Hastings Law Journal


The California Courts of Appeal are currently split over the issue of whether the California Hospital Lien Act allows "balance billing." The First District allows medical care providers to recover the difference between their customary rates and the negotiated discount rates paid by a patient's health insurance carrier. The Second District has held balance billing is prohibited by California law. This Note explains the conflict that exists within the California Appellate Courts and analyzes the effects of applying each District's interpretation of the Hospital Lien Act. The legislative history to the Hospital Lien Act, similar federal statutes, and public policy concerns present strong arguments for the California Supreme Court to prohibit balance billing by hospital lien in Parnell v. Adventist Health Systems/West.

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