July 12, 2016

Tuesday's Number: ($38,888)

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. 

I have a sneaky feeling this series will be winding down soon, based on what was in the paper today - or maybe, based on what wasn't in the paper.  I'll have to wait until next week to see if there's a trend or if this week is just an outlier -- so stay tuned.

There was one new judgment this week, for $10,815; there were four satisfied judgments, totaling $132,965, and there was one bankruptcy, for $83,262. 

Here’s the breakdown by hospital:

  • Crouse had three filings, including a repayment, for a net of $87,609
  • St. Joe’s added a repayment, for a net credit of $23,199
  • SUNY Upstate had one - a repayment  - for a net credit of $6,807

The largest filing - a repayment of $96,491 - was credited to a local nursing facility.

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