One of the headlines in today’s Wall Street Journal reads: “Yale Versus Yale.”

There are, of course – what with the number of perverse policies pursued by the leaders of this University – any number of struggles here which that could refer to – turns out that it’s the righteous work of several Yale Law students on behalf of victims of the debt-collection policies of the Yale – New Haven Hospital:

Since last spring, the hospital has been one of the prime focuses of a national outcry over hospital billing practices. An article in The Wall Street Journal described the case of Quinton White, a 78-year-old widower who was still paying his wife’s Yale-New Haven bill 20 years after her death, largely because of high interest charges and fees. A short while later, the Service Employees International Union issued a report that profiled other people who were coping with the hospital’s collection tactics.

In response, Yale-New Haven forgave Mr. White’s debt, and it has recently abandoned its long-time collection law firm. Connecticut Gov. John Rowland signed legislation that slashes to 5% from 10% the amount of interest that hospitals in the state can tack onto their bills. Other states, including California and Illinois, began to seek remedies as well. Meanwhile, the American Hospital Association urged its 4,800 members across the country to adopt kinder, gentler collection methods, and its spokesman said Thursday that “every hospital has looked at what they’re doing,” and some “are asking some very tough questions.”

But such responses haven’t stopped the students at Yale Law School. They plan to argue that the hospital has garnisheed wages, imposed housing liens and initiated foreclosures on poor people’s homes despite the existence of a multimillion-dollar fund set up years ago to provide the poor with access to the hospital’s care that the hospital could have used. They have already filed three lawsuits, sent the hospital multiple “demand” letters and arranged for debts to be forgiven in several cases. They are also threatening to bring a class-action suit against Yale-New Haven.

More power to them.

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