Hospitals Suing Patients

The Baltimore Sun had an article on Sunday about the unfairness of the nature and the speed of lawsuits hospitals are filing against patients for unpaid hospital bills. The numbers are staggering: Maryland hospitals have filed 132,000 lawsuits in the past five years for unpaid bills, a third of which have been filed in Baltimore City District Court.

We have had personal injury and even medical error clients sued by Maryland hospitals, often over incredibly small bills and even after the client has signed an assignment of funds to be paid out of their settlement. The collection lawyers hired by the hospitals are often running collection mills so getting a person on the phone typically takes an Act of Congress if you want to talk about a case.

I don’t know what the answer is. The hospital is entitled to be paid. But so many decent people are getting pounded, often at a time in their lives when they most need a break.

Hospitals are supposed to heal people and they often do that well. But they are also big business and they are looking to maximize their profits. I understand. But it sure is frustrating to watch people who are already beaten down taking another punch.

  • I agree Ron. I don’t understand why, after agreeing to an assignment, these hospitals can sue for unpaid bills. If the client/patient can’t avoid being sued under these circumstances, what are they to do? Now if there is no recovery and they don’t pay, that’s a different story, isn’t it? Seems to me that that is an easy logic tree to navigate, INTHENELSE i.e. IF assignment, THEN no lawsuit, ELSE lawsuit OK (notice my programming background).

    By the way, although this is my first comment, I read your blog and refer to your website constantly. Both are extremely well done.

  • Sylvia Graham

    In 2006 my husbnad went into a hospital had back surgery & the hospaital staff had been told numerous times that the nurse call buttons didn’t work, my husband fell out of bed just as I caught him before he hit the floor hard, I didn’t sue, & neither did my insurance get billed nor did us. In 2007 he had to go back into the hospital over a heart attack & the hospital is now suing us for $1700.00

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