One Hospital System Sued 2,500 Patients After Pandemic Hit

The opposite well being methods that filed probably the most lawsuits final yr echoed that sentiment, emphasizing that they haven’t sued any coronavirus sufferers.

St. Peter’s Well being Companions, which runs a series of hospitals within the Albany space and filed about 1,000 lawsuits final yr, and Oneida Well being, a well being care system close to Syracuse that filed about 500 lawsuits, each mentioned in statements that they briefly stopped suing within the spring however resumed over the summer season.

Elisabeth Benjamin, vice chairman of well being initiatives on the Neighborhood Service Society, a nonprofit that advocates anti-poverty insurance policies, criticized hospitals for suing sufferers throughout the pandemic, even over unpaid payments from hospitalizations in previous years.

She mentioned that a number of hundred {dollars} might not imply a lot to a hospital chain however is usually a vital burden for a low-income affected person. “It means somebody goes hungry,” Ms. Benjamin mentioned. “It means a child just isn’t getting a winter coat.”

In some instances, the lawsuits have sought even bigger sums. John T. Mather Memorial Hospital on Lengthy Island, which is owned by Northwell, sued Thomas Kasper in April for $31,340 in unpaid payments — plus about $8,000 in curiosity and costs, information present.

That hospital additionally sued Scott Buckley for $21,028, plus about $4,000 in curiosity and costs.

“I’m actually broke,” mentioned Mr. Buckley, 48, who works at a Cease & Store grocery retailer. “I don’t have a penny to my title. I’ve three children. In the event that they take my paycheck, I received’t have something.”

One among Mr. Buckley’s daughters, Kacey Buckley, 22, who works for a cat breeder, can be being sued over unpaid medical payments in an unrelated case, information present. Northwell lately started garnishing 10 p.c of her paycheck.

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