This year, ProPublica and MLK50 are investigating institutions that profit at the expense of people who can’t afford to pay. Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, a nonprofit health care system, makes millions and relentlessly sues the poor in Memphis — a city where nearly 1 in 4 residents live below the poverty line. It has filed more than 8,300 lawsuits for unpaid medical bills in just five years, according to our analysis.

Methodist isn’t alone in using aggressive debt collection tactics. We know that other hospitals in Memphis — and other institutions across the city — are suing their patients and customers.

We’ve reported on the way debt from unpaid medical bills can balloon over time, with additions like mounting interest, wage garnishments from paychecks, and attorney’s and court fees. We want to learn more. Since we published our first pieces on the city’s debt machine, we’ve been flooded with responses.

Hearing your experiences can help us do more reporting to hold these institutions accountable.

Please fill out this questionnaire if any of the following apply to you:

  • You were sued by a hospital or doctor in Memphis, or another institution in the region, or you know or represent someone who has been.
  • You have medical debt that’s been difficult to pay off.
  • You work for a hospital or collection agency and have something to share about financial practices there.
  • You’ve been sued for debt by a non-health care institution you think we should know about.

Anything you submit using the questionnaire gets delivered securely to us, and we’re the only ones reading it.

You can also text or call us through Signal or WhatsApp at 314–224–2134, which are more secure, or email us at to reach our reporting team.


We appreciate you sharing your story, and we take your privacy seriously. We are gathering these stories for the purposes of our reporting, and we will not voluntarily share your information with third parties without your express permission.

NOTE: A journalist in our reporting network may be in touch with further questions.

Wendi C. Thomas is the editor of MLK50: Justice Through Journalism. Email her at and follow her on Twitter at @wendi_c_thomas.

MLK50 is a part of ProPublica Local Reporting Network. ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up for ProPublica’s Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox as soon as they are published.

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