The California Attorney General’s office is suing a Los Angeles County doctor over her practice of refusing to accept lower insurance company reimbursements and instead billing patients for the full amount.
The lawsuit against South Pasadena physician Jeannette Martello is the first of its kind in the state, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Martello’s attorney Andrew Selesnick said the doctor has done nothing wrong and she is lawfully pursuing her right to be paid a fair amount for her services.
A judge in May ordered Martello to stop her aggressive tactics, including lawsuits and liens on homes, to force patients to pay for emergency care when they were covered under managed-care health insurance plans.
According to state law, that is illegal because emergency room patients have little say in who treats them.
Selesnick said that even though Martello was treating patients in the emergency room, the patients were in stable condition.
Court records show Martello has filed more than 50 lawsuits in the past two years, mostly for breach of contract. In one case, she started the process to force the sale of a patient’s home to pay a $12,630 bill for emergency room treatment of a severed fingertip.
The state Attorney General’s lawsuit seeks to stop Martello’s billing collection policies and to have her pay back the patients.