Dem Candidate Kim Schrier's Practice Hit for Overcharging Patients  

Clinic where Schrier is a doctor lost class action lawsuit over its practices  

Kim Schrier / Dr. Kim Schrier for Congress
September 20, 2018

The medical center where Kim Schrier, the Democratic candidate in Washington's 8th congressional district, works as a doctor is continuing to come under fire for its practices.

The Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF), a Paul Ryan-backed super PAC, released an ad Thursday morning that is set to run in the Seattle market hitting the Virginia Mason Medical Center, where Schrier is a doctor but took a leave of absence to run for office, for overcharging its patients, which ultimately resulted in a class action lawsuit.

The new advertisement references a series of events that started when Lori Mill, an accountant, was treated at Virginia Mason in 2005, where Mill had gone to have a toenail clipped and sent off the be tested for fungus.

Mill was charged $1,133 for the 30-second procedure and later discovered that if she would have gone to another clinic in the network—even another clinic where her doctor also worked—the bill would have been $418 less. The clinic refused to change the bill and no one at the downtown location had informed her that the procedure would be cheaper at a different Virginia Mason location.

Mill told her story to a lawyer who then filed a lawsuit against Virginia Mason's downtown clinic alleging deceptive and unfair practices. DeLois Gibson, another person who joined the lawsuit, said she was charged $846 in hospital charges by the clinic after having a blemish removed on top of her $1,451 bill for the procedure.

A class action lawsuit was filed in 2005 and two years later the King County Superior Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. The settlement affected 3,200 patients over the previous six years, the Seattle Times reported.

Among some of the overcharges to patients at the facility included: One individual being charged an $899 "downtown clinic fee" on top of a $273 bill; more than half of another patient's $1,361 bill was for "facilities fees"; and a Virginia Mason doctor who had a procedure done at the downtown clinic received a $1,138 "facilities charge fees" on top of a $1,200 bill.

The ad from the Congressional Leadership Fund builds on a past ad where the group hit Virginia Mason for its practices of not accepting a majority of poor children on Medicare.

"Kim Schrier got rich while her practice refused to treat the majority of poor children on Medicaid," said Courtney Alexander, the Congressional Leadership Fund's communications director. "Schrier's practice was even sued for overcharging patients, adding hidden charges for simple procedures and charging patients hundreds of dollars just for being seen at different locations. Kim Schrier's record of putting profits ahead of patients proves she can't be trusted."

Schrier's campaign did not immediately return a request for comment on the advertisement.