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Medical Debt Suit - Next move?


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1. Who is the named plaintiff in the suit? Local Collection Agency
2. What is the name of the law firm handling the suit? (should be listed at the top of the complaint.)No firm,Individual Attorney that lists collection agency address as his own
3. How much are you being sued for?special damages of ~$700 +Restitution in the same amount
4. Who is the original creditor? Medical Provider at Hospital(if not the Plaintiff)
5. How do you know you are being sued? (You were served, right?)
Service of summons and complaint
6. How were you served? In person(Mail, In person, Notice on door)
7. Was the service legal as required by your state?
yes
8. What was your correspondence (if any) with the people suing you before you think you were being sued?none
9. What state and county do you live in?Washoe County,Nevada
10. When is the last time you paid on this account? Never(looking to establish if you are outside of the statute of limitations)
11. What is the SOL on the debt?
6 yearsTo find out
12. What is the status of your case? Suit served? Motions filed? You can find this by a) calling the court or  looking it up online (many states have this information posted - when you find the online court site, search by case number or your name).
Suit served. Early case conference attended by myself and their attorney
13. Have you disputed the debt with the credit bureaus (both the original creditor and the collection agency?)no, didn’t realize it was there until the suit was served. Note: what is listed on the credit reports is a different collection agency name than on the lawsuit, but both names appear on their front door signage.
14. Did you request debt validation before the suit was filed? No, didn’t know about the collection agency Note: if you haven't sent a debt validation request, don't bother doing this now - it's too late.
15. How long do you have to respond to the suit?
I already responded. We are at the point of filing our Early Case Conference Report within 10 (now 8) days. Figuring I need to request Discovery from the Court fro documents.(This should be in your paperwork). If you don't respond to the lawsuit notice you will lose automatically. In 99% of the cases, they will require you to answer the summons, and each point they are claiming. We need to know what the "charges" are. Please post what they are claiming. Did you receive an interrogatory (questionnaire) regarding the lawsuit?No interrogatory attached. Their claims:
First Cause of Action: I Gave normal plaintiff does business here, deny -lack of knowledge
II you live here, admit
III include Does I-X,  deny-lack of knowledge
IV on or about (date in 2015) became indebted to (original medical provider) for goods and services at the request of defendant. Reasonable value of goods or services in total amount of (~$700) The amount is now due and owing and subject to full collection, deny
V Prior to commencement of this action, assignments of all rights title and interest to this cause of action was made to plaintiff for full prosecution and to the proceeds derived therefrom, deny -lack of knowledge
VI It has become necessary for plaintiff to employ counsel for purposes of prosecuting this action, deny
Second Cause of Action: I Plaintiff realleges and reasserts the allegations contained in its First Cause of Action as if the same were fully set forth herein, deny
II That defendant received goods and services, the reasonable value of which is (~$700), deny
III That in the event the defendents are not required to pay plaintiff the reasonable value of said goods and services, defendant(s) and each of them will be unjustly enriched in the amount of (~$700), said unjust enrichment being at Plaintiff’s expense, deny
IV Plaintiff does not have adequate remedy at law., deny -lack of knowledge
WHEREFORE< Plaintiff prays judgement as follows:deny all
1.Special damages of (~$700) with interest accruing
2. Restitution of (~$700) with interest accruing
3 Court Costs and a reasonable attorney’s fee
4.such other and further relied as to the court may seem proper
Followed by FDCPA verbage of attempt to collect a debt

16. What evidence did they send with the summons? An affidavit? Statements from the OC? Contract? List anything else they attached as exhibits. Nothing was attached to summons/complaint

I answered within the appropriate time frame from service, which was 7 weeks after they had filed the suit with our local justice court.  I included affirmative defenses. I received a notice of Early Case Conference and attended, in the collection agency office, at their front walkup payment windows, behind security glass, with no privacy from somebody walking in off the street. It was not what I expected. Anyway, they presented me with what appears to be a reprinted statement from the original creditor. It shows the account number, patient (my minor child that is now over 18), the date of service, the Dr, the CPT codes, and then transactions, Ins claim sent to Insurance company, Ins claim sent to the collection agency (not quite 4 months later), payment from insurance company, adjustment from insurance company, adjustment "turned to collections"., and a final balance of 0. Incidentally, the $amount shown gone to collections (matches printed bill presented at conference) is less than what is being stated in the lawsuit, but the total amount owing, per credit bureau record, is a couple hundred more. The attorney was very pushy asking why I didn't pay this bill, I told him that I didn't know this bill existed. I admitted the patient had been in the Emergency Room at some point around that time and that the hospital had been paid, but I didn't know if this was the dr that saw her or if that was the office that the ER doc was employed with, or if that was the date of service, or what the service codes meant. He got super aggressive and I told him I had nothing to admit. He asked why I hadn't paid them. I responded with lack of knowledge. His secretary told me they had called and sent notices (no details) ,let him know we had not received those. Asked how they had been sent, she confirmed our current address (which is different than what was on the bill reprint, we moved during that time frame, but I did NOT point that out). Reiterated we had never received anything from either the original creditor or collection agency until we were served., and if we had received a phone call we would have disregarded it due to all of the well published scam collection activity out there and awaited the required letter by USPS if it were legitimate. Which led me to ask about their chain of assignment and at that point the attorney became noticeably angry and threatening. He told me that normally they like to help debtors out, waive attorney fees, but because I was questioning him and his business that he would be setting trial. He smacked the bill he had given me through the security window and said "this is just the beginning, I don''t work for free. This gets a lot worse" And he told me we were done here, he would file blah, blah, blah (quoted letters and numbers) with the court and began walking away. I told him that I would file a conference report as well. He huffed and walked away.

And here we are. I have ten days (now 8) to file the conference report, since I am sure I will disagree with what he files. And I am figuring I need to request permission for Discovery from the court (our rules say we need permission if both parties are not represented by counsel). I am looking for advice on what to ask for and how to go about it. Our justice court has very little in the way of pro se help, unlike our Southern courts in the state, and no real self help group either. Its primarily for family law.

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1 hour ago, AndHereWeAre said:

"this is just the beginning, I don''t work for free. This gets a lot worse"

As big of a jerk as he is he is not kidding.  Medical debt is NOT like credit card debt.  NV allows a collection agency to sue on behalf of a provider and HIPAA does NOT apply to court proceedings.  They do not need your permission to bring the ER medical records.  The bottom line is the kid was seen and treated.  If your EOB states you owe that balance as your out of pocket portion then you owe it regardless of whether or not you ever received their bills.  Your not updating your address after moving is not their problem it is yours when you don't receive collection notices.

The bills, diagnosis, CPT code and insurance carrier payment is MORE than enough to show the court there is an amount owed.  I would settle this for the amount owed.  If it goes to trial you are likely to lose and then you have court fees, attorney fees and post judgment interest added on to the balance owed.

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I should have clarified, the collection agency had our correct address. It was the OC bill that showed old address. The hospital had our current address as well, it just never made it to the OC I guess. I don't have a problem settling the bill, but the amount I am being sued for differs from the bill itself and my credit report. How do I even go about settling?

 

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3 hours ago, AndHereWeAre said:

I don't have a problem settling the bill, but the amount I am being sued for differs from the bill itself and my credit report.

How does it differ?

Some financial guarantees that a patient or guardian signs include a clause that states if they have to send the account to collections that all fees are paid by the patient/guarantor.  You need your Estimation of Benefits from your insurance company that spells out what your financial responsibility is for this care.  There is a chance they are illegally balance billing which would be an affirmative defense to the suit.

The other issue is if this is on behalf of a physician or other provider who is out of network then balance billing is not illegal under that circumstance because as a contractor to the hospital they are not a party to your insurance carrier contract and can bill what they want.

 

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Don't listen to Clydesmom.  She thinks the medical provider can do no wrong.  She told me I had no chance because I was being sued by a dopey medical collection agency.  Make them prove their case.  They will send a declaration just like the CC debt collectors.  I'm not sure about NV laws, but in CA I challenged their bs and they backed down.  Sorry, but I don't believe in paying inflated medical costs and neither should you.

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2 hours ago, cupofjojo said:

They will send a declaration just like the CC debt collectors. 

NO they won't.  Nevada does not require that for a lawsuit.

2 hours ago, cupofjojo said:

I'm not sure about NV laws

That is the only thing you did get right.  NV courts in the north part of the state are EXTREMELY creditor friendly.  The second problem is there is not a huge amount of medical providers so lawsuits are VERY common.  Medical care in northern NV is a small community it is NOTHING like California which has thousands of providers in a dense area.  The courts are unwilling to cross the few that will stay there and provide care.

2 hours ago, cupofjojo said:

I don't believe in paying .

I fixed/translated it for you.

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If you want to settle, simply contact the attorney and offer the amount you wish to settle. When it comes to settlements, you can simply offer the amount you think you owe and just leave out all the added costs. Just call and offer you amount. You can also offer an amount about $100 lower and work up to the amount you are willing to pay.

As for states, some states are friendlier with health care providers than others. During some of my discussions with Mayo Clinic here in Minnesota this past year, I learned that all hospitals in MN have signed a consent decree with the MN attorney general on medical billing and collections. NV might be friendlier to health care providers than CA.

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