A hospital about two hours west of Charlotte is at the center of a $115 million settlement announced by the U.S. Attorney’s office yesterday. The case involves whistle-blowers, allegations of government fraud and illegal kickbacks to doctors.  

Michael Tomsic

The federal government is trying to make it easier for consumers to figure out who's good and who's not in a lesser-known part of the health care industry. For the first time, Medicare has released star ratings for home health agencies. The agencies consist of nurses, therapists and social workers who bring treatment to you. WFAE's Michael Tomsic reports on how agencies earn their stars – and potentially set themselves up for higher reimbursements in the future.

North Carolina has some of the worst rated nursing homes in the country. A report from the Kaiser Family Foundation released Thursday shows the federal government gave more than 40 percent of the state's nursing homes one or two star ratings.

Nine nursing homes in the Charlotte area received the lowest possible rating, one star:

Kaiser Health News

Patients rate hospitals in the Carolinas as good but not great. That's according to a Kaiser Health News analysis of the federal government's new star ratings based on patient surveys.

Medicare didn't give a single hospital in North Carolina or South Carolina the lowest rating (one star), and there weren't a lot of five-star hospitals, either.

Alan Cleaver/Flickr
Alan Cleaver / Flickr/

In the Charlotte area, BlueCross BlueShield and Novant Health are setting up a new payment program for knee replacements that they say will save patients money. It's called a bundled payment program, and you could be hearing that phrase a lot more in the future.

nffcnnr / Flickr

Compared to the rest of the country, a much higher percentage of hospitals in North Carolina received a bonus from Medicare this year based on quality measures. That's according to a Kaiser Health News analysis of federal government data.

Images_of_Money / Flickr

Some lawyers say the U.S. Attorney's office in Charlotte is building a reputation for being especially aggressive in prosecuting health care fraud. As an example, the office earlier this year won its largest settlement ever with a single doctor.

nffcnnr / Flickr

The federal government is cutting Medicare payments to one-fifth of North Carolina hospitals because of high rates of infections or other complications. That's according to a Kaiser Health News analysis of the penalties released Thursday.

Images Money / Flickr

North Carolina has the fourth-highest percentage of people whose Medicare Advantage plans will no longer be offered next year, according to a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Tasnim Shamma

Election season is a time of talking points, where politicians boast of their influence and often take simplistic stances on complex issues so they can be easily digested by the media and voters.

Less talked about is the unglamorous, but equally important part of the job that goes with being a Member of Congress: casework. A Member of Congress's district office helps constituents with problems with federal agencies, such as processing visas and passports or filling out Medicare paperwork.