Yellow Pages


Emerging Science Reveals Chemicals From Myriad Sources Show Up in Food and May Be Harmful at Lower Amounts than Thought
Yellow Pages
Written by TAC Staff: Yellow Pages   
Tuesday, 01 May 2012 05:21
aroundtheworld
New York, N.Y.,  –On the heels of the decision last month by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to allow continued use of the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) in food packaging, a new report today, “If Food is in Plastic, What's in the Food?” in the Washington Post, produced in collaboration with the Food & Environment Reporting Network, looks at how people are exposed to BPA and other chemicals through food-contact plastics and explores the potential impacts on human health. The article, by reporter Susan Freinkel, author of Plastic: A Toxic Love Story, examines the emerging science on such chemicals which may interfere with natural hormones and be harmful at extremely low levels of exposure.
 
applesinplasticwrapBPA and phthalates are among the 3,000 chemicals that the FDA has ruled safe if they get into food in very low amounts. The report notes that a number of these chemicals used in food processing and packaging materials have shown up in food. Some scientists question their safety, in part because these chemicals have not yet been studied for their cumulative effects. In addition, research proves difficult because companies often consider their formulas proprietary.
 
“Finding out which chemicals might have seeped into your groceries is nearly impossible, given the limited information collected and disclosed by regulators, the scientific challenges of this research and the secrecy of the food and packaging industries, which view their components as proprietary information,” Freinkel writes. “Although scientists are learning more about the pathways of these substances - and their potential effect on health - there is an enormous debate among scientists, policymakers and industry experts about what levels are safe.”
 
Freinkel explains how plastic food packaging is a major source of these potentially harmful chemicals, which most Americans harbor in their bodies. For instance, studies have shown phthalates—a family of chemicals used in lubricants and solvents and which imparts flexibility to plastics—passing into food from processing equipment and food-prep gloves, gaskets and seals on non-plastic containers, inks used on labels—which can permeate packaging—and even the plastic film used in agriculture.

She highlights a forthcoming study that found the phthalate DEHP in many of the 72 different grocery items sampled. Studies have associated low-dose exposure to this chemical with male reproductive disorders, thyroid dysfunction, and subtle behavioral changes.
 
Last month, the FDA denied a petition to ban BPA, saying in a statement that while “some studies have raised questions as to whether BPA may be associated with a variety of health effects, there remain serious questions about these studies, particularly as they relate to humans and the public health impact.”

For additional reporting on the story, see http://thefern.org 
 
PIP: Scott 'Arm Bending' Works in Florida
Yellow Pages
Written by TAC Staff: Yellow Pages   
Sunday, 01 April 2012 19:33
aroundtheworld
Tallahasse, FL Gov. Rick Scott scored a huge victory  when the Florida Senate signed off on a last-ditch effort to crack down on personal injury protection fraud.

But the vote elicited rebukes from some senators who wanted the upper chamber to stand its ground and refuse to concur with the proposal – crafted largely by insurance industry lobbyists – in a debate highlighted by a stemwinder by Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami.

Diaz de la Portilla, a lawyer, repeatedly called the deal a “phoney baloney” attempt to combat fraud. Diaz de la Portilla had convinced the Senate in its version of the PIP reform to keep intact “multipliers” allowing lawyers to be paid escalated fees. The compromise did away with that but, in a concession to the Senate, did not cap attorneys’ fees or set an hourly rate.

Growing more incensed as his rant went on, Diaz de la Portilla said that PIP scams aren’t the real fraud.

“I think the House measure that’s been sent over to us and that we’re being asked to concede to, that’s the fraud. It’s a fraud on the consumers of the state of Florida. It’s a fraud on the people who have to buy these policies by law. It’s a fraud on those who are injured in accidents. It’s a fraud because it basically is the Insurance Company Relief Act of 2012. That’s what it is. That’s exactly what we’re talking about,” Diaz de la Portilla said

Sen. Dennis Jones, a Seminole chiropractor who said he is probably the only senator who actually treated a PIP patient, called the bill a “very, very punitive” measure for chiropractors. Patients will now be limited to $2,500 worth of chiropractic treatment, a change from the 24 visits over three months now allowed.

Sen. Joe Negron, the Stuart Republican who brokered the deal for the Senate and sponsored the chamber’s trial lawyer-friendlier proposal, rejected his colleague’s criticism that the Senate would be giving up too much by taking the House offer. Negron then defended his efforts to keep chiropractors in the mix at all.

“The House wanted to take chiropractors, tie two 50-pound cement blocks to their ankles and drop them over the boat into the bottom of the ocean. And they were never going to be heard from in PIP again. I found that very offensive,” Negron, a lawyer, said.

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a former Senate president who pushed alongside Scott for the overhaul, called Senate critics “dead wrong” about the deal.“The Senate got all its fraud language. The Senate got all its licensure language. The Senate got room for chiropractic care. The Senate did not cap attorneys fees. The Senate did a fine job. The House was very firm on driving the cost drivers of utilization down. They came together with a really solid compromise,” Atwater said.

Atwater said he’s certain premiums will decrease although the bill does not require it.

“I think they’re going to see when that independent study comes down that they’re going to indicate rates need to be coming down. They need to come down now,” he said.
 
Allstate Seeking $2M in Accidental Payments in "Consumer Protection" Measure
Yellow Pages
Written by TAC Staff: Yellow Pages   
Sunday, 01 April 2012 19:28
aroundtheworld
HAUPPAUGE, N.Y.,  -- Allstate Insurance Company has filed its first insurance fraud lawsuit of 2012, seeking to recover $2 million dollars against 27 New York area defendants.  The Complaint names multiple physicians, chiropractors, medical professional corporations, and clinic lay-owners allegedly used to control the medical professional corporations, including 18 individual defendants currently under federal indictment.

The complaint alleges that New York medical professional corporations known as St. John Medical Care, P.C., Lenox Wellcare Medical, P.C., CB Chiropractic, LLC, New Age Orthopedic Rehabilitation, P.C., First Aid Medical Care, P.C., Rosedale Medical, P.C., TDL Medical, P.C., LDT Medical, P.C., and West End Chiropractic, P.C., were fraudulently incorporated through a scheme using the names of licensed medical physicians and chiropractors, and that lay-owners, none of whom were physicians, secretly owned and controlled the professional corporations.

The lawsuit was filed following an investigation by Allstate's Special Investigative Unit and seeks reimbursement for no–fault benefits Allstate paid on behalf of its customers during timeframes specified in the lawsuit.  The lawsuit is the latest in a string of actions taken by the insurer to protect consumers from these and similar activities. Since 2003, Allstate has filed 37 fraud lawsuits in New York State seeking more than $ 201 million in damages.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, the state of New York is in an insurance fraud crisis and no-fault fraud is costing New Yorkers millions of dollars year-after-year in higher premiums.  "In essence, honest, hardworking New Yorkers are paying a 'fraud tax,'" said Krista Conte, spokesperson for Allstate's New York office.  "We need lawmakers to enact meaningful insurance reform that puts the citizens of New York first."

Source: PR Newswire
 
Republican Presidential Nominee Hopeful Rick Santorum’s Wife Wins $250,000 Lawsuit for “Chiropractic Induced Disc Herniation” While Santorum Trumpets Medical Malpractice Caps
Yellow Pages
Written by TAC Staff: Yellow Pages   
Friday, 16 March 2012 23:11
aroundtheworld
On the campaign trail, GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum says he will push to limit payments to victims in medical malpractice lawsuits, which he blames for unnecessarily driving up health-care costs. And over the course of his two decades in politics, he repeatedly spoke in favor of capping such awards.
 
But Santorum testified in support of his wife when she filed a medical malpractice suit in 1999 that sought $500,000, twice the cap in his 1994 legislative proposal. Karen Santorum claimed that a Fairfax chiropractor had left her with a permanent back injury that probably would result in a lifetime of pain medication and restricted mobility.

This fall, while campaigning in Iowa, Santorum told reporters that he backed some limits but that his wife did not sue for “pain and suffering, which is the area I think we should cap.”
 
Although the lawsuit did not seek a specific figure for pain and suffering, the former senator testified in the case about the emotional and physical toll on his wife and how that justified a sizable monetary award, transcripts show. The judge in the case also made clear that the majority of the $350,000 the jury awarded the family was largely for unspecific losses and pain and suffering, an amount he concluded was “excessive.”
 
The lawsuit stemmed from a family tragedy, when in 1996 Karen Santorum gave birth prematurely to the couple’s fourth child, a son who died the same day. Suffering lower-back pain after the delivery, Karen Santorum sought out a Burke chiropractor, David Dolberg, for help.
 
Dolberg performed a spinal manipulation, which he and other experts testified was a standard, recommended therapy for her symptoms. Karen Santorum said that the treatment caused a herniated disk in her spine, which was surgically removed a week later.
 
Brewster Rawls, Dolberg’s attorney in the suit, defended his client. “The medical evidence was clear that Mrs. Santorum suffered no serious injury,” Rawls said. “Quite simply, the outcome of this case — even with the trial court reducing the verdict by 50 percent — was entirely unfair to this good doctor.”
 
The Santorums unsuccessfully sought to seal the records in the lawsuit against Dolberg and the center where he worked, saying her husband’s role as a senator would draw attention to the case and violate his wife’s privacy.
 
Source: Washington Post
 
Non-Chiropractor Running a Florida Chiropractic Clinic Charged with Stealing 550k in False Health Insurance Claims
Yellow Pages
Written by TAC Staff: Yellow Pages   
Friday, 16 March 2012 23:05
aroundtheworld
Ocoee, FL: An Ocoee man faces multiple felony charges in a suspected fraud scheme that authorities say bilked health insurance providers out of thousands of dollars in improper or phony claims.
 
An investigation by the state's Department of Financial Services resulted in the arrest ofJean Ely Colin, who is identified in court documents as manager of Silver Star Health and Rehab Inc.
 
Investigators say Colin, 43, who court records state is not a licensed physician, conspired to get around state regulations requiring chiropractic clinics to be operated by a licensed doctor.
 
He listed a licensed chiropractor, Judith C. McKenzie, in incorporating documents as the clinic's owner, but investigators say she wasn't involved in day-to-day operations or management.
 
Rather, the business on Silver Star Road was run by Colin and co-defendant Marc Maxis, investigators said. According to court records, McKenzie had similar arrangements at other clinics.
 
A clinic employee also told DFS investigators that Colin often told him to falsify various documents and patient records, generating reports for patients that were not treated by the clinic.
 
According to court documents, the clinic improperly billed various major insurance companies, including State Farm, Allstate, Farmers and Progressive, to the tune of more than $550,000.
 
Colin faces charges of organized scheme to defraud, operating an unlicensed health care clinic, false and fraudulent insurance claims and grand theft. All of the charges alleged are felonies.
 
Colin was arrested on a warrant Wednesday. He has since been released after posting bail.
 
Source: The Orlando Sentinel, Fla.
 
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