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Minneapolis 71 articles

FDA wants to know if opioids actually work for chronic pain

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chief Scott Gottlieb M.D., wants to know whether opioids already on the market to treat chronic pain actually work. Opioids are a class of painkillers that also give users a feeling of euphoria, and oftentimes as the drug is continued, greater doses are needed to quell the pain, leading to dependence and addiction. Prescription opioids have opened the door to abuses of heroin and synthetic opioids like fentanyl, and created an opioid epidemic that in 2017 alone took the lives of 46,000 Americans. Studies have suggested that opioids may not be as effective for some ... Read More

Distracted Dump Truck Driver Slams into Stopped Traffic

A dash cam video of a dump truck slamming into a line of stopped traffic south of Minneapolis, Minnesota, demonstrates the horrifying consequences of distracted driving. The video, captured by the dash cam of a tractor-trailer traveling in another lane of State Highway 13 in Savage, Minnesota, shows the dump truck cruising along for several seconds, even after the line of stopped traffic comes into view. The dump truck driver fails to brake until less than a second before smashing into the back of an SUV, which plows another SUV into the back of a tractor trailer. In a second, ... Read More

Man’s Death from Burns Sparks Second Space Heater Recall

An electric space heater manufacturer joined federal safety regulators in re-announcing the recall of thousands of electric space heater fans after a Minnesota man died of burn injuries he sustained in a December 2017 house fire. Vornado LLC of Andover, Kansas, originally recalled about 350,000 VH101 Personal Vortex electric space heaters in April over the risk of fire and burn injuries. On Aug. 22, the company re-announced the recall after the Minnesota death was linked to one of the space heaters. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the recalled space heaters “can overheat when in use, posing ... Read More

Walmart Pays $825,000 to Settle Whistleblower’s Medicaid Allegations

Walmart Stores and Sam’s Club have agreed to pay the U.S. and Minnesota $825,000 to resolve allegations that they violated the federal and state False Claims Acts for violating Medicaid rules for automatic prescription refills. U.S. Attorney Gregory Brooker and Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson jointly announced the settlement, which they said stemmed from a lawsuit filed by a whistleblower under the False Claims Act. Minnesota is one of about 20 states that does not allow Medicaid beneficiaries to have their prescription drugs automatically refilled. Instead, the state’s Medicaid program, called Medical Assistance, requires beneficiaries to request refills. The state’s ... Read More

Minnesota School Bus Driver Facing Distracted Driving Charges

A Minnesota school bus driver is facing more than two dozen charges for distracted driving and other traffic violations after video and audio surveillance recordings captured her using her smartphone to look up jokes while driving and other improper, potentially dangerous behavior. KARE Channel 11 Minneapolis reported that authorities charged 39-year-old Brenda Cartsen of Blaine, Minnesota, with 15 traffic offenses stemming from distracted driving, including reckless and careless driving and child endangerment. According to KARE, a parent of one of the middle school students aboard the bus contacted Ms. Carsten’s employer, Lorenz Bus Service Inc., about the driver’s distracted driving. ... Read More

Wells Fargo Endangered Family in Protection Program, Lawsuit Alleges

A Minnesota family in a state victim protection program is suing Wells Fargo and one of its mortgage bankers, alleging the bank has endangered them by sending mail with the mother’s name to their secret location. The plaintiffs, a mother and daughter who went into victim protection after a neighbor sexually assaulted the daughter then threatened to kill them to prevent them from testifying, claim that Wells Fargo started mailing them after the mother applied for a mortgage in 2016. They also allege that they started receiving mail from outside vendors – a sign that Wells Fargo sold their information. ... Read More

Opioids no better at pain management than safer meds

People taking highly addictive opioids managed their pain no better than patients taking safer medicines, according to a new study published in JAMA. The study investigated the effects of opioids versus non-opioid medications in 240 patients with moderate to severe chronic back pain and hip or knee osteoarthritis pain who did not get relief from analgesics. It was the first randomized clinical trial comparing opioids to other types of pain medications. Patients were observed over a 12-month period, after which researchers found that patients who used opioids – like morphine, Vicodin and OxyContin – did not have significantly improved pain-related ... Read More

UnitedHealth Group Loses Bid To Toss $1 Billion Whistleblower Case

A $1 billion whistleblower case against Minnesota-based UnitedHealth Group alleging the health care giant defrauded Medicare by wrongfully retaining overcharges can move forward, a federal judge in California ruled. UnitedHealth Group, the largest health care company in the world by revenue, had filed a motion seeking to dismiss the whistleblower lawsuit, which the U.S. government has investigated and actively supports. The lawsuit, filed by Former UnitedHealth Group finance director Benjamin Poehling in 2011, alleges UnitedHealth violated the False Claims Act when it allegedly submitted false information about patient conditions to Medicare to collect higher reimbursements. After a protracted investigation of ... Read More

Salmonella Concerns with Dog Food, Treat Recalls may affect humans

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced three separate recalls of dog food and dog treats, saying the items may cause Salmonella infections among humans who handle the food or come in close contact with pets that ingest it. Raws for Paws, a Minneapolis-based raw pet food manufacturer, is recalling about 4,000 pounds of pet food made with raw ground turkey and sold in 1 lb. and 5 lb.  packages. According to the FDA, the pet food was mainly distributed to retail locations throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa, as well as online. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and ... Read More

Minnesota Health Dept Whistleblower Says Bullying Impedes Investigations

A whistleblower alleges she was fired from her Minnesota state management position after calling out a “toxic culture of bullying” within the state agency charged with responding to reports of elder abuse and neglect in nursing homes and other care facilities. Nancy Omondi served as the director of the Minnesota Department of Health’s Health Regulation Division, which oversees several bureaus, including the Health Systems Bureau and the Office of Health Facilities Complaints, from September 2016 to late November 2017. The complaints bureau is the office that investigates reports of elder abuse and neglect in health care facilities and homes. According ... Read More