Extra Mediation Ahead as More Billing Lawsuits are Filed
The number of people being sued by Glens Falls Hospitals continues to rise and now, to deal with the onslaught of lawsuits, more mediation sessions have been added.
Each of the respondents must begin with mediation with the hospital, but there is currently a weeks-long scheduling delay. The soonest a person responding to the summons now would receive a mediation date would be the end of September.
Greta Guarino, a court clerk, explains the process, “This is new. Mediation for this is a new thing. If they answer (the summons), it gets set for a mediation date. If they do not answer it, it can go to default judgment.”
Glens Falls has long used civil court to collect debts, but the number is higher than usual this year. Last year’s cases, which included only eight, concluded with a man whose insurance claim was denied after a car accident. The hospital sued him for $2000 and lost after he appealed the insurance denial and an arbitrator ruled the insurance company and hospital had to come to a resolution without involving the patient.
The hospital did not file any lawsuits against patients for nine months, and then the onslaught of this summer began. There have been more than 60 people sued in 2019 so far. From January to May of this year, 18 default judgments were issued to the hospital. Only one person who received a summons filed an answer. One additional case was dropped and only four were left to adjudicate.
More than two dozen additional cases were added over the summer, two of which have already received a default judgment and one of which was dropped. Additional cases have been sealed throughout the year, but with no explanation. There are currently more than 30 cases to deal with through mediation.