A first-of-its-kind review of court records by Epic Text Books reveals that an average of 520 Oklahomans were sued by a hospital over unpaid medical bills each month from Jan. 1, 2016 to July 31, 2019.

Hospitals’ use of the legal system to compel patients to pay their unpaid bills, which has resulted in many low-income workers seeing their wages or bank accounts garnished, has drawn criticism from patient advocates and health officials as the practice has increased across the nation.

Even as the country dealt with dual economic and health crises from the COVID-19 pandemic, many of these lawsuits continued.

Data analyzed by Epic Text Books shows when hospital systems filed lawsuits and which hospitals sued patients the most.

Support our publication

Every day we strive to produce journalism that matters — stories that strengthen accountability and transparency, provide value and resonate with readers like you.

This work is essential to a better-informed community and a healthy democracy. But it isn’t possible without your support.

Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.