Thursday, March 26, 2009

On Today’s Menu: some recent health law specials

Congress Introduces Congressional Resolution To Ensure That Any National Health Care Reform Legislation Directly Addresses The Health Needs Of Women, 16 No. 11 Andrews Health L. Litig. Rep. 8, Andrews Health Law Litigation Reporter March 25, 2009
U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., has introduced a congressional resolution to ensure that any national health care reform legislation directly addresses the health needs of women. The Feb. 12 resolution calls on Congress to pass a reform bill within 18 months that guarantees health care coverage for women and families. On the same day, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., introduced an identical resolution in the House. "Women are the gatekeepers of their families' health," Stabenow said.

Legislation: Both Houses Of Congress Have Introduced Joint Bills To Reverse A Key U.S. Supreme Court Medical Device Ruling, 16 No. 11 Andrews Health L. Litig. Rep. 1, Andrews Health Law Litigation Reporter March 25, 2009
Members of both houses of Congress have introduced joint bills to reverse a key U.S. Supreme Court decision that barred patients injured by medical devices from suing for damages in state court. Last year the nation's highest court ruled in an 8-1 decision that a 32-year- old federal regulation shields medical device makers from liability under state laws in suits claiming injury from devices that received Food and Drug Administration approval. Riegel et al. v. Medtronic Inc.

Consumer Protection: Extendicare Wins Dismissal Of Fraud Class Action, Bernstein v. Extendicare Health Servs., 16 No. 11 Andrews Health L. Litig. Rep. 2, Andrews Health Law Litigation Reporter March 25, 2009
A federal judge has dismissed a class-action lawsuit accusing nursing home operator Extendicare Health Services of using false and deceptive advertising to attract prospective residents while providing substandard care at its Minnesota facilities. The U.S. District Court said the false-advertising statements alleged by plaintiff Laura Bernstein constituted mere "puffery" and could not be the basis for a consumer protection action.

EMTALA: Family Loses Bid To Sue Hospital Failing To Properly Screen And Stabilize A Man Who Later Died From A Drug Overdose, Cintron v. Pavia Hato Rey Hosp., 16 No. 11 Andrews Health L. Litig. Rep. 3, Andrews Health Law Litigation Reporter March 25, 2009
A federal judge in Puerto Rico refused to reconsider a decision in favor of a hospital accused of failing to properly screen and stabilize a man who later died from a drug overdose. The family of Luis Valentn-Cintr"n sued Pavia Hato Rey Hospital for violating the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, 42 U.S.C. 1395dd.Denying the family's bid to reopen the case, the U.S. District Court affirmed his prior finding that no emergency condition existed at that time.

Health Care Fraud: U.S. Government Has Joined Two San Francisco Federal Court Whistle-Blower Suits Against J&J Subsidiary, United States v. Scios Inc., 16 No. 11 Andrews Health L. Litig. Rep. 4, Andrews Health Law Litigation Reporter March 25, 2009
The U.S. government has joined two San Francisco federal court whistle-blower suits accusing Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Scios Inc. of illegally selling its breathing drug Natrecor for unapproved uses. Former Scios sales managers turned whistle-blowers Joe Strom and Jeffrey A. Smith filed separate suits in 2005 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Both suits alleged violations of the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. 3729.

HIPAA: CVS Caremark Has Agreed To Pay $2.25 Million To Settle Charges That It Violated Federal Privacy Regulations, In re CVS Caremark Corp., 16 No. 11 Andrews Health L. Litig. Rep. 5, Andrews Health Law Litigation Reporter March 25, 2009
CVS Caremark has agreed to pay $2.25 million to settle charges that it violated federal privacy regulations when pharmacy employees threw out prescription records and drug bottles into open trash bins. The settlement resolves a joint investigation by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Trade Commission prompted by 2006 media reports that Dumpsters behind certain CVS pharmacies contained pill bottles with patients' names, Social Security numbers and insurance information.

HIPAA: Defendants Get Access To Asbestos Claimants' Medical Records, In re Asbestos Prods. Litig., 16 No. 11 Andrews Health L. Litig. Rep. 6, Andrews Health Law Litigation Reporter March 25, 2009
Medical records related to the diagnosis of asbestos-related conditions used by plaintiffs in the asbestos multidistrict litigation are discoverable by the defendants, the federal court overseeing the cases has ruled. Doctors had argued that releasing the records, including X-rays and pulmonary function tests, would violate patients' privacy rights under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, 110 Stat. 1936.The multidistrict litigation is a consolidation of all federal asbestos cases.

Hospital Billing: Hospital In Missouri Is Facing A Class-Action Complaint Alleging It Charges Emergency Room Rates For Non-Emergency Care, Donley v. St. Luke's Health Corp., 16 No. 11 Andrews Health L. Litig. Rep. 7, Andrews Health Law Litigation Reporter March 25, 2009
A hospital in Missouri is facing a class-action complaint alleging it charges emergency room rates for non-emergency care. Michael Donley claims in a state court lawsuit that St. Luke's Health Corp. billed him $250 in emergency room rates for care he received in one of the hospital's urgent care centers, filed in the St. Louis County Circuit Court.


Medicare: U.S. Has Moved To Dismiss A Proposed Class-Action Suit, Saying Retirees Have No Standing For Medicare Challenge, Hall v. Johnson, 16 No. 11 Andrews Health L. Litig. Rep. 9, Andrews Health Law Litigation Reporter March 25, 2009
The federal government has moved to dismiss a proposed class-action suit accusing the Department of Health and Human Services of illegally denying retirees their rightful Social Security benefits because they wish to opt out of Medicare. Plaintiffs Brian Hall, Lewis Randall and Norman Rogers allege that HHS and the Social Security Administration told them they would lose the thousands of dollars they had paid into Social Security over the years if they did not enroll in the federal health care.

State Services: JUDGE WON'T TOSS SUIT ON CARE OPTIONS FOR NYC'S MENTALLY ILL, Disability Advocates v. Paterson, 16 No. 11 Andrews Health L. Litig. Rep. 10, Andrews Health Law Litigation Reporter March 25, 2009
An advocacy organization may pursue its lawsuit alleging that mentally disabled New York City residents are unnecessarily institutionalized in "adult homes" because the state fails to provide community-based alternatives, a federal judge has ruled. In an exhaustive 112-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis found, among other things, that Disability Advocates Inc.'s claims fall squarely within Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. 12132.

Surgical Error: FLA. WOMAN SUES OVER BUNGLED COLOSTOMY PROCEDURE, Timmerman v. Kasemsap, 16 No. 11 Andrews Health L. Litig. Rep. 11, Andrews Health Law Litigation Reporter March 25, 2009
What should have been a routine colostomy reversal turned into a nightmare for a Florida woman whose state court lawsuit alleges the procedure resulted in her rectum being connected to her vagina. Lori A. Timmerman sued Dr. Pachavit Kasemsap and his employer, Surgical Associates of North Florida, in the St. Johns County Circuit Court. According to the complaint, Kasemsap negligently performed a colostomy reversal.

Wrongful Death: DOCTORS KILLED MAN TO HARVEST ORGANS, FAMILY SAYS, Jacobs v. Ctr. for Organ Recovery & Educ., 16 No. 11 Andrews Health L. Litig. Rep. 12, Andrews Health Law Litigation Reporter March 25, 2009
The parents of an 18-year-old man who suffered brain damage in a snowboarding accident say two doctors at a Pennsylvania hospital "intentionally killed" him to harvest his vital organs, according to a wrongful-death suit filed in federal court. Michael and Teresa Jacobs, of Belleview, Ohio, say their son Gregory died after doctors at Hamot Medical Center in Erie prematurely removed his breathing tube even though he had not suffered brain or cardiac death.

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