TeamHealth and United concluded their opening statements yesterday in the long-awaited courtroom showdown taking place in Clark County District Court, presided over by Judge Nancy Allf. Immediately thereafter, AZA Law attorney John Zavitsanos called former United executive John Haben to the stand to begin what is expected to be a multi-day cross-examination.
Haben’s testimony was a dramatic beginning to the trial. Despite United’s insistence that billed charges of emergency department providers are “egregious,” Haben stated under oath, “If you put it in the perspective of saving somebody’s life, $1,400 is not a lot of money.” When asked if such bills could be characterized as egregious, Haben reiterated that “saving somebody’s life” was “worth” the $1,428 charged.
United, however, only allowed a charge of $254 for the example about which Haben was testifying. Regarding that amount, Haben said, “It’s low.” Haben went on to testify that the $1,428 charged by the provider is “reasonable.”
Haben, who is no longer employed by United, also testified that he has a severance agreement under which he is to receive an additional year’s salary and be available to testify if called.
Haben went on to state that the “Shared Savings” initiative that he was directly involved with, made more than $1 billion annually during his tenure at United. Haben later explained a “scorecard” was kept in conjunction with the initiative: “Those are the leads. We were selling to clients. So, we go and approach the client and say, do you want to migrate?”
Haben’s also testified that “What they [members] pay us for is member advocacy. So, if the member is in the middle, we will get engaged and help them with their balance billing.” Under further cross-examination, however, Haben said that until United migrated customers to its new platform, there was, by and large, no balance billing and thus no need for member advocacy. By Haben’s own account, United made $1.3 billion from the program and intends to cut out-of-network reimbursements by $3 billion by 2023.
The healthcare providers filed their lawsuit in April 2019 and seek $10.5 million in compensatory damages related to reimbursement for some 11,000 claims that were approved but underpaid by United. The providers also seek punitive damages.
The Nevada trial should be the most significant view behind the managed care curtain in recent history, as United marked an extensive number of documents “attorneys’ eyes only” going into the trial. For more details, see ProtectingOurHealthcareHeroes.com. To watch the proceedings in real-time, tune in to the livestream (Meeting ID: 541 907 772) from 9:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Pacific Time. After today’s testimony, trial resumes on Monday, Nov. 8.
At TeamHealth, our purpose is to perfect the practice of medicine, every day, in everything we do. We are proud to be the leading physician practice in the U.S., driven by our commitment to quality and safety and supported by our world-class operating team. To improve the experience of our physicians and advanced practice clinicians, we empower clinicians to act on what they believe is right, free clinicians from distractions so they can focus on patient care, invest in learning and development to promote growth in the clinical field and foster an environment where continuous improvement is a shared priority. Through our more than 15,000 affiliated healthcare professionals and advanced practice clinicians, TeamHealth offers emergency medicine, hospital medicine, critical care, anesthesiology, orthopedic surgery, general surgery, obstetrics, ambulatory care, post-acute care and medical call center solutions to approximately 2,900 acute and post-acute facilities and physician groups nationwide. Join our team; we value and empower clinicians. Partner with us; we deliver on our promises. Learn more at www.teamhealth.com.
The term “TeamHealth” as used throughout this release includes Team Health Holdings, Inc., its subsidiaries, affiliates, affiliated medical groups and providers, all of which are part of the TeamHealth organization. “Providers” are physicians, advanced practice clinicians and other healthcare providers who are employed by or contract with subsidiaries or affiliated entities of Team Health Holdings, Inc. All such providers exercise independent clinical judgment when providing patient care. Team Health Holdings, Inc., does not have any employees, does not contract with providers and does not practice medicine.