28 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. Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Suing Former Executive for Alleged PHI Theft
Children's Healthcare of Atlanta filed a lawsuit against a former executive for allegedly stealing protected health information and hospital data.

2. Labor Suit Against St. Charles Health Gains Class-Action Status
A federal judge in Oregon approved class-action status for a lawsuit claiming Bend, Ore.-based St. Charles Health System required employees to undergo mandatory training without compensation.

3. UPMC, Highmark's Tentative Settlement on the Rocks
Lawyers for Pittsburgh-based Highmark and UPMC agreed in principle on a settlement last week that would end a four-year antitrust case between the two, but that tentative agreement hit some snags.

4. City of Pittsburgh Fights UPMC's Claim of Having Zero Employees
The city of Pittsburgh has responded to UPMC's claims that it has no employees — an argument that could greatly complicate the city's challenge to the health system's tax exemption.

5. Mercy Health Confident It Will Prevail In Kickback Scheme Lawsuit
Officials at Cincinnati-based Mercy Health are confident a jury will reject a whistle-blower's allegations of a kickback scheme and fraudulent government billing.

6. Saint Agnes Medical Center Sues Physician Group, Alleging Unfair Competition
Saint Agnes Medical Center in Fresno, Calif., sued a physician group in the area, alleging unfair competition and intentional interference with physician-patient relationships.

7. Judge Delays UPMC's Federal Civil Rights Suit Against Pittsburgh
A judge delayed Pittsburgh-based UPMC's federal civil rights lawsuit against the city of Pittsburgh and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, deciding it cannot move forward until the city's challenge to UPMC's tax exemption is decided in state court.

8. EEOC Accuses BayCare's St. Joseph's of Discrimination
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit against St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, Fla., part of the Clearwater, Fla.-based BayCare Health System, accusing the hospital of violating anti-discrimination laws.

9. Lawsuit Accuses HMA Hospitals of Avoiding Charity Care
A recently-filed lawsuit alleges Yakima (Wash.) Regional Medical Center and Toppenish (Wash.) Community Hospital, both owned by Naples, Fla.-based Health Management Associates, violated the state's Charity Care Act and Washington Consumer Protection Act by dissuading low-income patients from visiting the hospitals.

10. UPMC, Highmark Reach Tentative Agreement to End 4-Year Antitrust Fight
Pittsburgh-based UPMC and Pittsburgh-based health insurer Highmark have reached a tentative agreement to settle four years of antitrust litigation.

11. 8 Executives, Physicians Indicted in Sacred Heart Hospital Case
The Federal Bureau of Investigation indicted eight people affiliated with Sacred Heart Hospital in Chicago — the owner, three executives and four physicians — alleging their involvement in a kickback scheme in exchange for Medicare and Medicaid referrals.

12. Mid-Columbia Medical Center to Pay $2.4M in Sex Abuse Case
Mid-Columbia Medical Center in The Dalles, Ore., will pay $2.4 million to three plaintiffs who said a hospital anesthesiologist sexually abused and raped them.

13. Class Action Lawsuit Against BJC HealthCare Alleges Wage Violations
Nurses filed a class action lawsuit in circuit court against their employer, St. Louis-based BJC HealthCare, alleging wage violations.

14. Testimony Ends in St. Luke's Antitrust Case
Testimony came to an end in the antitrust trial challenging Boise, Idaho-based St. Luke's Health System's 2012 acquisition of a medical group.

15. St. Francis Hospital Sues Patient Who Won't Leave
St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, Conn., went to court to remove a patient who refuses to leave the hospital.

16. Court Dismisses Class Action Suit Over UCLA Data Breach
A California appeals court has dismissed a class action suit against the University of California and UCLA Health over a 2011 data breach because the plaintiffs were unable to prove their personal health information had been improperly accessed by a third party.

17. Carle Foundation Reaches Settlement Over Property Tax Reimbursement
The Carle Foundation in Urbana, Ill., reached a settlement agreement with the local park and school districts over property taxes paid while Carle's tax-exempt status was in question.

18. Specialty Hospitals Chairman, CEO to Pay $8M in Judgments
A federal judge entered a total of $8 million in judgments against the chairman and CEO of Portsmouth, N.H.-based Specialty Hospitals of America.

19. Whistleblower Attorneys Claim Halifax Health Destroyed Records
Attorneys representing a whistleblower have filed a motion claiming Daytona Beach, Fla.-based Halifax Health destroyed thousands of records for short-stay admissions while knowing the materials were relevant to a federal investigation and lawsuit. 

20. CaroMont Health Sues Cogent Healthcare Over Alleged Unfair Practices
Gastonia, N.C.-based CaroMont Health filed a lawsuit against Cogent Healthcare, a healthcare staffing company based in Brentwood, Tenn., and its North Carolina subsidiary for "breach of contract and unfair and deceptive trade practices."

21. Newspapers Lose in Attempt to Open St. Luke's Antitrust Trial Fully to Public
A judge has ruled that some testimony and documents in the trial of Boise, Idaho-based St. Luke's Health System may remain closed from public access, denying an attempt from several media organizations to open all testimony and transcripts.

22. Legal Battle Delays New Centegra Health System Hospital
The groundbreaking for Centegra Huntley (Ill.) Hospital, part of Crystal Lake, Ill.-based Centegra Health System, is delayed as a result of an ongoing legal battle with regional competitors Advocate Health Care in Oak Brook, Ill., Sherman Health System in Elgin, Ill., and Mercy Health System in Janesville, Wis.

23. Jury Awards Cardiologist $3.7M in Discrimination Case Against Mount Carmel Health
A physician will receive $3.7 million in damages in his civil lawsuit against Columbus, Ohio-based Mount Carmel Health System and three physicians after a jury found the defendants discriminated against the plaintiff.

24. University of New Mexico Hospital Faces Class Action Suit Over Pediatric Cancer Care
The University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque is facing a class action lawsuit alleging the hospital provided substandard pediatric cancer care between 1977 and 1997.

25. A-Rod Files Lawsuit Against New York-Presbyterian Hospital
New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez filed a lawsuit against the Yankees' team physician and New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, contending he was improperly cleared to continue playing

26. Seattle Children's Files Suit Alleging Unfair Insurance Exchange Options
Seattle Children's Hospital filed suit against Washington state's Office of the Insurance Commissioner, claiming the current exchange will keep some patients from receiving care at the hospital as the majority of the plans available on the state's health insurance exchange do not provide coverage for services at Seattle Children's.

27. Unnecessary Stents Alleged at King's Daughters Medical Center
Federal investigators have been probing King's Daughters Medical Center in Ashland, Ky., since 2011 for overstenting.

28. Tri-City Medical Center Drops 4-Year-Old Lawsuit Against Scripps
A long-running legal battle between San Diego-based Scripps Health and Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside, Calif., is at an end.

More Articles on Healthcare Legal Issues:

Affidavit Claims Former Pacific Hospital of Long Beach CEO Bribed State Senator
Billing Errors at Mary Washington Hospital Led to $327k in Overpayments
American College of Cardiology Changes Wording to Describe Needless Stents

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