Financial
Database: Some doctors getting millions from Medicare PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, Associated Press SERDAR TUMGOREN, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 06:10

WASHINGTON (AP) — Medicare paid a tiny group of doctors $3 million or more apiece in 2012. One got nearly $21 million.

Those are among the findings of an Associated Press analysis of physician data released Wednesday by the Obama administration, part of a move to open the books on health care financing.

Topping Medicare's list was Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen, whose relationship with Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., made headlines last year after news broke that the lawmaker used the doctor's personal jet for trips to the Dominican Republic. Medicare paid Melgen $20.8 million.

AP's analysis found that a small sliver of the more than 825,000 individual physicians in Medicare's claims data base — just 344 physicians — took in top dollar, at least $3 million apiece for a total of nearly $1.5 billion.

AP picked the $3 million threshold because that was the figure used by the Health and Human Services inspector general in an audit last year that recommended Medicare automatically scrutinize total billings above a set level. Medicare says it's working on that recommendation.

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Weather Channel cuts reality shows in DirecTV deal PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 08 April 2014 15:15

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Weather Channel is returning to DirecTV with a significant compromise that affects all of its viewers: it promises to focus more on the weather.

After a three-month dispute with DirecTV that saw the channel dropped to some 20 million U.S. viewers, the two sides came to a new deal that will restore service on Wednesday.

The biggest change to its programming will affect all Weather Channel viewers, not just DirecTV subscribers. It said it will reduce its reality programming by half on weekdays. That means fewer airings of TV shows like "Coast Guard Alaska" and "Hurricane Hunters."

David Kenny, the CEO of channel parent Weather Company, apologized for the disruption and vowed to reward viewers with more weather-focused news.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
Comcast argues benefits of Time Warner Cable deal PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 08 April 2014 15:16

WASHINGTON (AP) — Comcast Corp. on Tuesday presented its case to government regulators arguing that its $45 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable Inc. will benefit consumers without limiting competition.

The company filed hundreds of pages of documents with the Federal Communications Commission after filing a notice Monday with the Justice Department.

On Wednesday, Comcast Corp. executive vice president David Cohen will testify before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in a hearing to review the impact of the merger on consumers.

Comcast says the acquisition will allow it to boost Internet speeds for Time Warner Cable. The filing also says the company will provide better video-on-demand service and broaden its commitment to "Net neutrality" — the idea that Internet providers should not discriminate against Web traffic depending on its source.

Comcast has agreed to not discriminate against any traffic in its network through 2018 as a condition of its $30 billion purchase of NBCUniversal, which was completed last year. The company vowed to maintain the commitment despite a federal appeals court decision that struck down the FCC-imposed rules in January.

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HBO's 'Game of Thrones' renewed for 2 more seasons PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 08 April 2014 15:10

NEW YORK (AP) — "Game of Thrones" rules.

On the heels of its explosive fourth season premiere, HBO has renewed the epic fantasy series for two more years. The network promised more "dazzling storytelling" in those fifth and sixth seasons.

Based on the best-selling book series by George R.R. Martin, "Game of Thrones" is set on the exotic, often war-torn continent of Westeros. Cast regulars include Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Charles Dance and Natalie Dormer.

Sunday's season debut was seen by 6.6 million viewers, making it HBO's most-watched program since the finale of "The Sopranos" in 2007. Its audience was 50 percent larger than for last season's premiere.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
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