May 15, 2011 Recent Legal News


Peer Review





Physicians v West Penn Allegheny

In an unusual case where several physicians are suing their own hospital for deciding to stop[ providing money losing services to their primary care patients.  The physicians state this is to flood the rival Univ. of Pittsburgh with no pay patients.  The physicians want out of their contracts with the hospital and $900,000 in damages.

Physicians v West Penn Allegheny

No, it is not the same case.  This one is to allow three physicians out of their contracts and to practice at the rival hospital which is against their non-compete contract.  It is a shame when a hospital and their physicians have to use the courts to come to an amicable solution to problems.  It says alot about the hospital culture and maybe physicians shouldn't work there.  

Patients v Speare Memorial Hospital
To Be Filed

The New Hampshire hospital has a laptop with information on 6000 patients stolen from the hospital.  The laptop was in an employee's locked car.  Why do hospitals allow this type of theft to occur.  There should be no removal of patient information from the hospital on any laptop.       Top

Peer Review

Shahinan v Cedars Sinai
Ca Ct App

The physician sued and the hospital filed for arbitration which was granted.  The arbitration went for the physician and the hospital appealed.  The hospital got what it asked for and in a big way.  They lost $500,000 in economic damages, $1.6 million in emotional distress and an additional $2.5 million in punitive damages.  All were upheld.  The physician was hired to head a special skull base institute and soon after problems developed when the hospital did not support the institute.  There are some hospitals that believe they can just bully physicians and this one is a prime example.  

Rosenberg v Advocate Health
ND Ill.

 This is a bad week for hospitals.  Dr. Rosenberg is a cardiologist who was stripped of his privileges at the hospital.  He sued under state law.  The hospital attempted to remove the case to federal court under HCQIA but was unsuccessful since the suit named state not federal law.  The case will be tried in state court where he will attempt to prove the hospital failed to follow proper procedures.  He and the court of appeal reasoned that HCQIA did not completely preempt state law and therefore state jurisdiction was proper.

Jackson v West Virginia University

A CNRA sued all due to sexual harassment even though the CRNA worked for an outside staffing company.  The CRNA pled that the hospital had control over the CRNA by credentialing the person, had performance evals by the hospital and other aspects to show an employer employee relationship.  The case will go forward. 

Eskioglu v Lee Health 

Dr. Eric Eskioglu, a neuroradiologist specializing in coil clotting of brain aneurysms at HealthPark Medical Center, part of Lee Memorial are in a legal squabble over a non compete clause.  He and his brother, another top neurosurgeon, have left and went to the rival Physicians Regional Healthcare in Naples, Florida. The hospital is accusing the physician of disruptive conduct and the physician is accusing the hospital of the same by having him be on call so often and not hiring enough staff.  The contract states he can not work within 50 miles and the new place is 35 miles away.  

Holsapple v Upstate Medical

The federal court dismissed the suit by Dr. James Holsapple against the medical center for retaliation on a whistleblowing case.  The court stated it had no jurisdiction over the mat4ter and declined to hear the state claims.  The case will be re-filed in state court.  The hospital stated that they claimed all along there was no merit but the court did not look at the merit of the claim. Upstate has been in the news frequently for physicians suing it for various things.  This is a hospital that should be stayed away from by physicians. 



Health Law Advocates v Massachusetts
Massachusetts Supreme Court

The high court ruled that legal immigrants must be covered by the Republic's Health plan.  The court did not order the reinstatement of the immigrants.  The legislature is considering a part time solution but giving all the immigrants insurance will help break the financial system.

Employees v Alina
To Be Filed

Alina Healthcare of Minnesota has fired 32 employees over HIPAA violations.  There was a major party in a city with multiple drug overdoses and those records were intentionally accessed illegally.  

Virginia v US
4th Circuit

The 4th Circuit has heard oral arguments in the case by Virginia against Obamacare.  The court will rule for the administration since two of the three justices were appointed by Obama and the third appointed by Clinton. It will be interesting to hear the rationale for forcing people to buy a product.  This has never happened in the past. 

Thomas More v US

The Michigan case against Obamacare is now scheduled for oral arguments.  The original case went to Obamacare.  This panel is made up of two jurists appointed by Republican presidents and one from a Democrat.

Veterans v VA
9th circuit

All knew the VA gave poor care to the veterans but now the courts have agreed in the mental health arena.  The court ruled that the VA incompetence has gone on long enough.  There is no need to wait for Congress to control the beast.  The court states that the wait of over four years to decide claims of health benefits violates the tight to due process.  The court set the stage for the trial court judge to set parameters for the VA to act.      Top


US v Shoemaker
D Miss

The past administrator of Tri-Lakes Medical Center in Tupelo and a business man are on trial for illegal kickbacks.  The trial originally set for May 9th has been postponed to allow more time for the defense to come with something. 

US v American Therapeutic Corp.

The company and Medlink Professional Management Group, Inc. have pled guilty of fraud of healthcare fraud.  This is a $200 million fraud in the Miami area.  

US v Serono Labs

The Lab agreed to pay a fine of $44.3 million for improper marketing of the drug Rebif.  They paid physicians to tout the drug at upscale resort meetings and gave kickbacks to others.

US v Tasis

Mr. and Mrs. Marin Tasis of Detroit have been convicted of Medicare fraud along with a co-conspirator.  They ran a fraudulent HIV infusion clinic in Dearborn, Michigan.  They billed for treatments never provided or not necessary.   

California v Quest Labs

Quest Labs agreed to pay California $241 million for overbilling the state's Medicaid program for lab tests.  This suit was originally by a competitor.

US v Southwest Health Alliance, Inc.

Southwest Health Alliance is a 900 member IPA that was negotiating for all its members for their fees.  This is illegal.  The IPA has been forbidden from jointly negotiating prices it charges insurers.  The FDA also made the insurers able to get out of all contracts negotiated since 2000.  The IPA is now basically useless.        Top  


Deya v Hiawatha Hosp
D Kan

The plaintiffs filed a suit against the hospital and a physician for poor care of newborn jaundice.  They then asked to add a second physician who was in charge of the hospital policies for not having a policy regarding infant jaundice.  The hospital attempted to defend for "futility".  The plaintiff stated that they were suing the second physician for general negligence and not med mal.  The plaintiffs won and both physician will have to defend in court as well as the hospital.  This case should teach that if you are a head of a Department or tasked with policy writing you ought to do it.        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.