DePuy has offered surgeons $50 for every medical release they convince their patients to sign in the process to identify those patients who may need a replacement. Doctors had not seen such a request before with recalls and the patient medical records would need the OK for the release by the patient. Here’s a little history below on the story from October of 2010.
DePuy Offering Surgeons $50 For Each Medical Record Release They Convince Patients to Sign–Hip Recall Settlements
Some see this as a way to limit payments and get copies of medical records that could in fact be used against a patient in court. The Broadspire MDs are the ones who make the final decision who have been hired by J and J. This also get sticky if it is ran through like a normal medical claim too with insurers so how does that work and each case is it’s own too. It appears as if this is a very large effort to identify patients perhaps not only for a replacement but maybe the gathering of who might file a future lawsuit? Offering payments to the doctors just makes this not look so good. BD
J&J's DePuy Orthopaedics Inc unit recalled its metal ASR hip system a year ago after it failed at a higher-than-expected rate, with some patients experiencing pain, swelling, joint dislocation and sometimes systemic damage to the central nervous system, thyroid and heart.
The company now faces more than 2,000 lawsuits in state and federal court in the United States.
In a highly unusual move, DePuy has hired a third party -- Broadspire Services Inc, which manages workers compensation and other medical claims on behalf of insurance companies and employers -- to administer patient claims for out-of-pocket medical costs associated with the recall.
The move has prompted debate among industry and legal experts. Some see it as an efficient way to outsource a process that is unrelated to making artificial hips. Others see it as a way for J&J to limit payments while gaining control of medical records and other material that could be used against patients in court.
Last August, DePuy wrote to orthopedic surgeons asking them to forward to their patients a package of information about the recall. It contained a form letter from doctor to patient, written by DePuy, asking the patient to set up an appointment to discuss any concerns and to bring with them a signed medical release giving the physician permission to share information with DePuy.
"It is important to share this information with DePuy so that DePuy may contact you directly regarding any additional information regarding the ASR Hip System and process your claims efficiently," the letter said. "Please complete the form and bring it with you to your next appointment."
DePuy offered doctors $50 for each completed set of forms.
"I have been doing this work for 35 years and it is almost unprecedented for a large corporate defendant to run out and preemptively attempt to identify potential claimants," said Alex MacDonald, a partner at MacDonald Rothweiler Eisenberg, who helped negotiate billions of dollars in settlements over the diet-drug cocktail Fen-Phen. He is not representing clients in the DePuy case.
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