Coakley, medical center come to agreement

Coakley

BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Boston Medical Center will pay more than $500,000 as a result of a settlement reached Thursday with Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley.

Coakley claimed BMC used deceptive marketing to promote its health plan, BMC Health Plan, Inc., using protected health information of patients enrolled in the Neighborhood Health Plan.

Letters sent to NHP members claimed they had to switch to the BMCHP to continue receiving treatment at BMC.

"As we expand health coverage to the uninsured, it is particularly important that hospitals and insurers do not overlook state consumer and patient privacy laws when marketing their health plans," Coakley said.

BMC will pay $562,000, with $430,000 to Mass Health, a public health insurance program for eligible low- and medium-income residents of Massachusetts.

Also, $112,000 will go to Coakley's Local Consumer Aid Fund and $20,000 for attorneys fees.

BMC has already sent correction letters to those who received the marketing letter. Another term of the settlement requires BMC hiring an independent third-party firm to review and audit its compliance with consumer protection standards.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at john@legalnewsline.com.

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