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Monday, March 14, 2016

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 1 opinion(s) today (and 5 NFP memorandum decision(s))

For publication opinions today (1):

In Parkview Hospital v. Thomas E. Frost by Shirley A. Riggs, his Guardian, a 19-page, 2-1 opinion, Sr. Judge Friedlander writes:

In this interlocutory appeal, we are presented with the issue of whether evidence of discounts provided to patients who either have private health insurance or are covered by government healthcare reimbursement programs is relevant, admissible evidence regarding the determination of reasonable charges under the Indiana Hospital Lien Act, Indiana Code Annotated section 32-33-4-1, et seq. (West, Westlaw current with P.L. 1-2016 and P.L. 2-2016 of the 2016 Second Regular Session of the 119th General Assembly). We hold that it is and affirm. * * *

Here, Parkview sought to have the trial court determine as a matter of law that the chargemaster rates were reasonable. That issue was disputed by Frost, who sought to discover discounted amounts Parkview had accepted from other patients in an effort to challenge the lien amount. By frustrating Frost’s discovery efforts, Parkview prevented Frost from meeting Parkview’s prima facie evidence of reasonableness with contradictory evidence. The trial court correctly found that Frost should be allowed to discover that evidence and that such evidence was admissible under the Act. In light of the foregoing, we affirm the trial court’s decision.

Vaidik, C.J. concurs.
Najam, J., dissents with separate opinion. [that begins on p. 13] I respectfully dissent from the majority’s conclusion that the Hospital Lien Act allows an uninsured hospital patient to renegotiate the terms of his contract with the hospital.

This case is controlled by our supreme court’s holding in Allen v. Clarian Health Partners, Inc. In Allen, uninsured patients executed contracts with the hospital under which they “guarantee[d] payment of the account[s].” 980 N.E.2d 306, 308 (Ind. 2012). After providing the patients care, the hospital attempted to collect its chargemaster rates against the hospital for breach of contract on the ground that their contracts did not specify a price for services and, as such, the patients could introduce evidence in court to determine a reasonable price as a matter of law.

Our supreme court rejected the plaintiffs’ complaint outright and held that they had failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. * * *

I believe the majority’s statutory analysis would be correct, and I would concur, were it not for Allen, which is controlling authority. We are bound by Indiana Supreme Court precedent, but I encourage the Indiana Supreme Court to reconsider Allen given the opportunity. As such, I would reverse the trial court’s judgment for Frost and remand with instructions for the court to enter judgment for Parkview.

NFP civil decisions today (0):

NFP criminal decisions today (5):

James J. Wyatt v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Charles Darryl Jenkins, Jr. v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Basden Breakfield v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Ronald Eric McMahan v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Christopher Sutton v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 14, 2016 11:24 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions