Lawsuits allege Memphis hospitals engage in illegal billing practices

Former patients have filed lawsuits against several hospitals in Memphis, Tenn., alleging the hospitals attempt to collect payment from patients for debts that have already been satisfied by payers, according to The Commercial Appeal.

In the two lawsuits, which are seeking class-action status, the patients name hospitals in Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare's network and Saint Francis Hospital as defendants.

The patients accuse the hospitals of engaging in balance billing, which occurs when providers bill patients for outstanding balances after the insurer pays its portion of the bill. Jimmy Blount, the lawyer representing the patients, told The Commercial Appeal courts have deemed balance billing illegal. He said the practice violates contracts the hospitals have with insurers, which include discounted rates.

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare told The Commercial Appeal the lawsuit is "baseless," and a Saint Francis Hospital spokesperson said the hospital doesn't comment on pending litigation.

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