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Tennessee health care company wins a round in multi-state fight with insurer over ER doctor pay

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Stephen Jerkins | WPLN
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A Tennessee-based company that operates one out of every six emergency rooms nationwide has convinced a jury that its doctors in Las Vegas were underpaid by more than $10 million. TeamHealth’s case in Nevada is part of a much larger legal battle against United Healthcare, the country’s largest health insurer.

TeamHealth and UnitedHealthcare have been at odds over who should accept blame for so many patients receiving surprise medical bills. TeamHealth has been trying to show that it’s the mammoth insurance company that’s being unreasonable, by offering unfairly low pay to be considered in-network.

So TeamHealth has taken the matter to the courts — suing in 10 states. This week’s jury ruling in Nevada, which may also include punitive damages decided next month, was just the first.

“TeamHealth looks forward to continuing its efforts to ensure that our frontline clinicians have the resources to provide the high-quality lifesaving care and services patients rely on, from coast to coast,” CEO Leif Murphy said in a written statement.

Meanwhile, UnitedHealthcare wants to prove that TeamHealth is systematically overcharging for emergency services.

This month, the insurer filed a $100 million lawsuit in Tennessee, where TeamHealth is based, making a case that the private equity-owned company improperly coded ER visits to boost its revenue.

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