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.


Gravitt Raises Questions On Soccer Contract; Suggests Dress Code For East Ridge Employees

The contract between East Ridge and Chattanooga Football Club Academy (CFCA) will expire on the last day of June. Vice Mayor Marc Gravitt expressed concern that the agreement was one-sided in the favor of CFCA even though conditions in the contract were the same as last year with just one change, it will be for a 10-month period of time instead of 12 months. The club will pay the ... (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: BELL, CARVING LEBRON  2000 GARFIELD STREET CHATTANOOGA, 37402  Age at Arrest: 40 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County AGGRAVATED ASSAULT-DOMESTIC --- BERRIEN, TAYLA LISA  7024 SPORTSMAN DRIVE HARRISON, 37341  Age at Arrest: 18 years old Arresting Agency:  DOMESTIC ... (click for more)

Jill Levine Is An Educational Rock Star

No one has covered the Hamilton County Department of Education drama better than Roy Exum.  Thank you, Roy, but I take issue with your unnamed sources.  Professional jealousy and sour grape darts should not be anonymous.   HCDE is so dysfunctional, and there is good cause to place this public organization under a microscope, dissect it into pieces and discard all ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Cancer Is Not A Battle

I read a marvelous essay not long ago where the author urged, “Stop telling the lie that cancer is a battle … a battle implies a fair fight, and there was nothing fair about my cancer or the cancer that took the life of my friend. Those experiences were about as fair as getting hit by a car – and nobody says people lose their battles with automobiles.” Mary Elizabeth Williams, ... (click for more)

Lady Raiders Use 7-Run Inning To Knock Off Central

Baylor softball coach Kelli Smith saw signs in a weekend tournament that her Lady Raiders were coming out of their early-season slumber at just the right time. The Lady Raiders, coming off a championship performance in East Hamilton's Choo Choo Classic at The Summitt, spotted Central a second-inning run, scored seven runs in the third and cruised to a 15-3 non-league victory ... (click for more)

East Hamilton's Briar Potter To Wrestle At MTSU

It seemed like Briar Potter made history for East Hamilton every time he stepped onto the wrestling mat these last four years. He was a four-year starter and qualified for the state meet in all of those years.   He was the Hurricanes first state medalist when he finished fourth at 106 pounds as a sophomore. He is surely the winningest Hurricane with 98 wins and he’s ... (click for more)