Premier, doctor ask court to dismiss patients’ lawsuit


Premier Health and a surgeon who does contract work through the health network have asked a court to dismiss a lawsuit against them that claims they did not tell two patients they were receiving emergency care not covered by their insurance.

The patients were both taken to the emergency room at Miami Valley Hospital, owned by Premier, and were assigned Dr. Kenneth Christman, an on-call plastic surgeon. The patients said in the suit that they should have been told that Christman is not a hospital employee and does not contract with any insurance networks.

Because Christman does not have pre-arranged payment agreements with insurance companies, the patients’ claim they unfairly received high bills.

RELATED: Family hit with $17,000 bill after going to in-network hospital

Premier and Christman filed responses to the suit recently, each stating that the law does not require either the physician or hospital staff to disclose insurance-status of physicians.

A motion filed on behalf of Christman by attorney Caroline Gentry, of Porter Wright, states “noticeably absent from the Complaint is any allegation that Dr. Christman made any representation to Plaintiffs, much less one that was false or misleading.”

The motion states that Miami Valley staff told the families that the hospital was in-network. But Christman, as a contractor, is not a hospital employee. His attorney states he is not legally obligated to tell the patients his insurance status.

“The initial question for this Court is whether such a legal duty exists as a matter of law. The answer is straightforward: Ohio law currently does not establish such a legal duty,” the motion states.

RELATED: Independent physicians say they’re getting squeezed out of business

The court documents filed on behalf of Christman also state that he shouldn’t be sued for “unjust enrichment” since the patients haven’t paid the medical bills yet.

“If anything, he provided them with benefits (surgical services) for which they have failed to pay. There is simply no basis for asserting this claim against Dr. Christman, and it should be dismissed,” court documents state.

Court documents filed on behalf of Premier by Jeff Ireland, attorney with Faruki+, asked the judge to dismiss the suit and stated that Premier staff did not make any false statements to the patients. It also cited past case law to argue that the health network also had no duty to disclose any information about the practices of contract doctors at its hospital.

The original lawsuit filed May 2 in Montgomery County Common Please Court asked the court to declare their case a class action lawsuit.

The first plaintiff, Reid Rupp, of Oakwood, states when he was a student at Miami University December 2016 he was taken by ambulance to Miami Valley Hospital after a bicycle accident at school. He received plastic surgery for injuries to his face and jaw, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit states their insurer paid Christman about $1,823, which the insurer considered to be a fair price. Christman said a fair price was $19,108. Rupp was eventually named responsible for a $17,031 balance.

The other plaintiffs are Ed and Kristen Garrett, the Sidney parents of a 17-year-old boy flown to Miami Valley Hospital October 2016 following a car crash.

RELATED: Anthem criticized here for cutting some non-emergency ER coverage

The lawsuit states their insurer paid Christman $13,140, which its considers the amount that it would have paid if Christman was in-network. The Garretts were billed by Christman for a $9,458 balance. The Garretts’ insurer paid for all services except the balance of the bill they received from Christman.

“Upon information and belief, both Premier and Dr. Christman have received numerous complaints and grievances from patients over the course of years regarding their illegal and unethical conduct,” the lawsuit states. “Nonetheless, Defendants have knowingly and willfully continued the foregoing scheme because both Defendants gain financially by continuing to generate increased medical fees.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Butler County becomes only 4th in state with top financial rating
Butler County becomes only 4th in state with top financial rating

Butler County has been upgraded to the prestigious Aaa rating following years of holding operating costs low and paying off general fund debt. Moody’s Investors Service, which provides financial research on bonds issued by commercial and government organizations, upgraded Butler County general obligation limited tax ratings Tuesday to Aaa, the...
Area Sears location will close on Sunday
Area Sears location will close on Sunday

Sunday will be the last day the Dayton Mall Sears location in Miami Twp. is open. The store will be open on Black Friday, but will close two days later as part of Sears’ plan to return to profitability after filing for bankruptcy last month. Two other local stores, Beavercreek and Piqua, are scheduled to shutter within the next several months...
Car hits utility pole, closing Dixie Drive in Vandalia
Car hits utility pole, closing Dixie Drive in Vandalia

Vandalia police are asking drivers to avoid Dixie Drive after a car hit a utility pole.The road is indefinitely closed in both directions between Elva Court and Scott Drive due to a downed pole and power lines, according to police. Drivers should instead use National Road to Helke Road to Stonequarry Road to Dixie Drive, or vice versa.  A car...
“This one belongs to the Reds,” Ohio Supreme Court says in tax case
“This one belongs to the Reds,” Ohio Supreme Court says in tax case

The Cincinnati Reds chalked up a win Wednesday in a fight over whether the franchise should pay sales taxes on bobbleheads and other promotional items given to fans who attend home games. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled 5-2 that the team didn’t have to pay taxes on the trinkets since the Reds demonstrated that the cost of the items were factored...
Pike County murders: Court dates set for Wagners accused in killings
Pike County murders: Court dates set for Wagners accused in killings

The arraignments have been set for the remaining four suspects accused in the Pike County murders. Jake Wagner will appear on Nov. 27 at 9 a.m. in Pike County Common Pleas Court George Wagner IV will appear on Nov. 28 at 10 a.m. in Pike County Common Pleas Court. Angela Wagner will appear Nov. 29 at 1:30 p.m. in Pike County Common Pleas Court. George ...
More Stories