In a June 2014 opinion, the California Court of Appeals determined that reasonable & customary (R&C) charge valuations can consider actual payments accepted by a hospital for its services, not just the billed charges based on its charge master. This means that when determining the R&C values of services, California courts are required to consider the discounted amounts hospitals accept from governmental payers such as Medicare and Medi-Cal (Medicaid) and private plans. On the other hand, the Court also indicated that a provider’s cost may not be relevant to R&C valuations.
The case, Children’s Hospital Central California v. Blue Cross of California, 226 Cal.App.4th 1260 (Cal. Ct. App. 2014) which involved a dispute between an out-of-contract hospital and Blue Cross of California regarding amount of reimbursement owed to the hospital for post-stabilization services rendered to certain Medi-Cal beneficiaries enrolled in the plan.
California Department of Managed Health Care codified the so-called “Gould factors” in the Code of Regulations, title 28, section 1300.71, that are used to determine R&C value for reimbursement of claims. Under Gould v. Workers’ Comp. Appeals Bd. (1992) 4 Cal.App.4th 1059, R&C value of services rendered is to be based upon statistically credible information that is updated at least annually and takes into consideration: