Posts Tagged ‘nursing homes’

Judge excoriates DoJ in False Claims Act case

Problems with applying the whistleblower law that has been described as a “cash cow” for the U.S. Department of Justice [C. Ryan Barber, NLJ]:

A federal magistrate judge has struck a key witness and ordered the U.S. Justice Department to pay legal fees to HCR ManorCare Inc., one of the country’s largest providers of skilled nursing facilities, for alleged missteps in a case the government touted in the crackdown on fraud in the health care industry. “I don’t think this case should have ever been brought,” a federal magistrate judge in Virginia said at a recent hearing. “I have looked at this stuff, and I’m appalled, I’m embarrassed, I’m ashamed that the Department of Justice would rely on this kind of nonsense.”

Earlier on qui tam and the False Claims Act here. [& followup, Toledo Blade: feds drop case]

Medical roundup

  • Bill advancing in California legislature would authorize jail for nursing home staff who “willfully and repeatedly fail to use a resident’s preferred name or pronouns” [Eugene Volokh, SB 219]
  • “The FDA cannot get out of its own way on the issue of off-label communications.” [Stephen McConnell, Drug and Device Law Blog first and second posts]
  • Public health covets territory of other studies and disciplines, part CLXXII [British Medical Journal on American College of Physicians’ resolution declaring “hate crimes” and “legislation with discriminatory intent” to be public health issues]
  • Podcast on battle between Vascular Solutions and the FDA [Federalist Society with Howard Root and Devon Westhill]
  • Policy U-turns needed: “Deregulation and Market Forces Can Lower Pharmaceutical Prices” [Marc Joffe, Reason]
  • Florida Supreme Court ignored market history in striking down noneconomic damages limits in medical malpractice awards [Robert E. White, Jr., Insurance Journal and Andrew S. Bolin, WLF on North Broward Hospital District, et al v. Kalitan]

Medical roundup

  • “Judge Says He’s Had Enough Of Weeding Through Baseless Lawsuits, Threatens Sanctions” [Daniel Fisher; M. D. Georgia judge on vaginal mesh cases]
  • More on pricey regulated generics [Scott Gottlieb/WSJ, earlier on EpiPen, more on latter from Joel Zinberg/City Journal]
  • Feds ban pre-dispute arbitration agreements in nursing home care [McKnights]
  • How Ronald Reagan’s FDA responded to the AIDS crisis — and it’s probably not the story you’ve heard [Peter Huber, City Journal; see also from Carl Cannon in 2014]
  • FDA regs likely to winnow smaller, distinctive makers from the cigar business, recalling a Somerset Maugham story [James M. Patterson] Debunking the “Helena miracle,” once more: no link between local smoking bans and short-term drops in heart attacks [Jacob Sullum, earlier here and here]
  • “Ethicists make the case for bone marrow transplantation markets” [Ilya Somin]

Medical roundup

  • FDA to dental consumers: you can’t handle the tooth [New York Times via Alex Tabarrok]
  • “How lawyers scare people out of taking their meds” [Lisa Rickard (U.S. Chamber), Washington Post]
  • Lawsuits fail to bring improvements to nursing homes [ABA Journal]
  • Everything,” new Institute for Justice short film about costs of regulating bone marrow donation, has upcoming screenings in D.C. area, Breckinridge, Colo. and elsewhere;
  • Aetna pulls out of most ObamaCare exchanges, and the acrimony flies [WSJ editorial] “Did the Medicaid expansion limit labor force participation?” [Tomas Wind via Tyler Cowen]
  • Posting will be slower in coming weeks as I conduct my own in-person investigation of the state of America’s medical system. Thanks for bearing with me!

Disabled rights roundup

  • Effort to qualify California ballot initiative to curb state’s infamous ADA filing mills; Harold Kim (US Chamber) podcast on lawsuit abuse and small businesses;
  • Costly canines: Ohio’s Kent State will pay $145,000 for not letting two students have emotional support dogs in housing [Insurance Journal]
  • USC football coach Sarkisian and alcohol: “Lessons In Disability Accommodation and the Interactive Process” [Nancy Yaffe, California Employment Law]
  • “Does ADA require nursing homes to admit obese patients?” [Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal]
  • “It’s difficult to think of a piece of legislation that failed more abysmally than the ADA. So now what do we do?” [Scott Sumner; we’ve been on the post-ADA decline in labor force participation by the disabled for a long, long time]
  • After football player collapses on field with heat stroke, resulting in nine-day coma that brings him near death, team doctor refuses to clear him to play again due to re-injury risk; Fourth Circuit reverses lower federal court that had ruled for his claim of disability discrimination [Gavin Class v. Towson University, opinion]
  • Second Circuit: hearing-impaired IBM employee can’t get to jury after rejecting sign-language translation and transcripts of company videos as reasonable accommodation on the ground that captioning would have provided overall nicer experience [Wait a Second! via Daniel Schwartz]

Medical roundup

  • Med mal something of a regional problem: nearly half of payouts are in Northeast, with New York alone paying out more than the entire Midwest [New Jersey Civil Justice Institute on Diederich Healthcare analysis] “Neurosurgeons were 50% more likely to practice defensive medicine in high-risk states compared with low-risk states” [Smith et al., Neurosurgery via NJCJI]
  • New Paul Nolette book on state attorneys general Federalism On Trial includes history of suits led by New York’s Eliot Spitzer to redefine as “fraud” widely known drug-pricing practices that Congress had declined to ban or otherwise address. The resulting lucrative settlements also earmarked money to fund private critics of the pharmaceutical industry;
  • City of Chicago signs on to one of the trial bar’s big current recruitment campaigns, suits seeking recoupment of costs of dealing with prescription opioid abuse [Drug & Device Law; earlier here, here, here]
  • We here in Washington, D.C. take very seriously any violations of HIPAA, the health privacy law. Just kidding! If a union supporter pulls information from an employee medical database to help in an organizing drive, that might be overlooked [Jon Hyman on National Labor Relations Board administrative law judge decision in Rocky Mountain Eye Center]
  • “Preferred Care defendants respond to New Mexico Attorney General’s lawsuit, argue it was filed at urging of Cohen Milstein law firm” [Legal NewsLine]
  • Philadelphia police run warrant checks of hospital visitor lists, and as a result many persons with outstanding warrants avoid going to hospitals. So asserts sociologist Alice Goffman in her book On the Run, but the evidence is disputed [Sara Mayeux last August, Steven Lubet in review challenging the book more broadly on ethical and factual grounds, Goffman’s response]
  • Making contraceptive pill available over the counter without prescription should please supporters of birth control access, right? Funny you should ask [Elizabeth Nolan Brown, Reason, earlier]

Medical roundup

  • Mississippi community rallies behind 88 year old doctor investigated by licensure board for practicing from his car [AP]
  • Pennsylvania: “Kill deal between Attorney General’s office and law firm, nursing homes ask court” [Harrisburg Patriot-News; earlier on AG Kathleen Kane; related on law firm of Cohen Milstein, on which earlier]
  • Hazards of overwarning in the wired hospital: “2,507,822 unique alarms in one month in our ICUs, the overwhelming majority of them false.” [Robert Wachter, Medium]
  • JAMS arbitrator, a retired California Supreme Court judge, resists subpoena seeking explanation of settlement allocation decisions among Prempro clients of Girardi Keese [National Law Journal; see also from way back]
  • Reports of VA-scandal retaliation raise question: do all the HIPAA laws in the world protect us from persons in high places wishing to pry into our medical records with ill intent? [J. D. Tuccille, Reason]
  • New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman charged that 79% of herbal supplements lacked appropriate DNA, but that claim itself turns out to be hard to substantiate [Bill Hammond, New York Daily News]
  • Nurses’ gallows humor defended against That’s-Not-Funny Brigade [Alexandra Robbins, Washington Post]

Pennsylvania’s law-firm-contract mess

“Four law firms received three no-bid contracts for the secret investigations [of litigation prospects by the state of Pennsylvania against nursing homes and other defendants]. The firms and their lawyers donated a combined $191,400 to [attorney general Kathleen] Kane’s campaign from 2011 to 2013, records show. … Fees in most of the contracts are structured on a “contingency” basis, meaning the law firms typically get 20 to 25 percent of any final award — which ultimately could reap tens of millions for the state.” [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review] But this sounds better: as one of his first acts in office, Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law “a requirement that all private legal contracts go out to bid.” [Harrisburg Patriot-News] Earlier on Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane.