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Saint Joseph's Hospital of Atlanta Sued Over Patient Admission and Billing Scheme, According to Page Perry, LLC
Date:5/23/2008

ATLANTA, May 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Saint Joseph's Hospital of Atlanta, Inc. engaged in a systematic scheme to inappropriately admit and overcharge thousands of patients, according to the Page Perry, LLC law firm, which filed suit against the hospital Thursday, seeking class action status on behalf of thousands of patients overbilled by the practice.

Former Saint Joseph's patient Steven M. Lamb, of Snellville, Georgia, alleges that a carotid artery stent procedure he underwent in 2005 kept him admitted on an "inpatient" basis for two days -- about twice as long as was medically necessary and at a more costly rate than an "outpatient visit" which typically is accomplished in hours, not days.

According to the Complaint, "In order to increase revenues, and thus profitability, [Saint Joseph's] engaged in a widespread and systematic scheme to admit to inpatient status patients who did not otherwise meet inpatient admission criteria and then issue charges and bills for such inpatient services accordingly. This scheme was well known to [Saint Joseph's] management, administration, staff and contractors, if not also its board of directors. Moreover, [Saint Joseph's] management and administration actively concealed such practices."

Mr. Lamb is represented by attorneys James M. Evangelista and David J. Worley, of Page Perry, LLC, of Atlanta, and James A. Dunlap Jr., of Atlanta. Counsel will seek to have the lawsuit certified as a class action that includes all patients of the hospital system between Jan. 1, 2000 and Dec. 21, 2007 who were improperly admitted to Saint Joseph's under inpatient status.

In December 2007, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia announced a "whistleblower" (qui tam) settlement in which Saint Joseph's paid $26 million to settle federal false claims allegations related to thousands of patient stays between 2000 and 2005 that were billed to the federal Medicare program. The new lawsuit seeks to recover costs billed to individual patients.

Attorney James M. Evangelista stated, "Patients came to Saint Joseph's trusting that they would receive appropriate care, not expecting to be deliberately overbilled by Saint Joseph's extending their hospital stay in a pretense of needed care. Mr. Lamb and many people like him from throughout Georgia and elsewhere were inappropriately admitted and improperly billed."

The lawsuit -- which alleges breach of contract, breach of implied contractual duties of good faith and fair dealing, unjust enrichment, and breach of fiduciary duty -- seeks actual, exemplary, and punitive damages, and attorneys' fees.

The case is "Steven M. Lamb, et al., v. Saint Joseph's Hospital of Atlanta, Inc., and Saint Joseph's Health System, Inc.," (Case No. 08-CV-151075, in the Superior Court of Fulton County).

For more information, please contact Page Perry, LLC, (770) 673-0047, http://www.pageperry.com.

Media Contact: Erin Powers, Powers MediaWorks LLC, for Page Perry, LLC, (281) 362-1411 or (281) 703-6000.


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SOURCE Page Perry, LLC
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