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Lien on Me"
The attack on homeownership by the Yale-New Haven
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Yale-New Haven Hospital's Charity Care and
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Charity and Collections
at Bridgeport Hospital
About the Hospital Debt
The Hospital Debt
Justice Project was founded by uninsured and underinsured patients to
end abusive hospital debt collection practices and discriminatory pricing
by Yale-New Haven Health Systems. Associated with the Connecticut
Center for a New Economy (a state-wide community-based organization
devoted to the working poor) HDJP
was organized on the heels of the March 2003 release of the report "Uncharitable
Care." That report uncovered widespread abusive debt collection tactics
by the state's largest and wealthiest "safety-net" hospital
system against patients without adqequate insurance. Y-NHH's tactics include
garnishing wages, seizing bank accounts, foreclosing and placing liens
on homes, forcing patients into bankruptcy and even arresting them, while
refusing to provide millions of dollars in charity care to those in need.
The release of the
report was followed by widespread media coverage of the issue, including
high-profile stories in the Wall Street Journal.
That report also prompted
a lawsuit by Attorney General Richard Blumenthal against Yale-New Haven
Hospital and subsequent lawsuits by patients for the hospitals fraudulent
misuse and denial of charity care to patients without adequate health
The Hospital Debt
Justice Project has been working actively with other local groups and
individuals, including Student Health Outreach (SHOUT), New Haven Legal
Assistance, the Yale Law Clinic, Yale medical students, area clergy and
the Health Care Union 1199/SEIU.
Lobbying by Hospital
Debt Justice Project members led to the passage of a state law SB
568, "An Act Concerning Hospital Debt Collection Practices."
sponsored by State Senator Martin Looney. The new law cut
in half the amount of interest the hospitals could charge on medical debts
and provided other patient protections.
Nationally, the Hospital
Debt Justice Project collaborates with others concerned about how hospital
debt contributes to our countrys health care crisis. Among these
groups are the Access Project at Brandeis University in Boston, as well
as by other grassroots community campaigns, such as the Champaign County
Health Care Consumers in Illinois, the Service Employees International
Union's Hospital Accountability Project in Chicago, The Oregon Health
Action Campaign, the Tenants and Workers Support Committee in Alexandria,
VA, Building Parent Power in Hartford, CT, and others.
Statement of Principles
As a tax-exempt, non-profit hospital system, Yale New Haven Health has
an obligation to provide charitable health care to people in our community
who need it. However, by its abusive debt collections practices, its refusal
to make millions of dollars in free care available to many in need and
the refusal of its Board of Trustees to be accountable to the public they
claim to serve, YNHH has failed its charitable mission.
claims that they have corrected the above practices, the abuses continue.
It is clear that YNHHs misdeeds are not simply a series of individual
errors or oversights, but rather a crisis of YNHHs policy and system.
Therefore, we call on Yale New Haven Hospital and its affiliate Bridgeport
- Immediately cease
the practice of suing uninsured and underinsured patients to collect
debt. YNHH must:
stop attaching patients wages,
stop seizing patients bank accounts and life savings,
stop arresting patients in order to force them into court, and
release all liens and fully abolish the use of this tactic.
- End charging uninsured
patients higher prices than prices charged to insurance companies for
the same services.
- Make all patients
whole who would have qualified for charity care for any money paid to
or seized by the hospital.
- Provide free care
to eligible patients with inadequate insurance coverage as well as patients
with no insurance.
- Remove bureaucratic
barriers to applying for free care.
- Stop denying treatment
to patients because they owe debt.
- Open its Board
of Trustees decision-making processes to the community and ensure
real public representation.
The above measures
are no more than would be expected from a charitable, community hospital.
If the Board of Trustees refuses to adopt these compassionate, responsible
and reasonable proposals, then the Board must be reconstituted with real
representation by the public to ensure that the charitable mission of
our community hospital is fulfilled.
Debt Justice Project: 800 478-0635
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you suffer from unfair debt or collection practices from Y-NH Hospital,
Yale School of Medicine, Yale Diagnostic Radiology or Bridgeport
call 203 777-9880
or 800 478-0635
to share your story.