March 15, 2017 Recent Legal News






Peer Review and Employment



US v Goldfein

Dr. Aaron Goldfein of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, plead guilty of health care fraud.  He hired unlicensed physicians to perform physician home visits and bill for their services as if he did them.  

US v Hameedi

Drs. Asim Hameedi, interventional cardiologist, and Emad Soliman, neurologist, of New York were indicted for fraud alsong with Hameedi's nephew, brother and two employees.  They are accused of lying to obtain preauthorization for medical tests and procedures, submitting false claims for tests not performed and paying kickbacks to to medical offices for referrals.  

US v Kandler

David Kandler, the owner of a drug treatment center in Delray Beach, was arrested for making kickbacks to sober home owners for referrals.

US v Greenspan

Another physician, Dr. Bernard Greenspan of River Edge, New Jersey, has been convicted of taking kickbacks from the notorious Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services (BDL).  After a 11 day trial he was found guilty in four hours.  He got about $200,000 and other favors and generated about $3 million in business for BDL.  Greenspan is the 29th physician guilty in this charade.        Top


Kelso v California

A federal judge has overturned California law and is allowing LVNs working at the state prisons to administer Naloxone to prison inmates with overdoses.  The current law allows RNs to administer but not the LVNs.  In prisons LVNs are the front line medics not MDs or RNs.  Prisoners were dying from overdoses before they got to help.  The state did not fight the order.

AHA v Burwell

The HHS continues to defy the court stating there is no way they can get through the backlog of hospital Medicare reimbursement appeals by 2021.  If they do not they may be forced to pay those not issued a final determination.  Maybe they should look at the cause of the great number of appeals as well as clearing the backlog.          Top


Patients v Chadron Community Hospital
To Be Filed

The Nebraska hospital is not a great poster boy for HIPAA as it allowed an employee to snoop on patient medical records for five years without being caught.  They are now reviewing their terrible privacy practices and should be sued for negligence.

Patients v Sharp Healthcare
To Be Filed

Sharp has notified 757 patients that their information has been breached but is offering no credit monitoring since only medical information was obtained.  A computer and external devices were taken from a locked cabinet.       Top


Patient v New York Presbyterian/Columbia Medical Center

A class action suit was filed by the attorney of a woman who was charged $1.50 per page plus administrative fees for a copy of her medical record.  The maximum allowed in New York stateis $0.75 per page.  

Employees v Yale School of Medicine
To Be Filed

Four employees became ill after drinking from a single pod coffee machine.  This was caused by sodium azide, a preservative in labs.  The machine was not hooked up to the water supply.

Employees v Holy Cross Hospital

Chicago's Holy Cross Hospital has agreed to pay $9 million for falsely claiming its pension fund was a church plan exempt from federal ERISA laws.  Employees sued for the illegal money and benefits owed.  


Dial v Fresnius
Not Guilty

In a huge win for Fresnius a jury said they were not responsible for the death of a patient due to Granflo to cleanse patient's blood.  Fresnius had put aside $250 million to settle claims against them for this product.  Dial had opted out of the settlement and sued.  Over 10,000 suits were filed and about half were settled.  This is the first to go to trial.

Lewis v Grady Memorial Hospital
Ga Ct App

A female patient sued the hospital for allowing a sexual battery to be committed on her.  The hospital filed a motion of summary judgment due to its charitable immunity.  The trial court agreed with the hospital but the court of appeals overruled.  They said the hospital need to show that chartable immunity applied to the patient.  This patient was insured but the insurer refused to pay leaving her with ten thousand dollars of payments owed.  Her attorney paid the hospital and the hospital accepted the money.  She falls under the paid exception to the charitable immunity.        Top

Peer Review and Employment

Melamed v Cedars Sinai 
Ca Ct App

A surgeon had a unsuccessful spinal surgery and had his privileges terminated after going through complete peer review.  He then sued not for mandamus but for retaliation.  He, of course, lost. The hospital just filed a statement that the peer review is protected under anti-SLAPP and won.  He could not show any hospital channel used for submitting a grievance, complaint or report.  

Jackson v St. Vincent Healthcare 
Proceed to trial

The employee worked at the Billings, Montana, hospital for 37 years as an instrument tech.  She has learning and speech disabilities.  She had no disciplinary until a new supervisor came on in 2013 who wanted her to work faster and do more complex jobs.  She got additional training which she passed and a forced psychological evaluation and a series of write-ups.   Jackson states the hospital ignored her request for additional time and assistance.  The hospital said Jackson was not a qualified individual under the ADA since she could not do the essential function of her job.  The judge ruled she was a qualified individual if accommodated.  The judge also ruled that St. Vincent's reasoning for firing Jackson was not potentially credible. Sounds like a settlement is soon to be in the cards.

Casale v Nationwide Children's Hospital
6th Circuit

A Urologist sued the hospital for withdrawing an offer after hearing about his having problems at his previous hospital. The court found that he was offered an "at will" position that could be withdrawn.  He was to run the program after being at the University of Louisville as Acting Chair of Urology.  The new start date was delayed when he was unable to get an Ohio medical license in time.  During this delay someone at Nationwide distributed a report showing a very poor peer review evaluation from Louisville.  The offer was withdrawn and he went back to Louisville at a lower salary and less position.  

Manhas v Franciscan Hammond Clinic
Ind Ct App

The neurologist was notified she was being terminated due to failure to get on the staff of the local hospital.  After leaving she filed a claim with the EEOC stating she was terminated due to pregnancy.  This was settled a year later with an agreement that the neurologist's prospective employers would only be told the usual dates of employment etc.  Later the clinic received a request for references from a prospective employer and another physician, not the medical director, filled out the form stating she was not eligible for rehire.  She did not get the job and sued for breach of contract.  The court agreed with the neurologist stating the release did not apply to the Clinic but was explicitly for the hiring institution.  To trial.

Rodriguez v Reston Hospital Center

A x-ray tech sued the hospital for violations of the False Claims Act and Family Medical Leave Act.  He was a staff supervisor and told the hospital about his concerns regarding competency assessments of the staff.  The hospital posted an opening in its radiology department.  The plaintiff removed an applicant from consideration but the hospital put his name back in consideration.  Another got the job and then Rodriguez was demoted and eventually fired after he was injured and out on FMLA leave.  The court said the FMLA claim was ripe for trial due to the hospital's interference with the leave.  The FCA claim was also allowed since he reported the issue and was then fired.  Sounds like the hospital needs a new attorney.        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.