The settlement was made with the U.S. Department of Justice after Signature HealthCare was found to have submitted forged pre-admission certifications regarding patient needs to the Medicaid program in Tennessee.

These allegations initially arose after two former employees of the nursing home company filed a federal whistleblower lawsuit. The U.S. government became involved and also accused Signature HealthCare of engaging in multiple fraudulent practices that were lead to false claims for “unreasonable, unnecessary, and unskilled services to Medicare patients.”

The two whistleblowers say they felt that it was necessary to file a lawsuit after one of their patients had been very sick for days and was not able to attend therapy. Even so, their boss demanded that the resident undergo 4 hours of therapy in a single day so that his reimbursement bill would not fall into a lower bracket.

Earlier this year a father was being accused of of child abuse by Child Protective Services. They alleged that between December 2017 and January 2018, his sustained unexplained broken bones including a fractured femur and wrist. The boy’s father claims no abuse had taken place, and that he had been caring for his 10 year old son for years since his mother left.

The boy has cerebral palsy and a number of other medical problems. He uses a wheelchair, is non verbal, but very happy. He also uses a feeding tube and has been prescribed an amino based acid food called Neocate Formula. He consumes nothing but this dietary food supplement. As CPS was looking into the case, the boy’s father remained determined to find out the real reason why his son was experiencing sporadic fractures. Eventually he discovered a link in legal advertising which described the potential for unexplainable broken bones, sprains, or fractures while taking Neocate Formula. Upon further testing, it was discovered that the boy also had hypophosphatemia, a disorder that results in dangerously low phosphate levels which can cause broken bones, fractures, and rickets.  The father went immediately to CPS and explained that the injuries were the probable result of the low phosphate levels.

This case is not unique. Throughout the U.S. there are parents who have been wrongfully accused of child abuse after their child suffered broken bones while taking Neocate Formula. In this case, the investigation was closed and accusations against the father were dropped.

Three people who said the antipsychotic drug Abilify caused them to engage in compulsive gambling have reached a settlement for undisclosed amounts. The cases were considered to be bellwether, multidistrict litigation, and scheduled for trial in June. The District Court has ordered the defendants, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., to pay the claimant’s within 30 days. In turn, the Plaintiffs must execute a full release which will result in a dismissal of the case trial.

The Abilify Litigation

President Trump Tweeted that the “Attorney client privilege is dead” after the FBI conducted a raid at the office of Michael Cohen, a New York lawyer and legal representative of Trump. The President is well known for his Tweets, and later continued to tell his Twitter following that “I have many (too many!) lawyers and they are probably wondering when their offices, and even homes, are going to be raided,”. He added, “All lawyers are deflated and concerned!” 

Those who follow Trump, including thousands of lawyers, had plenty of questions after his bold Tweets; namely whether or not what he said had any real truth. Before discussing what the attorney client privilege is, it will be important to understand why the offices of Attorney Michael Cohen were raided. Here’s a few fast facts:

  • Michael Cohen is one of Trump’s lawyers.

On March 18, 2018, Elaine Herzberg, 49, was struck and killed by a self driving Uber car. The Tempe resident had been crossing the road with her bicycle when the automobile driven by a robotic computer failed to stop before hitting her head on.

At first Tempe police said Herzberg was at fault. Their report stated that she had come “from the shadows” stepping off the median and into the road. Herzberg was jaywalking with her bike and ended up in the path of the vehicle. Legal experts monitoring the case have already said that Herzberg will likely be criticized for jaywalking and also for being homeless with a criminal history. They have also been quick to follow up these criticism by explaining that Tempe is not bicycle or pedestrian friendly meaning jaywalking is absolutely necessary to cross the street. Furthermore Herzberg was actively trying to get her life back on track.

The self driving Volvo XC90 Uber car did have a safety driver behind the wheel.  Video footage shows  Rafaela Vasquez  looking down rather than onto the road. Her hands were not on the top sides of the steering wheel as recommended by Uber. Vasquez was also not a professional driver and had a history of driving offenses,  although they were not enough to disqualify her from the position. If the case is prosecuted, she is likely to come under intense scrutiny. Vasquez has not been charged.

A new study published by the travel and insurance group, AAA, has shown that one out of 10 car accidents on U.S. highways result from drowsy driving. This number is eight times greater than previous estimates and has created a panic in the auto industry with many automakers already trying to find ways to alert drivers when they begin to nod off.

David Yang, executive director of the AA Foundation for Traffic Safety, says “Drowsy driving is a bigger traffic safety issue than federal estimates show. Drivers who don’t get enough sleep are putting everyone on the road at risk.”

If your loved one is being cared for in a nursing home facility, you’ll want to pay close attention to recent changes made by The Trump Administration. The implementation of fines against nursing home facilities that have been accused of neglect or wrongdoing, should be scaled back, according to The Trump Administration. This announcement comes as part of a broad relaxation of various regulations. Such a change in the penalty protocols made by Medicare was requested by the nursing home industry and their main trade group The American Health Care Association. The group has made several complaints since 2013 alleging that federal inspectors, under President Barack Obama, focused more on “catching the wrongdoing” rather than encouraging these facilities to make improvements.

Mark Parkinson, president of the AHCA, wrote a letter to Trump in 2016 and asked him for relief. Between 2013 and 2016, approximately 6,500 nursing homes, or 4 in 10, were cited for at least one serious violation. Of those, Medicare allocated fines of around $33,000 to two thirds of these facilities. Citations and violations included the failure to protect residents from accidents that could be avoided, mistreatment, abuse, and neglect.

A Tennessee man, with the help of a medical malpractice lawyer, filed a complaint on August 17, 2017 against the medical conglomerate Howmedica Osteonics (d.b.a. Stryker Orthopedics) and Stryker Corporation –  one of the world’s foremost medical technology companies. The man claimed he experienced severe injuries after being fitted by a Stryker LFIT femoral head hip implant. His lawyer is currently building the defense and the case is pending in the United States District Court.

The claim details the how the main was implanted with the popular Stryker Accolade TMZF hip stem as well as the LFIT anatomic CoCr V40 femoral head back in March of 2014. The surgery was performed at the well known Centennial Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

Twenty elderly men and women went without their daily medication in a senior living home in Palm Springs, CA because there was not medical technician on duty. In Paso Robles, a senior women fell in her bedroom and waited 22 hours for help even after she pushed the emergency button. These devastating incidents are only some of those reported against one of the nation’s biggest assisted living provide: Brookdale Senior Living.

A class action lawsuit was recently filed in a Northern California federal district court. The claim details these incidents and several other which allegedly took place in Brookdale owned facilities. The lawsuit says that inadequate staffing, improper training, and rising fees are a contributing factor and part of a “callous and profit driven approach”. Multiple residents, from several locations, claim they are not assisted for hours after a fall, are given the wrong medications, and left in their waste .

The California Assisted Living Association, an industry group, has declined to comment on the matter, and so have the relatives of those involved. The spokeswoman for Brookdale Senior Living, based in Tennessee,  says the lawsuit has no merit and the company is prepared to “vigorously” defend itself.

House Bill 1215 is currently pending in congress. The bill has been shadowed by hundreds of more pending bills, and now it’s time to shed some light on it. If passed, house Bill 1215 essentially will create immaculate obstacles for people who seek to hold health care professionals accountable for medical negligence, also known as medical malpractice. Although many states have already imposed certain limits on what damages can be sought, the bill goes beyond these laws and will set forth draconian limits on the lawsuits filed by victims all over the country.

Misleadingly, albeit cleverly, named Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017, would force a maximum limit of $250,000 for non-economic damages such as emotional anguish, stress, or pain and suffering. Supporters of the claim say these limits will prevent frivolous lawsuits. Those against the bill say it affects malpractice victims whose damages exceed the limits; unfortunately these often include those who have suffered the most. Furthermore, the cap could be devastating for children, women, elderly, and people with a disability.

House Bill 1215 also includes a statute of limitations for lawsuits involving medical malpractice. If passed, most patients will have one year from the time of discovery to file a suit. Joanne Doroshow, the executive director of the Center for Justice and Democracy, says “almost no state has a statute of limitations that severe.” During this year period, victims will also have to overcome numerous hurdles including getting an affidavit from expert witnesses who meet very strict requirements. In other words, the bill clearly states that only a doctor practicing or teaching in the same state or neighboring state can act as an expert witness. The court will be able to waive this if witnesses would “otherwise not be available.”

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