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Philadelphia�A class action by mental-health patients against a man who posed as a psychiatrist has been settled for $3.5 million. Hundreds of Philadelphia patients assumed that the psychiatrist their health maintenance organization (HMO) referred them to was a real doctor, and they went to him for help. But David E. Tremoglie was a fake, and he served time in federal prison as punishment for treating people without a valid medical license, according to court documents. “Mental health patients are among the most vulnerable people in our community,” said Alan M. Feldman of Feldman, Shepherd, Wohlgelernter & Tanner, who represented the class with Thomas More Marrone. A fairness hearing will be held on April 12 for final approval. The class was made up of about 350 of the 500 patients contacted by class counsel. Feldman estimated that after costs for expenses, attorney fees and an incentive award for the title plaintiff were subtracted from the settlement amount, a class member could recover about $5,000. Six years ago, the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas certified the class of mental health patients who sued Tremoglie, along with his insurer, the mental health services provider that hired him and the HMO that referred the patients to him, according to court documents. The lawsuit contended that the defendants had misrepresented Tremoglie as a licensed practitioner and that they failed to notify Tremoglie’s patients when they learned that he had lied about his credentials and experience, according to court documents. Judge Stephen E. Levin said the class could attempt to recover economic, nominal and punitive damages for, among other things, fraud and breach of contract. In 2002, Judge Allan L. Tereshko granted summary judgments in favor of the defendants. The case was appealed. Katlin v. Tremoglie. Patients were referred to Tremoglie through the HMO Keystone Health Plan East Inc., a subsidiary of Independence Blue Cross, which subcontracted the care and treatment of their clients needing psychiatric and substance abuse treatment to GreenSpring Health Services Inc., a mental health care provider, according to court documents.

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