John Anderson King Sues Georgia Law Firm

Dr. John Anderson King, the controversial osteopathic physician who generated 124 medical malpractice suits while on Putnam General Hospital’s staff between November 2002 and June 2003, has filed a lawsuit against a Roswell, Ga., law firm that once represented him. 

In a June 19 complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, King alleges the Bothwel & Simpson firm failed to represent him properly. He wants $25 million in damages. 

In his complaint, King argues that when he worked at Jackson County Memorial Hospital in Florida during the 1990s, he “became award of fraudulent billing practices in connection with governmental payors such as Medicare.” 

King hired Bothwel & Simpson to represent him in a suit detailing those charges against Jackson County Memorial Hospital. 

In his new complaint, King notes individuals who file such complaints “are entitled to receive as much as 30 percent of the gross amount of any recovery against an entity found liable for fraudulent billing practices in dealing with governmental entities.” 

Read the rest of the June 29, 2008 Charleston Gazette article by Paul J. Nyden: King sues Georgia law firm over Fla. case 

Update February 2009:  King sues lawyer he hired to sue his previous lawyers – from the Charleston Gazette. 

Discredited Surgeon Stays in the News – WV Business Litigation

Previous blog posts about Dr. John Anderson King: 


Grand Rounds – The iPhone Edition is up at Shrink Rap

Fan of the iPhone?  If so, you’ll love this week’s clever edition of Grand Rounds hosted by Shrink Rap

I haven’t had an opportunity to scan all the entries yet, but here are a couple of posts I can recommend:

Tony Chen from Hospital Impact get’s right into the theme with a post about potential healthcare applications for the iPhone, and Jeffrey M.D. contributes a thought-provoking post about the pursuit of excellence.

Stop over at Shrink Rap for the rest.

Surging Fuel Prices Encourage Increased Telecommuting

 Healthcare as an industry has been slow to adopt the idea of telecommuting for it’s administrative staff.  However, the recent surge in fuel prices may be making the idea more acceptable in many organizations.  
MSNBC reports that high gas prices are encouraging US employers to reconsider the traditional in-the-office work week.  Some are allowing employees to work from home one or more days per week; others are redesigning full time work schedules to accommodate four ten hour days. 
“Since many companies are either laying people off or keeping a tight grip on the purse strings and wages in this economy, it’s harder for managers to argue against telecommuting as they see their employees and themselves hammered by escalating fuel prices.” 
“Last month, the House Speaker of the state of Georgia told state employees to start working from home one day a week as a way to fight high prices at the pump.”

2009 National Patient Safety Goals Released by Joint Commission

Joint Commission has released its 2009 National Patient Safety Goals.

The Hospital Program lists the following additional standards:

3E Reduce the likelihood of patient harm associated with the use of anticoagulation therapy.

16 Improve recognition and response to changes in a patient’s condition.

16A The organization selects a suitable method that enables health care staff members to directly request additional assistance from a specially trained individual(s) when the patient’s condition appears to be worsening.

Download the Hospital Accreditation Chapter from the Joint Commission web site.



Graphing the Location and Time of Events in the Hospital – Using Excel

I spent a little time this weekend developing Excel graphs to track the where and when of events in an organization. I didn’t end up with exactly what I envisioned, but still devised what I think will be a useful tool.

It’s a simple premise. The example graphs show the same information displayed by Shift, Date, Severity, or Location, providing information at a glance about when and where adverse events or patient complaints are occurring in the hospital.  The graph displays occurrence time as 1st, 2nd or 3rd shift, and events by an assigned severity level of 4-10.

If it sounds useful, you are welcome to download the Excel file for free through my Simple Data Solutions, LLC Free Resoures page:  and modify it to fit your needs.

Click the image to enlarge:




 A Gant Chart example has been added and is also available for download:

MyChart – An Electronic Medical Record For Patients

Are you interested in accessing your medical records online?  Consider becoming a patient at Cleveland Clinic. A recent Time Magazine article, Medical Mouse Practice, discusses Cleveland Clinic’s electronic medical record for patient access, MyChart. 

Along the way, the team of doctors, nurses, Web developers and software engineers has improved safety, cut costs and given patients more control over their care. The transition away from paper, says chief information officer Dr. C. Martin Harris, “has allowed us to use technology to transform the practice of medicine.”

The hospital’s 3 million–plus patients can schedule appointments online, for example, and fill out paperwork on the Web before they get to the waiting room. Cleveland Clinic’s specialists supply second opinions to patients worldwide.

The article also mentions Gisela Nehring, who heads up the MyChart team. (Here’s where I get to name drop.) I’ve been working with Gisela lately on the interface between MyChart and the Emmi Solutions programs that are being implemented at the Clinic. Gisela and her team, especially Olga Rodriguez, have been absolutely wonderful and have kept this complex project on track. I’m thrilled to see this group get international recognition for their talents.

That kind of connection is a reflection of the intense collaboration that went into developing MyChart. Gisela Nehring, who heads the project, says her (former) job as a respiratory therapist working in hospital intensive-care units means she can interact directly with hospital staff for input. “I can walk up and down the halls and hear from the nurses what’s working and what’s not,” Nehring says. “I relate to what they’re saying because I’ve been there myself.”

Read the rest of Medical Mouse Practice:,8816,1812085,00.html

Job Interviews and Company Culture

Looking for a new job?  Most applicants are so concerned about making a good impression during an interview that they may be hesitant to ask questions about company or department culture. However, advises that working at a company with values inconsistent with yours is stressful, unrewarding, even depressing.

During a job interview, it’s up to you to determine whether a particular employer is aligned with your core values and beliefs.

Here are some of the things to be cognizant of during your interview experience:

  • How are you treated while interviewing?
  • What phrases do the interviewers use frequently?
  • Is there a theme or unspoken tone to the questions asked?
  • How does the environment feel to you?
  • How prepared are the interviewers? Are they on time?
  • Were you given an interview schedule?
  • Were you treated like a prisoner or a guest?
  • Are your responses to questions treated with suspicion or professional curiosity?
  • How considerate is the company recruiter?

Read the rest:

Assess Company Culture to Find the Best Fit

Hugh Greeley Forms New Healthcare Consulting Partnership

Hugh Greeley, Todd Sagin MD, JD & John McGinty have formed a new healthcare consulting firm called Hugh Greeley & Partners. 

The company's website states:

In addition to addressing focused consulting needs, Hugh Greeley & Partners provides educational programs, leadership training, keynote addresses, retreat facilitation, mediation services, and mentorship relationships with individuals or organizations. Additional services include the provision of expertise to law firms engaged in healthcare litigation and external peer review resources to hospitals and medical staffs.

Update 12/11/2008

To whom it may concern:

Please note that in July you posted an announcement that Hugh Greeley had formed a new company called Hugh Greeley and Partners.  Please note that this has changed and his new company is called   HG Healthcare Consultants, LLC  with a website at
Thank-you very much.
Todd Sagin MD,JD
National Medical Director
HG Healthcare Consultants

When Patients Speak, Good Healthcare Organizations Listen

Retail companies have long understood that customer complaints need to be addressed. The customer is not always right. (Whoever came up with that slogan never worked behind a sales counter!)  But if a company wants to be successful in business, someone needs to listen and whenever possible, act on behalf of the customer.

Healthcare however, is just beginning to figure out that patient complaints need to be taken seriously. 

I may be pretty upset if I get double charged for a piece of software. (I speak from recent experience on that one by the way), and I may really want someone to listen to me and to take care of the problem.  Think how much that desire and need to be heard escalates if my ill and vulnerable child or parent is not being fed, not getting their medication, or simply not being taken care of properly.  

Too often complaining patients and family members get brushed aside by busy care givers with a vague “we’ll take care of it.”

CMS has a whole set of grievance regulations that must be adhered to in order to meet the Conditions of Participation. 

The 2008 Joint Commission Hospital standards manual has this to say about how accredited hospitals need to handle patient and family complaints.

Ethics, Rights and Responsibilities – RI.2.120

“The hospital address the resolution of complaints from patients and their families.”   

Elements of Performance:

1. The hospital informs patients, families, and staff about the complaint resolution process. 

2.  The hospital receives, reviews, and when possible, resolves complaints from patients and their families. 

3.  The hospital responds to individuals making significant (as defined by the hospital) or recurring complaint.

4.  The hospital informs patients about their right to file a complaint with the state authority.

5.  Patients can freely voice complaints and recommend changes without being subject to coercion, discrimination, reprisal, or unreasonable interruption of care, treatment and services.

If your hospital isn’t looking seriously at this issue, it’s time.