Centura seeks delay of discovery in surprise-billing lawsuit

Centura Health moved to delay and dismiss a class-action lawsuit that accuses the Centennial, Colo.-based health system of using predatory billing practices, according to the Pine River Times.

Centura filed a motion to delay the discovery process in the case pending a court's review of the health system's motion to dismiss the lawsuit. 

The case concerns a class-action lawsuit filed by Centura patient Franklin Walter. In the lawsuit, Mr. Walter claimed he received a surprise bill for $1,216.73 two months after he received a knee replacement. 

Mr. Walter said that he had to sign a "consent for medical treatment" contract requiring him to pay all costs associated with the knee replacement before the procedure. That contract also requires Centura to give patients an estimate of out-of-pocket costs, according to the lawsuit.

But Mr. Walter claims Centura never gave him that out-of-pocket estimate, which led him to believe he didn't owe anything out of pocket for the knee replacement and resulted in the surprise bill.

In its motion to delay the case pending its dismissal, Centura argued the U.S. District Court of Colorado, where the lawsuit is filed, doesn't have jurisdiction over the case because Mr. Walter is a resident of New Mexico. 

Centura also claims "no such contractual or statutory obligation exists" for it to provide cost estimates for elective procedures, according to the Pine River Times. A Centura spokesperson told The Durango Herald that Mr. Walter was a Medicare patient, and since Medicare doesn't cover medications not prescribed by a physician, it's difficult to provide personal out-of-pockets costs.

Since the initial class-action lawsuit was filed, Centura lowered Mr. Walter's out-of-pocket obligation to $486.69.

Read the full report here

© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2021. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies by clicking here.