Doctors sue La. for reimbursement

MARRERO, La. - Doctors at a hospital outside New Orleans sued the state yesterday, seeking $100 million they say they are owed for providing free care to poor and uninsured patients after Hurricane Katrina.

The lawsuit, brought by 381 physicians at West Jefferson Medical Center, says the state failed to reimburse them for treating indigent patients since the Aug. 29, 2005, hurricane closed the state-funded Charity Hospital in New Orleans.

"This is severely straining our area emergency rooms, and the lack of proper outpatient care is harming these patients," said K. Barton Farris, medical director of the Jefferson Parish hospital's lab. He said the hospital's increased workload was driving away young physicians.- AP

Apology made in aide's naming

WASHINGTON - A woman apologized yesterday for outing a former top State Department official as a client of her escort service but said it was necessary to prove that her company was doing legal business.

A federal grand jury indicted Deborah Jeane Palfrey in March on charges of running a high-class call-girl ring in the nation's capital from her home in Vallejo, Calif. She maintains that the escort service did not engage in prostitution.

She said she gave phone records to ABC News hoping the records would reveal thousands of clients, such as Randall Tobias, and compel them to testify on her behalf. Tobias resigned as head of the Bush administration's foreign-aid programs Friday, the same day ABC reported he had used the escort firm. Tobias said he had received only legal services such as massages. - AP

Sen. Johnson back at D.C.-area home

WASHINGTON - Sen. Tim Johnson (D., S.D.) has returned to his residence outside Washington, more than four months after his brain hemorrhage, his office said yesterday.

"It is wonderful to take this next step with family and friends," Johnson's office quoted him as saying. "As I continue with my therapy, I also get more and more work from the office."

Since February, Johnson, 60, has been receiving treatment at Washington's National Rehabilitation Hospital. Its attending physician, Michael Yochelson, said Johnson continued to show significant progress, with gait training playing a more central role in his rehabilitation. Johnson's spokeswoman said he was still using a wheelchair but could walk with assistance.

There was no word on when he will return to the Senate. - AP

Elsewhere:

Coping with cancer, White House press secretary Tony Snow returned to work yesterday and declared himself "unbelievably blessed" as he prepares to undergo chemotherapy.

A former Target employee who was turned down for a private security license and planned to "cause havoc" was identified as the man suspected of killing two people Sunday at a Kansas City, Mo., mall parking lot before he was shot dead by police.

Fire ravaged Washington's Eastern Market early yesterday, gutting part of the 134-year-old Capitol Hill landmark.