“Surprise” bills are a common complaint among patients who’ve visited freestanding emergency departments (FSEDs). While that hasn’t stopped their growth, billing practices have become the subject of pending legislation around the country—and, now, one basis of a suit against Adeptus Health, the nation’s largest operator of FSEDs. The Oklahoma Law Enforcement Pension (OLEP) has initiated a class action lawsuit against Adeptus, its private equity firm, and its officers related to its secondary stock offering, claiming that the company engages in predatory billing practices. In court papers filed in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division, OLEP charges that Adeptus increased its net realized value (NRV) via predatory billing, then used the inflated NRV to show higher revenue—thus commanding a higher stock price despite falling patient volumes. In addition, Adeptus claimed “high customer satisfaction” based on 95% Press Gainey scores; however, the lawsuit claims those scores are materially false by virtue of ongoing billing disputes (which, by definition, represent dissatisfied customers). Under generally accepted accounting principles, Adeptus must identify all business risks. The apparent lack of disclosure of risks associated with its billing practices (eg, reversal of revenue, monetary fines, civil or criminal penalties, and exclusion from state/federal health programs) represents fraud in its security offering, the suit charges.
Disclosure and Billing Practices Are Central to Suit Against Adeptus