Class Challenges St. Luke’s Billing Rates

     CLAYTON, Mo. (CN) – St. Luke’s Health Corporation charges emergency room rates for non-emergency room care, a class action claims in St. Louis County Court. St. Luke’s urgent care centers are not advertised as emergency rooms and have no signs indicating that they are emergency rooms, the suit states.

     Named plaintiff Michael Donley says he was charged emergency room rates at one of St. Luke’s five urgent care centers. He says he had pay $25 up front, then received a bill for $133.80 for an “ED Visit Level 2 Type B” – an emergency room visit.
     Donley claims the urgent care centers are not state-licensed emergency rooms because they are not advertised as emergency rooms, are not opened 24 hours a day and at least one-third of all outpatient visits were not for treatment of emergency conditions.
     He says he received another bill, for $117, from co-defendant Physician Specialist of St. Luke’s, which contained another emergency room billing code.
     Donley claims St. Luke’s charges emergency room rates at its urgent care centers because the rates are higher and it forced patients to pay separate bills to physicians so St. Luke’s does not have to share its profits.
     The class consists of all Missourians who have been billed for an emergency room visit after receiving treatment at one of St. Luke’s urgent care centers. It seeks damages and an injunction and is represented by Dean Nash of Kansas City.

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