US hospitals are suing patients – level 3
In the United States, hospitals are increasingly suing patients over unpaid bills.
This phenomenon, escalating since the 80s and 90s, involves lawyers pursuing debtors on behalf of medical providers. The consequences for patients unable to pay include court proceedings, wage garnishment, and home foreclosure. While a comprehensive national overview is challenging due to the lack of centralized tracking, Wisconsin stands out with tens of thousands of such cases. Maryland, however, has successfully curtailed this practice through new legislation which resulted in zero cases in 2023.
Medical professionals express shame, and awareness among healthcare providers may contribute to ending this detrimental practice. Despite some positive developments since 2019, with fewer cases reported, the damaging impact on patients remains significant.
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What efforts are being made to address the issue of hospitals suing patients over unpaid bills, and what impact could these strategies have on the healthcare system in the United States?
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