Hospital System That Was Suing The Low-Income Patients It Was Supposed To Help Announces Major Policy Change
Prompted by an investigation by journalists from ProPublica and an organization called MLK50, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare in Tennessee announced major reforms in its collection policies. Yet the faith-based hospital, which temporarily suspended collection lawsuits this month, said it would not altogether stop such lawsuits.
'Humbled': Nonprofit Christian Hospital Dials Back Aggressive Debt Collection And Raises Wages After Our Investigation
Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare will raise the minimum wage it pays employees, dramatically expand its financial assistance policy for hospital care and stop suing its own employees for unpaid medical debts, hospital officials announced Tuesday. The broad reforms were prompted by a MLK50-ProPublica investigation that detailed how the nonprofit hospital system used aggressive collections tactics, including the courts, to pursue unpaid medical bills from poor patients, including its own employees. “We were humbled to learn that while there’s so much good happening across our health system each day, we can and must do more,” Methodist CEO and president Michael Ugwueke said on a call with reporters Tuesday. (Thomas and Douglas, 7/30)
Stop Suing Patients, Advocates Advise Memphis Nonprofit Hospital System
As the region’s largest hospital system wraps up a 30-day review of its collection and charity care policies, consumer advocates encouraged officials to make fundamental changes that will lift the threat of lawsuits or even wage garnishments for low-income patients who cannot afford their hospital debts. “They could immediately decide to stop suing patients,” Jenifer Bosco, a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, said in a commentary piece for MLK50 this month. “They could decide to stop garnishing wages. It’s not that they have to do those things.” (Thomas, 7/30)
Read the original story: The Nonprofit Hospital That Makes Millions, Owns a Collection Agency and Relentlessly Sues the Poor