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Steven J. Bruzonsky

Attorney At Law

Law Office of
Steven J. Bruzonsky
917 E. San Angelo Ave.
Gilbert, AZ 85234
480-969-3003

Call 480-969-3003

REDUCING AND DEFEATING LIENS


Following are some examples of how Attorney Bruzonsky has reduced and defeated lien claims both in his own Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Practice, and in his Personal Injury Lien Practice, in which he handles complex lien situations in personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death cases for other Arizona attorneys representing injured claimants. Amounts are approximate and may be rounded off.

 

A.R.S. § 33-931 healthcare provider liens:

 

If a hospital, doctor or other healthcare provider files a lien with the county recorder, the provider has a lien for its "customary" charges against the liability settlement. Attorney Bruzonsky has used various legal arguments to reduce and sometimes completely defeat these liens.

 

In one case, Attorney Bruzonsky was retained when the case was already three years old. The hospital charges were about $200,000 and a lien was filed. The attorney for the injured party advised that there was no employer provided health insurance. The hospital had initially determined that the patient, who was initially in a coma post-accident, had no health insurance. Attorney Bruzonsky re-investigated and determined that the patient had excellent health insurance through his employer; and this resulted in the hospital being paid nearly $80,000 in health insurance benefits. Once this was accomplished, Attorney Bruzonsky accomplished substantial further lien reduction.

 

Following are some examples of how Attorney Bruzonsky has been able to reduce and at times defeat A.R.S. § 33-931 healthcare provider liens. The lien amounts are the amount that the hospital, doctor or other healthcare provider claimed as a lien against the settlement, after any payment by health insurance.

  • $812,400 lien waived in its entirety

  • $711,000 liens (2) reduced to $25,000 (for both liens)

  • $572,000 lien reduced to $14,010

  • $563,984 lien reduced to $15,000

  • $460,000 lien waived in its entirety

  • $450,000 lien reduced to $125,000

  • $370,000 lien reduced to $5,000

  • $246,221 lien reduced to $90,000

  • $237,000 lien reduced to $10,000

  • $210,400 lien reduced to $105,200

  • $207,285 lien reduced to $95,000

  • $194,000 lien reduced to $41,000

  • $185,796 lien reduced to $10,000

  • $173,000 lien reduced to $4,000

  • $161,854 lien reduced to $92,500

  • $160,000 lien waived in its entirety

  • $140,005 lien reduced to $42,500

  • $139,200 lien reduced to $40,950

  • $138,200 lien reduced to $10,000

  • $135,000 lien reduced to $30,000

  • $128,500 lien reduced to $2,100

  • $127,900 lien reduced to $40,000

  • $122,000 lien waived in its entirety

  • $119,000 lien reduced to $6,000

  • $110,000 lien waived in its entirety

  • $102,000 lien reduced to $2,500

  • $82,888 lien reduced to $8,289.00

  • $80,000 lien waived in its entirety

  • $78,800 lien waived in its entirety

  • $76,000 lien reduced to $20,000

  • $74,332 lien reduced to $7,500

  • $71,680 lien waived in its entirety

  • $70,000 lien reduced to $20,000

  • $64,980 lien waived in its entirety

  • $62,600 lien reduced to $5,700

  • $68,000 lien reduced to $20,000

  • $59,000 lien waived in its entirety

  • $56,086 lien reduced to $20,000

  • $55,740 lien waived in its entirety

  • $52,300 lien reduced to $14,200

  • $48,000 lien reduced to $4,200

  • $47,000 lien reduced to $1,000

  • $47,400 lien reduced to $21,200

  • $46,700 lien reduced to $5,000

  • $44,326 lien waived in its entirety

  • $42,500 lien reduced to $4,200

  • $39,700 lien reduced to $12,000

  • $39,000 lien waived in its entirety

  • $37,600 lien waived in its entirety

  • $36,800 lien reduced to $24,000

  • $35,700 lien reduced to $10,800

  • $35,600 lien reduced to $7,000

  • $31,500 lien reduced to $13,500

  • $29,000 lien reduced to $1,500

  • $28,300 lien reduced to $10,000

  • $27,400 lien reduced to $4,000

  • $27,100 lien waived in its entirety

  • $27,000 lien waived in its entirety

  • $27,000 lien reduced to $600

  • $26,000 lien reduced to $1,500

  • $25,000 lien reduced to $1,500

  • $25,000 lien reduced to $6,000

  • $24,300 lien reduced to $3,000

  • $22,694 lien waived in its entirety

  • $22,500 lien reduced to $7,500

  • $21,100 lien reduced to $14,100

  • $20,200 lien reduced to $5,200

  • $20,000 lien reduced to $300

  • $17,400 lien reduced to $8,000

  • $15,300 lien reduced to $1,250

  • $15,000 lien reduced to $3,800

  • $15,000 lien waived in its entirety

  • $12,900 lien waived in its entirety

  • $12,000 lien waived in its entirety

  • $11,700 lien reduced to $4,500

  • $10,600 lien reduced to $1,750

  • $10,250 lien reduced to $2,500

  • $10,200 lien reduced to $5,000

  • $9,200 lien waived in its entirety

  • $6,200 lien waived in its entirety

  • $5,700 lien reduced to $400  

  • $6,428 lien waived in its entirety

  • $5,100 lien reduced to $3,500

  • $3,600 lien reduced to $1,250

  • $2,500 lien waived in its entirety

  • $2,100 lien reduced to $570

 

Out of State Healthcare Provider Lien Claims:

  • $206,000  reduced to $36,600

 

 

Health Insurance Lien Claims (ERISA Liens):

 

Employer health plans and/or health insurers frequently claim that they have liens against settlement of personal injury claims. Attorney Bruzonsky has used various legal arguments to reduce and sometimes completely defeat these liens.

 

Following are some examples of how Attorney Bruzonsky has been able to reduce and at times defeat health insurance lien claims (ERISA liens).

  • $693,000 lien reduced to $175,000

  • $496,200 lien reduced to $17,500

  • $490,000 lien reduced to $162,000

  • $462,000 lien reduced to $40,000

  • $325,000 lien reduced to $32,500

  • $308,600 lien reduced to $245,000

  • $261,000 lien reduced to $15,000

  • $249,000 lien waived in its entirety

  • $200,000 lien waived in its entirety

  • $177,600 lien reduced to $42,000

  • $161,000 lien reduced to $40,000

  • $127,400 lien reduced to $10,000

  • $120,500 lien waived in its entirety

  • $115,431 lien waived in its entirety

  • $88,100 lien reduced to $44,000

  • $96,400 lien reduced to $77,100

  • $80,000 lien reduced to $27,500

  • $79,000 lien reduced to $42,000

  • $71,200 lien reduced to $35,600

  • $70,000 lien reduced to $7,000

  • $62,700 lien reduced to $50,000

  • $58,400 lien reduced to $9,300

  • $57,000 lien reduced to $4,000

  • $50,000 lien reduced to $8,000

  • $48,900 lien reduced to $5,000

  • $47,700 lien reduced to $1,600

  • $47,000 lien waived in its entirety

  • $46,973 lien reduced to $15,000

  • $41,706 lien reduced to $21,000

  • $38,600 lien reduced to $10,000

  • $37,561 lien reduced to $25,041

  • $35,000 lien waived in its entirety

  • $33,800 lien reduced to $10,000

  • $33,100 lien reduced to $23,000

  • $32,656 lien reduced to $14,540

  • $30,000 lien waived in its entirety

  • $29,000 lien waived in its entirety

  • $20,000 lien (medical and short term disability) waived in their entirety

  • $18,500 lien reduced to $9,000

  • $14,000 lien reduced to $7,000

  • $12,800 lien reduced to $6,400

  • $12,060800 lien reduced to $6,000

  • $10,000 (short term disability) lien waived in its entirety

  • $7,418 lien waived in its entirety
  • $4,600 lien reduced to $2,000

  • $2,200 lien reduced to $1,100

    .

     

     

    A.R.S. §12-962 State or Political Subdivision Lien Claims:

     

    A.R.S. § 12-962 provides lien and subrogation rights for Arizona state or political subdivions, which include Arizona state departments or agencies (e.g., Arizona Department of Corrections), Colleges, and local school districts. Attorney Bruzonsky has used various legal arguments to reduce and sometimes completely defeat these liens.  Following are some examples of how Attorney Bruzonsky has been able to reduce and at times defeat A.R.S. § 12-962 lien claims.

    • $2.4 million lien reduced to $480,000, with $1 million to be held in third party trust as credit for future incident-related medical benefits

    • $493,500 lien reduced to $185,000

    • $224,878 lien waived in its entirety

    • $131,754 lien reduced to $88,318

    • $105,000 lien waived in its entirety

    • $67,300 lien reduced to $10,000

    • $58,681 lien reduced to $38,500

    • $28,000 lien reduced to $10,000

    • $18,300 lien reduced to $3,700

    • $14,000 lien reduced to $8,000

    :

     

    AHCCCS (Medicaid) Lien Claims:

             

    Federal law (42 U.S.C. § 1396a-1396u, Subchapter XIX) establishes Medicaid as a medical assistance program for eligible low-income individuals.  Federal funds are given to the states, which implement Medicaid to eligible state residents. The Arizona Medicaid system is AHCCCS (Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System) (36 A.R.S.§ 36-2901 through A.R.S. § 36-2998).  Federal law provides for Medicaid liens [42 U.S.C. § 1396a(a)(25) and 42 U.S.C. § 1396k(b)], and each state has its own laws implementing the liens (in Arizona, A.R.S. § 12-961 through § 12-964, in particular A.R.S. § 12-962; A.R.S. § 36-2915 and A.R.S. § 39-2916; and A.R.S. § 36-2956).  Attorney Bruzonsky has used various legal arguments to reduce these liens.Attorney Bruzonsky has been able to obtain reasonable AHCCCS lien reduction in every case, and in some cases, attorney Bruzonsky has been able to obtain very substantial AHCCCS lien reductions, with a few examples listed below:

    • $322,100 lien reduced to $59,500

    • $117,537 lien waived in its entirety

    • $84,568 lien reduced to $40,000

    • $68,600 lien reduced to $28,100

    • $43,700 to $29,200

    • $43,400 to $17,400

    • $29,600 to $12,200

    • $24,298 lien reduced $627

    • $21,600 lien reduced to $13,000 

    • $4,000 lien reduced to $1,200

     

    Medicare Advantage Lien Claims:


    Under current Federal law, private insurance carriers offer Medicare Advantage (MA) health insurance, which is a replacement for Medicare medical coverage. MA regulations state that MA insurers have the same lien rights against personal injury settlements as does Medicare. Over past years, Attorney Bruzonsky has used various legal arguments to reduce and defeat these liens. However, more recently, the Ethridge case has held that the federal law and regulations preempt Arizona anti-subrogation caselaw and that such liens are legally enforceable. Accordingly, these subrogation/lien claims are more difficult to reduce and defeat now, although I still continue to have some success in reducing these subrogation/lien claims. Following are a few examples of how Attorney Bruzonsky has been able to reduce and at times defeat Medicare Advantage lien claims .

  •  

  • $1,399,891 lien reduced to $817,536

  • $341,583 lien reduced to $150,000
  • $257,500 lien reduced to $12,500

  • $104,000 lien reduced to $24,000

  • $67,200 lien reduced to $5,000

  • $58,492 lien reduced to $32,171

  • $53,500 lien reduced to $15,000

  • $35,000 lien reduced to $8,700

  • $30,000 lien reduced to $1,500

  • $30,000 lien waived in its entirety

 

 

Medicare Lien Claims: 

 

Medicare liens are well established under federal statutes, regulations and case law. Medicare by regulation automatically compromises or reduces the lien by Medicare's pro rata share of procurement costs (attorney's fees and costs). Although Medicare regulations provide discretionary authority for Medicare to compromise or reduce the lien by more than Medicare's pro rata share of procurement costs, or for Medicare to fully waive the lien, in practice this seldom occurs. A few examples follow of how attorney Bruzonsky has been able to obtain larger than pro rata  procurement costs compromise or reduction of some Medicare liens:

 

  • $176,100 lien reduced to $87,500

  • $139,500 lien reduced to $100,000

  • $78,200 lien reduced to $3,200

 

FEHBA Lien Claims:

 

FEHBA (Federal Employees Health Benefit Act) Lien Claims: FEHBA (Federal Employees Health Benefit Act) Lien Claims: Federal civilian civil service employees and their dependents obtain health insurance from a local health insurance carrier which contracts with the federal government to provide health insurance. In the past, Attorney Bruzonsky has used various legal arguments and strategies to essentially defeat these liens. Unfortunately, the recent Kobold case held that federal law and regulations preempt Arizona anti-subrogation caselaw and these liens are valid and enforceable in Arizona. However, the U.S. Supreme Court will be issuing a decision during 2017 in a Missouri case similar to Kobold, the Nevils case, and we are hoping that the U.S Supreme Court will hold that state anti-subrogation law/caselaw applies to FEHBA subrogation/lien claims (I wouldn't hold my breath on this). In past years, Attorney Bruzonsky has been able to defeat and minimize FEHBA healthplan lien claims so that little or nothing had been paid on them. A few examples from the several years prior to the Kobold decision (discussed above):

 

FEHBA lien claim of $320,000 resulted in no payment on that lien claim.

 

FEHBA lien claim of $633,127 reduced to $36,693

 

 

Federal Medical Care Recovery Act Lien Claims:


 

Federal Medical Care Recovery Act (FMCRA) Liens are asserted by federal agencies, including military branches, Tri-Care, U.S. Public Health Service, Indian Health Service, and Veteran’s Administration for medical benefits paid and the reasonable cost of care in government facilities.


Attorney Bruzonsky recently obtained substantial reduction of a Veteran’s Administration FMCRA lien from $325,000 to $170,000.

© Copyright 2006, Steven J. Bruzonsky, Attorney
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