AGG health care litigation partners Jason Bring, Chesley McLeod, and Jerad Rissler recently filed a friend of the court brief with the Georgia Court of Appeals on behalf of both the Georgia Hospital Association and the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals. The appeal involves a putative class action lawsuit challenging the ability of a hospital to use its chargemaster rates when filing hospital liens for patients injured by third parties in automobile and other accidents. The lawsuit alleges that, because Georgia’s lien act limits liens to “reasonable charges,” the hospital’s use of the chargemaster rates was improper and, according to the plaintiff, even fraudulent. The trial court rejected the plaintiffs’ arguments, accepting the hospital’s argument, first raised by the Associations, that the lien act allows hospitals to file liens for “amounts claimed to be due” from the person who caused the patient’s injuries. The Associations also argue that, even assuming the use of chargemaster rates is incompatible with the Georgia lien act, any alleged violation of the act does not give rise to express or implied private rights of action against hospitals. But other courts in Georgia have allowed similar cases to move forward as class actions, creating the potential for different results. The Associations have therefore also joined in a separate request for the Supreme Court of Georgia to review and clarify the interpretation of the hospital lien law so that hospitals may confidently exercise their rights under the statute. For more information about the case and the arguments, contact Mr. Bring, Mr. McLeod, or Mr. Rissler.
For a copy of the most recent brief, please access below.