University of Virginia Health System Debt Collection Practices Class Action Lawsuit Investigation

As reported by Kaiser Health News on Sept 10, 2019:

‘UVA Has Ruined Us’: Health System Sues Thousands Of Patients, Seizing Paychecks And Claiming Homes

Over six years, the state institution filed 36,000 lawsuits against patients seeking a total of more than $106 million in unpaid bills, a KHN analysis finds.

Unpaid hospital bills are a leading cause of personal debt and bankruptcy across the nation, with hospitals from Memphis to Baltimore criticized for their role in pushing families over the financial edge. But UVA stands out for the scope of its collection efforts and how persistently it seeks payment, pursuing poor as well as middle-class patients for almost all they’re worth.

KHN’s findings, based on court records, documents and interviews with hospital officials and dozens of patients, show UVA:

  • Sued patients for as much as $1 million and as little as $13.91, and garnished thousands of paychecks, largely from workers at lower-pay employers such as Walmart, where UVA took wages more than 800 times.
  • Seized $22 million over six years in state tax refunds owed to patients with outstanding bills, most of it without court judgments, under a program intended to help state and local governments collect debts.
  • Sued about 100 patients every year who also happened to be UVA Health System employees and filed thousands of property liens over the years, from Albemarle County all the way to Georgia.
  • Dunned some former patients an additional 15% for legal costs, plus 6% interest on their unpaid bills, which over years can add up to more than the original bill.
  • Has the most restrictive eligibility guidelines for patient financial assistance of any major hospital system in Virginia. Savings of only $4,000 in a retirement account can disqualify a family from aid, even if its income is barely above the poverty level.

As reported by the Washington Post on Sept. 13, 2019:

The University of Virginia Health System, which sues thousands of patients each year, seizing wages and home equity to collect on overdue bills, said Friday it would increase financial assistance, give bigger discounts to the uninsured and “reduce our reliance on the legal system.”

“This will have a huge impact on patients to the good,” Doug Lischke, UVA Health System’s chief financial officer, said in an interview. The changes will “positively, drastically reduce the legal process” of lawsuits, garnishments and property liens, he added.

Experience Matters

Sauder Schelkopf is a nationally recognized class action and personal injury law firm. The firm’s partners currently serve as court appointed lead counsel in courts across the country and have been selected by the National Trial Lawyers Association as some of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Pennsylvania since 2012. The attorneys at Sauder Schelkopf have recovered over $500 million on behalf of their clients and class members.

We Want to Hear from You

You can contact the attorneys at Sauder Schelkopf by submitting your information or calling 888.711.9975.

Share This