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Please note that Attorney Bruzonsky has been doing this regular “Liens Corner” column since April 2006. His last “Liens Corner” article was for the November/December 2017 issue of The Advocate, having stepped down from this regular column, as he now works part-time (and is part-time retired) exclusively handling large subrogation/lien claims in very large personal injury and medical malpractice cases for other attorneys. However, attorney Bruzonsky may add notes to this website under the subject lien article headers from time to time. (Please keep in mind that this site contains general information for educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advise, which can only come from a qualified attorney who is familiair with all the facts and circumstances of your specific case and relevant law.) 

 

 

2007-05: A.R.S. 33-931 et seq Liens Filed by Health Care Providers Other Than Hospitals or Ambulances

June 25th, 2016 11:34:54 am


This article has been published in "The Advocate", a monthly publication of the Arizona Association for Justice/Arizona Trial Lawyers Association, May 2007 issue, @2007 by Steven J. Bruzonsky, Esq.


A.R.S. § 33-931 ET SEQ LIENS FILED BY HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS OTHER THAN HOSPITALS OR AMBULANCES


Following is a letter that I recently wrote to a local Radiologist that filed the lien more than thirty days after providing the services, and therefore the lien is ineffective against my client's personal injury settlement. The attached Memo briefly summarizes Arizona statutory lien law as well. As discussed below, beware, there are different filing time limits for hospitals and ambulance services (within thirty days of settlement) vs other health care providers (within thirty days of providing any accident-related service).


March 30, 2007


Legal/Auto Lien Department _________ Radiology


Re: Our Client/Your Patient:
Date of Accident: 11-27-06
A.R.S. 33-931 et seq Lien in amount of $318.00+ filed on 2-22-07
Date(s) of Medical Care by Your Facility/Office: 12-7-06 AND 1-8-07
Patient's Health Insurance: Aetna


Dear Sir/Madame;


We understand that you have filed with the local County Recorder's office the above statutory lien, attempting to balance bill the amount of the billed charges, less payment by the patient's health insurance, from the patient's upcoming personal injury settlement.


However, your lien is not effective against our client's personal injury settlement for the following reasons:


1. As you are not a hospital or ambulance service, you have failed to file/perfect the lien within thirty days after the patient has received any accident-related services from you. A.R.S. 33-932(A) and 33-932(C).


2. Even if the lien were effective, it would only be applicable to your customary charges in excess of $250.00.


A.R.S. 33-931(C).


Please be advised that our firm will not be honoring your invalid lien claim. Please file a Lien Release immediately or you will be subject to legal action. If a Lien Release is not filed, with a copy to our office, within thirty days, then we have advised our client to file a complaint with their health insurance carrier regarding your violating your contact with the carrier and your violating A.R.S. 20-1072.


Please see Memo below for more information.


Thank you for your courtesy and assistance.


Very truly yours,


Steven J. Bruzonsky


MEMO RE REQUIREMENTS FOR STATUTORY LIENS A.R.S. 33-931ET SEQ


A.R.S. 20-1072 provides that you as a participating provider with the patient's health insurance, you are required to bill the patient's health insurance, and you may only charge the patient the copay or deductible allowed under the policy. Please advise of the copay or deductible amount due.


The only exception to the above is if you file a timely A.R.S. 33-931 et seq statutory lien.


A.R.S. 33-931(A) states that the lien applies to "all claims of liability or indemnity, except health insurance and underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage - - -."


A.R.S. 33-931(C) states that the lien is "applicable to all customary charges by hospitals or ambulances of political subdivisions, but are restricted to customary charges in excess of two hundred fifty dollars by all other providers and privately owned ambulance companies excluding interest and service charges."


A.R.S. 33-932(A) provides that a hospital may "perfect" the lien by recording it "within thirty days after the patient is discharged". A.R.S. 33-932(D) provides that the hospital lien, as well as any ambulance service lien, is effective if recorded thirty days before settlement, except that if lien is accessible on the internet, then the lien info must be accessible on the internet thirty days before settlement.


A.R.S. 33-932(A) provides that health care providers (except hospitals) are required to record the lien "before or within thirty days after the patient has received any services relating to the injuries". A.R.S. 33-932(C) provides that "If a health care provider other than a hospital or ambulance service does not record the - - - lien - - - as provided in this section, the - - - lien - - - is invalid and may not be enforced by the cause of action provided in section 33-934. " The A.R.S. 33-932(D) exception that hospital and ambulance liens are "effective" if recorded thirty days prior to settlement doesn't include other health care providers.


A.R.S. 33-936 provides that a lienholder or assignee that fails to grant a release within thirty days after satisfaction of the lienholder or assignee is subject to liability in the amount of one hundred dollars and also to liability for actual damages.



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© Copyright 2006, Steven J. Bruzonsky, Attorney
Terms of Use: This site contains general information for educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advise, which can only come from a qualified attorney who is familiar with all the facts and circumstances of your specific case and relevant law. If you use this site, or send information or e-mail the attorney, such action does not create an attorney-client relationship. For legal advise please personally consult with an experienced attorney like Steven J. Bruzonsky.