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Posted by: Maricopa Lawyers on Apr 5, 2013

Conrad Laska was involved in a serious car accident earlier in 2007 that left him with staggering medical bills. He later filed suit against the hospital, claiming they were required to bill Medicare for the treatment he received and couldn’t enforce a statutory lien against his tort claims of personal injury. Now a state appeals court has officially ruled in favor of the hospital.

Laska’s lofty medical bills totaled $19,423 through the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics. At the time of the accident he was eligible for Medicare coverage. The hospital never did however bill Medicare, against Laska’s wishes, instead filing a lien under the state’s hospital lien statute in accordance with Wis. Stat. section 779.80, which allows hospitals in this case to file liens in opposition to potential tort judgments and settlements to recover medical treatment expenses.

According to the state appeals court, Laska’s lawsuit heavily leaned upon a federal Medicare statute known as the “provider agreement statute.” The statute declares health care providers for charging individuals entitled to Medicare payments for a personal injury claim. Laska also cited the 2000 memorandum from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) barred hospitals from implementing liens following the expiration of Medicare billing.

Yet later the appeals court ruled that federal Medicare law cannot force hospitals to withdraw hospital liens when the Medicare billing period finally does expire. The DHHS memo does not provide adequate version of the law according to the panel. Laska’s bottom line was additionally determined to be unable to change the U.W. Hospital billed Medicare, Medicare still eligible to pursuit reimbursement from Laska on the grounds of tort claim recovery.

Laska is currently unable to elect any other federal authority that could prohibit the Hospital’s lien after the Medicare billing period expires.