KXAN and CHC investigate medical debt

We launched our KXAN News partnership in September 2022, under the name “Medical Debt Lawsuits.”

In partnership with the award-winning KXAN News investigative team, we researched medical debt in Texas, and its effects on ordinary people. The investigation began with an anonymous tip. The more we investigated, the more we learned that the scope of the problem is vast in Texas alone.

Find the KXAN Medical Debt work at kxan.com/medical-debt.  It documents how medical debt lawsuits have hit hundreds of Texas residents, prompting questions from lawmakers. In response to a callout to Texas residents, we received a wave of responses from Texans who wanted to tell their stories.

The KXAN team has won a series of investigative awards under the leadership of Josh Hinkle, director of investigations and innovation and political host. Awards include Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism, national Sigma Delta Chi Award for Best Documentary, a National Edward R. Murrow Award in the podcast category in 2020 and a national Murrow in the multimedia category for a collection of “KXAN Investigates” digital projects. KXAN has also won multiple other Emmys, a Scripps Howard Award national finalist award, and was a Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting national semi-finalist.

The KXAN innovations spearheaded by Hinkle include the “Catalyst” series, which brings extensive deeper dives into certain investigations, including online content and the Catalyst podcast.

The KXAN team, with our help, did a deep investigation into court records at one hospital in Texas, part of a large chain. We documented the local effects of hospital debt collection, and the context in which this practice takes place in Texas and across the nation. We also invited viewers from around the state to contribute their details.

The result is this series, and a podcast on the “Catalyst” brand, as well as online stories.

The team for this project includes Hinkle; David Barer, senior investigative producer and digital reporter; Arezow Doost, investigative reporter; and Richard Bowes,  investigative photojournalist.

Cancer, and then a lawsuit: Medical Debt in Texas The leadoff piece, Sept. 12, 2022

Get help: Tips and resources on medical debt

An inside look at the KXAN-ClearHealthCosts investigation

The Catalyst podcast on the Medical Debt investigation

“Texas lawmakers plan medical billing fix next session after KXAN investigation,” KXAN News, Oct. 9, 2022.


This continues our national strategy of bringing transparency to health care not only on our home site, but also in partnership with other news organizations, including CBS News; WVUE Fox 8 Live and NOLA.com I The Times-Picayune in New Orleans; KQED public radio in San Francisco; KPCC public radio in Los Angeles; WLRN public radio in Miami; WUSF public radio in Tampa-St. Petersburg; their Florida partnership, Health News Florida; and MedPage Today, a provider of news, opinion and medical education to 670,000 providers, among others. Read about our national partnerships here.

We have won a ton of prizes, including the national public service gold medal with CBS from the Society of Professional Journalists – Sigma Delta Chi. This post from NiemanLab describes our partnership in New Orleans with WVUE FOX 8 Live and NOLA.com I The Times-Picayune.

Our work has been funded by a few angel investors and also by grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Ford Foundation (via the International Women’s Media Foundation), the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the City University of New York, the McCormick Foundation (via J-Lab at American University); the Lenfest Foundation; the New York State Health Foundation; and others.