Hospital Debt Collection Practices Scrutinized At Federal Level
A recent article from NPR highlighted a set of newly proposed rules that may affect how non-profit hospitals collect debt from patients. The Treasury Department has proposed these rules in an attempt to stop some of the potentially abusive debt collection practices patients have endured, including the harassment of patients who are currently in the hospital for care.
Emily McMahon, Acting Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy, expressed concern about these practices and stated, “In recent months, we have heard concerns about aggressive hospital debt collection activities, including allowing debt collectors to pursue collections in emergency rooms. These practices jeopardize patient care, and our proposed rules will help ensure they don’t happen in charitable hospitals.” The proposed rules would also require that hospitals give patients more information about their financial options, allow patients time to apply for reduced-cost care, and balance the charges uninsured patients incur with what insurers actually pay for an insured patient’s care.
Senator Al Franken, who was responsible for calling the hearing, highlighted in this article, acknowledges that hospitals should be paid for the care they provide to patients, but he also stated that “…especially in this time of economic hardship, we need to make sure that patients aren’t the unintended victims of budget shortfalls.”
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News Source: www.NPR.org