This makes the NY Times because of the connection the hospital system has the Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo who asked hospitals to hold up on going after people’s pay checks during this rough health and economic time….
It IS bad enough people have lost their jobs and are getting sick….
Now they have to worry about a hospital trying to take the money they have left….
America is NOT a place to get sick if you do not have good health insurance….
When the coronavirus began spreading through New York, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo ordered state-run hospitals to stop suing patients over unpaid medical bills, and almost all of the major private hospitals in the state voluntarily followed suit by suspending their claims.
But one chain of hospitals has plowed ahead with thousands of lawsuits: Northwell Health, which is the state’s largest health system and is run by one of Mr. Cuomo’s closest allies.
The nonprofit Northwell sued more than 2,500 patients last year, records show, a flood of litigation even as the pandemic has led to widespread job losses and economic uncertainty.
The Northwell lawsuits each sought an average of $1,700 in unpaid bills, plus large interest payments. They hit teachers, construction workers, grocery store employees and others, including some who had lost work in the pandemic or gotten sick themselves….
Across the country, medical debt lawsuits have grown increasingly common in recent years, as health care costs have risen and insurance companies have shifted more of the burden onto patients through larger deductibles and co-payments. The cases are rarely contested in court and usually lead to default judgments, allowing hospitals to garnish wages and freeze accounts to extract money, sometimes without the patient’s knowledge.
Northwell has not been alone in pursuing debt through the courts during the pandemic. About 50 hospitals in New York have sued a total of 5,000 patients since March, according to a search of filings in courts around the state. Most are small and located upstate.
Northwell stands out because of the sheer number of its lawsuits — and because of its connections to Mr. Cuomo. The other major New York City hospital systems, including NewYork-Presbyterian and NYU Langone Health, have largely suspended lawsuits during the pandemic. It is unclear when they might begin suing again.
The Northwell system operates 23 hospitals, including Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Lenox Hill Hospital and North Shore University Hospital. It brings in about $12.5 billion in annual revenue and received $1.2 billion in emergency funding through the stimulus package in the federal CARES Act last year….