Court to consider case involving hospitals, AHCCCS patients

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PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether hospitals that treat Medicaid patients can go after money that the patients obtained through personal injury settlements related to their care.

The appeal before the high court involves hospitals which accept payment from the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System and 15 patients enrolled in AHCCCS, the state's Medicaid program.

Hospitals sued by the patients wanted to be paid for the difference between hospitals' billings for services they provided and the lower amounts paid by AHCCCS, while the patients wanted refunds of settlement money paid to hospitals.

The state Court of Appeals ruled federal Medicaid law doesn't allow the hospitals to enforce liens against AHCCCS patients. That ruling overturned one by a trial judge who dismissed the patients' claims.

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