City/county Digest

CITY/COUNTY DIGEST

Baltimore & Region

October 27, 2005

Md. General is to pay $173,600

Maryland General Hospital has agreed to pay $173,600 to settle allegations that it billed Medicare and Medicaid for laboratory tests of suspect accuracy, according to a settlement agreement that federal prosecutors released yesterday.

The civil settlement calls for the downtown Baltimore hospital to reimburse the government for suspect HIV and Hepatitis C tests performed between August 2002 and August 2003. It said Maryland's Medicaid program would get $55,029.50. The federal government will get the rest, said Marcy Murphy, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in Baltimore.

The deal concludes billing-fraud investigations begun last year after the state Office of Health Care Quality found that the lab sent out hundreds of test results despite indications they might be wrong. Billing for tests not properly validated is not permitted.

"Although some of the original samples were tested without appropriate controls in place, an extensive patient retesting program confirmed the accuracy of almost all of the original test results ... " said Joan S. Shnipper, a spokeswoman for the hospital's parent, the University of Maryland Medical System.

Baltimore

JHU student dies; allergy a possibility

A Johns Hopkins University sophomore died yesterday after complaining of what he believed to be an allergic reaction. Gilbert Duvalsaint of Searingtown, N.Y., was taken by ambulance from his residence hall in the 3300 block of St. Paul St. to Union Memorial Hospital, where "he deteriorated pretty rapidly and died," said Dennis O'Shea, a university spokesman. It was unclear yesterday whether Duvalsaint, who was studying engineering, had suffered an allergic reaction. O'Shea said he was told the symptoms did not resemble meningitis or any bacterial infection that could threaten other students. An autopsy was to be performed.

Nicole Fuller

Baltimore

City councilman to hold public forum

Baltimore City Councilman Kenneth N. Harris Sr. will hold a public forum for residents and community leaders in his North Baltimore district at 7 o'clock tonight. The meeting will be held on the fourth floor of Loyola College's Andrew White Student Center.

Anne Arundel

4 contract infection after getting tattoos

After getting tattoos in Pasadena, four Anne Arundel County teenagers have contracted methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, a hard-to-treat skin infection, prompting county health officials to send a warning to all public high school students. The bacterial infection is resistant to most antibiotics.

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