|By Adam Lynn, The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.)|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
President and CEO
It also has hired a company to replace its vendor,
"We want to do what's right by our patients," Cecchettini said. "We apologize to anyone who's been harmed by this."
But a lawyer for
"We're disappointed and discouraged in the approach MultiCare has taken in terminating our contract," said
Seven people contend MultiCare and
State law allows some health-care providers, including hospitals and doctors, to seek such liens to recover the cost of providing care to patients who have no medical insurance or other ways to pay.The plaintiffs contend
MultiCare, he said, used the alleged scheme to "maximize its profits" by going after settlement money instead of negotiating with insurance carriers.
The defendants have denied wrongdoing.
"Both MultiCare and
Smith said Thursday that
"We had no idea at the time that that was wrong or incorrect or challengeable," he said.
Smith also denied his client filed improper liens or did anything to violate MultiCare policies.
MultiCare launched an internal investigation into liens filed by
"In the course of our review, we have discovered instances of improper practices by this vendor and improper actions by a MultiCare employee, who is no longer with MultiCare," according to the statement.
The statement does not name the former employee, but court records identify him as
Adams procured the contract with
"As a result of an independent investigation, we found that our medical lien program did not have enough internal checks and balances," according to the statement. "We also discovered information indicating that our former employee had a questionable business relationship with the primary owner of Hunter Donaldson and was not acting entirely in MultiCare's best interests. We are continuing to investigate this relationship."
Attempts to contact Adams have been unsuccessful. Court documents suggest he has moved to
Smith called MultiCare's contentions that it did not know what was going on with the liens "simply not consistent with the facts."
"MultiCare, at its highest levels of management -- even at the board of directors -- has been aware and involved in the medical lien process from the beginning," Smith said. "MultiCare was keenly aware of what was going on."
Citing MultiCare emails he's received as part of the litigation, Cochran said health system administrators aside from Adams knew about what he characterized as
"Trying to blame it on a rogue employee and its contractor contradicts the evidence he have in our files," Cochran said.
Smith also denied there was any untoward relationship between Adams and his client.
Yes, they worked together closely, he said, but only because that was what was required to put together a complicated transaction.
"We know that
Cecchettini, Multicare's president and CEO, told
Knackstedt said it is unclear how many MultiCare patients might be eligible for refunds.
Smith said that "simply is not true."
"They have all the information," he said. "I can't speak to how they read it, analyze it or understand it. And since they severed their relationship with us, it would be difficult for us to help them with that."
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