United loses another legal battle for prioritizing profits over patients and providers
UnitedHealthcare (United), once again, has been found guilty of intentionally and systematically underpaying TeamHealth clinicians. A three-judge arbitration panel in Tampa, Florida, issued a unanimous and unappealable verdict against United, awarding $10.8 million to a TeamHealth clinician group for United’s egregious underpayments from 2017 until 2020. In addition to the damages award, TeamHealth anticipates an additional award of millions of dollars in prejudgment interest and costs. The panel relied on convincing evidence that United paid the group 30% of the amount the judges determined to be the fair payment for the care provided – and United today continues to pay at this egregiously low rate.
“United persists in exploiting vulnerable patients and refuses to adequately pay providers, despite having faced sanctions, jury awards, and settlement payments of some half a billion dollars,” said Jay Mesrobian, MD, a TeamHealth National Medical Director and Chief Clinical Officer. “This judgment reflects United’s ongoing, extensive wrongdoing that puts their billions of dollars in record profits ahead of patients’ well-being and the U.S. healthcare system. We will continue to fight United until they change course and start fairly compensating providers.”
This victory in Florida continues TeamHealth’s string of litigation successes against United, which began in late 2021 when a Las Vegas jury awarded $60 million in punitive damages against United on top of millions in compensatory damages for underpayments similar to those found in Florida. By clear and convincing evidence, the Las Vegas jury found that United had underpaid thousands of claims for the emergency treatment and was “guilty of oppression, fraud, or malice.” TeamHealth medical groups have eight additional lawsuits pending across the country challenging United’s abusive underpayment practices.
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, acute behavioral health, post-acute care, post-acute behavioral health, ambulatory care, virtual care and medical call center solutions to more than 2,700 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.
The collective term “United” as used throughout this release references Defendants UnitedHealthcare of Florida, Inc. and UnitedHealthcare Insurance Co. United, including its many affiliated entities, is the largest health insurer in the U.S., administering care for 26.6 million people across all 50 states, D.C., and U.S. territories.