‘An Arm And A Leg’: Reporter Says ‘Shame’ Spurred Hospital To Cancel Debt For Thousands

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Multiple journalists have spotlighted large medical payments which have left sufferers swimming in medical debt. After these tales have been made public, in lots of circumstances well being suppliers waived the invoice or canceled the debt.

Sadly, there are plenty of crazy-high medical invoice tales on the market — and never almost sufficient journalists to go round. But in Memphis, Tenn., one journalist’s reporting produced a scaled-up response.

Reporter Wendi Thomas discovered that the largest hospital in Memphis routinely sued its patients over unpaid payments, regardless of making tidy income.

Among the defendants have been a few of the hospital’s own low-wage employees. Thomas met a few of these employees whereas chasing the story on the courthouse.

“You saw them, there, in their scrubs,” she mentioned. “I could see their [hospital] badge clipped to the front of their uniforms.”

Thomas wrote about what she noticed as a stark injustice.

“The defendants are just outmatched,” Thomas mentioned. “They don’t have the resources of a billion-dollar hospital with its own collection agency and attorneys.”

A few months later, the hospital dropped more than 6,500 lawsuits, and erased the debts.

“Shame is a powerful motivator,” Thomas mentioned. “It just is. And the hospital didn’t look good, so they had to address it.”

Season three is a co-production of Kaiser Health News and Public Road Productions.

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