ProPublica report prompts hospital to examine practice of suing for unpaid bills

Waves of criticism against Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, a nonprofit hospital based in Memphis, Tennessee, have prompted the institution to examine its aggressive debt collection practices of suing low-income patients for unpaid medical debts, as detailed by a recent ProPublica and MLK50 report.

Methodist CEO and President Michael Ugwueke, MD, has promised to reevaluate the hospital’s financial assistance policies in a column posted in The Commercial Appeal, ProPublica reported.

“The spotlight placed on our health system does not accurately portray our team members or the extensive and thoughtful processes we have in place to help both uninsured and insured patients,” he wrote.

The hospital, which is affiliated with the United Methodist Church, filed more than 8,300 lawsuits from 2014 to 2018, according to ProPublica.

Ugwueke, who earned $1.6 million in 2017 for his role at the hospital, has stated the healthcare institution will review its policies and procedures over the next 30 days.

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