Prime Healthcare Services of California has been named in a class action lawsuit that charges uninsured emergency room patients were hit with "grossly inflated 'Chargemaster' rates" without being notified.
The lead plaintiff in the case is Gene Moran, who sued Prime Healthcare and a number of affiliates in Orange County Court.
Moran accused the defendants of forcing ER patients "to sign a form, adhesive intake agreement drafted by defendants that contains a vague, ambiguous, nondescript, and indeterminate financial liability provision with respect to emergency treatment/services rendered by defendants.
He claims the form fails to inform self-pay emergency care patients that they will be billed and required to pay for emergency care at what he claims are artificially inflated and grossly excessive 'Chargemaster' rates. Further, he says the form fails to inform self-pay emergency care patients that the rates are substantially higher than reimbursement rates paid by other patients. He also claims that the billing and enforcement policies are unreasonable, unfair, and grossly excessive.
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."
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." He seeks class certification, an injunction, restitution, disgorgement, costs and damages for breach of contract, breach of faith, deceptive trade and consumer law violations.