March 15, 2013 Recent Legal News




Peer Review and Employment


US v Karason

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Podiatrist Michael Karason was sentenced to 16 months prison, payment of $118,000 and three years of parole for billing for procedures for which he was not in state.

US v Adams

Dr. Barton Adams of Parkersburg, West Virginia, was sentenced to 50 months in prison for health care fraud and income tax evasion.  He is now in jail for contempt due to not returning money from foreign bank accounts.  He has been there since 2009.  His wife was convicted of also abetting the fraud.  Along with the prison and jail time which run concurrently he must return $3,700,000 to the feds and $$3,100,000 to other providers for his fraud.  Sounds like he will be in jail a long time.

US v Ohemeng

Dr. Augustus Ohemeng of Buena Park, California was convicted by a jury of health care fraud for recruiting patients and billing for unnecessary tests and procedures.  He wrote many prescriptions for wheelchairs for people who could walk.  Sentencing is in June.

US v Children's Physician Services of South Texas

The Children's Services and Radiology Associates have agreed to pay a fine of $1.5 million and $800,000 respectively.  Both entities billed and collected money for the same things.  It was supposed to work for the former to bill for the technical aspect and the latter the professional part.  What did happen was Children's billed for both and when confronted by Radiology Associates denied it and told Radiology Associates to continue to bill for the professional part which they did in spite of knowing that Children's continued their illegal double billing.  This was a qui tam settlement.         Top


Levin v US
United States Supreme Court

The high court stated that a vet could sue the United States for battery when a Navy physician operated on the patient after consent had been withdrawn.  This was in spite of a split in the lower courts regaring the issue.

Estrada v Mijares
Texas App Ct

The estate of the deceased sued the hospital, physicians and a nurse practitioner for allowing a patient to go home with a heart condition that killed him.  This is the case against the NP who asked to be taken out of the case.  An attorney who should have known better allowed the case to go forward against her.  She proved that she was called and had nothing to do with the patient except to tell the calling nurse that her physician was not on call and to call another one.        Top


FTC v St. Luke's Health System

The FTC and the Idaho Attorney General have filed antitrust charges against St. Luke's Hospital for hiring a medical group that will give them control of the physicians in the area.  A prior private law suit by the competing hospital ended with the court denying an injunction.  This is a whole new ball game.        Top

Peer Review and Employment

Park v Memorial Hospital of E. Texas
Texas App Ct

Dr. Park, an emergency room physician employed by a medical group, was told he needed remedial teaching in pediatrics.  After being told he did not show up for work and the group terminated him.  He sued the hospital and to no one's surprise lost. He did not get a summary suspension and the hospital bylaws are not a contract in this instance.  He caused the damages by not showing up for work.

Lucas v County of Cook
Ill App Ct

In yet another case of a physician shooting themselves in the foot, Dr. Lucas OB/GYN refused to take a 10 day training course required for her employment.  The course was to examine and treat males for STDs.  She did not take the course and was fired.  She sued for retaliation and all her causes of action were tossed.

Craig v Yale Univ. School Med
D Conn

I really do not know what is going on with physicians today but this Black OB/GYN resident was found within one month of starting his residency to be deficient in his quality.  He was placed on probation and failed this so was fired.  He sued for race discrimination and of course lost as their was no evidence of discrimination and there was evidence of his incompetence.        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.