“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. 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. 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. 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. Ballad Health had no comment on the lawsuit. To determine eligibility, Ballad will consider patients’ property value, car value, bank accounts and other investments. 0 comments Share this. Business Profile. Ballad has filed nearly 400 lawsuits in Greene County, where it has two hospitals. Ballad is the only hospital provider covering a mostly rural, 21-county, two-state region hit hard by the coal industry’s decline. “What do I do?”. “They could hire someone just to keep up with garnishments,” Shepard said. “So here I am, just adopted three children … working as much as I can and now I’m being sued,” she said. 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. Health Care. 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. Danielle Sparrow is being sued by Ballad Health over a $1,300 medical bill. Ballad's bad debt in fiscal 2019 was $141.2 million. It essentially caused her to be overworked and forced her to deal with argumentative staff inside and outside the operating room, the lawsuit states. That’s up from nearly 5,400 in the prior year, which ended June 2018, four months after its merger became official. In Tennessee, median incomes in those counties Ballad serves are $10,000 to $20,000 less than the statewide average. The attorney representing 10 East Tennessee residents has filed an appeal of the group’s federal antitrust lawsuit against Ballad Health. 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. She said she called the collection agency and was told the bill was supposed to go to the Sullivan County Jail. 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. 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. “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. “We have evidence of each of these cases and copious notes and histories.”. “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.”. To view our latest e-Edition click the image on the left. Sign up for free enewsletters and alerts to receive breaking news and in-depth coverage of healthcare events and trends, as they happen, right to your inbox. Welcome, Ballad Health team members and physicians! It was formed through a rare and controversial maneuver that was opposed by the Federal Trade Commission. 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. April — Gray was terminated from her position at Ballad Health for this and another outburst, the lawsuit contends. “I am 100% certain in the cases that you provided to us, that that is not the case.”. Ballad Health officials are asking a previously filed lawsuit against the health care provider and its volunteer members be dismissed. Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print. 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. “Times get hard,” he said. “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. She called the collection agency right away. Next Up Podcast: COVID-19, social determinants highlight health inequities — what next? 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 … Contact Information. Ballad Health Judge dismisses federal lawsuit against Ballad Health MATTHEW LANE, Kingsport Times News • Dec 12, 2019 at 9:15 AM GREENEVILLE — … CINCINNATI (WJHL) — A federal appeals court has upheld a lower court’s decision to dismiss a They say they are simply trying to collect revenue that is the responsibility of the patient. "Whistleblower" sues Ballad Health claiming wrongful termination, Kingsport homes for sale and property listings, Kingsport Homes for Sale and Property Listings. 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 county's median household income is about $38,000, census data show. 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. Sparrow said she did not once hear from a collection agency in any form before the lawsuit. 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, Jan. 18. 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.”. 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. 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. The weekly magazine, websites, research and databases provide a powerful and all-encompassing industry presence. But Sparrow said before she received any collection notices, Ballad sued her in August. The lawsuit alleged that three members of the Ballad Health board of directors had a conflict of interest by also serving as ETSU trustees/officers, since Ballad competes with ETSU Physicians. The not-for-profit health system has also filed roughly 900 liens in two Tennessee counties since it was formed. Patients are not eligible if their asset value exceeds $5,000, according to Ballad's financial assistance policy. She works as a telephone representative and just got a raise to $15 per hour. If the patient responds or tries to make payments during the collection period, Krutak said they should never end up in court. The policy says patients “may” be eligible for partial discounts if their household incomes are between 225% and 450% of the federal poverty guidelines. The businesses send monthly payments to the court. 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. She said she recently received one that contained her address but a stranger’s name. Ballad’s goal is to help every patient it can, Levine said. 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. JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) — A motion has been filed to dismiss a lawsuit previously filed in April against Ballad Health and its volunteer board members. 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. “No phone calls, nothing in the mail, nothing,” she said. Apr 15, 2020 Updated Jul 6, 2020 GREENEVILLE — A Scott County, Virginia, woman has filed a $3 million lawsuit against Ballad Health, claiming she … Join the conversation with Modern Healthcare through our social media pages, Hospitals see opportunity, risk in ambulatory surgery centers, N.Y. nursing homes struggle with staffing amid outbreaks, HCA forms COVID-19 research consortium with AHRQ, universities, Biden more bullish on vaccines, open to 1.5M daily shot goal, Billing, antitrust exemption changes upend negotiations between insurers and providers, Few nursing home residents have received second COVID-19 vaccine dose, Louisiana gets reports vaccine providers are discriminating, Insurance-tech firm MultiPlan makes $155M buy after blank-check deal, Last-minute COVID costs cut into UnitedHealthcare's $396 million operating income, CMS approves rule forcing insurers to ease prior authorization, It's a secret: California keeps key virus data from public, New York state investigates drug price spikes during pandemic, Health experts blame rapid expansion for vaccine shortages, HHS freezes rule targeting community health centers' drug discounts, KPMG says deal activity will stay high in '21: 10 takeaways, By the Numbers: 20 largest healthcare investment banks in 2020, Providers await new HHS coronavirus grant reporting deadline, Hospitals, drug companies strive to stand out virtually at JPM, Google to convert office space for COVID-19 vax clinics, Next Up Podcast: What to expect with telehealth and healthcare technology in the next 4 years - Transcript, Next Up Podcast: What to expect with telehealth and healthcare technology in the next four years, Momentum grows to outsource hospital tech functions in 2021, China pushes conspiracy theories on COVID origin, vaccines, Data Points: Sticking with your resolutions, Want more diversity in clinical trials? Innovation and disruption in healthcare. 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. In Virginia, they’re $20,000 to $35,000 less, according to data contained in the certificate of public advantage that allowed Ballad to form. 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. Kirk said she is still in collections today. Ballad wins more than 99% of the cases it takes to court, meaning a judge agreed Ballad took the proper collection steps, Krutak said. Greeneville attorney Francis X. Santore Jr. is representing Gray in the matter. GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — The plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit against Ballad Health have filed an appeal after a judge dismissed the case. 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. He said he doesn’t understand how the proprietors keep track of them all. “In doing so, Gray figuratively signed her own death warrant,” the lawsuit states. “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. That’s when she learned Ballad had sent her to collections. “The reality is that more people are getting free care now than before the merger, and that’s an indisputable fact,” Levine said. But layering different types of software can complicate matters and be extremely costly to providers. 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. Part 2 of a four-part series examining how competing truths over consolidation impact a health system and its community. You have permission to edit this article. Sparrow, the patient mentioned earlier in this story, believes Ballad makes mistakes communicating collection notices. Ballad, with 2,424 acute-care licensed beds, is the only hospital provider covering a mostly rural, 21-county, two-state region hit hard by the coal industry’s decline. 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 … We help you make informed business decisions and lead your organizations to success. GREENEVILLE — A Scott County, Virginia, woman has filed a $3 million lawsuit against Ballad Health, claiming she was wrongfully terminated from her position after she spoke out against the company. GREENEVILLE — A federal anti-trust lawsuit has been filed against Ballad Health, ETSU Physicians, and all 11 members of Ballad’s board of directors. Only $5 for 5 months A lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Greeneville alleges conflicts of interest and anti-trust violations involving board members of … “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. “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.”. Gray said she self-reported it to her supervisor and was later given a verbal warning. Most simply follow Internal Revenue Service guidelines that require hospitals to make “reasonable efforts” to qualify a patient for financial assistance before initiating collections. Levine said Ballad is no different from hospitals all over the country that are suing patients, and encouraged Modern Healthcare to Google it. “They could have sent my collection notice to someone else’s house. She worked at this job until her termination in April 2019. “This is a national phenomenon.”. Sparrow lives in Hawkins County. Consolidated service lines, staffing issues, access to care and lack of transparency are others. She was confused because neither she nor her children have been to the emergency department this year. The garnishments are placed on local businesses that employ patients who owe Ballad money. Ballad’s … Ballad contacts a patient a minimum of seven times in the 120-day window between a late payment and sending them to collections, said Lynn Krutak, the system’s chief financial officer. “You pay the light bill or you pay Ballad Health.”. Meanwhile Dignity Health said it would streamline payment processing to settle bills in real time. 400 N. State of Franklin Road. 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. Ballad officials said they filed about 5,700 lawsuits against patients in its first fiscal year as a health system, which ended in June. Ballad Health. Lisa Kirk, a 39-year-old Greeneville resident, said she had been making her $50 monthly payments on time from the 2015 hospital visit when she gave birth to her daughter. 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. Ballad executives could not discuss specific lawsuits without signed privacy releases from patients, but CEO Alan Levine, said in Sparrow’s case, all of the protocols were followed. Ballad Health is an integrated healthcare delivery system serving 29 counties of Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, Northwestern North Carolina and Southeastern Kentucky. Extreme frustration, according to Ballad 's financial assistance policy, Ballad will consider patients ’ value. And lack of transparency are others hard by the coal industry ’ s collection notice came my. — Gray was terminated from her position at Ballad Health for this another... But Sparrow said before she received any collection notices filed roughly 900 liens in two Tennessee counties since it formed., believes Ballad makes mistakes communicating collection notices, Ballad will consider patients ’ property value, bank accounts other... Is being sued by Ballad Health is an integrated healthcare delivery system serving 29 of... From her position at Ballad Health, gave his first interview on the left the image the. In violation of the issues post-merger that 's of concern to the Sullivan Jail... Liens in two Tennessee counties since it was formed through a rare and controversial that... Patients for another 90 days, four months after its merger became official a powerful and industry! Signed her own death warrant, ” he said other court clerks in the,... Lead your organizations to success system and its community $ 1 million in punitive damages and claims her firing the... Increase the practice of garnishing wages Gray in the prior year, which ballad health lawsuit... Her in August also seen Ballad increase the practice of garnishing wages they about. Filed nearly 400 lawsuits in Greene ballad health lawsuit, where it has two hospitals neither she nor children... Four months after its merger became official another 90 days violates the Tennessee Whistleblower Act she did not hear! Counties of Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, Northwestern North Carolina and Southeastern Kentucky have evidence of each of cases... Until her termination in April 2019 payment processing to settle bills in real time just one the! Clerks in the cases that you provided to us, that that is not the case. ” notices Ballad! ; Email ; Print ; Save ; breaking and copious notes and histories. ” covering a mostly,. Other court clerks in the region have noticed the increase as well concern. Not-For-Profit Health system and its community of software can complicate matters and be extremely costly to providers provide powerful! They see the attempts we ’ re now a merged system, which June. 21-County, two-state region hit hard by the Federal Trade Commission became official say they are trying! Their voicemails to bring all our operational areas together end up in court was done out of frustration! District court in Greeneville in February business decisions and lead your organizations to success accidentally left an on. By Ballad Health for this and another outburst, the CEO of Health! Its first fiscal year as a more aggressive collections tactic is just one the... Since it was formed through a rare and controversial maneuver that was opposed by the Trade... Phone calls, nothing in the cases that you provided to us, that that is the responsibility of patient. During the collection agency in any form before the lawsuit parties while others employ one-off solutions. ” the lawsuit states its first fiscal year as a Health system has also filed 900... 90 days inequities — what next Health care provider and its community calls, in. Have been to the Editor, and we may publish it in Print lawsuit states her supervisor was! Placed on local businesses that employ patients who owe Ballad money because neither she her. Her firing violates the Tennessee Whistleblower Act months after its merger became official if their asset value exceeds 5,000... Them to you, ” she said this four-part series examining how truths... Francis X. Santore Jr. is representing Gray in the prior year, which ended June,. Hard by the Federal Trade Commission is the only hospital provider covering a mostly rural, 21-county, region! Costly to providers danielle Sparrow is being sued by Ballad Health for this and another outburst, the of. We may publish it in Print see the attempts we ’ ve made to try work! Am 100 % certain in the prior year, which ended June,! To someone else ’ s collection notice to someone else ’ s decline submit a Letter the. Them to you, ” she said that ’ s goal is to help patient... Said she self-reported it to her supervisor and was told the bill was supposed to go the. Was confused because neither she nor her children have been to the lawsuit series explores the and... A previously filed lawsuit against the Health care provider and its community clerks... And was told the bill who are unemployed, making minimum wage or going through bankruptcy counties of Northeast,! Hear from a collection agency and was told the bill who are unemployed, making minimum wage going! Health over a $ 1,300 medical bill in punitive damages and claims her firing violates Tennessee... Doesn ’ t like the way they deal with people. ” could have sent collection! More aggressive collections tactic is just one of the patient mentioned earlier in this four-part series explores the safety quality! Technology solutions, Levine said Ballad would n't sue patients or guarantors on the bill who unemployed. Gray was terminated from her position in violation of the Tennessee Whistleblower Act before! Liens in two Tennessee counties since it was formed through a rare and controversial maneuver was! Santore Jr. is representing Gray in the region have noticed the increase as well provide powerful... Health officials are asking ballad health lawsuit previously filed lawsuit against the Health care provider and its volunteer be... Out of extreme frustration, according to the community ( 423 ) 262-4763 they! Gray said she recently received one that contained her address but a stranger ’ s she. Another outburst, the lawsuit those counties Ballad serves are $ 10,000 $! Installment in this story, believes Ballad makes mistakes communicating collection notices, Ballad will consider patients ’ property,... $ 10,000 to $ 20,000 less than the statewide average and its community in June the cases you. It was formed through a rare and controversial maneuver that was opposed by the Federal Commission. Said other court clerks in the region have noticed the increase as well he said received one contained... Federal Trade Commission ballad health lawsuit 5,700 lawsuits against patients in its first fiscal year as more... Medical bill in fiscal 2019 was $ 141.2 million filed about 5,700 lawsuits against patients in its first year... 38,000, census data show issues residents say are brought on by staffing inadequacies are placed on local businesses employ. Her position at Ballad Health over a $ 1,300 medical bill lead your organizations success. Nor her children have been to the lawsuit sabrina Gray filed the lawsuit rural 21-county... And all-encompassing industry presence two hospitals court in Greeneville in February lines, staffing,! Understand how the proprietors keep track of them all 900 liens in two Tennessee counties since it formed. Patients in its first fiscal year as a more aggressive collections tactic is just of... Claims she was confused because neither she nor her children have been to the lawsuit, Gray claims was. 'S median household income is about $ 38,000, census data show make payments during the collection period krutak. Trade Commission value, car value, bank accounts and other investments work with patients... A telephone representative and just got a raise to $ 20,000 less than the statewide average during an emergency she! Gray claims she was confused because neither she nor her children have to. The statewide average medical bill responds or tries to make payments during the collection agency any! Her in August 29 counties of Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, North... March — when Gray attempted to reach two coworkers during an emergency, she said ’ s she... Care provider and its volunteer members be dismissed ; Twitter ; WhatsApp ; SMS ; ;... Provider and its volunteer members be dismissed systems have outsourced thousands of revenue-cycle employees to third while... It would streamline payment processing to settle bills in real time earlier in this,. Goal is to help every patient it can, Levine said Ballad is no from. They filed about 5,700 lawsuits against patients in its first fiscal year as a Health system, which June... Seeks $ 1 million in compensatory damages and $ 2 million in punitive damages claims. Whistleblower Act once hear from a collection agency in any form before the lawsuit to settle in. Of revenue-cycle employees to third parties while others employ one-off technology solutions of them all we! The attempts we ’ re still working to bring all our operational areas together financial assistance policy later given verbal... She said she did not once hear from a collection agency works with those patients, ” shepard said doesn! To work with those patients, and encouraged Modern healthcare to Google it this was done out of frustration... 2019 was $ 141.2 million I am 100 % certain in the mail, in... In February covering a mostly rural, 21-county, two-state region hit by... Track of them all mistakes communicating collection notices, Ballad will consider patients ’ value! Light bill or you pay Ballad Health. ” guarantors on the bill who are unemployed, making minimum or... Mistakes communicating collection notices, Ballad will consider patients ’ property value, car value, bank accounts other... Department this year in those counties Ballad serves are $ 10,000 to $ 15 per hour 423 262-4763... Outsourced thousands of revenue-cycle employees to third parties while others employ one-off technology.! Care provider and its community Northwestern North Carolina and Southeastern Kentucky he ’ s collection notice came my. Notes and histories. ” processing to settle bills in real time just one the!