North Carolina Business Coalition on Health

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Atrium Halts Lawsuits Against Patients for Unpaid Medical Bills

Atrium Health halts lawsuits against patients for unpaid medical bills

by Charlotte Ledger, North Carolina Health News
October 16, 2023

By Michelle Crouch

Co-published with The Charlotte Ledger

Atrium Health, the state’s top collector of medical debt in recent years, has quietly stopped suing patients for unpaid medical bills.

The change was praised by critics who have long said it’s not right for a publicly chartered, multibillion-dollar, nonprofit hospital to take patients to court for medical costs that are often out of their control. 

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg NAACP has been advocating for Atrium to end the practice for at least a decade, said president Corine Mack. 

“When people are sick, the last thing they need to be concerned about is whether they are going to be sued for simply trying to get the help they need to stay alive,” Mack said. “Think of how hypocritical that is for a nonprofit to be suing people.”  

Mack said she was encouraged that Atrium was finally doing the right thing, but she noted that the change won’t help hundreds of patients who still have judgments against them and liens on their homes. 

Court records reviewed by The Charlotte Ledger/NC Health News show Atrium ...

National Alliance Hospital Fair Price Initiative

National Alliance Hospital Fair Price Initiative
Setting the Record Straight: The Urgency of Achieving Hospital Fair Price

September 28, 2023, Charlotte, NC

Momentum from the work of employers and other healthcare purchasers, coalitions, and policy makers at both the state and federal levels to make healthcare more transparent and affordable is growing. Efforts to achieve fair prices and transparency to lower the cost of healthcare that holds down wages and stalls business growth have been challenged every step of the way by hospitals. 

As part of the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions’ Hospital Fair Price initiative, North Carolina Business Coalition on Health is working with fellow coalitions, our members, policymakers and other stakeholders to demand value and fairness in the biggest segment of the healthcare industry to ensure fair prices for their employees and families.

To support these efforts, the National Alliance has released a new resource, Setting the Record Straight: The Urgency of Achieving Hospital Fair Price, that identifies and debunks 10 of the top hospital industry inaccuracies around high, rapidly rising, and indefensible hospital prices.

Click here to access the report.


North Carolina Hospitals Have Sued Thousands of Their Patients, a New Report Finds

North Carolina Hospitals Have Sued Thousands of Their Patients, a New Report Finds

Noam N. Levey

North Carolina hospitals — led by the state’s largest public medical system — have sued thousands of their patients since 2017, according to a new analysis that sheds additional light on the aggressive tactics U.S. hospitals routinely use to collect from people who fall behind on their bills.

The report, produced by the state treasurer and Duke University School of Law researchers, and related patient interviews offer harrowing accounts of people pursued for tens of thousands of dollars and often surprised by liens that hospitals placed on family homes.

In some cases, spouses were targeted after their partners died. In others, patients interviewed by researchers said they’d been surprised to learn about property liens only after they tried to sell their homes or after a parent who owned the home died.

“I know my house will never be mine. It is going to be the hospital’s,” said Donna Lindabury, 70, whose home was targeted by Charlotte-based Atrium Health, which won a $192,000 judgment against her and her 79-year-old husband over his 2009 heart surgery. Interest on the debt ...

NCBCH 2023 Fall Forum to be held September 15

The NCBCH 2023 Fall Forum will be held September 15, at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro, NC.

With a focus for the Forum on healthcare and pharmacy “fair pricing”, featured speakers will include North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein.  

The full agenda and registration are at



Martin General Hospital in Eastern NC Closes, Files for Bankruptcy

As published in Daily Reflector:

Martin County loses hospital with closure of Martin General

John Foley, Staff Writer, Daily Reflector

August 3, 2023

WILLIAMSTON, NC — Tennessee-based Quorum Health announced Thursday that Martin General Hospital is no longer accepting patients and the hospital has filed for bankruptcy.

The facility that has served Martin County families for generations has struggled financially, the company said. It closed its intensive care unit and its maternity ward in 2022. The hospital was once county-owned and operated, but the county now leases it to Quorum.

A statement on the hospital’s website blamed the financial challenges on “declining population and utilization trends.”

“To be certain, these difficult decisions do not do justice to the hard work and dedication of the Martin General Hospital employees, nurses, physicians, volunteers, and board members,” Quorum’s statement said. “Their legacy of commitment to the community will endure in the countless lives they have touched over the years.”

Martin County officials have worked unsuccessfully with hospital officials to keep the doors open. Martin County Manager James Bennett expressed disappointment on Thursday.

“Yes, the hospital is closed to the public,” he said. “Quorum notified us they are closing Martin General and suspending operations ...

Race, Ethnicity, and Source of Payment Can Increase Patient Risk of Adverse Events in Hospitals

Washington, D.C. (June 7, 2023)—The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit advancing the highest standards for patient safety in hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers, today published a report examining the association between Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades and differences in rates of adverse safety events among white, Black, and Hispanic patients and among patients with commercial insurance and public insurance such as Medicare or Medicaid. The analysis found that higher-graded hospitals are safer for all patients, but Black and Hispanic patients are still at increased risk of experiencing certain surgery-related adverse safety events when compared to white patients even at hospitals at all grade levels. The report, Racial, Ethnic and Payer Disparities in Adverse Safety Events: Are there Differences across Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades, was developed in partnership with Urban Institute, with funding from AARP.

“We must honestly acknowledge the persistent racial and ethnic disparities, but we can’t stop there,” said Missy Danforth, vice president of health care ratings at The Leapfrog Group. “Achieving safe care for all patients requires a focused commitment to transparency, better data collection, and targeted interventions.”

The report compares the rate of 11 dangerous, preventable patient safety problems, including blood clots or sepsis after surgery, among white, ...

North Carolina Business Group on Health Transitions to North Carolina Business Coalition on Health

Charlotte, N.C.- May 4, 2023 —
The North Carolina Business Group on Health (NCBGH), a leading nonprofit coalition of employers and healthcare stakeholders committed to improving the healthcare delivery system in North Carolina, is proud to announce a significant milestone in its evolution. Effective immediately, the organization will be known as the North Carolina Business Coalition on Health (NCBCH), while maintaining its dedication to its mission.

The decision to rebrand as the North Carolina Business Coalition on Health aligns with our commitment to better represent the collective efforts and interests of our members, as well as to strengthen our presence in the healthcare industry. This new name underscores our role as a collaborative force driving positive change, innovation, and improved healthcare outcomes across the state.

“Our organization’s transformation into the North Carolina Business Coalition on Health reflects our drive to join employers and key healthcare stakeholders not just as diverse group, but a coalition of distinct entities joined together in action for our common cause at the forefront of healthcare advocacy and innovation in our state,” said Jon Rankin, NCBCH’s President and CEO.  “While our name may have changed, we continue our mission to educate, advocate, and innovate for a ...

New Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade Reveals Significant Increase in Healthcare-Associated Infections and Worsening Patient Experience During COVID-19 Pandemic

New Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade Reveals Significant Increase in Healthcare-Associated Infections and Worsening Patient Experience During COVID-19 Pandemic

CLABSI, MRSA and CAUTI rates spiked to a 5-year high

WASHINGTON, May 3, 2023—The average risk of three healthcare-associated infections (HAIs)— including Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) and catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI)—spiked to a 5-year high in hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic and remain high, according to The Leapfrog Group’s spring 2023 Hospital Safety Grade data, released today. The Safety Grades also show a continued decline in patient experience measures, which are reported by patients and correlated with patient outcomes.


The Leapfrog Group compared this Safety Grade cycle’s infection data, which covered late 2021 and 2022, to the 2021 Safety Grades, covering the period immediately prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. The analysis found that:

  • Average CLABSI standard infection ratio increased by 60%;
  • Average MRSA standard infection ratio increased by 37%; and
  • Average CAUTI standard infection ratio increased by 19%.


“The dramatic spike in HAIs reported in this Safety Grade cycle should stop hospitals in their tracks—infections like these can be life or death for some patients,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO ...

Aetna picked to operate State Health Plan

Aetna picked to operate North Carolina employee health plan

By GARY D. ROBERTSON January 4, 2023

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Insurance giant Aetna will administer North Carolina’s health coverage plan for state government employees, teachers, retirees and their family members starting in 2025, the State Treasurer’s Office announced Wednesday.

The company won the contract and will replace Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, which the State Health Plan said has held the third-party administrator’s job for over 40 years. Aetna would begin with a three-year contract, with the option afterward for two agreements that would last one year each.

Blue Cross, the state’s largest health insurer, said in a written statement that it’s pursuing an appeal of the State Health Plan’s contract award on Dec. 14, and suggested North Carolina residents could lose their jobs in the transition. In the competitive bid process, UMR Inc. also submitted a contract proposal along with Blue Cross and Aetna.

Given the plan’s shear size, the administrator chosen to handle paperwork for health care expenses, ensure claims are paid and build out a provider network is significant. The plan, which sits within Treasurer Dale Folwell’s department, covers more than 740,000 people, ...

North Carolina Hospitals(s) Awarded National Distinction by The Leapfrog Group

CHARLOTTE, N.C., December 8, 2022 – The Leapfrog Group announced Monday that 18 hospitals in North Carolina, more than any other state, have been named to its 2022 national list of Top Hospitals. The full list of institutions honored as 2022 Top Hospitals, is available at The elite award is one of the most competitive honors American hospitals can receive in safety and quality. The winning facilities were officially recognized at Leapfrog’s 2022 Annual Meeting & Awards Dinner.

The North Carolina Business Group on Health (NCBGH) is the Leapfrog Regional Leader for North Caroline, working with providers, purchasers, payors and patients across North Carolina to drive safe, high-quality health care.

“We are so pleased with the commitment to safety and quality by the healthcare providers in our state,” said Jon Rankin, president and CEO of NCBGH. “These 18 institutions exemplify dedication in our state to the highest standards of care, and highlight North Carolina’s standing as a national leader in patient safety.”

The Leapfrog Group is a national nonprofit watchdog organization that rates hospitals on how well they protect patients from errors and infections, as well as the effectiveness of procedures and other care they provide. A total of ...