Thursday, April 3, 2008

Public Opinion DOES Make a Difference

Evidence that public opinion does count: Wal-Mart reverses its original decision to sue a former employee for over $400,000.00 in medical expenses that the woman's company health insurance had paid after a traffic accident nearly cost her her life.

Wal-Mart's health insurance policies provide that if a employee/patient recoups medical costs through a lawsuit or other means, that money must be reimbursed to the insurance company. While I understand that Wal-Mart's policy is designed to keep insurance costs as low as possible, this woman, Debbie Shank, has such extenuating circumstances as to make this policy in this instance ludicrous.

Debbie Shank lost most of her short term memory and other brain damage as a result of the traffic accident and has had to live in a nursing home since the accident in 2000. The monies the family received from the lawsuit have been spent, and will continue to be spent, in the care of Mrs. Shank.

Wal-Mart had stated it would continue to pursue the lawsuit to recover the money from the Shank family until Tuesday, April 1, 2008. Pat Curran, Wal-Mart's top executive in human resources is quoted as saying, "Occasionally others help us step back and look at a situation in a different way. This is one of those times." (Retrieved from:

Thankfully for the Shank family, things are going to work out as well as they can for the situation at hand. And thankfully, many people nationwide voiced their opinions in ways that made Wal-Mart take another look at their stand.

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