San Francisco Hit With Lawsuit Over Health Care Safety Net Efforts
Last week, Bay Area Legal Aid and the Western Center on Law and Poverty filed a lawsuit alleging that the city and county of San Francisco charged indigent patients too much for health care services, the Los Angeles Daily Journal reports.
The case was filed in San Francisco Superior Court on behalf of three low-income patients. Similar lawsuits have been filed against Fresno and San Diego counties (George, Los Angeles Daily Journal, 1/8).
State law requires California counties to operate safety net programs for residents with illnesses who are ineligible for Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program.Â The safety net programs cover physician appointments, some medications and other medical services.
Eligibility guidelines are determined on a county-by-county basis (California Healthline, 12/3).
The suit has sparked controversy because of the Healthy San Francisco program, an effort to ensure that all city residents have access to health care services.
The lawsuit alleges that San Francisco entities charged the patients more than they should have, citing the state's Welfare and Insurance Code.Â
According to the Daily Journal, the suit focuses on copayments that San Francisco charges indigent patients for medical services.Â Legal aid groups want the copays to be adjusted according to individual's ability to pay.
S.F. Official Responds
City attorney spokesperson Matt Dorsey said his office was reviewing the lawsuit and added that it does not appear to directly implicate the Healthy San Francisco program.Dorsey said, "The lawsuit generally challenges the city's compliance with the state law in how it provides and bills for medical services for indigent patients" (Los Angeles Daily Journal, 1/8). 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.