August 14, 2019
In June, Kaiser Permanente filed a lawsuit in federal court against Queen’s Health System (Queen’s) to protect patients from unfair billing practices. Yesterday, Queen’s filed a motion asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit, and claiming it has a right to go after patients and balance bill them. Arguments like the ones in Queen’s motion have been rejected by other courts.
Prior negotiations broke down because Queen’s refused to move from its original position of excessive rates despite several proposals of increasing value by Kaiser Permanente. Queen’s did not negotiate, but rather presented above-market rates as a “take-it-or-leave-it” position. This does not demonstrate a willingness to negotiate in good faith for the good of patients and the community.
Kaiser Permanente is disappointed that Queen’s continues to put patients in the middle of a rate negotiation. Kaiser Permanente currently is paying more than it was paying under the parties’ prior contract. Queen’s terminated that contract and demanded Kaiser Permanente pay rates above market norms that exceed what other hospitals charge. Queen’s plans to go after patients if Kaiser Permanente doesn’t pay these unreasonable rates.
It is unacceptable for Queen’s to use patients, who may already be dealing with serious and stressful health issues, as bargaining tools. Kaiser Permanente filed its lawsuit to protect its members, and other Hawaii residents, from Queen’s repeated threats to use unfair billing practices.
While we remain committed to working toward a fair and equitable agreement, we cannot agree to Queen’s unreasonable demands that make health care increasingly unaffordable. We will not tolerate Queen’s use of patients’ health care as a negotiating tool.
We look forward to a court reviewing this case and are confident we will prevail following an impartial review of the facts.
If you have questions about coverage or benefits visit kp.org or call our Member Services Center at 808-432-5955 (Oahu), 1-800-966-5955 (Neighbor Islands).