PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania federal judge on May 8 granted a motion to reconsider the dismissal of claims brought by a private, nonprofit college, two for-profit entities and the owners of those entities who are challenging the "birth control" mandate contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), saying that the claims are now ripe for review. The judge then went on to partially grant and partially deny the defendants' motion to dismiss (Geneva College, et al. v. Kathleen Sebelius, et al., No. 12-207, W.D. Pa.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65685).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - Saying that the U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services is playing politics and that the Food and Drug Administration inked a "sweetheart" deal with Teva Women's Health, a New York federal judge on May 10 granted only a temporary stay of his order for unrestricted sale of the Plan B emergency contraceptives and said the government will have to ask a federal appeals court to issue its own stay because he doubts its likelihood of success (Annie Tummino v. Margaret Hamburg, et al., No. 12-763, E.D. N.Y.).
PITTSBURGH - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on May 7 permitted purchasers of health insurance from Highmark Inc. to withdraw their motion for preliminary approval of their settlement with Highmark of their antitrust claims, where the purchasers argued that Highmark failed to disclose information that demonstrated that the value of the proposed settlement was illusory (Royal Mile Company, Inc., et al. v. UPMC, et al. No. 2:10-cv-01609, W.D. Pa.).
NEW ORLEANS - A divided en banc Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 7 held that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act permits health plan fiduciaries to seek reimbursement for medical benefits the plan paid on behalf of a participant from a special needs trust funded by a third-party tortfeasor settlement (ACS Recovery Services, Inc., et al. v. Larry Griffin, et al., No. 11-40446, 5th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 9324).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on May 7 dismissed a putative class action case against a health insurer and a third-party administrator accused of inflating medical loss ratios to avoid paying rebates for excessive premiums to subscribers as mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) for lack of standing and ordered arbitration for claims against a second third-party administrator (MRI Scan Center v. National Imaging Associates Inc., et al., No. 13-60051, S.D. Fla.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 3 granted the federal government's motion for voluntary dismissal of interlocutory appeal in a case challenging the grant of a preliminary injunction in favor of a for-profit Christian publishing company seeking to halt the implementation of the contraception mandate contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) (Tyndale House Publishers Inc., et al. v. Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, et al., No. 13-5018, D.C. Cir.).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on May 6 partially granted a defendant's motion for an order directing the federal government to file a bill of particulars in its case against him for Medicare fraud (United States of America v. Robert Kolbusz, No. 12-782, N.D. Ill.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64043).
FLINT, Mich. - A federal judge in Michigan on May 3 declined to dismiss on statute of limitations grounds an employer's claim that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBS) violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by charging hidden fees that were not included in the parties' administrative service contract (ASC) (East Jordan Plastics, Inc., et al. v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan, No. 12-cv-15621, E.D. Mich.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63475).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California appeals court on May 2 held that federal law does not prohibit the application of California's two-visit rule to psychology services provided by federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) to Medi-Cal patients (Mendocino Community Health Clinic, et al. v. State Department of Health Care Services, No. C067826, Calif. App., 3rd Dist.; 2013 Cal. App. LEXIS 350).
DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on May 2 granted health care providers' motion to amend their complaint against insurance companies in a reimbursement dispute, saying that defendant the plaintiffs sought to add was a necessary party to the action (Paragon Office Services, et al. v. Aetna Inc., et al., No. 11-1898, N.D. Texas; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62804).
LAFAYETTE, La. - A Louisiana federal judge on May 1 denied a plaintiff's motion to remand her wrongful denial of prescription benefits case to state court (Amelia Simon v. Express Scripts Inc., et al., No. 13-187, W.D. La.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63132).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 1 affirmed a federal trial court order denying judicial review of a challenge to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Medicare Part D rule allowing prescription drug plans (PDPs) to establish preferred pharmacy networks. The appeals court found that the limited exception to the requirement of exhausting the administrative appeals process does not apply in the instant case (Southwest Pharmacy Solutions Inc. v. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, et al., No. 12-40097, 5th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 8923).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - The federal government on May 1 asked a judge to stay, pending appeal, his order that the Food and Drug Administration make all Plan B emergency contraceptive products available without age or point-of-sale restrictions, saying the court exceeded its authority in ordering the agency to approve a drug (Annie Tummino, et al. v. Dr. Margaret Hamburg, et al., No. 1:12-763, E.D. N.Y.).
MIAMI - A federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on April 30 affirmed a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) ruling that an outpatient rehabilitation facility's Medicare billing privileges were properly revoked because the facility was not properly staffed with qualified medical professionals (CompRehab Wellness Group Inc. v. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, No. 1:11cv23377, S.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61567).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on April 29 dismissed a federal false advertising claim from a reimbursement dispute between medical providers and health insurers and declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state claims (Los Angeles County Medical Association, et al. V. Aetna Health of California Inc., et al., No. 12-11020, C.D. Calif.).
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California federal judge on April 26 declined to dismiss a federal and state False Claims Act case brought against a nonprofit health center for alleged Medicaid violations (United States of America, et al. v. Northeast Medical Services Inc., No. 10-1904, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60126).
CINCINNATI - A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 24 dismissed as moot an appeal challenging an order granting a temporary injunction in a Medicaid provider dispute and affirmed the lower court decision denying the defendant's bond motion (Appalachian Regional Healthcare Inc., et al. v. Coventry Health and Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 12-5779, 6th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 8286).
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - A health insurance plan administrator's denial of benefits was not arbitrary and capricious, even though the administrator gave three different reasons for the denial at different times in the administrative process, because substantial evidence supported one of the three proffered reasons, a federal judge in Tennessee ruled April 23 (Joseph M. Morrison, et al. v. Regions Financial Corporation, et al., No. 10-2843, W.D. Tenn.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57921).
ROCKFORD, Ill. - An action alleging that a community mental health board established by McHenry County, Ill., violated federal antitrust law by demanding recoupment of fees paid from an organization that the board found engaged in improper billing practices is barred by the state-action immunity doctrine because the board's actions were foreseeable under the statutory grant of authority, a federal judge in Illinois ruled April 23 (The Advantage Group Foundation v. McHenry County Mental Health Board, et al., No. 12 C 50374, N.D. Ill.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57595).
BEAUFORT, S.C. - A health insurance provider properly reimbursed its insured for the actual amount paid to a medical provider after adjustments were made by Medicare, a South Carolina federal judge ruled April 24, granting summary judgment to the insurer on bad faith and breach of contract claims against it (Dennis Barker v. Washington National Insurance Co., No. 9:12-cv-01901, D. S.C.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58437).
ATLANTA - A plan insurer's calculation of benefits due to a participant for his out-of-network surgery was not wrong under the plan terms, and the insurer did not violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by failing to provide documents on which the insurer relied to calculate and verify the benefits due, the 11th Circuit affirmed April 22 (Brian Fox v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Inc., No. 12-14569, 11th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 7906).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on April 22 denied a writ of certiorari to the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration's appeal of a federal appeals court decision requiring the state Medicaid agency to cover all "medically necessary" dental care. The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 26 affirmed a federal court order granting a class of Medicaid plaintiffs from Indiana preliminary injunctive relief in their challenge of the state's cap on "medically necessary" dental care under the state's Medicaid program (Sandra M. Bontrager, et al., v. Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, et al., No. 12-1037, U.S. Sup.).
RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 23 affirmed a federal jury conviction of a Maryland cardiologist for health care fraud, saying there was sufficient evidence that he willfully made false statements and submitted fraudulent bills to Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers for medically unnecessary cardiac stent procedures (United States of America v. John R. McLean, No. 11-5130, 4th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 8160).
CINCINNATI - A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 22 affirmed that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services secretary's decision to omit waiver-expansion population patients from the Medicaid fraction provision in the disproportionate share hospital (DSH) adjustment calculation was based on a permissible construction of the DSH statute (Adventist Health System/Sunbelt Inc. v. Kathleen Sebelius, No. 11-5990, 6th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 7907).
ATLANTA - The Federal Trade Commission on April 18 asked the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to issue an expedited order remanding its challenge to the merger between Georgia hospitals following the U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling that the state-action doctrine does not immunize the merger from antitrust scrutiny (Federal Trade Commission v. Phoebe Putney Health System, Inc., et al., No. 11-12906, 11th Cir.).