Justia Health Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Kentucky Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the circuit court compelling Plaintiff to arbitrate his claims of wrongful death and negligence against Signature HealthCARE of East Louisville, holding that arbitration was required on all claims.To secure his father's admittance into Signature, a long-term care facility, Plaintiff signed an arbitration agreement as his father's authorized representative. After his father died, Plaintiff brought a negligence and wrongful death claim against Signature. Signature filed a motion to compel arbitration. The trial court denied the motion. The court of appeals reversed in part, holding that Plaintiff's wrongful death claim was arbitrable because he signed the arbitration agreement in his individual capacity. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding that both Plaintiff's individual claims and that claims he brought as the representative of his father's estate were subject to arbitration. View "LP Louisville East, LLC v. Patton" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals denying Henderson County Health Care Corporation's (hereinafter, Redbanks) petition for a writ of prohibition prohibiting the enforcement of an order issued by Judge Karen Wilson of the Henderson Circuit Court compelling Redbanks to produce certain consultant reports to the real party of interest, Roland McGuire, holding that the court of appeals erred.Specifically, the Supreme Court held Redbanks was entitled to the issuance of the writ because the consultant reports at issue in this case were protected by the Federal Quality Assurance Privilege, 42 U.S.C. 1396r(b)(1)(B) and 42 U.S.C. 1395i-3(b)(1)(B), because they were used for quality assurance purposes. View "Henderson County Health Care Corp. v. Honorable Karen Lynn Wilson" on Justia Law

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In this action brought against a long-term care facility by Kenneth, as administrator of Estate of Tommy Patton, the Supreme Court reversed in part the court of appeals' decision concluding that an arbitration agreement was enforceable as to Kenneth's individual wrongful death claim but that the agreement was not enforceable as to the Estate's claims, holding that the agreement was valid as to both claims.Kenneth signed an arbitration agreement at the time his father, Tommy, was admitted to Signature HealthCARE of East Louisville's long-term care facility. Tommy later suffered a fall and died a few weeks later. Kenneth brought sued Signature, alleging negligence and wrongful death. Signature filed a motion to compel arbitration. The trial court denied the motion in its entirety. The court of appeals reversed in part, concluding that the arbitration agreement was not enforceable against the Estate but that Kenneth's wrongful death claim was arbitrable because he executed the arbitration agreement in his individual capacity. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that both the Estate's and Kenneth's individual claims were subject to arbitration because the arbitration agreement was valid and enforceable as to the Estate claim and as to Kenneth's individual wrongful death claim. View "LP Louisville East, LLC v. Patton" on Justia Law

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In this action seeking a declaration that the University of Kentucky is not an agency within the executive branch the Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court's decision that sovereign immunity did not bar this action against the University but reversed the court's holding that the University is not within the executive branch.The University referred Plaintiff's delinquent UK HealthCare accounts to the Commonwealth, Department of Revenue for collection. The Department's collection efforts included imposition of a twenty-five percent collection fee and interest and garnishment of Plaintiff's paychecks, bank accounts, and tax refunds. Plaintiff petitioned for a declaration that the University was not an agency within the executive branch, as required by Ky. Rev. Stat. 45.237(1)(a), and therefore was not authorized to refer its accounts to the Department. The circuit court trial court granted Plaintiff's motion for declaratory judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the University is within the executive branch of the state government for purposes of Ky. Rev. Stat. 45.237 et seq.; and (2) sovereign immunity did not bar this declaratory judgment action. View "University of Kentucky v. Moore" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the opinion of the court of appeals upholding the circuit court’s dismissal of this action alleging that a child’s developmental delays were caused by a doctor’s negligence in the mother’s prenatal care and the child’s delivery. The Court held (1) the trial court erred in permitting Plaintiffs’ attorney to withdraw; (2) the mother did not engage in the unauthorized practice of law, and the trial court erred in striking the pleadings; (3) summary judgment was improper; and (4) “next friend” cannot proceed pro se on behalf of a real party in interest. View "Azmat v. Bauer" on Justia Law

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KESA, the Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Fund, on behalf of its insureds, filed five separate medical fee disputes against the Injured Workers’ Pharmacy (IWP) and the insureds’ employees and former employees, all of whom had their prescriptions filled by IWP. The chief administrative law judge (CALJ) found (1) a pharmacy/pharmacist is a medical provider, which entitles an injured worker to choose where to have his or her prescriptions filled; (2) the pharmacy fee schedule is based on the amount a pharmacist pays a wholesaler for medication, and IWP is entitled to interest on any underpayment by KESA; and (3) because KESA brought its medical fee disputes without reasonable ground and without reasonable medical or factual foundation, KESA was required to pay the cost of the proceedings. The Workers’ Compensation Board reversed the award of costs but otherwise affirmed. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded, holding (1) the court of appeals did not err regarding the assessment of interest and sanctions or in concluding that a pharmacy is a medical provider; but (2) the remainder of the court of appeals opinion is vacated and remanded because the CALJ did not make a determination regarding the actual average wholesale price paid by IWP. View "Steel Creations by and through KESA, the Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Fund v. Injured Workers’ Pharmacy" on Justia Law

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Dr. Benjamin Reid, a licensed general surgeon, filed a complaint against KentuckyOne Health, Inc. (“Hospital”) alleging various claims arising from the Hospital’s review of Reid’s surgical privileges at the Hospital. The circuit court granted the Hospital’s motion for judgment on the pleadings, concluding that Reid failed to rebut the presumption that the Hospital was immune under the Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986 because the Hospital’s conduct with respect to Reid was related to its professional review activities. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the Hospital had taken a “professional review action” against Reid rather than a “professional review activity.” The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) a factual dispute existed as to whether the Hospital’s actions were merely “professional review activities” that would be entitled to immunity under the Act or whether they were “professional review actions,” and (2) therefore, the record was insufficient on the immunity question under the Act. View "KentuckyOne Health, Inc. v. Reid" on Justia Law

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The Council on Developmental Disabilities, Inc. filed a request with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services seeking information about the death of Gary Farris, a ward of the Commonwealth who was transferred from an institution to a community residence shortly before his death. The Cabinet denied the Council’s request, concluding that the records were confidential under Ky. Rev. Stat. 209.140 and that the Council did not qualify as an organization exempt from the confidentiality restrictions in that statute. The trial court upheld the denial. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Council was not entitled to the requested information under either the Kentucky Open Records Act or section 209.140(3). View "Council on Developmental Disabilities, Inc. v. Cabinet for Health & Human Servs." on Justia Law

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Each of these three consolidated cases originated with the filing of an action in the circuit court asserting claims against nursing home facilities for personal injuries suffered by a nursing home resident, violations of Ky. Rev. Stat. 216.510 et seq., and for wrongful death of the resident. At the time of each resident’s admission to the nursing home, the resident’s attorney-in-fact executed a written document providing that disputes arising out of the relationship between the resident and the nursing home would be submitted to arbitration. When each case was commenced, the defendant nursing home moved the circuit court to compel the parties to submit the claims to a formal arbitration proceeding. The circuit court denied the motion in each case, concluding that the respective power-of-attorney instruments did not authorize the resident’s attorney-in-fact to waive the resident’s right to access to the courts. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) without a clear and convincing manifestation of the principal’s intention to do so, delegation to an agent of the authority to waive a trial by jury is not authorized, and the principal’s assent to the waiver is not validly obtained; and (2) the arbitration agreements in these cases were never validly formed. View "Extendicare Homes, Inc. v. Whisman" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against Richmond Health Facilities-Madison, LP (Richmond Health) and Extendicare, Inc. (Extendicare) alleging wrongful death, nursing-home abuse, and corporate negligence. During discovery, Plaintiff sought the production of documents relating to Richmond Health’s clinical monitoring and oversight and well as documents dealing with corporate finance matters alleged to indicate Extendicare’s negligence in funding Richmond Health. When Richmond Health and Extendicare rejected Plaintiff’s requests, the trial court ordered the co-defendants to produce the documents. The co-defendants separately sought prohibitive writs from the court of appeals, arguing that the documents were privileged and that their financial information was irrelevant. The court of appeals denied the writ petitions. The Supreme Court also affirmed the court of appeals and denied the issuance of a writ, holding that the petitions did not meet the Court’s writ standard and would be nothing more than advisory. View "Richmond Health Facilities-Madison, LP v. Madison Circuit Court" on Justia Law