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And I’m sure we’re very happy CHS did so well (its CEO made $9.1 mill ), though when you read the fine print it turns out they did it through a wily combination of government handouts and suing – during a pandemic – patients who couldn’t pay their bills.

These sorts of suits are such a disgusting practice that almost no other hospital chain files them.

CNN interviewed more than a dozen people sued by CHS hospitals. Most said they had tried to communicate with the company’s lawyers, collections agents or the hospitals directly and found them unresponsive or unwilling to agree to a settlement they could afford.

Dr. Marty Makary, a Johns Hopkins University professor who has studied hospital lawsuits around the country, said CHS was far more litigious than most hospital groups, and that the company’s financial aid policy didn’t go nearly far enough. “It’s like Marie Antoinette saying, ‘if somebody came to me begging for food, I would give them cake,'” Makary said. “It’s completely blind to the relentless, aggressive, predatory nature of debt collection on the ground.”

(One simple form of self-defense for some patients involves checking yourself out of the hospital. “[A patient being sued] said in an interview that his bill came after the hospital kept him longer than he had wanted.” You’re almost always free to leave a hospital when you want to – check out the AMA option. If you feel comfortable doing it, you’ll save yourself thousands of dollars, and spend less time living cheek by jowl with those pesky hospital-borne infections.)

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