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How Nonprofit Hospitals Contribute to North Carolina’s Crisis of Medical Debt


A recent report from the North Carolina State Health Plan found that many of the state’s nonprofit hospitals “billed the poor at an average rate up to almost three times the national average.” In 2019, between 12% and 30% of patients with medical debt were eligible for charity care but did not receive it. Instead, ‘charitable’ hospitals charged patients and took aggressive measures to try and collect on bills, including damaging patients’ credit scores, garnishing their wages, and filing lawsuits against them.

The problem has only gotten worse with the COVID-19 pandemic, and nonprofit hospitals are fueling North Carolina’s crisis of medical debt. Although nonprofit hospitals enjoy tax exemption, recent reports reveal that many of these hospitals do not provide sufficient charity care. The state does not enforce how nonprofit hospitals honor their charitable missions, which means charity care overall is not achieving its mission of protecting “financially disadvantaged patients from crippling levels of medical debt.”

As of June 2020, in fact, the amount of medical debt in collection in the United States was estimated at $140 billion. According to UCLA Anderson Review, medical debt is fairly concentrated to the most vulnerable economic groups in the country.

Crippling Levels of Medical Debt

Medical debt can crush your ability to get a car loan, buy a house, and even get a job. With constant collections and without a good credit score, it can be very difficult to improve your life after an unexpected injury or illness.

Fortunately, there is hope for those with crippling levels of medical debt.

Bankruptcy As a Solution

Bankruptcy can discharge (erase) medical debts. Once you obtain a discharge in bankruptcy, creditors are no longer allowed to report on credit reports, collect the debts, or garnish accounts. In my experience as a bankruptcy lawyer, this process gives people the fresh start they need after suffering from an illness or injury.

Many of my clients report a sense of relief after filing bankruptcy because they no longer have to worry about their creditors. Without the pressure of debt, they can focus on the things that matter – like family, friends, careers, or even a hobby.

One of my clients, Big Ford, even wrote me a “thank you” rap song after I helped him get his finances in order via bankruptcy – you can listen to it on my website.

I want to help you free yourself of crippling medical debt and achieve the same success. I have more than a decade of legal experience, and I get fast results.

When you choose my firm, the Law Office of Kimberly A. Sheek, you will be working directly with me.

For one-on-one attention and compassionate care, please give me a call at (704) 842-9776 or use my online contact form to send a message to my firm.

I will get back to you shortly and look forward to helping you manage your medical debt and get a fresh start with the magic of bankruptcy.

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