California attorney general's office sues Los Angeles County doctor over aggressive billing tactics

An empty doctor's office.
An empty doctor's office.
Mae Ryan/KPCC

The California attorney general's office is suing a Los Angeles County doctor over her practice of refusing to accept lower insurance company reimbursements and instead billing patients for the full amount.

The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday that the lawsuit against South Pasadena physician Jeannette Martello is the first of its kind in the state and seeks to stop Martello's billing tactics.

The California Medical Licensing Board is also moving to revoke Martello's license.

Martello uses aggressive tactics, including lawsuits and liens on homes and businesses, to force patients to pay for emergency care when they were covered under managed-care health insurance plans.

The state says the practice is illegal.

Martello's attorney Andrew Selesnick says she is lawfully pursuing her right to be paid a fair amount.