Rally to protest medical debt collection

The protest started at Poage Park and before heading to the hospital with signs saying 'I Stand with Gundersen Patients and Workers'

LA CROSSE, Wis (WKBT) – Healthcare workers and activists are protesting what they say are unfair debt collection practices by a local medical provider.

They claim Gundersen Health System has been aggressively suing patients and even its own employees in order to collect medical debt.

The protest started at Poage Park and before heading to the hospital with signs saying ‘I Stand with Gundersen Patients and Workers’.

The protest was organized by the Service Employees International Union, the largest health care union in Wisconsin.

“We have specific demands for Gundersen. And that is to stop suing our community and garnishing the wages of their employees. To forgive medical debt, and to provide affordable insurance to their employees,” said local organizer Amy Dummer.

In a statement, Gundersen Health System said, “The cost of care is too high throughout the healthcare industry, especially in the middle of a pandemic. Medical expenses can be difficult for many people, whether they have health insurance or not. While patients do have options through interest-free payment plans, discounts for those who are uninsured, and free estimates for out-of-pocket expenses, more work needs to be done locally and across our industry to reduce the cost of healthcare.”