A Medical Device Daily

Richard Scruggs, the Oxford, Mississippi-based attorney who has led the filing of class-action suits against a number of non-profit hospitals across the U.S., reported the filing of a new suit vs. Charleston Area Medical Center (CAMC; Charleston, West Virginia) and its parent company, Charleston Area Medical Center Health System.

As with the other suits, this filing alleges the overcharging of uninsured patients and accuses CAMC of going after these patients with “aggressive and abusive debt collection practices,“ placing liens on homes and suing patients in court when they cannot afford to pay the “inflated bills.“

Plaintiffs contend that CAMC's practices violate multiple West Virginia laws, including those requiring fair and reasonable pricing for services provided; the state's Consumer Credit and Protection Act; and laws against unjust enrichment.

The suit alleges that the inflated rates charged the uninsured are concealed when they are admitted and that CAMC forces these patients to “consent“ to pay all charges “under duress of pain and illness“ and that the prices bear no rational relationship to actual care.

John Crongeyer, an attorney with Vroon & Crongeyer (Atlanta), also representing the plaintiffs, said that CMAC receives tax exemptions “to provide charity care for those who can't afford to pay. This hospital has woefully failed to live up to its obligation.“

CAMC hospital is the flagship facility of the CAMC Health System and the largest hospital in West Virginia.

Other law firms representing the plaintiffs are the Wilson Law Offices (Moundsville, West Virginia) and the Law Offices of David L. Meredith (Jackson, Mississippi).

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