsuit takes the unusual step of personally naming the company executives.

 

The state of Massachusetts on Tuesday sued the maker of the prescription painkiller OxyContin, which has been blamed for spawning America’s opioids crisis, naming leading executives and members of the multibillionaire Sackler family that owns the pharmaceutical company.

The lawsuit accuses the company, Purdue Pharma, of spinning a “web of illegal deceit” to fuel the deadly drug abuse crisis while boosting profits.

Their strategy was simple: the more drugs they sold, the more money they made, and the more people died
Maura Healey, state attorney general
Purdue Pharma is already defending lawsuits from several states and local governments, but Massachusetts is the first state to take the unusual step of personally naming the company’s executives in a complaint, the state attorney general, Maura Healey, said. It names 16 current and former executives and board members, including the chief executive, Craig Landau, and eight members across three generations of the Sackler family that wholly owns Purdue.

The lawsuit alleges Purdue deceived patients and doctors about the risks of opioids, pushed prescribers to keep patients on the drugs longer and aggressively targeted vulnerable populations, such as the elderly and veterans.

“Their strategy was simple: the more drugs they sold, the more money they made, and the more people died,” Healey said on Tuesday.

Purdue, based in Stamford, Connecticut, issued a statement saying it vigorously denied all the allegations and looked forward to presenting “substantial defenses” to the claims in the lawsuit.

“We share the attorney general’s concern about the opioid crisis. We are disappointed, however, that in the midst of good faith negotiations with many states, the commonwealth [of Massachusetts] has decided to pursue a costly and protracted litigation process. We will continue to work collaboratively with the states toward bringing meaningful solutions,” it stated.

Maura Healey, the Massachusetts attorney general, has sued the maker of OxyContin over the deadly opioid crisis.
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Maura Healey, the Massachusetts attorney general, has sued the maker of OxyContin over the deadly opioid crisis.

 

Purdue, along with some other painkiller makers and drug distributors, is currently facing more than 300 lawsuits from city and county authorities across the country. The lawsuits have been corralled into one multi-district case in a federal court in Ohio. The judge in that case has been pushing for a huge, quick settlement to compensate victims and assist in what the government has admitted is a public health crisis, in the way the so-called “Big Tobacco settlement” happened against cigarette companies in the 1990s. But some experts are calling for the case to go to trial in order to oblige the pharmaceutical companies to produce more evidence in the discovery process.

 

 

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PTSDuk.org: 10 unexpected physical symptoms of PTSD

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Cortisol is a vital element in our bodies as it converts proteins into usable energy – it’s what gets us out of bed in the morning, and it’s also used by our bodies for balancing insulin effects to maintain normal sugar levels, regulating the bodies immune system, and regulating blood pressure.
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Produced in the adrenal cortex, cortisol plays a big role is the body’s stress response by shutting down unnecessary functions like reproduction and the immune system, in order to allow the body to direct all energies toward dealing with the stress at hand. These functions of cortisol are supposed to be short-lived, just long enough to deal with the offending stressor.
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Unfortunately, with PTSD, quite often the stressors remain, and so do the deranged levels of cortisol. Individuals with PTSD almost always have altered cortisol levels, yet the impairments have been shown to be too high in some individuals, and too low in others.
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A prolonged exposure to these increased hormones can cause some unexpected, and very inconvenient problems.
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You’ll scar more easily
Your body’s stress response draws water away from your outer layers of skin, possibly as a way to keep hydrated in an emergency situation. This results in a reduced ability for your skin to repair and regenerate itself. This is also a reason why you may find you have very dry skin.
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Your ears may ring
FMRI scans undertaken for a study at Swedens Karolinska Insitute showed that the limbic part of your brain moves into overdrive when you experience ringing in your ears – this is the same element of your brain that handles stress regulation and has shown to be affected in PTSD sufferers.
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Ordinarily, the ear sends a stream of nerve impulses to the brain which are interpreted as sound. The stressors from PTSD can trigger the ear to send an abnormal stream of impulses which the brain interprets as a ringing in the ears.
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You might gain weight – particularly around your stomach
Cortisol has a direct influence of the storage of fats and weight gain in individuals who are going through stress. High cortisol levels are closely linked to excessive eating, a high craving for sugary and fatty foods and the relocation of fat to the stomach area (visceral fat). Infact, fat cells in the stomach have four times more cortisol receptors compared to fat cells elsewhere. One PTSD sufferer who began going to the gym commented, ‘I was signed off work with PTSD, and I’d go to the gym almost every day (not like me at all) – over a 4 month period I lost 1 pound – loosing weight was almost impossible’.
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Your Digestion may change
PTSD can trigger the release of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) which can have a massive affect on your intestinal function – its thought that just like animals, if you remove any excess weight from your system, it will allow you to flee any dangerous situation quicker.
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Cortisol also serves as an antidiuretic and causes the body to retain sodium which can cause high blood pressure, decreased blood flow to some of our organs, and sodium and water retention.
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In addition to this, cortisol can be responsible for bloating, gas, indigestion, heartburn, acid reflux and other irritable bowel problems. Excess cortisol erodes the lining of your digestive tract via inflammation, and increased cortisol also inhibits your stomach from digesting foods properly.
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Continued in responses>>>>>>>>

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Vet Who Sought VA Help Was Told To Come Back In 3 Months. He Killed Himself Instead.

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A veteran who had sought help from a Department of Veterans Affairs clinic in New Jersey killed himself in front of the building after his mental health needs were neglected, an investigation has found.

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In a report released Wednesday by the VA’s Office of Inspector General, investigators determined that Charles Ingram III, a 51-year-old veteran who fought in the Gulf War, died by suicide last year after receiving inadequate care from the clinic. Missteps by the facility included a lack of communication between the patient and medical professionals and a lack of proper followup. Perhaps the most egregious incident was when Ingram, trying to schedule an appointment, was told he couldn’t be seen for more than three months.

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Ingram ultimately took his own life in March 2016 by setting himself on fire in front of the clinic, shortly before his scheduled appointment.

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The investigation came at the request of New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker (D), Sen. Robert Menendez (D) and Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R), who wanted the inspector general to “assess concerns that a patient’s insufficient access to timely mental health care may have contributed to the patient’s suicide.”

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Ingram, a seven-year veteran of the U.S. Navy, had been going to the Atlantic County Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Northfield for several years, primarily to treat obsessive compulsive disorder. In late 2015, he was told it would be more than three months before he could get another appointment with a mental health professional. He had not been seen by a medical health professional for 11 months prior to his death, according to the report.

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Investigators also found that clinic staffers “failed to follow up on clinic cancellations, patient no-shows, and appointments for approved care in the community, leaving the patient without follow-up appointments and refills for prescribed medications.”

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Across the country, VA programs suffer from delayed provision of health care and backlogged disability claims. As recently as March, photos showed a man lying on the waiting room floor at a veterans hospital in North Carolina. Another waiting veteran was slouched over in a wheelchair, shaking with pain. The photos prompted an internal investigation.

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Prior to Ingram’s death, both family members and psychologists who had spoken to him did not think he was suicidal. During appointments from 2014 to 2015 with a psychologist, “it was noted he denied suicidal thoughts or ideas,” according to the investigation.

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But while Ingram waited for his next appointment, he was “facing serious life stressors including a divorce and the loss of his job,” the report states. During this time, investigators said, Ingram did not try to contact VA staff to get an earlier appointment.

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The veteran had also told family that staff at the clinic “did not return calls and were rude,” but investigators said they found no evidence of complaints filed with the facility.

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Approximately 12 percent of Gulf War veterans have post-traumatic stress disorder in a given year, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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The inspector general’s office said schedulers at the New Jersey clinic have received more training, along with new supervisors and managers.

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Poverty’s most insidious damage is to a child’s brain

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Low-income children have irregular brain development and lower standardized test scores, with as much as an estimated 20 percent gap in achievement explained by developmental lags in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain.
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Date: July 20, 2015. Source: Washington University in St. Louis:
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An alarming 22 percent of U.S. children live in poverty, which can have long-lasting negative consequences on brain development, emotional health and academic achievement. A new study, published July 20 in JAMA Pediatrics, provides even more compelling evidence that growing up in poverty has detrimental effects on the brain.
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In an accompanying editorial, child psychiatrist Joan L. Luby, MD, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, writes that “early childhood interventions to support a nurturing environment for these children must now become our top public health priority for the good of all.”
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In her own research in young children living in poverty, Luby and her colleagues have identified changes in the brain’s architecture that can lead to lifelong problems with depression, learning difficulties and limitations in the ability to cope with stress.
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However, her work also shows that parents who are nurturing can offset some of the negative effects on brain anatomy seen in poor children. The findings suggest that teaching nurturing skills to parents — particularly those who live below the poverty line — may provide a lifetime of benefit for children.
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“Our research has shown that the effects of poverty on the developing brain, particularly in the hippocampus, are strongly influenced by parenting and life stresses experienced by the children,” said Luby, the Samuel and Mae S. Ludwig Professor of Child Psychiatry and director of Washington University’s Early Emotional Development Program.
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The study in JAMA Pediatrics, by a team of researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, found that low-income children had irregular brain development and lower standardized test scores, with as much as an estimated 20 percent gap in achievement explained by developmental lags in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain.
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“In developmental science and medicine, it is not often that the cause and solution of a public health problem become so clearly elucidated,” Luby wrote in the editorial. “It is even less common that feasible and cost-effective solutions to such problems are discovered and within reach.”
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Based on this new research and what already is known about the damaging effects of poverty on brain development in children, as well as the benefits of nurturing during early childhood, “we have a rare roadmap to preserving and supporting our society’s most important legacy, the developing brain,” Luby writes. “This unassailable body of evidence taken as a whole is now actionable for public policy.”
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Hospitals do not want this to get out,,,, they make people suffer for greed, money, corporation!!!

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NPR: part two;
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“They’re Greedy’

Back in 2005, Keith Herie was working as a truck driver making about $30,000 a year. His wife, Kathleen, was a stay-at-home mom with their two kids. The couple says they couldn’t afford health insurance and Keith’s employer didn’t offer it.

But sometimes you have to go to the hospital anyway. That’s what happened when Kathleen doubled over with a burst appendix and needed an emergency operation. “I felt sharp pains, I was vomiting, I was running a fever,” she says. “It was bad.”

That operation meant upwards of $14,000 in medical bills. It was a staggering debt for the Heries. They say the hospital told them they could apply for financial aid, but when he went to inquire about that, Keith says, “they basically told me I made too much.”

Just a few months after the operation, the hospital expanded its charity care policy. The Heries, given their income, would have qualified under the new policy. But the hospital didn’t make the change retroactive.

In 2006, the hospital sued the Heries and got a court judgment against them for the full bill plus legal fees — more than $18,000 in total. Ever since, the hospital has been taking 10 percent out of Keith Herie’s paychecks.

He says that has also hurt his credit score. “Where I should be making a $250-a-month car payment, I’m making $368 in payments,” he says. Likewise, the mar on his credit has prevented him from refinancing his mortgage to take advantage of lower interest rates. “It affects everything,” Keith says.

To make some more money, Kathleen Herie got a low-wage retail job at Sam’s Club. But then Heartland hospital began seizing 25 percent of her paychecks after taxes — meaning both she and her husband were now getting their pay docked at the maximum level allowed under state and federal law. On top of that, the hospital placed a lien against their home — which also prevents them from refinancing. According to a Heartland operations memo, this is done in all cases in which the company has won a judgment exceeding $1,000.

They’re greedy,” Kathleen says. “I owe more in interest on those bills than I do the bill alone.”

Court records show that the couple has now paid more than $15,000 on this debt. But because the hospital has been charging them 9 percent interest on that large bill for going on 10 years now, the interest has added up — so the couple still owes $10,000 more.

“It’s like a never-never plan,” Keith says. “You’re never going to get rid of it and you’re never going to get ahead of it.”

Is Seizing Wages Worth The Effort For Hospitals?

As far as the hospital’s finances go — it’s doing well. Heartland made $605 million in gross revenues last year, and $45 million of that was profit. “We’ve been very successful in terms of being profitable and being a good community asset,” says Tama Wagner, chief brand officer for Heartland.

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NPR: … .When Nonprofit Hospitals Sue Their Poorest Patients

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On the eastern edge of St. Joseph, Mo., lies the small city’s only hospital, a landmark of modern brick and glass buildings. Everyone in town knows Heartland Regional Medical Center — many residents gave birth to their children here. Many rush here when they get hurt or sick.

And there’s another reason everyone knows this place: Thousands of people around St. Joseph have been sued by the hospital and had their wages seized to pay for medical bills. Some of them, given their income, could have qualified to get their bill forgiven entirely — but the hospital seized their wages anyway.

Nonprofit hospitals get huge tax breaks — they are considered charities and therefore don’t pay federal or state income tax or local property tax. In exchange, they are obligated to provide financial assistance or “charity care” to lower-income patients.

Some nonprofit hospitals around the country don’t ever seize their patients’ wages. Some do so only in very rare cases. But others sue hundreds of patients every year. Heartland, which is in the process of changing its name to Mosaic Life Care, seizes more money from patients than any other hospital in Missouri. From 2009 through 2013, the hospital’s debt collection arm garnished the wages of about 6,000 people, according to a ProPublica analysis of state court data.

After the hospital wins a judgment against a former patient in court, it’s entitled to take a hefty portion of the patient’s paychecks going forward: 25 percent of after-tax pay. For patients who are the head of household, if they tell the hospital or court that information, the hospital can seize only 10 percent of each paycheck.

But Heartland, through the debt collection company Northwest Financial Services, often sues both adults in a household — garnishing one at the 10 percent rate and the other at the full 25 percent of their pay. The hospital also charges patients 9 percent interest, the maximum allowed under state law.
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The Grinch visited my household last night!!,

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Three days before Christmas, after five at night, a process server knocked on our door. The hospital was serving a garnishment claim from an emergency room, ICU visit.

Let me ask your opinion on the way our hospitals are treating us. What is the rationale in this example.

A single mom with three kids under six has to quit her career, her job because of garnishments from the local hospital.

She can not afford to pay the babysitter with what is left of her check. How do you pay rent or buy food? Does illness sentence us to poverty. A family to homelessness?

Does a family deserve annihilation because of illness?

Are these doctors and hospitals healers?

A recent front page article, detailed how the corporately owned hospital made record profits.

An illness these days can destroy not only you but your whole family.

With excellent insurance, I am still making payments for my Guillian Beret illness, ICU stay from two full years ago.

Deductibles can run over $10,000 now.
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