InvestigateTV - Season 2; Episode 24

Published: Jul. 21, 2023 at 2:51 PM MDT
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(InvestigateTV) — This Week on InvestigateTV: Insurance companies sometimes reject doctors’ prescribed treatments, leaving many Americans unable to afford their medications. Lee Zurik investigates how middleman used by insurance companies are often the reason behind the decision. Plus, claims patients dying unnecessarily after being placed on ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ orders without their family’s knowledge. WHERE TO WATCH ICYMI – Watch last week’s episode.

Permission to Prescribe: When doctors prescribe a particular treatment or prescription, that decision isn’t always accepted by insurance providers for coverage. Without coverage, many Americans simply couldn’t afford their prescription. The reason, in many cases, is insurance companies use a middleman called a Pharmacy Benefit Manager to negotiate prices – and determine what will and will not get covered. Some patients are forced to try cheaper drugs before moving on to the drug their doctor thinks is best. Others simply can’t get a particular drug or format covered at all. What’s worse, an InvestigateTV analysis of approved drug lists found the differences between companies are broad and confusing. We look at the complex system and how it affects doctors and patients. Plus, the pharmaceutical and PBM industries weigh in.

Playing God: Some patients are unnecessarily dying while placed on ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ orders (DNRs), which they or their families, had no idea existed. The result: when a patient has a medical emergency, doctors do not intervene with potentially-life-saving treatments. Claims involve patients or their families who say medical staff fabricated DNRs or ordered them without their consent. In some cases, very specifically-worded laws allow doctors to disregard family or patient wishes in certain scenarios – and medical boards left to conclude the treatment was correct. We look at two examples: a Wisconsin woman with Down syndrome whose family says she died without their approval for a DNR – and a Georgia woman with limited cognitive ability who died after she signed a DNR that her family’s attorney says had pre-filled, photocopied doctor signatures on it. We look at hundreds of identical DNRs from those doctors – and find thousands of facilities the government has found to have violated advance care directives.

Medication Mix-Up: Imagine picking up a prescription at a pharmacy but being given the wrong medication. It’s a mistake that can have dangerous consequences, but these types of medication mix-ups are not that uncommon, an Atlanta News First investigation found. We spoke with a woman who was prescribed oxycodone for a serious ankle sprain but was instead given Adderall by her local pharmacy.

Watching Your Wallet – Credit Card Debt: Household debt reached $17 trillion this year, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, with many Americans turning to credits cards to help pay their bills. In this Watching Your Wallet, Consumer Investigator Caresse Jackman breaks down simple strategies can take to reduce your debt and raise your credit score.