Worker can file civil lawsuit for prohibited medical debt collection

The Florida Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Thursday that the state’s workers’ compensation law does not preclude circuit court jurisdiction over claims against a health care provider for collection practices. prohibited claims.

Patty Davis was injured in the course of her employment. She received medical attention from Sheridan Radiology Services at Pinellas Inc. and Laboratory Corp. of America. Subsequently, Sheridan and Labcorp repeatedly billed Davis directly for the medical care she received.

Davis filed two separate actions against Sheridan and Labcorp under the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act, according to Laboratory Corp. of America v. Davis and Sheridan Radiology Services of Pinellas Inc. v. DavisNos., filed in Tallahassee.

Ms. Davis argued that as an injured employee who received treatment under the workers’ compensation system, her employer’s compensation insurer, Commercial Risk Management Inc., was responsible for reimbursement of Sheridan and Labcorp. Thus, Ms. Davis argued that Sheridan’s and Labcorp’s attempts to collect the debt from her constituted an attempt to collect an illegitimate debt.

In response, Sheridan and Labcorp asserted that the trial courts lacked jurisdiction over the alleged violations of the FCCPA. The trial courts agreed with Sheridan and Labcorp and dismissed Ms. Davis’ FCCPA claims. Davis appealed, and the Florida 2nd District Court of Appeals consolidated his cases.

The 2nd DCA overturned, finding nothing in the workers’ compensation law excluding Ms. Davis’ FCCPA claims, but it also certified the question of jurisdiction to the Florida Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court noted that the FCCPA prohibits collection of a debt where the collector “knows the debt is not legitimate” and that the law allows civil remedies for violations of its provisions. Competition law establishes that an injured worker is not responsible for paying for medical treatment or services provided for compensable injuries, and providers cannot collect fees or attempt to collect fees from a worker. .

WorkCompCentral is a sister publication of Business Insurance. More stories here.


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John A. Bogar