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Nonprofit Hospital Forgives Debts And Stops Suing So Many Poor Patients
National Public Radio

For years, Heartland Regional Medical Center, a nonprofit hospital in the small city of St. Joseph, Mo., had quietly sued thousands of its low-income patients over their unpaid bills.

But after an investigation by NPR and ProPublica prompted further scrutiny by Sen. Charles Grassley, the hospital overhauled its financial assistance policy late last year and forgave the debts of thousands of former patients.

The hospital “deserves credit for doing the right thing after its practices were scrutinized,” Grassley, R-Iowa, wrote last week in a letter to his Senate colleagues, “but it should not take congressional and press attention to ensure that tax-exempt, charitable organizations are focused on their mission of helping those in need.”

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