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Meningitis Outbreak: Court Filing Details Payments for Steroid Shots

Exterior of Saint Thomas Hospital.  /  Alan Poizner / File

Newly filed records in an ongoing lawsuit show a victim of the fungal meningitis outbreak was billed by two different health-care entities for the same two shots of a spinal steroid that eventually sickened him, but neither collected the full fee.

Responding to a lawsuit filed by Frederick and Loduska May of Murfreesboro, attorneys for the Saint Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgical Center and the Howell Allen Clinic detailed how both health-care providers billed for shots of methylprednisolone acetate administered in July and September 2012.

Frederick Loduska was billed a total of $1,599 for a shot on July 26, including $1,034 from the neurosurgery center and $565 from Howell Allen. The two providers collected a total of $756.70, with $580.90 going to the neurosurgery center.

The neurosurgery center charged $1,034 for a Sept. 10 shot but was paid only $380.90. The Howell Allen Clinic charged $565 for that same shot but was paid $175.80.

The filing listed a single bill of $790 from Howell Allen for a July 6 shot. The clinic was paid just $225.17 through May’s private health insurance policy, the records show.

Overall, May was billed $3,988 and the two health-care firms were paid $1,538.57.

Earlier filings in the case state that the tainted steroids were purchased from the New England Compounding Center for $6.50 a dose. That firm, which has shut down and filed for bankruptcy, has been blamed by state and federal regulators for the nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak that has killed 51 patients, 14 of them treated in Tennessee.

In the Monday filing, the clinic blames the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and state agencies in Tennessee and Massachusetts for failing to properly regulate New England Compounding.

As in prior filings, the attorneys for the neurosurgery center state that the problems at NECC were known to regulators but not to the public or the neurosurgery center until after the outbreak was revealed last fall.

The May case is one of three pending in circuit court in Nashviille against the neurosurgery center and its owners. The three suits do not name New England Compounding as a defendant.

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