Nonprofit Alabama hospital sued patients for debt under $200

Alia Paavola - Print  | 

Montgomery, Ala.-based Jackson Hospital sued at least 1,302 patients last year, some of whom had outstanding bills under $200, according to AL.com.

In 2019, Jackson Hospital sued more patients than any other nonprofit hospital in Alabama, according to the report. At least six of those patients, including Tara Harriel, owed less than $200.

Ms. Harriel is a state worker with health insurance. She visited Jackson Hospital in 2018 for a broken finger. She told the publication that she believed she had paid off her bill, but in 2019 she was sued by the hospital, which claimed she owed $150.

"I received no communication from Jackson Hospital," Ms. Harriel told AL.com.

Jackson Hospital, which reported a $10.4 million loss in its most recent financial filing, didn't respond to AL.com's request for comment.

About 75 percent of hospitals in Alabama operate at a loss, according to Donald Williamson, president of the Alabama Hospital Association. 

"The mission of hospitals is to provide high quality care, but they can't survive without being paid for their services," he said.

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