Top 100 US hospitals charge patients 7 times their actual care cost, study shows

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More than a quarter of the 100 hospitals with the highest revenues in the U.S. sued patients over unpaid bills between 2018 and mid-2020, according to research from Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University, first reported by Axios June 14.

Researchers looked at the billing and debt collection practices for the 100 U.S. hospitals with the highest revenues between Jan. 1, 2018, and July 31, 2020. Below are three notable findings from the report:

  1. During the time period researchers examined, the 100 hospitals pursued 38,965 lawsuits and other court actions against patients, seeking more than $71.7 million.

  2. Of the 100 U.S. hospitals with the highest revenues, 26 filed 38,965 court actions against patients, which is likely an undercount since some court records remained inaccessible during the investigation. Six of the 26 hospitals were in New York.

  3. The top 100 hospitals charged patients an average of seven times the actual cost of the care they provided. The hospital with the highest markups was HCA Healthcare's Chippenham Hospital in Richmond, Va., which charged at nearly 13 times the actual care cost. 

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