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Today we highlight our story about how some hospitals continue to sue patients over medical debt during the pandemic — particularly Froedtert South hospital in Kenosha.
In April, Froedtert South said it would make debt lawsuits “rare” during the pandemic, reports Bram Sable-Smith of WPR and Wisconsin Watch. But the hospital has since filed at least 231 lawsuits in small claims court against debtors, eclipsing its annual total from 2019.
Sable-Smith follows Alysa Gummow, a single-mom in Kenosha who is recovering from COVID-19, as she struggles to navigate the hospital’s billing system and tries to negotiate her debt without a lawyer.
A previous Wisconsin Watch/WPR investigation found that hospitals statewide sued dozens of patients during the early weeks of the pandemic. Following that story, several hospitals pledged to pause or at least slow down aggressive debt collection.
A Wisconsin hospital promised to stop suing most patients during the pandemic. Then it filed 200 lawsuits. — WPR/Wisconsin Watch
Congress strikes long-sought stimulus deal to provide $900 billion in aid — The New York Times
Evers offers more modest $100 million COVID-19 plan to push GOP action before year ends — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Tony Evers reaches out to GOP lawmakers in hopes of reaching compromise on COVID-19 package — Wisconsin State Journal
UW System campuses may serve as COVID-19 vaccine distribution hubs — Wisconsin State Journal
Coronavirus vaccinations are beginning in Wisconsin. Some people of color are skeptical. — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Worried about the COVID-19 vaccine? Doctors and experts clear up some common concerns. — Appleton Post-Crescent
First Moderna shipment to arrive in state today; more than 10K vaccinated last week — Kenosha News
Data to note
WisContext offers these visualizations of Wisconsin COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths. New documented COVID-19 infections have continued to decline from a mid-November peak, now hovering at levels seen in mid-October. The state is seeing a similar decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations. Still, dozens of Wisconsinites continue to die from the disease each day.
Calculate your exposure risk
In Wisconsin, even small gatherings can carry a big risk of exposure to the coronavirus, according to a nationwide tool that estimates the danger by the size of gathering and county in which it is held. Data scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Stanford University developed the tool, which you can find here.
People helping others and showing resilience during this time of anxiety. Send suggestions by tagging us on social media — @wisconsinwatch — or emailing us: email@example.com.
Q&A: Porchlight’s Kim Sutter has seen COVID-19 galvanize support for homeless services — Cap Times
Green Bay launches new COVID-19 grant for small businesses — Green Bay Press-Gazette
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The nonprofit Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism (wisconsinwatch.org) collaborates with Wisconsin Public Radio, PBS Wisconsin, other news media and the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication. All works created, published, posted or disseminated by the Center do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of UW-Madison or any of its affiliates.