LRGH sues Taylor Community over workers comp claim


LACONIA — LRGHealthcare has filed suit against the Taylor Community and the state's workers compensation insurance company for payment of $127,674 for the work-related surgery they performed on a Taylor Community employee.

Also included in the suit are the legal group hired by the New Hampshire Employers Insurance Company and Qmedworx Services, the mediation team that worked out the final settlement.

According to the pleadings filed in the Belknap County Superior Court, one of the Taylor Community's employees injured his back in 2013 while removing snow in the course of his regular assigned duties.

According to court documents, Qmedworx claims that LRGH grossly overcharged Taylor Community for the services.

The employee was being treated by a neurosurgeon and an orthopedic surgeon, and by February of 2015, they determined that he had a collapsed disc in his back and needed fusion surgery.

The employee had back surgery at the Lakes Region General Hospital on May 12, 2015, and stayed until May 19, 2015. The bill was $233,063 for services.

On Feb. 2, 2016, the state Compensation Appeals Board issued a unanimous decision that the injury sustained by the worker was caused by the snow removal in February 2013 and ordered the Taylor Community, or its insurer, to pay LRGHealthcare the money, "as soon as possible but in no event later than five working days after the effective date of the decision."

The state Employers Insurance Company hired the Lawson Group, who in turn hired Qmedworx to negotiate the medical claim of the worker that would determine the final settlement between LRGH and the Taylor Community.

In those negotiations, LRGH agreed to a final payment of $198,104.23. The agreement was signed by contracting director Herbert Carpenter who agreed to it provided it was overnighted to the hospital because it had not been paid within the five working days set by the state Employers Insurance Company.
He forwarded the agreement to Qmedworx on or about April 4, 2016.

On or about April 18, LRGH received a payment of $70,429.57 but not the agreed amount of $198,104.
Along with the payment, LRGH was told by Qmedworx that in May it has appealed the amount bill to the state Department of Labor, Division of Labor Disputes, who determined the facility charges of $69,255 were about twice as much as the DOL said they should be. Qmedworx reimbursed LRGH $35,229, estimating that LRGH incurred costs of about $30,000.

Additionally, the DOL determination said that LRGH charged $163,808 for implant and supplies. They estimated the costs of these to LRGH was about $22,000 to $32,000, meaning that LRGH charged between five to seven times their costs of the implant and supplies.

Qmedworx determined that they would pay LRGH $35,200 for the implant services, saying the reimbursement was reasonable under state law.

The suit claims that Qmedworx never informed the Carpenter or anyone else from LRGH that it considered the $198,104 agreement null and void and that they are entitled to the negotiated amount.

LRGH claims that the Taylor Community and the others are in breach of their contract for a final payment of $198,104 and that Taylor or their insurer still owes them $127,674.

LRGH also claims that the Taylor Community and the others are being unjustly enriched by not paying LRGH the agreed upon amount.

A third count seeks reasonable legal fees for the attorneys hired by LRGH to file the legal claim and seek what they say is the negotiated final settlement.

The Taylor Community, the Lawson Group, the state Employment Insurance Company and Qmedworx have not yet filed a response to the suit.

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Laconia man pleads guilty to Tilton assault


LACONIA — A city man who was charged with attempted second-degree murder and first-degree assault for stabbing his sister's boyfriend in the head in a Tilton motel has pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree assault.

Jason Ford, 32, formerly of 106 Messer St. will serve two to five years in the New Hampshire State Prison for Men. Six months of the minimum portion of his sentence will be suspended provided he take an anger management class. He must also stay away from his victim.

Affidavits from Tilton Police at the time of the July 9 incident, the victim and his girlfriend, Ford's sister, were in a motel room at the Rodeway Inn when they heard a knock on the door.

They were expecting someone so the woman answered the door and her brother Jason came in, jumped on the bed and began striking the victim. She told police that they had been drinking, and she thought at first that her brother was just punching him but then realized he had a knife.

Ford fled from the motel but turned himself in to the Tilton Police.

He was credited with 158 days of pre-trial confinement. The state agreed to drop the charge of attempted second degree-murder.


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Storage facility proposed on Watson Road in The Weirs


LACONIA — Charlie Morgan, owner of Vault Motor Storage of Merrimack, who got the cold shoulder from the Planning Board in August when he proposed building a storage facility at the junction of White Oaks Road and Endicott Street East, is seeking to construct a similar facility on Watson Road near its intersection with US Route 3 at the other end of The Weirs.

When the Zoning Board of Adjustment meets on Monday, Morgan will request a variance to build an indoor heated storage facility to hold vehicles, trailers and boats on the 6.55-acre lot that houses the Boot Hill Saloon. The property lies within the Commercial Resort District where the zoning ordinance allows commercial boat storage with a conditional use permit but prohibits the commercial storage of vehicles without a variance. The proposal, following on the heels of the rift between the City Council and the Planning Board over zoning at The Weirs, may rekindle debate about the council's proposal to redraw the boundaries of the Commercial Resort District and reconsider the uses permitted within it.

The restaurant, a 5,500-square-foot building with an adjoining parking lot with space for 55 vehicles, would remain on the southwest corner of the lot. The 80,500-square-foot storage facility would be built parallel to Watson Road on land sloping to the northwest. With a peaked roof, the building would be 26 feet high at the front and, with the slope of the land, 40 feet high the rear, well within the maximum height allowance of 60 feet.

The property is owned by Karen Gehris, who together with Arthur Gehris owns and operates a Boot Hill Saloon in Daytona Beach, Florida, though they have not opened the restaurant at The Weirs for a number of years. The property has an assessed value of $491,300, of which the building represents $311,700 and the land $179,600.

Originally, Morgan sought to build a 140,000-square-foot tiered facility on the 11.3-acre property that was once home to Surf Coaster USA, which closed a decade ago. He emphasized that the facility would cater to affluent patrons storing expensive cars, recreational vehicles and boats and that the two acres fronting on Endicott Street East could be developed as a restaurant or for any other use the community deemed appropriate. Storage fees at the facility in Merrimack start at $175 per month.

However, a number of business owners and residents at The Weirs, echoed by members of the Planning Board, said a storage facility is not an appropriate use for the property, which overlooks Lake Winnpesaukee. Warren Hutchins, then the chairman of the board, described the property as "pivotal" for the future of The Weirs, and said there are many other sites in the city better suited for a storage facility. Bill Contardo of the Planning Board pointed out that the board rejected a proposal to convert St. Helena's Mission Church to a storage facility and Al Mitchell withdrew a proposal to build a storage facility on US Route 3 in the teeth of misgivings from business owners and residents.

12-16 Watson Road  Route 3

Yellow marks the lot which could be used for storage at the intersection of Watson Road and Route 3 in The Weirs. (Graphic from City of Laconia)

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