from the Superior Court in Maricopa County, No.
CV2017-002466, The Honorable Kerstin G. LeMaire, Judge.
VACATED AND REMANDED
& Burnham PLC, Phoenix, By Richard B. Burnham, Cameron C.
Artigue, Christopher L. Hering, Counsel for
Jardine, Baker, Hickman & Houston, P.L.L.C., Phoenix, By
Bradley R. Jardine, Counsel for Defendant/Appellee
Judge Samuel A. Thumma delivered the opinion of the Court, in
which Judge Kent E. Cattani and Judge James P. Beene joined.
The dispositive issue in this appeal is whether payments
under optional medical payments coverage in an automobile
insurance policy (what the parties call "medpay
coverage") are "health insurance" and,
therefore, not subject to a health care provider lien. As
discussed below, because medpay coverage is not health
insurance for purposes of the lien statute, those payments
are subject to the health care provider lien. Accordingly,
the grant of defendant Farmers Insurance Company of Arizonas
motion to dismiss is vacated and this matter is remanded.
Farmers issued an automobile insurance policy to Bethanie
Elliott that included optional medpay coverage. Plaintiff
Dignity Health, doing business as Mercy Gilbert Medical
Center, provided Elliott medical services after she was
injured in a car accident. The usual and customary charges
for those services exceeded $ 160,000. Dignity perfected and
recorded a health care provider lien for more than $ 140,000
to secure payment for those services. See Ariz. Rev.
Stat. (A.R.S.) § 33-931 (2019). Notwithstanding that
lien, Farmers directly paid Elliott $ 99,000 in medpay
benefits under her automobile insurance policy.
Dignity timely filed this lien enforcement action, claiming
Farmers payment to Elliott violated the lien. Farmers
successfully moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim,
arguing its payment was not subject to the lien. Dignity
timely appealed from the resulting final judgment.
See Ariz. R. Civ. P. 54(c). This court has
jurisdiction pursuant to Article 6, Section 9, of the Arizona
Constitution and A.R.S. § § 12-120.21(A)(1) and - 2101(A)(1).
Under A.R.S. § 33-931, a health care provider may obtain a
lien to secure payment of customary charges for services
provided to an injured person, with certain express
exceptions to the scope of such a lien:
A lien pursuant to this section extends to all claims of
liability or indemnity, except health insurance
and underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage as defined
in § 20-259.01 , for damages accruing to the
person to whom the services are rendered ... on account of