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Property Code - CHAPTER 55

CHAPTER 55. HOSPITAL LIEN

55.001. Definitions

     In this chapter:

     (1) "Hospital" means a person or institution maintaining a facility that provides hospital services in this state.

     (2) "Person" does not include a county, common, or independent school district.

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3562, ch. 576, 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.

55.002. Lien

     (a) A hospital has a lien on a cause of action or claim of an individual who receives hospital services for injuries caused by an accident that is attributed to the negligence of another person. For the lien to attach, the individual must be admitted to a hospital not later than 72 hours after the accident.

     (b) The lien extends to both the admitting hospital and a hospital to which the individual is transferred for treatment of the same injury.

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3562, ch. 576, 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.

55.003. Property to Which Lien Attaches

     (a) The lien attaches to:

     (1) a cause of action for damages arising from an injury for which the injured individual is admitted to the hospital;

     (2) a judgment of a court in this state or the decision of a public agency in a proceeding brought by the injured individual or by another person entitled to bring the suit in case of the death of the individual to recover damages arising from an injury for which the injured individual is admitted to the hospital; and

     (3) the proceeds of a settlement of a cause of action or a claim by the injured individual or another person entitled to make the claim, arising from an injury for which the injured individual is admitted to the hospital.

     (b) The lien does not attach to:

     (1) a claim under the workers' compensation law of this state, the Federal Employees Liability Act, or the Federal Longshoremen's or Harbor Workers' Compensation Act;

     (2) a claim against the owner or operator of a railroad company that maintains or whose employees maintain a hospital in which the injured individual is receiving hospital services; or

     (3) the proceeds of an insurance policy in favor of the injured individual or the injured individual's beneficiary or legal representative, except public liability insurance carried by the insured that protects the insured against loss caused by an accident or collision.

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3562, ch. 576, 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.

55.004. Amount of Lien

     (a) The lien is for the amount of the hospital's charges for services provided to the injured individual during the first 100 days of the injured individual's hospitalization, except that the lien does not cover:

     (1) charges for operating costs that exceed the cost limits established under Section 405.460, 42 Code of Federal Regulations; or

     (2) charges for other services that exceed a reasonable and regular rate for the services.

     (b) The lien is not affected by a hospital's use of a method of classifying patients according to their ability to pay that is solely intended to obtain a lien for services provided to an indigent injured individual.

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3563, ch. 576, 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.

55.005. Securing Lien

     (a) To secure the lien, a hospital must file written notice of the lien with the county clerk of the county in which the hospital services were provided. The notice must be filed before money is paid to an entitled person because of the injury.

     (b) The notice must contain:

     (1) the injured individual's name and address;

     (2) the date of the accident;

     (3) the name and location of the hospital; and

     (4) the name of the person alleged to be liable for damages arising from the injury, if known.

     (c) The county clerk shall record the name of the injured individual, the date of the accident, and the name and address of the hospital and shall index the record in the name of the injured individual.

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3563, ch. 576, 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1031, 1, eff. Aug. 28, 1995.

55.006. Discharge of Lien

     (a) To discharge the lien, the hospital authorities or the person in charge of the finances of the hospital must execute and file with the county clerk of the county in which the lien notice was filed a certificate stating that the debt covered by the lien has been paid or released and authorizing the clerk to discharge the lien.

     (b) The county clerk shall record a memorandum of the certificate and the date it was filed.

     (c) The filing of the certificate and recording of the memorandum discharge the lien.

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3564, ch. 576, 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.

55.007. Validity of Release

     (a) A release of a cause of action or judgment to which the lien may attach is not valid unless:

     (1) the hospital's charges were paid in full before the execution and delivery of the release;

     (2) the hospital's charges were paid before the execution and delivery of the release to the extent of any full and true consideration paid to the injured individual by or on behalf of the other parties to the release; or

     (3) the hospital is a party to the release.

     (b) A judgment to which the lien has attached remains in effect until the hospital's charges are paid in full or to the extent set out in the judgment.

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3564, ch. 576, 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.

55.008. Hospital Records

     (a) On request by an attorney for a party by, for, or against whom a claim is asserted for damages arising from an injury, a hospital shall as promptly as possible make available for the attorney's examination its records concerning the services provided to the injured individual.

     (b) The hospital may issue reasonable rules for granting access to its records under this section, but it may not deny access because a record is incomplete.

     (c) The records are admissible, subject to applicable rules of evidence, in a civil suit arising from the injury.

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3564, ch. 576, 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.

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