American Academy of Emergency Medicine

PhyAmerica Faces Lawsuit Over Its Bills

According to a report in the September 8,1999 issue of The Wall Street Journal, PhyAmerica Physician Group Inc., and amalgamation of Coastal and Sterling, has been sued for attempting to collect fees from Florida patients with a mailing that threatens to employ "the office of the Attorney General" to get the patients to pay up.

The attorney who filed the suit claims that since no attorney general collects debt, PhyAmerica's action violates the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act, which prevents creditors from asserting legal rights they know they don't have. Companies that do so can be made to pay plaintiffs $500. That's a relatively small penalty. But PhyAmerica's billing company sent out 150,000 to 190,000 billing statements in Florida, meaning they could face penalties totaling millions of dollars.