September 1, 2019 Recent Legal News







Peer Review and Employment


California v Keller

Dr. Thomas Keller, a Santa Rosa pain specialist, has been indicted for second degree murder in he death of four patients from opioids.  He was accused of prescribing the pills without a medical reason.  Keller was indicted one year ago by a federal grand jury for health care fraud and illegally prescribing opioids.  He had his license temporarily suspended in 1990 for allegations of sexual abusing 10 female patients and the license was reinstated four years later.

New York v Sloan

Dr. Barry Sloan of Fort Lee, New Jersey, was convicted of manslaughter for the death of a patient who died of a fenanyl overdose.  He had plead guilty to he charge plus recklessly prescribing drugs.

US v Farrell

Dr. Jennifer Farrell of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, was arrested for federal drug charges.  She is alleged to have distributed narcotics without a medical purpose.  

US v McMahon

Dr. Scott McMahon of Clifton Park, NY, was arrested for writing prescriptions for patients in return for part of the drugs.  The psychiatrist can now analyze fellow cons.

US v Tilton

Victorville, California pharmacist Pauline Tilton was sentenced to over 5 years in prison for illegally distributing oxy.  She plead guilty of filling hundreds of prescriptions from a retired physician and knew they were fraudulent.  She was also fined $30,000.

US v Levy

Dr. Robert Levy, a Arkansas VA pathologist, was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of three patients.  He was said to have erred in thousands of pathological diagnosis and to have falsifying records.  In making the wrong diagnosis people got the wring therapy and that is why he is being charged with manslaughter.

US v Bauer

Dr. William Bauer of Port Clinton, Ohio, was indicted on allegedly prescribing narcotics with no medical necessity.  He is also accused of falsely billing for epidural and trigger point injections.  

US v Soito

Lois Soito worked at Saint Alphonsus Health System for 22 years and was indicted for embezzling $1 million during that time.          Top


Georgia v Davis-Boutte
Consent Decree

The "Dancing Doctor" dermatologist pretending to be plastic surgeon Windell Davis -Boutte agreed to pay $190,000 to 38 patients who prepaid her for surgeries not performed.  The reason was she lost her medical license.  It was suspended after her dumb videos came to light by a TV channel.  If she does not refund the money she will have to pay $600,000 in civil penalties.

US v Fatunmbi

Ayodeji Fatunmbi, a Nigerian, was sentenced to 46 months in prison for a DME scam.  He has also been ordered to repay $1,076,000 in restitution.  He had plead guilty of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and money laundering.  He and others paid cash to recruiters and physicians for fraudulent prescriptions for DME.  His co-conspirator Martiza Valasquez was sentenced to 15 months in prison and pay $3,400,000 and another co-conspirator Ibiyemi Fadojutimi was sentenced to 4 years and restitution of $4,372,000.  

US v Uradu

Ashland, Kentucky, physician Dr. Rose Uradu agreed to pay $1.4 million to settle allegations that she and her pain clinic billed for services not provided.  This included billing for those who came to the clinic daily for methadone.

US v Baldwin Bone & Joint PC

The Daphne, Alabama medical group agreed to pay $1.2 million to resolve a qui tam suit that it violated the Stark Law.  A former employee sued for billing for PT services by unlicensed provides.  

US v Waltz

Psychiatrist Sharon Waltz of Birmingham, Alabama, was charged with billing for counseling services not provided.  The ding dong had her billings go from $99,000 to $2.2 million.  She will repay $1.5 million and plead guilty.

US v Sampognaro

Dr. Gregory Sampognaro of Monroe, Louisiana, has agreed to pay $519,750 to resolve allegations tha the accepted kickbacks from the now defunct genetic testing lab Natural Molecular Testing.  Also paying are Drs. Warren Strickland and Isabella Strickland of Huntsville, Alabama who paid $95,053 and $107900 respectfully.  Cardiology PC of Birmingham, Alabama will pay $422,300.  The testing company went bankrupt owing the feds over $70 million which they will never see.        Top


Oregon v Dixon
Court Decision

Thirteen year old Kylee Dixon has a rare liver cancer and her mother decided to stop routine therapy to start alternative therapy.  A court has ordered Kylee into foster care and has taken over the parental responsibility for her.  She is being ordered to undergo surgery for the cancer.

Planned Parenthood for Administration
9th Court of Appeal

In an unusual decision of this Circuit they sided with the administration and refused to block rules prohibiting clinics that receive federal funds from referring patients for abortions from going into effect while the case is under en banc review.  Planned parenthood threatened the court with pulling out of the federal program if they did not stop the law.  They did pull out of the program.

Parents v New York
Judge Decision

A Superior Court Judge backed the state against the anti-vaxers.  The judge denied an injunction against the law that ended religious exemptions from vaccinations required to attend school and day care.  the attorney for the parents will appeal.        Top


Patients v American Medical Collection Agency
To Be Filed

Another company is notifying their patients that their PMI may have been breached when the collection agency was hacked.  Integrated regional Labs in Florida is notifying 30,000 patients.  To date there have been over 24 million records potentially compromised.  Ain't EMR great.

Patients v Wisconsin Diagnostic labratory
To Be Filed

Yet another company doing business with American Medical Collection has notified 180,000 people of compromised information.  This now is over 25 MILLION from this breach alone.

Patients v Mass General
To Be Filed

Mass general has announced a data breach by an unauthorized third party compromising 10,000 patients.  After the breach the hospital took immediate steps to secure the programs.  Why not prior??

Hayden v Franciscan Alliance
Indiana Ct App

Hayden sued after x-rays in the hospital were compromised by an employee and mailed to a boyfriend who posted them on Facebook.  The hospital moved for summary judgment for itself because the HIPAA violation was outside the employee's scope of practice and they did not negligently hire her as she had a background check and full training.  Hospital won their case.

Patients v Rhode Island Ear, Nose and Throat Physicians 
To Be Filed

The medical group notified almost 3000 patients that a hacker gained access to their information.  to their credit they found the intrusion the same day and secured the server.  However, NOW they are implementing additional safeguards which should have been done prior.

Patients v Presbyterian Healthcare Services
To Be Filed

The Albuquerque based system had a phising attack  that compromised the records of over 183,000 people.  Yet another bad actor is NOW putting in additional safeguards which they were too cheap to put in prior.

Patients v Renown Health
To Be Filed

The Reno outfit had an unencrypted thumb drive lost containing the information of over 27,000 people.  How dumb can you be not to know to encrypt the information.        Top


Martinez v Awaad
Previously Written About

Last newsletter I wrote the following:

Elbaor v WhidbeyHealth

The physician sued the Washington state hospital for age discrimination and settled for $1.5 million.  He applied to the hospital for a position as an orthopedic surgeon and was refused due to presumed age discrimination.  The recruiter said in an affidavit that he was told that the hospital was trying to get rid of older orthopods and have them replaced by younger ones.  The hospital states he was turned down for other reasons but settled for the large sum.  Why?  Maybe because there were emails saying they should hire young hungry pods who will cut no matter what.  The hospital was upset with one of their pods who didn't do as many surgeries as they wanted.  Does not sound like an ethical hospital administration.  

Several days later a reader sent me an article about another bad hospital, Oakwood Healthcare in Michigan.  They paid Awaad for doing EEGs and he succumbed to the hospital pressure.  He falsified readings to put children on anti-seizure meds they never needed.  He is a scumbag but just as bad is the hospital who pressured him.  Hospitals and administrators that pressure physicians such as Aawad and Elbaoar need to be drummed out of the profession.

Anesthesia Associated of Ann Arbor v Trinity Health

Turn about is fair play!! The medical group was sued by Trinity to break their con-compete clause and now the group is suing the hospital for trying to steal their providers.  The problem started when the group dropped an insurer who they are contractually obligated to bill as in network at Trinity.          Top


Female Patients v Aurora Vista Del Mar Hospital

In an unusual case because it usually is settled prior to trial, a jury said the hospital and its paren company signature Healthcare were guilty of negligence.  The women were sexually assaulted by a worker who had been previously convicted of sex crimes and was a mental health worker in a private psychiatric facility.  One plaintiff got over $6 million, one almost $4 million and one $3 million.   The jury also awarded $50,000 to each plaintiff for punitive damages.  

Rocha v California

Erika Rocha was an inmate in California and had been for her entire adult life.  She had been convicted of attempted murder and tried as an adult at age 16.  she was up for parole when she hanged herself.  The state has agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle a federal suit for wrongful death.  This was for not providing adequate mental health care for the patient or any patient.

Oklahoma v J&J
Superior Court Judge

The judge said the company needs to pay a whopping $572 million to the state for its part in the opiod epidemic.  This will never stand as the judge mis-read the law.  He allowed this on a public nuisance theory.  

Proctor v VA

The patient died from an overdose of insulin never prescribed.  This is one of several deaths from the same cause in the Louis Johnson VA in Clarksburg, West Virginia.          Top

Peer Review and Employment

Ford v Springfield Hospital

Tim Ford, the former CEO of the hospital, sued following being fired from his job.  He alleges that he was scapegoated for the financial problems of the hospital.  He is suing for lost wages and attorney fees. The Quorum hospital is now in bankruptcy.

Westfield v Orange County

Jennifer Westfield was a LVN at the jail who states she saw a fully clothed man lying on the shower floor and was refused access to care for the individual by a deputy.  The deputy allegedly then call the black LVN and told her "unless you're an African Wizard you can't tell me the man was in bad shape " and threatened her not not tell anyone the man was in the showers.  The county is paying her just shy of $300,000.

21st Century Oncology v Florida

A judge refused to go along with 21st Century and their attempt to block a new /Florida law that would limit the use of non-compete clauses between specialists and any entity that employs or contracts with all physicians of the specialty in a particular county.

Gomez v Memorial Hermann 
Texas App Ct

The court affirmed the verdict of the physician being awarded $6.4 million who was defamed by the hospital.  The hospital hired someone to to review heart surgeons mortality rates.  Dr. Miguel Gomez had a high mortality rate which Dr. Gomez attributed to the use of raw data.  He and the chair of peer review asked the reviewer to stop using the flawed data.  He found that the hospital used the misleading data to keep Gomez's patients when he moved to another hospital by sharing the data with other physicians.  

Holbert v Tri-County Hospitalists

The billing supervisor was employed by the Philadelphia physicians and was fired.  He alleges the cause was his reporting fraudulent billing practices and not billing for the practices.  

Huesel v Trinity Health

Dr. William Huesel, the person accused of killing 25 patients is suing the hospital for not defending him in the criminal trial.  The hospital has paid for the defense fees for the 25 civil trial but has balked at paying for the criminal one.  Huesel states the contract states they will pay for the criminal defense.  

Williams v Beaumont Health System
No summary Judgment

Teoka Williams filed suit against the system for racial discrimination.  She overheard a patient stating she did not want the black bitch caring for her.  She reported it to her supervisor wh took her off the case and reassigned a white nurse in her place.  The judge denied summary judgment and is allowing the case to proceed.  Settlement is nigh.        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.