Class Action Lawsuit Against Cochlear and ASHA Audiologists
From: ORM - Jul 28, 2004
In light of the current criminal probe by the US Department of Justice, Otologic Reimbursement Management is again pursuing a class action lawsuit sponsored by a national law firm. The class action for common law fraud will be against Cochlear Americas and those audiologists accepting kickbacks or other illegal inducements from Cochlear--illegal schemes that have kept the price of cochlear implants artifically high and limited their availability to large, urban centers.
The class action will provide financial compensation directly to patients and not to ORM or any individual. It is meant to benefit those of you who have been so harmed by the anti-competitive practices of one company.
While we do not anticipate moving forward until 2005, we are interested in pooling together possible participants at this time. In particular we are seeking cochlear implant users who have been (1) unable to receive their choice of device brand, (2) unable to have their processor programmed at the center of their choosing, (3) used Cochlear's dummy billing service Otologic Management Services, or belonged to a center that did so, or (4) had any device component repaired by Cochlear (whether or not through a service contract) and paid by a Federal or state health plan.
In fall 2000, we received many responses from interested patients to a class action by Duane Morris, a Washington, DC law firm. However, ORM's relationship to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and Duane Morris' representation of certain cochlear implant centers prevented us from going forward at that time. ORM is now working with a new law firm without such conflicts, and likewise no longer has any conflicting relationship with ASHA.
The lawsuit was initially intended to include only Cochlear Americas. However, illegal efforts by ASHA executives Arlene Pietranton and Steven White to block the class action, including denying the existence of Cochlear kickbacks and inducements during their sworn interrogations, have resulted in the inclusion. To the extent possible, we will attempt to include only ASHA member audiologists with unlawful financial relationships to Cochlear, and not those belonging solely to the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), as AAA has thus far stayed above such conduct.
If you are a cochlear implant candidate or user who may potentially meet the criteria and are interested in participating,or if you simply have questions, please contact us as shown below. As with earlier responses, we assure complete confidentiality of any communications with prospective participants, as attorney-client privilege is invoked in our passing such information onto the law firm.
While we may not have a final decision for you until early next year, it will help us to assess the number of potential candidates at this time. Formal announcements or updates will not be posted on our website until a final decisions are made.
Otologic Reimbursement Management (ORM)
NOTE: Founded in 1996, ORM is a voluntary, information resource that receives no compensation from any outside parties and is not affiliated with any manufacturer, center, or clinician. For more information, see www.cochlear.org.
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