Attorney Says Life Care Lawsuit Could Take Over A Year To Try

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

An attorney for Cleveland, Tn.,-based Life Care Centers of America said a government fraud lawsuit against the firm is so broad that it could take over a year to try it.

Chattanooga attorney Roger Dickson told Federal Judge Sandy Mattice that the way the case was brought "will bring a big, big burden on this court."

Government prosecutor Elizabeth Tonkin acknowledged that the case involves 60-80 of Life Care's 225 facilities and hundreds of patients.

She said the government will seek to prove fraud was so widespread at Life Care that a certain sample number of charges should be considered invalid.

She told the judge that Life Care routinely "filed false claims for therapy that was not medically necessary and much more than what the patient really needed. The charges were assessed at the highest levels possible from the time patients came into the facility."

Prosecutor Tonkin said the probe dates to 2006. She said the government started issuing subpoenas for records from Life Care in 2008.

Attorney Dickson said the issues involve "subjective decisions by physicians and therapists."

He said the situation involving each patient "can be a mini trial lasting a day or two."

Initial disclosures are due by May 17 and another meeting with the judge will be June 12 at 2 p.m. 

The suit seeks to recover millions of dollars that Life Care "caused the Medicare and TRICARE programs to pay for services that were not covered by the skilled nursing facility benefit, that were not medically reasonable and necessary, and that were not skilled in nature."

One "whistle blower" complaint was brought by Glenda Martin, a registered nurse and a former staff development coordinator of Life Care Center of Morristown, Tn.

Another was by Tammie Taylor, a former occupational therapist of Life Care Center at Inverrary, in Lauderhill, Fla.


Attempt To Revive Haslam's Insure Tennessee Fails; Watson Hopeful Of Other Solutions

An attempt to revive Governor Bill Haslam's Insure Tennessee legislation failed in the General Assembly on Tuesday. It failed to pass out of the Senate Commerce Committee. Senate Pro Tempore Bo Watson said he "remains hopeful that innovation and solutions outside the growth of TennCare will address the problems of access to care and high costs." He said,  ... (click for more)

Audio Of County Commission Meeting 4/1/15

Physicians Thank Their Patients On Doctor’s Day

March 30 has been set aside as National Doctors’ Day since 1933 as a time to recognize the contributions made by our physicians. While the recognition is appreciated, our greatest satisfaction comes from caring for our patients.  For 132 years, the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society has been the physicians’ voice as we worked together to improve health of our community. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Look At My April Garden

On this April Fool’s Day, as I take my monthly stroll through my virtual garden, there are gorgeous flowers and there are weeds, which appear to be trying harder than the flowers. So let’s see what we find before searching for “The Prize Egg” on Sunday. A FLOWER to the New York cab driver who told a young writer, “Always remember that everyone you meet knows something that you ... (click for more)

'Canes Edge Mustangs On Cox's Game-Winner In 7th

  Maybe it was just East Hamilton’s turn to win a tight game. After dropping 5-4 and 2-1 decisions to District 5-AAA rivals Bradley Central and McMinn County, respectively, the Hurricanes weren’t about to lose their third straight one-run decision in league play on Tuesday. So, Kyle Cox and Matt Milita, two of the team’s five seniors, decided to do something about ... (click for more)

Central Scores Early, Hangs On To Beat Red Bank, 7-6

Central baseball coach Glen Carter could finally breathe a sigh of relief. His Purple Pounders had bolted to a 7-0 lead in the first three innings of Monday's 6-AA skirmish with the Red Bank Lions and things were looking pretty good for those guys in purple. But it all came down to Red Bank's final at-bat.  The Lions sent eight hitters to the plate and scored ... (click for more)