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:
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