Alert and Call to Action: Diagnostic Companies Improperly Billing Medical Practices for Patient Services

A nationally known lab (“Lab”) recently filed a lawsuit against at least one urology practice in what may be a harbinger of a new trend to attempt to hold medical practices liable for failing to collect unpaid fees from patients of the practice referred to the Lab for services rendered to the patients by the Lab. The Lab purportedly provided services to the practice’s patients at one of the Lab’s locations but either did not get paid at all or did not get paid in full.  According to the lawsuit, the Lab is suing based on an “agreement” it alleges it has with the practice. However, the Lab’s complaint fails to identify the nature of the agreement as either oral or written. The sole connection between the practice and the Lab consists of the physician prescribing blood work or specimen collection prescriptions to patients with qualifying insurance coverage, who then visit the Lab on their own.  If you find this a bit confusing, you are not alone.  The failure of the Lab to identify the contract that allegedly forms the basis of its lawsuit leads one to the possible conclusion that the Lab is inappropriately attempting to shift its collection obligations onto medical practices, rather than expend the cost and burden to be involved with collecting those fees directly from patients.

Based on the facts at issue, we are not aware of any scenario where the Lab can lawfully seek payment from practices in this manner, and we are concerned that such lawsuits may become more common.

How Frier Levitt Can Help

If your medical practice is the subject of the above actions by a lab or are aware of similarly situated practices facing legal action by a lab, please contact us to discuss your options.