U-N-C Hospitals is ending its aggressive bill-collection tactics, including referring cases to the state Attorney General's office.
Now, the state-supported hospital complex will offer customers interest-free payment plans. Officials say patients will get financial counseling when they arrive. Officials say cases with costs exceeding 15-thousand dollars will be reviewed automatically in an effort to reduce what the patient owes.
Dr. William Roper, C-E-O for U-N-C Health Care, says the change probably will cost the health care system money, but it isn't clear how much. Roper says the actions are the right thing to do.
In one case, the hospital placed a 185-thousand-dollar lien on the home of a Clayton man whose bill for treating a rare blood disorder was more than a million dollars. The hospital dropped a lawsuit and forgave the debt after The News and Observer of Raleigh published a story about the man's plight.