WA Hospital Chain to Refund $13.4 Million to Low-Income Patients
Following an investigation that began in 2020, a settlement has been reached.
PeaceHealth Hospital Network will pay out
The Washington State Attorney General's office announced Monday, November 20th, that 15,000 patients will receive some sort of compensation from PeaceHealth Hospital Network, due to overpayments.
The AG's office says at the time of the billings, anyone in WA state who was making at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level was eligible for various types of assistance with their medical bills. Some of them were eligible for charity care, even having bills forgiven.
The AG's office says PeaceHealth, which operates five hospitals in Bellingham, Longview, Vancouver, Friday Harbor and Sedro Woolley, failed to properly notify low-income patients about these debit assistance programs.
According to the AG's reports:
"Many eligible patients paid for their care without knowing they likely qualified for financial assistance.
If the patient did not pay, or pay the entire balance, after being sent four bills, PeaceHealth did write off the bill, but did not inform the patient of their financial assistance eligibility."
In addition to the $13.4 million, the company will also pay $2 million to the AG's office in fines and for court costs.
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Gallery Credit: Isabel Sepulveda