Hospitals Financially Ruin Patients in North Carolina

Joyce Jones was admitted to the hospital with serious abdominal pains.  She had no job and a minimal heatlh insurance policy.  However, a social worker at Carolinas Medical Center-Mercy told her that the hospital had a fund to help patients like her.  As a result, she thought her bill would be minimal.  However, she soon received a bill for $34,000.  In 2006, the hospital sued her and won, putting a lien on her small home.

This hospital is one of two in North Carolina who still sues patients, despite the fact that on average they make a profit of $300 million a year and are tax exempt, saving them from paying millions in taxes.  To put this in perspective, out of the 40,000 lawsuits filed by NC hospitals, 12,000 were from this hospital.  When looking at most of the lawsuits filed by the hospital, most of the defendants, or patients, were uninsured and that a significant number of them should have qualified for free hospital care.

In Jones’ case she offered to pay $10,000 and go on an installment play to repay the rest.  However, the hospital rejected the offer, furthering proving that they were not willing to work with her at all.  Now, many are wondering why hospitals are sueing so many patients when they could not only afford to help but also when their missions are that of charity.