For years, I have had clients coming into my Houston bankruptcy law office that have been sued by Memorial Hermann Hospital. I can't recall a single debt collection lawsuit by any other hospital in the Houston area. And while the hospital certainly has a right to file a lawsuit if they are owed money, it's odd that they would file so many suits, and file them against ordinary consumers that have no or very little ability to pay.

According to an article in The Houston Press, the hospital's total revenue in 2010 was $2.9 Billion, with expenses of $2.7 Billion. That leaves $200 Million "on the table" which is a nice profit for a nonprofit, and their CEO was paid almost $2.2 Million that year. The article explains that since it is a nonprofit, "Memorial Hermann is expected to help those in the community without the means to pay for medical care, which exempts the hospital from paying most federal, state and local taxes."

If you owe a significant amount of money to Memorial Hermann, you may be on the receiving end of one of its lawsuits. To me, it is just another symptom of our broken, bloated and super-expensive health care system. What do you think? Do you think Memorial Hermann should file lawsuits against its patients that cannot or do not pay their hospital bills?

J Thomas Black
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Board Certified, Consumer Bankruptcy Law- Texas Board of Legal Specialization
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