The American Tort Reform Association and DRI- The Voice of the Defense Bar — two business lobbying groups — have asked the Consumer Financial Protection Board to investigate the “medical-funding” industry after a Reuters investigation revealed that private investors finance operations for women who have sued makers of surgical implants.
The groups allege that that medical funders take advantage of the people they claim to be helping.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce added its voice, saying that medical funding is “a blatant abuse of the system” that leaves “actual victims with little or no recovery.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer explained that medical funders “profit by purchasing bills for the medical treatment of injured plaintiffs at a deep discount from healthcare providers, then claiming the full amount of the bill as a lien against the patient’s legal recovery through a settlement or verdict.”
“At least several hundred women in the sweeping litigation against manufacturers of so-called pelvic mesh, used to treat incontinence and other conditions, relied on medical funders to pay for surgery to remove their implants. Liens by funders in mesh cases, Reuters found, can spiral to as much as 10 times what health insurers would pay for the same procedures,” The Inquirer reported.
“Medical lender Daniel Christensen of Austin-based MedStar Funding said in an email that industry participants are subject to certain state commercial or lending laws. He said patients’ attorneys also provide oversight,” the paper said.
“I am in favor of a person’s right to contract. If they want to take a settlement advance or if they want to obtain medical care on a lien, they should have the right to do so without the government telling them otherwise.”