Former patients have filed a lawsuit against Yale-New Haven and Bridgeport hospitals in Connecticut, claiming the hospitals illegally garnished their wages and threatened them with liens to collect unpaid bills.
A Yale-New Haven official, Vin Petrini, called the suits were a "publicity tool" to support a union effort to organize hospital workers.
The Service Employees International Union 1199 New England file a suit in December, claiming the hospitals denied free medical care to the poor and overcharged and hounded patients for payment. The SEIU backed the patients' lawsuit as well.
Spokesmen for both hospitals said they have made adjustments to their collection policies after the state Legislature passed a law last year limiting garnishments and liens on hospital debtors.