June 12, 1997 |
Plaintiffs' lawyer Mark Hiepler has made a career out of battling California HMOs, winning several high-profile judgments and earning a reputation for employing new legal weapons in his cases. The Oxnard attorney gained national attention in 1993 for winning an $89.1-million verdict--later settled for a lesser sum--against Health Net on behalf of his late sister, Nelene Fox, over the HMO's refusal to pay for a bone marrow transplant to treat her breast cancer.
May 17, 1997 |
In a scathing review of one of California's largest dental HMOs, state regulators Friday accused Western Dental Services of providing "shoddy, dangerous" medical care and showing a "contemptuous disregard" for patients, many of whom are poor or speak little English. "While this type of assembly line operation may be perfectly acceptable in the meatpacking industry, it has absolutely no place in the practice of dentistry," a lawsuit by the state Department of Corporations declares.
January 30, 1997 |
A federal appeals court has reinstated the legal claims of 20 anesthesiologists who challenged an HMO's authority to dictate standards of patient care. The three-judge panel of the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that federal Judge Denise Cote in New York was wrong to throw out the antitrust lawsuit the doctors filed against Aetna Health Plans Inc.
October 18, 1995 |
A three-member arbitration panel has slapped the state's second-largest health maintenance organization with a $1-million judgment for improperly denying a breast-cancer patient a bone-marrow transplant and then pressuring her doctor to reverse his support of the treatment. The latter action by Health Net, the arbitrators found, amounted to "extreme and outrageous behavior exceeding all bounds usually tolerated in a civilized society."
May 16, 1995 |
In a case that underscores the shrinking options available to patients with complaints about their medical care, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to allow a California woman to sue her HMO in state court over allegations that it contributed to her son's 1991 death by denying experimental treatment for his cancer. The court declined without comment to overturn federal district court and court of appeals rulings against the mother, Billie J. Comer of Pleasanton.
February 11, 1995 |
Last November, Edward Ivy, 68, stopped to talk to two men who had set up a table in the lobby of his government-subsidized apartment building in San Francisco. Ivy says the two men--sales representatives for Foundation Health Corp.--told him that he could avoid "cuts in Medi-Cal" and keep his favorite doctor and pharmacist if he signed up for Foundation's health plan for low-income people. So he signed up.