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Analysis

TeamHealth Faces Class Action Lawsuit Over Hospital, ER Billing Fraud

By Jack O'Brien  
   July 14, 2020

The lawsuit was filed in the District Court for the Northern District of California late last week.

TeamHealth is the target of a class action lawsuit accusing the company of hospital and ER billing fraud.

The Knoxville-based hospital staffing and management company is accused of "creating an enterprise with the sole purpose of 'profiting from patients' health emergencies,'" as well as engaging in "fraudulent billing rates and charges."

The lawsuit was filed in the District Court for the Northern District of California on Friday by Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, a class-action litigation firm based in Seattle.

In detailing the case, the firm stated that it believes TeamHealth is "knowingly deceiving patients with their billing practices," including sending fraudulent bills to patients for care received from company physicians.

"Most states bar the corporate practice of medicine, and for good reason. TeamHealth is exactly the kind of pseudo-health conglomerate state laws are designed to stop," Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman, said in a statement. "Its sole role has been to take advantage of those who are most vulnerable and in need – those experiencing health emergencies."

Related: Moody's Outlook Darkens for Team Health

A TeamHealth spokesperson responded to the lawsuit in a statement sent to HealthLeaders Tuesday morning.

"TeamHealth is confident that our billing practices and organizational structure are fully compliant with long established laws and precedents," the statement read. "TeamHealth maintains a long-standing practice against balance billing. We believe these claims are wholly without merit and we look forward to vigorously defending ourselves."

Related: UnitedHealth-Team Health Feud Could Have Broad Industry Impact

This is not the first investigation into TeamHealth regarding surprise billing practices.

In December, congressional leaders announced the expansion of a bipartisan investigation into surprise billing practices by payers and providers, and requested information from several physician staffing companies, including TeamHealth.

Jack O'Brien is the finance editor at HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.


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