Vanderbilt University Medical Center wants SCH to change debt collection policies

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A hospital in Clarksville, Tennessee has sued 750 patients this year, although it is owned by Vanderbilt University Medical Center, which has a policy of not prosecuting patients, according to WPLN News.

Community Health Systems, a for-profit hospital operator based in Franklin, Tennessee, took over Tennova Healthcare Clarksville in 2010. This year, Nashville-based Vanderbilt acquired a minority stake in the hospital.

WPLN News investigated CHS debt collection practices. Court records obtained by the public radio station show Tennova Healthcare Clarksville has sued 9,000 patients since its acquisition by the CHS, including 750 actions filed this year. Vanderbilt learned of the lawsuits this year when WPLN News asked the medical center for comment.

In response, Vanderbilt said he is asking the CHS to review its debt collection policies.

“VUMC cannot impact the CHS approach to medical debt collection for services prior to our involvement,” said a spokesperson for Vanderbilt WPLN News. “We will encourage Tennova Clarksville to review her patient financial policies to resolve this issue.”

A CHS spokesperson said Becker Hospital Examination the company continually evaluates changes to its collection practices.

Since January, the company has only prosecuted patients who earn at least double the federal poverty line. The spokesperson said Becker the company will withdraw lawsuits against any patient whose annual income is below 200% of the federal poverty line, and the change will apply to previous judgments as well.

“Some of them may not have gone through all the stages of the legal process yet, but the dismissals have been initiated,” the spokesperson said on July 26. 200 percent of the federal poverty line are encouraged to call 1-800-755-5152 and apply for financial assistance. “

Read the whole WPLN News item here.


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