SANTA ANA, Calif. (CN) - A class action accuses Prime Healthcare Services of charging uninsured emergency room patients "grossly inflated 'Chargemaster' rates" without notifying them of it.
Lead plaintiff Gene Moran sued Prime Healthcare and a slew of affiliates in Orange County Court. Defendants include Prime Healthcare Huntington Beach dba Huntington Beach Hospital.
Moran accuses Prime Healthcare of "unreasonable, unconscionable and unlawful pricing, billing and collection practices for emergency care with respect to plaintiff and other similarly situated self-pay patients."
It's not an unusual complaint. Many hospitals have been sued by uninsured patients who claim the hospitals systematically give discounts to insurers but not to uninsured patients.
Moran accused the defendants of forcing ER patients "to sign a form, adhesive intake agreement drafted by defendants (hereinafter 'contract') which contains a vague, ambiguous, nondescript, and indeterminate financial liability provision with respect to emergency treatment/services rendered by defendants; (2) failing to inform self-pay emergency care patients that they will be billed and required to pay for emergency care at defendants' artificially inflated and grossly excessive 'Chargemaster' rates; (3) failing to inform self-pay emergency care patients that they will be billed and required to pay at rates substantially higher than reimbursement rates paid by other
patients signing the same contract and receiving the same level of treatment and services; and (4) billing and seeking to enforce collection of defendants' unreasonable, unfair, and grossly excessive Chargemaster rates from their self-pay patients. This conduct is particularly egregious because emergency self-pay patients are under substantial duress when seeking emergency treatment/services and are typically the least able to afford defendants' artificially inflated prices."
Moran claims these excessive Chargemaster rates are not mentioned in the contract, and that they are "several times the reimbursement rates for essentially all of defendants' other emergency care patients signing the same contract and receiving the same treatment/services."
He seeks class certification, an injunction, restitution, disgorgement, costs and damages for breach of contract, breach of faith, deceptive trade and consumer law violations.
He is represented by Barry Kramer, of Las Vegas.
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.