VCH sues German over $35,000 hospital bill

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Non-payment is a violation of the Hospital Insurance Act of British Columbia.

The Vancouver Coastal Health Authority is suing a German who racked up $47,316 in hospital bills.

Helmut Lang was admitted to Vancouver General Hospital February 8-12, 2019 and signed a fee payment schedule and payment agreement, agreeing to pay all fees.

An invoice dated March 22, 2019, was sent to Lang and Global Excel Management Inc., a third-party administrator of Lang’s insurance provider, according to a notice of civil suit filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia on February 14.

The claim says Global paid $12,173, but the balance of $35,143 remains unpaid.

Under the Hospital Insurance Act (HIA), the provincial government is not responsible for services provided to a person who is not a resident of British Columbia.

“Defendants’ failure to pay the debt constitutes a violation of the HIA and plaintiff is entitled to recover the debt from defendant,” the claim states.

The British Columbia Ministry of Health said patients who need care – especially emergency care – will not be denied help.

“Health authorities have procedures in place to try to minimize bad debts,” the ministry said.

Before any service is provided to non-residents, payment is collected in advance where possible and a financial responsibility agreement is signed, the ministry explained.

“If this is not possible, such as when very sick patients are admitted to the emergency room, the patient is billed after the visit,” the ministry said. “Health authorities will work with people with unpaid hospital bills and their insurance companies to secure payments with legal process as a last resort.”

During this time, interest continues to accrue on the invoice.

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