Allina Health pauses policy of denying care to some in debt

Minneapolis-based Allina Health has pulled back from its policy of denying care to some indebted patients, according to a June 9 New York Times report.

The move was described as a "thoughtful pause" by CEO Lisa Shannon as the health system reviews the policy, the report said.

Allina Health has previously confirmed it was cutting off patients for some nonemergency services only if they have at least $1,500 of unpaid debt three separate times.

Such moves are not unique to Allina Health, the Lown Institute has said. A 2022 investigation from KFF Health News found 55 hospitals allow denials of nonemergency care for patients with medical debt, and 22 said the practice is allowed but not current practice.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison asked patients to get in contact if they have been affected by such Allina Health policies.

"Allina is bound under the Hospital Agreement to refrain from aggressive billing practices and provide charity care when patients need and qualify for it, as all Minnesota hospitals are," he said in the New York Times report.

Allina Health employs approximately 27,500 people and is one of the largest employers in Minnesota. As of Dec. 31, the system's hospitals had a licensed bed capacity of 2,451 acute care beds.

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