July 5, 2016

Tuesday's Number: $240,616

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. 

While the judgments weren't bad - only four, totaling $200,962 - it seems we're starting out the quarter on the wrong foot in our other two categories: no satisfied judgments and two bankruptcies, totaling $39,654.

Here’s the breakdown by hospital:

  • Crouse had three of the four judgments, for $33,619
  • SUNY Upstate picked up the two bankruptcies, for the $39,654 noted above.

The remaining judgment for $167,343 was for a rehab facility in Oswego.

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