Unsworn letters not enough

Innovative MR Imaging, P.C. v Praetorian Ins. Co., 2015 NY Slip Op 51402(U)(App. Term 1st Dept. 2015)

“In opposition to defendant’s motion, plaintiff submitted two letters of medical necessity. However, as neither letter of medical necessity was sworn or even signed, they were of no probative value (see Rivers v Birnbaum, 102 AD3d 26, 45 [2012]). As a result, defendant’s prima facie showing that the services were not medically necessary was unrebutted by plaintiff.”

3212(f) – motion denied

IDF Diagnostic Med., P.C. v New York Cent. Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 2015 NY Slip Op 51213(U)(App. Term 2d Dept. 2015)

“The Civil Court held that, since defendant had annexed its discovery responses to its reply papers, plaintiff’s cross motion to compel disclosure was moot and that there was an issue of fact as to medical necessity because defendant had failed to provide, in a timely manner, the medical records which plaintiff had sought, so that plaintiff could respond to the branch of defendant’s motion seeking summary judgment dismissing plaintiff’s first cause of action.”

“In opposition to defendant’s motion, and in support of its cross motion to compel discovery, plaintiff demonstrated that it had requested from defendant, but had not received in time to oppose defendant’s motion (see CPLR 3212 [f]), the peer review report, the complete set of medical documentation relating to the assignor received by defendant and the complete set of medical documentation provided to defendant’s peer reviewer. In light of the foregoing, defendant is not entitled to summary judgment dismissing plaintiff’s first cause of action”

In this case, the penalty for ambushing the Plaintiff with late discovery is to essentially lost the medical necessity branch of the motion.

Depositions of medical providers

Farshad D. Hannanian, M.D., P.C. v Allstate Ins. Co., 2015 NY Slip Op 51133(U)(App. Term 2d Dept. 2015)

“In this action by a provider to recover assigned first-party no-fault benefits, six days after plaintiff served a motion seeking summary judgment, defendant served a notice of deposition of plaintiff’s assignor’s treating provider. Plaintiff timely objected, arguing, among other things, that disclosure was stayed pursuant to CPLR 3214 (b). Immediately after plaintiff’s assignor’s treating provider failed to appear for the deposition, defendant moved to compel plaintiff to, among other things, produce plaintiff’s assignor’s treating provider for a deposition. Plaintiff cross-moved, inter alia, for a protective order pursuant to CPLR 3013 and to strike defendant’s notice to take deposition on the ground that the notice to take deposition was palpably improper. Insofar as is relevant to this appeal, by order entered January 7, 2014, the Civil Court granted the branch of defendant’s motion seeking to compel plaintiff’s treating provider to appear for a deposition and denied plaintiff’s cross motion. This appeal by plaintiff ensued.”

“CPLR 3101 (a) provides for “full disclosure of all matter material and necessary in the prosecution or defense of an action, regardless of the burden of proof.” Parties to an action are entitled to reasonable discovery “of any facts bearing on the controversy which will assist preparation for trial by sharpening the issues and reducing delay and prolixity” (Allen v Crowell-Collier Publ. Co., 21 NY2d 403, 406 [1968]; see Traditional Acupuncture, P.C. v State Farm Ins. Co., 24 Misc 3d 129[A], 2009 NY Slip Op 51335[U] [App Term, 2d, 11th & 13th Jud Dists 2009]). Where, as here, defendant is defending this action on the ground that the services rendered lacked medical necessity, the court’s determination that a deposition of plaintiff’s assignor’s treating provider was material and necessary to defendant’s defense was proper”(see Great Health Care Chiropractic, P.C. v Interboro Ins. Co., 41 Misc 3d 130[A], 2013 NY Slip Op 51737[U] [App Term, 2d, 11th & 13th Jud Dists 2013]; see also CPLR 3214 [b] [court may grant discovery notwithstanding service of a summary judgment motion”

Again, another division between the knee jerk notice of deposition that failed in Ralph Medical and the full breadth of disclosure that the Appellate Term Second Department will allow.

Objective evidence necessary

Easy Care Acupuncture, P.C. v A. Cent. Ins. Co., 2015 NY Slip Op 50973(U)(App. Term 1st Dept 2015)

That the assignor may have subjectively reported during the course of the peer review examination that he “feels worse” after two months of treatment did not, by itself and without any objective medical explanation by the peer reviewer, eliminate all triable issues regarding the medical necessity of continued acupuncture treatment, especially in view of the peer reviewer’s own positive findings (see Easy Care Acupuncture, P.C. v 21 Century Advantage Ins. Co., 46 Misc 3d 126[A], 2014 NY Slip Op 51766[U][App Term, 1st Dept]). In addition, the peer reviewer’s statement that “with respect to the [assignor’s] right shoulder complaints, further comment outside my area of expertise is deferred to the appropriate specialist,” was hardly sufficient to permit a summary determination as to the medical necessity of continued treatment related to this injury.”

Again, an objective standpoint is used to discuss the gambit of the propriety of an IME review.  Also, the “outside my expertise” argument furthermore spells disaster.

An insufficient rebuttal

Bronx Mega Care Med, PLLC v Federal Ins. Co., 2015 NY Slip Op 51060(U)(App. Term 2d Dept. 2015)

“In opposition, plaintiff failed to submit medical evidence sufficient to raise a triable issue of fact as to medical necessity (see e.g. Amato v State Farm Ins. Co., 40 Misc 3d 129[A], 2013 NY Slip Op 51113[U] [App Term, 9th & 10th Jud Dists 2013]). Contrary to the determination of the District Court, the opposing affirmation of plaintiff’s doctor failed to meaningfully refer to, let alone rebut, the conclusions set forth in the IME report (see Pan Chiropractic, P.C. v Mercury Ins. Co., 24 Misc 3d 136[A], 2009 NY Slip Op 51495[U] [App Term, 2d, 11th & 13th Jud Dists 2009]). Consequently, defendant’s motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint should have been granted”

What is the line between meaningfully refer to and not meaningfully referred?

On medical necessity

Huntington Regional Chiropractic, P.C. v Truck Ins. Exch., 2015 NY Slip Op 51068(U)(App. Term 2d Dept. 2015)

“In support of its motion, defendant submitted, among other things, two independent medical examination reports, one from a chiropractor and one from an orthopedist, which set forth a factual basis and a medical rationale for the examiners’ determination that there was a lack of medical necessity for the respective services provided (see Total Equip., LLC v Praetorian Ins. Co., 34 Misc 3d 145[A], 2012 NY Slip Op 50155[U] [App Term, 9th & 10th Jud Dists 2012]). However, the medical affidavits submitted by plaintiffs in opposition were sufficient to raise a triable issue of fact as to the medical necessity of the claims at issue”

Were there contemporaneous notes?  Was there anything in admissible form?  Did Defendant preserve appropriate hearsay and other evidentiary objections?

Protection of the MRI facilities on medical necessity motions

Medical Arts Radiological Group, P.C. v NY Cent. Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 2015 NY Slip Op 51035(U)(App. Term 2d Dept. 2015)

“Thus, when defendant moved for summary judgment dismissing the complaint, an automatic stay of disclosure went into effect pursuant to CPLR 3214 (b) (see Arts4All, Ltd. v Hancock, 54 AD3d 286 [2008]), and remained in effect (see Rockaway Med. & Diagnostic, P.C. v Utica Mut. Ins. Co., 19 Misc 3d 142[A], 2008 NY Slip Op 51033[U] [App Term, 2d & 11th Jud Dists 2008]) until February 8, 2013, when the Civil Court directed defendant to provide verified responses to plaintiff’s demands for discovery. Plaintiff demonstrated that there was a legitimate need for discovery with respect to defendant’s defense of lack of medical necessity (see Reilly, 269 AD2d at 582; Metropolitan Diagnostic Med. Care, P.C. v A. Cent. Ins. Co., 42 Misc 3d 133[A], 2013 NY Slip Op 52246[U] [App Term, 2d, 11th & 13th Jud Dists 2011]). “Therefore, the court properly considered [plaintiff’s motion] during the pendency of [defendant’s] motion for summary judgment” (Reilly, 269 AD2d at 582).”

I do not think this would apply to an EMG provider or most conservative care providers.  Yet, MRI providers and DME providers cannot legitimately interpose meaningful rebuttal without any discovery.

Up up and away

Arnica Acupuncture, P.C. v Interboro Ins. Co.
Motion No: M-6186
Slip Opinion No: 2015 NY Slip Op 76558(U)
Decided on June 18, 2015
Appellate Division, First Department, Motion Decision
Published by New York State Law Reporting Bureau pursuant to Judiciary Law § 431.
This motion is uncorrected and is not subject to publication in the Official Reports.

 

June 18, 2015

Arnica Acupuncture, P.C. v Interboro Insurance Company

Leave to appeal from the Appellate Term granted, as indicated.

IME cut off not rebutted

Rummel G. Mendoza, D.C., P.C. v Chubb Indem. Ins. Co., 2015 NY Slip Op 50900(U)(App. Term 1st Dept. 2015)

“[defendant] establish[ed] that it timely denied the claims based on the independent medical examination (IME) report and follow-up report of its examining orthopedic doctor, which set forth a factual basis and medical rationale for her stated conclusion that the assignor’s injuries were resolved and that there was no need for further physical therapy treatment. In opposition, plaintiff failed to raise a triable issue. The affidavit of plaintiff’s treating physical therapist failed to meaningfully address the contrary findings made by defendant’s examining doctor, including the normal results of the range of motion testing of the assignor’s cervical and lumbar spine”

Medical necessity motion: the door has creaked open a little bit

Gaetane Physical Therapy, P.C. v Great N. Ins. Co., 2015 NY Slip Op 50698(U)(App. Term 2d Dept. 2015)

“In opposition to the motion, plaintiff submitted an affidavit by its principal, who did not indicate that she had examined the assignor or otherwise offer any medical evidence to rebut the conclusions set forth in the IME report. Thus, plaintiff failed to raise a triable issue of fact as to medical necessity”

This is the “know it all” affidavit that does not offer medical evidence for post IME services.  It is nice to see the Court taking a stand on this issue.