Debt Collector Is Faulted for Tough Tactics in Hospitals

Terribly cruel and unjust – we’re glad this story has come to light, but more than “fault” should be done here, this company should be prosecuted. This is literal “war on the poor” and it must be stopped. There is one solution for everyone – make healthcare affordable and available for everyone in America.

Hospital patients waiting in the emergency room or convalescing after surgery could find themselves confronted by an unexpected visitor: a debt collector at bedside.

One of the nation’s largest medical debt-collection companies is under fire in Minnesota for having placed its employees in emergency rooms and other departments at two hospitals and demanding that patients pay before receiving treatment, according to documents released Tuesday by the Minnesota attorney general. The documents say the company also used patient health records to wrangle for more money on overdue bills.

As part of its collection strategy, Accretive fostered a boiler-room environment at the hospitals it works with, according to hospital employees and the newly released documents.

While hospital collections increased, patient care plummeted, the employees said. “Patients are harassed mercilessly,” a hospital employee told Ms. Swanson. Another hospital employee complained, “We were told if we don’t get money from patients, in the emergency room, we will be fired.”

Accretive debt-collection employees, calling themselves “financial counselors,” are instructed by the upper management ranks to stall patients entering the emergency room until they have agreed to pay a prior balance, according to the documents.

Read the full story here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/25/business/debt-collector-is-faulted-for-tough-tactics-in-hospitals.html?_r=1&hp

2012-08-24T02:01:34+00:00

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