Elsewhere online
June 02, 2016

Scrutiny Leads Mo. Hospital to Curb Debt-Collection Suits

A nonprofit Missouri hospital that drew media and Congressional attention for suing thousands of low-income patients over unpaid bills has overhauled its financial-aid and collection policies, ProPublica and NPR report. Mosaic Life Care in St. Joseph, Mo., has forgiven thousands of patients’ debts, instituted a grace period for back payments, and pledged to do more to alert poor patients to opportunities for financial assistance.

Senator Charles Grassley, a frequent critic of big nonprofit hospitals’ financial practices, launched an investigation of Mosaic last year following a December 2014 report by ProPublica and NPR on its and other medical centers’ aggressive collection tactics, which included going to court to seize low-income patients’ wages.

While the Missouri hospital “deserves credit for doing the right thing,” Mr. Grassley told Senate colleagues last week in a letter on his findings, “it should not take Congressional and press attention to ensure that tax-exempt, charitable organizations are focused on their mission of helping those in need.”