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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
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  • 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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Infosys Donates Rs 2.50cr To A Hospital in Kerala

Infosys donates Rs 2.50cr to Kerala hospital

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Infosys donates Rs 2.50cr to Kerala hospital.
Infosys donates Rs 2.50cr to Kerala hospital. (Wikimedia Commons)

Tech major Infosys has donated Rs 2.50 crore to the Neurosurgery Department of the state-run Medical College hospital, here.

The money was used to install a brand new neurosurgery dedicated operating microscope, replacing a two decade old one.

Speaking to IANS, P. Anil, Head of Department Neurosurgery, said that Infosys answered to a request he had made in 2017.

“I took a chance and I wrote to Infosys if they can come to our help. It was an year back. Soon they responded and after they undertook a brief study of our activities, they decided to help us,” he added.

“In between there were some issues with regards to GST but finally the equipment has been installed. We have already put it to use in the first case, a few days back,” said Anil.

Representational image for Hospital.
Representational image. Pixabay

Anil said the new piece of device has come as a huge boon to the patients who mostly come from poor background.

The Thiruvananthapuram Medical College hospital has the most crowded casualty department with accident cases coming for expert and quick treatment.

Speaking to IANS, Sunil Jose, a top official attached to the Infosys unit here, said their company always has set aside money as part of the corporate social responsibility programme.

“Our studies found out that the department provides yeomen services to accident victims and most of the patients came from the low and middle income category.

“In this microscope project, we started working on it as soon as we got the proposal from the Neurosurgery Department. We felt that they are doing a good job and sanctioned it,” said Jose.

Incidentally this is not the first time that Infosys have helped the hospital. They had built a sky walk connecting the major building after finding out that patients were being moved in stretchers through the road.  IANS