In Florida, being dead is merely a health condition
A recent federal audit reports that in Florida, where the state's Medicaid program is managed by private health insurance companies, the latter billed the former $26 million over five years (2009-2014) for coverage of people who had already died.
State health care officials say they've recovered roughly $24 million of the identified erroneous payments, but investigators at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have not verified those recoveries.
The feds have a keen interest in recovering that money since the federal government pays about 60 percent of Florida's Medicaid costs. That translates to $15.3 million.
The primary reasons cited for the overpayments tended to involve inaccurate or out-of-date information on the status of the insured patient. The patient, of course, wasn't around to correct any mistakes.
They call it a wallet biopsy
Some of the best health-related news is the information you don't get, i.e. the unexpected medical bill — usually from an out-of-network provider. Though there are lots of reports and anecdotes about folks receiving surprise medical bills, a new report from Health Affairs says the problem is actually improving.
Between 2007 and 2014, the number of unexpected bills from emergency departments dropped 8 percent. For elective hospital admissions, the drop was 5 percent and for outpatient visits, 4 percent.
The report found that the likelihood of a surprise medical bill rose with a patient's age and complexity of diagnosis. The states with the highest rates of surprise bills were Florida, New York and Texas.
Stories for the waiting room
Fans of the TV quiz show "Jeopardy!" may already know Cindy Stowell's story. The 41-year-old Texas woman played the game show in August, taping seven episodes that aired in late December.
Apart from obviously knowing a lot, what Stowell knew that viewers did not was that she had been diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer. She had a six-month prognosis. At the time of the tapings, she was fighting a blood infection, but being on "Jeopardy!" was a dream of hers.
Stowell won $105,803. She donated it to cancer-related groups. She died Dec. 5, 2016.
Body of knowledge
Your body gives off enough heat in 30 minutes to bring half a gallon of water to a boil.
Get me that, stat!
Almost one in five general surgery residents changes career tracks before actually finishing their programs, according to a study published in JAMA Surgery. They usually opt for a more lifestyle-friendly specialty, such as anesthesia or family medicine.
Life in Big Macs
One hour of installing rain gutters around a house or building burns 408 calories, (based on a 150-pound person) or the equivalent of 0.6 Big Macs.
Pokemon: the person who drains abscesses; in England, the related term is "Lancelot."
Phobia of the week
Kyphophobia: fear of stooping
Never say diet
The Major League Eating record for chicken wings is 188 in 12 minutes, held by Joey Chestnut, professional eater. (While the rest of us eat to live, Chestnut has made a life out of it.)
This week in 1799, Edward Jenner introduced his vaccine for smallpox.
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