SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Sutter Health, one of nation's wealthiest not-for-profit hospital chains, filed the nation's first class action lawsuit against price-gouged uninsured patients claiming breach of contract and seeking the difference between what the uninsured had already paid and what the hospital's inflated list prices are.
"Sutter Health continues its immoral and unconscionable conduct by filing a depraved class-action lawsuit against uninsured families who have been price gouged," said K.B. Forbes, Executive Director of the Consejo. "Sutter Health charges the uninsured three or four times more than what they would accept as payment in full from an insurance company. Many uninsured families face financial ruin because of callous organizations like Sutter Health."
According to Medicare data, Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento, the flagship operation of the chain, had a cost to charge ratio of .21 -- meaning Sutter marks up their prices on average 479% above cost. Sutter Medical Center appears to be the third most profitable not-for-profit hospital in America, pulling in $177 million in profits at the end of 2003 while the 24 hospital chain as a whole pulled in $453 million in profits at the end of 2003. According to IRS filings, Sutter Health is sitting on $431 million in cash and marketable securities as of December 31, 2003.
"According to national studies, approximately 50 percent of bankruptcies are caused by medical debt. We are not talking about a doctor's bill for a running nose; we are talking about a hospital bill that has been marked up 500 percent. Sutter Health ought to be ashamed of their belligerent behavior," Forbes stated.
Sutter's class action lawsuit came as a counter-claim to a class action lawsuit filed by price gouged uninsured plaintiffs. Consejo de Latinos Unidos
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