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Insurance and the blame game in the Hopkins settlement
Donald L. DeVries Jr., representing Johns Hopkins Hospital, takes the lectern at a July news conference announcing a $190 million settlement with patients of former doctor Nikita Levy. DeVries is flanked by, from left, plaintiffs’ attorneys Jonathan Schochor, Howard Janet and A. Dwight Pettit. (The Daily Record/Maximilian Franz)

Insurance and the blame game in the Hopkins settlement

Two follow-up notes on the Johns Hopkins Hospital’s $190 million settlement with patients of Nikita Levy, the gynecologist accused of secretly recording examinations.

– The settlement is being paid by Hopkins’ insurance, which led to two obvious questions at Monday’s press conference: what kind of insurance does Hopkins have and how much does it have? No answer was given Monday to reporters. Kim Hoppe, a spokeswoman for Hopkins, said Tuesday she could not provide any information about the hospital’s insurance coverage.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said the state does not have regulations related to how much insurance a hospital should have, and the issue in not addressed in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ conditions of participation for hospitals.

Hoppe reiterated the settlement “will not in any way compromise the ability of Hopkins to serve its patients staff and community.”

If you have any information or insight into Hopkins’ insurance situation, please let me know.

– Joint press conferences like the one held Monday are typically short on tension or drama. Both sides have a chance to discuss the settlement and answer reporters’ questions, usually sticking to platitudes whenever possible. So The Sun‘s Justin Fenton must have struck a nerve when he asked about Hopkins’ responsibility in the case.

Donald L. DeVries, a lawyer for the hospital, said that while Levy violated the trust of his patients and Hopkins, that there was no way for the hospital to know about his behavior. This prompted Howard A. Janet, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, to counter that Hopkins should have known what one of its employees was doing.

DeVries, who was sitting in the audience as Janet spoke, quickly stood up and returned to the podium.

“Hopkins had no direct knowledge of [Levy's] conduct,” he said. “He’s a rogue employee.”

Janet then took the microphone back and once again put the blame on Hopkins. Finally, Jonathan Schochor, another lawyer for the plaintiffs, tried to defuse the situation.

“I think what Hopkins is saying,” he said, “is that they deny any wrongdoing.”

One comment

  1. What a joke. The lawyers could give a hoot about the patients they were just looking for a quick payout from a huge company. The lawyers know Hopkins will pay to avoid publicity. I feel bad for the women but Hopkins had no idea what this Dr. was doing and should have not have to pay for one mans bad actions.

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