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Court Backs Hospital in Insurer Dispute

Stethoscope and gavel against a white backdrop.
Wikimedia Commons

In a case stemming from charges for personal-injury protection claims, an appeals court Monday said a Jacksonville hospital does not have to turn over information to State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company about contracts with health insurers.

A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal sided with Shands Jacksonville Medical Center, which now is known as UF Health Jacksonville. The ruling came in a case filed by State Farm as it sought copies of contracts that could show the hospital agreeing to discounted reimbursement rates with health insurers.

State Farm argued that the information was necessary to determine if amounts billed by the hospital for auto-insurance injury claims were reasonable.

A Duval County circuit judge sided with State Farm, ordering the hospital to turn over contracts with 37 health insurers, according to Monday's ruling.

But the appeals court overturned the lower-court decision, finding that it exceeded the "extent of discovery permissible" under parts of state law.