A pilot program is being offered in Tennessee aimed at reducing the number of medical debt collection lawsuits that are filed against individuals, by offering a free online medical debt resolution platform for healthcare providers and consumers to use to work out settlements before lawsuits are filed. The platform is even offering free access to licensed mediators to help find solutions to unpaid medical bills.
Individuals need only to live, work, or have a medical debt dispute arising in Hamilton County, Tenn., have an active email address, and be at least 18 years old to be able to participate in the program, which is being offered here. The court is the first in the state and one of the first in the country to be offering it.
The platform is intended to allow the parties to discuss the situation, negotiate a settlement, and reach an agreement on the settlement. The platform is free to use, voluntary, and confidential. It is intended to be used before suits are filed against individuals with unpaid medical bills.
“Medical debt cases are often challenging and stressful,” said Judge Lila Statom in a video promoting the platform. “And that is why we are proud to announce a new program designed to give patients and healthcare providers an opportunity to discuss a bill before a lawsuit is filed.
The objective of the program is to provide a less intimidating venue than a courtroom to help individuals with unpaid medical debts, said Judge Alexander McVeagh in a published report.
Tennessee is one of the states with the highest rates of per-capita healthcare debt in the country, according to the report.