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July 18, 2014

Civil suit alleges improper billing practices by NRH and contracted physicians groups

NORMAN — A civil lawsuit alleging improper billing practices was filed against Norman Regional Hospital and a contracted physicians group on Monday in Cleveland County District Court.

The plaintiffs were individuals arrested by law enforcement on suspicion of an alcohol- or drug-related criminal offense and taken to the hospital for blood testing, at the state’s request, to determine the blood or drug levels, the petition states.

It further states that law enforcement agencies taking arrestees to NRH should be billed for the blood testing services and not the arrestees. NRH and NEP are violating state statutes by billing and collecting money from the arrestees for the blood tests, according to the petition.

“Each of these plaintiffs was blood tested, but none was seen or examined by a physician,” the document said.

According to Oklahoma Statute Title 47, Section 752 (G), the cost of collecting blood, breath, saliva or urine for the purpose of determining the alcohol or other intoxicating substance, at the direction of a law enforcement officer, shall be paid by the law enforcement agency.

It further states that if the person is convicted for any offense involving the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence, an amount equal to the costs shall become a part of the court costs of the person and shall be collected by the court and remitted to the law enforcement agency bearing the costs.

Basically, the law enforcement agency, which the statute states is supposed to pay for the blood test, would get their money back through the court if the person they arrested was convicted of the crime he or she was arrested for.

Norman Regional Hospital spokeswoman Kelly Wells on Wednesday said, “We have received service of the claim today. It is the policy of Norman Regional Health System to not comment on any pending litigation until there has been an opportunity to review.”

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