Goodman Acker Partner Jordan Acker Demands that Insurers & Lawyers “Do Better”
Many of you have probably read the article in Crain’s about the “flood” of suits into Oakland and Macomb County courts over the last few years. Read the article here. It’s something we as Plaintiff lawyers have seen, especially since the Covenant decision came down. Let me say this first: I agree with Dave Massaron—our system is in serious need of reform—but focusing on medical providers, and especially those medical providers who provide services after benefits have been cut off, is going in the wrong direction. The mere mention of medical providers with lawsuits in Oakland County no doubt casts aspersions on their practices. But procedurally, we know one big thing: that insurers use the litigation process and denying claims to lower costs for the insurer, while driving up costs for medical providers. This is why one of the most common complaints—that hospital X charges $300 for an MRI while facility y charges more—is so disingenuous. Hospital X, through regular insurance, is guaranteed payment electronically within 7-10 business days. They don’t have to hire an attorney or consider litigation for 6-18 months before a bill is paid. And because insurers know that small, mom-and-pop or family medical facilities have costs to pay, they’ll do so at a significant discount. The IME doctors mentioned in that article provide cover for insurers to engage in this practice, and until we eliminate this type of behavior from insurers, this situation will not improve.
Are there medical providers that abuse the no-fault system? Of course. There is no question about it, and it’s something that needs to be fixed. We as plaintiff attorneys need to do a better job at policing ourselves too—everyone who has been in Wayne, Oakland, or Macomb courts have heard the hush-hush rumors about this provider or that lawyer. Instead of keeping it quiet, we should reject taking cases from providers we believe are overbilling, providing illegitimate services, or soliciting clients, either directly or indirectly. While we should demand insurers do better, we should do the same for ourselves.
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