March 1, 2014 Recent Legal News


Peer Review and Employment





US v Uzoaga and Harris

The feds have indicted Dr. Enyibuaku Rita Uzoaga and Charles Harris, AKA Celestine Njajfor, of Houston for health care fraud for doing unnecessary vestibular diagnostic tests.  Harris is now a fugitive.

US v Puri

Sanjay Puri of Baltimore's Eugene Medical billing company has agreed to pay $3.4 million for overbilling nuclear stress tests.  The total payment will be from the above as well as Advanced Cardiology Center and its owners Drs. Gill, Lai and Ijaz; Kennilworth Internists and Dr. Muttath.  

US v Ramirez

Dr. Roque Ramirez of Corpus Christi was convicted of fraudulent billing.  He billed for medical services not provided.

US v Lee

Dr. Chang Ho Lee pled guilty of giving people spa services for the use of their Medicare numbers.  He used the numbers to bill for either medically unnecessary services or services not performed.

US v Diagnostic Imaging Group

Diagnostic Imaging Group in New York and New Jersey agreed to pay $15.5 million to settle allegations that they did unnecessary testing and paid for referrals.  This was a whistleblower suit so Dr. Novik gets $1.5 million, Dr Steinman gets $210,000 and Mr. Solano gets $1.09 million.  Should help their pension plans.

US v Omnicare

Omnicare, a long term care pharmacy, has agreed to pay $4.19 million to settle allegations that it solicited and received payments from Allergen for switching to Arensep.

Kissing Camels Surgery Center v Centura Health
D Colo.

The surgical center sued the hospital for antitrust.  This case was the hospital's motion for dismissal.  The court said no.  The surgical center had pled it's case adequately under Section 1 and 2 of the Sherman Antitrust Act.        Top

Peer Review and Employment

Hamilton v Sheridan Healthcare
SD Fla

In another example of either poor lawyering or stupidity, Dr. Hamilton wanted a jury trial but he had signed an employment agreement that waived a jury trial.  The item was in bold and just above the signature line.

Fahlen v Sutter Central Vally Hospital
California Supreme Court

In a major blow to the California Hospital Association the high court ruled for the physician by agreeing that under the California whistleblower law there is no requirement that a physician must file a writ of mandate prior to filing a law suit against a hospital.  Dr. Fahlen had systematically filed reports about poor nursing at the hospital.  He eventually was fired and after winning in judicial review was terminated by the Board.  This ruling does not have anything to due with his original suit against the hospital but it does make it easier to sue a hospital if a physician claims retaliation.

Pacific Radiation Oncology v Queens Medical Center
9th Circ

Dr. Lederer, a Radiation Oncologist, was refused access to the equipment after the hospital went with the "employee model".  He sued for an injunction to perform some procedures at the hospital and won in the district court and again here.  The court reasoned that Hawaii's Supreme Court had already ruled that a hospital could be quasi state and since this hospital took state funds for an organ transplant center.  He was likely to win on the merits so the preliminary injunction held.

Wabash County Hosp. v Hai Lee
Ind. Ct. App

The hospital has suspended the anesthesiologist from the staff.  She returned to the hospital and was found in the recovery room checking her own blood pressure.  A nurse employee of the hospital grabbed her and told her to leave.  The hospital was sued for assault and or battery and the hospital lost this attempt at dismissal.   Worker Compensation was not involved since she was suspended from her employment at the time of injury.        Top


Pennsylvania v Schaibles

Mr. and Mrs. Schaible allowed a second child of theirs to dies by not seeing a physician.  They had been under court order to have their child seen by a physician but that did not occur.  Their first child died of untreated pneumonia in 2008.  Their 8  month old now died.  They have seven other children at home.  

California v Drobot

Mr. Michael Drobot, the former owner of Long Beach's Pacific Hospital, pled guilty to giving illegal payments to physicians and chiropractors as well as a State Senator Ronald Calderon for referring patients to his hospital.  There are no allegations that any of the surgeries were problematic.        Top


Broown v Rawson Neal Psychiatric Hospital

Mr. Brown was discharged from the hospital and placed on a bus to Sacramento, a town where he knew no one.  He was one of about 1500 patients who received the same treatment by the state run hospital.  This was a class action case and dismissed by a federal judge who stated that the state did not compel Brown to get on the bus they just gave him a bus ticket.  The judge wasn't buying the argument that this was cruel and inhuman punishment under the 8th Amendment.

King v Sebelius

The suit was to show that Obama overstepped his authority when he allowed Obamacare subsidies in all states and not just those who did their own exchanges.  The judge dismissed the suit.  There is another one about the same thing in the District of Columbia.

Notre Dame v Sebelius
7th Circuit

Notre Dame fared as well in the court as it does on the gridiron.  It lost it's appeal to get around the Obamacare contraception mandate.  It was a 2-1 opinion written by Judge Posner.        Top


Ingutti v Rochester General Hospital
NY App. Div

Plaintiff was admitted to the hospital for acute alcoholism and impending DTs.  He left the hospital against medical advice and was found several hours later with frostbitten hands.  He sued for not preventing him from leaving the hospital or providing a save home environment.  Thankfully, he lost.  When someone signs out against medical advice the hospital no longer has any duty to the patient.

Shuler v Garrett
6th Circ

The plaintiff was allergic to Heparin and had refused the shot.  He was given a shot of Heparin anyway and died.  The heirs sued for battery.  The lower court refused the claim but the court of appeals let the claim stand.  The hospital attempted and lost the argument that the patient had signed a general consent.  It is unfathomable why the hospital did not settle the claim.        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.