Class settlement in Mayo Clinic balance billing suit gets preliminary approval

A class-action settlement involving claims that Mayo Clinic Jacksonville (Fla.) overcharged patients treated for motor vehicle-related injuries was granted preliminary approval by a federal court Oct. 6, according to court documents posted by Bloomberg Law. 

The class-action suit was brought by Natalie Kuhr. The plaintiff alleged Mayo Clinic Jacksonville violated the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act and the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by balance billing patients whose medical care was covered by personal injury protection insurance. 

Florida law prohibits providers treating patients with personal injury insurance from charging insurers more than a "reasonable amount" for their services. 

The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida said Oct. 6 that the proposed class of 371 patients with personal injury insurance treated at Mayo Clinic Jacksonville for injuries sustained via motor vehicle accidents was reasonably defined.

Additionally, the total settlement amount of just over $1 million appeared to be "sufficiently fair, reasonable, and adequate on its face to warrant presentation to the class members," the court said. 

However, the court said that it must reject any incentive award to Ms. Kuhr that is requested in the settlement and that their finding of fairness does not reflect whether the amount of fees requested by the class attorneys is reasonable. 

The settlement agreement will head to a fairness hearing prior to final approval on Jan. 20, 2021, the court said.


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