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.


Sign Up To Get The Latest News, Opinions From Chattanoogan.com In Real Time; Win Set Of Chattanooga Photo Books

Sign up for our Facebook and Twitter feeds and you will get the  local news in "real time." You will also be entered for a chance to win the complete set of the Chattanooga Photo Books published by Chattanoogan.com. We will give away three sets of The Remarkable Stokes Collection, Railroads In and Around Chattanooga and Paul Hiener's Historic Chattanooga to our new Facebook ... (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: BALLARD, TANIKKA NICHOLE  1722 STANFIELD STREET CHATTANOOGA, 37406  Age at Arrest: 38 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County LIGHT LAW VIOLATION --- BEARDEN, DENISE MINOR  2730 APPLEBROOK LANE CHATTANOOGA, 37421  Age at Arrest: 45 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga DOMESTIC ... (click for more)

Tom Edd Wilson Was A Great Visionary

We want to add to the many heart-felt messages that have been expressed regarding the recent passing of Tom Edd Wilson, a truly great visionary.    While he made his mark on many local organizations, Tom Edd will always hold a special place in the hearts of those who worked closely with him at Erlanger.   We benefited greatly from his steady guidance, leadership ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Leaders Stand ‘Way Back’

Franklin McCallie, a former principal at Howard School and the maverick in one of Chattanooga’s finest families known for education, delivered an impassioned speech before the Hamilton County Commission on Wednesday. Sadly, his remarks came after the commissioners had passed the FY2018 budget that has no financial methodology for the Department of Education, much maligned in the ... (click for more)

Inclement Weather Forces Cancellation Of Thursday Night's Lookouts Game

Not only was Tropical Storm Cindy responsible for the cancellation of Tuesday's Southern League All-Star Game, but now the storm has also resulted in the cancellation of Thursday night's game at AT&T Field with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. The First Half North Division Champion Lookouts announced that Thursday's (6/22) game has been postponed due ... (click for more)

Cleveland High School Selects Joey Knox As Head Wrestling Coach

Cleveland High School has selected Joey Knox as the next head coach for the Blue Raider Wrestling program.  Coach Knox has been with the wrestling program as an assistant since 2013.  During his assistant coaching tenure, the team has secured six Team State Championships, including five individual State Champions and 20 State Medalists.    Cleveland High ... (click for more)