The Universal Declaration for Human Rights stipulates that “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.” But when citizens are troubled with health problems, the healthcare system, regardless if its private or public is challenged in a way that it needs to secure the right healthcare for every human being.
In the world, a lot of countries have recognized, respect, protect and guarantee Patient Rights in their legislature. Unfortunately, in the United States of America the Bipartisan Patient Protection Act was brought in 2001 from the Senate but rejected from the Congress. However, The Senate passed a measure that would provide patients with adequate means to enforce their rights which means that they have legal options for protecting themselves from malicious healthcare industries.
Since it is very important to be aware of your Patient Rights, this article will briefly analyze the recent developments of lawsuits and settlements in the healthcare industry. The present state of affairs in this domain indicates that most legal cases are dealing with the Obama-era law and bad conditions in prisons in conjunction with the healthcare for prisoners.
Religious discrimination allegations for North Dakota hospital
According to the Bismarck Tribune, Ralph Highsaw MD, filled a lawsuit against a hospital in North Dakota and claimed that the Altru Health System “engaged in unlawful employment practices,”that violated his rights in a maner that they have discriminated him because of his religion. This is not the only claim of religious discrimination against Altru Health System. For example, a Muslim physician registered a complaint with the state labor department claiming the system did not treat foreign born employees as fairly as its American and Christian staff. His claim was rejected by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in December 2017. The same happened with the lawsuit from Dr. Higshaw, who was rejected by the North Dakota Department of Labor and Human Rights.
New York hospitals reach settlement for improper billing
New York State Attorney General announced that a group of New York hospitals have accepted to pay compensation to rape survivors and revise billing procedures as fragment of a legal settlement. This settlement deals with the allegations for illegally billed at least 200 forensic exams to rape survivors ranging from $46 to $3000 each. The investigation was the result of New York law which stipulates that the bills need to be sent directly to the state Office of Victim Services not to patients.
The settlement was announced on 29th November 2018 and the Attorney General declared a statewide investigation of this type of billing practices for rape exams at other establishments.
Pharma companies sued over impure drugs
The four companies — Walmart, Aurobindo Pharma, ScieGen Pharmaceuticals and Westminster Pharmaceuticals — are faced with a lawsuit that states that they contributed to the sale and production of impure drugs. The federal complaint was filed Dec. 1 in Florida and the plaintiff is seeking restitution and damages for several violations of law, including breach of contract, failure to warn, negligence and fraudulent concealment. If the lawsuit is certified as a class action by the court, others will be eligible for restitution. The allegations are against Irbesartan, used to treat high blood pressure, a drug that has been recently stated by some U.S. manufacturer contains a probable human carcinogen, N-nitrosodiethylamine. There is still no judicial decision.
Nurse practitioner admits the existence of $65.7M telemedicine fraud scheme
According to the Department of Justice, a nurse practitioner pleaded guilty to conspiracy for committing healthcare fraud in a $65.7 million scheme that involved prescribing expensive compounded medications to Tricare beneficiaries. Candace Craven, NP, admitted that she conducted sham telemedicine evaluations and took part in prescribing compounded medications to patients she never examined. Ms. Craven was the seventh defendant charged for her role in the fraud scheme. She is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 8.
Lawsuits against bad healthcare conditions in US prisons
The people of the United States are organizing and are asking the judiciary branch to help in the process of establishing decent healthcare conditions in prisons in accordance with the 8th Amendment. In the cases of CYNTHIA B. SCOTT v. HAROLD W. CLARKE and EDWARD BRAGGS v. JEFFERSON S. DUNN the Court recognizes that the prisons from Alabama and Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women in Virginia are not providing proper healthcare for prisoners and obliged to report to the courts about the health improvement for prisoners in their facilities.
Azar v. Allina Health Services
This case is on the List of pending United States Supreme Court cases, therefore the judicial decision is not issued. But the question that has been put in front of the Supreme Court is: Was the Department of Health and Human Services required to conduct notice-and-comment rulemaking before providing the challenged instructions to a Medicare administrative contractor who made initial determinations of payments due under Medicare?