MEMPHIS (WMC TV) - City suits, state pols and hospital 'crats toured the Regional Medical Center of Memphis Friday to encourage raising money for the cash-strapped, publicly funded hospital.
They probably should have toured the Tennessee Treasury instead.
We did. We found more than $6,000 in unclaimed money for The MED.
You see, the Action News 5 Investigators regularly sift through the records of all the states' unclaimed property divisions, looking for lost checks, investment dividends and insurance benefits that belong to our viewers. The funds are lost due to deaths, relocations, mailing goofs and billing mistakes. We surprise the recipients with their lost funds on our Cold Cash segment, exclusively on Action News 5 (click here for our Cold Cash web page: http://www.wmctv.com/Global/category.asp?C=124050).
In our latest search, we found seven properties for The MED, totaling $6,007.40. Three of them were turned over to the state treasury just last year:
* $1,303.08 from AIM Healthcare Services in credit balances/accounts receivable
* $798.48 from Amerisure Mutual Insurance Co. in insurance proceeds
* $50.83 from UHC of Ohio Inc. in group policy benefits
Four properties have been sitting in the treasury anywhere from five to ten years. These properties have multiple payees listed. That means some of the money belongs to patients or to other benefactors. That makes the money more difficult for The MED to claim:
* $1,526.81 turned over in 2000 by State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance Co. in insurance proceeds
* $1,851 turned over in 2005 from State Farm in insurance proceeds
* $222 turned over in 2005 from United Fire & Casualty in policy proceeds
* $255.20 turned over in 2005 from United Fire & Casualty in policy proceeds
Two years ago, Action News 5 surprised The MED's officials with a check for $5,166.88. The money was missing group insurance policy benefits from Humana. We featured the returned money on a Cold Cash segment.
Despite showing the medical center's folks how to search for more unclaimed property and how to claim it, Action News 5 continues to discover more missing MED money two years later.
Al Mansfield, The MED's chief financial officer, said its business office does conduct routine checks of EVERY state's unclaimed property division.
He said this time, Action News 5 just beat the business office to the punch.
"Based on that, I've asked our internal auditor if he could follow up with our business office to assure that they are, indeed, doing the checks on a regular basis," said Mansfield.
Shelby County Mayor Joe Ford, who has gone as far as to ask county employees to deduct a portion of their paychecks to The MED to offset its deficit, said he's confident the business office is conducting regular searches for unclaimed checks.
"I'm pretty comfortable," Ford said. "Now, I don't know how old these claims are, but we appreciate you doing it for us, and I'm pretty sure you've talked to the staff, and they'll keep looking for money that's sent up to the state."
Corporations and individuals alike can conduct their own searches for free in the links listed on our Cold Cash web page (see link above).