💸💉 No Dough, No Care: Nonprofit Hospitals’ Hardball Tactic on Medical Debtors 🚑🏥
This ain’t no joke, fam 🤯. Allina Health System, a hefty nonprofit healthcare giant in the Midwest, has been flexing its muscle on patients with unpaid medical bills, cutting them off from non-emergency services 😷💰. This move is raising serious questions about how these nonprofit hospitals fulfill their mission of caring for the poor in exchange for juicy tax breaks 🏦💸. Despite their financial assistance program, it seems Allina is playing a high-stakes game with patients’ health, and for some, it’s a losing battle 😓🚨.
💬Let’s Talk About it: 🗞️Full Story🗞️
Imagine this: You’re stuck with a pile of medical debt so high, it’s got a snow cap ❄️🏔️. Your next appointment comes around, but whoops, your hospital just slams the door in your face 🚪🛑. That’s what patients deep in debt are experiencing at Allina Health System, a wealthy nonprofit health system in the Midwest.
Allina, running over 100 hospitals and clinics, has been reportedly rejecting patients with serious unpaid medical bills. Wait, aren’t nonprofit hospitals supposed to take care of the poorest? 🧐 That’s right, these hospitals get major tax breaks in return for looking out for the less fortunate in their communities. So, what’s the deal here?
Well, Allina does dish out care in the ER for anyone, debt or no debt 🚑💉. But other services? Not so much. These can get the axe for indebted patients, including children and those with chronic illnesses like diabetes and depression. Ain’t allowed back till the debt is fully paid off, bro 💼💵.
But let’s be real here. Should access to health care be held hostage by unpaid bills? 🤔
Documents and interviews reveal Allina’s policy for axing patients who owe at least $4,500. The policy even gives a detailed how-to on locking their electronic health records, preventing staff from scheduling future appointments. While Allina says that they have a financial assistance program that helps thousands of its patients every year, the hospital cuts off patients only if they have accumulated at least $1,500 of unpaid debt three times.
One moment, please 🛑. We’re not saying Allina is a villain here. Nonprofits have a challenging mission, but still, is it cool to keep patients out in the cold because they can’t afford their bills? 🤷♀️
An estimated 100 million Americans are tangled in medical debt, accounting for about half of all outstanding debt in the country 🏦🌐. About 20% of hospitals nationwide have debt collection policies that allow them to cancel care. Many of these are nonprofits. While hospitals are required by federal law to treat everyone who visits the emergency room, there’s no regulation about patients needing other forms of lifesaving care.
In 2020, Allina evaded a whopping $266 million in taxes, thanks to its nonprofit status 🏦🚁. But here’s the catch, Allina spent less than half of 1% of its expenses on charity care in 2020, way below the nationwide average of about 2% for nonprofit hospitals.
Now, imagine being cut off from care and having to drive over an hour to access a healthcare service unaffiliated with Allina 🚗🌾. This is the reality for some patients, like Jennifer Blaido, who found herself denied care