The recent $50 million settlement by a West Virginia hospital shows the danger of violating or skating on the edge of federal laws regarding kickbacks. It also shows the vulnerability of healthcare organizations to current and former employees who are willing to allege wrongdoing to get a piece of the recovered funds.
This case exemplifies the benefits of resolving medical malpractice litigation through negotiation and prior to an adverse verdict. There are many factors that can affect a mutual agreement between the parties and a settlement, but such efforts can be extremely beneficial to physicians and care providers to better control payment amounts in the event of liability and to reduce negative exposure and publicity.
The malpractice case brought against Overlake Hospital Medical Center in Bellevue, WA, by August de los Reyes involved a tragic outcome but, in other ways, seemed familiar until the parties reached an unusual settlement. In addition to paying $20 million, the hospital agreed to involve de los Reyes in ongoing safety improvement efforts in a way that goes beyond the patient safety councils found at some facilities.
The largest ever settlement of alleged violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was made with the Chicago-based Advocate Health Care Network, one of the largest health systems in the country, which has agreed to pay $5.55 million and adopt a corrective action plan.
A Southern California hospital has agreed to a record $20 million settlement in a case involving a newborn left brain damaged by an error, which is the largest malpractice settlement ever in California.
The University of Washington Medicine in Seattle has agreed to settle charges that it potentially violated the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Security Rule by failing to implement policies and procedures to prevent, detect, contain, and correct security violations.
The Department of Justice obtained more than $3.5 billion in settlements and judgments from civil cases involving fraud and false claims against the government in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, and $1.9 billion came from companies and individuals in the healthcare industry.
Misplaced nasogastric and percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tubes pose a serious threat to patient safety and a liability risk for hospitals. New technology might improve the detection of misplaced tubes.