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POSTED June 4, 2012 8:10 p.m.

Aetna says surgery center firm is overbilling

SANTA CLARA  (AP) — Aetna has filed a $20 million lawsuit claiming a Northern California surgery center firm is overbilling the insurance carrier, including a $66,100 bunion repair, a $6,642 colonoscopy and a $23,301 knee arthroscopy.

The Santa Clara County lawsuit claims the Saratoga-based Bay Area Surgical Management recruited dozens of doctors to invest in its seven outpatient facilities in a scheme to enrich doctors by sidestepping state laws meant to protect patients and control costs.

Surgical Management was paid more than seven times the amounts charged by clinics performing equivalent procedures.

Bay Area Surgical Management denies Aetna's allegations, saying the insurance company was using the lawsuit and threats to strong-arm patients away from its facilities.

Calif. DAs announce $3.6M settlement with Costco

OAKLAND  (AP) — Retail giant Costco will pay $3.6 million for alleged environmental violations under a settlement with the district attorneys of more than two dozen California counties.

A Northern California judge approved the settlement on Friday. It stems from a civil case brought against the company by the district attorneys, who alleged that Costco violated state laws for the safe storage, handling and disposal of hazardous waste, including pharmaceutical and pharmacy waste.

Prosecutors say the violations first came to light in San Joaquin County, but occurred over a five-year period from 2007 to 2012 at Costco stores and distribution centers across the state.

The $3.6 million settlement includes civil penalties, costs and funds for environmental projects.

Prosecutors say Costco officials were cooperative and quickly came into compliance with regulations.

Sentencing delayed in SF triple slaying

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A San Francisco judge has delayed the sentencing of an alleged gang member who was convicted of killing a father and two of his sons.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports (http://bit.ly/MtFhR2) that Edwin Ramos's sentencing in the shooting deaths of 48-year-old Tony Bologna and his sons, 16-year-old Matthew and 20-year-old Michael, is now scheduled for June 11.

The judge delayed the 25-year-old Ramos's sentencing on Monday at the request of his attorneys.

Ramos's attorneys, meanwhile, say they will likely ask for a new trial. The attorneys allege that jurors displayed mass confusion before convicting Ramos of murder last month.

Next word in Calif. gay marriage case due Tuesday

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal appeals court in San Francisco plans to reveal Tuesday whether it will reconsider a ruling by two of its member judges that struck down California's ban on same-sex marriages.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Monday that it would announce whether a majority of its actively serving judges had voted to revisit a three-judge panel's 2-1 decision declaring the voter-approved ban unconstitutional.

Backers of the state's ban, known as Proposition 8, opted in February to petition the full 9th Circuit to review the split decision instead of appealing directly to the U.S. Supreme Court, which they still can do if the court refuses to grant them a rehearing.

If the appeals court decides to rehear the case, it will go before a panel that includes the chief judge and 10 randomly selected judges.

 

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