Massachusetts anesthesia provider pays $260K to resolve surprise billing allegations

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South Shore Anesthesia Associates reached an agreement with Massachusetts officials to settle allegations it used surprise billing tactics against patients at Weymouth, Mass.-based South Shore Hospital. The anesthesia provider, also based in Weymouth, will pay Massachusetts $260,000, which includes a $185,000 civil penalty, according to the state's attorney general.

The settlement said that South Shore Anesthesia Associates "generally did not adequately disclose information prior to care that would have allowed these patients to make informed financial decisions regarding their healthcare." It also said the anesthesia provider's charges were "unfairly high in that they do not reflect reasonable value for the healthcare services that SSAA provided."

Patients who received large bills from South Shore Anesthesia Associates said the first time they learned the hospital's anesthesia provider was out-of-network was when they received their bill, according to the settlement.

The state attorney general’s office accepted an assurance of discontinuance from South Shore Anesthesia Associates, which means the anesthesia provider agreed to settle the allegations without admitting wrongdoing or liability.

As part of the agreement, South Shore Anesthesia Associates said it will stop collecting remaining balances for out-of-network or uninsured patients, forgive debts for for out-of-network or uninsured patients, notify any outside collection agencies that those debts have been forgiven and remove out-of-network or insured patients' accounts from any credit report or credit reporting agency.

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