April 1, 2014 Recent Legal News






Employment and Peer Review




Since 2009 over 30 million people have had their personal health information and possibly financial information compromised.  This large number is directly related to the push for the non helpful EMR.

Patients v Detroit Medical Center
To Be Filed

The hospital has notified over a thousand patients of a data breach.  An employee had the personal health information and social security numbers on them when they were questioned for an unrelated issue.  Free credit monitoring has been offered.

Patients v UCSF
To Be Filed

Computers stolen from the University of California Family Medical Clinic had 10,000 unencrypted medical information.  There were social security numbers for about 125 people in the computers.

Patients v St. Joseph Health
To Be Filed

 California's St. Joseph Health has illegally sent almost 12,000 patient's personal health information to Cain Brothers, a financial firm.  The firm notified the hospital who notified the patients.  The hospital is redoing it's compliance training.

Patients v Valley View Hospital
To Be Filed

Glenwood Spring, Colorado has a 80 bed hospital called Valley View.  Someone hacked their computer and encrypted about 5400 patients health information in a hidden file.  This information could have been accessed b an outside computer. The data included social security numbers and credit card information.

Patients v Stanford Hospital

The hospital was sued for HIPAA violations in a class action.  They settled the suit for $4.1 million.  About 20,000 names of ED patients were posted on line for about one year.  The hospital would also have to fund a two year training program n how to protect patient information.  This was filed under the California Confidentiality of Medical Information Act.

Patients v AVmed

AVmed, a medical insurance company, agreed to pay $3 million plus actual losses to any identity theft victim as a result of the breach.  The settlement came after a federal court allowed a suit to go forward for privacy breach.  This may be the first time a federal appellate court has allowed a privacy suit to go forward without actual damages shown by all the claimants.  The settlement also requires the company to implement new password protocols, install disk encryption and place GPS tracking on its laptops.        Top


Stockley v VA Pittsburgh

Mr. Stockley was a volunteer at the Pittsburgh VA and developed Legionnaire's Disease.  The outbreak at the hospital was traced to it's drinking water supply.  Several people died as a result of the outbreak.

Kace v Liang

In the perfect case why there needs to be med mal reform, this case makes the point.  The facts are the patient went to the ED of a hospital with cough, fever and chest pains.  He was examined by the ED physician, Dr. Liang who diagnosed him with bronchitis.  He was given antibiotics and sent home.  The next day he was dead.  Did Dr. Liang commit medical malpractice.  The actual diagnosis was viral myocarditis.  Dr. Liang did not do an EKG which may or may not have shown the problem.  If it had shown the problem there is no treatment for the disease.  Therefore no treatments would have changed and the patient would probably still have died.  The lay jury awarded $4.8 million for the death which included interest.    

Mitchell v Tennova Healthcare
ED Tenn

This is a good case of patients suing on their own and why they need an attorney.  The patient was seen in the ED of the hospital and sent to his HR office since it was a worker related injury.  After seeing his HR he was sent to a different hospital but sued the first one for EMTALA violations and ordinary negligence.  He lost since he did not show any disparity and the common negligence was time barred.        Top


Physicians v Aetna

Aetna was sued by physicians for their use of the now disgraced Ingenix database that allowed the insurance companies to pay less for out of network care than they should.  UnitedHealth paid out almost $400 million in compensation.  Aetna was going to pay out $120 million.  It has now cancelled the deal since they state there has been a drop out from the settlement of enough people to make it now worthwhile to defend the action in court.     

Surgical Centers v  United Health

 The surgical centers affiliated with the disgraced 1-800-Get Thin billboards are suing for payment for the lap band surgeries they performed.  The centers are now under investigation by both state and federal agencies for fraud.   Top


US v Padrone

Dr. Padrone of Garland, Texas, has been convicted of health care fraud.  He was sentenced to 57 months in prison but has already spent about half that in jail.  He was also ordered to pay $9 million in restitution for the payments to home health companies made by Medicare because of the fraudulent certification by Dr. Padrone.  His co-defendants will be sentenced at a later date.

US v Clark

Timothy Clark, MD or Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to 15 months in prison and payments of restitution of $130,533 and $105,518 in forfeiture.  This is for not paying withheld 401(k) to the plan.  He also inflated the time spent with patients to fraudulently get more money.

Arkansas v Johnson and Johnson
Arkansas Supreme Court

The state supreme court reversed a $1.2 Billion judgment against the company since the state attorney general erred in filing a complaint against the company under a law meant for health care facilities and not drug companies.  No Arkansas jokes, please.  OK, go ahead.

US v Valley Heart Consultants

Drs. Carlos Mego and Subbarai Yarra of McAllen, Texas have settled a suit against them and the Consultant organization for allegedly billing nuclear stress tests and physician exams that were substandard.  They also allegedly billed for unnecessary heart tests and procedures.  The cost of the settlement which no liability is agreed to is $3.9 million.  This was a whistleblower case from former employees.

US v Duke University

The university agreed to pay $1 million to settle false claims allegations.  They billed for the use of PAs as assistant surgeons during coronary bypass surgery and also unbundling claims for more money.

US v Ahmed

Dr. Syed Ahmed of Long Island, New York, was arrested on health care fraud charges for billing about $85 million for surgery never performed.  Good way not to get med mal against you but bad for the government.

US v Gotukanti

The pediatrician in New York became the 25th physician to plead guilty in accepting bribes from the now infamous Biodiagnostic Labs of Parsippany, New Jersey.     

US v Kohli

 Dr. Naeem Kohli of Effingham, Illinois, was arrested and indicted for health care fraud and running a pill mill.  Top


Hilliker v Hurley Medical Center

Mark Hilliker, Jr. of Flint, Michigan, filed a reverse discrimination law suit against the hospital for racial harassment by a black boss.  The hospital has paid the environmental technician $200,000.         Top

Employment and Peer Review

Fischer v Aurora Health
7th Circuit

The court affirmed the lower court ruling of the physician's lack of standing to sue for antitrust because the hospital closed it's staff therefore eliminating all independent practitioners.  In order to stay on the staff he had to agree to be on call 24/7, an impossible task.  He could not have others cover for him.  I understand the ruling but why would anyone want to work for or with an organization that would treat their people in this regard.  STAY AWAY FROM AURORA HEALTH.

Liu v County of Cook
ND Ill

Dr. Liu was a surgeon at Stroger Cook County Hospital.  She had been warned many times about her not doing surgery on appendicitis patients.  Finally she was terminated from the staff.  What does she do?  Instead of changing her prior conduct she sues and of course loses.  She sued for discrimination but since the hospital had justification for letting her go she lost.

Patients v Johns Hopkins
Class Action filed

In what should be a huge law suit, Dr. Nikita Levy, a gynecologist employed by Johns Hopkins has been found to have pictures of women in various poses of undress.  The pictures were taken by six camera pens or a camera fob that he carried around his neck.  The pictures were taken over about a five year span and ended when the physicians was fired in February 8, 2013.  He committed suicide a week later.  Almost 13,000 patients were treated by the physician and even though not all were photographed all will probably get some compensation by the School.      

Bastidas v Good Samaritan Hospital 
ND Cal

Dr. Bastidas, an oncology surgeon at the hospital did a Whipple procedure on a patient and removed a kidney and injured the Superior Mesentery Artery.  The patient died.  The surgeon had his pancreas surgical privileges pulled and asked for a peer review which he lost.  He sued for racial discrimination but failed to show the hospital was a state actor and failed to show discrimination.  He also sued for lack of due process but lost that as well.   

Commissioner of Public Health v Freedom of Information Commission
Connecticut Supreme Court

A newspaper sued for NPDB records of a physician under the Freedom of Information Act.  The trial court ruled the records should be revealed.  The high court ruled the Commission could reveal the information in its own files but not that in the NPDB.  

 Adams v Yale New Haven
2nd Circuit

In another of I just don't get why they sue cases, Adams was a black physician associate working in the surgical suite.  He transferred to another area of the hospital to not work nights and soon a position opened up in the area he just left that did not require working nights.  He was not offered the position but one who was working in the department was. He sued for discrimination and to no one's surprise lost. I hope the case was on contingency and the attorney lost big.  

Hutchson v Burgess Health
Iowa Ct. App.

The plaintiff was an anesthetist at the hospital and was required due to some question of his ability to work with another under supervision.  Hutchson refused and was fired immediately under his contract.  He sued and lost since he had refused to comply with the peer review committee recommendations.  

Perry v Schumacher Group
MD Fla

The black female physician was terminated from the group and sued for the usual list of discrimination and contract complaints.  Guess what?  She lost on all.         Top



Dr. Joshua Baron was arrested by the Wilmette police for trading drugs for sex on Craig's list.  He confessed to the charges and will be sentenced later.

US v Milliner

Dr. Joel Milliner of Ferndale, Michigan, pled guilty of prescribing narcotics outside the course of legitimate medicine.

US v Harper

Akron, Ohio physician Adolph Harper, his wife and another employee were indicted on 134 counts of misdeeds including health care fraud and distribution of illegal drugs.        Top


Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas v Abbott
5th Circ

The 5th Circuit stated the Texas law that requires abortion physicians to have hospital privileges at a hospital within thirty miles of the abortion clinic is constitutional and not an undue burden on women's rights.        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.