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4 posts from January 2023

01/25/2023

Upcoming Interviews and Climate Crisis-Related Writing (January 25th)

On February 8th I'll I'll discuss with Georgetown Professor Toshihiro Higuchi his work, "Political Fallout, Nuclear Weapons Testing and the Making of a Global Environmental Crisis."   Though the Manhattan Project ended 75 years ago everyone alive today has been exposed to the radiation substances the project produced.      

On February 15th I'll speak with BYU Professor Julianne Holt-Lunstad about the health effects of social isolation.  See her recent perspective essay in the NEJM, at: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp2208029.

My interview with University of Exeter Professor Kelly Thornber about mitigating the pharmaceutical industry's damage to the environment has been postponed until the spring.  Listeners will recall a related piece I published in STAT last June.   

Concerning the climate crisis, last week I submitted a seven-page comment letter in response to an EPA RFI that solicited public comments for related education, technical assistance and partnerships to lower carbon emissions and to improve corporate public reporting of GHG emissions and plans to reduce emissions.   Go to: https://www.regulations.gov/docket/EPA-HQ-OAR-2022-0878 and search for my name under "Browse All Comments."  

 

01/24/2023

275th Interview: John Abraham Discusses the Continued Rapid Increase in Ocean Heat Content (January 23rd)

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(Listeners may recall Professor Abraham discussed 2021 ocean warming last year on January 18.)

As a possible reminder, oceans, that cover 71 percent of Earth’s surface, absorb 93% of the heat energy trapped by greenhouse gases, termed ocean heat content (OHC).   Increased OHC in 2022 is not surprisingly when you consider global CO2 emissions increased by over two billion tons or rose by 6% to a total of 36.3 billion tons in 2021,  their highest ever level.  In 2022 the planet’s seas absorbed about 11 Zetta joules of heat—equivalent to the energy of seven nuclear bombs exploding every single second of the year or 19 times as much as the total energy produced by all human activities in 2020.  The consequences of warming ocean water to human health and survival are innumerable and incalculable.   For example, warning ocean water cause huge disruptions to marine life from phytoplankton and zooplankton that substantially threatens the availability of food we consume and of oxygen we breathe. 

This 34 minute interview begins with an overview of Prof Abraham's and his colleagues' publication in Advances In Atmospheric Sciences, discusses why ocean warming will continue or ocean heat content will continue to increase long after we stop emitting GHG gasses, the ability of oceans to continue to absorb GHG gasses and heat, uneven ocean warming, the continued amplification of the global hydrological cycle, explains El Niño and La Niña and what it means that 2023 is anticipated to be an El Niño year, increasing ocean acidity and what it means, the lack of interest or recognition of OHC in healthcare policy conversations but why they matter to human health.          

John Abraham, Ph.D., is a Professor and Program Director in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.  He studies largely concerning the geophysical Abraham-John science related to the climate crisis that includes the rate at which the planet is warming, particularly oceans.  His team’s warming measurements provide insights on future climate crisis effects over the coming decades.  Professor Abraham also studies the impact of increasing heat on the human body - information that has important health consequences particularly for at risk and minority populations.   Professor has conducted approximately 400 scientific studies that have been published widely.  He is a frequent television and radio guest having participated in over 100 television and radio interviews.   Professor Abraham earned his BS, MS and Ph.D. in  mechanical engineering at the University of Minnesota.

Professor Abraham and colleagues' January 11 article, "Another Year of Record Heat for Oceans," is at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00376-023-2385-2.   

01/21/2023

Attorney Ms. Jayne Conroy Discusses Prosecuting Healthcare Fraud in Part Via Use of Criminal Statutes (January 19th)

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US healthcare fraud remains pervasive.  For example, this past November Pro Publica and The New Yorker published, “How the Visionary Hospice Movement Became a For-Profit Hustle."  (The article may remind readers of Eric Hoffer’s comment, “every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.")  The National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association estimates healthcare fraud across the entire industry can be as high as 10% of total annual healthcare spending, or approximately $400 billion.     

During this 37 minute conversation, Ms. Conroy begins by describing decisions her firm recently achieved in civil court against Walgreens, CVS and Walmart related to opioid prescribing and discusses criminal convictions against Purdue Pharma related to Oxycontin that, however, did not include prison sentences.  She discusses the use of criminal codes, for example the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO), or how they can come into play in cases of alleged healthcare fraud, and RICO's utility for civil litigation attorneys.  Ms. Conroy next discusses fraudulent healthcare billing largely in context of civil litigators' ability to publicly expose related corporate information, she discusses prosecution of fraudulent pharmaceutical marketing, and concludes with comments regarding healthcare fraud can be, or is being, better policed.            

Ms. Jayne Conroy is a named shareholder at Simmons Hanly and Conroy overseeing practice areas in the firm's Complex Litigation Department that Jane_Conroy_Color addresses addresses mass torts, class actions, product liability, pharmaceutical and sexual abuse litigation.  She serves or has served on dozens of court appointed leadership committees in complex legal actions of national scope.  In 2022, Law360 named her a Titan of the Plaintiffs’ Bar.  Previous honors include induction into the National Trial Lawyers Association’s Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame, election as a member of the exclusive American Law Institute, recognition as an Elite Women of the Plaintiffs Bar Winner by The National Law Journal, and the American Association for Justice’s Lifetime Achievement Award.  Ms. Conroy was graduated from Dartmouth College and the New England School of Law. 

The ProPublic hospice article is at: https://www.propublica.org/article/hospice-healthcare-aseracare-medicare.

The Lown Institute 's 2023 Shkreli awards noted in the introduction is at: https://lowninstitute.org/projects/shkreli-awards/.
 
Kaiser Health News' "The System Feds Rely on to Stop Repeat Health Fraud Is Broken," is at:

01/06/2023

My Latest Publication, "FYI: The Health Care Industry Is Not Decarbonizing" (January 6th, 2023)

Last night The Hill published my latest climate-crisis related writing titled, "FYI: The Health Care Industry Is Not Decarbonizing."  

It's at: https://thehill.com/opinion/healthcare/3801506-fyi-the-health-care-industry-is-not-decarbonizing/.

Though the title is self-explanatory, please read why I've drawn this conclusion. 

Comments are welcomed.  Again: dmintr@gmail.com