It’s Insanely Easy To Hack Hospital Equipment

Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

A doctor points to an X-ray picture on a monitor showing a defibrillator.

When Scott Erven was given free rein to roam through all of the medical equipment used at a large chain of Midwest health care facilities, he knew he would find security problems–but he wasn’t prepared for just how bad it would be.

Read more:

Scientists embark on unprecedented effort to connect millions of patient medical records

Inside an otherwise ordinary office building in lower Manhattan, government-funded scientists have begun collecting and connecting together terabytes of patient medical records in what may be one of the most radical projects in health care ever attempted.

The data — from every patient treated at one of New York’s major hospital centers over the past few years — include some of the most intimate details of a life. Vital signs. Diagnoses and conditions. Results of blood tests, X-rays, MRI scans. Surgeries. Insurance claims. And in some cases, links to genetic samples.

Patients Often Win If They Appeal A Denied Health Claim

TOPICS: By Pauline Bartolone, Capital Public Radio
APR 14, 2014

This KHN story was produced in collaboration with NPR

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Federal rules ensure that none of the millions of people who signed up for Obamacare can be denied insurance — but there is no guarantee that all health services will be covered.

To help make sure a patient’s claims aren’t improperly denied, the Affordable Care Act creates national standards allowing appeals to the insurer and, if necessary, to a third-party reviewer.

For Tony Simek, a software engineer in El Mirage, Ariz., appealing was the only way he was able to get additional treatment for sleep apnea. Though mild for many people, the condition had become life-threatening for Simek, who couldn’t get enough sleep.

M.D. Anderson is offering FREE Cancer Screening Exams

No Appointments Necessary!

Free Oral Cancer Screening Exams
Friday, April 25
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Cancer Prevention Center
Duncan Building, Floor 2
1155 Pressler Street
Free Oral Cancer Screening Exams Event Flier


Free Skin Cancer Screening Exams
Saturday, May 10
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Cancer Prevention Center
Duncan Building, Floor 2
1155 Pressler Street
Free Skin Cancer Screening Exams Event Flier

Are we in denial about Black Women and Depression?  The Karyn Washington Suicide has sparked a conversation

Karyn Washington inspired black women around the world to embrace the beauty of their blackness with the creation of her “For Brown Girls”(FBG) blog and the #DarkSkinRedLip Project. Her legacy is being remembered far too soon. Reports confirm that Karyn Wahington has passed away at the young age of 22 from an apparent suicide. The […]

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One Sentence That Could Help End The Death Penalty In America


Dennis McGuire struggled, choked, and gasped for air before he finally died, as his adult children watched on in horror. The state of Ohio used a never-before-used mix of drugs to kill him, and he appeared to slowly suffocate to death. Witnesses said the process took about 25 minutes, making it the longest execution since the state reinstituted capital punishment 15 years ago.

Medicare’s Flawed Adjustment Methodology Poor Way to Spend Billions

HealthCanal, Staff Writer, 04/10/2014

The  methodology Medicare uses to adjust the billions of dollars it pays health plans and hospitals to account for how sick their patients are is flawed and should be replaced, according to a new study by Dartmouth investigators published in the journal BMJ that weighed the performance of Medicare’s methodology against alternatives.

Read the story >

You can still get 2014 ACA coverage in special cases
Open Enrollment is over
You can still get 2014 coverage in special cases, including:

If you think you qualify, choose your state to get started:
               Select your state               Alabama               Alaska               American Samoa               Arizona               Arkansas               California               Colorado               Connecticut               Delaware               District of Columbia               Florida               Georgia               Guam               Hawaii               Idaho               Illinois               Indiana               Iowa               Kansas               Kentucky               Louisiana               Maine               Maryland               Massachusetts               Michigan               Minnesota               Mississippi               Missouri               Montana               Nebraska               Nevada               New Hampshire               New Jersey               New Mexico               New York               North Carolina               North Dakota               N. Mariana Islands               Ohio               Oklahoma               Oregon               Pennsylvania               Puerto Rico               Rhode Island               South Carolina               South Dakota               Tennessee               Texas               Utah               Vermont               Virgin Islands               Virginia               Washington               West Virginia               Wisconsin               Wyoming             

Guess who got Obamacare money? Of course it’s the Kochs!

David Koch, executive vice president of Koch Industries, attends an Economic Club of New York event in New York, December 10, 2012.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS POLITICS) - RTR3BFKF


Here’s a fun question, posed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

“If the Affordable Care Act is so awful,” Reid asked, “why did Koch Industries use it to their advantage?”

That’s a rhetorical question, by the way. The answer is because they could get a big ol’ chunk of money from the federal government, that’s why. Congress created a $5 billion temporary reinsurance fund in the Affordable Care Act, to subsidize the cost to employers for providing ongoing coverage for people who retire before Medicare eligibility. The Kochs, of course, took a chunk of that.

EMS: Man crushed by elevator in critical condition

By Ciara O’Rourke
American-Statesman Staff

Austin-Travis County EMS medics are at the scene of a downtown construction site where they say a man was crushed by an elevator.

The man was pinned around 10 a.m. by an elevator at the 300 block of Congress Avenue, where the Colorado Tower is being built, but has since been freed, said EMS Cmdr. Mike Benavides.

His injuries are severe, and probably life-threatening, Benavides said.

It wasn’t immediately clear if the man is a construction worker, but Benavides said it appears that he is.

Some Canceled Health Insurance Policies Can Be Renewed in Md.


BALTIMORE — Maryland’s insurance commissioner says individual policies that don’t comply with the federal health care overhaul can be extended through the end of next year.

Insurance Commissioner Therese Goldsmith said in a memo to insurers Tuesday that they can renew such policies for 2014 as long as the renewals take effect before Jan. 1.

However, Maryland law does not currently allow such policies to be renewed after Jan. 1 or to extend into 2015. President Barack Obama announced last week that canceled policies can be extended for one year, which means that individuals can keep their coverage into 2015 if states allow it.

About 73,000 Marylanders are losing their policies because of the new health care law. It’s not clear how many will have the option to renew for next year.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or…

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Here’s What’s Happening as of Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Houston City Council Race Results

November 1, 2013

Patricia Duncan



Denver, CO ( – The sold-out coffee-table book, A Defining Moment: Barack Obama The Historic Journey to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue by Patricia Duncan, will be released on November 1, 2013 as a complete, full-color reprint in eBook format.

A Defining Moment is an unprecedented collection of photographs and speeches documenting the historic journey of America’s first African American president to his new home at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It offers insight into the two-year campaign that promised change, and reminds us of the inspirational battle cry of our nation, “Yes We Can”. A Defining Moment will remain invaluable to the reader, and historically relevant, long after the President has left office.

* Nominated for NAACP Image Award 2012 in the category of Outstanding Works of A Debut Author.

* Placed in the Library of Congress, June 2013

“Everyone will enjoy reading this book because, not only does it document one of the most historic events in our nation’s history, it celebrates Ms. Duncan’s artistic talent.” — Elbra Wedgeworth, President/Chair of the Board, Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee.

A Defining Moment, introductory price $4.44, for a limited time only.

Go to for more information and to purchase your copy on Amazon ( beginning November 1, 2013.


Social Security announces 1.5% COLA in 2014

The Social Security Administration announced that beneficiaries will receive a 1.5% cost of living adjustment (COLA) beginning in January. The increase—slightly lower than last year’s 1.7% COLA—will benefit the 57 million people with Social Security retirement benefits, as well as the 8 million people receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Learn more

Thousands of Affidavits, but Officials Report Few Problems With Voter ID

by Alexa Ura and Edgar Walters
Officials say Tuesday’s election proceeded smoothly despite controversy surrounding the newly implemented voter ID law, but some worry that could change in coming elections with increased voter turnout.
All Nine Constitutional Amendments Approved

by  and 
Texas voters addressed the state’s fast growth and lingering drought Tuesday by approving a $2 billion water fund and eight other constitutional amendments in a low-turnout election.
Texas Supreme Court Weighs Same-Sex Divorce Case

by Veronica Zaragovia, KUT News
The state Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday over whether same-sex couples legally married in other states can be granted divorces in Texas.
Study: More Than 2 Million Texans Qualify for Insurance Tax Credit

by David Maly
More than 2 million Texans are eligible for tax credits to purchase health coverage in the federal insurance marketplace, the most of any state, according to a new report from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.
OIG Loses Another Medicaid Fraud Court Battle

The health commission’s Office of Inspector General, which says Texas has misspent hundreds of millions of dollars on Medicaid orthodontic and dental fraud, has now lost its first three court battles against accused providers

Proposal to save Astrodome fails: AP

Voters have rejected a plan to turn the Astrodome into a convention hall, likely dooming it to demolition, according to the Associated Press.More

According to a new analysis by the Deltek report, the federal government is showing a 74% increase from the $92 billion spent in 2013 from the top 20 contracting opportunities. US Federal Contractor Registration is the world’s largest third party registration firm that has helped thousands of businesses complete their SAM registration and bid on available government contracts and awards.

Orlando, FL (PRWEB) – Even as the federal government dusts itself off from the recent shutdown federal agencies are already gearing up for one of the biggest contracting growths in over a decade. According to Federal Times on Oct. 21st, 2013, the federal government is showing a 74% increase

OfficeMax, Office Depot Wrap-Up Merger 

OfficeMax and Office Depot said their merger officially closed on Tuesday, just days after securing regulatory approval for the blending of the nation’s second- and third-largest office supply retailers.

Naperville-based OfficeMax and Office Depot, headquartered in Boca Raton, Fla., received clearance to merge from the Federal Trade Commission on Friday. It was the last big hurdle in the companies’ effort to merge. Shareholders approved the deal in July.

The current CEOs of both companies will share the top job at the combined company until a replacement can be named. The companies said the late timing and uncertainty of FTC approval made it difficult to make a final decision. The CEOs of both Office Depot and OfficeMax have taken themselves out of the running to keep the job long-term.

The companies will also keep their dual headquarters until the last details can be ironed out.

The combined company will keep the Office Depot name and trade under that company’s current ticker, ODP, on the New York Stock Exchange.

Together, the two companies had sales of $17 billion in the year that ended in September and have about 66,000 employees.

Woman's silhouette

Banned pesticides linked to endometriosis

Women with higher levels of pesticides in their blood are also more likely to have endometriosis, according to a new study published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.More

Texas Oil Drillers Look for Alternatives to Flaring Gas

by Dave Fehling, KUHF News/StateImpact Texas
November 5, 2013

Gas flare in La Porte, Tx, March 15th, 2012

Enlargephoto by: Roy Luck
Gas flare in La Porte, Tx, March 15th, 2012

A few companies in Texas are developing pilot projects to capture and use the excess natural gas that is often vented into the air or burned during the oil drilling process. Read the full story at StateImpact Texas.

Download audio file

Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.

Starbucks Serving Alcohol
CNN Image

Starbucks to hire 10,000 vets and military spouses

Starbucks is the latest big company to announce an aggressive push to hire veterans returning to the civilian work force.More
11/04/2013 12:34 PM EST

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced an emergency asset freeze to halt a Ponzi scheme involving U.S. and New Zealand-based companies peddling sham investment opportunities ranging from a bank trading program to kidney dialysis clinics.

The SEC alleges that Christopher A.T. Pedras, who has residences in Turlock, Calif., and New Zealand, misled his initial investors into believing they were investing in a profitable trading platform in which his company served as an intermediary between global banks.  When Pedras and his companies encountered difficulty paying the promised 4 to 8 percent monthly returns, they began steering investors to a different investment program to purportedly increase the value of their investment by 80 percent by funding kidney dialysis clinics in New Zealand.  Pedras’s business partner Sylvester M. Gray II and lead sales representative Alicia Bryan helped him solicit investors for both programs, and the money was never invested as promised.  Earlier investors were paid supposed returns with funds received from newer investors, and Pedras stole more than $2 million and spent another $1.2 million on sales agents.

Figure with arms raised standing on a pile of dollar signs.

An article in Saturday’s New York Times Business section digs down into the numbers to demonstrate something people need to know in order to understand just how much the 1 percent run things. James B. Stewart looked at the income tax rates the richest among us paid in 2009, arguably the worst year for our economy since the Depression. Here’s what he found.According to IRS data, the top 400 taxpayers (i.e., the top sliver of the top 1 percent), had an average adjusted gross income (AGI) of $202 million. That year, the top federal rate was 35 percent (it’s now 39.6 percent). And what percentage did they pay to the federal government in income taxes: less than 20 percent (!)

Harris County Democratic Lawyers Association
Just Three Days from Today – Nationally Recognized Speaker, Reserve Your Seat Now!
Presentation on Civil Rights Enforcement in Texas by famed lawyer Jim Harrington!
Presentation on Civil Rights Enforcement in Texas by famed lawyer Jim Harrington!Thursday, November 7, 2013

.    RSVP by clicking here.

Proposed Rules Could Increase Use of Pepper Spray on Youths

County probation chiefs want new authority to use pepper spray, saying proposed rules would provide more local control over how their facilities are operated.

Pediatric and Adolescent Health Center opening in Cypress, Texas

The Harris County Hospital District
cordially invites you to the

“Ribbon Cutting & Tour”
of the
Pediatric and Adolescent Health Center—Cypress

10-11 a.m.
Friday, June 29, 2012
12340 Jones Road, Suite 100
Houston TX 77070

Tours and refreshments after the program

RSVP:  Mary Herrera, 713-566-6063

Directions from Downtown :

  1. From downtown Houston, take I-45 North to I-10 West toward San Antonio.
  2. Take exit 763 to merge on to I-610 North.
  3. Immediately take the left exit on to US-290 West toward Austin.
  4. Take exit toward FM 1960 East.
  5. Merge onto US-290 Frontage Road.
  6. Turn left onto Jones Road.

The Pediatric and Adolescent Health Center—Cypress is on the right.

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