California Lawyers Association

Business Law Health Law Committee

Updates from the BLS Health Law Committee

Matthew Wicks went to Antelope Valley Hospital’s emergency room for stomach, chest, and neck pain. Hospital nurses and two independent contractor ER doctors evaluated him. He was then discharged with instructions to see a cardiologist the next day, but he died eight hours later from an acute aorta dissection. Read more
Ruth Goros sued Kindred Healthcare, which operated the nursing home where she lived, for failing to provide timely treatment after she suffered a stroke. Goros argued that Kindred’s negligence caused her “permanent and irreversible [and eventually fatal] brain damage.” Kindred moved for summary judgment as to causation, supporting its motion with a neurologist’s declaration that Kindred’s conduct was unrelated to Goros’s injuries. Read more
Agreeing with its sister circuits in a case of first impression, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the terms of a contract alone cannot require a court to grant equitable relief where there is an adequate monetary remedy at law. Barranco v. 3D Systems Corporation, 2020 WL 1179728 (9th Cir. 3/12/20). Read more
Skyline Wesleyan Church filed suit against the California Department of Managed Health Care and its Director (collectively, the “DMHC”) after the DMHC issued letters to seven health insurers mandating that their insurance plans include coverage for legal abortions. Until the DMHC’s directive, Skyline had obtained DMHC-approved health insurance for its employees that restricted abortion coverage consistent with Skyline’s belief that abortion is impermissible except possibly when the life of a pregnant woman is at risk. Read more
Doctor Suzanne Yang sued a Tenet hospital and members of its medical staff for defamation based on alleged statements they made about her qualifications, competence, and medical ethics. The statements were made both to the public and the medical community. Defendants’ alleged statements denigrated Dr. Yang’s ethics and her standard of care; they also directed other physicians not to refer patients to her. Read more
Under Medicare, hospitals that serve a disproportionate number of low-income patients receive a reimbursement for the higher costs incurred in providing those services. See 42 U.S.C. § 1395ww(d)(5)(F)(vi). Whether a hospital receives a reimbursement—and, if so, how much—depends on the hospital’s “disproportionate patient percentage,” which captures the number of Medicare- and Medicaid-eligible patient days for which the hospital provides services. Read more
Members of the BLS Health Law Committee (HLC) represent clients in all segments of the health care industry, including physicians, hospitals and other institutional providers. Membership in the HLC provides the opportunity to meet and network with other health law attorneys, as well as have access to may great benefits specific to healthcare practice. Read more
Jane Winter was responsible for reviewing patient medical records at Gardens Regional Hospital and Medical Center to determine whether admission orders met the Hospital’s medical necessity admission criteria. Shortly after a nursing home acquired ownership in the management company that oversaw operations at the Hospital, Winter alleges she noticed a spike in the number of emergency room patients transported from the nursing home—an overwhelming majority of whom were admitted for inpatient treatment. Read more
Mason Fish was involved in an automobile accident that killed three people and severely injured three more. Fish told law enforcement that he was under the care of a psychotherapist who had prescribed antidepressant and antipsychotic medications to him. The prosecution charged Fish with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, and subpoenaed his psychotherapist’s treatment records. Read more
Marisol Lopez took her infant daughter Olivia to a dermatology clinic owned by Dr. Glenn Ledesma to assess a spot developing on Olivia’s scalp. Physician assistant Suzanne Freesemann examined Olivia and requested her insurer to approve an “excision and biopsy.” Brian Hughes, another physician assistant at the clinic, saw Olivia one month later and performed a “shave biopsy” of the lesion. The doctor who examined the biopsied tissue found no malignancy. Read more

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