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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Nonprofit Health System Temporarily Suspends Practice of Terminating Care for Indebted Patients

Large Minnesota-based nonprofit health institution Allina Health “re-examines” its policy of terminating treatment for people who have collected at least $4,500 in unpaid bills, and announces on Friday that it will resume providing care to patients who have medical debt.

For the time being, the healthcare system will put a stop to this practise, but patients who have fallen behind on their bills will not have their treatment reinstated.

The New York Times revealed last week that Allina hospitals treated anybody who came to its emergency departments, but shut off other care for indebted patients, including children and people with chronic conditions like diabetes and depression. The patients were not permitted to return until all of their bills were paid in full.

Allina primary care physician in Vadnais Heights, Minnesota, Dr. Matt Hoffman, expressed optimism that the company will implement more, more far-reaching changes to the way it deals with patients who have accrued debt.

In Minnesota and Wisconsin, Allina Health operates more than 90 clinics and owns 13 hospitals. The Lown Institute is a think tank that researches health care, and it estimates that Allina saved around $266 million in state, local, and federal taxes in 2020 due to its nonprofit status.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has invited any patients who have been negatively impacted by Allina’s rules to get in touch with his office.

Mr. Ellison told a local TV station, KARE 11, “I read The New York Times article with great concern and am reviewing it closely.” Like all Minnesota hospitals, Allina is required under the Hospital Agreement to treat patients in need without discriminating based on their ability to pay.

Jonathan James
Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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