UVA Health System suing thousands into financial ruin: Report

healthcare

Photo Credit: Peshkova

It’s bad enough that we live in a country that hasn’t figured out that there shouldn’t be a profit motive to offering healthcare.

It gets worse when you learn that a leading university hospital system is driving thousands of families into bankruptcy.

And then, for me, a UVA alum … yeah, it’s the UVA Health System that is the ogre in this one.

A Kaiser Health News analysis found that the UVA Health System and its doctors sued former patients more than 36,000 times for over $106 million in the six-year period ending in June 2018, seizing wages and bank accounts, putting liens on property and homes and forcing families into bankruptcy.

Which, wow.

Just, wow.

This from a health system that is taxpayer-supported, state-funded, non-profit, presumably because it offers charity care.

Gov. Ralph Northam, a pediatric neurologist, and all-around weasel of a human being, oversees the health system’s board.

The Washington Post did its own reporting, and found the health system justifying its actions as being required by law, specifically, the Virginia Debt Collection Act of 1988, which requires state agencies to “aggressively collect” money owed.

“Aggressively collect.”

One couple chronicled in the Post story is losing its house, and each other, having filed for divorce caused by the strain of the aggressive collection practices.

And that couple was on the hook for about double what the health system would have assessed to an insurer.

Among the insane charges on their bill: $2,000 for a $20 feeding tube.

People who have insurance, but not the right kind, or enough, are put through the wringer.

People who have the misfortune of being sent to UVA for services that local community hospitals can’t offer … same.

And UVA students who find themselves unable to pay for expensive treatment end up getting blocked from continuing their educations.

Seriously.

What the actual hell, here.

All of this from a non-profit that earned $554 million in profit for that six-year period ending in June 2018, and has an investment portfolio valued at more than $1 billion.

They’re suing 6,000 people a year, for amounts as small as $13.71, and putting liens on houses, garnisheeing wages, and they’re, again, a non-profit, providing a public service.

This is all beyond unconscionable.

Needless to say, you won’t be reading anything else positive from UVA Health System on the pages of Augusta Free Press until this nonsense is resolved.

Rest assured: it will never be resolved.

Because: money.

In the meantime, we’re just hoping that we don’t end up on the wrong side of some sort of misfortune that allows UVA Health System to take everything we’ve worked for, like it has all these other unfortunate souls.

Column by Chris Graham

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