Corporate Compliance

Uninsured patients file more suits against nonprofit hospitals

Compliance Monitor, July 28, 2004

Uninsured patients have filed a string of class-action lawsuits against tax-exempt, nonprofit hospitals, alleging they failed to provide charity care to uninsured patients and used aggressive means of collection. As of July 21, there have been 39 suits filed against 340 hospitals in 20 states.

The suits are led by Richard Scruggs, the well-known attorney who sued prominent tobacco companies in the 1990s.

"The Scruggs lawsuits are going to change the industry," says Keith Siddel, MBA PhD, president of HRM Inc., a healthcare consulting company in Dallas. "It's a wake-up call. Everybody realizes they could be in his sights, and that's a scary thing."

The most recent class-action lawsuits filed on or around July 21 include allegations against the following hospitals:

  • In Florida: Orlando Regional Healthcare System, Inc. and the American Hospital Association (AHA)
  • In Georgia: Northeast Georgia Medical Center and AHA
  • In Michigan: Trinity Health-Michigan, Inc. and Trinity Health Corporation and AHA; and William Beaumont Hospital and Beaumont Properties, Inc., and AHA
  • In New Mexico: Presbyterian Healthcare Services and AHA
  • In New York: Long Island Jewish Medical Center, North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, Inc., and AHA
  • In Ohio: ProMedica Health System, Inc. and AHA
  • In Pennsylvania: Albert Einstein Medical Center, Albert Einstein Healthcare Network, Jefferson Health System, and AHA

    For a complete list of hospitals, visit www.nfplitigation.com.

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