Kaiser Permanente Files Federal Lawsuit Against Queen’s Health System
Kaiser Permanente has filed a lawsuit in federal court against Queen’s Health System alleging “unfair billing practices.”
Without a contracted rate for commercial members, Kaiser representatives say patients at QHS could be billed for the balance of any charges, above what KP pays.
The practice is known as “balance billing.” Kaiser calls it “intolerable” saying it “puts patients, who may already be dealing with serious and stressful health issues, in the middle of a contract dispute.”
Minna Sugimoto, Spokesperson, The Queen’s Health Systems responded to our request for comment saying, “Queen’s is in the process of reviewing the lawsuit. While we do not comment on pending litigation, we can say that we will continue to ensure all patients who seek our help, regardless of insurance coverage, receive the highest quality of care. It has been our mission for 160 years to provide great clinical care for all the people of Hawaiʻi, and we will continue to serve all patients, including Kaiser members, any time they need our services.”
Laura M. Lott, Director of Communications and Public Relations at Kaiser Permanente said that while Kaiser remains committed to working toward a fair and equitable agreement, it cannot agree to the rate increases. “Such payments are unsustainable and would greatly increase medical inflation and escalate the overall cost of care for all Hawaiʻi residents.”
Lott noted that while the case is under review, KP members retain access to emergency and trauma services at all Queen’s facilities, as they would at any other hospital.