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Tue Apr 24, 2012, 05:35 PM

Aggressive hospital debt collector confronted patients at bedside/emergency room

Debt Collector Is Faulted for Tough Tactics in Hospitals

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

In November, Marcia Newton was shocked when she was forced to pay for her son Maxx’s ear tube surgery at Fairview Hospital even before he went into the hospital room.

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In its pitches to hospitals, Accretive boasts that it trains its staff to focus on getting payment. Employees in the emergency room were told to ask incoming patients first for a credit-card payment. If that fails, employees are told to say, “If you have your checkbook in your car I will be happy to wait for you,” internal documents show.

In July 2010, a manager at Accretive told staff members at Fairview Health Services, a Minnesota hospital group, that they should “get cracking on labor and delivery,” since there is a “good chunk to be collected there,” according to internal company e-mails.

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Patients with outstanding balances are closely tracked by Accretive staff members, who list them on what employees refer to as “stop lists,” internal documents show. In March 2011, doctors at Fairview complained that such strong-arm tactics were discouraging patients from seeking life-saving treatments, but Accretive officials dismissed the complaints as “country club talk,” the documents show.


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/25/business/debt-collector-is-faulted-for-tough-tactics-in-hospitals.html

11 replies, 1656 views

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Tue Apr 24, 2012, 05:45 PM

1. SMH...not quite the same thing, but there's a local hospital...

...that is awful about throwing billing forms at you when you're in the emergency room or L & D. It's well know in our small town (it happened to a friend on mine in labor, and to my grandfather when he was in the middle of a seizure. The billing rep ((no collections, just basic billing)) asked who else in the room could fill out the papers, because he didn't look like he could. Well, duh!). Not like these people are leaving in five minutes. Geez. And this is after they're filled out their insurance forms. So I don't understand why they don't just give the patients all of the forms at the same time, instead of picking the most inconvenient time to bring them in.

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Response to missheidi (Reply #1)

Tue Apr 24, 2012, 08:50 PM

8. easier to push off fraudulent charges to drugged, incapacitated and grief-striken people?

 

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Tue Apr 24, 2012, 06:19 PM

2. At least it wasn't Newt Gingrich with divorce papers ...

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Tue Apr 24, 2012, 06:20 PM

3. medicare for all/single payer would put these parasite scum out of business nt

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Tue Apr 24, 2012, 07:32 PM

4. UPDATE: Fairview Health breaks with debt collector after Minn. attorney general alleges violations

By Associated Press

5:19 p.m. CDT, April 24, 2012
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minneapolis-based Fairview Health Services has announced that it ended a contract with a consulting firm that the Minnesota attorney general says misused private patient information and aggressively collected debt from patients in emergency rooms.

The Star Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/JwHdqx ) that Fairview broke from the Chicago-based Accretive Health last month. Fairview says in a release that it has been working closely with Attorney General Lori Swanson in her investigation of Accretive and shares her concerns about its practices. Fairview signed a contract in 2010 to let Accretive run payment services, including debt collection, at its hospitals and clinics.

Swanson's office released a six-volume report Tuesday as part of a pending lawsuit against Accretive that was filed in January.
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(not much) more: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/sns-ap-mn-xgr--patientdata-lawsuit,0,7134691.story

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Tue Apr 24, 2012, 07:48 PM

5. That's not legal. I'm a nurse, and every year, when we have to prove to the hospital administration

yet again that we know about EMTALA laws, it is most definitely beat into our heads that such behavior is not legal. I honestly don't understand how such behavior was allowed, and if that was my patient, I would be calling security to have that debt collector booted out of their room, and on the horn raising all kinds of hell with hospital administration. Oh HELL no. You don't mess with my patients and bug them about money at the damned bedside. I will chew you up and spit you out. I guess I've been a nurse for too long. I'm mean.

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Response to Butterbean (Reply #5)

Tue Apr 24, 2012, 08:47 PM

6. Welcome to DU, Butterbean!

And good for you! I'm retired from nursing, and I hear what you're saying. This kind of behavior is reprehensible on EVERY level.

Keep up the great work!

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Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Reply #6)

Tue Apr 24, 2012, 10:02 PM

10. Bless your heart, thank you. I think my head would explode if I ever saw anyone trying to pull

that mess with my patient. It would get ugly, fast.

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Response to Butterbean (Reply #5)

Tue Apr 24, 2012, 08:49 PM

7. The problem is that in these cases the company *is* a good chunk of the administration

It strongarmed the hospitals into letting them take over front-end operations.

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Response to Posteritatis (Reply #7)

Tue Apr 24, 2012, 10:00 PM

9. Which is why mean nurses like me will then call the Ombudsman, the local news, and whomever

else it takes to light a fire under their asses to stop that crap. I get pissy when people mess with my patients. I work on Labor and Delivery. Don't eff with my patients, damn it. I'm too old and too crabby to give a damn about what administration thinks about me any more, and have tangled with them enough to know what words to use to scare them.

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Response to Butterbean (Reply #9)

Tue Apr 24, 2012, 10:04 PM

11. Welcome to du

And medicare for all...damn it.

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