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OPINION
April 11, 2014
Re "Medicare lifts the veil on payments," April 9 Wednesday's news that Medicare is making public Part B payments to doctors received mixed reviews. That's to be expected when healthcare's economic black box is pried open. Sadly, one doctor's full scope of competent and caring services may result in unusually high reimbursement compared to his or her peers. And just as easily, one doctor's modest billings to Medicare could contain a disproportionate share of fraud. Publishing the numbers doctor by doctor doesn't tell the complete story; it's not holistic because it focuses on only one area of medicine, Medicare Part B. But it's a start.
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OPINION
April 10, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
The news that a small percentage of the country's physicians collected billions of dollars from Medicare in a single year may or may not be a testament to individual greed; some of the top recipients are under investigation for allegedly bilking the system, while others work long hours delivering costly care. But it is a powerful reminder that the program needs to stop rewarding doctors for the quantity of care they deliver rather than the quality. Happily, there's a bipartisan plan to do just that; unhappily, lawmakers haven't been able to agree on how to cover its cost.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 10, 2014 | By Lisa Girion and Scott Glover
A doctor has been indicted on federal drug trafficking charges for allegedly turning his East Los Angeles and San Gabriel clinics into lucrative mills where he doled out prescriptions for powerful painkillers and other widely abused medications in exchange for cash. Dr. Andrew S. Sun, 78, of La Mirada, surrendered to federal authorities and was expected to be arraigned Thursday. Sun faces 24 counts of prescribing Vicodin, Xanax, a cough syrup with codeine known on the street as "Purple Drank" and other dangerous narcotics to undercover agents who had no medical need for the drugs.
BUSINESS
April 9, 2014 | By Chad Terhune and Doug Smith
Newport Beach oncologist Minh Nguyen woke up Wednesday wearing a dubious distinction: Medicare's highest-paid doctor in California and one of the top physicians nationwide. Some of his patients and fellow physicians immediately called him wanting an explanation of why newly released federal data show he got paid $11.3 million for treating Medicare patients in 2012. Like dozens of other doctors across the country, Nguyen was unwittingly thrust into the spotlight as federal officials listed for the first time what the government pays individual doctors to treat elderly Americans.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 2, 2014 | By Oliver Gettell and Steven Zeitchik
"Fantastic Four" fans, meet your new villain: British actor Toby Kebbell is in negotiations to play the superhero quartet's arch nemesis, Doctor Doom, in Fox's upcoming franchise reboot, according to Variety. Kebbell, 31, beat out fellow rising stars Jack Huston and Domhnall Gleeson for the role, Variety said . The actor has appeared in such action movies as "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time," "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" and "Wrath of the Titans," as well as more serious-minded fare including "War Horse" and "The East.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 21, 2014 | By Howard Blume
Genethia Hudley-Hayes is a contender to return to the Los Angeles Board of Education seat she formerly held and can claim many accomplishments. But an MBA that can't be verified has magnified other resume problems, including an inaccurate description of an honorary doctorate. These issues have become fodder for an opponent, undermining a long record of public service. On her resume, Hudley-Hayes lists an MBA with emphasis on nonprofit management from a joint program of San Jose State and the Los Angeles-based Center for Nonprofit Management.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 21, 2014 | By Scott Glover and Lisa Girion
An Orange County pain doctor caused the deaths of three patients by negligently prescribing them powerful narcotics, state medical authorities said in a complaint made public Friday. The Medical Board of California is seeking to suspend or revoke the license of Dr. Van H. Vu, who was linked to more than a dozen patient overdose deaths by a Times investigation in 2012. The medical board alleged Vu was grossly negligent in the deaths of a 22-year-old woman who had been planning her wedding, a 43-year-old mentally ill man who was prescribed drugs by Vu the day he was released from a hospital after an earlier overdose, and a 51-year-old single father who became addicted to pain drugs after a car accident.
WORLD
March 15, 2014 | By Zulfiqar Ali
PESHAWAR, Pakistan - A Pakistani tribal court on Saturday reduced the prison sentence for the doctor identified as helping the CIA track down Osama bin Laden from 33 years to 23 years. Shakil Afridi, convicted in 2012 of links to a banned militant group, was cleared of one of the charges against him: that he sought to wage war against Pakistan. Afridi was arrested by Pakistani authorities shortly after U.S. commandos killed the former Al Qaeda chief in a town outside Islamabad in May 2011.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 15, 2014 | By Tony Perry
SAN DIEGO - A 52-year-old La Mesa man Friday was sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted of practicing medicine without a license and promising to cure patients of AIDS, cancer and other maladies. Desperate, terminally ill patients paid up to $40,000 to Keith Barton for cures, prosecutors said. A 60-year-old woman suffering from an autoimmune disease followed Barton's advice to have all her teeth extracted as part of an ineffective treatment called "dentritic cellular therapy," according to court documents.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 11, 2014 | Steve Lopez
Dr. David Rizzo's love affair with Los Angeles was rock solid for decades. The first sign of trouble came last year, when the house-call foot doctor finally grew tired of logging so many hours in his car and decided to break off the relationship. Rizzo, 62, thought he was ready for semi-retirement, and he loves infernal heat. So he moved to Phoenix. In August. "The sky at night is a celestial event," Rizzo said of his new metropolitan mistress. But the sun kept coming up, shining brightly on a man who cast a long, lonely shadow in the Arizona desert.
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