A nonprofit healthcare system that is already being sued by the Attorney General of Washington for its debt collection practices has now been spotlighted by The New York Times for the “pressure” it put on patients to pay their debts, even though they may have been eligible for charity care.
The article shares details of a program used at the hospital called Rev-Up — which was designed by an outside consulting company — that detailed the process hospital employees were expected to follow, such as “Don’t accept the first No,” and shifting conversations with patients back to payment by asking “how would you like to take care of this today?”
Providence was sued by the Washington AG back in February along with another hospital network for allegedly placing 54,000 accounts with collection agencies, even though those patients might have been eligible for charity care. The suit was amended back in August to include the collection agencies being used by the hospitals, accusing them of not providing certain disclosures to individuals.
The emphasis for the article in The Times is how a nonprofit hospital could become so focused on collecting from individuals, especially those that might have been eligible for charity care. Rather than check first to see if an individual was eligible for charity care, that step was taken only after “months of hounding them had failed,” according to the article. The article notes that some collection departments had wall-mounted charts in the shape of thermometers to track the progress of employees toward hitting their monthly goals.