January 13, 2011 Recent Legal News







US v Detroit Medical Center

The medical center has agreed to pay the government $30 million for improper physician perks.  They needed to pay this so they could be purchased by Vanguard Health of Nashville, Tennessee.  Detroit Hospital had illegal lease deals, paid for entertainment and sports tickets for physicians. 

US v Hospitals

 Seven hospitals have paid a total of $6.3 million to settle charges that kyphoplasty surgery was done as an inpatient instead of an outpatient.  Of course, the feds did no investigations as to whether hospitalizations were in fact necessary.  The hospitals just paid since it cost so much to litigate against the fed.   

US v MSO Washington

The medical practice and billing company along with its owner have agreed to pay a fine of $565,000 for the allegation of health care fraud.  They also entered into a five year corporate integrity agreement.  This was a qui tam by a former employee.

US v Kirkpatrick

Dr. Dahlia Kirkpatrick and Emmanuel Komandu of Alpha Medical Solutions in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, were sentenced to prison for durable health health care fraud.  The physician will serve 48 months and the owner will serve 30 months.  They had pled guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit fraud for unnecessary DME on prescriptions of Dr. Kirkpatrick.           Top


A California court has ordered a settlement arbitration between Marin General Hospital and its former owner Sutter.  Marin states that Sutter owes millions of dollars to the local hospital for siphoning off funds prior to the date of the split.  

Wisdom v Wellmont Health Sys.
Tenn. Ct. App

The hospital lost a summary judgment motion on a wrongful firing (retaliation) case.  A nurse blew the whistle on the hospital to a state inspector about suspected HIPAA violations.  She was fired soon after.  The hospital stated it was for performance issues but the court did not believe the hospital for good reasons.  The court said there were material facts in dispute.   

Mayo Clinic v IRS
Supreme Court

The high court agreed with the IRS that resident physicians are employees and not students.  They get to withhold social security and Medicare taxes like the rest of us.  This should add an additional $700 million to the national social security base per year. Yet another blow to the power of the AHA who filed an amicus brief in favor of the Mayo Clinic.          Top


NJ Physicians v US
3rd Circuit

The NJ Physicians were taken out of the lower court with a ruling that they had no standing to sue.  They are appealing that ruling and this also will be one of the cases to go to the Supreme Court.   

The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case from Vermont where a state law preventing companies from selling  information to pharmaceutical companies that details redacted patient prescriptions from physicians was overturned.  An identical law was upheld in New Hampshire and Maine.         Top


Rivera v Greenstein
NY App. Div

The plaintiff took their son the Dr. Greenstein for cough and flu symptoms.  He was examined and sent home with antibiotics.  He returned several days later and was hospitalized for dehydration and myositis.  The physician then referred the patient for an MRI which was normal.  The child then had seizures and died.  The autopsy showed acute myocarditis and tracheobronchitis.  The suit was won be the plaintiff for $3 million and the JNOV was disallowed.  The appellate court ruled the JNOV should have been allowed since there was no evidence that there was proximate cause as all tests showed the heart as normal.    

Patients v Beth Israel Deaconess Hosp
To Be Filed

The Republic of Massachusetts is examining the above hospital because of three spinal surgical errors in three months.  The surgeons on three separate occasions operated on the wrong spinal level.        Top


California v Murray

Charges of involuntary manslaughter have been filed against Dr. Conrad Murray in the death of Michael Jackson.  Dr. Conrad has pled not guilty.  He also had his medical license suspended by the Medical Board.        Top


DISCLAIMER: Although this article is updated periodically, it reflects the author's point of view at the time of publication. Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice. Readers should consult with their own legal counsel before acting on any of the information presented.