Local 24 News political analyst & commentator Otis Sanford on investigation into Methodist Healthcare lawsuits

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Local 24 News political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford shares his point of view on the investigation into Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare lawsuits.

It is always a great thing when solid investigative journalism results in changes for the public good. And that appears to be the case with recent reporting by local journalist Wendi Thomas, founder of the web site MLK50. Her investigation, in partnership with Pro Publica, uncovered how Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare aggressively goes after former patients in court, including its own employees, who are unable pay their medical bills.

The report disclosed that Methodist filed some 8300 lawsuits against patients between 2014 and 2018, the most by far of any local hospital. In addition, Methodist is garnishing the already meager wages of thousands of people and adding interest charges that make it almost impossible to get out of debt.

Methodist executives initially defended its collection practices. But now that Thomas’ reporting has gotten the attention of state lawmakers, the healthcare system is launching a 30-day review of its collection policies and procedures. And it will suspend further collection activities in court while the review takes place.

That’s welcomed news, of course. But none of it would have occurred without the dogged reporting, writing, and editing by MLK50 and Pro Publica.

There are those who believe credible journalism is becoming extinct. No doubt others, particularly some in power, wish that were true. But I beg to differ. Quality journalism is not only alive in Memphis. It’s doing quite well, thank you very much. And that’s my point of view.

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