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Photo: Darren Kemper/Corbis/VCG/Getty Images

Nonprofit hospitals are aggressive about suing patients to collect unpaid bills — in some ways, even more aggressive than their for-profit counterparts.

Driving the news: 36% of Virginia hospitals sued former patients and garnished their wages in 2017, according to a new study. And nonprofit hospitals account for the lion's share of those suits.

  • One hospital in particular — Mary Washington, in Fredericksburg, Va. — sues so many patients that the local court sets aside one morning each month just to hear those cases, NPR reports.

By the numbers: The money is negligible for hospitals but potentially "ruinous" for individual patients, one expert told NPR.

  • On average, garnished wages account for 0.1% of Virginia hospitals' revenues.
  • The average garnished amount is about $2,800, which can put a big dent in workers' checks, though some patients have been sued for more than $10,000.

The other side: Mary Washington told NPR it has to recoup its costs, that it makes many other efforts to contact patients before suing them, and that filing a lawsuit is a way "to open that door of communication so that we can work with them."

From the WSJ's writeup of the same study:

  • "The Trump administration has pushed for aggressive action aimed at nonprofit-hospital monopolies, but was rebuffed by career staff at the U.S. Treasury Department, according to a person familiar with the negotiations."

Go deeper: Nonprofit hospitals increasingly act like for-profit companies

Go deeper

24 mins ago - World

Myanmar military fires UN ambassador after anti-coup speech

Photo: Peerapon Boonyakiat/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Myanmar's military regime on Saturday fired the country's Ambassador to the United Nations, Kyaw Moe Tun, a day after he gave a pro-democracy speech asking UN member nations to publicly condemn the Feb. 1 coup, The New York Times reports.

Details: State television said the ambassador had "betrayed the country and spoken for an unofficial organization which doesn’t represent the country and had abused the power and responsibilities of an ambassador."

Scoop: Biden admin call on Putin pipeline provokes GOP anger

Putin chairs a video meeting in July 2020. Photo: Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

A briefing between the State Department and congressional staff over Vladimir Putin's Russia-Germany gas pipeline got tense this week, with Biden officials deflecting questions about why they hadn't moved faster and more aggressively with sanctions to stop its completion.

  • The Biden officials also denied negotiating with the Germans over a potential side deal to allow the pipeline to be finished.
Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Biden: It's "not the time to relax" COVID mitigation efforts — Tracking coronavirus variants through sewage.
  2. Vaccine: FDA advisory panel endorses J&J COVID vaccine for emergency use — About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says — New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy.
  3. Economy: What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Local: All adult Minnesotans will likely be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by summer — Another wealthy Florida community receives special access to COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.
  6. World: Brazil's capital enters 24-hour lockdown as coronavirus cases surge.