MEDPARTNERS: Community Hospital Sues to Recover $10 Million
Parkview Community Hospital filed suit Thursday against MedPartners Inc., alleging that the physician management company "shorted the struggling hospital" $10 million worth of patient care, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports. MedPartners, recently renamed Caremark Rx, previously had owned and managed physician groups throughout Southern California: Earlier this year, the state Department of Corporations seized control of MedPartners Provider Network, a subsidiary of the company, and forced the unit into bankruptcy. According to the Parkview lawsuit, the hospital contracted to provide care to roughly 80,000 patients affiliated with Riverside Medical Clinic, a former MedPartners affiliate. The agreement stipulated that Parkview would cover costs of hospital care, and MedPartners would provide Parkview with a flat monthly fee for each patient. But Parkview administrators contend that MedPartners neglected to "regularly provide" up-to-date lists of patients eligible for care, leaving the hospital to provide services to unqualified patients. The suit further argues that MedPartners never provided "an accounting for more than $8 million in out-of-area hospital charges, or an accounting of $3 million in monthly fees that the company claims it overpaid the hospital for in patient care." Although most Southern California hospitals trying to resolve bills with MedPartners have gone through a settlement between the company and state regulators, Parkview is not eligible for that money because its contract with MedPartners ended prior to the bankruptcy court intervention. According to Parkview managed care consultant Peter Gasperoni, the hospital has been attempting to resolve this issue since 1998. Joel Weiden, spokesperson for MedPartners, said the company had not seen the suit yet and could not comment (Beeman, 11/19).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.