As Arizona residents rush into the emergency room for medical treatment, making an immediate payment for their treatment is probably the last thing on their mind. However, reports indicate that Accretive Health, a medical debt collection agency, has been forcing patients with outstanding debts to make payments in order to receive care.
In 2012, one state’s attorney general filed a lawsuit against the debt collection company for their tactics, which violated privacy laws. Accretive Health had unlawful access to individual’s medical records, which were used to target individuals for collection. In addition to withholding treatment for payment, which is also against some states’ laws, Accretive has been accused of developing a software program that sometimes overcharges patients for their hospital bills.
Using coercive tactics to get patients to pay up puts financially distressed individuals in an impossible position. They have a choice between putting their health on the line and being subjected to a payment that was procured in a potentially illegal fashion. Many individuals are driven into deep medical debt due to an unexpected medical condition, which is largely outside of their control. Regardless, debt collectors should not use unfair, abusive tactics to conduct their business.
Those who are worried about their financial security and ability to receive medical treatment may consider methods to reduce or eliminate their mounting medical debts. Since medical bills are considered an unsecured debt, they can often be discharged through the personal bankruptcy process. This way, individuals can work toward financial and physical health without having to be concerned about being harassed by debt collectors the next time they visit a health care facility. Thus, individuals facing insurmountable medical debts should speak to a Phoenix Bankruptcy Attorney sooner rather than later in order to be fully aware of to their rights.
Source: Legal Newsline, “Minn. AG: Accretive broke law with ‘ASS,’ ‘Blue Balls’ program,” John O’Brien, June 19, 2012