I was trying to come up with something to write about – I didn’t really like this week’s topics for the Wego Health Activist Writer’s Challenge. I had CNN on and they were talking about hospitals have debt collectors working on site and hitting up patients in the ER. Patients are told to cough up the money or they won’t receive treatment.
One woman they interviewed was at the ER for kidney stones and in a lot of pain. Another woman was there to have tubes put in her son’s ears. She was forced to pay about $800 and once the insurance settled things, she only owed them $200.
I don’t think it is right that people don’t pay what they owe. Most companies will work out a payment plan for people that can’t afford to pay everything at once and they would much rather have a small amount every month than nothing at all. But I don’t think it is right that people are being hit up in the ER when they are sick. Some of the hospitals doing this getting funding from the government that they are supposed to treat everyone regardless of ability to pay.
The story on CNN said that there were about 60 hospitals in 20 states doing this. When I Googled it, I saw Huffington Post had two articles. I am putting the link to both and a clip from each one.
The case brings attention to the little-known practice of hospital companies embedding debt collectors in their facilities, the New York Times reports.
Americans are being subject to increasingly harsh tactics by debt collectors seeking to recoup money for their clients by using tactics including threats, insults and lies, recent research shows. Lisa Lindsay, an Illinois woman recovering from breast cancer, endured an arrest and a brief stay in jail over an unpaid $280 hospital bill that wasn’t even hers.
Hospital debt-collection tactics have come under intense scrutiny in recent days after the New York Times reported that two Minnesota hospitals allowed employees of the debt-collection company Accretive Health to work inside their facilities and pressure patients in emergency rooms and at their bedsides for money. Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson, who already sued Accretive Health for losing a laptop with sensitive information about 23,500 patients,issued a lengthy report this week outlining the company’s practices.