Huntington Beach Hospital and its parent company charged uninsured emergency room patients "grossly inflated rates," especially when compared with the discounted rates insurance companies are billed for the same services, according to a class-action lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court.
The suit by lead plaintiff Gene Moran, who is represented by Barry Kramer of Las Vegas, seeks class certification, an injunction, restitution, disgorgement, costs and damages for breach of contract, breach of faith, deceptive trade and consumer law violations. The defendants are Prime Healthcare Services and Prime Healthcare Huntington Beach (doing business as Huntington Beach Hospital).
Moran alleges the documents the uninsured sign in the emergency room are "vague," "ambiguous" and "nondescript" about the charges they face, and make no mention of how those rates are "substantially higher than reimbursement rates paid by other patients signing the same contract and receiving the same level of treatment and services."
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Prime Healthcare's pricing, billing and collection practices for emergency care are deemed "unreasonable, unconscionable and unlawful" by the complaint.
"This conduct is particularly egregious because emergency self-pay patients are under substantial duress when seeking emergency treatment/services and are typically the least able to afford defendants' artificially inflated prices," reads the suit.
Hospital officials could not be reached for comment.