Lawsuit accuses hospital of "punishing" uninsured patient - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Lawsuit accuses hospital of "punishing" uninsured patient

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It looked like October 16th 2012 was going to be just another day for 31-year-old Jason Pennington.

"I was leaving work, just got off I was heading home," Pennington said.

Pennington took a right at the light and collided with fate.

"That's when she pulled out in front of me and ended up t-boning her," said Pennington.

Pennington found himself laying on the ground.

Rain poured on him while blood poured out of him.

"I got pulled out of my car, it was smoking didn't know if it was on fire," Pennington said. "I just remember blood dripping down my face, on my chest on my hands."

"He was transported to Bayshore Medical Hospital by ambulance for treatment," said Pennington's attorney David Tang.

"They asked me if I had health insurance," Pennington said. "At the time I didn't have any insurance."

"He was there approximately 2 to 3 hours and they gave him a 19 thousand dollar bill for his visit," Tang said.

Yea you heard that right, 19 grand. 19 thousand three hundred and 71 dollars to be exact.

What kind of treatment did he get for 19 thousand dollars?

"I think he had some pain pills and maybe a Cat scan and that was basically it," Tang said. "Some stitching."

Like most people his age Pennington was as likely to have 19 grand laying around as 19 million.

"They said they would work with me in negotiating the bill to get a lower cost," said Pennington.

"In fact they did reduce his bill from 19 thousand to approximately 38 hundred dollars," Tang said.

Pennington paid off the 38 hundred dollar bill and on May 8th Bayshore Medical Center filed this discharge of hospital lien.

It states," The hospital does hereby certify that the debt covered by the lien has been paid."

Pennington thought he was free and clear with the hospital.

But the hospital apparently had a change of heart when it learned Pennington had settled with the other driver's insurance company for 30 thousand dollars.

That's according to a lawsuit Pennington filed against Bayshore Medical Center.

"When they found out Jason had come into some settlement proceeds they quickly filed the lien saying oh no you haven't paid off the hospital bill yet," Pennington's attorney said.

23 days after releasing Pennington from the lien Bayshore Medical filed another lien against him demanding the 19 grand. It states, "This lien was previously filed, but erroneously released. Hospital hereby reinstates the lien."

"We want more money that's the bottom line," Tang said. "They want more money than what was agreed to."

The lawsuit accuses Bayshore Medical Center of trying to extort money from Penington and filing a fraudulent lien against him.

"They use this lien number one to punish Jason," Tang said. "And number two to extort money from him and I don't think that's right."

In a prepared statement to Fox 26 Investigates Bayshore Medical Center said," When Pennington indicated he was unable to pay for the medical care we negotiated a settlement in good faith."

When we learned he had available insurance to meet his obligations we acted appropriately to seek payment for the care we provided."

The statement goes on to say," We understand people sometimes have financial difficulties and we try to work with patients when we can. However that's clearly not the situation with Pennington."

Pennington said he can't give the hospital 19 grand because he's already spent most of the 30 grand on bills and a new car.

He said he still has to try to find a way to pay for plastic surgery.

Without it the scar on his face is permanent.

"I felt like that 38 hundred dollars we agreed on was more than enough to take care of the services they provided me," Pennington said.

It could take years for Pennington to dig himself out of his financial hole.

Meanwhile according to their C.F.O. Bayshore Medical Center's net revenue is 22 to 24 million dollars a month.

"Quite honestly It looks like they're punishing Jason.for not having insurance," Tang said.

And it all follows an accident that wasn't even his fault.



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