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Sued despite regular payments to hospital- any advice?


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Greetings! First of all, I’d like to THANK everyone on this site for all the excellent advice! A couple years ago, I won against a JDB BECAUSE I gleaned wisdom from this site. Now, I have another case I need to prepare for. I have some ideas about how to proceed, but if I could get some advice and critique, that would be marvelous!!

This suit is regarding my c-section I had in February of this year- the hospital bill to be exact.

The weird thing is, I am being sued even though I am making regular payments to the hospital.

I got a letter from their particularly belligerent lawyer in June, threatening suit if I didn’t pay. In June, I was just getting back to work after maternity leave, so that’s about the time I was planning on beginning to make payments anyway. My insurance picked up a big portion of the bill, so it’s certainly not like they have been left high and dry in any way. And who pays the insurance? My husband- so it’s not as if I’ve dodged payment at all.

So- I wrote to the lawyer telling him that I was just getting back to work, and I was making payments directly to the hospital. He wanted me to make the payments directly to him, but it totally goes against my grain to pay a third party the money I owe to someone else. He wrote me back about a week later, acknowledging a payment I had promptly made directly to the hospital, and again told me to make payments to him. This is what it says, verbatim:

“Although payments made to either (hospital) or (lawyer) will be applied to your balance, it can take up to 45 days before our office is notified of a payment made directly to our client. This delay can increase the chances of further legal remedies being taken by this office.” And yet- the hospital bill which is an exhibit included with the summons, clearly reflects the monthly payments I have made directly to the hospital.

Also included with the letter was a Monthly Financial Statement form for me to fill out and send to him, and he also wanted my most recent bank statement and pay stub!! I laughed and ignored that! I was almost surprised he didn’t want a blood/urine/ saliva sample as well! This MFS form wanted all my info including SSN, DOB, all monthly expenses, all employment info, bank name and account numbers, etc. Well- I didn’t think it was his business at all to have any of that info, and even if it was, it’s not up to him to decide how much I can afford to pay. That info has not been subpoenaed, it was simply a request from the lawyer. At the bottom of this request that I fill out this MFS, the lawyer has included a sloppily handwritten note (real professional:rolleyes:) that says,

“The $50 payments being made should be fine, however, we still require a MFS to be complete in order to put your account(s) on hold”. I don’t see how it can be on hold if they’re getting money from me regularly.

I’m paying $50 each month, by the way. The bill is about $1500. I recently decided to slow down my business drastically so that I can stay home with my children and homeschool them. I’m self- employed, so I can do that. But that pretty much puts our household in the one-income bracket, and we’re used to two. It’s a sacrifice financially, but we’re ok, and the extra money is a small thing compared to what our family is gaining by me being home. Also, I don’t have a bank account- the account we have is in my husband’s name only, and it’s from this account that we pay this hospital bill. I’ve printed off statements proving that the payments have been made and blacked out crucial info such as the name on the account, the account number and balances. The only thing I’ve left showing is the account numbers of the hospital bills, date, and amount paid. Since I have this proof that regular payments are being made, should I include a motion to dismiss along with my answer? Any other ideas? Thank you so much!! God Bless!

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Have you been served? If so, then answer the complaint. Deny where appropriate.

Also call the hospital and get an updated statement...and/or get copies of cancelled checks.

I'm smelling an FDCPA suit regarding the financial information request...look up BTO429. I think he went thru something similar...feel free to ask the Gunny for guidance.

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reading your story makes my blood boil ..... you should have just told the hospital you were in the country illegally and to just " do the surgery for free " ...and on top of that your paying them what you can and they STILL have the nerve to sue you .. i'm not skilled enough yet to offer you any advice , but i want you to know i'm rooting for you !!!

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Guest usctrojanalum
Yes- I was served this morning.

I'll call the hospital immediately- thanks!

And I did not even think of that financial info request as a FDCPA violation- it's always helpful to have a counter claim! That's why this site is SO GREAT!! Thanks!!

It wouldn't be a counterclaim. A hospital is not subject to the FDPCA so a counterclaim would not be appropriate. If you felt like there were legitimate violations you would have to start your own action against the attorney.

You are in a bit of a tough spot, just because you are paying $50 per month to the hospital, that is not a valid defense to the claim against you. Medical bills are due when billed, they are not like credit card or loan payments that are revolving or open. It would be nice of the facility to be understanding of your situation and allow you to pay the $50 per month, but they are not under any obligation to do so.

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So then my answer should contain a denial of all appropriate claims and then I go from there, right?

And would a motion to dismiss be appropriate, since the hospital is under no obligation to accept the payments I'm making? I guess I had naiively always been under the impression that if payments were being made, they couldn't touch me, but then I've never been in such a situation before.

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Guest usctrojanalum

A motion to dismiss could be appropriate if the grounds have merit. Making monthly payments on a bill that is due and owing would not be appropriate grounds to have a case dismissed.

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Did you ever challenge the actual residual bill from the hospital?

You should contact the hospitals accounts receivable department and see if they have any special programs to assist consumers in your position...

In Ohio, all hospitals that receive federal or state funding have special financial assistance programs to help financially challenged consumers.

So challenge the actual amount owed and make them come up with the evidence that indicates that you agreed to pay any amounts that insurance would not pay.

Secondly check with the hospital's account receivable department and see if they have any financial assistance programs.

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So then my answer should contain a denial of all appropriate claims and then I go from there, right?

Be care with general denials some courts to like them. State an exact reason why you believe their claim in not correct AS A MATTER OF LAW back up your claims with court cases.

Now, is the hospital suing you or the ca lawyer?

Google gramm-leach-bliley act

Pretexting (sometimes referred to as "social engineering") occurs when someone tries to gain access to personal nonpublic information without proper authority to do so. This may entail requesting private information while impersonating the account holder, by phone, by mail, by email, or even by "phishing. Pretexting by individuals is punishable as a common law crime of False Pretenses.

I was sent the same type paper work from the CA saying they could offer some assistance and they wanted the same personal info.

This is kind of hard to use as a defense but I made it useable in court and the judge dismissed the case for the collections my counter claims are still being actively fought in court right now.

One thing to remember is that even if they win the judge will question you as to how much you can pay on the judgement if you tell him you can continue to pay the 50 bucks a month the judgment can enter into his decision that you continue those payments.

Post the questions they asked and I can help you out. A lot of time interogs od discovery questions are nothing more than a fishing expedition asking for the defendant to help them win their case by admitting certain facts. They filed the suit so they have to prove it and can not rely upon the defendant to provide information that helps them win the case thats our 5th and 14th constitutional amendments.

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