Friday, November 23, 2007

We knew it all the time, didn’t we? Whistle-blower says defects hidden at Toyota-GM plant.

Katy Cameron, a veteran auditor at a General Motors / Toyota plant in California, has filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the automakers claiming the managers intentionally overlooked serious safety flaws. Ms. Cameron says plant management routinely deleted defects that included brake and seatbelt problems. See, my Blog -- Good guys win: Hawaii Judge Finds for Plaintiff in Seatbelt Defect Case More about "whistleblower lawsuits."

As soon as she voiced concerns about the safety problems, Ms. Cameron was demoted and accused of suffering from mental instability. Yuri Kageyama, USA Today 11/20/2007 Read Article: USA Today

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Trade Secrets Used To Block Disclosure Of Safety Concern

It’s hard to imagine anything standing in the way of the public’s right to know when a corporation endangers the health and safety of a community. Yet, it happens every day under the guise of protecting a corporation’s “trade secret.”

Here’s a case in point.

California officials refuse to disclose the ingredients of a chemical pesticide sprayed over fields, homes, businesses and schools in Northern California. California say it can’t identify the “inactive ingredients” of the pesticide without violating laws “governing corporate trade secrets.”

Spraying of the pesticide was suspended after residents complained that the initial application caused asthma-like symptoms, burning eyes, rashes and stomach pains. This problem raises a basic question: How can any corporation have a right keep a safety hazard a secret? Read -- Paul Pringle, LA Times 10/18/2007 Read Article: LA Times

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

FDA Convenes on Cold Drugs for Youngsters

A group of pediatricians told FDA advisers that cold and cough medicines should not be given to children under six years old.

An FDA panel is currently considering a petition that seeks government recognition that the medicines are ineffective and unsafe for children under six years of age.

Meanwhile, drug makers stopped the sale of over-the-counter medicines for toddlers citing potential for overdoses.

See, Andrew Bridges, LA Times 10/18/2007 Read Article: LA Times

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Star Chamber: Conservative La. Fed. Judge Dismisses Insurance Whistleblower Suit

Conservatives have purged the judicial system of judges who are willing to protect the rights of the middles class and working families. Corporate America owns the federal judiciary. Terrible judicial decisions are to be expected. But, this really hurt Louisiana!

Here’s what happened.

Recently, U.S. District Judge Peter Beer, an icon of Louisiana conservatism, dismissed a lawsuit filed by several former insurance adjusters who were prepared to testify that a number of major private insurance companies systematically over-billed the National Flood Insurance program by shifting their expenses over to the federal flood program.

Judge Beer said the suit could be continued under a “different whistleblower lawsuit in Mississippi” that deals with denial of hurricane wind claims and possible fraud against the federal flood program.

The problem is that the “cheating” occurred in Louisiana!

That didn’t deter Judge Beer. He reasoned that the rules of the False Claims Act provide that a whistleblower lawsuit can't proceed if another on the same subject has already been filed. The Mississippi lawsuit was unsealed and became public knowledge after the Louisiana lawsuit had been filed.

We need a congressional investigation into the over billing of the National Flood Insurance Program, with demands to know why the U.S. Department of Justice and Homeland Security are not pursuing the matter. Read: Rebecca Mowbray, New Orleans Times-Picayune La. whistleblower suit dismissed

Friday, November 02, 2007

Check Your Doctor’s Bill. Consumers Facing Rise in Medical Billing Errors

Who hasn’t looked at a doctor’s bill or hospital bill and said, “That can’t be right!” Well, it probably isn’t right!

Consumer advocates say, medical billing errors that range from a few bucks to tens of thousands are an increasingly common problem.

Medical Billing Advocates of America (MBAA) warns that coding errors, confusion over in and out of network providers, and high-deductible health plans are common problems in over-billing cases.

AP, LA Times 10/28/2007 Read Article: LA Times

Thursday, November 01, 2007

HMO, Kaiser Permanente, Doctor Accused of Negligence

A doctor accused of gross negligence in the deaths of at least 2 children he helped deliver remains on the job with the nation’s largest HMO.

Beginning in 2002, “doctors and nurses repeatedly” complained to officials at Kaiser Permanente that Hamid Safari posed potential risks to patients under his care.

How did Kaiser over the years respond? This year, Kaiser finally restricted Safari’s duties.

It’s reported that California regulators are seeking to revoke or suspend Safari’s license and have fined Kaiser $3 million for its handling of physician errors throughout the state.

Tracy Weber and Charles Ornstein, LA Times 10/16/2007Read Article: LA Times