Hospitals can seize wages
04/24/2012 12:00 AM
04/24/2012 7:44 AM
When David Griffin got behind on payments for his hospital bill, Wilkes Regional Medical found a way to get its money: taking it from his paycheck.
Griffin was left with substantial out-of-pocket expenses several years ago, after he was treated at the Wilkesboro hospital for a collapsed lung.
Taking advantage of a state law that allows public hospitals to garnishee wages, Wilkes Regional got a court order allowing it to take 10 percent of Griffin’s pay until his $8,000 debt is paid off. The hospital is owned by the town of North Wilkesboro.
A welder by trade, Griffin said that living on $60 less each week has been painful.
“You definitely know it’s gone,” the Wilkesboro resident said.
The Observer found other cases in which Wilkes Regional garnisheed wages, but it’s unclear how often the hospital takes that step.
Top officials at the 130-bed hospital referred reporters to Carolinas HealthCare System, which manages the hospital.
System officials did not answer the Observer’s question about why Wilkes Regional garnishees wages.
Editor's Choice Videos
Join the Discussion
News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.