How Nonprofit Hospitals Are Seizing Patients' Wages | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

How Nonprofit Hospitals Are Seizing Patients' Wages

On the eastern edge of St. Joseph, Missouri, lies the small city's only hospital, a landmark of brick and glass. Music from a player piano greets visitors at the main entrance, and inside, the bright hallways seem endless. Long known as Heartland Regional Medical Center, the nonprofit hospital and its system of clinics recently rebranded. Now they're called Mosaic Life Care, because, their promotional materials say: "We offer much more than health care. We offer life care."

Two miles away, at the rear of a low-slung building is a key piece of Mosaic—Heartland's very own for-profit debt collection agency.

When patients receive care at Heartland and don't or can't pay, their bills often end up here at Northwest Financial Services. And if those patients don't meet Northwest's demands, their debts can make another, final stop: the Buchanan County Courthouse.

From 2009 through 2013, Northwest filed more than 11,000 lawsuits. When it secured a judgment, as it typically did, Northwest was entitled to seize a hefty portion of a debtor's paycheck. During those years, the company garnished the pay of about 6,000 people and seized at least $12 million—an average of about $2,000 each, according to a ProPublica analysis of state court data.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

In the US, we have the most expensive health care in the world, and many times, some of the most lousy outcomes.

And even if you HAVE insurance, you can still get financially crucified if that policy doesn't come from a union, an association, or membership organisation of some kind.

We know. With the insurance Mike had when he got ill with pneumonia last year, the insurance we had for him only paid 10% of the bill, and we are stuck with the other 90%. I am already in negotiations with the hospital, and having worked collections myself, understand that as long as you are consistent, and offer a reasonable payment plan, the hospital cannot drag you into collection.

Intelligent, enlightened countries in Europe have figured out how to fund health care, and have a single payer system, where you have to have the basic insurance, but if you want more coverage, you can get it by buying more.

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