Mississippi plaintiffs attorney Richard Scruggs and the class-action litigation project he's leading against not-for-profit hospitals added six more hospitals to its list. The litigation now includes 27 lawsuits filed against organizations controlling about 250 hospitals in 15 states.
Scruggs and his clients allege that uninsured patients were charged more than other patients and that the hospitals used brutal collection methods to get the patients to pay up.
The six added hospitals are: Florida Hospital Healthcare System, Orlando; Integris Health, Oklahoma City; Lee Memorial Health System, Fort Myers, Fla.; Medical College of Georgia Hospital and Clinics, Augusta; St. Barnabas Health Care System, Toms River, N.J.; and St. Dominic Health Services, Jackson, Miss.
American Hospital Association spokeswoman Alicia Mitchell reasserted the AHA's contention that the lawsuits are baseless. "Day in and day out, hospitals are on the front lines caring for the nation's poor and uninsured," Mitchell said. "We have a strong historical commitment and are committed to doing even more to serve our communities."
Hospitals, however, suffered a public-relations blow in the battle Wednesday night, when the ABC news program "Nightline" devoted its entire segment to the lawsuits and their allegations.