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WASHINGTON, D.C. - How would you like to earn a gift card just for going to the doctor? This may now be a reality for a large population of Americans. "Free" is almost always a dead ringer for gift cards just for showing up to see a doctor. If you're a senior that's no longer far-fetched. The Department of Health and Human Services for the first time has permitted one Medicare provider to hand out $20 grocery gift cards for older patients that come in for medical screenings. Health care expert Joe Antos says it's a horrible idea. A precedent that incentives medical tests paid for by taxpayers.
"Let's face it, health care is a very competitive market," says Antos. "If you can find some way to get a little bit of an edge ot get more people to sign up for your plan, you are going to do better."
Up until this year, health and human services has rejected similar promotions, concerned it would violate federal anti-kickback laws. Just last year, a court found Walgreens pharmacy violated the statute, enticing Medicare and Medicaid patients with gifts. Walgreens was fined nearly $8 million. According to our investigative news partner the Washington Guardian, the government declined to release the name of the provider or which state it operates from. The facility was approved because it agreed not to advertise the free giveaway. Few concerns about fraud because beneficiaries of Medicare are often assigned by location, the feeling is few will drive long distances for $20 in groceries.
"Those bargains may not truly be bargains," says Antos. "Look into what the possible complications are of some of these screenings. Often times they are not simply matter of drawing a little bit of blood out of your arm."
While taxpayers won't pay for the gift cards, they will certainly pay the cost of more people who seek care. You can find all our WASTE WATCH stories on Fox17.com. Just go to HOT TOPICS and click on WASTE WATCH. You can also submit your ideas for WASTE WATCH stories in that same section.
Friday, March 15 2013, 10:18 PM CDT
Ky. veteran killed in Afghanistan blast
May 17, 2013 23:53 GMT
FORT THOMAS, Ky. (AP) -- A Kentucky veteran who was working as a civilian contractor in Afghanistan has died in an explosion in Kabul that killed at least 15 people including six Americans.
The father of 26-year-old Michael Robert Bradford of Fort Thomas said his son was smart, good in different sports and about to become a father.
Gary "Moose" Bradford, also of Fort Thomas, told The Kentucky Enquirer (http://bit.ly/12i0nVO ) he found about his son's death from Michael Bradford's wife, Sasha, on Thursday afternoon. He said he was in total disbelief.
The couple's first child is due in a few weeks.
Two American soldiers were killed along with four American civilian contractors with DynCorp International, based in Falls Church, Va.
Other survivors include his mother, Linda Bradford of Johnson City, Tenn.
Information from: The Kentucky Enquirer, http://www.nky.com
Gauge of US economy's future health up in April
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A measure of the U.S. economy's future health rose in solidly in April, buoyed by a sharp rise in applications to build new homes and apartments.
BC-US--Dow Record-Three Personal Stories, 1st Ld-Writethru,1173
Dow Record: Three tales of ups, downs and changes
AP Photo FX102, FX103
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By SCOTT MAYEROWITZ
AP Business Writer
NEW YORK (AP) -- When the Dow first crossed 14,000, investors were overjoyed. ...
IN THE NEWS: LABOR GROUP SAYS CONDITIONS AT APPLE PLANTS IMPROVING
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A labor group Apple joined to assess working conditions at three manufacturing plants in China, where its products are made, says conditions are getting better.
ON THIN ICE?
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- He was already on thin ice with the law when he failed to meet the conditions of his probation.