Medicare Billing Suits Dismissed
A federal judge in Orange County last week dismissed five lawsuits alleging that hospitals and nursing corporations overbilled Medicare for treatment required to address medical errors or neglect, the AP/San Francisco Examiner reports (AP/San Francisco Examiner, 10/31).
Erin Brockovich filed the lawsuits and 32 others statewide. Brockovich this summer filed the suits under federal rules that in some cases permit individuals to bring lawsuits on behalf of the government.
However, Judge David Carter ruled that Brockovich did not have standing to bring the Orange County suits because she was not a Medicare beneficiary and had not experienced injuries from hospital errors. Carter also ruled that the cases could not be brought on the government's behalf (San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/1).
Brockovich cannot refile the cases in federal court because Carter dismissed them with prejudice. Brockovich said she will appeal the ruling.
The dismissed cases involved:
- Kindred Healthcare;
- Promise Healthcare; and
- Vanguard Health Systems.
A federal judge in Santa Ana is scheduled to hear on Nov. 7 a motion to dismiss more than two dozen other suits (AP/San Francisco Examiner, 10/31).
According to the Union-Tribune, a federal judge in San Diego is expected to rule in the next few weeks on motions to dismiss cases against Scripps Health and Sharp Healthcare (San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/1).