After months of publishing reports about the collection practices at different hospital groups across the country and assailing those organizations for filing lawsuits in attempts to collect on unpaid debts, a published report has turned its sights higher up the food chain and is wondering why the American Hospital Association has been quiet for so long on this topic.
The report especially calls out the AHA because its chairman is the chief executive officer of Atlantic Health System, a hospital group that “has sued patients for unpaid bills thousands of times this year, court records show, including a family struggling to pay bills for three children with cystic fibrosis.”
The AHA represents nearly 5,000 hospital organizations nationwide.
Published reports have spotlighted the collection practices at a host of healthcare networks. Hospitals in Virginia, Oklahoma, New York, Tennessee, and Maryland have all been accused of being too aggressive with their collection efforts.
Some in the report are questioning why the AHA has not developed an industry standard as it relates to billing practices. The report illustrates the vast differences in financial assistance policies at hospitals nationwide.
Different members of AHA’s board, which come from different hospital groups, have different billing practices. Rick Pollack, the CEO of the AHA said, “We are reevaluating the guidelines [for collections and financial assistance] to ensure they best serve the needs of patients.”
The creation of billing guidelines would likely impact many different companies in the credit and collection industry. Representatives from the industry may want to consider reaching out to be part of this discussion, especially because they can share data about repayment rates in cases where lawsuits are filed and those where they are not.