UPMC drops reimbursement claim from victims of Western Psych shooting
July 31, 2014 12:00 AM
Police officers dressed in swat gear make their way up De Soto Street towards Western Psychiatric hospital on March 8, 2012.
Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Oakland, scene of the March shootings.
Pam Panchak / Post-Gazette
Police evacuate the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic after a shooting occured in the lobby of the clinic.
Paula Reed Ward / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
UPMC’s workers’ compensation division is no longer seeking reimbursement for medical treatment received by the victims of the Western Psych shooting.
The attorney for UPMC Work Partners sent letters last week to the four employees injured in the March 8, 2012, rampage that it has dropped its claim on the $500,000 settlement they reached with State Farm, which provided a renter's insurance policy for the shooter, John Shick.
“This letter will serve to confirm that my clients have authorized a complete waiver of that subrogation lien,” wrote George Power in the July 24 letter.
“I’m pleased they saw fit to do right by their employees,” said attorney John Quinn, who represents Keith Taylor, an employee at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic who was shot in the ankle.
In late May, the shooting victims received letters from Mr. Power that Work Partners intended to collect more than $200,000 from each of them that was paid on their behalf in indemnity benefits and medical bills.
The victims fought the subrogation effort, saying that there was never an adjudication that their claims were covered by workers’ compensation in the first place.
Further, Kathryn Leight, a secretary, and Jeremy Byers, a security guard, argued that they were visited in their hospital rooms at UPMC Presbyterian in the days after the shooting by Elizabeth Concordia, a UPMC executive vice president and president of the hospital and community services division, who promised them that their medical bills and wages would be covered.
Ms. Concordia was deposed by Ms. Leight’s attorney, Mark Homyak on July 9. In that hour-long session, Ms. Concordia denied ever visiting Ms. Leight or Mr. Byers. But she did say they were visited by two other executives, Claudia Roth, president and CEO of Western Psych, and Kim Owens, vice president of inpatient and emergency services and chief nursing officer.
Eight plaintiffs who filed lawsuits against Shick’s estate, agreed in May to settle their claims with State Farm. The $500,000 policy will be divided among the parties based on the findings of an arbitrator, who will be responsible for setting the values for each plaintiff. It covers only compensatory damages, not punitive, and the process is expected to be completed within 30 to 45 days.
Paula Reed Ward: email@example.com, 412-263-2620 or on Twitter: @PaulaReedWard.
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