Judge Says Medicare Billing Suit Lacks Legal Standing
A federal judge in Fresno last week dismissed a lawsuit alleging that a hospital overbilled Medicare for treatment required to address medical errors or neglect, the Fresno Bee reports.
Consumer advocate Erin Brockovich filed the lawsuit against Community Medical Centers, alleging that one of its hospitals, University Medical Center, neglected and mistreated seniors and then billed Medicare for treatment resulting from the errors. The lawsuit did not contain specific evidence.
John Zelezny, spokesperson for Community, said that similar lawsuits filed by Brockovich against 49 other hospitals nationwide also have been dismissed. Brockovich filed the suits under federal rules that in some cases permit individuals to bring lawsuits on behalf of the government.
However, Judge Lawrence O'Neill ruled that Brockovich did not have standing to bring the lawsuit because she is not a Medicare beneficiary and has not been treated at the hospital. O'Neill also ruled that the case could not be brought on the government's behalf (Collins, Fresno Bee, 3/9).