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An US non-profit hospital, Mosaic forgave bills and stopped suing poor people, when came to light

Mosaic used to refuse medical attention to those that they had sued. Now, under their new policy which came about in 2015, the patients enter into a medical debt grace period

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Heartland Regional Medical Center, a nonprofit, is the only hospital in St. Joseph, Mo. The hospital and its system of clinics recently rebranded as Mosaic. Image source: www.propublica.org
  • Heartland Regional Medical Center sued low income patients for their medical bills
  • The hospital pardoned the debt in light of a new financial assistance policy
  • Many patients were unaware the policy even existed

Poor People were sued for inability to pay bills by an US non-profit hospital. When came to light, forgave bills

An US non-profit hospital, Mosaic forgave bills and stopped suing poor people, when came to light

Heartland Regional Medical Center nonprofit hospital in St. Joseph, Missouri in United States. sued low income patients because they were not paying hospital bills. In light of these findings, Senator Charles Grassley stated, “Let me be clear: Nonprofit hospitals should not be in the business of aggressively suing their patients. In essence, because of the favorable tax treatment these hospitals receive, they have a duty to help our nation’s most vulnerable.”

Senator Charles Grassley. Image source: Wikimedia Commons.
Senator Charles Grassley. Image source: Wikimedia Commons.

A republican from Iowa, he made it clear that it was unacceptable that this issue had to be brought to the attention of not only congress but the press. He said that it should not have come to this, and the hospital should have upheld its mission and helped those in need.

It was due to an investigation done by NPR and ProPublica that led to uncovering the lawsuits Heartland Regional Medical Center, now known as Mosaic Life Care, was issuing. In fact, to NPR and ProPublica’s surprise, Mosaic was not the only nonprofit hospital that was quietly suing patients.

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Mosaic and other nonprofit hospitals such as, Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, Indiana, have started to revisit their financial assistance policies. Mosaic used to refuse medical attention to those that they had sued. Now, under their new policy which came about in 2015, the patients enter into a medical debt grace period. With this policy, even the patients who owe the hospital money can receive medical attention.

Heartland Regional Medical Center. Image source: www.heartlandregional.com
Heartland Regional Medical Center. Image source: www.heartlandregional.com

This new policy relieved 3,342 people of their debt. The total amounted to $17 million being pardoned. That is a substantial amount of money that the money will never receive. Interestingly enough, they are still trying to obtain some sort of payment from patients who owe them. Keith Herie, a patient, said that he still owed the hospital over $26,000. After looking at his income, Mosaic deemed his income too high to allow his debts to be pardoned. The patient settled on paying $8,300 to Mosaic. That was after the fact that he had already paid $20,000 to the hospital prior to the official changes in Mosaic’s policy.

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In another interesting discovery ProPublica reached out to Keith Berry, a man who is on disability. He had not heard that Mosaic had a new debt forgiveness policy. When he contacted the hospital, they simply stated that he was too old and did not qualify. The policy does have specific steps. The debt period is held from October 1, thru December 31. During these days, patients, who having outstanding debt, must apply to be considered eligible to receive the benefits of this policy.

The CEO of the hospital said that although the hospital has done everything medically right for their patients, they are learning to do the same when it comes to finances. It is not just Mosaic and Deaconess that have failed the patients financially. Under half of 1,800 hospitals studied had failed to notify patients of their financial assistance policy prior to billing them.

Abigail Andrea is an intern at NewsGram. Twitter @abby_kono

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Why Did China Not Invite WHO for Coronavirus Investigation?

China Did Not Invite WHO to Join COVID-19 Investigation

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China COVID-19
The World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday that it has not been invited by China to join the investigation into the cause of the coronavirus pandemic. Pixabay

The World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday that it has not been invited by China to join the investigation into the cause of the coronavirus pandemic.

WHO’s representative in Beijing Dr. Gauden Galea said he expected China would discuss collaborations with the organization in the “near future.”

“We know some national investigation is happening but at this stage we have not been invited to join. We are expecting to get, in the near future, a briefing on where that is and to discuss possible collaboration,” Galea said.

China COVID-19
A logo is pictured outside a building of the World Health Organization (WHO) during an executive board meeting on update on the coronavirus outbreak, in Geneva, Switzerland. VOA

The coronavirus disease COVID-19, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has taken over 230,000 human lives worldwide, according to a collection of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, and confirmed infection cases have reached 3.2 million.

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Beijing has been criticized for lack of transparency in its handling of the pandemic, with the United States investigating whether the virus might have gotten out from a Wuhan biosecurity laboratory.

The official tally of infections in Wuhan has been questionable from the very beginning with the government frequently changing its counting criteria at the peak of the outbreak.

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Meanwhile, China has dismissed the possibility that the coronavirus pandemic originated in that lab and it was not transmitted from animals to humans in Wuhan as commonly believed.

Although the origin of COVID-19 is yet to be determined, some scientists suspect the virus was transmitted to humans from animals at a wet market in Wuhan. (VOA)

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Let us have a look at the healthcare workers around the world.

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healthcare workers COVID-19
Brazilian 99-year-old former WWII combatant Ermando Armelino Piveta gestures as he leaves the Armed Forces Hospital, after being treated for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and discharged, in Brasilia, Brazil, April 14, 2020. VOA

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Healthcare workers around the world have been on the frontline in the battle against coronavirus. Their service is next to godliness and people have now started showing the respect and gratitude the medical staff deserves.

Healthcare workers, being selfless have bid their families goodbye for a while only to help the people who need them. Even though most of the doctors and medical workers know about the risk of this job, they are needlessly doing their bit for the sake of humanity.

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Healthcare workers attend to a COVID-19 patient at an intensive care unit (ICU) at the General University Hospital in Prague, Czech Republic. VOA

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From a 16-day-old child to a 100-year-old woman, the healthcare workers have ensured that they try their best to save lives.

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Safdarjung Doctors Face Border Restrictions Affecting Their Morale, says RDA President

The RDA of the Safdarjung Hospital wrote to the Medical Superintendent of the hospital regarding the issue on tuesday

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RDA has received several complaints from resident doctors who are residing in the NCR area about border restrictions. Pixabay

The Resident Doctors Association (RDA) of the Safdarjung Hospital here expressed its concern over instances where doctors were restricted from crossing the borders.

“Since the NCR borders have been sealed, even the doctors are not being allowed to cross it. When we enquired about it, we got to know that it is being said that doctors are bringing infection to the NCR region. Such comments and instances are causing a blow to the morale of the doctors working day and night,” said Manish, President, Resident Doctors Association (RDA), Safdarjung Hospital.

“In order to keep the morale of the doctors and Healthcare workers high, the government and other authorities should make all possible efforts in order to provide proper transportation for them. We hope that the government will look into it and would help the doctors who are working tirelessly since the pandemic has gripped the nation,” said Ashu Meena, Vice President of the RDA.

face-mask- doctors
When we enquired about it, we got to know that it is being said that doctors are bringing infection to the NCR region. Such comments and instances are causing a blow to the morale of the doctors working day and night,” said Manish, President, Resident Doctors Association (RDA), Safdarjung Hospital. (Representational Image).Pixabay

On Tuesday, the RDA of the Safdarjung Hospital wrote to the Medical Superintendent of the hospital regarding the same issue.

“This is to bring to your kind notice that RDA has received several complaints from resident doctors who are residing in the NCR area. They are finding it difficult to cross the interstate border while going home from work despite having hospital ID cards and passes issued by the hospital,” the letter said.

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The letter further said that many resident doctors have received verbal ultimatum from the on duty police officers at the border that the passes will not be valid and they will not allow entry into Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. Many faculty, nurses and other healthcare workers of the hospital are also facing similar issues.

“This is creating a lot of trouble and discomfort for the hospital staff. It is hence our kind request to look into the matter and solve the issue on the most urgent basis by communicating with the appropriate authority,” the RDA said. (IANS)