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NC hospitals reduce practice of suing patients

RALEIGH (AP) — Two newspapers report that North Carolina hospitals have sharply reduced the practice of suing patients who don’t pay their bills.

The analysis by the The Charlotte Observer and The News & Observer of Raleigh shows that from 2010 through 2014, the lawsuits dropped by almost half to about 3,200.

The decline follows an investigation by the newspapers into the state’s nonprofit hospitals that was published in 2012.

Critics contended that hospitals were straying from their charitable mission by suing people they could afford to help. Most hospitals in the state are tax-exempt nonprofits and save millions because of that status.

Adam Linker, co-director of the North Carolina Justice Center’s Health Access Coalition, says the reduction in lawsuits is an obvious win for consumers and notes how stressful it is to be sued by one’s health care provider.

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