Kentucky helps collect UK HealthCare medical debt, adds 32%

UK HealthCare in Lexington is the only hospital system in Kentucky that taps the state Department of Revenue to collect debts, according to local news station 89.3 WFPL.

Every year, tens of thousands of UK HealthCare patients see their state tax refunds, lottery winnings and paychecks seized by the Kentucky Department of Revenue to pay off medical debt. UK HealthCare has collected $76 million from patients through these means since 2009, according to state data cited by the publication. 

In addition to medical debt, the state tacks on roughly 32 percent in fees and interest. Since 2009, the state kept $18 million of patient collections for itself, according to 89.3 WFPL.

A spokesperson from UK HealthCare said the health system complies with all state and federal laws when it comes to collecting past-due medical debt. 

"We ask the Department of Revenue to intervene and assist only as a last resort, and that’s after every appeal and months of attempts have been exhausted," UK HealthCare spokesperson Jay Blanton told the publication. "I know we're not perfect. I'm sure people can point to mistakes that were made, but in the main, what you've got is a robust, comprehensive, compassionate and sensitive process."

Read the full report here.

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