Pregnancy Photoshoot On The Beach – 6/30/20,000 Olathe Hospital Visitors Sued Over Medical Bills Many Jailed
In Kansas, patients suing for medical bills cannot escape liability simply because they cannot afford to pay. The issue of unpaid medical bills at Olathe Medical Center is raising concerns among senior management about how the national nonprofit hospital can better balance its finances. When it comes to the troubling challenge of medical debt, this responsibility is compassionate.
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Hayley Graves was running down the stairs of her family’s home in 2018 when she hit a patch of snow and fell, breaking her right arm in two places. Her mother, Debbie Graves, put her injured daughter in the car and drove the five minutes to Olathe Medical Center.
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A year later, the patient sued Haley for late payment and sued. Hajli, 24, who has autism, cried when she heard the call. “He thought he was going to jail,” Debbie Gravis said.
It won’t happen to him, or the statement is the start of a lawsuit that will affect thousands of people in and around Johnson County: Olathe Medical Center, the emergency room and other patient partners it pays for. Healthcare resources Over the past six years, healthcare and the emergency physician group have struggled to collect overdue funds.
Some hospitals are suing patients in Johnson County. Before the covid-19 pandemic disrupted daily life and closed courts, no one liked Olathe Medical Center. The hospital’s emergency physicians run a private company called Urgent Care LLC, which has so far used the court system to collect unpaid bills from its patients.
Sometimes patients who don’t pay emergency bills end up in jail. This has happened at least 60 times in the past six years, court records show. He was arrested on a contempt of court warrant after the patient failed to appear in court. The security they posted to get out of jail was then used to pay for emergency medical care.
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One patient interviewed by this newspaper, Traci Burford of Olathe, was locked up in January after missing a fall appointment. Emergency services posted a $250 bond to secure his release, but he was fined hundreds of dollars. When he was late again a week later, the judge issued another order setting bail at $500.
After receiving questions from the newspaper about the practice of using the president’s order, Dr. Shawn Stanley said in a statement that the group told its legal representatives to stop airing the show as “the final step in their fundraising process.” Olathe Medical Center’s financial aid policy has previously said it does not require arrests as part of its fundraising, regardless of whether it includes care through the emergency room, which is a special facility.
A practice shared by both providers is the use of collection packages. When documents and billing notices fail, attorneys representing Olathe Medical Center and Urgent Care seek garnishment, but it’s money that doesn’t belong to the patient, such as wages or bank accounts. – Pay off the debt. Instead, it increased. Between 2014 and 2019, the health system had about 800 cosmetic cases involving at least 2,200 cosmetic cases involving Olathe Health System emergency room patients, according to a Journal analysis of Johnson County court records.
The suits affect many workers at workplaces such as Walmart and the Olathe school district. In at least 38 cases, a patient advocate or group of emergency physicians sought a lawsuit from Olathe Medical Center employees themselves.
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Ashley Pierucci said her two-year salary at the Olathe school, where she likes to work as a janitor, dropped about $75 on lipstick last year, making up for it. He took care of his two daughters.
Pierucci said the costs stemmed from expenses during her second pregnancy, when they were covered by KanCare, the Kansas Medicare program that provides health care to certain low-income Kansans. “I tried to fight it, but it never got resolved, and they sued me,” he said.
The hospital’s financial assistance policy states that patients who have demonstrated Kansas Medicine eligibility and residency requirements within the past six months receive a 100% discount. Hospital officials did not provide an explanation as to why Pierucci and other patients who reported being at the hospital were not helped.
After the pay cuts, Pierucci found himself cutting costs. “I have to pay something,” he said. “I’m late with one bill, but my deadline is next month, but the other one is late. Just try to do it.”
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“I mean, if that’s the only way I can get back at them, that’s fine,” he said. “I wish I had more money in my pocket to do things with my girls.”
Hospital workers and their lawyers advocate a lawsuit as a last resort when other methods of settling unpaid bills fail. In a statement to the newspaper, they said they are making changes to benefit patients struggling with their bills, including offering alternative payment methods and increasing the minimum amount they must accept.
“At Olathe Health Center, we continue to review our financial assistance programs and policies to ensure they best serve our patients. “Over the past three years, we have made changes to improve our financial assistance system and recently revised our billing procedures .” A statement from hospital spokesman Mike Jensen.
Or the challenge of managing medical debt in Kansas, one of 14 states that has yet to expand Medicare eligibility to cover low-income people, may be more complex. Epidemics like Stanley’s and her colleagues’ have devastated the budgets of hospitals like Olathe Health, which have suspended elective procedures and outpatient visits to slow the spread of the virus. Be prepared to treat the sick. With the opening of the economy and high unemployment and low hospital costs, should more patients be worried about ending up in court if they can’t pay for their care?
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After all, while the economy is in turmoil, medical debt is a widespread problem, especially in Johnson County, where the pre-2019 median income is $84,915 per year. Nearly 13 percent of county residents reported having outstanding medical debt in 2019, with an average debt of $1,422, according to Urban Institute research.
Haley Graves, 24, who was unemployed and unable to work, was charged in Johnson County District Court with failing to get treatment for a broken arm. On the spot, he agreed to pay $50 a month on a $14,000 loan.
However, not all service providers can use the courts to collect unpaid amounts to the same extent. Between 2014 and 2019, Olathe Urgent Care and Medical Center accounted for two-thirds of all undisputed physician billing cases following limited civil lawsuits in Johnson County Court, a records study found. Other recognized hospitals, medical centers, physician groups and health plans together make up the remaining three of the approximately 280 different providers. Uncontested judgments are a common outcome in medical debt collection cases where the defendant does not adequately respond to the lawsuit. They often take debtors to court for relief.
The situation in Olathe is a window into how institutional policies and practices can affect the lives of low-income and working-class Kansans, even in the wealthiest areas. This is a public challenge that encompasses other aspects of life in Johnson County and beyond the criminal justice system.
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The paper began collecting medical debt from nonprofit hospitals in Johnson County, but ProPublica, a nonprofit news outlet that produces an investigative public interest newspaper, polled readers in November about ways to get medical debt relief in Kansas.
Stanley Urgent Care changed management in July 2019, but a newspaper analysis of Johnson County court records shows the collection court’s business has slowed significantly since that year.
In a statement, the group emphasized that urgent care is focused on “providing professional, compassionate care to patients and families in the Olathe health system.”
“We do this against the backdrop of a global pandemic and unprecedented economic shutdowns
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