Vanderbilt University Medical Center wants CHS to change debt collection policies

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A hospital in Clarksville, Tennessee, sued 750 patients this year, despite being co-owned by Vanderbilt University Medical Center, which has a policy of not suing patients, according to WPLN News.

Community Health Systems, a for-profit hospital operator based in Franklin, Tenn., took over Tennova Healthcare Clarksville in 2010. That year, Nashville-based Vanderbilt acquired a minority stake in the hospital.

WPLN News investigated the debt collection practices of CHS. Court records obtained by the public radio station show Tennova Healthcare Clarksville has sued 9,000 patients since its acquisition by CHS, including the 750 lawsuits filed this year. Vanderbilt learned of the lawsuits filed this year when WPLN News asked the medical center for comment.

In response, Vanderbilt said it was asking CHS to review its debt collection policies.

“VUMC cannot impact CHS’s approach to medical debt collection for services prior to our involvement,” a Vanderbilt spokesperson said. WPLN News. “We will encourage Tennova Clarksville to review its patient financial policies to address this issue.”

A CHS spokesperson said Becker Hospital Review the company continually evaluates changes to its collection practices.

Since January, the company has only prosecuted patients who earn at least twice the federal poverty level. The spokesperson said Becker’s the company will withdraw litigation against any patient whose annual income is less than 200% of the federal poverty level, and the change will also apply to previous judgments.

“Some of them may not have gone through all the legal process yet, but the layoffs have been initiated,” the spokesperson said on July 26. 200% of the federal poverty level is encouraged to call 1-800-755-5152 and submit an application for financial assistance.”

Read all WPLN News article here.


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