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Plan to allow hospital liens on patients put on hold in Volusia County

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — A plan that could allow hospitals to place a lien on patients in Volusia County was put on hold Tuesday.

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The proposed ordinance pitted doctors, health care providers and council members against each other. The council ultimately voted to table to issue to allow the ordinance to be reworked.

Several doctors showed up to the council chambers to speak out against the ordinance saying it creates favoritism for certain providers and would impact patients ability to get follow up care.

“It’s the underinsured and uninsured group of blue-collar workers this will impact,” said one doctor.

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Meanwhile, Halifax Health leaders explained it would just give them a seat at the settlement table and guarantee payment to providers including county EMS.

“It allows us to get in the conversation,” said Halifax Chief Legal Officers Kelly Kwiatek.

In 2012, statewide hospital liens were ruled unconstitutional. Instead, they must be approved county-by-county.

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The liens are used by hospitals to recover money from patients without insurance if the patient gets a court settlement.

During the meeting, council member David Santiago was accused of being paid to bargain on behalf of Halifax by an attorney who spoke out against the ordinance.

Santiago denied the claims.

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“I don’t know if I should even address the comments. They’re fabricated and I stand by my word,” said Santiago.

It’s not clear when the council will take up the issue again.

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