Injured patients discover hospitals seeking a piece of their accident settlements.

Robert Lee was recently quoted in a front page article in the Austin American Statesman. Below is an excerpt of the story.

By Mary Ann Roser
AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF

Liens often are much higher than what hospital would normally be paid for services, lawyers charge.

To this day, Jean Bogardus of Austin doesn’t know what hit her.

She was walking in the parking lot of the Onion Creek Country Club on Feb. 7, 2007, when she was run over by a vehicle, leaving her right leg broken in three places.

“I think it was an SUV,” Bogardus, 77, said recently, “but it all happened so fast.”

At University Medical Center Brackenridge, she had surgery and went home two days later in a wheelchair with rods and pins in her leg. The hospital said her care cost $31,115. Bogardus figured Medicare, her health insurer, would pay.

But instead of billing Medicare, the hospital filed a lien against Bogardus, staking a claim to part of any settlement she might seek from the driver’s insurance company. That meant, if Bogardus was awarded a settlement, the hospital would get paid first.

Personal injury lawyers and some patient advocates say hospital liens — which have been permitted by Texas law since the 1930s — by themselves are not bad. It makes sense for hospitals to try to get paid, they said. But they see hospitals abusing liens by seeking drastically higher payments from accident victims than they would otherwise get.

Read the full story at statesman.com:

  • Injured patients discover hospitals seeking a piece of their accident settlements.