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North Carolina 307 articles

Whistleblower Sues Epic Systems, Alleging Fraudulent Double Billing

A whistleblower suing Verona, Wisconsin-based Epic Systems alleges the medical IT company’s software defaults to double-billing Medicare and Medicaid for anesthesia services, costing U.S. taxpayers to overpay by hundreds of millions of dollars. According to Law 360, Geraldine Petrowski, an employee of Raleigh, North Carolina-based WakeMed Health between 2008 and 2014, filed the False Claims complaint against Epic under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act after her experiences with implementing Epic’s billing system raised “major concerns” about overbilling the government. Ms. Petrowski’s whistleblower complaint contends that Epic’s billing software defaults to charging Medicare and Medicaid for actual time ... Read More

Butterball Plant Worker’s Electrocution Death Under Investigation

North Carolina and U.S. officials are investigating the Sept. 18 electrocution death of a maintenance worker at a Butterball manufacturing facility in Mount Olive. According to New Bern, North Carolina’s WCTI News Channel 12, Butterball spokesperson Christa Leupen said the worker, 28-year-old Robert McCullen, was killed while doing routine maintenance on Tuesday afternoon. Coworkers found Mr. McCullen unconscious and performed CPR on him while they waited for emergency responders to arrive at the facility, but he could not be revived. First responders were also unable to revive Mr. McCullen. The North Carolina Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Division ... Read More

Publix recalls ground turkey for ‘extraneous materials’

Grocery chain Publix has announced a recall of ground turkey products produced and distributed by Prestage Foods, Inc. The company, based in St. Pauls, North Carolina, alerted Publix that the ground turkey may be contaminated with “extraneous materials.” The recall affects nearly 40,000 pounds of ground turkey. The problem was detected following a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) review. Workers conducting sanitation procedures on equipment reported a possible problem to the FSIS. On the same day, according to a Publix news release, a worker at one of the retail locations that received the ground ... Read More

Soldier Shields Woman From Car Crash Explosion

A North Carolina woman was spared from serious injury or worse after a fiery head-on crash, thanks to the quick action of a National Guard sergeant who witnessed the accident. Charlotte’s WBTV Channel 3 reports that Staff Sergeant Cory Hinkle was driving home to Forest City, North Carolina from his National Guard Base in Charlotte when the car in front of him was involved in a head-on crash, sending smoke and debris everywhere. Sgt. Hinkle, an Iraq combat veteran, said his military training and battle instincts kicked in, and he knew the smoke engulfing the vehicle and the gasoline pouring ... Read More

Duke Life Flight Suffered Engine Failure, Post-Crash Fire

Engine failure took down the Duke Life Flight helicopter earlier this month that killed all four people on board, a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) preliminary report says. One of the two engines “exhibited discoloration consistent with overheating and lack of lubrication” and “exhibited rotational nonuniform damage,” the report said. Investigators also found the engine’s bearing roller pins were worn down. Witnesses told NTSB investigators they saw dark smoke trailing behind the helicopter while it was still in the air. One witness reported hearing a “popping noise” before it turned left, then right and began to descend. The witness said ... Read More

Emergency Declarations Loosen Regulations for Commercial Trucks In Disasters

A Regional Emergency Declaration issued by federal officials in advance of Hurricane Irma Sept. 7 remains in place for several states and territories, loosening regulations for commercial truck drivers providing relief throughout the areas affected by the storm. Federal Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao directed the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to implement the emergency declaration in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The emergency declaration came while a previous emergency declaration covering much of the same area after Hurricane Harvey remained in effect and while Hurricane Jose barrels toward ... Read More

Invokana risks may outweigh benefits

Doctors and their hospital-affiliated medical groups have become skittish about prescribing the type 2 diabetes drug Invokana after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) slapped black box warning regarding a twofold risk of lower limb amputations among users on the drug. Since Invokana was approved in 2013 – the first in a new class of diabetes drugs called SGLT2 inhibitors – the agency has required new or strengthened warnings on Invokana’s safety label regarding adverse effects such as an increased risk for ketoacidosis, acute kidney injury, bone fractures, bone mineral density loss and serious urinary tract infections. When results from ... Read More

Occupational Lung Diseases Triggered By Workplace Exposures

Workplace exposures to vapor, gas, dust, and fumes dramatically increase the likelihood that workers will develop some form of lung disease, a new U.S. medical study has found. To understand what roles workplace exposures may play in promoting changes visible on a CT lung scan, researchers from Columbia University Medical Center in New York analyzed data from a broad study of cardiovascular disease in adults. The participating patients were divided among six cities: Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Winston Salem, North Carolina. According to Reuters, the 5,702 study participants had chest CT scans at the ... Read More

Duke Life Flight Helicopter Crash Kills 4

A Duke Life Flight helicopter was traveling from Sentara Albemarle Medical Center in Elizabeth City, North Carolina when it crashed, killing all four people on board just around 11:45 a.m. local time Sept. 8, the News and Observer reported. The helicopter was transporting a patient to Duke Medical Center in Durham when it crashed in Perquimans County near Belvidere, close to the Virginia border and about 160 miles east of Raleigh. Duke Life Flight was founded in 1985 and was the first hospital-based emergency transport service. It includes one other helicopter, both Eurocopter EC 145s, and five ground ambulances based ... Read More

Border Wall Contractor Once Accused of Taxpayer fraud

An Alabama construction company picked by the Trump Administration as one of four firms to work on a Mexico border wall prototype paid more than $3 million to settle a U.S. Justice Department criminal investigation into whether it committed fraud against taxpayers with its work under another government contract in 2012. According to Politico, Caddell Construction Company Inc., a major federal government construction contractor, admitted no wrongdoing in that case of alleged fraud, but it paid $2 million to enter an agreement in which the federal government allowed it to escape prosecution in exchange for unspecified cooperation with the government ... Read More