Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Scripps Health is being slapped with a class action lawsuit over its billing practices for emergency services. The suit alleges Scripps illegally billed patients over the last four years for costs their HMOs wouldn't pay. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has more.
It's called balance billing. It's been a common practice among providers of emergency services. It involves billing patients for the balance their insurance companies don't cover.
The plaintiff in the lawsuit brought his son into a Scripps ER for care. The man's HMO paid most of the charges.
Attorney Vince Slavens says Scripps later billed his client for 57 dollars and 83 cents.
Vince Slavens: It may be a relatively small amount for any particular individual, but on the other hand, it's a lot of money that Scripps is recovering in an illegal fashion.
Scripps officials say they haven't had the chance to review the lawsuit yet.
The California Supreme Court recently ruled balance billing is illegal.
Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.