Connecticut Hospital Leads State In Suing Patients
By Consumers For Quality Care, on December 4, 2019
Danbury Hospital in Connecticut is the leading hospital in the state for suing patients over unpaid medical bills, new data has shown. As Connecticut News Times reports:
In what may be Connecticut’s part in a national wave of hospitals becoming America’s most aggressive debt collectors, Danbury Hospital sued 6,400 patients in small claims court in 2016 – a figure that was nearly half of all lawsuits Connecticut hospitals filed to recover unpaid bills, according to a study from UConn’s Health Disparity Institute.
In a “single-day snapshot” of the hospital’s activity, Danbury had 600 active small claims against patients, far higher than the next-highest hospital in the state, which had 82.
Several patients have told the News Times their own stories of Danbury’s aggressive collection tactics. One man described the hospital as “not interested” in working out a payment plan with him:
A New Milford father of three children who was treated for a heart condition in 2017 told The News-Times that Danbury Hospital wasn’t interested in working out a payment plan with him, and was only interested in collecting the $2,300 he owed them that he didn’t have. The hospital sued him and won an agreement that garnished his wages, court records show.
Another consumer was sued after she spent several nights in the hospital for congestive heart failure:
A Monroe woman who lost her health insurance when she lost her job told The News-Times she and a financial counselor were working out a plan to pay Danbury Hospital back for four nights she spent there being treated for congestive heart failure in 2015, when the hospital sued her.
Danbury’s practices have led a state agency in Connecticut to begin a probe of the hospital’s practices. As the News Times reports, the Connecticut Office of Health Strategy has stated it is concerned with how many patients Danbury has brought to court.
The state Office of Health Strategy said it was concerned that the hospital sued 6,400 patients in 2016 — a figure that was nearly half of all the small claims lawsuits filed by hospitals in the state.
“This data on Danbury Hospital is very concerning and raises a lot of questions,” said Vicki Veltri, executive director of the agency. “OHS is going to review Danbury Hospital’s reported debt collection practices.”