Synergy Blog

With Synergy’s Help, New York Times Exposes How Rich Hospitals Profit From Patients in Car Crashes

February 2, 2021

Synergy handles Hospital Lien disputes nationally on behalf of Trial Lawyers and their injured clients. Synergy’s Michael Walrath, Esq., as the nation’s leading authority on the nuances of state-specific hospital lien law and the facts underlying the “reasonable value” of hospital care, was tapped to assist investigative reporter Jessica Silver-Greenberg in her research for the New York Times expose of hospital lien practices. The article, entitled How Rich Hospitals Profit From Patients in Car Crashes, was published on February 1st, 2021, and can be viewed in its entirety here.

As this explosive report details, hospitals routinely forgo health insurance for auto accident patients, instead using liens to enhance their reimbursement and usurp money otherwise intended to compensate injury victims for lost wages, pain, and suffering, and other non-medical-special damages.

Cited examples include Monica Smith, a Medicaid recipient, whose Medicaid reimbursement would have been $2,500, but Parkview Regional Medical Center in Indiana instead levied a hospital lien for $12,856.00. While not illegal in most states, the practice effectively diverts settlement proceeds from injury victims in need, to overreaching hospitals intent on maximizing profits. A memo surfaced in 2014 litigation in Washington State, which estimated the practice generated an additional $10 million annually, to the facility.

As the article points out, lien practices are so lucrative, many hospital systems use specialized lien and debt collection companies to enhance their receivables. Post-settlement lien disputes are sunk costs on a file, further disincentivizing injury lawyers, who are already at a disadvantage for lack of internal hospital data. Synergy’s Medical Bill Clinic is available to level the playing field by leveraging specialized systems, data sets, and hospital billing experts to ensure your clients do not pay more than the reasonable value of the care they receive. Learn more about Synergy’s Medical Bill Clinic here.

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“Synergy is our guiding light for deferring our contingent legal fees and planning for retirement. The lawyers at Panter Panter & Sampedro, myself included, have been working with them for over ten years using different methods to defer comp and plan for retirement.”

Brett Panter
Panter, Panter & Sampedro

"I don't think I've directly said "thank you" for helping us with Bridgett’s case. We sent the reduced payment to Medicaid and called Bridgett's mom to tell her approximately how much money was going to be left for Bridgett and she broke down over the telephone. Given only $25k of insurance and a $850k medical bill from the hospital she didn't think Bridgett would ever see a penny."

Tom L. Copeland
Jeffrey Meldon & Associates, P.A.

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