Uninsured man’s legal effort falls short

SANDPOINT — An uninsured Sagle man’s legal effort to steer clear of a $22,000 medical bill is being dismissed on technical grounds.

David J. Ross applied for medical assistance through Bonner County because he was indigent and unable to cover the cost of his treatment for congestive heart failure.

Commissioners agreed to cover the Bonner General Hospital bill and set up a payment plan for Ross to reimburse the county. Ross objected to the approval of his application for assistance, contending he has no way of paying the money back and that the hospital agreed to write off his treatment costs.

Commissioners, as a matter of law, ruled that BGH’s uncompensated care write-off program is not considered a resource under the Idaho medical indigency statutes.

Ross filed a petition for judicial review of the matter, but the county moved to dismiss the petition because it was not filed within 28 days of the board’s decision. Ross filed his petition five days too late, 2nd District Judge Jeff Brudie said in a written ruling issued on Feb. 4.

“Though the Court’s preference is for a full merit-based conclusion, this Court is nevertheless without jurisdiction to hear the petition seeking review of the Board’s Order,” Brudie wrote.

The county argued Ross should be ordered to pay its legal fees on grounds that his petition was filed frivolously. Brudie, however, rejected that claim and found that Ross, who represented himself in court, simply made an “unfortunate” error as a pro se litigant.

Ross moved on Feb. 14 for Brudie to reconsider the denial of petition. The motion is pending.

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