Oklahoma dentist Scott Harrington is the first dentist to have transmitted hepatitis from patient to patient. His sloppy practices were the cause. He did not sterilize instruments and his assistants used the same needles on multiple patients. He voluntarily stopped practicing early this year and will go before the dental board later. There many years ago was a dentist in Florida with the same practices that did the first and only HIV transmission.
Congratulations to the plaintiff lawyers who pushed the issue of medical corporations being covered under the med mal caps to the state Supreme Court. It is now the law of the state without exception that medical corporations or their ilk are covered entities under the med mal caps. The high court said it would be stupid if it were not so as the results would be incomprehensible. Top
v Hutchinson Med Ctr
Kansas' Hutchinson Medical Center agreed to pay a fine of $853,000 for false billings for unnecessary hyperbaric wound therapy. There was also alleged some kickbacks to a physician.
v Forest Park Medical Center
Texas' Forest Park Medical Center that owns three physician hospitals has agreed to pay a fine of $260,000 for paying kickbacks to physicians who referred military families to their hospitals. These and other physician owned hospitals are flourishing in spite of the ban on Medicare patients. The practice is legal except for federal insurance. The hospitals state they did not realize the Tricare was a federal program.
Dr. Gustave Drivas of Staten Island, New York, was sentenced to 151 months in federal prison for his role in a large con. The others would pay patients to come to the Brooklyn clinic where either unnecessary procedures were performed or no procedures but all billed via Dr. Drivas. He was a "no show" physician who only came to the clinic to pick up his checks.
v Florida Providers
Multiple radiation oncology centers and some hospitals along with two physicians were accused of doing radiation oncology procedures not supervised by a physician. The physicians were accused of billing twice for the same procedure as well as upcoded. The conglomeration will pay a total of $3.5 million and the whistleblower will be paid over $800,000. Top
Leo Villani worked in an office at the U of Massachusetts Medical School but lived in a palatial house he said was from an inheritance. In fact it was from his stealing money, about $3.4 million, from the organization. This was found on a routine review of his work after he died in a car accident. The theft was over ten years and never caught by any audit. His supervisor has been fired and other personnel disciplined. Since Villani died it is doubtful if there will be any criminal charges filed but watch out for a civil suit to recoup the money from the estate.
Dr. Norman Werther age 71 of Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for running a pill mill with Oxy and causing the death of a person. He gave "exams" to patients recruited for getting Oxy pills and was paid $150 per "exam". Top
v Med Specialty Clinic
The court agreed with the Clinic that the physician had breached his contract by cutting back his hours, incorporating another practice and withholding his accounts receivable. However, the Clinic may have induced him to act in that manner by a constructive discharge or disseminating false information about him to his patients. The case can go to trial. The only thing that was agreed on was that the physician was not allowed to collect money for unused vacation time as this was specific in the contract.
III v VHS San Antonio Partners
After he was terminated from his postition the physician sued in federal court for state court claims. His attorney used federal court because he knew the affirmative defense would be HCQIA, a federal law and he pled that HCQIA should not be a defense in this case. The court dismissed the suit since there is not a private federal right to sue under HCQIA and the pendant claims are not federal in nature. There was no reason the case should have been filed in federal court. Now they have to do it over again in state court and then the defendant will use the federal law to defend.
Mir v Deck
Some things are hard to believe. An attorney actually took this case and even appealed it. The physician lost his medical privileges at the hospital in 2000. He filed suit under personal injury and RICO in 2012. The statute of limitations is at most 4 years. Duh!
v Permanente Medical Group
The physician was told by a fellow employee that a patient was planning on murdering her. She complained to the employer and wanted a restraining order, a reasonable request. The wonderful employer did not care enough to do it and after multiple attempts to get the employer to do the restraining order she was terminated without any notice or right of appeal. The court ruled that she did not plead correctly for state law protection for retaliation but was entitled to trial on her not being given any hearing or told of that right. Bad on the hospital and organization for their uncaring attitude as well as bad lawyering by the organization for not giving notice of the right of a hearing. Top
Medical Assoc. v California
The CMA has asked the US Supreme Court to review their case they have lost in every other court, whether California's 10% decrease in payments to all Medicaid providers will undermine Obamacare. They contend that the decrease in payments is too much and will not allow access for the new Medicaid recipients under Obamacare. What they say is true but is it illegal?
Patients v DHS
The Connecticut federal judge dismissed a suit by 14 seniors who were forced to pay thousands of dollars in nursing home charges because they were not hospitalized for the required three days before transfer to the nursing home. They were in the observation mode instead of hospitalization mode and were never informed of this by the hospitals. The judge did not dismiss the case because of the lack of finishing administrate appeals as the government wanted. He dismissed the case because of a law and 2008 federal court decision that upheld the right of the secretary to let physicians and hospitals determine who should be admitted. Interestingly, hospitals are asking CMS to get rid of observation status since they are losing thousands of dollars on admitted patients that CMS later states should have been observation status. The patients also want the observation status removed since they can not determine without being told what their status is and if an outpatient observation they are required to pay the additional 20% that Medicare does not pay. This may cost the patient thousands of dollars. Top
v Holy Cross Hospital
A former employee of the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida hospital possibly accessed about 10,000 medical records of patients and gotten their personal information to file false tax returns. The hospital sent out notices to all and offered them credit monitoring. 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.