October 21, 2014

A federal lawsuit claims that North Florida Regional Medical Center and two other HCA hospitals in Florida overcharged patients involved in car crashes for diagnostic tests.

A federal lawsuit claims that North Florida Regional Medical Center and two other HCA hospitals in Florida overcharged patients involved in car crashes for diagnostic tests.

The four named plaintiffs in the suit, including an Alachua County woman, are seeking class-action status. Besides North Florida Regional, JFK Medical Center in Palm Beach County, Memorial Hospital Jacksonville and Tennessee parent company HCA are also named defendants.

Asked for a response to the suit, North Florida Regional officials declined to comment, except to say the hospital did nothing wrong.

“The allegations are unfounded, and we intend to defend ourselves vigorously,” the hospital said in a statement.

The suit focuses on the Personal Injury Protection insurance coverage, commonly called “PIP,” that drivers have to carry in Florida. The insurance covers 80 percent of an injured driver’s emergency medical expenses with a cap of $10,000.

The plaintiffs were each treated in the emergency department of an HCA hospital following a car crash. Represented by the Palm Beach Gardens law firm Cohen, Milstein, Sellers & Toll, the plaintiffs claim in the lawsuit that the hospitals’ “unreasonable, unconscionable, and unlawful pricing and billing practices” charge patients covered by PIP up to 65 times the usual rate for radiological services, when state law requires “customary and reasonable” pricing.

“The hospitals are dramatically and systematically overcharging and using up all that PIP coverage and leaving nothing left for other care,” said Ted Leopold, a partner with Cohen, Milstein, Sellers & Toll.

The complete article can be accessed here.