In this matter before the Court of Appeals, Mr. Clouthier, who was involved in a tractor-trailer accident, filed suit against the Medical Center of Central Georgia (MCCG) because MCCG placed a lien on his causes of action. MCCG, at some point, learned that the injuries sustained were due to the actions of a third party (the tractor-trailer) and filed a hospital lien against Mr. Clothier’s personal injury suit.
After Mr. Clouthier settled his suit, he then sued MCCG, stating that the lien amount was “not reasonable” under Georgia law. Clouthier specifically alleged that the charges by MCCG were for the “full chargemaster rate” or “sticker price” of his medical procedures. A trial judge dismissed his lawsuit, citing an affidavit provided by MCCG that the amount was reasonable.
The Court of Appeals reversed, find that by law a hospital lien is only allowed for “reasonable charges,” noting that if Mr. Clouthier could show that MCCG claimed an “excessive and unreasonable” amount in its lien, that could prove fraud and misrepresentation. This ruling shows that just because a medical provider charges an amount, that amount is not, by law, required to be accepted as true and accurate.
Click here for link to decision.