April 5, 2016

Tuesday's Number: $882,944

Tuesday is the day my local paper, The Post-Standard, publishes the weekly business section. In addition to special features, tips from stock experts, budgeting advice and the like, we get the judgment and bankruptcy listings.

This is the fourth full year I’ve been tracking these numbers – I captured part of the year in 2012 – and the third year that I’ve captured filings by hospital.  I include anything that is likely a patient debt owed to a hospital, nursing home, physician or physician group, medical supplier, and so on; I do not include filings by insurance companies, many of which are so diversified it would not be a fair assumption that the filing is related to medical care or health insurance.

In the first three years, the overall total was $67,965,862 – a staggering amount of money for a relatively small metropolitan area that includes the city of Syracuse and her suburbs, the towns and villages of Onondaga County, and to a lesser extent, some of the even smaller neighboring towns and villages.  As I reported in the 2015 recap, we turned sharply down last year – some $7M – and the hope is that we will continue to see progress in the overall total. Of course, a better sign of health would be an increase in the number of satisfied judgments; people’s ability to pay off their debt (or their willingness, as the case may be) is something else I’m hoping to see this year. 

This week, there were 30 new judgments, totaling $819,378; two satisfied judgments for $12,258 and three bankruptcies totaling $75,824.

Here’s the breakdown by hospital:

  • Crouse had three, for $38,331
  • St Joe’s had two – the repayments - for a net credit of $12,258
  • SUNY Upstate had 28, for total of $833,575

The filings for SUNY Upstate this week were more than $100,000 higher than the highest single week total (all filings, all providers) so far this year.

Single filings each for a local regional medical center and an anesthesia practice in Illinois accounted for the remaining $23,296.

The paper only publishes filings of $5,000 or more.