UnitedHealth Group is still facing two lawsuits related to an in-network endoscopy center that was at the center of a hepatitis C outbreak several years ago, the health insurer and analytics company recently disclosed in its annual filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
At issue is a case involving the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada, a physician-owned ambulatory surgery center in Las Vegas that had been an in-network facility for UnitedHealth members. UnitedHealth was accused of negligently credentialing and referring the center to patients after the facility was linked to an outbreak of hepatitis C following what health officials called “unsafe injection practices.”
A jury, in April 2013, ordered two of Minnetonka, Minn.-based UnitedHealth's Nevada subsidiaries to pay plaintiffs $24 million in compensatory damages and $500 million in punitive damages. The punitive damage total was later reduced to $366 million.
UnitedHealth eventually settled that suit and other lawsuits from patients infected with hepatitis C for an undisclosed amount that the company said was “not material” financially.
But the case is not quite over. UnitedHealth is still a party in two class-action lawsuits from people who were not infected from the endoscopy center. However, the remaining litigation is similarly not expected to financially impair the company's bottom line, UnitedHealth said in the disclosure. No other details were given about the pending lawsuits.
UnitedHealth was not available to comment by deadline.
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