Jump to content

Sued for Hospital Bill by JDB in California


Recommended Posts

I last posted here few yrs ago for a cc lawsuit (I won thanks to CALawyer & RyanEX, it got dismissed after I subpoenaed the ccp 98). 

This lawsuit is a little different, so I'm not sure how to respond to the complaint.  It is for a $1800 ER bill in 2014 so still within SOL.  However, this lawsuit is verified whereas my last one wasn't so the denial was easier.  Their proof is the hospital contract of financial responsibility with signature (no itemized work they did just generic financial responsibility contract signed).  Not sure what form I use for my answer and how to deny I owe anything? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, cupofjojo said:

Their proof is the hospital contract of financial responsibility with signature (no itemized work they did just generic financial responsibility contract signed).

They don't have to produce the medical records until you compel them to do so.  The agreement signed by you is plenty to show that you entered into an agreement to receive care and pay for it.

11 hours ago, cupofjojo said:

Not sure what form I use for my answer and how to deny I owe anything? 

Do you owe anything?  This cannot be treated like credit card debt.  WHO is suing you?  It is rare for a provider to sell medical debt due to HIPAA though it does happen.  Some states do allow a collection agency to sue on behalf of the provider.  If that is the case in California then attacking standing is a lot harder.  If the debt was really sold you would need to attack their standing to sue.

Did you use insurance and this is your out of pocket expense?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest usctrojanalum

I've heard that JDB's buying medical debt has become a lot more common; haven't really seen much of it around here though. Also HIPAA wouldn't prevent the sale and litigation of past due debts. 

Same arguments still that apply to consumer credit would apply to medical really. But you're kind of in untested water. The main issue is still an evidentiary one, will the JDB have someone who can lay a foundation of the business records from the original creditor.  If they do not, it will be hard for them to authenticate the documents.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 hours ago, cupofjojo said:

 

This lawsuit is a little different, so I'm not sure how to respond to the complaint.  It is for a $1800 ER bill in 2014 so still within SOL.  However, this lawsuit is verified whereas my last one wasn't so the denial was easier. 

You will still treat this case pretty much like the last one, regardless if its a medical debt or not, it's still a jdb. The difference is this complaint is verified so you may not use the general denial form. You must use the answer form (which you can download) and you have to admit or deny each allegation of the complaint line for line. 

You can send them a demand for a bill of particulars (even before you file the answer)  Force them to prove their case.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, cupofjojo said:

My private insurance covered most of it.

Then that takes MediCal and charity care off the table.  Those do not apply to patients with private insurance.

5 hours ago, cupofjojo said:

I'm not going to shed any tears for a jdb that bought a debt for pennies in the dollar.

How about the medical provider that took care of you who you never paid?  Clearly the debt to the provider is yours and you never paid it.  Had that not happened a junk debt buyer would not be involved.  FYI:  Most providers will take payments monthly as low as $10 and not resort to suing or selling the debt.  

3 hours ago, usctrojanalum said:

Also HIPAA wouldn't prevent the sale and litigation of past due debts. 

No, it doesn't prevent the sale of the debt itself.  What HIPAA does prevent is the provider releasing relevant medical documents to the buyer to prove their case.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Anon Amos said:

You will still treat this case pretty much like the last one, regardless if its a medical debt or not, it's still a jdb. The difference is this complaint is verified so you may not use the general denial form. You must use the answer form (which you can download) and you have to admit or deny each allegation of the complaint line for line. 

Thanks.  Any idea the form #? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 minutes ago, cupofjojo said:

 

Not sure why you're taking this so personal.

 

Not exactly personal but since you asked:  I have spent 31+ years in the medical field and in 2008 got laid off with 75 other people when our practice closed because of patients who flat out refused to pay their portion of the bill(s).  Try losing your job for that reason after you put in the time, over time, weekends, nights, holidays, and emergencies to render their care.  Patients who don't pay and don't think they should have to fail to realize there is a ripple effect to their not paying the bill.   Your not paying simply drove the cost of care HIGHER.

16 minutes ago, cupofjojo said:

When an entity charges you $40 for neosporin and $75 for a bandage I am not sympathetic.

Guess what?  That is the price YOUR insurance carrier agreed to.  Like it or not the system is broken and designed for those who can afford care to pay for those who cannot.  The time to negotiate the price was when you got the bill not after you defaulted, they sold the debt, and you got sued.  So many patients fail to realize that when a bill like that comes they can negotiate those items.  They simply do what you did:  stick up your middle finger and state they aren't paying.  

It is personal for me because I am tired of taking care of deadbeats like you who drive up our costs to provide care because you don't think you should have to pay for it.  Yet I still have to show up and give you that care knowing you won't pay.  How is that right?

If you don't like those charges just wait til you see what is coming next.  Many providers and hospitals have now started checking your insurance in the ER or admitting before elective procedures and will not render the care unless you pay your estimated out of pocket FIRST.  Why?  Because of patients like you who don't pay after getting the care.  This is becoming WAY more popular and will be prevalent in the industry within 5 years.  How angry will you be when a provider tells you that you cannot get care until you come up with $1000, $2000 or more?  You can look at your not paying and that sale for pennies on the dollar to a junk debt buyer as one of the main reasons.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, cupofjojo said:

Thanks.  Any idea the form #? 

PLD-C-O-010 Answer Form. It should be on this forum somewhere or will come up on google.

You have no way of knowing if this bottom feeder even owns the alleged account at this time (let alone if it's correct) and no reason to believe you would owe them anything.  The only logical conclusion would be to deny the allegations. They have the burden of proof so force them to prove their case or dismiss it.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest usctrojanalum
14 hours ago, Clydesmom said:

No, it doesn't prevent the sale of the debt itself.  What HIPAA does prevent is the provider releasing relevant medical documents to the buyer to prove their case.

 

And the litigation/collection exemption would likely cover this scenario; so HIPAA would not be implicated at all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, usctrojanalum said:

And the litigation/collection exemption would likely cover this scenario; so HIPAA would not be implicated at all.

ONLY if the JDB maintains a current business relationship with the provider.  If the business relationship is a one time transaction then under HIPAA it would end at the sale and the provider would not be able to release documents under HIPAA unless they were subpoenaed.  Most JDBs don't want to pay the cost to get the copies of the records in the sale so they buy only the financial agreement and hope it is enough to get a consumer to pay up or that if they do sue they get a default judgment and never need more than that.  Much like a credit card case if challenged to produce the records they will weigh the cost to benefit ratio and may fold and dismiss the case if they don't want to go to the effort.

 

The records I am referring to are the actual medical records that support the care was received.  Not billing statements or the financial guarantee.  Some courts want the actual patient medical records to substantiate the billing in order for a Plaintiff to prevail in a suit over the debt.  

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On ‎12‎/‎10‎/‎2016 at 5:20 PM, Clydesmom said:

 

It is personal for me because I am tired of taking care of deadbeats like you who drive up our costs to provide care because you don't think you should have to pay for it.  Yet I still have to show up and give you that care knowing you won't pay.  How is that right?

Please.  It is never OK to call someone you don't know a "deadbeat".

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 12/10/2016 at 3:39 PM, usctrojanalum said:

I've heard that JDB's buying medical debt has become a lot more common; haven't really seen much of it around here though. Also HIPAA wouldn't prevent the sale and litigation of past due debts. 

My experience has been that JDBs have always bought up medical debts but this is the first I have seen one sue on it.  I have helped friends deal with medical JDB debt many times dating back to 2008. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not sure if this is relevant but per CA CCP 454 if the lawsuit is verified the itemized proof must be so as well.  Am I interpreting this correctly & if so how should I respond?  They just sent me the hospital bill but should they verify it?Here is the code:

It is not necessary for a party to set forth in a pleading the items of an account therein alleged, but he must deliver to the adverse party, within ten days after a demand thereof in writing, a copy of the account, or be precluded from giving evidence thereof.  The court or judge thereof may order a further account when the one delivered is too general, or is defective in any particular.

 

If the pleading is verified the account must be verified by the affidavit of the party to the effect that he believes it to be true;  or if the facts are within the personal knowledge of the agent or attorney for the party, or the party is not within the county where the attorney has his office or from some cause unable to make the affidavit, by the affidavit of the agent or attorney.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, cupofjojo said:

I got a response to my bop.  They sent an itemized breakdown of cost & services and amount private ins paid.   Our case mgmt conference is in 3 months.  Feel I may lose this lawsuit :(  No idea what to do now

That's hearsay or actually multiple layers of hearsay and inadmissible at trial when you learn how to properly object to it. You have to start learning the rules of evidence that pertain to this.

There's absolutely no reason at this early stage to feel you may lose this case if you are willing to learn and  fight it.

A case management conference last about 5 minutes, you do not argue your case there. You say next to nothing and basically just let the court know what's happening with the case (like discovery is ongoing, you are going to fight it and go to trial, etc.)

What you do now is keep pressure on them and learn how to beat them. Read ASTMedic's thread. Find the discovery request for production of documents he used.  Add your case # etc to it and send it to them for Christmas.

BTW, don't listen to any bleeding hearts or trolls. These are just bottom feeders who bought an alleged debt in hopes of profit. They don't deserve a penny and will have a very hard time winning this case if you fight it. 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, cupofjojo said:

Not sure if this is relevant but per CA CCP 454 if the lawsuit is verified the itemized proof must be so as well.  Am I interpreting this correctly & if so how should I respond?  They just sent me the hospital bill but should they verify it?Here is the code:

 

The complaint wasn't verified so what they sent you doesn't require "verification" which simply would have been an affidavit which is also hearsay and inadmissible at trial anyway.

The bigger picture here however is that it isn't "they" who you want to verify it or say that anything is admissible evidence, it's the judge. If you ask "them" to verify anything then they will. They will say "yes, we own the debt and it is for this amount". You want them to "prove" everything is what they say it is. You want them to prove it to the judge, and only after a live witness authenticates it in a court of law. It's unlikely they will go through all of that.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, cupofjojo said:

Thx for the reply anon amos.  The complaint was verified but the bop response was not.  Should I lay low until the 15 days are up and file some sort of motion to bar the bop docs they provided even if they are hearsay?

Right now you don't really worry about striking any evidence. You are in the discovery stage, so you are just trying to get all their "evidence", and see what all they are going to come up with. When the time comes you will force them to authenticate it (with a live witness) and then you will motion to strike whatever they produce. Keep learning as you go and while you wait for them to produce.

Since the com[plaint is verified I suppose you could pressure them to verify the response, but I personally wouldn't bother at this time. I would send them a request for production of documents like the one in ASTMedics thread as the next step.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Were the initial charges incurred for emergency medical care?  Did you have  insurance which paid a portion of the bill and you are now being charged for the "balance" (by "balance", I do not mean the deductible but rather a portion of the bill that the hospital claims the insurance company did not pay).  If so, the charge from the hospital may constitute  unlawful "balance billing". 

 

Here is a California Supreme Court case discussing balance billing:  http://caselaw.findlaw.com/ca-supreme-court/1001051.html 

Here is an excerpt:

we conclude that billing disputes over emergency medical care must be resolved solely between the emergency room doctors, who are entitled to a reasonable payment for their services, and the HMO, which is obligated to make that payment. A patient who is a member of an HMO may not be injected into the dispute. Emergency room doctors may not bill the patient for the disputed amount.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.