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North Carolina 307 articles

Herbal product linked to lead poisoning

Children who have been treated with an herbal product tested positive for high levels of lead, which can lead to serious adverse events, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned in a Drug Safety Announcement. “Parents and caregivers should not use ‘Balguti Kesaria (or Kesaria Balguti) Ayurvedic Medicine’ because the risk of lead poisoning,”the warning stated. The product is sold online and manufactured by multiple companies including Kesari Ayurvedic Pharmacy in India. The remedy is marketed as a treatment for infants and children suffering from various conditions including rickets, cough and cold, worms and teething. The product’s packaging says it ... Read More

DOJ launches opioid detection unit

A new Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit has been formed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to focus specifically on opioid-related health care fraud using data to identify and prosecute individuals who contribute to the prescription opioid epidemic, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced. The pilot program will fund 12 experienced assistant U.S. Attorneys for a three-year term to crack down on unlawful pill mill schemes and pharmacies that unlawfully divert or dispense prescription opioids for illegitimate purposes. Participating districts include the Middle District of Florida, Eastern District of Michigan, Northern District of Alabama, Eastern District of Tennessee, District ... Read More

Georgia Quarry Mining Death Triggers Investigation

Federal investigators are looking for answers in a mining accident that killed a quarry worker last month near Athens, Georgia. Online Athens reports that officials with the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) will be at Blue Sky Quarries in Oglethorpe County to interview witnesses, inspect the work site and equipment, and “ultimately, write up a report of their findings, which may include enforcement against the mine operator,” MSHA spokeswoman Amy Louviere said, according to Online Athens. The accident occurred when 36-year-old Matthew Walter Kanala IV of Elberton, Georgia, was driving wedges into a section of rock at the ... Read More

Truck Driver Barred From Road After Fatal Crash

Federal regulators declared a North Carolina-licensed commercial truck driver to be “an imminent hazard to public safety” and barred him from operating any commercial vehicles after he allegedly caused a fatal accident in New York City and left the scene. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) said that Simranjeet Singh Sandhu, 23, of Durham, North Carolina, was driving a tractor-trailer on the Cross Bronx Expressway in New York March 27 when he erratically switched lanes without signaling and struck a car, fatally injuring the driver. Caesar Contreras, 25, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash on the ... Read More

Asbestos found in makeup marketed to children

Tween clothing store Justice, formerly known as Limited Too, is under fire as an investigation has uncovered asbestos in its makeup. WTVD, an ABC affiliate in Durham, North Carolina, worked with the Scientific Analytical Institute in Greensboro to test samples of the store’s makeup and their results found that “Just Shine Shimmer Powder” contains four heavy metals, barium, chromium, lead, and selenium, as well as asbestos, according to Buzzfeed News. “I would treat it like a deadly poison, because it is,” Sean Fitzgerald, the director of research and analytical services at the institute said of the product, which is marketed ... Read More

Medicare Advantage whistleblower suit recovers $32.5M

Medicare Advantage plan providers Freedom Health, Optimum Healthcare, and their affiliates agreed to pay the U.S. government and State of Florida a combined $32.5 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit that alleged the companies exaggerated patient diagnosis codes and overstated the resources it had available to patients. The whistleblower lawsuit was filed in federal court in Tampa in 2009 by Dr. Darren Sewell, who worked for Freedom and Optimum for five years, most recently as a vice president. Dr. Sewell alleged that the companies violated the False Claims Act by submitting false information to Medicare about their members’ medical conditions ... Read More

Deadly C-130 Crash Kills 16 U.S. Troops

Although the military is still investigating what brought down a U.S. Marine KC-130 on July 10, U.S. Marines Brig. Gen. Bradley James told CNN, “Indications are something went wrong at cruise altitude.” The aircraft, known for its reliability, according to the New York Times, went down in a western rural Mississippi soybean field and killed all 16 service members on board including 15 U.S. Marines and a U.S. Navy medical corpsman. The five-mile debris field was spread across both sides of U.S. Highway 82 between the towns of Itta Bena and Moorhead, which is about 100 miles north of Jackson. ... Read More

18 States Sue DeVos, DOE Over Student Loan Rule

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia are suing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education over their plans to rescind a rule that would make it easier for students of predatory for-profit colleges to have their loans forgiven. The Borrower Defense Rule was adopted by the DOE in November and was set to take effect this month. Under the rule, students could have their loans erased if their for-profit college misrepresented the quality of its programs or broke a “contractual promise” with its students. The rule also would also allow the DOE to seek recovery of loan ... Read More

Prospect Settles Mortgage Fraud Allegations

Prospect Mortgage LLC on Monday agreed to pay the U.S. more than $4 million to resolve allegations that it approved mortgage loans for federal insurance that failed to meet Federal Housing Administration (FHA) standards. The settlement is the latest deal resulting from a federal crackdown on banks and mortgage companies that allegedly contributed to the financial crisis of 2008-2009. Federal prosecutors said the July 3 deal settles a False Claims Act lawsuit the U.S. government brought against Prospect Mortgage. According to the announcement, the California-based lender participated as a direct endorsement lender (DEL) in the Federal Housing Authority’s insurance program. ... Read More

Whistleblower Lawsuit draws $6.5 Million Settlement

A whistleblower’s False Claims Act lawsuit against Carolinas Healthcare System has resulted in a $6.5 million recovery for the federal and North Carolina Medicaid programs. According to U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose of the Western District of North Carolina, the Charlotte-based hospital system improperly up-coded claims it submitted for urine drug tests so it would receive higher Medicaid reimbursements. Federal prosecutors contended that from 2011 to 2015, Carolinas HealthCare conducted urine drug tests, categorized as “moderate complexity” tests by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but submitted claims for “high complexity” tests. Claims submitted to federal health care programs include ... Read More