Unfortunately, that is hardly an end to the story. The government refused to accept the opinion of the Fifth Circuit in Thompson v Goetzmann, supra, even though it was the only appellate decision on the subject and continued to demand payment of its Medicare liens. Lawyers for the plaintiff were thus placed in the unenviable position of having potential personal liability to the U.S. government for a Medicare lien if they failed to withdraw sufficient monies from a settlement to cover such a lien and, on the other hand, potential liability to their clients for paying a lien to which the government may not have been entitled.
The alternative is to become a very “squeaky wheel” bombarding the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the third party intermediary with letters and telephone calls to get them interested in concluding the lien process.
Originally published in February 2004