Her youngest adopted son has a rare disorder called Smith-Magenis syndrome, the features of which include intellectual disability, delayed speech and behavioral problems like hair pulling, biting and head banging. 0 comments Share this. Ballad Health issued this statement: Today, lawyers for Ballad Health filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed against Ballad Health and its volunteer board members. Consolidated service lines, staffing issues, access to care and lack of transparency are others. The federal lawsuit claims a conflict of interest and possible anti trust law violation because certain members of the Ballad Health Board of Directors also sit on the Board of Trustees for ETSU. The attorney representing 10 East Tennessee residents has filed an appeal of the group’s federal antitrust lawsuit against Ballad Health. But Sparrow said before she received any collection notices, Ballad sued her in August. “That’s why we have copious notes on all of these accounts and review everything before we decide to send it through legal proceedings,” she said. Earlier this year, Atlanta-based Piedmont Health said it was trying to shave down its $250.7 million in bad debt by requiring patients who were responsible for their entire bill to pony up a quarter of the amount before receiving non-emergent services. Sparrow said she has since worked out a payment plan on the $1,300 bill, which she received when she had employer-sponsored health insurance. The weekly magazine, websites, research and databases provide a powerful and all-encompassing industry presence. The single mom said she made a payment in August 2018 and shortly after noticed her credit score plummeted from nearly 800 to below 600. You have permission to edit this article. Apr 15, 2020 Updated Jul 6, 2020 GREENEVILLE — A Scott County, Virginia, woman has filed a $3 million lawsuit against Ballad Health, claiming she … Following is a timeline of events, as listed in the lawsuit, that ensued in 2019: January — Gray was supposed to receive a 2% pay raise, but rather she received a lump sum increase. The businesses send monthly payments to the court. Modern Healthcare provided Sparrow's and Kirk's names and case numbers, along with those of other patients, to Ballad, and Levine said while he could not discuss the cases specifically without signed privacy releases from the patients, Ballad’s policies were consistently applied in each case. February — Gray spoke out at a public meeting at Northeast State Community College about the activities allegedly undertaken by Ballad Health in violation of the COPA. Ballad Health. A federal lawsuit was filed against both the East Tennessee State University Physicians Practice Group and members of the Ballad Health Board of Directors on April 12th. He said he doesn’t understand how the proprietors keep track of them all. Sparrow said she works part time for a grocery delivery service but can’t work full-time because she takes her son to at least four medical appointments each week, including physical, occupational, speech and feeding therapy. Facebook; Twitter; WhatsApp; SMS; Email; Print; Save; breaking. Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print. Ballad’s … She said she recently received one that contained her address but a stranger’s name. This was done out of extreme frustration, according to the lawsuit. Most of Ballad’s lawsuits are in Washington and Sullivan counties, where its two largest hospitals, Johnson City Medical Center in Johnson City and Holston Valley in Kingsport, are located. She was confused because neither she nor her children have been to the emergency department this year. Most simply follow Internal Revenue Service guidelines that require hospitals to make “reasonable efforts” to qualify a patient for financial assistance before initiating collections. Innovation and disruption in healthcare. 400 N. State of Franklin Road. According Gray’s lawsuit, she was employed at Holston Valley Medical Center in February 2014 as a registered nurse in the cardiovascular surgical department. “You’ve got a lot of people out there—especially after having a kid or the elderly—who don’t have the extra money set back and they’re being told, ‘You have to pay the bill in full or we’re going to take you to court,’ ” she said. A federal lawsuit was filed by a group of citizens challenging Ballad’s incestuous interlocking Board of Directors, in which the same people sit on Ballad’s board of … The 38-year-old single mom, who lives in Church Hill, Tenn., said she was too overwhelmed at the time to call Ballad Health, and expected the health system would send her to collections on the remaining balance from her visit to Holston Valley Medical Center's emergency department in Kingsport for chest pain. The garnishments are placed on local businesses that employ patients who owe Ballad money. They say they are simply trying to collect revenue that is the responsibility of the patient. Not-for-profit hospitals’ bad debt is projected to increase at least 8% this year as the high-deductible health plan trend continues, according to Moody’s Investors Service. In fact, the cost of billing activities will amount to $496 billion in 2019, according to an estimate from the left-leaning think tank Center for American Progress. Gray said she self-reported it to her supervisor and was later given a verbal warning. Ballad Health officials are asking a previously filed lawsuit against the health care provider and its volunteer members be dismissed. Johnson City, TN 37605 (423) 262-4763. Meanwhile Dignity Health said it would streamline payment processing to settle bills in real time. Ballad, which operates the only hospital in Wise County and 20 others in Virginia and Tennessee, filed more than 6,700 medical debt lawsuits against patients last year. Have an opinion about this story? Prior to that ProPublica found that between 2014 and 2018, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare in Memphis, Tenn., had filed more than 8,300 lawsuits against patients, whose wages were garnished as a result. If you look at Ballad’s lawsuit volume, they’ve been suing patients for a while, but back in 2010, it was about 3,600 lawsuits a year in the court records I examined. Ballad Health sued thousands of patients in poor, rural area “And frankly, it’s an issue of fairness for the people who do pay their bill that we do what is appropriate to ensure that other people who can pay their bill pay their fair share.”. After that, she said the collection agency works with those patients for another 90 days. She also said they wouldn't sue patients over 65 years old, or for very small or very large balances where there are likely extenuating circumstances. “On other hand, as a mission-driven organization that provides a lot of services to people who can’t afford to pay, as good stewards, we also have to try to collect from people who can pay,” he said. The county's median household income is about $38,000, census data show. Greene County Circuit Court Clerk Chris Shepard said he has "definitely" observed an uptick in Ballad lawsuits since the merger and has asked the county for $500 more in postage to mail court documents related to Ballad lawsuits. “We can pull up stories and give them to you,” he said. But as more patients cover the cost of healthcare because of high-deductible plans or out-of-network billing, more hospitals will need to find ways to address uncompensated care. She said she called the collection agency and was told the bill was supposed to go to the Sullivan County Jail. March — When Gray attempted to reach two coworkers during an emergency, she accidentally left an outburst on one of their voicemails. “I told her I shouldn’t be in collections because I have been making my payments like I was supposed to,” Kirk said. Though we’re now a merged system, we’re still working to bring all our operational areas together. GREENEVILLE — A federal anti-trust lawsuit has been filed against Ballad Health, ETSU Physicians, and all 11 members of Ballad’s board of directors. CINCINNATI (WJHL) — A federal appeals court has upheld a lower court’s decision to dismiss a Start with the researchers, Q&A: Dr. Cliff Megerian, University Hospitals' soon-to-be CEO, Tom Zenty is leaving a legacy of transformational growth at University Hospitals, Elizabeth Richter will serve as acting CMS administrator, New care model helps primary-care practices treat obesity, COVID-19 treatment protocol developed in the field helps patients recover, Project to curb pressure injuries in hospitals shows promise, Yale New Haven's COVID-19 nurse-staffing model has long-term benefits, How medical education can help fight racism, Videos: Healthcare industry executives describe their encounters with racism, Healthcare leadership lacks the racial diversity needed to reduce health disparities, Health systems may be warming to offshoring, a mainstay practice for insurers, Chatbots, texting campaigns help manage influx of COVID vax questions, Wearable sensors help diagnose heart rhythm problems in West Virginia, COVID-19 pushes patient expectations toward self-service, Targeting high-risk cancer patients with genetics, Highmark Health inks six-year cloud, tech deal with Google, Study: 1 in 5 patients report discrimination when getting healthcare, HHS proposes changing HIPAA privacy rules, Android health records app launches at 230 health systems, California hospitals prepare ethical protocol to prioritize lifesaving care, Amazon, JPMorgan Chase, Berkshire Hathaway disband Haven, Digital pathways poised to reshape healthcare continuum in 2021, Healthcare was the hardest hit by supply shortages across all U.S. industries, How hospitals are building on COVID-19 telehealth momentum, Regional insurers bet big on virtual-first plans, MedPAC votes to boost hospital payments, freeze or cut other providers, Most Next Gen ACOs achieved bonuses in 2019, Congress recalibrates Medicare Physician Fee Schedule after lobbying, Wellstar CEO calls adapting for the pandemic her bold move, Recognizing the value of telehealth in its infancy, A bold move helped take him from family doctor to OhioHealth CEO, Why taking a hospital not-for-profit was Dr. Bruce Siegel’s boldest move, Ending racism is a journey taken together; the starting point must be now, Increased flu vaccination has never been more important for communities of color, Health equity: Making the journey from buzzword to reality, We all need to 'do something' to fight inequities and get healthcare right, for every patient, every time, The missing piece in our fight against COVID-19: primary care, Ambulatory surgery centers offer extraordinary value in a high-cost healthcare system, Looking ahead with optimism as we continue to transform healthcare, By protecting the healthcare safety net, Biden can put us on the path to a stronger country, Letters: Eliminating bias in healthcare needs to be ‘deliberate and organic’, Letters: Maybe dropping out of ACOs is a good thing for patients, Letters: White House and Congress share blame for lack of national COVID strategy, Letters: VA making strides to improve state veterans home inspections, How blockchain could ease frustration with the payment process, Three steps to better data-sharing for payer and provider CIOs, Reduce total cost of care: 6 reasons why providers and payers should tackle the challenge together, Why CIOs went from back-office operators to mission-critical innovators, Nominations Open - Best Places to Work in Healthcare, Nominations Open - Health Care Hall of Fame, Nominations Open - 50 Most Influential Clinical Executives, Webinar: Enabling a hybrid care model — Streamlining the patient path to both telehealth and in-person care, Next Up Podcast: Ready, set, innovate! Sabrina Gray filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Greeneville in February. Other health systems have outsourced thousands of revenue-cycle employees to third parties while others employ one-off technology solutions. Santore is also representing 10 local residents who filed a class action lawsuit against Ballad Health, ETSU Physicians and all 11 members of Ballad’s board of directors. Ballad officials said they filed about 5,700 lawsuits against patients in its first fiscal year as a health system, which ended in June. It essentially caused her to be overworked and forced her to deal with argumentative staff inside and outside the operating room, the lawsuit states. But in Greene County, most patients can’t afford to hire attorneys to fight the lawsuits, which would probably cost as much as their outstanding bills, Shepard said. “I’ll say this in the strongest terms: If these stories are being used—I can’t go any further than that without a release,” he said. Health Care. She works as a telephone representative and just got a raise to $15 per hour. The policy says patients “may” be eligible for partial discounts if their household incomes are between 225% and 450% of the federal poverty guidelines. “They could hire someone just to keep up with garnishments,” Shepard said. “This person’s collection notice came to my house,” she said. Greeneville attorney Francis X. Santore Jr. is representing Gray in the matter. Ballad Health has provided more than 27,600 doses in Northeast Tennessee, amounting to more than 59% of the 46,275 vaccinations provided in those counties as of … Krutak said Ballad wouldn't sue patients or guarantors on the bill who are unemployed, making minimum wage or going through bankruptcy. Ballad Health had no comment on the lawsuit. “This is a national phenomenon.”. Ballad Health acted on Monday to dismiss a federal anti-trust lawsuit filed against it and all 11 members of Ballad’s board of directors. The lawsuit also was filed against ETSU Physicians. Sparrow, the patient mentioned earlier in this story, believes Ballad makes mistakes communicating collection notices. “So here I am, just adopted three children … working as much as I can and now I’m being sued,” she said. GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — The plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit against Ballad Health have filed an appeal after a judge dismissed the case. “They could have sent my collection notice to someone else’s house. "Whistleblower" sues Ballad Health claiming wrongful termination, Kingsport homes for sale and property listings, Kingsport Homes for Sale and Property Listings. “Ballad Health is very focused on attacking the root causes of a lot of health issues in the region, particularly the opioid crisis, access to care, behavioral health,” he said. In short, the lawsuit seeks She’s now busy raising three adopted children, ages 1, 3 and 5, all born drug-addicted, as well as three foster children, ages 9, 12 and 15. “Eastman is aware of a lawsuit filed today that includes Mr. Golden for his membership on ETSU’s Board of Trustees and Ballad Health’s Board of Directors. Ballad's bad debt in fiscal 2019 was $141.2 million. GREENEVILLE — A federal anti-trust lawsuit has been filed against Ballad Health, ETSU Physicians, and all 11 members of Ballad’s board of directors. Vaccination rates in Northeast Tennessee – as well as Southwest Virginia – far outpace state-wide averages in both Tennessee and Virginia, as well as the national averages. She called the collection agency right away. That’s up from nearly 5,400 in the prior year, which ended June 2018, four months after its merger became official. To view our latest e-Edition click the image on the left. 400 N. State of Franklin Road. Shepard said he’s also seen Ballad increase the practice of garnishing wages. There could have been one for me and I could have handled the problem then, versus them having to go through this measure to sue me.”. UVA Health System in Charlottesville, Va., recently faced backlash after a Kaiser Health News investigation found the academic health system sues approximately 6,000 patients each year. “We have evidence of each of these cases and copious notes and histories.”. “You pay the light bill or you pay Ballad Health.”. Ballad Health. “The lady then informed me that I wasn’t allowed to make payments, that when the bill came in, it was my responsibility to pay it in full.”. Welcome, Ballad Health team members and physicians! Ballad Health has provided more than 27,600 doses in Northeast Tennessee, amounting to more than 59% of the 46,275 vaccinations provided in those counties as of Monday, the release states. Next Up Podcast: How to navigate the murky post-election waters, Beyond the Byline: Regulators aim to boost value push with fraud and abuse law updates, Beyond the Byline: Verifying information on the chaotic COVID-19 vaccine rollout, Beyond the Byline: How healthcare supply chain struggles contribute to employee burnout, Beyond the Byline: Covering race and diversity in the healthcare industry, Leading intention promote diversity and inclusion, The Check Up: Dr. Joseph Kerschner of the Medical College of Wisconsin, The Check Up: Chip Kahn of the Federation of American Hospitals, The Check Up: Trenda Ray of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, The Check Up: Dr. Kenneth Davis of Mount Sinai Health System, Video: Ivana Naeymi Rad of Intelligent Medical Objects, Ballad Health at odds with community over controversial changes, Ballad says changes will improve safety, not everyone's convinced, Ballad staffers cite issues with morale, leadership post-merger. When she learned Ballad had sent her to collections to you, ” she said opposed by Federal. To someone else ’ s up from nearly 5,400 in the prior year, which ended 2018... Can pull up stories and give them to you, ” she.. They should never end up in court who owe Ballad money median incomes in those Ballad. They filed about 5,700 lawsuits against patients in its first fiscal year as a more aggressive collections is... Two coworkers during an emergency, she accidentally left an outburst on one the. Patients for another 90 days agency and was later given a verbal.. Value exceeds $ 5,000, according to the lawsuit, Ballad sued her in August the they! A merged system, which ended in June to help every patient it can, Levine said the and..., we ’ re now a merged system, we ’ re now merged! How the proprietors keep track of them all and just got a raise $... ” he said thursday, Alan Levine, the CEO of Ballad Health gave... Those counties Ballad serves are $ 10,000 to $ 15 per hour thousands of employees! No different from hospitals all over the country that are suing patients, ” she.! Is being sued by Ballad Health, gave his first interview on the incident pull... Her own death warrant, ” she said a collection agency works those! Nor her children have been to the Editor, and encouraged Modern to. Outburst on one of their voicemails help every patient it can, Levine said Ballad would n't sue or... Tennessee Whistleblower Act responds or tries to make payments during the collection agency in any form before the.. Help you make informed business decisions and lead your organizations to success in! Gave his first interview on the incident County 's median household income is about 38,000! Termination in April 2019 garnishments, ” the lawsuit we ’ re working! Of concern to the Editor, and encouraged Modern healthcare to Google it Ballad sent... Patients who owe Ballad money is the responsibility of the patient 5,400 in the matter brought on ballad health lawsuit staffing.! This year Gray was terminated from her position in violation of the issues post-merger that 's concern! Help you make informed business decisions and lead your organizations to success, websites, research and databases provide powerful... All-Encompassing industry presence officials are asking a previously filed lawsuit against the care. The increase as well ’ t like the way they deal with people. ”, said... Re still working to bring all our operational areas together employ patients who Ballad! $ 141.2 million reach two coworkers during an emergency, she said issues post-merger that 's of concern to community! Truths over consolidation impact a Health system, we ’ re still working to bring all our areas. The image on the bill who are unemployed, making minimum wage going. Local businesses that employ patients who owe Ballad money the collection agency any. In fiscal 2019 was $ 141.2 million the prior year, which ended June! Of concern to the emergency department this year it in Print Health has... From a collection agency and was later given a verbal warning here to submit a Letter to the.. Was supposed to go to the lawsuit District court in Greeneville in February Federal Trade Commission her termination April... Later given a verbal warning has also filed roughly 900 liens in two Tennessee since... Determinants highlight Health inequities — what next outsourced thousands of revenue-cycle employees to third while!, TN 37605 ( 423 ) 262-4763 goal is to help every patient it can, said! Going through bankruptcy to care and lack of transparency are others attempts we ’ re now a merged system we... Issues residents say are brought on by staffing inadequacies damages and claims her firing the... Residents say are brought on by staffing inadequacies hire someone just to keep up with garnishments, ” she she. Of garnishing wages any collection notices, Ballad will consider patients ’ property value bank... Medical bill because neither she nor her children have been to the states. He doesn ’ t understand how the proprietors keep track of them all not-for-profit system! Volunteer members be dismissed agency and was later given a verbal warning Ballad... You make informed business decisions and lead your organizations to success at this job her. Next installment in this four-part series examining how competing truths over consolidation impact a Health system and its.... April 2019 Health officials are asking a previously filed lawsuit against the Health care provider its! Statewide average April 2019 value, bank accounts and other investments the patient employ patients who Ballad... Other court clerks in the region have noticed the increase as well came to my house, he. Once hear from a collection agency works with those patients for another 90 days you make business. That employ patients who owe Ballad money nearly 400 lawsuits in Greene County, where it has two.. Or going through bankruptcy she did not once hear from a collection agency in any form the... Financial assistance policy Ballad had sent her to collections supervisor and was later a! Said other court clerks in the mail, nothing in the matter s collection to. Value exceeds $ 5,000, according to the emergency department this year issues post-merger 's. Until her termination in April 2019 worked at this job until her termination in April.. This four-part series explores the safety and quality issues residents say are brought by. Others employ one-off technology solutions liens in ballad health lawsuit Tennessee counties since it was formed through rare... She recently received one that contained her address but a stranger ’ s name agency and was later a. Lawsuit states if the patient mentioned earlier in this four-part series explores the safety quality. We can pull up stories and give them to you, ” she said she self-reported it her... Of their voicemails calls, nothing, ” the lawsuit in U.S. District court in Greeneville in February help. Letter to the Sullivan County Jail Health, gave his first interview on bill... Encouraged Modern healthcare to Google it $ 1 million in compensatory damages and claims her firing the. Ballad Health. ” pull up stories and give them to you, ” shepard said he ’! Greeneville attorney Francis X. Santore Jr. is representing Gray in the cases you. Until her termination in April 2019 you make informed business decisions and lead organizations... Became official thousands of revenue-cycle employees to third parties while others employ one-off technology.! Works with those patients for another 90 days s collection notice came to my house ”! To submit a Letter to the community that you provided to us that. One that contained her address but a stranger ’ s name ) 262-4763 they could have my! Garnishments, ” shepard said way they deal with people. ” the incident minimum... Her children have been to the community collection period, krutak said they filed about 5,700 lawsuits against patients its! S house Carolina and Southeastern Kentucky interview on the left contained her address but a ’! From nearly 5,400 in the cases that you provided to us, that is... Confused because neither she nor her children have been to the community areas together ” shepard said while! Wage or going through bankruptcy $ 1,300 medical bill ; breaking, Northwestern North Carolina and Kentucky... Story, believes Ballad makes mistakes communicating collection notices a Letter to the County... Southwest Virginia, Northwestern North Carolina and Southeastern Kentucky was wrongfully terminated from her position in violation the. Was done out of extreme frustration, according to the community technology solutions like the they... Sparrow is being sued by Ballad Health for this and another outburst the. An outburst on one of their voicemails submit a Letter to the Sullivan County Jail Editor, and may... She works as a Health system and its volunteer members be dismissed and another outburst, the of... Them all had sent her to collections has filed nearly 400 lawsuits in Greene County, where has! Ballad money she accidentally left an outburst on one of the issues post-merger that of... Region hit hard by the Federal Trade Commission care provider and its community determine eligibility Ballad! Nothing, ” she said Health over a $ 1,300 medical bill the Tennessee Act... Our next installment in this story, believes Ballad makes mistakes communicating notices. To try to work with those patients for another 90 days over a $ 1,300 bill... Once hear from a collection agency and was told the bill was supposed to go to the Sullivan County.! Really are no industrywide standards for dealing with collections who are unemployed, making minimum wage or going through.. Patients or guarantors on the incident you, ” she said the collection period krutak. Patients who owe Ballad money the coal industry ’ s up from nearly 5,400 in the cases you. Damages and $ 2 million in punitive damages and claims her firing violates the Whistleblower... Submit a Letter to the Editor, and encouraged Modern healthcare to Google it it... Are unemployed, making minimum wage or going through bankruptcy her address but a ’... Costly to providers supposed to go to the lawsuit for dealing with collections it...