UVA Health System pledges to change medical debt collection practices

The University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville has vowed to change its medical debt collection practices after a special report for The Washington Post revealed it has sued thousands of former patients, seized wages and put liens on homes, according to The Daily Progress.

The special report, which highlighted a Kaiser Health News analysis, found that the University of Virginia Health System and its physicians sued former patients more than 36,000 times over a six-year period ending in June 2018.

After the report was published Sept. 9, the health system took to Facebook to address the issue.

"We have been undertaking a comprehensive review of our financial assistance policies to identify changes we will make to better help low-income patients afford their medical bills. We expect to announce by Friday some changes to our policies," a post stated.

University of Virginia President Jim Ryan also addressed the issue in a Facebook Post Sept. 10.

He wrote: "It has been a difficult couple of days for UVA Health as we've responded to yesterday's Washington Post story about billing and collection practices at the medical center. … Part of striving to be both a great and a good university is honestly facing problems you encounter and doing what you can to address them. That is what we are trying to do here and will continue to do when we discover other ways we can improve as an institution."

Mr. Ryan said the CEO of the medical center, Pamela Sutton-Wallace, has been tapped to finalize proposed changes.

Ms. Sutton-Wallace will leave in November to join New York City-based New York-Presbyterian Hospital as senior vice president and regional COO. However, Mr. Ryan stressed that the departure is unrelated to the billing and collection issues.  


More articles on healthcare finance: 

Public comment period to close Sept. 27 for federal price transparency rule
Florida alliance ramps up efforts to protect state funding to 28 hospitals
Healthcare advocates back bill to cut Medicare prior authorization red tape


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