Bass, Berry & Sims attorney David Thornton provided insight on the January 26 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit holding that although United Behavioral Health violated its fiduciary responsibility as outlined in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by incorrectly denying behavioral health claims, the patients who were denied coverage had no right to appeal. This case is being closely watched as it could set a precedent for the behavioral health industry and future access to mental health and addiction treatment.
“As it was with the original 9th circuit panel [decision], I was surprised that there wasn’t more reliance on the facts in the opinion that was provided on the case,” David said. “This case has so many factual attributes that really were never part of the opinion; it was more legal analysis as opposed to what the underlying facts really show. … I don’t think this is over.”
The full article, “‘I Don’t Think This Is Over’: Reactions to the Latest in Wit v. United Behavioral Health,” was published by Behavioral Health Business on February 13 and is available online.