LOS ANGELES (CN) – Kaiser Foundation Health Plan claims Prime Healthcare Services sent more than 6,000 improper collection notices to “desperately ill” and elderly patients, to “despicably” try to gain an advantage in a billing dispute Kaiser and Prime are fighting out in federal court.
In its Superior Court complaint, Kaiser claims, “Defendants have engaged in a massive, illegal scheme purposely designed to create maximum panic and distress amongst Kaiser members.
“On or about May 1, 2008, the Prime Hospitals, along with Action Collection Services, sought to injure Kaiser and its members by attacking over 6,000 innocent Kaiser members. In sending collection letters to thousands of patients, many of whom are elderly and desperately ill, the Prime Hospitals violated numerous state and federal laws which prohibit balance billing a health plan’s members, and prohibit billing those members for amounts to which the Hospitals are not entitled. More despicably, it is clear that Defendants are seeking to leverage the pain of thousands of individuals in order to gain an advantage in a monetary dispute that is currently being fought between the parties in federal court. As stated by Prime’s owner, Dr. Reddy, in the Orange County Register, ‘We don’t really want the patients to pay us.'”
Represented by David Jacobs with Epstein Becker & Green, Kaiser demands punitive damages for interference and unfair competition.
Here are the defendants: Prime Healthcare Services, Inc.; Action Collection Services, LLC; Prime Healthcare Services II, LLC; Veritas Health Services, Inc.; Prime Healthcare Services III, LLC; Desert Valley Hospital, Inc.; Desert Valley Medical Group, Inc.; Prime Healthcare La Palma, LLC; Prime Healthcare Huntington Beach, LLC; Prime Healthcare Anaheim, LLC; and Prime Healthcare Paradise Valley, LLC.