March 6, 2009
Two upstate New York health insurance companies that serve more than 2 million people have agreed to stop using a faulty database that cost patients more when they used doctors outside of their plan’s network.
Albany-based Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan and Rochester-based Excellus will stop processing claims through the Ingenix database, a flawed system used to calculate consumer reimbursements for treatment.
The move is part of an agreement with Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who said that as a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group Inc., Ingenix had an interest in helping set rates low so companies could underpay patients for out-of-network services.
“Consumers across the country will have greater transparency in understanding how much they may be reimbursed when they receive services from out-of-network providers,” said Jim Redmond, an Excellus spokesman, in a written statement.
Read Article: Newsday
In the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, which President George W. Bush signed into law on Sept. 25, 2008, Congress amended the Americans With Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §12101, et seq. , to be consistent with its original intention of “providing a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities” and to “provide broad coverage.
The amendments, which became effective on Jan. 1 and apply to conduct after that date, substantially change “how employers and courts are to evaluate ADA claims,” noted Judge Robert James of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, Monroe Division, in December 2008 in Knox v. City of Monroe .
By rejecting the narrow and exacting holdings in two U.S. Supreme Court cases and then expanding key definitions in the ADA, the amendments significantly broaden the protective scope of the ADA. As a result of the new law, employers should take a more cautious approach in their employment practices and decisions and should expect an increase in the number of disability discrimination claims asserted by employees.
Read Article: Law.com
A McLean County jury has awarded $2.6 million to relatives of a woman who died as a result of an asbestos-related ailment. Jean Holmes died in April 2006 of mesothelioma.
According to court records, Holmes was exposed to asbestos when she laundered clothing belonging to her husband, Donald Holmes, who worked at Bloomington’s Union Asbestos and Rubber Company in the 1960s.
Lawyers for the Holmes’ family argued that she was never warned of the dangers of asbestos. The lawyers claimed defendants Pneumo Abex LLC and Honeywell International Inc., through their corporate predecessors, conspired with other companies to suppress information about the hazards of asbestos.
Read Article: Chicago Tribune
Face-to-face encounters in which families of Sept. 11 victims tearfully and sometimes angrily confronted airline representatives helped result in $500 million worth of settlements that resolved 92 of 95 lawsuits, a mediator said Thursday.
“Some families thought it was important for them to understand the loss that they had sustained,” mediator Sheila Birnbaum said in an interview. Some family members wanted to describe how extraordinary their loved ones were, she said. “Others wanted to confront the airlines and tell them how angry they were at what had happened,” Birnbaum said.
Birnbaum, who was appointed by U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein, said the face-to-face encounters between individual families and airline or airline safety representatives proved crucial to resolving at least 30 of the lawsuits brought on behalf of 9/11 victims.
Read Article: Newsday
Is stinking drywall the new black mold?
That would be the general drift of a handful of lawsuits filed in Florida against the manufacturers of sulfur-tainted drywall manufactured in China and the builders that installed it during the housing boom.
Some who are sounding the alarm about the building product say it was distributed in many states, including California, and may have been installed in tens of thousands of homes, sickening residents and causing structural damage. They have likened the problem to the wave of construction-defect litigation over mold, which peaked earlier this decade.
At least four suits have been filed in Florida. The latest, filed Monday in Miami, claims that the sulfur-laden drywall emits a noxious, “rotten egg” odor that corrodes wiring in the houses and within appliances in those homes. The national class-action suit, filed by Coral Gables attorney Ervin A. Gonzales, claims that residents of homes containing the drywall experienced headaches, sore throat, nose bleeds and respiratory problems.
Read Article: Los Angeles Times
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