Last year, lawyers representing Universal Health Services, which owns and operates McAllen Medical Center and other Valley hospitals, filed an appeal to the Texas Supreme Court in their latest desperate effort to throw out cases that allege that their hospitals scammed thousands upon thousands of patients.
The Texas Supreme Court handed the hospitals a huge loss by striking down their appeal, all but ensuring that their patients will certainly have their day in court.
Back in October 2017, McAllen Medical Center and their lawyers filed a Motion For Summary Judgment, a motion that would have essentially thrown the case out of court and away from a jury. Judge David Sanchez of the 444th district court in Brownsville denied their motion. After the first loss, the hospitals appealed using a Writ of Mandamus to the 13th Court of Appeals, where they were denied and handed a loss a 2nd time, where they subsequently tried to appeal their motion to the State’s highest court, only to receive their third loss in a row.
J. Michael Moore, the prominent McAllen injury lawyer who is spearheading the lawsuit against the hospitals, said that the ruling was a “great win for not only our clients but for patients all over Texas who are being scammed with these irrationally high prices and having their lives ruined by crippling debt.”
“Again, it’s a great win for our side, but the fight is long from over and we’re currently working to get this lawsuit moving forward,” said Moore.
With the win, the McAllen injury lawyers at Moore Law Firm and their clients are now even closer to a much-anticipated trial date and an ultimate showdown between former patients and the hospitals that ruined their lives.
How Does McAllen Medical Center Scam Their Patients?
Before diving into how McAllen Medical Center’s patient gouging scam works, it’s important to understand what is a hospital lien and how exactly it works.
What Is A Hospital Lien?
Chapter 55 of the Texas Property Code allows hospitals to file hospital liens on patients they treat within 72 hours of their accident. The hospital lien attaches itself to the patient’s potential personal injury settlement and works as a safety net to ensure that the hospital is paid for their services. In other words, if a patient receives a settlement for their car accident injury, the hospital would take the first cut before the patient, the car accident lawyer, or any other provider were to receive any compensation.
In a perfect world, this would all make sense, however, hospitals have abused the hospital lien law and have weaponized hospital liens and have placed tens of thousands of patients under insurmountable and crushing debt.
Extremely High Hospital Bills
It’s a common belief that hospital services are outrageously expensive, however, it wasn’t until recently that studies have actually confirmed this. Multiple reports have concluded that hospitals often charge somewhere between 600%-1000% for their services over the retail value for those same exact services.
Advocates such as Dr. David Belk, as well as other deep-dive reports, have shed some light as to why hospitals charge so much over the retail service value but, ultimately, the reason traces back to understanding that hospitals are businesses designed to churn a profit, even at the expense of their patients.
Back in January, the federal law required hospitals to post their “chargemaster” prices for their services on their websites in an effort to increase price transparency between hospitals and their patients; what the public saw was a litany of outrageous charges for the most trivial of procedures and services such as charging $626 for Vitamin B-2 or $44,187 for “headaches.”
For a list of how much each RGV hospital charges for every service, click here.
Illegally Weaponizing Hospital Liens
Knowing that Texas law allows hospitals to file hospital liens on their patients’ settlements, hospitals have abused this power to charge well and above the reasonable retail service value and to file hospital liens using these grossly exaggerated charges. After only a few hours at the emergency room, patients are leaving with outrageously inflated $20,000 to $100,000 hospital liens.
This practice, however, is absolutely illegal as the Texas Property Code expressly prohibits hospitals from filing hospital liens for “services that exceed a reasonable and regular rate for the services.”
The Human Cost of Fraudulent Hospital Liens
Hospital liens can have absolutely devastating effects on unsuspecting patients who may not understand just how serious of a situation the hospitals have placed them in after their hospital visit. Hospital liens are regularly picked up by the credit bureau causing patients’ credit scores to plummet where they are unable to secure car loans, refinance their mortgages, or obtain employment, leaving patients in financial ruin.
In fact, hospital bills are the number one reason why Americans are going bankrupt and fraudulent hospital liens are simply dousing more gasoline into that fire.
It’s hospitals like McAllen Medical Center who are weaponizing hospital liens and turning them on their very own patients, causing them to go bankrupt, destroy their credit, and lose their jobs.
Call The Fraudulent Hospital Lien Lawyers At Moore Law Firm Today!
Hospitals that file fraudulent liens against their patients must be held accountable for their actions. Call The Texas Hospital Lien lawyers at Moore Law Firm for your FREE and FAST consultation today at 1-956-631-0745.