A Texas hospital cited in a report for filing the second-most debt collection lawsuits during the past two years in the Lone Star State is standing up and defending its actions, saying that lawsuits are always a “last resort” to try and collect on an unpaid debt.
Cedar Park Regional Medical Center has filed 84 collection lawsuits in Texas during the past two years, tying it for second on the list of hospitals that have filed the most lawsuits seeking to collect on unpaid debts, according to a report — called “Eroding the Public’s Trust: A Report of Texas Hospitals Suing Patients” — issued earlier this week by Restoring Medicine, an organization that demands “a more honest and fair health care system” here in the United States.
“Fortunately, the majority of our patients pay their bills so a very small percentage of our hospital’s nearly 180,000 annual patient encounters result in litigation,” said Bo Beaudry, CPRMC’s Chief Executive, in the statement. “Litigation is always a last resort and is only pursued after we determine the patient has the financial ability to make some level of payment based on employment status and credit record. Once a bill is mailed, if no payment is received, we make numerous attempts — often 10 or more times — to contact patients via phone and mail in order to establish an interest-free payment plan workable for their circumstances. If a patient does not respond or agrees to a payment plan and then does not make payments, we may seek payment through the judicial process.”
About 7% of the 414 hospitals in Texas filed a collection lawsuit during that timeframe that was analyzed by the researchers who authored the report. The facilities filed more than 1,000 lawsuits during the period that was analyzed, seeking to recover about $18 million in unpaid debts. The researchers conclude that while the $18 million represents a small amount (0.15%) of the total revenue earned by the facilities during the two years, that total “had catastrophic consequences for hard-working families who represent the low to lower-middle working class in Texas.”