How much will debt pay? With an auction, winning bidders may get to keep all of the money they collected as well.
Hospital’s hardball tactics for collecting bad debts came in for scrutiny in an article in the Baltimore Sun over the weekend.
Over the past five years, hospitals in Maryland filed more than 132,000 lawsuits and placed at least 8,000 liens on homes of patients who owed them money, according to the Sun.
Take the case of Willie Mae White, who ended up with a $36,224 bill after having emergency surgery for a brain aneurysm at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in 2005. Living off Social Security and food stamps, she was relieved when told she’d get charity care — until she later figured out that only covered one of 10 days of her stay, according to her daughter. Johns Hopkins eventually sued her, but after the Sun asked questions forgave her debt and returned what she’d paid. Hospital spokesman told the newspaper the hospital “recognized a mistake had been made.”