Thursday, March 17, 2016
Denial Letters Mailed on Some Meningitis Claims
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
Some 275 persons who filed claims in the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak will soon be getting letters denying them a share of a $200 million trust fund.
Fredric Ellis, a Massachusetts attorney representing some of the victims, said Thursday the denial letters are being sent out by a court appointed administrator.
In addition he said another 450 claimants will be getting letters telling them their claims have been approved in part and disapproved in part.
In both categories the claimants will have the right to file appeals.
He said there was one other category of claims still being processed. In those cases the claims may have been filed late or lacked needed information.
All the claims stem from the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak which sickened 778 patients across the country. Seventy-six of them died.
The $200 million trust fund was established in the federal bankruptcy case of the New England Compounding Center, the company blamed for the deadly outbreak. NECC shipped thousands of vials of fungus laden steroids which were injected into the spines and joints of unsuspecting patients.
The latest round of notices follows mailing of approval notices to some 1,350 victims or their survivors.
Under the court approved plan, victims of the outbreak are awarded points based on the severity of their illnesses.
As an example, survivors of a victim who died in the outbreak would get 55 points, which would translate to an initial award estimated at $71,500. Under the plan an additional slightly larger award would be paid in each of those cases at a later date.
Meanwhile negotiations are continuing between lawyers for victims and the federal government over the amount the tax funded Medicare and Medicaid programs will seek to recoup from victims.
Ellis declined to comment on the ongoing talks, adding that they were at critical stage.
Some attorneys have expressed concerns that because of Medicare and insurance company liens, which must be paid first, some victims could have their awards virtually wiped out.