Tag Archives: fraud

California reporter followed one lead after another to an award-winning series

Photo: Attila Malarik via Flckr

To some of us, this procedure might have sounded too good to be true: A national network of infusion clinics offers to relieve just about any complication from diabetes, including neuropathy, nephropathy, cardiovascular problems and erectile dysfunction. It can do so as long as each diabetes patient enrolled is willing to sit for four hours every week or two while a pump pushes insulin through the patient’s veins.

Offered by Trina Health, this procedure was said to mimic the effect of the pancreas. But there was no data showing it worked; only testimonials from people who said they had been patients. But, to some desperate patients, it seemed plausible. Continue reading

‘Sexology’ fraud duped dozens of reporters — don’t be among them next time

Photo: Nic Price via Flickr

We journalists rely on many tools in our trade: research articles, books, interviews, pen and paper, accumulated knowledge and experience, PR folks, smartphones, software, voice recorders, cameras, etc. But every once in a while, one tool outperforms the rest: our Spidey sense.

I can’t count the times my intuition has nudged me in the right direction or diverted me from the wrong one, and you’d be hard-pressed to find an experienced reporter who would say otherwise. Continue reading

Retraction Watch offers some transparency about transparency

Photo: katie chao and ben muessig via Flickr

Photo: katie chao and ben muessig via Flickr

In the years since its inception, Retraction Watch has documented hundreds of troubled scientific papers that were eventually retracted, as well as other related controversies. Founders Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus have learned a lot in that time about following up on retractions, errors or other problematic aspects of scientific research.

Two years ago, they thought they had come up with some good advice for others who wanted to investigate concerns about a particular paper and published a piece on how to report alleged scientific misconduct in Lab Times. Continue reading

Workshop will help reporters translate medical research to audiences accurately

EBMEven if you only cover health care occasionally, you run across myriad medical studies and health claims. The results and claims often seem conflicting and confusing. But understanding evidence-based medicine will help journalists explore for their audiences the science and the policy decisions that impact lives.

The program is set and the speakers are confirmed for next month’s Journalism Workshop on Evidence-Based Medicine.

Sessions will include:

  • The connections and disconnections of science and policy
  • Getting up to speed on clinical studies
  • Research tools for evidence-based stories
  • How to report on scientific fraud
  • Understanding and reporting on screening evidence
  • Digging into statistics
  • How to use anecdotes and narratives while sticking to evidence

Continue reading

Reporting at the nexus of health care and crime

Tonya Alanez

Tonya Alanez

Reporter Tonya Alanez covers the crime beat for the Sun Sentinel, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Just the same, there are times when her beat leads her to health care stories. Last month, she filed a story (site registration required) that offered a troubling look at dentistry in South Florida. She reported on a state investigation into two dentists suspected of fraudulently billing Medicaid for dentures and extractions that frail and elderly patients may not have needed – or even received.

It wasn’t her first assignment at the intersection of dentistry and crime. A couple of summers ago, she took a look at the problem of unlicensed dentists and their unlucky victims.

In a new Q&A, Alanez tells us more about her work reporting on crime and health care. She also shares a little wisdom for health care reporters who may want to do more writing with an eye toward crime.