The Attorney General of Minnesota is investigating the billing and collection practices of a well-know healthcare provider, following a published report that detailed how the provider is filing collection lawsuits to recover unpaid medical debts from low-income patients.
A spokesman for Keith Ellison, the AG of Minnesota, said that the “apparent aggressive bill-collection conduct” that was detailed is “alarming” and that the Mayo Clinic has been asked to provide more information.
Twenty former patients of the Mayo Clinic were interviewed by a Minnesota newspaper, and the paper reported that 14 of those individuals should have qualified for discounted or free care charity care, but that all but one were forced to repay the debts in full — mostly through wage garnishments — after they were sued. Many of those that were interviewed did not know charity care was an option, according to the report.
The Mayo Clinic provided the following statement after details of the investigation were made public.
“We are responding to the attorney general’s request and welcome the opportunity to provide an accurate and complete picture of our billing and collection practices. We are confident that our response will demonstrate that financial assistance is an important part of Mayo Clinic’s relationship with patients and is shared with them at points before, during and after care is provided.”
The Minnesota Attorney’s General office has an agreement in place with all nonprofit hospitals operating in the state as well as one of the two for-profit hospitals that aims to protect patients from “abusive, harassing, and deceptive practices when hospitals seek to collect medical debt.”