Methodist Le Bonheur CEO: Reports misrepresent financial assistance programs

The CEO of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare in Memphis, Tenn., criticized recent news reports questioning the health system's charity care policies, but added the programs will be reviewed in the next month to ensure adequate assistance is being provided.

In an op-ed published by The Commercial Appeal, Methodist CEO Michael Ugwueke responded to reports from ProPublica and MLK50 on the system's financial assistance policies and how it collects debts from patients. The health system filed more than 8,300 lawsuits against patients from 2014 through 2018, according to records cited by ProPublica.

Mr. Ugwueke wrote that the new reports' spotlight on collecting overdue medical bills "does not accurately portray our team members or the extensive and thoughtful processes we have in place to help both uninsured and insured patients." 

He continued: "Of the hundreds of thousands of patients we saw last year, we only went to court to collect debt from uninsured patients for less than one tenth of one percent of all the uninsured patients we saw, and only then after all other means to collect were exhausted."

Still, Mr. Ugwueke promised Methodist will review its policies and procedures during the next 30 days to ensure patients are eligible for the financial assistance they may need. 

"We want all patients to know and understand our financial assistance policies and we want to ensure our policies reflect our mission," he wrote.

For the full op-ed, click here

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