The beat goes on - even if Legend Healthcare doesn’t

Friday, February 28, 2003

SHARON HILL, Pa. - Managed care network Legend Healthcare filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy (liquidation) 11 months ago and appears to have dried up and blown away. Its phones don’t work, information has no listing, and its Web site is kaput. Top execs are rumored to be working at different companies.

Unfortunately, at least one provider and a beneficiary are wrestling in the mess and bad feelings Legend left behind.

The provider, Advance Home Oxygen & Medical Supply of Annapolis, Md., belonged to the Legend provider network that supplied DME services to managed care companies. The beneficiary, Ron Miller of Columbia, Md., was referred by Legend to Advanced about two years ago for a CPAP mask and headgear.

When Legend stopped paying providers (prior to filing for bankruptcy), Advance asked Miller to pay the $89.27 bill, which now stands at $94.26 because of accrued interest. Miller refused, arguing that his insurer paid Legend, which in turn should have paid Advance. After months of asking Miller to pay, Advance has turned over its beef with him to a collections agency.

“The collection people are calling me every two weeks,” Miller said. “They say, ‘You owe this money and we are going to keep calling and we’re ruining your credit. I applied for a credit card in December, and it was denied because of bad stuff on my credit care.”

Miller said he hasn’t paid the bill because his insurance company told him not to, said they’d already paid Legend. Miller’s tried recently to contact Legend, as Advance suggested, but can’t find hide nor hair of the company. (HME News’ own efforts also came up empty.)

Advance General Manager Mark Pullen has little sympathy for Miller. The company tried numerous times to contact the benny, but Miller responded only after his account was turned over to the collections agency, Pullen said.

“I know it’s a minute amount, but it’s the principal,” Pullen said. “He’s got the equipment, but he doesn’t want to pay for it. He had a year and a half to deal with this, and that seems like enough time to call Legend or his insurer and find out what the scoop is but he didn’t.”

It appears most providers that participated in the Legend network - like Bach’s Home Health Care Supply in Hackettstown, N.J. - have written off their loses.

Nevertheless, Bach’s President Bob Miller understands Advance’s motives for pursuing Ron Miller.

“We are a business, and if we don’t make money, we’re not in business,” Bob Miller said. “So how can you blame someone for trying to collect their money?”

Ron Miller feels differently: “I think Advance should write it off. It’s $100. Who the heck cares?”

Responded Pullen: “Dude, if you’d called me back months ago and replied we wouldn’t have sent you to collections.”

The beat goes on - even if Legend doesn’t. HME