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Illustration: Kevin Hong

A Hospital Giant Discovers That Collecting Debt Pays Better Than Curing Ills

Tenet built a profitable side business helping other hospitals get paid.

Angelia Fowler was surprised to learn that the debt-collection agency she says is ruining her life is owned by the hospital company that saved it.

Fowler had been sick for months in November 2015 when her son finally took her to the emergency room with what turned out to be pneumonia. She spent much of the next month in a coma in intensive care at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida.