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Indicates Matter Stricken
Indicates New Matter
Sponsors: Senator Fair
Document Path: l:\council\bills\nbd\11064ac05.doc
Companion/Similar bill(s): 3307
Introduced in the Senate on January 11, 2005
Introduced in the House on April 19, 2005
Last Amended on April 14, 2005
Currently residing in the House Committee on Judiciary
Summary: Punitive damages provided for theft of service
HISTORY OF LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS
Date Body Action Description with journal page number ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 12/15/2004 Senate Prefiled 12/15/2004 Senate Referred to Committee on Judiciary 1/11/2005 Senate Introduced and read first time SJ-137 1/11/2005 Senate Referred to Committee on Judiciary SJ-137 4/13/2005 Senate Committee report: Favorable with amendment Judiciary SJ-13 4/14/2005 Senate Amended SJ-14 4/14/2005 Senate Read second time SJ-14 4/18/2005 Senate Read third time and sent to House SJ-29 4/19/2005 House Introduced and read first time HJ-14 4/19/2005 House Referred to Committee on Judiciary HJ-14
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VERSIONS OF THIS BILL
COMMITTEE AMENDMENT ADOPTED
April 14, 2005
S. Printed 4/14/05--S.
Read the first time January 11, 2005.
TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 15-75-45 SO AS TO CREATE A CAUSE OF ACTION FOR UNCOMPENSATED RECEIPT OF HEALTH CARE SERVICES WHEN A PERSON SECURES PERFORMANCE OF SUCH SERVICES, HAS RECEIVED INSURANCE PROCEEDS OR THIRD PARTY PAYMENT TO PAY FOR SUCH SERVICES, AND AFTER RECEIVING PROPER NOTICE HAS NOT REMITTED THE PAYMENT TO THE HEALTH CARE PROVIDER; TO ESTABLISH NOTICE REQUIREMENTS, A SCHEDULE OF DAMAGES, INCLUDING ACTUAL DAMAGES AND LIQUIDATED DAMAGES AS A PERCENTAGE OF THE ACTUAL DAMAGES, AND DEFENSES TO THIS CAUSE OF ACTION.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Chapter 75, Title 15 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 15-75-45. (A) For purposes of this section:
(1) 'Reasonable charges' mean the usual and customary charges for the region as agreed upon between the health care services provider and the insurance company for the delivery of the health care services.
(2) 'Patient' means the person who received the services or who is the parent or guardian for the person who received the services.
(B) Unless otherwise agreed to verbally or in writing, a patient engages in the uncompensated receipt of health care services if the patient willfully and knowingly:
(1) secures performance of a health care service which is provided only for compensation;
(2) has received insurance proceeds as determined by the agreement between the insurance company and the heath care service provider or has received payment for health care services from a third party directed in writing for the specific health care service; and
(3) does not remit payment to the health care provider as provided in subsection (D).
(C) If payment is not made more than ninety days after the health care services are provided, a notice separate from the regular billing notices must be sent by the health care provider to the address of record for the patient by registered or certified mail. Unless returned by the post office, this separate notice is considered to be received no later than ten days after mailing.
(D) When a person fails to pay the reasonable charges within ninety days for health care services provided, or thirty days after a patient has received payment for the health care services from a third party through settlement, verdict, or other arrangements, a health care provider may bring an action against a patient for failure to pay the reasonable charges, and is allowed to allege liquidated damages as an additional remedy if the health care service provider can prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the patient received insurance proceeds or a third party payment in the amount of the reasonable charges for the health care services provided. The liquidated damages must be alleged in accordance with the following:
(1) for a first occurrence by a patient, actual damages plus ten percent of actual damages;
(2) for a second occurrence by the same patient, actual damages plus twenty percent of actual damages; or
(3) for a third or subsequent occurrence by the same patient, actual damages plus thirty percent of actual damages.
(E) A health care provider may request liquidated damages on the recovery of insurance proceeds or third party payment only for the amount of proceeds or payments made on the health care services provider's claim. If the proceeds or payments have been pro rated because the insurance proceeds or third party payments are less than the total value of the health care services provided, the health care provider, when alleging liquidated damages, must do so only on his pro rata share.
(F) It is a defense to an action brought pursuant to this section that:
(1) the patient secured the performance of the health care service by giving a postdated check to the health care service provider and the health care service provider performing the service or any other person presented the check for payment before the date on the check;
(2) the health care services were not rendered in a competent manner by the health care service provider or the health care service provider's services failed to meet the accepted standard of care for similar health care service providers;
(3) the health care services were covered under a health care insurance plan and payment owed by the health care insurance company has not yet been received by the health care provider or the patient for the services provided to the patient; or
(4) the notices of payment due were not sent as provided by subsection (C).
(G) A health care service provider who accepts a down payment for compensation in order to perform health care services for a patient and fails to perform the services is subject to a cause of action for reimbursement of the down payment made and is also subject to a claim for liquidated damages in accordance with the following:
(1) for a first occurrence by the health care service provider, actual reimbursement plus ten percent of actual reimbursement;
(2) for a second occurrence by the same health care service provider, actual reimbursement plus twenty percent of actual reimbursement; or
(3) for a third or subsequent occurrence by the same health care service provider, actual reimbursement plus thirty percent of actual reimbursement.
(H) Nothing in this section is construed to require any person to violate or fail to conform to the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, P.L. 104-191, as amended, and regulations adopted pursuant to that act."
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor and applies to health care services rendered on and after the effective date of this act.
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