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We’ve been working on this investigation all year, with our partners at Scripps News and the Baltimore Banner. 

For years, we’ve been hearing about hospitals suing patients over unpaid medical bills – sometimes even in bulk, by the hundreds or thousands at a time. 

Many of the patients getting sued are already facing financial hardship, or like one couple we interviewed, already in bankruptcy. 

Judgments against patients in these suits can be life changing. But according to experts, these lawsuits don’t recoup a ton of lost revenue for hospitals. So why do they happen? And what if hospitals stopped doing it completely? 

In this episode, we talk to a former sales rep for a medical-debt collections agency — who now steers hospitals away from efforts to collect money, via lawsuits or other means, from folks who just don’t have it.

He tells hospitals: This is better for your bottom line. 

Stay tuned for part two, coming in two weeks. 

… and to preview some of what’s in it — plus a whole lot more excellent reporting — check out the Baltimore Banner’s story: Maryland hospitals stopped suing patients with unpaid bills. Will they start again?

This series is produced in partnership with the McGraw Center for Business Journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York.

… and supported by the Fund for Investigative Journalism.

Here’s a transcript of this episode.

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