Hospitals can recover costs in the national opioid epidemic litigation
Hospital emergency departments have been drafted to the frontlines of the opioid crisis.
They not only serve as the primary healthcare facilities for first responders to bring suspected cases of opioid-related overdoses, but they also serve as the primary medical treatment for persons lacking insurance and/or primary care physicians.
These patients are sicker at presentation and their expenses are rapidly increasing. However, much of this care goes unreimbursed or reimbursed well under the cost of care.
Of course, the opioid crisis has not just affected adults; indeed, some of its most vulnerable victims have been babies born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. While many state Medicaid programs provide some reimbursement to hospitals for such care, the vast majority of the care remains un- or under-compensated.
Our hospital clients are concerned that funds being set aside for such future care may never find their way to the front lines. This concern is not theoretical; a recent study of the tobacco settlement fund found that only 3% of the monies distributed to states were actually used for tobacco-related healthcare and prevention. Our hospital clients believe that any monies paid by the opioid manufacturers and distributors (of which approximately $1 billion has already been paid in settlements and fines over the last few years), should actually go toward treating those with opioid-related addiction and preventing such addiction in the first place.
Accordingly, as counsel representing hospital clients, we work together with a medical team to best shape forward-looking relief that is likely to be negotiated as part of the resolution of the national opioid-epidemic litigation and proceedings so hospital networks are compensated for past and future unreimbursed care.
The question for our hospital clients has not been whether to become involved in the opioid litigation. They already are. Every hospital in the United States has been named as a putative class member in a class action lawsuit brought by a small hospital in rural southwest Mississippi. Accordingly, the question for our hospital clients has been whether they want their own voice in these proceedings and their own seat at the table to determine the fate of their own claims and be the master of their own future.
That’s how we help.