San Francisco, CA: (Jan-31-08) A class action lawsuit was brought against Scripps Health, over pricing and collection practices for uninsured patients at its affiliate hospitals. The suit, filed on July 19, 2006, claimed that Phillip Franklin, an uninsured patient filed a class action cross-complaint against Scripps Health, a not-for-profit hospital system based in San Diego, after Scripps sued Franklin through a collection agency. Records show that Franklin was uninsured at the time of treatment. He alleged that he, like other uninsured patients at Scripps, was charged unreasonable, unconscionable and excessive rates for his treatment.
The parties reached a settlement agreement, resolving the lawsuit. Under the terms of the agreement, class members will be entitled to make a claim for 35% refunds or deductions from their prior hospital bills for treatment occurring between July 19, 2002 and the date of preliminary settlement approval. Low-income uninsureds may also seek to qualify their past bills for free or reduced care beyond the 35% discount. Additionally, Scripps agreed to maintain compassionate pricing and collections policies going forward, including across-the-board discounts for all uninsured patients, regardless of income. It will make enhanced charity discounts to enable moderate-income uninsureds to receive even greater discounts and financial counseling to uninsured patients to help them qualify for discounted pricing or receive extended payment plans. The company will provide increased communications to uninsureds about Scripps pricing policies; and limits on collections practices and collections lawsuits. [