A judge granted class-action status to a lawsuit in Arkansas state court against five-hospital Baptist Health, Little Rock, Ark., on behalf of uninsured patients. The suit is similar to but not part of a series of actions brought against not-for-profit health systems nationwide by attorney Richard Scruggs and several law firms beginning in June 2004. The ruling by Pulaski County (Ark.) Circuit Court Judge Timothy Fox was only the second time a judge has granted class-action status to such a suit. An Oregon judge in October 2005 awarded class-action status to a suit in state court against Legacy Health System, Portland. Baptist said it will appeal the ruling. The plaintiffs allege Baptist charged uninsured patients significantly higher prices than insured patients and "in excess of the reasonable value of the services provided," according to the suit. -- by Mark Taylor
Ark. uninsured-billing suit wins class-action status
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