14 Recent Investigations, Lawsuits and Settlements Involving Hospitals

The following investigations, lawsuits, settlements or other legal developments involving healthcare providers were reported within the past month, beginning with the most recent.

1. Cook County in Illinois to Pay $2.6M to 3 Fired Physicians
Cook County commissioners approved a $2.6 million settlement to three physicians who, in two federal lawsuits, claimed they were illegally laid off in 2007 from Provident Hospital in Chicago.

2. Meadowlands Hospital, Travelers Insurance Tied in Lawsuit
Personal insurance giant Travelers filed suit against Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center, a for-profit hospital based in Secaucus, N.J., alleging the hospital committed fraud by not sending car-accident victims to less expensive healthcare venues.

3. Feds Probe Pacific Hospital of Long Beach for Alleged Kickbacks to Spine Surgeons
The U.S. attorney for the Central District of California is investigating Pacific Hospital of Long Beach (Calif.) for alleged kickbacks and improper payments stemming from an implant distributorship.

4. CEO, CFO of Sacred Heart Hospital in Chicago Arrested

Federal authorities arrested Edward Novak, owner and CEO of Sacred Heart Hospital in Chicago, along with the hospital's CFO and four physicians, for allegedly participating in a kickback scheme.

5. 2 Hospitals Settle Patient-Dumping Allegations So Far This Year
Since the beginning of the year, two hospitals settled patient-dumping allegations with CMS: Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne, Fla., and Sacred Heart Hospital in Chicago.

6. Washington Supreme Court: Hospitals Must Pay Nurses Overtime for Missed Breaks
The Washington State Supreme Court ruled that hospitals must pay overtime to nurses when they do not receive breaks during their shifts. The decision ends a 2007 lawsuit filed by the Washington State Nurses Association against Sacred Heart Medical Center, part of Renton, Wash.-based Providence Health & Services, located in Spokane.

7. DOJ, 8 Healthcare Providers Reach Settlements for Alleged ADA Violations
Throughout the past year, the Department of Justice reached seven settlements with eight healthcare providers, resolving their alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The settlements pertained to allegations the healthcare providers did not effectively provide communication to people who are deaf or have hearing disabilities.

8. Maine Medical Center Sues HHS Over Allegedly Unpaid Claims
Maine Medical Center in Portland sued HHS, claiming the agency left the hospital with nearly $3 million in unpaid Medicare and MaineCare claims from 2001 onward.

9. St. Luke's, Easton Hospital in Pennsylvania Settle Medicare Overbilling Claims
St. Luke's University Health Network in Bethlehem, Pa., and Easton (Pa.) Hospital will pay nearly $1.5 million to resolve allegations they improperly overbilled Medicare.

10. Intermountain Healthcare to Pay $25M to Settle Alleged Stark Law Violations
Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare agreed to pay $25.5 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act and Stark Law through improper relationships with referring physicians.

11. Two Pennsylvania Hospitals Sue HHS Over Disproportionate Share Payments
Two Pennsylvania hospitals — Monongahela (Pa.) Valley Hospital and St. Vincent Health Center in Erie — filed suit against HHS, claiming the agency's disproportionate share hospital program shorted them by more than $1.8 million since 1995.

12. Specialty Hospitals of America Sues DC Over Medicaid Reimbursement
Specialty Hospital of Washington Capitol Hill and Specialty Hospital of Washington Hadley in Washington, D.C., claim the district has failed to reimburse them $24.7 million in Medicaid costs over the past four years.

13. Suit Claims Catholic Health East Uses Religious Status to Skirt Pension Obligations
Two former employees of Newton Square, Pa.-based Catholic Health East filed a federal lawsuit, claiming the system wrongfully uses its "church plan" pension status and that the system's pension plans are underfunded by more than $438 million.

More Articles on Legal Issues in Healthcare:

22 Advisory Opinions Issued by the OIG; 6 Relevant to Hospitals, Surgery Centers and Other Providers
Emerging Trends in Stark, False Claims and Anti-Kickback Cases for Health Systems
How to Avoid a Regulatory Nightmare: Establishing an Effective Data and Records Management Program



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