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Saturday, October 16, 2010

New Tennessee Supreme Court Decision on Hospital Liens

The Tennessee Supreme Court recently released its opinion in Shelby County Health Care Corp. v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., No. W2008-01922-SC-R11-CV (Tenn. Oct. 13, 2010). A portion of the opinion's synopsis, which summarizes the Court's holding, is as follows:

Kevin L. Holt, injured in an automobile accident in Arkansas, was first taken by ambulance to an Arkansas hospital and then transported to the Regional Medical Center in Memphis, where he incurred $33,823.02 in expenses. Shelby County Health Care Corporation, the operator of the Regional Medical Center, filed affidavits for a lien as prescribed by statute. Thereafter, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, which had medical coverage for Holt with limits of $5,000, paid $1,290 for ambulance services and $3,710 to the Arkansas hospital. Shelby County Health Care Corporation sued Nationwide for impairment of its lien, seeking as recovery the entire amount due for its medical services to Holt. The trial court awarded $5,000 in damages. The Court of Appeals revised the amount of the judgment to $33,823.02. Because we have determined that liens under the Hospital Lien Act do not attach to medical payment benefits paid pursuant to an insurance policy, the judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed and the cause is dismissed.
Here's a link to the opinion:

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