MULTICARE PUTS PATIENTS FIRST: AGREES TO CREATE $7.5 MILLION ESCROW ACCOUNT TO REPAY PATIENTS DAMAGED BY IMPROPER LIENS IT PLACED ON COURT SETTLEMENTS TO RECOVER MEDICAL BILLS.
As part of a $7.5 million settlement reached this week, Tacoma health care giant MultiCare Health System has agreed to invalidate many of the improperly notarized liens it had placed on patients’ court settlements after they were injured due to another driver’s negligence. Pierce County Superior Court Judge Jerry T. Costello granted preliminary approval for resolution of the class‐action lawsuit against MultiCare this morning.
The improper liens on medical bills were placed on patients’ settlements through an intermediary, the now‐bankrupt California company Hunter Donaldson. The liens placed by Hunter Donaldson prevented thousands of patients from accessing cash that they were awarded in personal‐injury settlements.
Tacoma attorney Darrell Cochran of the law firm Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala, applauded MultiCare’s willingness to step up to the plate and do the right thing.
“MultiCare stepped up and answered its patients’ calls for a change of course,” Cochran said. “It severed ties with a bad vendor, acknowledged these liens are invalid, and agreed to give back the money they took from everyone.”
“The business of medicine should not be allowed to harm the public’s trust in the practice of medicine,” he also said. “And that’s definitely what was happening here.
“Now, we can argue about whether it was two or three bad eggs or a more widespread corporate culture, but a definite pattern emerged where hospital revenue became a higher priority for some executives than patient care.
“And that’s not right. Patients deserve better; the doctors and nurses deserve better. Cochran and Gallagher negotiated a settlement on behalf of seven MultiCare patients after they learned that Hunter Donaldson, acting on MultiCare’s behalf, had placed improper liens on court settlements using an out‐of‐state notary, contrary to state law.
Now, Gallagher wants to spread the word that MultiCare has established a $7.5 million escrow account to be available as a common fund to make payments to class member damaged by the improper liens.
“Under this settlement, patients will receive up to 150% of the amount MultiCare received based on one of these liens,” Gallagher said. Even patients who had no insurance and paid cash for their hospital bills based on an improper lien will receive 45% back. It is really a great settlement.”