MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Hospital refunds $13.4M in hospital bills charges to low-income patients

Nov 20, 2023, 4:49 PM

hospital refund low-income...

PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center in Riverbend, Oregon. (Photo from Flickr @RickObst)

(Photo from Flickr @RickObst)

Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced that thousands of low-income hospital patients will get a refund for overcharged hospital bills.

The hospital chain PeaceHealth will return more than $13 million to some 15,000 patients after settling a lawsuit alleging that they violated laws requiring them to notify patients who qualified for financial assistance with their hospital bills.

More news: Black newspaper carrier settles suit with Pierce County, Troyer over 2021 incident

Under Washington state’s Charity Care law, households making at or below 400% of the federal poverty level can get discounts or even free hospital care. A full list of qualifications for discounts on hospital expenses can be found here.

The Attorney General’s investigation found that the hospitals would screen patients for financial assistance eligibility but often failed to notify patients of the discounts.

PeaceHealth operates hospitals in Bellingham, Friday Harbor, Longview, Sedro-Woolley and Vancouver. This refund impacts patients at all five hospitals.

“I appreciate PeaceHealth’s cooperation in reaching this resolution that fully refunds Washingtonians for millions of dollars in medical payments, plus interest, without the need for litigation,” Ferguson said. “Washington’s hospital financial assistance law helps working families avoid crushing medical debt by making help available to those who qualify.”

PeaceHealth will be required to pay $4.2 million in refunds to about 4,500 patients and will start the process to possibly refund an additional 11,000 patients an additional $9.2 million. They will also be paying $2 million to the Attorney General’s office to pay for the investigation.

More on hospitals in WA: Providence nurses in Everett are on strike; Hospital says patients will be safe

Anyone who feels they are not receiving the financial assistance on their hospital bill they are entitled to can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office.

MyNorthwest News

pioneer fire...

Frank Sumrall

Pioneer fire, burning since June 8, only 14% contained

The Pioneer Fire, which has burned for the past 34 days, is now approximately 12,265 acres in size and is only 14% contained.

33 minutes ago

tacoma lagoon...

Frank Sumrall

68-year-old man sucked into drain pipe, drowns in Tacoma lagoon

A man who died earlier this week by drowning in a Tacoma lagoon at Titlow Park and Lodge has been identified as Robert Logan Jr., 68.

1 hour ago

renton teenager shot...

Frank Sumrall

Teenager shot multiple times in Renton, in critical condition

A teenager is currently in critical condition after he was shot several times in Renton early Friday morning.

3 hours ago

Photo: Locals living along Aurora Avenue are dealing with yet another shooting in their neighborhoo...

James Lynch

‘Just senseless violence:’ Neighbors grapple with another shooting along Aurora

Locals living along Aurora Avenue are dealing with yet another shooting in their neighborhood as they call for an end to violence.

18 hours ago

Photo: A brick was thrown at a truck on I-90 Tuesday morning. It could be the same man who threw a ...

Sam Campbell

I-90 brick-throwing suspect ‘could be’ same man who threw rocks at drivers in June

The man who threw a brick into a truck on I-90 Tuesday morning could be the same man in last month's attack on Rainier Avenue.

20 hours ago

Photo: Law enforcement responding to deadly crash in Tacoma at 6th and S. Alder.in April....

Luke Duecy

Felony-level traffic crime in King County up nearly 150% compared to 2019

King County officials are warning drivers to take extra precautions with the region facing a 143% increase in felony-level traffic crime compared to 2019.

21 hours ago

Hospital refunds $13.4M in hospital bills charges to low-income patients