Some Hospitals File Lawsuits Against Patients During Pandemic

This is outrageous and immoral.

554 points

The last thing millions of Americans should have to worry about right now is a hospital suing them over medical bills, but many Wisconsin residents are dealing with that problem right now as a pandemic rages across the country.

One of the biggest problems of our private sector healthcare system is that it’s costly. Just a single medical procedure or emergency could bankrupt someone, and private insurance is often useless because it won’t cover everything.

That means patients fall into thousands of dollars in debt that cripples their bank accounts, forcing them to sell their homes or be evicted, all because a wealthy hospital owner doesn’t have a heart.

The United States is currently in the midst of a pandemic that has infected nearly 300,000 and killed more than 7,000. Stay-at-home orders have forced many out of work and 10 million have filed unemployment claims in the span of just two weeks.

The coronavirus has brought our nation to a standstill and hospitals are overwhelmed. But none of this is apparently stopping hospitals from suing patients over medical bills.

According to Kaiser Health News:

UW Health in Madison has filed 19 lawsuits since March 12. Marshfield Clinic, which covers northern, central and western Wisconsin, has filed at least 14 since that date, followed by Bellin Health, based in Green Bay (11); La Crosse-based Gundersen Health System (10); and Aspirus Grand View Health System, which serves parts of northern Wisconsin (3). Froedtert South, which serves southeastern Wisconsin, also filed one suit.”

But the worst offender thus far is Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital, which has filed dozens of such lawsuits during this pandemic, including against Blanche Jordan, an essential worker at an assisted living facility who survived cancer.

Jordan is one of at least 46 people sued by Froedtert in small claims court since March 12. Those cases are among at least 104 similar suits filed statewide by health systems over the same period, according to an analysis of small claims cases by Wisconsin Public Radio and Wisconsin Watch.

‘This lady came to my door. She didn’t have a mask on. She didn’t have gloves. And she looked at me like I’m crazy because I had a mask across my face,’ said Jordan, who lives in Milwaukee and works as a caregiver at an assisted living facility outside of the city. ‘I’m high-risk,” she said.'”

How monstrous does a hospital have to be to file such a lawsuit against a cancer survivor and then put her at increased risk of coronavirus by serving her legal documents without wearing any kind of mask or gloves?

The hospital claimed that they have suspended their pursuit of lawsuits as of March 18th, but that appears to be a lie.

Yet court records at the time showed at least 18 lawsuits filed on the hospital’s behalf since then, including 15 filed on March 31 alone. (The suit against Jordan was filed on March 17; she was served on March 29.) Schooff did not explain the discrepancy. All 18 of those cases have since been dismissed.”

Again, this is why our country needs a universal healthcare system that ends for-profit hospitals and cuts out middleman insurance companies. There is absolutely no reason why anyone should ever have to worry about a medical bill, especially during a pandemic. And people certainly should not have to worry about being sued, which only compounds the situation by adding legal fees to the price tag.

If this pandemic has shined a light on anything, it’s the predatory nature of for-profit healthcare. And it’s clear we need to end it before it ends us.

Featured image via screen capture

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