December 1, 2018 Recent Legal News






Peer Review and Employment


Netherlands v Physician

For the first time the country known for its euthanasia is prosecuting a physician for doing one.  The problem was one of the interpretation of an earlier application for euthanasia and the use of force to perform it.  The physician felt the prior authorization was valid even though the patient was now incompetent and did not want the procedure.  The prosecutors say the prior request was contradictory.  This physician drugged the patient's coffee and then had family members hold her down while she gave the patient the meds.  

Delaware v Abram

Hope Abram, embezzled from Beebe Hospital where she was the revenue director by requesting refund checks to fictitious people and deposited them into her own account.  She is now required to pay $201,000 in restitution and spend 25 years suspended after serving two years in prison.        Top


US v Price

Jacklyn Price, of Shelby, Michigan, was sentenced to over 13 years in prison for her part in fraud and kickbacks.  She also was ordered to  repay $6,350,332.  Ms. Price was the owner of two Detroit clinics and paid kickbacks for referrals to her home health clinics.

US v Abbott & AbbVie

The companies improperly marketed TriCor by illegally offering gift baskets, gift cards and other items to induce the writing of prescriptions.  The companies will now pay $25 million.  The qui tam person drug rep will get $6.1 million.

US v Chalhoub

Dr. Anis Chalhoub, of London, Kentucky, was sentenced to 42 months in prison for implanting medically unnecessary pacemakers.  He also was ordered to pay a $50,000 fine and must repay $237,515 to Medicare and other insurers.  He is prohibited from practicing cardiology for three years post release.

US v Eggleston

Sophia Eggleston of Detroit, was convicted of receipt of health care kickbacks.  She solicited and received kickbacks in exchange for referring patients for home health as a patient recruiter.

US v Felder

Dr. Kenneth Felder and his Metropolitan Retina Associates of Brooklyn and Manhattan agreed to settle claims of billing for worthless imaging studies by paying $2,064,559 to the feds.  They were accused of billing for substandard flourescein angiography and opthalmic ultrasounds that were either not done or lacked documentation.

US v Aneke

Joy Aneke, the owner of three Houston health clinics was sentenced to 36 months in prison.  She billed for services not authorized by physicians such as allergy testing, complex cystometrograms and anal/urinary muscle studies.  The clinics did not have the  equipment to do these studies.  She also paid kickbacks to get patients.  She was also ordered to repay $2,760,464 in restitution.

US v Atrium Health

The hospital will cease and desist from using its market power in the Charlotte, North Carolina area to prevent health insurers to engage in steering patients to more cost effective hospitals than the dominant one.

US v Ogon

Dr. Bernard Ogon of Burlington, New Jersey, was arrested for prescribing compounding meds for patients who did not need them.  He saw patients via telemedicine and paid by those companies to prescribe the expensive meds.  The telemedicine companies sent Ogon prescriptions to sign and give out without any medical evaluation.  

US V 12 Individuals

The feds have filed suit against 10 people in Western Pennsylvania, one in Georgia and one in South Carolina for conspiracy to defraud.  They are accused of making false claims, faking employee names and many other felonies.  This is all to get money out of Medicaid home health.

US v Burlakoff
Plea Deal

Alec Burlakoff, the former vice president of sales an Insys, has reached a deal with the feds.  He will plead guilty to bribing physicians to prescribe Subsys.  Other execs of the company have plead not guilty and await trial. 

US v Fujinaga

A jury convicted the former president and CEO of MRI International of eight counts of mail fraud.  He had a Ponzi scheme where he solicited investments from Japanese residents and used them for himself.          Top


Brown v Nevada
Jury Verdict

Brown was the lead plaintiff in a class action suit against Nevada as the owner of the Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital.  The hospital paid for bus tickets out of dodge for patients discharged from the hospital.  They ended up in various states but mostly in California.  The jury ordered payment of $225,000 per patient sent.  This is currently about 90 patients but could get u to 370.  Nevada says they will appeal.  

Court v Las Vegas University Medical Center

The judge has fined the hospital $820,000 for destroying evidence and discovery violations in a case involving wage disputes with the Department of Labor.  

Griffith v PeaceHealth

The patient was injured in an accident and treated at PeaceHealth in Eugene, Oregon.  He is disabled and on Medicare.  They did not bill Medicare and billed Griffith over $14,000 out of his settlement.  The accident took place in November 2015 and PeaceHealth greedily billed Griffith in October 2017.  He was paid the settlement the same month.  The law does not allow the billing of the patient after 120 days of the accident if on Medicare in Oregon.  This may be a large class action in this case and lead to others against other providers.

Christian Medical and Dental Society v California
Ca App Ct

The appellate court overruled the lower court judge and stated that the California Right to Die law is constitutional.  The lower court judge said the legislature passed it illegally in a special session.  The upper court stated the physicians had no standing to sue.  The upper judge did not address the issue of the illegality of the passage.        Top


Patients v US 
To Be Filed

Healthcare.Gov was hacked and over 75,000 individuals had some identity stolen.  

Patients v Health First
To Be Filed

The Florida health organization had a phisihing event that led to 42,000 records breached.  

New Jersey v ATA Consulting

ATA Consulting and its owner Tushar Mathur agreed to pay a $200,000 fine for erroneously making its site public during an upgrade.  This exposed over1600 patients medical information to exposure.  Also Mathur was banned from the business.  Earlier Vitua Medical Group agreed to pay $417,000 for not conducting a through analysis of sharing info with ATA.

Parker v Carilion Clinic
Virginia Supreme Court

The state high court ruled that the clinic that employed people may be sued for their actions.  In this case the lower court dismissed the clinic at the pleading stage which should not have been done.  Parker had a prior diagnosis at a Carilion owned Ob practice and was now at a Carilion owned family practice where her previous diagnosis was accessed by an employee and told to a mutual friend.  The case may now go forward.

Patients v SUNY
To Be Filed

A former employee of SUNY accessed the medical records of about 1200 patients without a legitimate reason.  

US v Allergy Associates of Hartford PC

The practice agreed to pay $125,000 for violations of HIPAA for a physician's stupidity.  A patient contacted a local TV station regarding a dispute with one of the Allergy Associates physician.  The TV station contacted the doctor who stupidly gave the reporter the health information of the patient.  He had been told to respond with "no comment" but he was too smart for that.

Patients v Atrium Health
To Be Filed

Over 2 million patients have had their health information compromised by a vendor of Atrium Health.  Atrium is responsible as they did not do their due diligence.  res ipsa. 

Patients v Mercy Medical Center -North Iowa
To Be Filed

 About 1900 patients had their medical information compromised by an employee who is no longer working for the institution.  They are going to educate their employees after the horse has left the barn.

Employees of University of Pennsylvania Medical System v University of Pennsylvania Medical System
Pennsylvania Supreme Court

The state high court has allowed this suit to continue.  The employees sued for negligence for a HIPAA breach.  They had actual damages as the information stolen was used to file fraudulent tax returns.  The two lower courts dismissed the case but the high court will let it go forward.  The university owed a duty to the individuals and that their conduct created the risk of a data breach which did occur.  They took away the defense that a third party's criminality caused the harm.  The case was then remanded.        Top


Kali v Young

Dawn Kali spent thousands of dollars and wasted time on using baking soda infusions for her breast cancer.  She now has a limited survival.  She finally woke up and is suing Robert Young.  She won $105 million but the case will be appealed and a settlement looms.

Buckley v Hennepin Healthcare

Buckley filed suit against the paramedics of Hennepin who used ketamine to contol her while bringing her to the hospital.  Hennepin Health was doing a study as to which is more effective Versed or ketamine.  No consent was obtained.  After the injection she states she had problems breathing and required an endotrachael tube.

Allen v J&J

A jury cleared J&J of responsibility of causing her mesothelioma from the use of J&J talc.  There is no asbestos in talc.  

Boyd-Bostic v J&J

For the second time a jury has not reached a decision or whether the use of the company's talc caused the death of this patient from mesothelioma.  

Claycomb v Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services
Kentucky Supreme Court

Claycomb is the mother of Ezra Claycomb born with cerebral palsy.  She filed suit and was required to first go through a medical review panel.  The court ruled this was an unconstitutional hindrance to going to court.  

Palmer v Shawnee Mission Medical Center
D Kansas

Plaintiff sued for med mal and EMTALA for discharging a patient in active labor.  The court said any deviations from protocol were minor and the hospital did not know she was in active labor, being diagnosed with false labor.  The plaintiff family also sued for intentional inflection of emotional distress.  All claims were dismissed.        Top

Peer Review and Employment

Lizzaranga v Loma Linda

Hugo Lizzaranga, a warehouse employee at Loma Linda hospital, was fired and sued as he believed he was fired due to his Muslim beliefs.  He said his bosses discriminated against him for his beliefs after he converted to Islam.  He says that he got more workload, was referred to as the terrorist and stating he was too slow.  He complained to HR regarding the behavior and was told nothing would be done.  He won $3.2 million.

Lafond v Southern New Hampshire Health 

Jennifer Lafond, an administrative house nursing supervisor at the hospital, was asked to see a patient in hospice.  She transferred the patient to the hospital where she received appropriate pain meds and died in peace.  Lafond was then fired, she says , for bringing in a hospice patient on Medicaid.  She is suing for wrongful termination.        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.