A proposed class action alleges Round Table Physicians Group, PLLC has unlawfully placed hospital liens on consumers who have been injured in a car accident.
The 16-page lawsuit charges that Round Table, in an “illegal scheme to maximize profits on the back of these injured persons,” has attempted to hold car accident victims’ injury claims hostage, as a hospital lien prevents an individual from negotiating and settling their personal injury claim. According to the suit, this creates “even more strain on an overworked legal system” for consumers with personal injury claims that enter litigation.
The lawsuit claims Houston-based Round Table’s apparent hospital lien practice is a violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. According to the filing, Round Table is not permitted to file a hospital lien given the company is not a hospital but rather a physicians group that employs doctors.
Per the suit, Round Table handles billing services for physicians who provide care at Signature Emergency Center’s 21 locations throughout Texas. The case says that although Round Table relays to patients that it will work with most insurance plans for someone who seeks emergency medical care, the company “refuses” to submit billing to insurers, Medicare or Worker’s Compensation for a person injured in an automobile collision.
The reason, the lawsuit says, is because the amounts paid by insurance, Medicare or Workers’ Comp are “usually very low as these bills are subject to contractual adjustment.” Round Table’s alleged hospital lien practice exists to avoid downward adjustments to medical bills made by insurers, which can slash a hospital bill dramatically, the suit relays.
“To avoid these downward adjustments in its bills, Round Table concocted an illegal scheme to file ‘hospital liens’ against its patients rather than submit the bills to insurance companies for payment,” the complaint alleges. “By not submitting the bills to insurance companies, Round Table avoided the downward adjustments in its bills.”
A hospital lien, instead, enables Round Table to make a claim for payment at the “list” or “full” amount of its bill, known as the “chargemaster rate,” rather than at the lowered rate that would typically be paid by an insurer, the lawsuit adds. According to the complaint, Round Table has no legal basis on which to file a hospital lien against any patient, as the company is not a hospital but rather a physicians group that employs doctors.
The case looks to represent all individuals who were subject to a hospital lien filed by Round Table Physicians Group at any time during the four-year period prior to the lawsuit’s filing and the present.
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