Patients In One-Hospital Towns Can Be Held Hostage With Litany Of Medical Bill Lawsuits
Hospitals like the Carlsbad Medical Center in New Mexico are making it standard practice to take patients to court over medical bills. And these are patients who already have insurance.
The New York Times:
The Hospital Treated These Patients. Then It Sued Them.
The first time Carlsbad Medical Center sued Misti Price, she was newly divorced and working two jobs to support her three young children. The hospital demanded payment in 2012 for what Ms. Price recalled as an emergency room visit for one of her children who has asthma. She could not afford a lawyer, and she did not have the money to pay the bill. Ms. Price let the summons go unanswered, figuring she would settle the balance — with interest, about $3,600 — when she could. A few months later, she opened her paycheck and discovered the hospital had garnished her wages by $870 a month. (Beil, 9/3)
In other health care industry and costs news —
California Surprise Billing Law Takes Spotlight In Federal Fight
In the battle over what Congress should do to end surprise medical bills, both sides of the debate are pointing to California's experience—and drawing different conclusions. A law enacted in September 2016 put a cap on out-of-network charges, tied either to the median in-network contracted rates with insurers or 125% of Medicare—whichever is higher. Two major congressional health committees have approved a similar measure to protect people with employer insurance, except that they excluded any Medicare reference rate. (Luthi, 8/30)
The New York Times:
On The Job, 24 Hours A Day, 27 Days A Month
Tuesday night was rough. A sharp scent drifted into Marjorie Salmon’s dream world at 4 a.m. She was still trying to rouse herself when its source, her 77-year-old client, pounded on her bedroom door, yelling that he wanted to go home. “You’re home, Bob. This is your home,” Marjorie told him. She calmed him down, cleaned him off, showered him, dressed him and put him back to bed, but could not get herself back to sleep. (Newman, 9/2)