Missouri Supreme Court to determine validity of Section 490.715, RSMo regarding value of medical care

The Missouri Supreme Court heard argument on April 14, 2010 on whether Section 490.715, RSMo, is constitutional. In medical malpractice and personal injury cases, Section 490.715 creates a rebuttable presumption that the amount actually paid to satisfy the health care provider’s bill is the value of the medical treatment rendered.

In Deck v. Teasley, SC90628, the amount of Deck’s medical bills from an automobile accident totaled $27,900. However, Medicare paid $9,904.28, which the health care providers accepted as satisfaction of the bills. Deck was not allowed by the trial court to present evidence of the $27,900 bill, and was instead only allowed to present to the jury the $9,904.28 which was paid by Medicare. Deck’s expert was prepared to testify that the $27,900 was a fair and reasonable amount.

Deck’s constitutionality argument is centered on the assertion that House Bill 393, the 2005 tort reform bill, did not contain one subject clearly expressed in its title as required by the Constitution.

Section 490.715 also raises the issue of the right to a trial by jury. This statute essentially penalizes those who purchased health insurance or who had Medicare pay their medical bills.