Bad News for Whistleblowers: Defendant Pleads Guilty

At first glance, it looks nonsensical. How could it be bad news for False Claims Act whistleblowers that the defendant pleaded guilty to violating that statute—to committing the very Medicare fraud the whistleblowers alleged? The explanation lies in two legal principles and one fact. First, there’s a …

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No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

On August 7 Mission Hospital, in Asheville NC, learned the truth of Oscar Wilde’s observation that no good deed goes unpunished. That’s the day a federal court denied the hospital’s motion for summary judgment in a case brought against it by the EEOC. Hospital policy requires employees to have a flu shot …

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Patient Dies During Arbitration Agreement Rescission Period

What happens when a nursing home patient signs an arbitration agreement with a 30-day rescission, or cooling-off, period and then dies before the end of that period?  Is the agreement enforceable because it wasn’t rescinded?  Or is it unenforceable because expiration of the 30-day period was a condition …

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Solution to One Problem Brings Two More

An August 2 FDA warning letter provides a reminder that solving one problem can create a new problem—or more. The letter to Coleman Peanut Co., in Petersburg VA, recites that the company uses a cat “as the firm’s pest control.” Presumably, the cat is effective because the letter contains no mention of …

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Keeping Patients Can Qualify as Dumping Them

EMTALA was enacted to prevent hospitals from turning away—or “dumping”—ER patients because they can’t pay. EMTALA requires a hospital to (1) provide a screening exam to determine if an emergency medical condition (EMC) exists and if it does, either (2) stabilize the condition or transfer the patient to …

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Tort Reform by Any Other Name

A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but tort reform still smells bad to traditional opponents despite an attractive title.  That’s why most observers believe that the House-passed “Protecting Access to Care Act,” H.R. 1215, is going nowhere. Opponents don’t oppose the goal of protecting access …

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