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A Nonprofit Olathe Hospital Has Sued Thousands Of Its Patients Over Debt, Landing Some In Jail

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Jeff Tuttle
/
The Journal
Haley Graves, who is 24 years old, unemployed and unable to work, was summoned into Johnson County District Court when she couldn’t pay her bill after being treated for a broken arm. She ultimately agreed to pay $50 a month toward a $14,000 debt.

Olathe Medical Center has pursued its patients in court over debt far more than other hospitals in Johnson County.

In Kansas, patients taken to court for medical bills can’t escape the debt simply because they lack the ability to pay. Frequent lawsuits to collect on unpaid bills for care given at Olathe Medical Center raise broader questions about how the state’s nonprofit hospitals can best balance financial responsibility with compassion when it comes to the daunting challenge of medical debt.

The Journal, the print and digital magazine of the Kansas Leadership Center, has taken a deep look at collection practices of hospitals in Johnson County, particularly at those places that pursue debt collection most aggressively. Read The Journal’s story here.

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