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South Carolina Hospital Seizes Patient’s Tax Refunds To Pay Overdue Bills

Midlands Hospital in Lexington, SC is being sued over its use of a state program that allows it to seize former patients’ state tax refunds to pay for overdue medical bills. As the Post and Courier reports, lawyers conducting the suit are seeking class action status.

Several patients involved in the suit allege that Midlands pursued them for unpaid bills even after they filed for bankruptcy. It is against federal law to continue collection efforts on any individual who has filed for bankruptcy.

Lexington Medical “systematically ignores” bankruptcy filings, lawyers for the debtors wrote.

“The entire purpose of bankruptcy is to give people a fresh start,” said Dave Maxfield, a consumer rights attorney based in Columbia. “You’re taking that opportunity from them.”

The law that Midlands utilized was designed for use by local governments, but it has allowed multiple hospitals in South Carolina to collect a combined $92 million in 2017, according to the Post and Courier.

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