[quote="LisaA, post:12, topic:282477"]
Look, I pointed out that this does happen but as I also pointed out, it's not a matter of the patient being blindsided. Hospitals will and MUST work with indigent patients. OTOH if the patient simply ignores the bill how can the hospital respond other than to try to collect the bill.
You quoted something supporting your apparent contention that hospitals are suing indigent patients with no reason but the article didn't state how much time passed before the hospital or its agency took action. Here is another quote that might support my position:
***System officials say they file suit only when people fail to answer repeated requests for payment.
That, they say, is what happened in Jones’ case. The hospital said it sent her five statements and left three messages at her home before filing suit.***
I work in this field and have for 30 years. I know what happens and it's hard to see the people who slip through the cracks like this woman. She claims she "didn't remember getting the bills" and it may be true but after eight attempts to contact her there was little choice but to escalate the effort. Hospitals treat thousands and thousands of patients every year. They don't have the funds to have an individual caseworker assigned to each patient. OTOH when patients check in they are given this information and told to contact the business office to make arrangements for payments or to obtain forms for a charity write off.
One thing you should also know is that we cannot simply give a write off willy nilly. There is a federal law that if you accept Medicare and other government insurance you MUST apply the same standards to everyone. IOW there used to be something called "professional courtesy" so if a Doc had a friend who needed surgery he might ask the surgeon to write off some part of the bill as a favor. This is ILLEGAL and believe me the consequences of such actions are extreme. We are talking gargantuan fines and even jail. This also applies to situations like the woman in the article. Had the hospital simply written off her account because she didn't respond, they would have been in violation of the same law. We have to apply the same standards to all patients. Period.
The moral of the story should not be that hospitals are evil and want to beat money out of widows and orphans but that patients need to be advocates for themselves and to respond to collection efforts or better yet make arrangements in advance. Believe me we do a lot of those "Another one for Jesus" patients every day.
No one said that "hospitals are evil" but they are definitely doing something wrong. If you read the articles, this is happening all over, and it's not just a case of the hospitals refusing to "write off" debts, or people who don't/can't respond to notices, it's often extreme collection practices and suits being taken out against people who simply cannot pay, and are in this position through no fault of their own (they didn't choose to get injured or sick). You said that no liens were being taken against patient's houses, which isn't true. I don't understand the point of minimizing this issue.