Judge denies Cleveland Clinic’s move to dismiss lawsuit alleging ‘deceptive’ radiology billing practices

A Cuyahoga County, Ohio, judge recently denied Cleveland Clinic’s attempt to dismiss a class-action lawsuit alleging it engaged in dishonest billing practices for radiology services.

The lawsuit filed in August by Amanda van Brakle claims the healthcare giant violated the Ohio Consumer Sales Practice Act and alleges Cleveland Clinic’s “unfair” and “deceptive” billing practices created confusion and stress that financially hurt patients. Cleveland Clinic, meanwhile, says there is no language in the rules that suggest such regulations apply to medical billing for healthcare providers.

According to the lawsuit, van Brakle visited a Cleveland Clinic facility in Lakewood, Ohio, in August 2018 for imaging services. She says the health system never told her she could receive a cost estimate for the procedure, nor was she provided one. During her visit, she paid $25 for the exam but wasn’t given a receipt. Over time, she paid $288 for the radiology exam, but those payments went toward other services and not the imaging exam.

Later in 2018, the institution hired a debt collector to gather what van Brakle said was an “overinflated” balance for her imaging exam.

Additionally, van Brakle claims Cleveland Clinic’s failure to inform and provide her with cost estimates and receipts violated Ohio’s consumer protection act. In November, she changed her complaint to a class-action suit, in addition to seeking individual relief.

Cleveland Clinic in November 2020 moved to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming the services it provided were not a consumer transaction covered under the Ohio Consumer Sales Practice Act.

This Jan. 14 decision says that the lawsuit has standing, and the judge ruled that van Brakle’s complaints are enough to support a class-action claim.

You can read the entire lawsuit here.