Hospitals Begin Planting Debt Collectors In Emergency Rooms

254668516_97856d3d0fThe New York Times reports on a new model of emergency care—debt collectors posing as medical staff:

Hospital patients waiting in an emergency room or convalescing after surgery are being confronted by an unexpected visitor: a debt collector at bedside.

This and other aggressive tactics by one of the nation’s largest collectors of medical debts, Accretive Health, were revealed on Tuesday by the Minnesota attorney general, raising concerns that such practices have become common at hospitals across the country.

To patients, the debt collectors may look indistinguishable from hospital employees, may demand they pay outstanding bills and may discourage them from seeking emergency care at all. The attorney general, Lori Swanson, also said that Accretive employees may have broken the law by not clearly identifying themselves as debt collectors…

Read More: New York Times

, , , , , , ,

  • Okarin

    these guys must have guts of steal as right before emergency rooms people will have the most tear eyed gut wrenching stories though the bigger problem is that the medical establishments doesn’t accept anything that can be charged for money, while it may not be used in emergency rooms, it could be used for preventive measures like herbs

  • Calypso_1

    It would be really sad if one of these goons slipped and fell on a syringe full of atropine.

    • tooCents

      Huh, I was just thinking something along those lines. Sure would be a shame.

  • Jin The Ninja

    dissuading people from accessing medical services…?!? this is pretty sick… i still don’t really understand why the US does not have universal healthcare (well no, i do KNOW WHY and i understand why NOT), but i am left highly confused that people accept this treatment as quotidian….

     

    • DeepCough

      It’s not “quotidian,” it’s Capitalist.

      • Jin The Ninja

        i’ve never been one to reserve my criticism for that beast.

    • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

      even if the US offered universal health care
      as opposed to universal health care insurance
      I would be reluctant to use it

      I worked in “health care” for over 20 years
      for broken bones and cosmetic surgery they’re fine
      although in my case
      two different bone breaks were mistreated
      but doctors rarely know more than a highly informed patient

      modern medicine is mostly about selling things to patients
      drugs, technologies and medical services
      most “health care” money is spent in the last 5 years of life
      and worst of all
      no matter what you do, no matter how much medical care you receive
      you’re gonna die anyway
      enjoy life while you can
      enjoy death as it comes

      • Jin The Ninja

        buzz, i totally agree. i almost never see a regular physician (and i mean once a year) – i much prefer my chinese doctor/TCM- and i DO have universal healthcare. I think doctors (whether american OR canadian) are very focused on symptomology and the cut and drug approach. which is very anti thetical the holistic way i try to live. i don’t think treating doctors as priests is very useful medical philosophy, nor do i think modern medicine understands pain very well. that being said- if i need to see a doctor for something major (emergency or major surgery) i am VERY glad i am able to access the service free of charge (very glad).

  • Liam_McGonagle

    This could be a really good idea.  Introduce a free market element of wheeling-and-dealing into the health care provision process.

    For instance, say you get hit crossing the road.  By a driver who wasn’t required to buy insurance by the state.  And neither did you buy insurance, ’cause up to that point you were a healthy young buck with no incentive to do so, as you didn’t own a car yourself.

    In these circumstances, the operation to save your legs seems like a hopeleslly decadent extravagance that you just can’t afford.  But what about that healthy kidney of yours?  It’s not like you were using it.  Enter the free market answer man.

    By cutting a deal, bringing your spare organs onto market (and let’s face it–you weren’t likely to have kids anyhow), you can upgrade your medical options from quadrapalegic to eunuch.  Certain human glands fetch a mighty hefty price in east Asia.  Win-win-win.

    And who knows?  Maybe you can go home with a new wide screen TV on top of it all!

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/RWWAEM343UIK2IBZB3OXQZTQXM SPET67

    Any debt collector who would do this should have a mud hole stomped in them.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1396800889 Gabriel Kaji Sullivan

    The only thing they are getting from me is a bedpan to the head and a kick to the teeth.

  • DeepCough

    Since Hospitals have become so concerned with money as opposed to being concerned about the physically sick, I think that debt collectors should be standing outside of the Hospital to verify whether or not a patient has fully paid off a debt or not, and in the event said patient hasn’t, the Hospital should turn that person away for failing to remunerate them for their services. After all, sick people who don’t pay their medical bills are nothing but deadbeats, amirite?

    • Andrew

      Sick and injured people need to work hard and earn some money if they want to get healed.

  • Redacted

    It’s a proven statistic that only Liberals get sick, so take them for everything they own.

  • Bungle

    doctors in this country are evil and lazy. not scientist, artists, more comparable to mechanics of the shady kind but less useful.  Don’t get me wrong i love my mechanic but he is boss not many like him, so underground, hipster mechanic is.  in logic, the more people they treat the bigger the the chance of them getting paid by a patient who made a full recovery. the problem is that they want money up front for a service that cant be refunded in case mistakes happen, without a unpleasant legal battle.  doctors to me are supposed to be angelic, but are more akin to wolves in sheeps clothing, that actually engineer problems so they can act like the solution for profit. seems like population control to me.

  • Not_a_big_deal

    Good thing I pay my debts and have nothing to worry about.

    • Jin The Ninja

      when you get a 250k cancer treatment bill or a 60k cardiac surgery bill and are able to pay it- cash money day of -you are entitled to your little rhetorts-not before then.

    • Big bang

      you have me to worry about. I cant wait till people that lack common sense and compassion start having horrible nightmares and cant sleep. inception bitch 

    • Calypso_1

      Verily I say unto you, the man who places wellbeing in the hands of the HealthCare Rigged Market may one day findeth himself cast out among the sick and downtrodden.  Accursed are they of preexisting condition and whose DRG exceeds the protection rackets will to dole from the purse so readily filled when ye were of whole body.

    • Auto5734955

       “nothing to worry about”???  Are you serious???  

  • Angrymedicaladmin

    Want this to stop! Stop clogging the ER for your cold and flus because you don’t want to pay a 5$ medicaid co-pay during regular hours douche bags!

    • Jin The Ninja

      not everyone who needs medicaid qualifies, and when hospitals end the capitalisation of sickness- maybe people can start seeing family physicians again.

    • Angry compassion

      comes with a territory asshole, people get paranoid when they get sick. Fish are hard to see when you are above water, but you cant drain the lake to make the fishing easier. stop clogging the forum with your stupid one liners trolls. just because you can comment at any time does not mean we want you to. if doctors want to practice medicine, they will have to deal with a few false alarms, they passed medical school, im sure they can figure out how to handle a few flu cases pro bono. its like direct marketing treat someone for something stupid today and they will attend your private practice when they have something more severe. all they need is some business cards. im glad its only cold and flu crowding the ER and not the mental disorder you have.

      • Jin The Ninja

         great and witty.

    • DeepCough

      You’re right, people should just avoid the ER all together, because it’s the one place of the hospital that relies heavily on a crisis capitalist business model to justify its existence, so, yeah, avoid the ER all together, especially since the ER is where the retarded doctors and the greenhorns work.

      • Calypso_1

        No.

        • DeepCough

          It’s true, and you know it.

          • Calypso_1

            Ever worked in an ER?

          • DeepCough

            Ever requested the lab results and report from an ER and crosschecked it with the “diagnosis” made by an attending physician? You’d be surprised how ad hoc and ignorant an Emergency Room can be–and I got documentation to prove it.

  • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

    Here’s a little inside tip for those being extorted by the Big Medicine and the Hospital Racquet.

    Insurance companies never ever pay the hospitals in full;
    they simply pay what they feel like paying,
    the hospital usually eats the difference
    rather than try to collect the diff from sick people.
    Since hospitals don’t get paid in full by insurance cos
    you shouldn’t pay in full either.

    Uncle Sam (Medicare) rarely pays more than 40% of the charge.
    Most major insurance companies pay between 50% & 70%.
    How do I know this?
    I once owned a hospital related medical practice.
    I subsidized medical insurgence companies by not being able to collect full fees.
    You should get the same subsidy.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    I’m not sure debt collectors being situated in a place where people can actually find them is the hottest idea anyone ever had. Given the conduct of debt collection services in the last 30 years…parking them where we can actually look them in the eye and touch them…is probably not a safe choice even with a cop or two handy. The current model of harassment from a safe anonymous distance evolved for a reason…because that debt collector isn’t paid so much that they want to die while after that 300$ unpaid tab from 1992 you racked up.

    • Auto5734955

      At least they’re in the right place to be ‘dealt’ with (& possibly cured).  They have a job and health insurance, they’ll be readily and happily accepted by (the overpriced/lawyer/ doctor/insurance co./drug co. owned) hospital. They are being given permission by these leaches on society to invade the privacy and violate the patient rights of the clients being *”treated” there.  (*treated- not ‘cured’.)

    • Auto5734955

      Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch

  • Doc

    Anyone that thinks this is new must not have been to a HCA facility.

  • Dixon L. Creasey, Jr.

    I would love to see one try it on me or mine. I’d make a ‘payment’ on the ‘debt,’ all right, if by ‘payment’ you mean ‘dropkick’, and by ‘debt’ you mean ‘side of a collector’s head’.
    Nasty, fellatious, soulless, coprophagic tribe of troglodytes…but enough about politics.

  • http://www.sergel.fi/ Leila Repo

    I agree that is really a good idea that they need to put some debt collector in emergency care.

21