Health care watchdogs
Examining the medical establishment
|San Diego Education Report
|San Diego Education Report
Gary Schwitzer has specialized in health care journalism in his 40-year career in
radio, television, interactive multimedia and the Internet.
He is publisher of the website HealthNewsReview.org. He led a team of more than two
dozen people who graded daily health news reporting by major U.S. news
organizations each day from 2006-2013. In its first year, the project was honored with
several journalism industry awards – the Mirror Award, honoring those who “hold a
mirror to their own industry for the public’s benefit,” and the Knight-Batten Award for
Innovations in Journalism. His blog – which is embedded within HealthNewsReview.org
– was voted 2009 Best Medical Blog in competition hosted by Medgadget.com.
In 2013, he received an Adjunct Associate Professor appointment from the University
of Minnesota School of Public Health.
From 2001-2010, he was a tenured professor on the faculty of the School of
Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota, teaching health
journalism and media ethics. He left that position to devote fulltime to his online
In 2000, he was the founding Editor-In-Chief of the MayoClinic.com consumer health
California Physicians Alliance
Why Are CA Doctors Breaking Their Hippocratic Oath on Prop 45?
An Open Letter to my fellow medical professionals about California’s Proposition 45
and the primary obligation we have to protect the well being of our patients.
By Dr. Paul Song, Huff Post
October 8, 2014
East County Magazine
September 27, 2009 (San Diego) – Want to learn more about healthcare reform
options? San Diego’s League of Women Voters presents a luncheon featuring
keynote speaker Gerald Kominski, Ph.D., professor at UCLA School of Public Health
and Associate Director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. Dr.
Jeoffrey Gordon from California Physicians Alliance will also
speak, summarizing the political climate for healthcare reform in Congress.
California Physicians' Alliance. OAC
Morgan VerKemp LLC
On March 2, 2012 Jennifer Verkamp spoke at the annual meeting of the
Association of Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE) as part of a panel on
"Whistleblowers, Incentives, and Ethics."
Ms. Verkamp spoke about her experience with whistleblowers and the effect
of whistleblowing on their lives, as well as on the importance of ethical
businesses with strong compliance programs.
Named "Whistleblower Lawyers of the Year" for 2010 by Taxpayers Against Fraud, we
are experienced litigators who bring qui tam cases under the False Claims Act, the IRS
whistleblower law, and other federal and state laws for people who report fraud or
abuse of the taxpayers by government contractors. Our lawyers have been deeply
involved in these cases for 15 years, with extensive trial and appellate experience. We
practice nationwide representing clients knowledgeable about fraud in the health care,
military procurement, and pharmaceutical sectors, among others. Courts have
published nearly three dozen decisions in our qui tam cases, and our clients,
sometimes working with the government and sometimes not, have recovered more
than a half-billion dollars for the taxpayers.
On June 1, 2011, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals recognized the importance of
applying the False Claims Act to kickbacks paid to doctors, and on January 31, the
Ohio Medicaid Managed Care company CareSource paid $26 million to resolve False
Claims Act allegations brought by our clients...
False Claims Act
The False Claims Act provides a remedy to people who are retaliated against because
their employer suspects (or knows) that they are blowing the whistle on fraud or false
claims against the United States. This law, 31 U.S.C. 3730(h), also helps those who
are working to help the government or a qui tam relator with a case, even if they are
not bringing the case themselves. The laws of many states include similar remedies.
These claims most often are brought in conjunction with a qui tam case, but also can
be brought without such allegations.
The antiretaliation provision does not stop a company from retaliating, but its
remedies, which include double damages and attorney fees, do sometimes discourage
employers from bad behavior toward someone suspected of trying to remedy
violations of the False Claims Act.
Cohen also covers education
Kabateck, Brown, Kellner, LLP
Omnicare Agrees to Pay $120 Million to Settle Kickback Claim (1)
By Margaret Cronin Fisk October 23, 2013
Omnicare Inc. (OCR:US) agreed to pay $120 million to settle a whistle-blower
lawsuit claiming it violated the U.S. anti-kickback law by giving discounts on certain
Medicare services to nursing homes, the company said.
The company was accused in the lawsuit of providing the discounts in exchange
for referrals of patients with government-reimbursable drug costs. The case, filed
in 2010 by former Omnicare pharmacist Donald Gale, was set to begin trial next
week in federal court in Cleveland.
The company will pay $120 million, plus attorneys’ fees, to settle Gale’s
allegations, as well as certain claims raised in another case filed in New Jersey,
Omnicare said today in a regulatory filing (OCR:US). The settlement was reached
yesterday, the company said...
Your Neighbors for Patient Safety, a Coalition of Consumer Attorneys and
Patient Safety Advocates
Consumer Attorneys of California Issues
Initiative Defense Political Action Committees
Kaiser Continues to Lack Integrity
Posted on October 17, 2014 by cindynunn — Leave a comment
I know it has been many weeks since I last posted. During that time my muscle issues
have not improved and continue to cause me chronic, soul destroying pain. Also during
that time Kaiser’s legal team apparently concluded their “investigation” of my claims and
complaints, and, as expected, have yet again denied my requests for a muscle biopsy,
the Gold Standard for determining muscle damage, and they have denied my request
for compensation of lost wages and costs.
How Crowdsourcing Helped Bring Red Cross Problems to
November 6th 2014
Over the past decade, journalistic innovators and reformers have eagerly awaited a
future in which the wisdom of the crowd would identify potential subjects for
investigative reporting. That hope was bolstered by some undeniable achievements.
Thousands of volunteer software developers created programs like Linux and Firefox,
used by millions of people. Volunteer authors created a dynamic, online encyclopedia
– Wikipedia – that dwarves any previous compendium of human knowledge. The
"crowd" curates Kickstarter, a new means of steering small-dollar philanthropy to
artistic and commercial projects. A plethora of websites bring us movie, product and
restaurant reviews written by an army of amateur critics.
But the "hive" has been far less effective at identifying subjects for investigative
reporting and the reasons why say a lot about the core challenges of deep-dive
The most important decision an investigative reporter makes, and the one that has the
most effect on the outcome, is where to look. Sometimes the answer is as obvious as
the headlines on Google News. An unarmed African-American teenager is shot in
Ferguson, Mo. An oil platform explodes in the Gulf of Mexico. The economy melts
down, throwing tens of millions of people out of work. Those stories cry out for more
The stories we aim to cover at ProPublica – betrayals of public trust or abuses of
power – have more typically arisen from obscure corners of government or business,
unearthed by reporters with finely honed instincts for detecting potential wrongdoing.
Certainly we remain open to the idea that readers can send us in productive
directions. From the very beginning, ProPublica has had an email address,
email@example.com, to which anyone can send ideas. Each one is reviewed
by one or more of our editors. A handful of these have turned into ProPublica stories.
The crowd has proved immensely helpful in answering specific, direct questions. Our
"Free the Files" project of 2012 harnessed the enthusiasm of volunteers to enter vast
amounts of data about televised political ads. And our 2009 efforts to track the Obama
administration's stimulus spending were greatly enhanced by the work of readers who
uploaded contracts from their localities. Repeatedly, ProPublica's reporting on national
stories like the delays in processing mortgage modifications or the epidemic of patient
harm have been deepened by contributions from readers on the frontlines.
Our recent reporting on the Red Cross suggests the power of addressing a specific
question to the crowd.
In April of this year, ProPublica published a brief story with this headline: "Long After
Sandy, Red Cross Post-Storm Spending Still a Black Box: Donors gave $312 million
after the storm, but it's not clear how exactly the money was spent."
The story was unusual for us: It focused on what we could not figure out, which was
how the charity had spent the more than $300 million it had raised for the victims of
Sandy. We added this simple sentence at the very end. "If you have experience with or
information about the American Red Cross, including its operations after Sandy, email
No super secret digital dropbox (though we have one of those, too.) No encryption.
Just an email address that made it easy for people to get in touch with Justin Elliott,
the reporter on the story along with Jesse Eisinger.
Over the next several months, tips began to flow in from present and former
employees of the Red Cross, as well as others with firsthand information. This month,
Elliott and Eisinger teamed up with NPR to produce a detailed story that included,
among many details, a devastating internal report in which the Red Cross
acknowledged botching the post-Sandy relief effort and diverting assets "for public
Of course, this sort of reporting was invented long before the Internet. William Safire,
the late New York Times columnist, used to throw sly references into his stories to
entice cooperation from the handful of government officials who had his phone
number. He called it "putting a note on the bulletin board.''
Today, that board is much larger and more easily shared with vast numbers of people.
All you've got to do is ask the right question in the right way.
So, in closing, it's worth saying it one more time:
If you have information about the Red Cross you would like to share, you can help us
report this story.