Lawsuit Filed Against Eastern North Carolina Hospital System Over Misleading Billing, Debt Collection Practices ::



— A patient filed a lawsuit against Vidant Health accusing the hospital system of misleading billing, overcharging and using manipulative collection practices.

George Cansler, of Edenton, accuses the hospital system of failing to properly inform him of the cost of his medical care.

The lawsuit accuses the health system of charging Cansler more than 13 times the standard rate for a CT scan.

Cansler is demanding that Vidant Health reimburse him and anyone else who was overcharged.

“Due to ever-increasing health care costs, many private group and individual insurance plans have high deductibles or other mechanisms that impose a significant payment obligation on the consumer,” the suit states. “Health care consumers are in a unique position to be exploited by a revenue-driven hospital system because they generally do not know the costs or consent to them before the service. Rather, they reasonably assume that the system hospital will have the integrity to reasonably use prices.”

Cansler received a CT scan in 2018 that cost $302 according to Medicare rates at the time. Instead, Vidant Health charged him $4,000, according to the lawsuit. The hospital network did not inform Cansler of this high price until after it received the scan, according to the suit.

For other similar common procedures, the lawsuit claims Vidant Health charged patients more than 10 times the Medicare rate.

The lawsuit said Vidant Health coerced Cansler into paying by “threatening his credit rating and engaging in collection efforts” and failed to give Cansler enough time to pay his bill on time. Vidant Health repeatedly sent patients medical bills threatening shorter payment terms in each bill, according to the lawsuit.

Vidant Health hospital officials said in a statement to WRAL News that as of 2021, the health system meets all state requirements to be transparent in its pricing. Vidant Health officials said they now have an online tool that helps patients understand the cost of a procedure.

A health system spokesperson asked WRAL News to release this statement:

“The narrative presented in the press release promoting a class action lawsuit is inconsistent with Vidant Health’s values ​​as a patient-centered, mission-driven, non-profit organization. Vidant is committed to partnering with patients to ensure they have the support they need to complete their healthcare journeys. In addition to a dedicated team of case managers who help patients understand their bills, establish payment plans and provide charitable care in all applicable cases, Vidant has transparent pricing resources available online for all patient or potential patient to consult. Importantly, all Vidant hospitals are fully compliant with all federal regulations regarding price transparency, as confirmed by the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office.

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