Reforming medical debt collection
Over the years, we long advocated for change in medical billing practices both at the UVA Health System in Charlottesville and statewide.
In 2018, Kaiser Health News and the Washington Post released a bombshell investigative report on the ways in which UVA had been suing its patients into financial oblivion for years. In response, UVA put together a council to study the issue and make recommendations. Our staff and Board representatives on that council pushed hard for transformative reform, including by arguing against the legal interpretation that UVA Health was using to justify their aggressiveness in pursuing all debts.
In 2020, those efforts bore fruit when UVA announced that it was adopting essentially all the council’s recommendations for reforming its financial aid, billing, and collections systems. UVA also released nearly all liens held against patients’ homes and almost entirely stopped suing patients over medical debt.
To illustrate the impact: In FY20, UVA took 2,164 judgments against patients for a total of $7,171,166.10. In FY21, UVA took judgment against just two people for $31,245.64