Judicial Advocacy for Hospitals
In addition to its federal and state legislative and regulatory advocacy, CHA also advocates for the interests of hospitals through the judicial system by filing amicus (“friend of the court”) briefs in cases potentially having broad impact on hospitals and health systems. In these amicus briefs, CHA provides important factual context and legal analysis from hospitals’ perspective. CHA’s amicus efforts beginning in 2021 are summarized below in the order in which CHA filed its amicus document.
CHA is also a long-standing member of, and financial contributor to, a committee that submits amicus briefs presenting the health care provider perspective primarily in cases in which plaintiffs seek to eliminate or restrict MICRA’s protections for health care providers. In addition to CHA, this amicus committee consists of representatives from the California Medical Association, the California Dental Association, some individual hospitals or health systems, and major professional liability insurance carriers. In the last ten years, this committee, through its association members, have filed amicus briefs and letters in approximately 40 different cases pending in California’s appellate courts.
In a published decision, the Court of Appeal held that plaintiff had stated valid claims under California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act (Civ. Code § 1750 et seq.) and its Unfair Competition Law based on the hospital’s practice of charging an allegedly undisclosed “Evaluation and Management Services Fee” notwithstanding that the hospital had complied with federal and state regulatory policies addressing hospitals’ disclosure obligations. (This is one of at least fifteen cases making similar claims filed around the state since 2007.) CHA submitted an amicus letter brief in support of the hospital’s petition seeking review of this decision by the California Supreme Court.
Outcome: Petition for review by Supreme Court GRANTED.
In an unpublished opinion, the appellate court had analyzed and rejected plaintiff’s claims that the termination of her employment based on her refusal to obtain a flu vaccine (as required by hospital policy) violated California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act; consequently, the court upheld the dismissal of her lawsuit. As this opinion, if published, would establish helpful precedent for hospitals in enforcing their vaccination policies, CHA submitted an amicus letter brief in support of the hospital’s request for publication of the unpublished appellate decision in this case.
Outcome: Request for publication GRANTED
In an unpublished opinion, the appellate court rejected plaintiff’s claims that an “Evaluation and Management Services” fee charged by defendant hospital for plaintiff’s emergency room visits violated California’s Consumers Legal Remedies Act (Civ. Code, §1750 et seq.) and its Unfair Competition Law (Bus. & Prof. Code, §17200 et seq.) (See also Naranjo v. Doctor’s Medical Center above and Gray v. Dignity Health and Yebba v. AHMC Healthcare below.) As this opinion, if published, would provide helpful precedent for hospitals, CHA submitted an amicus letter brief in support of the hospital’s request for publication of this decision.
Outcome: Request for publication DENIED. Petition for review by Supreme Court GRANTED.
In a published opinion, the Court of Appeal had ruled that Santa Clara County is immune under the Government Claims Act (Gov. Code, § 810 et seq.) from an action brought by hospitals seeking reimbursement for emergency medical care provided to persons covered by the county’s health care service plan. The Supreme Court granted review. CHA and CMA jointly submitted an amicus brief on the merits of the issues, supporting the hospitals’ position that Government Claims Act § 815 immunity does not apply to a claim for reimbursement authorized by the Knox-Keene Act.
Outcome: The Supreme Court unanimously REVERSED the judgment of the Court of Appeal, holding that the Government Claims Act (Gov. Code § 810 et seq.) did not immunize a public entity’s health care service plan from a claim for reimbursement of emergency medical services under the Knox-Keene Act.
Following the filing of a “corrected” opinion by a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit (see below) that still reversed the district court’s order CHA again joined with the National Association for Behavioral Healthcare,AHA, American Psychological Association, American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence, Federation of American Hospitals, National Association of Addiction Providers, National Council for Mental Wellbeing, and REDC Consortium in submitting an amicus brief in support of plaintiffs’ second request for a rehearing en banc.
Outcome: Awaiting Ninth Circuit’s decision on request for rehearing en banc.