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Guide The Attorney General's Office Mass. NECC Program

The Massachusetts Attorney General's Office (AGO) is administering the Massachusetts New England Compounding Center (NECC) Program with federal Victims of Crime Act funds granted to us through the Office for Victims of Crime of the U.S. Department of Justice. The AGO has finalized program guidelines and are implementing the program with three basic principles in mind: to provide maximum possible benefit to eligible victims and survivors; to simplify the process of making a claim; and to maintain compliance with all federal and state laws, regulations, and rules.

While the formal application window closed on December 31, 2018, the AGO will review and make payments to any remaining eligible claimants in the coming months, for as long as we are able to do so. Please call us directly with any question you may have regarding whether you are still able to file an application with the Program.

Table of Contents

Frequently asked questions if you yourself received an injection

1. Am I eligible for the Mass. NECC Program?

  • You are eligible if you have been identified by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts as a victim associated with the criminal prosecution of United States vs. Barry Cadden, et al.

2. What are the criteria for being identified as a victim associated with the criminal prosecution?

  • Having received an injection of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate from one of the contaminated lots produced by the NECC;
  • In a dosage of 80 mg/ml;
  • Between May 1 and October 15, 2012; at
  • One of the identified facilities; and as a result
  • Developed fungal meningitis or other fungal infection.

3. Why is eligibility for this program limited to victims associated with the criminal prosecution?

  • Because funding for this program comes from the federal Victims of Crime Act fund, which provides support only to identified victims of crime. 

4. I’ve been identified by the U.S. Attorney’s Office as a victim associated with the criminal prosecution, what should I do?

  • The application deadline is now closed. Please contact us directly via telephone or email if you have any questions.

5. I submitted an application, do I need to submit bills or anything else?

  • No. You do not need to submit bills or back-up documentation for your out-of-pocket expenditures.
  • You do not need to submit additional information or documentation unless we specifically ask you to do so.

6. I have moved since submitting my application, what should I do?

  • Please contact us right away to provide us with your new address or any other changes to your contact information.

7. I received the Acceptance and Release of Claim form along with a Notice of Award.  On the Acceptance and Release Claim, there was language about Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 258C, Compensation for Victims of Violent Crimes. What does this mean?

  • The Mass. NECC Program was originally to be administered in accordance with the state victim compensation law, Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 258C.  Your signature on the application acknowledged your rights and obligations under that law.
  • When we realized the provisions of Chapter 258C would hinder our ability to disburse funds to victims, we changed the administration of the program and it is no longer in accordance with Chapter 258C.
  • We ask you to sign the release as your acknowledgment that you understand that the program is no longer being administered under Chapter 258C and your agreement not to submit a second application for compensation. 

8. My family member was a victim but is incapacitated. I have Power of Attorney (or am the Conservator), what should I do?

  • You may submit an application on behalf of your family member and indicate that you are the Power of Attorney or Conservator.
  • After we verify the eligibility of your family member, we will ask you to submit an affidavit so that we may verify you have the appropriate legal authority to act on behalf of your family member.
  • We will provide you with the affidavit form. You do not need to submit the affidavit with the application.

9. I developed a fungal infection from the injection but I have not been identified by the U.S. Attorney’s Office as a victim associated with the criminal prosecution or I’m unsure if I’ve been identified; what should I do?

  • The application deadline is now closed. Please contact us directly via telephone or email if you have any questions.

Frequently asked questions if you are a family member or you have legal authority over the estate of a deceased person who received an injection

1. My family member was a victim who passed away relatively soon after having received an injection; am I eligible for the Mass. NECC Program?

  • You are eligible if your family member was identified by the U.S. Attorney’s Office as a victim AND you are the person with legal authority for the victim’s estate, known as the Estate Fiduciary.
  • The application deadline is now closed. Please contact us directly via telephone or email if you have any questions.
  • If you have any questions about eligibility or the documents required, please contact us and we will provide you with detailed guidance.

2. I submitted an application already and I am the Estate Fiduciary, what should I do?

  • You will need to provide court documents to prove you are the Estate Fiduciary. See 7 below.
  • You are also welcome to call or email us in the and we will be happy to explain what is required.

3. I submitted an application but I am not the person with legal authority for the victim’s estate, what happens now?

  • Please notify us if this is the case.
  • You are not the eligible claimant for the funds.

4. My family member was a victim and submitted an application to the Mass. NECC Program but has since passed away. What should I do?

  • If you have not already informed us of your family member’s death, please contact us right away.
  • If you have legal authority for your family member’s estate, we will ask that you provide us with the required documents and will work with you to process the claim your family member made.
  • If someone else has the legal authority for your family member’s estate, that person is the eligible claimant.

5. My family member was a victim who passed away more recently and before submitting an application. What should I do?

  • You are eligible to submit an application if your family member was identified by the U.S. Attorney’s Office as a victim AND you are the person with legal authority for the victim’s estate, known as the Estate Fiduciary.
  • The application deadline is now closed. Please contact us directly via telephone or email if you have any questions.
  • If someone else has the legal authority for your family member’s estate, that person is the eligible claimant.
  • If you have any questions about eligibility or the documents required, please contact us and we will provide you with detailed guidance.

6. My sibling and I are co-executors (and Estate Fiduciaries) of my parent’s estate; should we both submit applications?

  • No. Please submit one application, only.
  • You will need to provide the documents to show you (and your sibling) are the Estate Fiduciaries. See 7 below.
  • When an award is made, the check will have both your names on it.

7. What documents are required to show I am the Estate Fiduciary?

  • These documents are typically known as Letters of Authority, Letters Testamentary, or Certificate of Appointment; the titles may vary from state to state.
  • They must have been ordered by a  court with the legal authority to make such orders in the state where the victim’s legal residence was at the time of his or her death.

8. Do the court documents need to be certified copies?

  • Certified copies of court documents are preferred.
  • If you cannot provide certified copies, we will work with you to provide another acceptable format.
  • Please contact us for instruction.

9. What if I don’t already have the required court documents?

  • The application deadline is now closed. Please contact us directly via telephone or email if you have any questions.
  • Call us for guidance and instruction.

10. What are other important things for the Estate Fiduciary to know?

  • Any award pertaining to a deceased Victim will be payable to the Estate Fiduciary to hold as an asset outside of the probate estate.
  • If the Victim died with a will, any award from the Mass. NECC Program shall be distributed to the residuary beneficiaries of the Victim’s Last Will and Testament as allowed by the court with legal authority for matters pertaining to the Victim’s estate.
  • If the Victim died without a will, any award from the Mass. NECC Program shall be distributed to the Victim’s heirs-at-law (i.e., the person or persons legally entitled to the inheritance) as determined by the state of the Victim’s legal residence at the time of his or her death.

11. My family member did not have a will but I was his/her legal beneficiary; why must I obtain and provide court documents?

  • As responsible stewards of these funds, we need to be certain we are making any award to the person legally entitled to them.
  • We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause however these steps and legal documents are essential for the proper and responsible administration of these funds.

12. What is the maximum possible award related to any deceased victim?

  • $50,000.

General information questions

1. I already submitted an application to the Mass. NECC Program but haven’t been told whether or not I am eligible. What should I do?

  • Please call or email us and we will be glad to provide an update.

2. Why did the rules for the Mass. NECC Program change? 

  • As we learned more about the circumstances of NECC victims and survivors, we became concerned that state and federal laws and regulations that govern the disbursement of victim compensation would hinder our ability to disburse the funds.  
  • We worked diligently to develop and gain federal approval for a program that would better serve NECC victims and at the same time allow us to comply with federal and state laws, regulations, and rules.
  • While it took additional time to develop and implement the program, we are confident that NECC victims and survivors will be better served by it.

3. Once I submit my application, how long will it take to process it?

  • We do not have a general answer as it is dependent on a number of factors.
  • We will try to keep you informed through the process and you are always welcome to contact us to inquire.

4. Will I have to pay back money to the Mass. NECC Program if I have received payments from other sources related to NECC?

  • No. The award from the Mass. NECC Program is yours regardless of anything you may have received or have yet to receive from any other action related to NECC.

5. What are the award limits for eligible claimants?

  • All eligible claimants will be awarded a standard award of $25,000.
  • Claimants who have a permanent impairment that we are able to verify will be awarded a supplemental award of $25,000.
  • Claimants for victims who have passed away will be entitled to a supplemental award of $25,000 if the victim’s death was directly attributable to NECC or if the victim had a permanent impairment for one year prior to passing away. We will provide guidance to you about this during the processing of your claim.
  • The maximum possible award to any claimant is $50,000.

6. What is permanent impairment?

  • For purposes of the Mass. NECC Program, permanent impairment is defined as a significant deviation, loss, or loss of use of any body structure or body function that significantly alters the patient’s ability to interact with others and/or to carry on the normal functions of life. To qualify as a permanent impairment for purposes of this program: (a) the impairment must have been caused by a fungal infection itself and/or by a diagnostic and/or treatment method directly related to the patient having received the injection(s) of contaminated preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate; and (b) no fundamental or marked improvement can be reasonably expected in the next year, with or without medical treatment.

7. How is it determined if I have a permanent impairment?

  • When you accept the standard award, you will be asked if you believe or do not believe you have a permanent impairment according to the definition.
  • If you do believe you have a permanent impairment, you will be asked to provide contact information for your doctor who will be asked to verify whether or not you have a permanent impairment according to the definition.

8. I have many doctors, which one should I provide as the contact?

  • This should be a doctor who knows your current health and functioning.
  • If the doctor verifies you have a permanent impairment, he or she will also need to verify it is directly related to your having received the contaminated injections.
  • You may want to speak with your doctor before providing his or her contact information.
  • We will explain requirements to your doctor in writing and he or she will be invited to contact us with questions.

9. I am on permanent disability; does this prove that I have a permanent impairment?

  • No.

10. I believe I have a permanent impairment but I am not on disability; does this disqualify me from consideration for permanent impairment?

  • No.

11. Will the process for determining if I have a permanent impairment interfere with processing the standard award?

  • No. We will process the standard award even while the permanent impairment issue is pending.

12. Do I need a lawyer in order to submit an application?

  • You do not need a lawyer in order to submit an application.
  • We have tried to develop a program and simplify processes so that anyone could manage it on his or her own.
  • It is possible for your lawyer to be representing you on other matters related to NECC but need not represent you for this application specifically.
  • Should you have a lawyer representing you for this application specifically, all communications will be directed to your lawyer.
  • If you are represented by a lawyer, we will not communicate with you directly unless your lawyer gives us permission to do so.

13. On my application, I said I had a lawyer but that lawyer is no longer representing me or is not representing me specifically related to this application. What should I do?

  • Send us an email or letter explaining that your lawyer is no longer representing you or is not representing you specifically related to this application and we will communicate with you directly about your application.

14. Is my lawyer entitled to a portion of my award from the Mass. NECC Program?

  • The program neither entitles your lawyer to a specific portion of your award nor prohibits portions of the award from going to your lawyer. 

15. Will I receive a 1099 or is the compensation I receive from the Mass. NECC Program taxable?

  • A 1099 will not be issued from the Mass. NECC Program.
  • Generally, with respect to any payment the Commonwealth makes, we do not provide tax advice to individual claimants.
  • You may consider seeking tax advice from an accountant or attorney.

16. Is the Mass. NECC Program the same as restitution?

  • No.
  • Restitution is related to the criminal prosecution and convictions in federal court and completely separate from the Mass. NECC Program.
  • For more information about restitution, please contact the Victim Witness Specialist for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Additional Background on the Fungal Meningitis Outbreak and Other Related Actions

  • In September 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and state health departments, began investigating a multi-state outbreak of fungal meningitis and other fungal infections among patients who’d received injections of contaminated preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate (MPA) produced and distributed by the New England Compounding Center (NECC). Hundreds of patients were affected in more than twenty states; more than 70 have died. For more information about the outbreak: https://www.cdc.gov/hai/outbreaks/meningitis.html.

 

  • In December 2014, criminal charges were brought against fourteen people in connection with the outbreak. The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts prosecuted these criminal cases in federal district court. The matter of restitution is associated with the prosecution of the cases. For information related to the criminal cases:

U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts

Victim and Witness Assistance Program

617-748-3100

USAMA.victimassistance@usdoj.gov

  • The NECC National Compensation Program Settlement was “established in order to facilitate the distribution of financial compensation to individuals who, primarily, were exposed to three contaminated lots of a steroid (preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate) compounded by New England Compounding Center during the spring and summer of 2012. The Program is the result of settlement agreements reached between NECC’s owners, insiders, affiliates, certain outside contractors, and most of their respective insurance companies.”  http://www.neccsettlement.com/. The application deadline for this program was October 2015.  
  • In addition, there were many civil lawsuits brought against the various clinics, out-patient centers, and/or physicians who administered the injections of contaminated steroids.

 

Contact Information

 

Telephone: 617-573-5375 (toll-free 844-315-0399)

 

Email: NECCAssistance@state.ma.us

 

Mailing Address: Mass. NECC Program

Office of Attorney General Maura Healey

One Ashburton Place

Boston, MA 02108-1518

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