U of Utah Health will no longer bill patients' surviving spouses for medical debt

Salt Lake City-based University of Utah Health has eliminated a policy under which it billed surviving spouses of patients for debt, according to CBS affiliate TV station KUTV.

The academic health system, which serves residents in five states, previously billed surviving spouses for the debt of the deceased. It was permitted to do so under state law, according to Dave Gessel, executive vice president of the Utah Hospital Association.

But Kathy Delis, administrative director of revenue cycle support service for the system, told KUTV the organization made changes after an investigation by the TV station found other major systems, such as Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare and MountainStar Healthcare, did not have the same policy.

"We are changing that policy," she said. "We are changing our policy to no longer bill patients' surviving spouses for debt that's owing. Instead, we will bill the estate or the probate."

University of Utah Health told KUTV it also plans to write off outstanding bills that were sent to surviving spouses for debt of the deceased.


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