In an article that seems like it could be ripped from The Onion, CNN.com recently reported that hospitals have now turned to suing patients for unpaid bills accrued during the pandemic. It is apparently not bad enough that hospitals’ conduct is a large part of the medical malpractice epidemic in this country, which is responsible for killing over 400,000 people each year. Now, in a time when many people are struggling to make ends meet due to COVID-19, the hospitals (who still report record revenue) have decided it is a prime opportunity to file lawsuits over unpaid bills. They have even gone as far as garnishing wages and suing their own employees.
Our community cannot forget that hospitals are a business. They are entitled to receive payment for services rendered, but to what end? Everyone must remember that the hospital’s primary goal is to remain financially solvent. In doing so, administrators, doctors, and nurses make decisions that benefit their bottom line. This is particularly troubling when those decisions affect patient safety. Perhaps it is not surprising that medical malpractice rates continue to rise in this country.
Hopefully our hospitals will one day recognize that the extremely large paychecks their executives make affect their bottom line, too, and they will show mercy on their patients who, due to no fault of their own, cannot pay ludicrously large medical bills.