Thursday, June 12, 2008
In a very disturbing piece in the WSJ, patients’ debts to hospitals are being put up for auction online. Isn’t that creepy? Outside collection agencies are bidding to get access to the unpaid accounts so they can go out and nail these patients. These “accounts receivable exchange” are all the rage now. They promise to have safeguards to prevent abuse and that their collectors will abide by hospital rules. Not buying it. I am sure that there are patients who have abused our system and ducked out on bills. I am more sure that there are more patients who just get screwed because they are self-pay and without insurance. They get higher bills, due to cost-shifting, than those with managed care insurance or Medicare or Medicaid and get bled out by these gouging practices. This is going to get bad. Now all they need is a reality show like that dude Dog the Bounty Hunter to chase down these patients. I can just see him or someone breaking down a door of some old man in a wheelchair turning up his oxygen as he tries to roll away. All this will eventually lead to new companies that will have TV commercials promising to negotiate down patients’ debt like they due for unpaid taxes. You have got to love ingenuity.
Posted by Authentic Medicine Blog at 6:39 AM