Grady sues governments for hundreds of thousands



ALPHARETTA, Ga. - A major Atlanta hospital is suing several local governments for hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid medical bills.

Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik learned about the issue after the Alpharetta City Council agreed to settle its lawsuit with Grady Memorial Hospital, but Alpharetta isn’t the only city under fire.

This week, Alpharetta agreed to pay Grady for medical services given to inmates in custody at the city jail. A Grady spokeswoman told Petchenik in a statement, “When our attempts to receive payment through traditional billing fail, we are often left with no other option but to sue in order to get the money owed to the health system."

Alpharetta's tab was $30,000, but it settled for half of that. City officials had no comment, but Grady’s lawyer told Petchenik they mistakenly believed medical bills were covered by a contract between the hospital and Fulton County.

"If the hospital had to fork out all the effort and all the medical bills and staff and overhead, they should get reimbursed," Alpharetta resident Mark Ray said.

The hospital also recently settled an outstanding bill with the city of East Point for $3,500. Senoia settled for $5,500.

Grady said Newton County still owes the hospital nearly $90,000 and Douglas County owes another $100,000. But a Douglas County lawyer disputes the bill, saying the inmate who was treated was in state custody.

A statement from Grady shows budget problems increasing at the hospital.     The March operations statement shows total operating revenues dropping by nearly $1 million. Meanwhile, expenses have grown by $700,000 and county contributions have decreased.
As a result, Grady ran in the red by more than twice the amount it did the previous year.