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Colorado: ALL medical bills now 6 year SOL?


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I have a client who was sued by Credit Service Company for several 2007 and later hospital bills incurred by his kids.  Attorney Greenberg didn't even bother to return my calls, so I dealt with Credit Service directly and they finally faxed me ONE admission form signed by my client.  They have no documentation for the 4 other bills until they receive them from the hospital in a week and they obviously expected a default or settlement.  They offered to settle for slightly more than the about $2,700 principal amount owed and claim it's a 30% discount (interest and legal fees).

 

I find the concept of "liquidated" debt a bit confusing, but in my client's case he was NOT provided with an estimate of charges he would incur.

 

The 2012 supreme court ruling:

http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?q=porter+v+lego&hl=en&as_sdt=2,29&case=12 1997650625212869&scilh=0

... Contrary to the court of appeals' holding in Portercare v. Lego, ___ P.3d ___, ___, 2010 WL 3584394 (Colo.App.2010) (selected for official publication as modified), the applicability of section 13-80-103.5(1)(a) in the hospital debt context is not limited to cases where an agreement specifically sets forth an amount owed or a formula for calculating such an amount. Rather, a contract for hospital services contains a "liquidated debt" for the purposes of section 13-80-103.5(1)(a) if the amount owed is ascertainable either by reference to the agreement, or by simple computation using extrinsic evidence if necessary.

...

¶ 20 Lego's debt is "liquidated," as asserted by Amicus Curiae Colorado Hospital Association, because it is capable of ascertainment by simple computation using extrinsic evidence of the pre-determined costs of the medical services that Porter provided Mrs. Lego. See Rotenberg, 899 P.2d at 367. Section 6-20-101(1), C.R.S. (2011), requires hospitals to disclose to each patient his or her right to receive notice of "average facility charges" for medical treatment prior to providing care. This advance disclosure provision implies that hospitals calculate "average facility charges" prior to delivering medical services. Because these charges are pre-calculated by operation of law, a hospital bill is capable of ascertainment by simple computation by adding pre-determined medical costs together to arrive at a total amount due.

¶ 21 Here, the hospital presented Lego with an itemized written breakdown of Mrs. Lego's medical expenses. Each line item included a code with a specific pre-determined charge for the service provided. Porter's Supervisor of Revenue Management testified at trial that these individual prices reflected the "market standard rate" for each service as pre-calculated by the hospital's computer billing system. Like the "average facility charges" that hospitals must maintain and disclose upon a patient's request, see section 6-20-101(1), trial testimony indicated that these market standard rates are uniform and established.

...

V. Conclusion

¶ 23 A "liquidated debt" for the purposes of section 13-80-103.5(1)(a) in the hospital bill context is either an amount stated in an agreement, or an amount that may be ascertained by simple computation using extrinsic evidence of pre-determined medical costs if necessary.

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The way I read this you would have to be informed of the charges or be able to calculate to make them "liquidated".

 

Am I missing something?  Are there any other CO cases dealing with hospital bills?

 

Appreciate any pointers.

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