Rochester Health System Halts Suing Patients Over Medical Bills

May 28, 2024

In a move towards more compassionate health care, one health system in New York is changing its policy and is going to stop suing patients over unpaid medical bills.

“I’ve seen patients break down in tears, worried they’ll never be able to pay off their bills,” said Jennifer Williams a financial counselor at the hospital told KFF. “We knew we had to find a better way to support them.”

The new strategy at Rochester Regional Health focuses on improving financial assistance programs and talking with patients to discuss payment options and aid. By prioritizing clear communication and support, Rochester tries to ensure patients can access necessary care without fear of overwhelming debt. Williams and her colleagues are dedicated to making health care more accessible and less intimidating, guiding patients through their financial options with empathy and understanding.

Will other health systems follow this example? Hard to say. As health care costs rise hospitals continue to raise treatment costs, medical debt remains a significant source of financial hardship for many Americans, and policies like Rochester’s could lead to widespread improvements in community health and well-being.

Are you struggling to pay your health care bills? Share your story with Voices for Affordable Health!