AMR Overbilling Trial Postponed Over Documents - @ JEMS.com


AMR Overbilling Trial Postponed Over Documents


 
 

Bill Morlin | | Thursday, November 8, 2007


SEATTLE, Wash. -- Superior Court Judge Jerome Leveque expressed frustration Monday that attorneys on both sides of an ambulance company overbilling lawsuit haven t reached agreement on the production of documents and patients names before a trial can occur.

The jury trial in the 2-year-old class action lawsuit against American Medical Response had been scheduled to begin this week, but it now likely won t occur until sometime next fall.

Seattle attorney Paul Dayton, representing AMR, and attorneys Roger Reed and Adam Tait, representing a group of Spokane residents who were overbilled by the ambulance company, were in court Monday seeking a new trial date and arguing over release of documents.

The judge gave Dayton and Reed until Friday to draft a list detailing areas of agreement and disagreement and outline a process for resolving those differences. If it s not done, the court will do it by order, the judge told the attorneys.

Since 1999, American Medical Response has had an exclusive contract to provide ambulance service in the city of Spokane. Because city taxpayers fund Fire Department emergency medical services, city residents can only be charged certain rates if a fire paramedic accompanies the ambulance crew to a hospital.

At the core of the litigation is how many of those patients were transported by AMR ambulances in the past eight years.

Reed told the court he won t be ready for trial until AMR is forced to disclose a complete list of city residents who were overbilled, going back to 1999. Those customers were charged the more-expensive advanced life support rate when they should have been charged the cheaper basic life support rate if a city fire paramedic was involved in the ride-in treatment.

The plaintiff s attorneys estimated there could be as many as 30,000 city residents affected by the class action suit. After all potential members of the class action are identified, each will have to be formally notified, probably through mass-mailing and public advertising. They will be given the chance to opt out of the lawsuit if they aren t interested in pursuing damages.

Another one of the remaining areas of dispute involves an estimated 20,000 city residents who were transported by AMR between January 2003 and October 2005. The ambulance company voluntarily audited those bills for that period and agreed to make $320,689 in refunds.

Some of those refunds went to insurance companies, at discounted rates, or Medicare, which paid the ambulance bills. Reed argued to the court that even if an ambulance bill was paid by Medicare or an insurance company, those residents still may be entitled to interest and treble damage awards under the state s Consumer Protection Act.


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Industry News, Legal and Ethical

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Buyer's Guide Featured Companies

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Improving Survival from Cardiac Arrest Using ACD-CPR + ITD

Using active compression-decompression CPR with an ITD has been shown to improve 1-year survival from cardiac arrest by 33%.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Philadelphia Fire Department Apologizes for Medic’s Jab at Police

Union head calls photos a slap in the face of officers.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

D.C. Fire and EMS Crews Blame New Technology for Patient’s Death

Delayed response blamed on recurring dispatch problems.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Suspect Steals, Crashes Maryland Ambulance

One killed, others injured in Prince George’s County crash.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Tennessee Trench Rescue

Worker pulled from Roane County worksite.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Time’s Ebola Firefighters

Doctors, nurses and others saluted for fighting virus.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Car Strikes Manhattan Pedestrians

Seven people hurt when car jumps curb.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >